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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.

Ruben Martinez (Desert America: Boom and Bust in the New Old West)

Thursday, August 16, 7 pm, at The Booksmith (1644 Haight St.) 

Tuesday, August 21, 7 pm, at Books Inc. Berkeley (1760 4th St.)

Award-winning journalist and poet Martinez (left), who last explored border politics in the acclaimed Crossing Over, now widens his lens to encompass the entire American Southwest. From a drug epidemic that flourishes just outside of one of New Mexico's wealthiest towns to a race war triggered by the construction of an exclusive housing development, Martinez takes a hard look at how the up-and-down economic cycle has played out in the Southwest, and how vulnerable people are often left in its wake. 

Gail Tsukiyama (A Hundred Flowers)

Thursday, August 16, 7 pm, at Books Inc. Laurel Village (3515 California St.)

Saturday, August 18, 12 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

In her latest novel, Tsukiyama (The Emperor's Garden) explores a family ripped apart by the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Heeding Chairman Mao's advice to "let a hundred flowers bloom," Sheng, a teacher, writes a letter criticizing the Communist Party, and is promptly sent to a labor camp for "re-education." In the wake of his disappearance, his wife, Kai Ying, tries to hold their family together, but when her six-year-old son breaks his leg outside their rural home, both are put at risk. The Saturday event at Book Passage includes lunch and a signed copy of the book; tickets are $55 and available here

Laura Lippman (And When She Was Good

Friday, August 17, 7 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

Lippman holds a rare place among crime authors as a bestseller who's also won reams of critical praise and awards. Her new novel is the story of Heloise, a seemingly typical suburban mom who conceals a dark secret-- she moonlights as a sex worker. But when another "suburban madam" is found murdered and her son's father, a dangerous former pimp, is released from jail, Heloise will have to remake her life in order to save herself and her child. 

Selden Edwards (The Lost Prince)

Monday, August 20, 7 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

Edwards' first novel, The Little Book, which took him nearly 30 years to complete, made him a bestselling author in middle age. He's now returned with a sequel focusing on Eleanor, the love interest from The Little Book, who's returned to her hometown of Boston from fin-de-siecle Vienna with an unusual gift: the knowledge of every major historical event to come in her lifetime. But when her belief in the course of the future is challenged, Eleanor has to decide whether she'll allow events to play out as expected, or try to alter them in order to improve her own chances at a happy life.