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July Calendar: Celebrating The Written Word

by Paul Wilner

The literary beat of readings goes on, albeit still largely (at the moment) confined to groups of writers and readers warming themselves around the electronic fireplace. We’re hopeful that in the not-too-distant future, people can once again resume real-life encounters, getting their favorite authors to sign autographs and browsing the shelves of independent bookstores to find other treasures. Here’s how things look at the moment — stay tuned!


This Is Your Mind on Plants

Foodie guru Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) explores new dimensions in This Is Your Mind on Plants, a well-reported look at plantbased consciousness-altering drugs, from caffeine to opium and mescaline. No tiedye required. 6 p.m. $36. Advance registrants get a free copy of the book. (Signed copies available while they last.) Joint event sponsored by the Booksmith and Book Passage.
6 P.M. |


The Vixen

Francine Prose (Mister Monkey, My New American Life) talks of her new novel, The Vixen, a sweeping tale set in the New York publishing world of the 1950s about Simon Putnam, a young man editing a bodice-ripper about the trial and execution of accused spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. The plot thickens when it is revealed Putnam has some secrets of his own. 5 p.m. $40. Advance registrants will receive a complimentary copy of The Vixen at their door.
5 P.M. |



Novelist Dana Spiotta (Stone Arabia, Eat the Document) speaks on her latest, Wayward, about Samantha Raymond, a woman who flees the suburbs to buy a house in a hardscrabble Syracuse neighborhood at the same time she’s dealing with her mother’s declining health and a fraught relationship with her teenage daughter. Billed as a novel about “female complexity in the age of Trump,’’ it’s blurbed by the likes of George Saunders and Jenny Offill. Free; registration required.
6 p.m. |


Guitar Player: Conversations With Visionary Players

Joel Harrison will talk with Bay Area musician Henry Kaiser and Wilco guitarist Nels Cline about his new book, Guitar Player: Conversations With Visionary Players, featuring interviews with 14 of the greatest guitarists of our time, from Bill Frisell to Fred Frith and Pat Metheny.
6 p.m. |


Always Crashing in the Same Car: On Art, Crisis & Los Angeles, California

L.A.-based novelist Matthew Spektor (American Dream Machine) explicates his latest, Always Crashing in the Same Car: On Art, Crisis & Los Angeles, California, a combined memoir/cultural history that deals with everything from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s time in Hollywood to the lives of Tuesday Weld, Warren Zevon and film director Hal Ashby. Sounds like a blast.
6 p.m. |


Avotcja and Modupue — Poetry and Jazz

And now for something completely different — interaction with other human beings in real life! Avotcja and Modupue — Poetry and Jazz is sponsored by Glen Park’s beloved Bird & Beckett Books & Records. Avotcja is an East Bay poet, playwright and small percussionist steeped in Afro-Caribbean culture, who frequently plays with her backup band, Modupue.
7:30 p.m. |

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