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Reading Roundup: This Week's Top Literary Events

David Sedaris

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.

David Sedaris (Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls)

Sunday, May 5, 7:30 pm, at the War Memorial Opera House (301 Van Ness Ave.)

Arguably the only author who can draw rock-star crowds for a reading, Sedaris is back in town for the release of his newest collection of humorous nonfiction essays. From French dentists to Australian kookaburras, Sedaris' latest true-life tales continue to emphasize his unique perspective and mordant wit. He'll read new and unpublished work and offer a Q&A session; tickets are $57-77

Barbara Rose Brooker (The Viagra Diaries)

Wednesday, May 1, 7 pm, at Books Inc. Opera Plaza (601 Van Ness Ave.)

This likely won't be the last you'll see of Brooker's novel, which has been optioned as a TV series by HBO with Sex and the City producer Darren Star at the helm. It's the story of Anny, a divorced sixtysomething newspaper columnist who decides to get into the world of online dating to spice up her life and her copy. When she gets involved with a handsome 75-year-old diamond dealer and finds out he's still involved with both younger women and his ex, she gets more than she bargained for. 

Michael Pollan (Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation)

Monday, May 6, 7:30 pm, at First Unitarian Universalist Center (1187 Franklin St.)

Having explored aspects of food both biological (The Botany of Desire), political (The Omnivore's Dilemma), and cultural (In Defense of Food), Pollan now turns to the practical: the kitchen. Examining the four methods of cooking food, fire, water, air, and earth, he explores everything from fermentation in cheese and beer to barbecuing with a North Carolina pit master and braising with a Chez Panisse-trained cook. Along the way, he explores how cooking can help engender a healthier and more sustainable food system. Tickets are $35 for one or $40 for two, and include a copy of the book; if you can't make this appearance, Berkeley-based Pollan will be doing other readings in the Bay Area in May and June. 

Nathaniel Rich (Odds Against Tomorrow)

Tuesday, May 7, 7 pm, at City Lights Books (261 Columbus Ave.) 

Rich's first novel, The Mayor's Tongue, was highly acclaimed, and in his second work of fiction, he gets inside the head of Mitchell, a New York mathematician whose job is to calculate worst-case scenarios for companies, from ecological collapse to man-made disasters, so that his clients can indemnify themselves. But when an actual disaster hits Manhattan, Mitchell may have an unusual opportunity to profit-- at the possible cost of his ethics.