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Reading Roundup: This Week's Top Literary Events

Gene Luen Yang

The work of graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang

Each week, we offer a roundup of the best literary events in the city. All events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted. Want to submit an upcoming event for consideration? Go here.

Gene Luen Yang (Boxers & Saints)

Tuesday, September 10, 5 pm, at Green Apple Books (506 Clement St.)

Yang (American Born Chinese, The Eternal Smile), the first graphic novelist ever to be nominated for a National Book Award, returns with not one but two books exploring the dual consequences of the arrival of Westerners in China. In Boxers, a Chinese peasant boy's life is turned upside down when his village is plundered by thieves pretending to be missionaries, while in Saints, an abandoned girl finds a home for the first time after being rescued by the genuine article. Those who pre-order a book from Green Apple will receive a special drawing inside from Yang. 

Mitchell Jackson (The Residue Years)

Tuesday, September 10, 6 pm, at Book Passage SF (1 Ferry Building)

Idyllic Portland may be America's whitest city, but for Jackson, who grew up black there in a rough neighborhood, it was a frightening place to be a teen, especially as the crack epidemic of the '90s surged through the city. His autobiographical novel alternates perspectives between Grace, a mother who's recently been released from rehab and is struggling to stay clean, and her son Champ, who's desperate to care for his little brothers and reclaim the family's lost home the only way he knows how-- by selling drugs. 

Tom Barbash (Stay Up with Me)

Tuesday, September 10, 7 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

Wednesday, September 11, 7:30 pm, at Mrs. Dalloway's (2904 College Ave., Berkeley)

Thursday, September 12, 7:30 pm, at the Booksmith (1644 Haight St.)

The new collection of short stories from Barbash (The Last Good Chance) explores the difficult nature of human connection, whether it's a young couple holding a party amidst the struggles of their foundering marriage, a con man cheating an elderly couple out of their Adirondacks home, or a young man having a rough time in the dating world, whose widowed father is having no problems finding love again. Barbash definitely has some literary star power behind him: he'll be introduced in Corte Madera by Dave Eggers and in Berkeley by Ann Packer. 

Michael Wolfe (Cut These Words Into My Stone)

Saturday, September 7, 7 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

Though much of what we know of ancient Greek culture is derived from the works of great scholars and artists, we also have a unique remnant of everyday people: their tombstones, written in beautifully composed verse. Wolfe's new book translates the alternately sad, quirky, funny, and heartbreaking epitaphs from Greek tombstones, commemorating everyone from children to fisherman to generals (as well as a few animals, including horses and dolphins).