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.

Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)

Monday, October 24, 7 pm, at Angelico Hall at the Dominican University of California (50 Acacia Ave., San Rafael).

Bryson is known for his humorous takes on big things: hiking the Appalachian Trail (A Walk in the Woods), traveling to Australia (In a Sunburned Country), describing all of science (A Short History of Nearly Everything). In his latest book, he decides to stay significantly closer to home, using his converted 19th-century English rectory as a jumping-off point for discussing the history of hygiene, beds, cooking, and other things modern dwellers take for granted. Admission is $20, which includes a signed copy of the book. Tickets are here.

Community Reading: Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself"

Sunday, October 23, 2 pm, at The New School at Commonweal (451 Mesa Rd., Bolinas).

Former U.S. poet laureate and noted Walt Whitman scholar Robert Hass headlines this tribute to the beloved 19th-century scribe, which will feature a complete reading of the 1891 "Deathbed" edition of Whitman's (left) most famous poem. Presented in 52 parts, "Song of Myself" is generally considered to be the first-ever experiment in long, free-verse poetry; it'll take about two hours to read the entire text. It's not a short trip to Bolinas, so the hosts are offering a site to assist attendees in hitching a ride or starting a carpool, which is here. Be sure to RSVP as well.

Lawrence Lessig (Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress-- and a Plan to Stop It)

Tuesday, October 25, 7:30 pm, at The Booksmith (1644 Haight St.)

Wednesday, October 26, 7:30-9 pm, at Hillside Club (2286 Cedar St., Berkeley).

With the Occupy Wall Street protests still raging over government's concession to corporate influence, Web pioneer Lessig's foray into the sticky corridors of campaign finance couldn't be more well-timed. The Harvard Law School professor was an early supporter of President Obama, but now criticizes the President and politicians on both sides of the aisle for their willingness to be bought (a process that's easier than ever, since the Supreme Court granted corporations the right to spend money on candidates in elections in 2010's Citizens United case). The SF event is free; tickets to the Berkeley event are $6-12, and can be purchased here.

Gabrielle Hamilton (Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef)

Thursday, October 20, 8 pm, at Herbst Theatre (401 Van Ness Ave.)

Hamilton, renowned head chef of New York's Prune, has received equal acclaim as a memoirist. Her book, one of the first female perspectives on rising to the head of a professional kitchen, was called "the best memoir by a chef ever" by no less than Anthony Bourdain. Alongside New York Times food writer Kim Severson (Spoon Fed), Hamilton will discuss her unconventional path to the top of the New York restaurant world. Tickets are $17-27, and can be purchased here.

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