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Noir at the Bar

There's no better way to celebrate the Bay Area's love of noir than to toast six international mystery writers who have mastered the form. Make Dashiell Hammett proud by ordering a dirty martini (or some other hard-boiled cocktail) and listening…
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True Stories, Told Exceedingly Well

What do we mean when we demand that a story be “truthful”? Are we concerned more with factual accuracy, or do we crave a deeper, more figurative truth grounded in sensations perhaps exaggerated? Consider Exhibit A: Two titles, one about…
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The Comedy of Existence

What makes a book funny? How can different kinds of humor (e.g. satire, hyperbole, and irony) be used as a tool to combat troubles such as political fanaticism or racial intolerance? These writers all find in humor a way to highlight the absurdities…
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Why We Cook What We Cook

What determines our cooking and eating habits? And which is a greater factor—our family traditions, or the community we've made home? Consider why we cook what we cook with a group of extravagantly talented people who care deeply about fo…
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From Bodice Rippers to Trailblazers: Feminism through Romance

Romance is one of the most maligned genres of the literary world, despite being a billion-dollar business. Maybe it’s because the books are written by, about, and for women. Misogyny at work? Who’s to say? But unlike other literature, romance…
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Hot & New. Short Readings to Tempt You!

Short Readings to Tempt You! Pure pleasure: come hear favorite teen authors read tantalizing bits from their newest work!
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Get Me Out of Here: A Swedish Kafka Comes to Berkeley

“The daily grind got you down? Escape into this Swedish dark comedy about a scaldingly contemptuous office drone who discovers a secret room in his workplace," says O, the Oprah Magazine, about Karlsson's novel The Room. Publishers Weekly…
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Guantánamo Diary

What is it like to be trapped in the war on terror? Nothing symbolizes the endless cycle and contradictions of the conflict as much as Guantánamo prison does. The remarkable memoir Guantánamo Diary is an acclaimed international bestseller…

Work in Progress: Interior Landscapes in Poetry and Prose

It won't surprise anyone to hear that fiction, non-fiction, and poetry demand vastly different skill sets. Susan Griffin, who has written in these genres (and more), will moderate a discussion with two other multi-genre masters, Anita Barrows…

Purely Fun (Books That Adults Won't Tire of Reading to Little Ones)

Families and friends who read to very young children frequently face the "not one more time" moment. Three masterful children's authors share strategies for keeping young readers engaged and their adult readers awake!