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Reading Roundup: This Week's Top Literary Events

Christa Parravani

Christa Parravani

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.

Christa Parravani (Her)

Monday, March 18, 7 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

Tuesday, March 19, 1 pm, at the Belmont Library (1110 Alameda de las Pulgas)

Award-winning photographer Parravani and her twin sister Cara were, like many other twins, so close that they transcended sisterhood and even best friendship. But after Cara was viciously raped, she spiraled into depression and drug addiction, ultimately overdosing at 28. Left to pick up the pieces, Parravani discovered that when one twin dies, the remaining twin has a 50-50 chance of dying within the next two years. She began abusing pills and starving herself, and had visions and delusions of her sister (also common among surviving twins) that threatened to rip her life apart. Her acclaimed memoir details how she was able to emerge from her grief and find her own path. 

Marisa Silver (Mary Coin)

Thursday, March 14, 7 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

Every American has seen Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother" photograph, but few of us know anything about the woman depicted in the shot. Silver fictionalizes this tale, interweaving the lives of photographer Vera Dare and the woman in the shot, Mary Coin, as they each struggle with life during the Great Depression. Their story is framed through modern-day professor Walker Dodge, who discovers a family mystery embedded in the picture. 

Mary Beth Keane (Fever)

Tuesday, March 19, 6 pm, at Book Passage SF (1 Ferry Building)

Keane's second novel is a nuanced fictionalization of the life of "Typhoid" Mary Mallon, an Irish immigrant cook who became notorious as an asymptomatic carrier of typhoid fever who infected the diners she served. After chasing down and imprisoning Mallon for three years, the government set her free with an edict to never cook again, but her passion for the kitchen and lack of alternatives made it hard to stay away, and ultimately led to her downfall. 

Tupelo Hassman (Girlchild)

Wednesday, March 13, 8 pm, at the 851 Reading Series 

Hassman's lauded first novel, recently released in paperback, is the story of Rory Dawn Hendrix, a Reno trailer-park denizen longing for an escape from her hardscrabble life with her bartender mother. With no Girl Scout troop of her own to join, she becomes obsessed with the Girl Scout Handbook, and in a narrative cobbled out of everything from diary entries to arrest records, Hassman creates a compelling portrait of a girl too smart for her own good. Go here for more information on the 851 Reading Series' location.