Skip to Navigation Skip to Content

Reading Roundup: This Week's Top Literary Events

Marisha Pessl

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.

Marisha Pessl (Night Film)

Sunday, September 15, 2 pm, at Tudor Rose Tea Room (733 4th St., Santa Rosa)

Monday, September 16, 2 pm, at Book Passage SF (1 Ferry Building)

Tuesday, September 17, 11:30 am, at Town Centre Books (555 Main St., Pleasanton)

The long-awaited and highly acclaimed second novel from Pessl, who made a splash with 2006's Special Topics in Calamity Physics, follows a disgraced investigative journalist investigating the mysterious death of a young woman-- which may have something to do with her father, a legendary director of cult horror films who hasn't been seen in public in more than 30 years. Pessl's Santa Rosa appearance is a high tea; tickets are $55 and include a copy of the book.

Patricia Engel (It's Not Love, It's Just Paris)

Thursday, September 12, 7 pm, at Green Apple Books (506 Clement St.)

Sunday, September 15, 1 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

Engel's first short story collection, Vida, earned raves, and now she's released her first novel, the story of Lita, an American daughter of Colombian parents who's granted a year in Paris before she returns home to run their booming Latin food empire. Taking up residence in a rooming house owned by a bedridden eccentric, she falls in love with the sickly son of a right-wing politician, and must decide whether to stay in Paris with the man she adores or return home and fulfill her immigrant parents' dreams for her future. 

Cristina Garcia (King of Cuba)

Sunday, September 15, 4 pm, at Mrs. Dalloway's (2904 College Ave., Berkeley)

Monday, September 16, 7 pm, at the Hotel Rex (562 Sutter St.)

The new novel from Garcia (Dreaming in Cuban) is a fictionalized tale of "El Comandante," a very Fidel Castro-like dictator living out his last days in a Havana mansion. As he intermittently tortures and befriends his people, he looks back on a revolution that seems far less glorious 60 years after it happened. Meanwhile, in Miami, similarly aged Goyo has his own reminiscences of the Cuba that was, and an unabated hunger for revenge-- on El Comandante, who killed his family decades ago. Garcia's Hotel Rex appearance is in partnership with Litquake; tickets are $5-15, sliding scale

Katy Butler (Knocking on Heaven's Door)

Wednesday, September 11, 7 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

Thursday, September 12, 7 pm, at the Hillside Club (2286 Cedar St., Berkeley)

As her parents entered retirement, Butler assumed their golden years would be long and happy. But when a stroke and heart problems destroyed her father's health, she and her mother were forced to come to terms with his desire to turn off his pacemaker and die-- a wish their doctors refused to let them fulfill. After her father finally passed away, her mother had health problems of her own, and a determination to die the way she wanted. Butler's book interweaves personal narrative with a thoroughly researched examination of our broken, cost-driven medical system. Tickets to Butler's Berkeley appearance are $12.