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Recommended reading, April 22

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 17:17:33 UT

We recommend these recently reviewed titles: Empire of Guns The Violent Making of the Industrial Revolution By Priya Satia (Penguin Press; 528 pages; $35) Satia claims that war, and, more specifically, the gun industry, helped usher in the Industrial Revolution, redefined the roles of public and private sectors and the functions and contours of the state, and facilitated imperial expansion. Noir By Christopher Moore (Morrow; $27.



San Jose Museum of Art presents after-hours poetry invitational

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 22:21:58 UT

April, National Poetry Month, brings many events around the Bay Area that celebrate the written word. Among them is the ninth annual Poetry Invitational hosted by the San Jose Museum of Art and Poetry Center San Jose. The invitational on Thursday, April 19, is a special addition to the museum’s Third Thursday after-hours programming and features the work of local poets invited to respond to art at the museum. The poets are inspired by exhibitions including a collection of sculptures, paintings and photographs that explore the concept of the single-family home and paintings by landscape artist Raimonds Staprans.



Book details family torn apart by sisters’ ISIS descent

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 21:42:01 UT

On a fall morning in 2013, two teenage sisters living in Norway bade their parents and three brothers farewell for the day and left the house. Their departure appeared routine — yet they left choosing never to return. We soon learn, in the early portions of Åsne Seierstad’s new book, that the pair of Norwegian-Somali sisters had left for Syria to join the Islamic State in the fight to build a caliphate that they believed would eventually rule the world.



Weekend Booking: SF hosts annual Poems Under the Dome

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 20:08:57 UT

The 13th annual Poems Under the Dome event unites poets and poetry enthusiasts alike for a night of open mike readings at San Francisco’s City Hall. The free event, in honor of National Poetry Month, is scheduled to take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 19, in the North Light Court. Performance slots are determined through a lottery during the event, and selected readers are invited to read one poem — of their own authorship or a favorite by another’s pen — that clocks in at less than three minutes. Poetry Under the Dome was launched in 2005 by San Francisco radio personality, activist and beat poet “Diamond” Dave Whitaker.



Andrew Sean Greer’s ‘Less’ wins Pulitzer Prize for fiction

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 19:29:46 UT

Andrew Sean Greer was at dinner in Italy when he saw his phone was full of messages. “Then a friend shouted because he saw his phone!” Greer told The Chronicle. “Then I called Michael Chabon and asked, was it true? And he said, ‘Yes, Andy, it’s true. And let me tell you, it is all good news.’” Greer had just found out he won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his novel “Less.” “I did not see this coming!” Greer said. “I guess I get to meet Kendrick Lamar?” he added, referring to the rapper who won the Pulitzer Prize for music.



Recommended reading, April 15

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 20:03:06 UT

We recommend these recently reviewed titles: Space Odyssey Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece By Michael Benson (Simon & Schuster; 497 pages; $30) This rich, readable 50th anniversary book will give ample opportunities for revisiting the film. The Overstory By Richard Powers (Norton; 502 pages; $27.



Literary guide, April 15

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 20:02:18 UT

Sunday Janica Anderson, Steven Zahavi Schwartz, Anne Watts “Celebrating Zen Odyssey and The Collected Letters of Alan Watts.” 4 p.m. The Bindery, 1727 Haight St., S.F. www.booksmith.com C. Arellano, Estela de la Cruz, Dino Fox, Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano “I’m Going Down: A Mexican Reading.” 6:30 p.m. Adobe Books, 3130 24th St., S.F. www.adobebooks.com Jenny Davis, Bojan Lewis, Kim Shuck Poetry reading. 2 p.m. Bird & Beckett Books & Records, 653 Chenery St., S.F. www.birdbeckett.com Wendy Hinman “Sea Trials: Around the World with Duct Tape and Bailing Wire.” 7 p.m. Books Inc.



‘Empire of Guns,’ by Priya Satia

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 19:58:57 UT

One hundred years ago, amid armed combat around the world, Randolph Bourne, a contributing editor at the New Republic, proclaimed that “war is essentially the health of the State.” The moment a government declares war, Bourne wrote, the vast majority of its citizens identify with its purposes. The state, now “an august presence, walks through their imaginations” and becomes “the inexorable arbiter and determinant” of attitudes and opinions. As the masses allow themselves “to be regimented, coerced, deranged in all the environments of their lives, and turned into a solid manufactory of destruction,” the state maintains and augments “the prerogatives of power.



Author Halifu Osumare discusses the changing dynamics of race and dance

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 02:55:39 UT

As the founding artistic director of CitiCentre Dance Theatre in Oakland, choreographer and author Halifu Osumare has a long history of involvement with the Bay Area dance community. Osumare is a professor emerita of African American and African studies at UC Davis and is the author of three books. The most recent, “Dancing in Blackness,” is out this year from University Press of Florida. The memoir presents Osumare’s personal experiences and reflections as a vehicle for discussing defining moments in the history of black dance in America. Osumare plans to join Raissa Simpson, founder and artistic director of Push Dance Company in San Francisco, in conversation at the Museum of the African Diaspora on Saturday, April 14.



Weekend booking: Leslie Jamison delves into addiction in ‘The Recovering’

Tue, 10 Apr 2018 19:51:11 UT

Leslie Jamison’s debut essay collection, “The Empathy Exams,” is a personal, philosophical study of pain, and of what people mean when they say that they can empathize with others. Now Jamison brings her warm and exacting style — one that has been compared to the sharp work of writers like Joan Didion and Susan Sontag — to the subject of addiction in her latest work of nonfiction, “The Recovering.” She combines memoir, literary criticism and reportage, unfolding cultural narratives about addiction and recovery. Jamison considers the role of race, class and history on the distinctions between criminality and illness. Green Apple Books, 1231 Ninth Ave., S.F., hosts Jamison in conversation with writer Anna Wiener at 7:30 p.



Weekend booking: Author Moshin Hamid to speak at Nourse Theater

Mon, 2 Apr 2018 23:03:20 UT

Mohsin Hamid has written four novels, including his most recent, “Exit West.” The book is set in an unnamed city that closely resembles Hamid’s hometown of Lahore, Pakistan. It studies the global refugee crisis from the perspective of a young couple who must decide if and when to flee their home as it becomes overrun by violence. Hamid’s other novels — similarly interested in themes of family, home and displacement — include “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” and “How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.” His essays have also appeared in the Washington Post and the New York Times, among other publications, and are collected in “Discontent and Its Civilizations.



Weekend Booking: Apricot Irving’s memoir delves into missionary life in Haiti

Wed, 28 Mar 2018 20:05:58 UT

When Apricot Irving was 6 years old, her missionary parents moved their family to Haiti. She left that country when she was 15, as her childhood paradise transformed under the weight of idealism. Irving returned to Haiti in 2010 to cover the aftermath of the devastating earthquake for the radio program “This American Life.” Now Irving revisits Haiti once again in her first book, a memoir titled “The Gospel of Trees.” The work draws on interviews, family letters and journals to explore the personal and social legacies of missionary intervention.



Literary guide, March 25

Mon, 26 Mar 2018 20:22:10 UT

Sunday Bill Hayes, Steve Silberman “Oliver Sacks & Insomniac City” and “Neurotribes.” 5 p.m. Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar St., Berkeley. www.pegasusbookstore.com Jill Jacobs, Michael Lezak “Prison Injustice: Mass Incarceration, Police Reform, and People of Color.” 7 p.m. $10-$15. JCCSF, 3200 California St., S.F. www.jccsf.org Tamsin Spencer Smith “Word Cave.” 4 p.m. Adobe Books, 3130 24th St., S.F. www.adobebooks.com Cameron Stauch “Vegetarian Viet Nam.” 1 p.m. Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera.



Literary guide, March 18

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 23:12:32 UT

Sunday Black Candies: The Eighties An evening of literary horror readings. 7:30 p.m. Green Apple Books on the Park, 1231 Ninth Ave., S.F. www.greenapplebooks.com Rowan Hisayo Buchanan “Go Home!” 5 p.m. City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus Ave., S.F. www.citylights.com Peter Carey “A Long Way From Home.” 7:30 p.m. The Bindery, 1727 Haight St., S.F. www.booksmith.com Susan Dambroff “Conversations With Trees.” 2 p.m. Bird & Beckett Books & Records, 653 Chenery St., S.F. www.birdbeckett.



Winners of Whiting Awards for emerging writers are announced

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 23:46:50 UT

The winners of the Whiting Award have been announced, and this year’s choices are especially diverse. The $50,000 award is given every year to 10 emerging writers — in fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama. Nine of this year’s winners are writers of color. Six are women, and six are LGBTQ. The winners include Oakland novelist Brontez Purnell, author of “Since I Laid My Burden Down,” whose “explorations of blackness, queerness, maleness, and Southernness take sharp, confident turns between raunch and rhapsody.” Another Bay Area winner is San Francisco writer Esmé Weijun Wang, author of the forthcoming essay collection “The Collected Schizophrenias” (Graywolf Press, 2019).