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.

Oksana Marafioti (American Gypsy)

Thursday, August 9, 7:30 pm, at The Booksmith (1644 Haight St.)

Friday, August 10, 7 pm, at Books Inc. Berkeley (1760 4th St.)

Saturday, August 11, 7:30 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

The world of Gypsies, or Roma, is secretive and somewhat unknown, despite the incursions of reality shows like "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding." After touring Russia and Mongolia with her family in a traveling Romani ensemble, Marafioti (left) arrived in California at age 15, and her new memoir offers a unique look into Roma culture and how it affected her attempts to assimilate into American life. From her first boyfriend to her first experience with fast food, Marafioti's desire to reconcile her "Split Nationality Disorder" has humorous results.

Susan Orlean (My Kind of Place: Travel Stories from a Woman Who's Been Everywhere)

Saturday, August 11, 8:30 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

Though she's best known for her book The Orchid Thief (and the subsequent film Adaptation, in which she was played by Meryl Streep), New Yorker writer Orlean is also a prolific traveler who's climbed Mount Fuji, played Little League baseball with Cuban kids, attended the World Taxidermy Championships, and followed Keiko the whale through Iceland. She'll be speaking about traveling and travel writing as part of Book Passage's Travel Writers & Photographers Conference this weekend; other speakers include actor/writer Andrew McCarthy and CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg. Tickets are $10. 

Writers with Drinks

Saturday, August 11, 7:30-9:30 pm, at Make-Out Room (3225 22nd St.)

After taking July off, Charlie Jane Anders' monthly reading series returns to the Make-Out Room. This month's guests include Jane McGonigal (Reality Is Broken), a renowned designer of alternate reality games; gay erotica writer Simon Sheppard; poet Javier Zamora; fantasy writer Rachel Swirsky; and Pakistani-American filmmaker Saqib Mausoof. Tickets are $5-10, sliding scale, and available at the door. 

Melanie Gideon (Wife 22

Wednesday, August 8, 7 pm, at Books Inc. Marina (2251 Chestnut St.)

Gideon's memoir of marriage and parenting, The Slippery Year, climbed bestseller lists in 2010; now, she's returned with a fictional story that explores the same themes. Fortysomething wife Alice Buckle, stressed out from parenting, has felt the passion fade from her marriage. When she's given the opportunity to participate in a study of modern married life, she leaps at the chance, telling the researcher all the gory details-- but the closeness she gains through confession may threaten her marriage. Gideon weaves Facebook status updates, chat sessions, and e-mails into her narrative. 

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