Sometimes, there are just so many things going on that we here in the Bay Area face the oh-so-crippling decision of which one to attend. For lit fans, this Wednesday is one of those days. Three separate author events occur on Sept. 10th, and they're all incredibly tempting.
Neal Stephenson & Friends
One need look no further than Walking Dead and The Hunger Games to know that future dystopias are a hot theme right now, and in the realm of science fiction, this bothered Neal Stephenson. So he founded the Heiroglyph Project, an initiative to restore optimism in the genre and envision a future of innovation and good works instead of plague and decay. Pairing acclaimed authors with real-life scientists, the project climaxes with this week's release of Heiroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future. At Kepler's Books, Stephenson discusses the book, and his own vision for science fiction, with an excellent panel including Annalee Newitz, Rudy Rucker, Keith Hjelmstad, and Charlie Jane Anders. VIP tickets include a copy of the book. Details and ticket information here.
A master of the short story, Peter Orner appears at Book Passage in the Ferry Building this Wednesday in conversation with author Tom Barbash. Since his breakthrough Esther Stories was issued 14 years ago, Orner has honed the voice of his recurring characters and locales. Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge, his latest collection, is comprised of 52 stories, some just one or two pages long, adding to their intimacy. With tight composure, Orner careens through his native Illinois to Chappaquiddick Bridge and the Czech Republic and back, bringing his gift for interior monologue to another acclaimed collection. The event at Book Passage is free. Details here.
Khaled Hosseini Discusses 'The Grapes of Wrath'
Long before The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini was a teenage Afghan immigrant attending school at Independence High in San Jose when an English teacher turned the budding author on to The Grapes of Wrath. Hosseini would later declare it among his biggest influences as a writer: "John Steinbeck's book was the first book I read in English where I had an 'a-ha!' moment," he once remarked. At San Jose State on Wednesday, Hosseini discusses the book's longevity (it celebrates its 75th year in 2014) and impact with longtime KGO radio host Pat Thurston. Hosseini will also be presented with the John Steinbeck Award at this Commonwealth Club event. Details and ticket information here.