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.

Heather Donahue (Growgirl: How My Life After The Blair Witch Project Went to Pot)

Thursday, January 19, 7 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

Thursday, January 26, 7:30 pm, at The Booksmith (1644 Haight St.)

After starring in the unexpected hit The Blair Witch Project (yup, that was her in the ski cap crying "I'm so scared"), Heather Donahue (left) thought her Hollywood career was secure. But when she couldn't get traction in acting, she followed an enigmatic boyfriend to a small California community of pot growers, becoming enmeshed in their strange and insular subculture. Equal parts comic fish-out-of-water story and grower expose, Growgirl is getting lots of positive attention. (Happily, Donahue's not in jail: she now lives in SF and is a member of the SF Writers' Grotto.)

William Gibson (Distrust That Particular Flavor)

Thursday, January 19, 7:30 pm, at The Booksmith (1644 Haight St.)

Gibson's 1984 novel Neuromancer managed to describe both the Internet and cyberspace before they even existed, and he's been offering insights into technology and futurism for various publications over the course of the past 30 years. His new book collects the best of that output, from a piece about drug trafficking in Singapore that got Wired, its publisher, banned from the country, to a discussion of his eBay-fueled compulsion for watch collecting. Tickets are available in advance for those who purchase the book from Booksmith online or over the phone; if you're not buying ahead of time, get there early, as it's likely to fill up.

Tom Mueller (Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil)

Saturday, January 21, 1 pm, at Book Passage SF (1 Ferry Building)

You may not think olive oil is a subject ripe for an expose, but journalist Mueller has uncovered massive adulteration of the supposedly "extra-virgin" goodness Americans tote home in jugs from the supermarket. Frequently adulterated with poor-quality vegetable oils and chemical coloring, imported olive oil has been estimated to undergo tampering in as much as half of the U.S. supply-- and since it's not killing anyone, the FDA isn't particularly interested in taking on the cheats. Sure, it's far from the most pressing problem out there, but for food-conscious San Franciscans, Mueller's book provides useful insight into how to sniff out the tainted goods.

Keshni Kashyap (Tina's Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary)

Wednesday, January 18, 7:30 pm, at The Booksmith (1644 Haight St.)

Acclaimed short filmmaker Kashyap expands into the literary world with her first graphic novel, illustrated by Mari Araki. When Kashyap's heroine, prep-school sophomore Tina Malhotra, gets dumped by her longtime best friend for a cooler crowd, she turns to Sartre and an encouraging hippie teacher for comfort, and ends up finding her way both intellectually and romantically.

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