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.

Louise Erdrich (The Round House)

Wednesday, October 17, 1 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

Thursday, October 18, 2 pm, at the JCCSF (3200 California St.)

National Book Critics Circle Award winner Erdrich has just released the second book in a trilogy of novels (the first, The Plague of Doves, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize) focusing on Ojibwe tribespeople in North Dakota and their struggles to cope with a brutal attack on Geraldine, a local woman. When she refuses to divulge the identity of her attacker, Geraldine's husband Bazil, a tribal judge, and her 13-year-old son, Joe, both embark on a quest for answers, one that illuminates the harsh realities of reservation life. Erdrich's Book Passage appearance is free; tickets to her JCCSF appearance are $15 for the general public, $12 for members, and $10 for students. 

Suzanne Scanlon (Promising Young Women) and Pamela Lu (Ambient Parking Lot)

Friday, October 19, 7 pm, at Green Apple Books (506 Clement St.)

Green Apple features a double bill of young, experimental female authors on Friday, with first novelist Scanlon and local writer Lu. Scanlon's book, which was chosen as Emily Books' October selection, focuses on Lizzie, a young woman who spends her twenties battling mental illness as she drifts through a variety of psychiatric institutions. In Lu's novel, a band wanders through urban and rural landscapes, looking for the perfect ambient noise to use in their music, with comic results. 

Mark Z. Danielewski (The Fifty Year Sword)

Tuesday, October 23, 7:30 pm, at the Swedish-American Hall (2170 Market St.)

Danielewski, known for his experimental, often scary novel House of Leaves, has created a show based on his 2006 novella, in which he collaborates with pianist and NPR From the Top host Chris O'Riley. The Fifty Year Sword is the tale of a mysterious storyteller, the black box he carries, and the Halloween night he spends with five orphans and their babysitter; Danielewski's performance of the book has become a Halloween tradition in L.A. The book itself has recently been re-released in both paperback and a deluxe limited edition, both of which are available from the Booksmith, which is hosting the event. Tickets are $15 for the performance alone or $35 with a copy of the book. 

Will Schwalbe (The End of Your Life Book Club)

Monday, October 22, 7 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

Schwalbe and his mother, Mary Anne, were both lifelong readers, but when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, their relationship to books and to each other took on new meaning. In the final two years of her life, Schwalbe and his mother read a wide range of books together, from popular fiction to poetry to spiritual works, discussing their feelings along the way. Schwalbe's memoir, which includes a list of the books he and his mother shared, is a testament to the power of literature to comfort, teach, and guide us even in the toughest of times. 

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