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Reading Roundup: This Week's Top Literary Events

Madeleine Albright

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.

Madeleine Albright (Prague Winter)

Thursday, February 21, 7 pm, at Angelico Hall, Dominican University of California (50 Acacia Ave., San Rafael)

Former Secretary of State Albright's latest book is an intensely personal narrative, interweaving the history of the Nazi invasion of her native Czechoslovakia during World War II with her experiences as a young girl attempting to cope with living in exile in London, where her father was the head of broadcasting for the exiled Czechoslovak government. Her experience of the war is enlightened even further by a later discovery, at the age of 59, that her parents had Jewish roots and that more than two dozen of her relatives were killed in the Holocaust. Admission is $25 and includes a signed copy of the book; more info here

Kevin Smokler (Practical Classics: 50 Reasons to Reread 50 Books You Haven't Touched Since High School)

Thursday, February 21, 7:30 pm, at the Booksmith (1644 Haight St.)

Required reading in high school can often be tainted by boredom, bad teachers, or just plain immaturity, and many times, adults returning to the classics can discover new meaning in the books they shunned as teenagers. Local author Smokler's book offers down-to-earth, engaging arguments for re-reading 50 classic tomes, examining how To Kill a Mockingbird can help us learn to be parents, Huck Finn can help us cope with getting older, and Fahrenheit 451 can remind us not to get stuck in a job we hate. 

Joshua Mohr (Fight Song)

Thursday, February 21, 7:30 pm, at 50-A Bannam Alley

Local author Mohr received national praise for 2011's Damascus, which was set in the Mission. His latest book is the story of Bob Coffin, a suburban husband and father who falls into crisis after nearly being killed by a neighbor's SUV while bicycling. Desperate to renew his relationships with his wife and children and find meaning in his life, Bob seeks guidance from everyone he meets, from a drive-thru worker to a marriage counselor/magician to a janitor who plays in a French KISS cover band, with hilarious and unpredictable results. To celebrate the release of the book, Mohr is holding a special four-act theatrical event in a North Beach alley, with contributions from Tony DuShane, Daphne Gottlieb, Bucky Sinister, and Jon Longhi. Admission is free; just pick up a ticket at City Lights Books anytime between now and the day of the event. 

Reverend Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikatani (Beyond the Possible: 50 Years of Creating Radical Change in a Community Called Glide)

Tuesday, February 26, 7 pm, at the JCCSF (3200 California St.)

National leaders in the movements for civil rights and social justice, Williams and Mirikatani transformed a dwindling all-white church in the Tenderloin into a vibrant, diverse community with a commitment to serving the poor and disenfranchised. In their new book, the couple tells the story of how they grew their church into a nationally recognized center of spirituality, embracing gay rights and anti-war demonstrations and combating homelessness, racism, and police brutality. Admission is free, but advance reservations are required; more info here