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.
Michael Chabon (Telegraph Avenue)
Tuesday, September 11, 7:30 pm, at City Arts & Lectures, Herbst Theatre (401 Van Ness Ave.)
Wednesday, September 12, 7 pm, at Diesel Bookstore (5433 College Ave., Oakland).
Berkeley-based Chabon, who last plumbed Alaska in The Yiddish Policemen's Union, goes more local in his latest novel, the story of a pair of Oakland couples (one black, one white). The women run a successful midwifery business, while their husbands co-own a used vinyl emporium, but when a wealthy former NFL player attempts to open his own record shop on their block and an illegitimate son emerges (and becomes the object of affection for the other couple's son), their world will be turned upside down. Tickets for Chabon's appearance at City Arts and Lectures are $22-27; his Diesel appearance is free, and he'll also be appearing later in the fall at Book Passage in Corte Madera and Kepler's Books in Menlo Park.
His new book may be titled Manhood for Amateurs, but Michael Chabon has once again proved himself to be an old hand when it comes to getting great reviews. Chabon, a Berkeley resident, discusses numerous topics in the book, his first-ever collection of essays. (It's probably the only genre he hasn't tried, having released novels, short-story collections, a young-adult book, and a collection of adventure stories for McSweeney's.) Many of the essays focus on his geekier passions, including Legos, baseball cards, Star Trek, and comic books (the inspiration for his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay). The centerpiece of the book, however, is his musings on being a father.
“Feeling passive-aggressive?” writes Berkeley author Ayelet Waldman in a recent email blast. She reminds us that Mothers Day is coming up and suggests that we send a message to our favorite bad mother. Her new book (she suggests) is just the ticket. Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace is coming out on May 5 and Waldman will be reading from it at the KPFA Benefit on May 4.
For all the youthful hedonism and reckless behavior on display in Rawson Marshall Thurber’s Mysteries of Pittsburgh, his strangely stillborn adaptation of Michael Chabon’s first novel, there’s something sorely missing – a sense of danger, perhaps, or a hint of intrigue.