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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.

Chris Van Allsburg (The Chronicles of Harris Burdick)

Sunday, November 13, 1 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

Kids of all ages won't want to miss this appearance by Van Allsburg (The Polar Express, Jumanji), who'll read some of the 14 stories in his new book. The twist? He didn't write any of them-- top writers like Stephen King, Sherman Alexie, Louis Sachar, and Lemony Snicket, like generations of kids before them, wove the tales around the wordless illustrations in Van Allsburg's 25-year-old classic, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.

LitUp Writers: Unwrapped and Regifted

Wednesday, November 9, 7:30 pm, at 111 Minna Gallery (111 Minna St.)

The humorous storytellers behind LitUp Writers are back with another series of twisted tales over cocktails. This time, their focus is the holidays, source of unending togetherness and torment. The eight stories will span all types of holidays, from seasonally-appropriate Christmas, Hanukkah, and Thanksgiving stories to anecdotes of balmy Fourth of Julys and frightening Halloweens past. Be sure to wear the ugliest holiday sweater you can scrounge up-- they're giving a $25 prize to the worst seasonal knitwear, so its bearer can replace it.

Fariba Nawa (Opium Nation)

Tuesday, November 8, 7:30 pm, at The Booksmith (1644 Haight St.)

After 9/11, Afghan-American journalist Nawa returned to her ancestral homeland, and found it ravaged by the global opium trade. The source of more than 90 percent of the world's opium supply (even after eradication efforts), the Afghan drug trade is back on the rise, with cultivation up seven percent in the past year alone. Nawa's wide-ranging interviewees include drug lords, farmers, corrupt officials, and child brides sold to pay for their parents' addictions.

SF Writers' Grotto: Three-Minute Reads

Friday, November 11, 6 pm, at Book Passage SF (1 Ferry Building)

The scribe collective at the SF Writers' Grotto has long offered classes for aspiring authors, and their latest batch of recruits will star in this series of readings, all of which are limited to three minutes or less. With engaging new voices and free wine, it's a sort of literary Gong Show-- and a great way to unwind a bit before heading out on Friday night. Can't make this week's show? They'll have a second batch of writers appearing next Friday, the 18th (same time, same location).