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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.

Julia Scheeres (A Thousand Lives)

Tuesday, December 6, 7:30 pm, at The Booksmith (1644 Haight St.)

Berkeley resident and SF Writers' Grotto member Scheeres (left) offers unprecedented insight into the daily lives of the 909 members of Jim Jones' Peoples Temple, who committed mass suicide in Guyana in 1978. Utilizing period recordings and recently declassified FBI documents, Scheeres follows five members of the group, from a woman who believed Jones had healed a cancerous tumor to a reluctant teenager forced to follow his parents into the jungle.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg (Luck and Circumstance: A Coming of Age in Hollywood, New York, and Points Beyond)

Tuesday, December 6, 7 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

Deserted by his British baronet father, Lindsay-Hogg was raised in Hollywood by his mother, actress Geraldine Fitzgerald, and attended to by a coterie of family friends that included Olivia de Havilland and Humphrey Bogart. When he was 16, his mother tried to deny a rumor that Orson Welles was his true father, which only served to pique Lindsay-Hogg's curiosity and send him on a years-long quest for the truth. With strong reviews in the Chronicle and The New York Times, this Hollywood memoir is more emotional quest than name-dropping exercise, and will win over even those who aren't fans of the genre.

Christopher Paolini (Inheritance)

Wednesday, November 30, 7 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

With his fourth novel in the Inheritance series, Paolini has finally concluded the bestselling fantasy cycle he began at the precocious age of 15. Aimed at young adults, the Inheritance books (beginning with Eragon, which also became a 2006 film) have also enchanted plenty of grown-ups, and this family-friendly reading will play to both groups. Admission is free, but special seating is offered to those who purchase a signed copy in advance.

Jeanne Darst (Fiction Ruined My Family)

Tuesday, December 6, 7 pm, at Books Inc. Opera Plaza (601 Van Ness Ave.)

Darst's father dreamed of writing the Great American Novel, but along the way, he drove his family into bankruptcy and his wife into alcoholism. Having inherited both her father's passion for writing and her mother's taste for booze, Darst spent years attempting to make it in New York, stealing food and raising rent money by riding the subway topless. The result is a funny, sassy memoir that's earned praise from Ira Glass, Sloane Crosley, and a bevy of reviewers.