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Notable Los Angeles: 5/15–5/21

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Monday 5/15: Bianca Bosker discusses and signs Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live. 7 p.m. at Book Soup.

Tuesday 5/16: Brown Paper Press and Peter Gajdics celebrates the release of his new memoir, The Inheritance of Shame.

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Zhe Zhe Is Back

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Zhe Zhe is funny, smart, complicated, and weird in all the best ways. If you’re not already familiar with this standout web series, created by Ruby McCollister, Leah Hennessey, Emily Allan, and director E.J. O’Hara, it’s best described as “a decadent DIY satire about a fame obsessed trend-chasing girl group in an alternate reality New York, made by some ultra hip, cynical young native New Yorkers.” And that’s just a start.

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Notable Twin Cities: 5/14-5/20

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Sunday 5/14: Celebrate Mother’s Day with a reading by contributors to Riding Shotgun: Women Write About Their Mothers, a collection of true stories about mothers and daughters. Readers include Susan Power, Sheila O’Connor, and Wang Ping. The reading will be hosted by editor Kathryn Kysar. 

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Notable NYC: 5/13–5/19

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Sunday 5/14: Juliana Huxtable presents Mucus in My Pineal Gland along with Diamond Stingily and Andrew Durbin. McNally Jackson Books, 6 p.m., free.

Wendy Xu, Tobias Carroll, Jimn Han, Jeanann Verlee, and Keegan Lester join the Dead Rabbits Reading Series.

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Notable Chicago: 5/12–5/18

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Friday 5/12: Women & Children First welcomes Morgan Parker for a reading from her acclaimed collection, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce. Morgan will be joined by local poets Jamila Woods, Nate Marshall, and José Olivarez. 7:30 p.m., free.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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This week, a short story in the new issue of Cosmonauts Avenue turns the flashlight onto a slumber party, and not the fantasy pillow-fight and popcorn kind, but the more true-to-life kind, complete with paranormal library books, urban legends, sneaking out, and scaring the crap out of each other.

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Notable Portland: 5/11–5/17

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Thursday 5/11: The Writers in the Schools program at Grant High School hosts a student reading to share their semester of work. Broadway Books, 7 p.m., free.

Jeff VanderMeer, author of Southern Reach Trilogy, reads from his new book, Borne, a story about two humans and two creatures.

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Notable San Francisco: 5/10–5/16

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Wednesday 5/10: San Francisco Chronicle lead theatre reviewer Lily Janiak hosts a panel of playwrights published by the local EXIT Press, featuring Allison Page, Aren Haun, Martin Schwartz, Stuart Bousel, and Terry Baum. Highly recommended if you are interested in theatre.

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This Week in Essays

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For The New Inquiry, Nehal El-Hadi questions whether we will ever see technology that opens up the preservation of black life rather than simply documenting black death.

Mina Hamedi chases the Northern Lights over at Arcturus.

Here at the Rumpus, Celeste Mohammed explores her conflicted feelings toward a white artist painting black Caribbean farmers.

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Notable Philadelphia: 5/9–5/15

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Tuesday 5/9: You Can’t Kill a Poet: Three Year Anniversary Compilation. Featuring: Berry Grass, Emma Sanders, Jessica Levine, Gabriel Ojeda-Sague, Lauren Yates, Alina Pleskova, Zach Blackwood, and Julia Perch. 8 p.m. at Tattooed Mom.

Sundrunk: Show & Tell. Featuring: Angelo Colavita, Lindo Yes!, and Jo Vito Ramirez.

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This Week in Indie Bookstores

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Books Are Magic opens in Brooklyn, making Emma Straub the latest author to open a bookstore.

Turkish police arrested seven teachers at a bookstore in a raid against dissent.

A Houston bookstore celebrated indie bookstore day with drunk coloring.

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Notable Los Angeles: 5/8–5/14

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Monday 5/8: Write Club Chapter 63: Better Off Fed. Featuring Moramarco, Brian Sonia Wallace, Rachel Kann, Tanya White, Amy Gonzales, and Yelena Litvak. Co-hosted by Justin Welborn, Paula Killen, and Jeff Dorchen. 7 p.m. at the Bootleg Theater. $10+ Pay What You Can (it goes to charity).

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Notable Twin Cities 5/7-5/13

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Sunday 5/7: Come celebrate the launch of In Her Own Voice: Selected Works of Grace Flandrau, edited by Georgia Ray, with [email protected]! The program will include a brief presentation on F. Scott Fitzgerald contemporary Grace Flandrau, and a dramatic reading by actress Claire DeCoster.

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Notable NYC: 5/6–5/12

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Saturday 5/6: Jennifer E. Smith presents Windfall. McNally Jackson Books, 6 p.m., free.

Carmen Giménez Smith and Aldrin Valdez join the Segue Series. Zinc Bar, 4:30 p.m., $5.

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Notable Chicago: 5/5–5/11

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Friday 5/5: Ali Noorani will be at The Book Cellar to discuss his book There Goes the NeighborhoodHow Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration. 7 p.m., free.

Saturday 5/6: The Book Cellar hosts the launch of David Berner’s newest book, October Song.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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The PEN America World Voices Festival, a weeklong international literary festival that focuses on human rights, is ongoing in New York City this week, and this year’s theme of gender and power seems more pertinent and urgent than ever. While over 150 writers from across the globe gather at the festival to bridge borders through the power of words, Electric Literature has opened its Recommended Reading archives to those of us who can’t be in NYC, offering eleven short stories and a poem that examine gender’s power and its bonds, that question its limitations and celebrate its liberation.

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Notable San Francisco: 5/3–5/9

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Wednesday 5/3: James Nolan (Flight Risk: Memoirs of a New Orleans Bad Boy) reads at City Lights. Free, 7 p.m., City Lights Bookstore.

Paul Madonna presents his newest work, On to the Next Dream. Free, 7:30 p.m., Booksmith.

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This Week in Essays

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For Huffington Post’s Highline magazine, Jason Fagone profiles a trauma surgeon working to make a small dent in our country’s problem with gun violence.

At Catapult, Abbey Fenbert writes a funny, heartfelt essay about trying to ban books in the seventh grade.

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Notable Philadelphia: 5/2–5/8

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Tuesday 5/2: Exposure: An Aperture Agency Photo Exhibit + Babel (Temple’s poetry collective). 12 p.m.–4 p.m. at Annenberg Hall.

Camae Ayewa (aka Moor Mother) in conversation with Kelsey Halliday Johnson. 5:30 p.m. at University of Pennsylvania Department of Music.

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This Week in Indie Bookstores

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In Chicago, Aimee Levitt wonders how many bookstores she can visit in a single day to celebrate Independent Bookstore Day.

Meanwhile, in Seattle, Moira Macdonald explains how she planned on maximizing the number of stores she visited.

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