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.
Chris Cleave (Gold)
Wednesday, July 18, 12 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)
Wednesday, July 18, 7 pm, at Books Inc. Opera Plaza (601 Van Ness Ave.)
Just in time for the Olympics, the newest novel from Cleave (Little Bee) focuses on Kate and Zoe, friends and track cyclists who, after training together for 15 years, compete in their final race at a fictionalized version of the 2012 London games. Though Kate is the more naturally gifted cyclist, a recurrence of her eight-year-old daughter's leukemia threatens to undermine her years of training and sacrifice. With cutthroat Zoe willing to do anything to win, Kate has to decide how far she'll go to take home the gold medal.
Pair sexy comedy queen Aisha Tyler with pop culture guru Chuck Klosterman in a booze distillery, and you get something like a modern-day literary salon of sorts. Class up your Friday night at this benefit for ScholarMatch—the Dave Eggers organization that connects Bay Area students with donors to make higher education a reality. Appropriately named Bourbon & Banter, you'll be privy to a live taping of Tyler's hit podcast, "Girl on Guy," accompanied by off-the-cuff commentary by Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs author Chuck Klosterman. Oh, and did we mention the plentifully flowing St. George Spirits cocktails?
Even if you haven't yet ridden the Alice Waters/Chez Panisse media waves that have taken the world wide web by storm over the past month, you've probably heard that it's Chez Panisse's 40th birthday this year—next Sunday, August 29th, to be precise. This coming Wednesday—in an effort that's bound to draw crowds rivaling those at this weekend's SF Street Food Festival—Chez Panisse will continue its celebrations by serving lunch in Union Square. Obviously, it's not just any lunch. Click through to learn more about what's in store for the remainder of the most organic, locally-sourced birthday bash imaginable.
In perhaps one of the coolest schemes to raise money and awareness for local non-profit 826 Valencia, Dave Eggers, Anthony Myint (of Commonwealth & Mission Chinese Food fame) and ex-Talking Heads guitarist Jerry Harrison will battle to the death against champions in ping pong games inspired by the new book Everything You Know Is Pong, which is about--you guessed it--ping pong's status in pop culture and world history.
Dave Eggers, a shining beacon in our local and national literary scene, will be stopping by Green Apple Books tomorrow, September 14th at noon for an in-store book signing to honor his award-winning novel Zeitoun's paperback release.
If you haven't picked up Zeitoun, it's a harrowing tale of one family's experience of Hurricane Katrina and an examination of New Orleans in the wake of the disaster on a national and international scope. Said the book's New York Times review:
Nevada City native and Mills College drop out Joanna Newsom makes us want to geek out. She plays the freakin' harp, has the hot elf thing down pat (hello Armani modeling contract) and is dating SNL's Andy Samberg. She's also one of the most talented and prolific musicians of our day and just dropped a TRIPLE (yes, triple) album today entitled Have One On Me. And if that's not enough, there's now an entire scholarly book dedicated to her work, featuring fawning essays by Dave Eggers (who bemoans the fact that "she turned out to be pretty") and Christian Kiefer.
Back in college, my get-rich-quick scheme was a grilled cheese cart that I would pedal around to festival, Phish concerts and the like (this was back on the East coast and long before Burning Man had swept up free spirits across America). Little did I realize how prescient that scheme would be. It was based on very simple deductive reasoning: people like grilled cheese. A lot. They like it so much, in fact, that some savvy local Lit folks are using it to lure people to a book reading.
Long considered unfilmable, much to the chagrin of Hollywood studios hoping to capitalize on its enduring popularity, Maurice Sendak’s 1963 children’s book Where the Wild Things Are is hardly plot-heavy. At 20 pages and 10 sentences in length, Sendak’s vision is communicated primarily through his handsome, evocative illustrations.
Now, after nearly two decades of false starts and delayed release dates, comes director Spike Jonze’s big-screen adaptation, fleshed out on the written page by Jonze, whose Being John Malkovich (1999) impressed Sendak, and Dave Eggers, author of the bestselling Pulitzer Prize finalist A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.
Were they tempted to take liberties with Sendak’s minimalist prose?
Not far from the hopping cultural crossroads of 16th and Valencia, Intersection for the Arts has been making a name for itself for decades as another kind of meeting place -- and the site of riveting collaborations with literary heavyweights such as Denis Johnson, stage productions like the fierce, hip-hop-laced Angry Black White Boy, and such ambitious interdisciplinary endeavors as the Prison Project.