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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.

Colson Whitehead (Zone One)

Tuesday, October 25, 8 pm, at Herbst Theatre (401 Van Ness Ave.)

Whitehead, a MacArthur "genius" grant winner whose books include The Intuitionist and Sag Harbor, is poised to break big with his newest tome, Zone One. Inspired by the zombie films he watched as a child, Whitehead's book examines the life of Mark Spitz, a cleanup worker dispatched to tidy the formerly quarantined remnants of Lower Manhattan several years after an outbreak of "skels" has ravaged the population. The book has earned universal raves, and Whitehead is a consistently engaging and funny speaker. Tickets are $17-27, and are available here.

Lucia Greenhouse (fathermothergod: My Journey Out of Christian Science)

Sunday, October 30, 4 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

Raised in an affluent Minneapolis suburb, Greenhouse had all the trappings of her peers: summer camps, ski vacations, private schools. But when she or her siblings got sick, her parents didn't call the doctor-- they called a priest. Greenhouse's memoir discusses her split from Christian Science, how she outraged her family by visiting an opthamologist, and the heartbreaking illness her mother suffered-- one that her children could only stand by and watch, as she refused medical treatment.

Steve Inskeep (Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi)

Friday, October 28, 7 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

Karachi, Pakistan's capital, is the poster child for the incredible urbanization of the developing world; from 1941 to today, its population has swelled from 350,000 to over 14 million. (New York, the largest U.S. city, has slightly more than half its population.) NPR host Inskeep ("Morning Edition") interviewed a swath of Karachi residents to gain insight into the lingering conflicts between India and Pakistan, the pressure Karachi's incredible growth has put on the environment, and remarkable innovations developed by its citizens, including one of the world's most renowned ambulance networks.

Yiyun Li (Gold Boy, Emerald Girl)

Wednesday, October 26, 7:30 pm, at The Booksmith (1644 Haight St.)

Li (above) has been awarded a swath of honors for her fiction, including a MacArthur grant and a Guardian First Book Award, but her reputation really took off after her inclusion on last year's New Yorker "20 Under 40" list. Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, her third book, is a story collection focused on the lives of ordinary people in China, from women battling their husbands' extramarital affairs to a professor introducing her son to a favorite student.