Skip to Navigation Skip to Content

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.

Dr. Robert Sapolsky (Monkeyluv: And Other Essays on Our Lives as Animals)

Monday, March 5, 8 pm, at Herbst Theatre (401 Van Ness Ave.)

Stanford biology and neurology professor Sapolsky (left) has earned acclaim for his research on how stress affects neuron degeneration-- and how gene therapy might help protect neurons that are susceptible to disease. For 25 years, Sapolsky spent his summers observing the same group of Kenyan baboons, recording their behavior for 8-10 hours per day. In his City Arts & Lectures appearance, he'll talk to Michael Krasny about how his jungle experiences translate to human life. Tickets are available only by phone, at (415) 392-4400.

David Wolman (The End of Money: Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies, Dreamers, and the Coming Cashless Society)

Thursday, March 1, 7:30 pm, at The Booksmith (1644 Haight St.)

Wolman, an editor at Wired, spent almost a full year attempting to pay for everything without coins or bills, and mostly succeeded. His new book examines the ways in which cash makes us psychologically happy, how it contributes to the spread of germs and our carbon footprint, and how counterfeiting rings and their opponents can affect a country's attitude toward money. Wolman also explores how cell phones have begun to replace cash in India and other developing nations, and how virtual currencies might supersede credit cards and Paypal to become the main way we exchange money.

Dorothy Allison (Bastard Out of Carolina)

Thursday, March 1, 7:30 pm, at Books Inc. Castro (2275 Market St.)

It's been 20 years since the publication of Allison's groundbreaking first novel, which Plume has re-released in a special anniversary edition with an afterword by the author. Bastard Out of Carolina is the semi-autobiographical story of Bone, a young girl attempting to overcome her conflicted parentage and her stepfather's abuse and sexual molestation. The novel was nominated for a National Book Award, adapted into a 1996 film directed by Anjelica Huston, and banned (and unbanned) in many libraries and classrooms.

Kent Hartman (The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Best-Kept Secret)

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

"Surfer Girl." "Bridge Over Troubled Water." "California Dreamin'." "Classical Gas." They may not seem to have much in common other than their era, but all four of these iconic songs (and other hits, from Frank Sinatra to Phil Spector) were recorded with the same small group of background musicians, an L.A. troupe known as The Wrecking Crew. From solo success Glen Campbell (who ran away from a poor background at age 13) to boundary-breaking bassist Carol Kaye, the Crew's many highs and lows are charted in this revealing music-industry history.