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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.

Helene Wecker (The Golem and the Jinni)

Thursday, April 25, 7:30 pm, at The Booksmith (1644 Haight St.)

Sunday, April 28, 1 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

Wecker's first novel is already earning notices for its skillful blending of Jewish and Arab folk mythology with modern narrative. Set in New York at the turn of the last century, it centers on Chava, a clay golem created by a rabbi, and Ahmad, a jinni made of fire. As Chava longs to become human and Ahmad finds himself irritated by people, they form an unlikely friendship that affects those around them, from a struggling rabbi's son to a wealthy socialite. 

Open House at the San Francisco Center for the Book

Friday, April 26, 6-9 pm, at the Center for the Book (375 Rhode Island St.)

The Center for the Book recently moved to a new space in Potrero Hill, and they're celebrating by inviting the public in for an evening of demonstrations and activities. Whether you're interested in learning to bind books, write in calligraphy, or operate a letterpress, they'll show you the ropes and send you home with a DIY keepsake. The open house will also feature an art exhibit responding to the bombing of the booksellers' street in Baghdad. Admission is free, but be sure to RSVP so they can prepare enough materials. 

Kate Atkinson (Life After Life)

Wednesday, April 24, 7 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

Though she's recently found success with a series of mystery novels, British author Atkinson (Case Histories, Behind the Scenes at the Museum) is also a classical literary novelist, and she's returned to the form with her latest work. It's the story of Ursula Todd, a woman born in 1910 who dies immediately after birth-- then doesn't. Over the course of her life, Ursula will die and resurrect herself many more times, a power that may give her the opportunity to save the world from World War II, if she chooses to exercise it. The book has seen near-universal acclaim on both sides of the pond.

Litquake Presents: Regreturature

Thursday, April 25, 8 pm, at the Swedish American Hall (2174 Market St.)

Litquake's annual celebration of bad writing by good writers has a strong lineup this year, with New Yorker humorist Simon Rich, memoirist Kim Wong Keltner, novelist Ellen Sussman, journalists Julia Scott and Chris Colin, and more. Each will read work, from fiction to nonfiction to blog posts and diary entries, that they thought was good at the time they wrote it, but now recognize is pretty horrible. Speakeasy will ease the cringing with beer available for purchase. Tickets to the show are $12 in advance or $15 at the door.