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.

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. 

Raina Telgemeier (Drama), Doug Tennapel (Cardboard), and James Burks (Bird and Squirrel on the Run)

Monday, September 10, 6:30 pm, at Books Inc. Laurel Village (3515 California St.)

Graphic novels aren't just a medium for adult storytelling; they're becoming an increasingly popular way to reach children and young teenagers as well. Books Inc. is bringing together three top youth-oriented graphic novelists for a panel discussion on the art of storytelling. Telgemeier's latest is a teen-centric work about a middle-school troupe putting on a play, Tennapel's book explores what happens when two friends' cardboard golem comes to life, and Burks offers a zany buddy comedy about a nervous squirrel and an easygoing bird trying to escape the clutches of a murderous cat. 

Seth Rosenfeld (Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals and Reagan's Rise to Power

Monday, September 10, 7:30 pm, at The Booksmith (1644 Haight St.)

The FBI spent over a million dollars trying to prevent the 250,000 pages of files on which this book is based from being released, but former Chronicle reporter Rosenfeld was able to come away with both the documents and the extraordinary story of how the agency interfered in the lives of three figures in 1960s Berkeley: former UC Berkeley president Clark Kerr, radical activist Mario Savio, and future President Ronald Reagan. The FBI's secret actions ultimately ignited protest at Berkeley and made the university a battleground in the political tumult of the late '60s. 

Jonathan Kozol (Fire in the Ashes: 25 Years Among the Poorest Children in America

Thursday, September 6, 12 pm, at Book Passage Corte Madera (51 Tamal Vista Blvd.) 

Kozol (Savage Inequalities), a former teacher who's written a number of indictments of America's treatment of poor children and families, goes more personal in his latest work, which explores a small group of inner-city children he's studied over the past 25 years. While some fall victim to violence and drugs, others are able to rise above the difficult circumstances of their birth, leading Kozol to wonder what makes the difference for children in overcoming poverty. This is a ticketed event; the $60 admission includes lunch, Kozol's talk, and a copy of the book. 

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