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.
This Side of Paradise: A Great Gatsby Garden Party
Saturday, June 2, 4 pm, at Hillside Gardens (425 Sycamore Ave., Mill Valley).
If you love The Great Gatsby, chances are you've dreamed of attending one of the titular millionaire's fabulous '20s garden parties in East Egg. Litquake is making that dream a reality with a Gatsby-themed shindig at Mill Valley's Hillside Gardens, including Jazz Age cocktails from St. George Spirits, croquet, canapes, and live music. Amy Tan, Joyce Maynard, Matt Stewart, Don Novello, and Tiffany Baker will read aloud from Fitzgerald's novel. All you need to do is don your best '20s or all-white garb. Tickets are $75, and all proceeds benefit the Litquake festival.
Buzz Bissinger (Father's Day: A Journey Into the Mind and Heart of My Extraordinary Son)
Wednesday, May 30, 7 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)
Thursday, May 31, 7 pm, at Books Inc. Opera Plaza (601 Van Ness Ave.)
Bissinger (who wrote the original book Friday Night Lights, on which the film and the TV drama were both based) is the father of twin boys: one is a happy, successful graduate student, while the other, born three minutes later, is a savant who struggles with cognitive deficits and will never be able to live without assistance. In an attempt to better understand his now-twentysomething son, Bissinger takes him on a cross-country road trip to the cities where their family once lived, and discovers his son's surprisingly resilient worldview in the process.
Wajahat Ali and Baraka Blue (All-American: 45 American Men on Being Muslim)
Tuesday, June 5, 7:30 pm, at The Booksmith (1644 Haight St.)
In the wake of Love, Inshallah, which compiled essays from the perspective of Muslim-American women (and is having a reading of its own at Book Passage on Saturday), All-American offers insight into the diverse experiences of Muslim-American men. Drawn from a surprising mix of ethnicities and cultures, the Muslim men in this book vary widely in their level of observance, but are united in their desire for tolerance and understanding of Islam in this highly politicized age.
Richard Ford (Canada)
Friday, June 1, 7 pm, at Books Inc. Palo Alto (74 Town and Country Village)
Saturday, June 2, 1 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)
Saturday, June 2, 7 pm, at BookShop West Portal (80 West Portal Ave.)
One of America's most acclaimed contemporary novelists, Ford follows up his award-winning Bascombe trilogy (which ended with 2006's The Lay of the Land) with a new novel. Canada's protagonist, 15-year-old Dell Parsons, has his life changed irrevocably when his parents decide to rob a bank and are caught, abandoning him and his twin sister. A family friend brings Dell over the border to Saskatchewan, where he's taken in by a mysterious fellow American. As he comes to terms with his parents' betrayal, he begins to suspect that his new guardian has an equally unsavory past.