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Reading Roundup: This Week's Top Literary Events

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.

Amanda Lindhout (The House in the Sky)

Wednesday, September 18, 1 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

In 2008, television journalist Lindhout and her ex-boyfriend Nigel were abducted by a group of masked men during a trip to Somalia, eventually being held for more than a year and a half by her captors. Tortured and raped by a group of men who saw her ransom as their only means of escaping crushing poverty, Lindhout had little food, no clean water, and became desperately ill. She converted to Islam as a survival tactic, then risked a daring escape to free herself. Her memoir details how she held onto hope in the midst of her ordeal, and used her time in captivity as a catalyst for promoting change in Somalia. 

Robert Boswell (Tumbledown)

Wednesday, September 18, 7:30 pm, at the Booksmith (1644 Haight St.)

Acclaimed contemporary novelist Boswell has returned with his first book in a decade, the story of a young therapist and the cast of patients who rotate in and around the San Diego mental-health clinic where he works. As he journeys from one character's mind to another, Boswell paints a sensitive portrait of the many different facets of mental illness, using humor to delineate his characters' struggles. 

Peter Carlson (Junius and Albert's Adventures in the Confederacy)

Monday, September 23, 7 pm, at Green Apple Books (506 Clement St.)

Carlson (K Blows Top) returns with another work of rollicking, too-weird-to-be-true history, following journalists Junius Browne and Albert Richardson, who covered the Civil War for the New York Tribune. Captured while trying to sneak past Vicksburg on a hay barge, the duo were transported from one Rebel prison to another, eventually risking a daring escape by trekking across the Appalachian mountains with the help of escaped slaves. It's a fascinating story of courage and heroism that's also packed with more than a little comedy. 

Sudhir Venkatesh (Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York's Underground Economy)

Friday, September 20, 1 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

Venkatesh, the unconventional researcher whose Gang Leader For a Day provided interesting insight into Chicago's underground drug economy, has returned with a searing expose of how New York's highest and lowest classes are connected by the sales of drugs, sex, and undocumented labor. Following twelve real-life characters, from Bangladeshi shop clerks to a drug boss to a duo of high-end sex workers, Venkatesh provides a road map to the illegal activities that span the city's most and least fortunate denizens.