Tuesday, May 17: Louise Erdrich at Nourse Theater, SF
Read the description of LaRose, the latest novel from prolific, National Book Award winner Louise Erdrich and I dare you to tell me it doesn't sound amazing:
In LaRose, Landreaux Iron kills his neighbor's five-year-old son, Dusty Ravich, in a hunting accident. The youngest child of his friend and neighbor, Peter Ravich, Dusty was best friends with Landreaux's five-year-old son, LaRose. The two families have always been close, sharing food, clothing, and rides into town; their children played together despite going to different schools; and Landreaux's wife, Emmaline, is half sister to Dusty's mother, Nola. Horrified at what he's done, the recovered alcoholic turns to tradition the sweat lodge for guidance, and finds a way forward. Following an ancient means of retribution, he and Emmaline will give LaRose to the grieving Peter and Nola. "Our son will be your son now," they tell them.
Every book I've encountered by Erdrich, one of our best contemporary Native American novelists, has stuck with me for long after the actual act of reading. At random moments I'll recall moments and characters from her novels -- Love Medicine, The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse -- because they are unforgettable like that. Details here
Erdrich also appears at Kepler's Books on May 18.
Saturday, May 21: Writers with Drinks at the Make-Out Room, SF
Do you like fantasy novels? Afro-Futurism? Drinking? Then the latest Writers with Drinks is right up your alley. Canadian fantasy novelist Guy Gavriel Kay is the featured reader. He won the World Fantasy Award for his book Ysabel in 2008. Children of Earth and Sky, his latest novel, dwells in spies, elite infantries, one power-hungry khalif, pirates, and a daughter seeking vengeance. Sounds like a good time. Reader Kwan Booth is a founding member of the Black Futurist Project and producer of the Black Futurists Speaks literary series. He also created the "Sit Next to a Black Person Month" community media project. Other readers in May include Yangsze Choo, David Lau, and Ariel Waldman. Details here
Sunday, May 22: Flight of Poets at Gundlach Bundschu Winery, Sonoma
Imagine — it's a beautiful golden-hazed Sunday afternoon in a Sonoma vineyard and you are sipping on a fancy wine curated by a renowned sommelier, as a quartet of the coolest local poets read from their work. No, you haven't time-traveled back to the Bloomsbury Set's days of leisurely literary glory. This is the real deal, a Wine Country iteration of the popular Flight of Poets reading series. Sommelier Christopher Sawyer pairs each poet — Hollie Hardy, Ada Limon, Dean Rader, and Tess Taylor — with a wine "carefully selected to illuminate their work." Details here
Sunday, May 22: Oakland Book Festival at Frank Ogawa Plaza and other locations.
This year's festival features a banner line-up of novelists, poets, journalists and many more book-loving people. The "Marathon Reading," sponsored by Nomadic Press, sees over 100 writers (see the full list on the website) reading three minutes of material backed up by band of local musicians. The line-up of panels, most with a social justice lens, is positively drool-worthy and will have you running back and forth between venues to catch all the goodness. Melissa Gira Grant on sex work and sex workers; Mary Roach on, well, the adventures of Mary Roach; Michael Eric Dyson on Malcolm X; Mother Jones editor Clara Jeffrey on journalism and digital media. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Details here