Reading Roundup: This Week's Top Literary Events
Caroline Paul & Wendy MacNaughton (Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology)
Tuesday, April 9, 7:30 pm, at The Booksmith (1644 Haight St.)
SF locals Paul and MacNaughton were already struggling to help Paul deal with injuries sustained in a plane crash when their beloved cat, Tibia, went missing. After five weeks in the wilderness, Tibia suddenly and nonchalantly returned, leading the couple to wonder where he'd ventured in his time away. So they outfitted him with a GPS tracker and a cat camera, and followed him on his adventures. The result is this reflection, written by Paul and illustrated by MacNaughton, on the deep relationships we have with our pets and coming to terms with the fact that we'll never truly understand what they're thinking.
Laleh Khadivi (The Walking)
Thursday, April 4, 7:30 pm, at The Booksmith (1644 Haight St.)
Saturday, April 6, 1 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)
After the Islamic revolution occurred in Iran in 1979, thousands of Iranians got out of the country the only way they could: by foot. Khadivi's book examines two such refugees, a pair of brothers who are forced to escape after witnessing a political killing. They trek by foot from their rural village to Istanbul, then escape to the Azores. But when one brother gets the opportunity to move to the U.S., leaving the other behind, they must confront the implications of a life lived constantly on the move.
Douglas Rushkoff (Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now)
Thursday, April 4, 7 pm, at City Lights Books (261 Columbus Ave.)
Rushkoff is one of the leading thinkers on the intersection of technology and culture. His latest book examines the frustration currently felt by our 24/7 society, where we desperately try to keep up with Twitter, Facebook, and e-mails in an attempt to reconcile our blossoming digital lives with our very human bodies and needs. Everywhere he looks, Rushkoff finds examples of how this "living in the now" mentality has changed our culture: in political movements like Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party, in the references of The Simpsons and the dominance of reality TV, and in the popularity of zombie apocalypse fiction. (For a taste of Rushkoff's ideas, check out this short documentary.)
Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow)
Tuesday, April 2, 7:30 pm, at Herbst Theatre (401 Van Ness Ave.)
Generally considered to be one of the greatest living psychologists, Kahneman made waves last year with his insightful examination of how human thought works in two modes, fast and slow, and how this can shift our reactions, judgments, and choices in ways that are irrational, emotionally influenced, and often biased. He appears as part of City Arts & Lectures; tickets are $22-27.