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.

Karen Russell (Vampires in the Lemon Grove)

Wednesday, February 27, 7 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

Russell, who broke big with 2011's Pulitzer-nominated Swamplandia!, has returned with her second collection of short stories, which combines her trademark interest in all things quirky and supernatural with her dry wit and insight into modern life. Whether she's writing about silk-factory workers who turn into silkworms, a massage therapist who can heal by manipulating tattoos, or the titular blood-suckers, Russell's imagination and perspective are one-of-a-kind. 

Joyce Carol Oates (The Accursed)

Tuesday, March 5, 7:30 pm, at Herbst Theatre (401 Van Ness Ave.)

Arguably America's most prolific author, Oates has recently found a unique showcase for her sensibility on Twitter, where her sharp and intelligent musings have netted her more than 33,000 followers. Her latest novel combines historical and supernatural elements to tell the tale of a Princeton, New Jersey family in the early 1900s who are cursed by ghosts and shapeshifting demons, while interacting with major historical figures of the time like Woodrow Wilson and Mark Twain. Oates' appearance is part of City Arts & Lectures; tickets are $22-27. 

Victor LaValle (The Devil in Silver)

Wednesday, February 27, 7 pm, at City Lights Books (261 Columbus Ave.)

LaValle's second novel is the smart, frightening tale of Pepper, an average Joe who's been institutionalized for reasons he doesn't understand. When he witnesses a horrifying beast in his first night in the mental hospital, he teams up with three other patients–an 80-year-old schizophrenic, a bipolar teenage girl, and an African immigrant with severe OCD–to fight back against the demon while battling their own illnesses and the pill-pushing staff. Along the way, LaValle offers a sharp perspective on race, class, and our understanding of mental illness. 

Gary Shteyngart (Super Sad True Love Story) & Dave Eggers (A Hologram For the King

Monday, March 4, 9 am, at the San Francisco Day School (350 Masonic Ave.)

Shteyngart, whose brilliant dystopian novel topped best-of and bestseller lists in 2010, is one of the funniest authors out there (see his two great book trailers for proof), so his appearance with Eggers to benefit the SF Day School should present plenty of opportunity for laughs. Tickets are $35, with all proceeds benefiting the school, and a continental breakfast is included. Both authors will sign books afterward as well. 

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