Notable San Francisco: 1/30–2/5

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Wednesday 1/30: Join award-winning poet Sally Wen Mao as she reads from Oculus, her newest collection of poems. She will be in conversation with Jennifer S. Cheng, author of Moon: Letters, Maps, Poems. City Lights Booksellers in San Francisco at 7 p.m.

Mike Chen will be reading from his debut novel, Here and Now and Then. Chen will be in conversation with Maggie Shen King, author of An Excess Male. Books Inc. in Palo Alto at 7 p.m.

United States Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith (Ordinary Light) will be reading from her work in conversation with Marvin K. White, Interim Minister of Celebration at GLIDE. Jewish Community Center of San Francisco in San Francisco at 7 p.m. (please note that this event is currently sold out).

Thursday 1/31: The Stanford Women’s Club of the East Bay will be hosting their 44th Annual Books on Review. Four authors will be speaking about their books: Vanessa Hua (A River of Stars), Gary Pomerantz (The Last Pass), Catherine Lowell (The Madwoman Upstairs), and Robert Dugoni (The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell). Shadelands Art Center in Walnut Creek at 10 a.m. ($25–$35, tickets required).

Somni Sengupta, Polk award-winning journalist and International Climate Change Correspondent at the New York Times, will be delivering the Sarah Kailath Memorial Lecture at UC Berkeley. Sengupta will be speaking on “Existential threats: Stories from the front lines of climate change in South Asia and beyond.” Institute for South Asia Studies (10 Stephens Hall) at UC Berkeley at 5 p.m.

What happens after we die? Christina Rasmussen will be reading from Where Did You Go?, an exploration of connecting with loved ones after death that combines spirituality and cutting-edge science. A Great Good Place for Books in Oakland at 7 p.m.

Friday 2/1: Tosh Berman will be reading from his memoir, Tosh: Growing up in Wallace Berman’s World. His book reflects upon growing up with Wallace Berman’s son. Moe’s Books in Berkeley at 7 p.m.

Interested in histories of the New World? Join Elena Schneider, historian of Latin America and the Atlantic World, and Caitlin Rosenthal, historian of the 18th- and 19th-century United States, as they read from their books: The Occupation of Havana and Accounting for Slavery. East Bay Booksellers in Oakland at 7 p.m.

Saturday 2/2: Rebecca Robinson and Stephen Strom will be discussing their collaborative book, Voices from Bears Ears: Seeking Common Ground on Sacred Ground. Point Reyes Books in Point Reyes at 7 p.m. ($10 suggested donation, no one turned away).

Kimberly Reyes will be reading from her new collection Life During Wartime. Reyes’s collection won the 2018 Michael Rubin Book Award from Fourteen Hills. Green Apple Books on the Park in San Francisco at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday 2/3: Film critic David Thomson will be reading from Sleeping with Strangers: How the Movies Shaped Desire. The Bindery in San Francisco at 4 p.m.

Kim Shuck, poet laureate of San Francisco, will be reading from her newest book: Clouds Running In. Shuck will be joined by poet E.K. Keith, who will be reading from Ordinary Villains. City Lights Booksellers in San Francisco at 5 p.m.

Monday 2/4: How are immigrants changing our definition of health? David Hayes-Bautista (Director of UCLA’s Center for the Study of Latino Health), Claudia Kolker (The Immigrant Advantage), and Marjorie Kagawa-Singer (UCLA medical anthropologist) will be discussing this as part of a Zócalo event. Mechanics’ Institute in San Francisco at 7 p.m.

Rebecca Traister (Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger) will be in conversation with former Local Book Pick Lara Bazelon (Rectify: The Power of Restorative Justice After Wrongful Conviction) as part of City Arts and Lectures. The Sydney Goldstein Theater (formerly Nourse Theater) in San Francisco at 7:30 p.m ($29, tickets required).

Tuesday 2/5: Jasmin Darznik will be reading from Song of a Captive Bird, her debut novel inspired by the Persian poet Forough Farrokhzad. Book Passage in Corte Madera at 7 p.m.

Don’t miss this week’s Local Book Pick event! Devi S. Laskar will be launching her much-anticipated debut novel, The Atlas of Reds and Blues. Books Inc. in Mountain view at 7 p.m.

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LOCAL BOOK PICK: This week’s Local Book Pick is Devi S. Laskar’s The Atlas of Reds and Blues (Counterpoint, 2019)! Don’t miss her book launch at Books Inc. in Mountain View on 2/5.

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If you have a Bay Area event listing you’d like us to consider for Notable SF, please contact [email protected] as far in advance as possible, and include the date of the event in the subject line.

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Logo art by Max Winter.


Nishant Batsha's fiction and essays have been published in TriQuarterly, The Offing, and The Caribbean Review of Books, among other publications. He is currently revising his debut novel trilogy: Washed Ashore, All That Floats, and The Tideline. He can be found at nishantbatsha.com or on Twitter @nishbatsha. More from this author →