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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.

Bookfest 2012

Sunday, February 26, 11 am-6:30 pm, at the JCCSF (3200 California St.)

The JCC's annual celebration of all things literary is a weeklong affair, with events including a (sadly sold-out) Saturday performance by Miranda July and a lecture by Shoah director Claude Lanzmann. The main event, however, is Sunday, and includes such luminaries as keynote speaker Nicole Krauss (The History of Love), Joyce Carol Oates, Harold Bloom, Cynthia Ozick, Ben Marcus, and current poet laureate Philip Levine. Tickets for the Sunday readings are $20-25 for the public and $10 for students; other events are sold separately.

Josh Bazell (Wild Thing)

Wednesday, February 22, 7 pm, at Books Inc. Marina (2251 Chestnut St.)

Friday, February 24, 7 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

Bazell's (above) Beat the Reaper was one of 2009's most lively surprises, combining the author's medical knowledge and insight (he's an M.D.) with humor and thrills. In the author's new sequel, protagonist and former Mob hitman Dr. Peter Brown is given an offer he can't refuse: accompanying a self-destructive paleontologist (in the employ of a reclusive billionaire) on a journey to find a lake monster in the Minnesota woods. Unfortunately, the Mob is hot on the good doctor's trail, and eager for revenge.

B.L.ING. (The Big Lit Thing)

Friday, February 24, 7:30 pm, at Press: Works on Paper (3492 22nd St.)

Local poet and musician Diana Salier is moving to the Pacific Northwest, but before she goes, she's throwing a reading with a group of local authors that include fiction writer Lizzy Acker (Monster Party) and poets Chelsea Martin (Everything Was Fine Until Whatever) and Ben Mirov (Ghost Machine). Also promised on Salier's Facebook invitation: bromance and beer, the latter presumably from the afterparty at nearby Doc's. RSVP there to attend.

Gary Marcus (Guitar Zero: The New Musician and the Science of Learning)

Monday, February 27, 7:30 pm, at The Booksmith (1644 Haight St.)

Many of us dream of learning painting, violin, or a new language long after the child-prodigy window has closed, but with our brains getting older every day, is it possible to still achieve mastery in a completely new skill? NYU psychology professor Gary Marcus decided to find out by learning to play guitar at the age of 38, despite having no musical skill. He interweaves his musical journey with insight into how our brains rewire to acquire new skills, and how crucial this learning is to our health and happiness as we age.