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.

Chuck Palahniuk (Invisible Monsters Remix)

Monday, July 16, 4 pm, at The Booksmith (1644 Haight St.)

Monday, July 16, 7 pm, at Castro Theatre (429 Castro St.)

Palahniuk's signature blend of shock and social commentary has made him one of the most popular authors in the country, and his book tours are now closer to those of a rock star than those of an author. His latest release is a "director's cut" adaptation of his 1999 second novel Invisible Monsters, with adjustments, new material, and a "choose your own adventure" format. Given Palahniuk's popularity, you'll have to pay for a book or a ticket at both of his SF readings; go here for more information on the afternoon event at the Booksmith (free with purchase of the book), and here for more on the Commonwealth Club event in the evening ($20 without book, $40-70 with book). Both are likely to sell out, so be sure to buy tickets well in advance and arrive early.

Karen Thompson Walker (The Age of Miracles)

Tuesday, July 17, 7 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

Wednesday, July 18, 7:30 pm, at The Booksmith (1644 Haight St.)

Walker has been garnering lots of acclaim for her first novel, the story of a teenage girl and her family whose lives are turned upside down (along with those of the rest of the planet) when the earth's rotation begins to slow. As the days and nights grow longer, and gravity begins to change, Walker's protagonist, Julia, tries to cope with her parents' shattering marriage, the strange behavior of her grandfather (who's convinced a government conspiracy is behind the changes), and her own tentative entry into the world of adulthood. 

Six-Word Memoir on Jewish Life

Thursday, July 12, 6:30-8:30 pm, at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (736 Mission St.)

The popular Six-Word Memoir concept invented by Larry Smith (itself inspired by Ernest Hemingway's famed six-word story: "For sale: Baby shoes, never worn") has spawned several books, including a new Judaism-centric entry, Oy, Only Six, Why Not More? Larry David, Henry Winkler, and Gary Shteyngart all appear in the book, alongside 12 Bay Area writers, including Daniel Handler and Lisa Brown. At this event, local Jewish luminaries will read their own memoirs, and attendees are also encouraged to come up with a six-word summary of their lives to share. Tickets are $10 (including museum admission). 

Carlos Ruiz Zafón (The Prisoner of Heaven)

Thursday, July 12, 7 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.)

Spanish author Zafón became a sensation in the U.S. with the publication of his The Shadow of the Wind, and its sequel, The Angel's Game. His latest book returns to Barcelona and protagonists Daniel and Bea Sempere and Fermin Romero de Torres, who must contend with a dark secret that's been buried in Barcelona's past since the early days of Franco's dictatorship. In the process, they'll learn more about the mystery at the heart of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books (a key player in Zafón's novels), and about themselves. As an added bonus, Zafón will be interviewed by Isabel Allende at the reading.