Quick Lit: May 19-May 25

Is there an ecologically sustainable way to eat meat? Join the debate Thurs/20

Literary readings, book tours, and talks this week

Michael Chabon, Chuck Palahniuk, a celebration of Bukowski, Carol Queen revisits exhibitionism, Rebecca Solnit and Mona Caron create a California bestiary, and more

Wednesday, May 19

A California Bestiary
Authors Rebecca Solnit and Mona Caron partnered to create their own book of magical California beasts inspired by medieval bestiaries that were more fanciful than factual.
7 p.m., free
Green Arcade
1680 Market, SF
(415) 431-6800

Celebrate Bukowski
Celebrate the release of Absence of the Hero: Uncollected Stories and Essays by Charles Bukowski with editor David Calonne in conversation with Garrett Caples and readings from Stephen Elliot and Daphne Gottlieb.
7 p.m., free
City Lights Bookstore
261 Columbus, SF
(415) 362-8193

The Empire Strikes Out
Author Robert Elias reads from his new book The Empire Strikes Out: How baseball sold U.S. foreign policy and promoted the American way abroad, which takes an eye-opening look at baseball’s relationship to the American empire, from the revolutionary era to the present.
7:30 p.m., free
Pegasus Books Downtown
2349 Shattuck, Berk
(510) 649-1320

Michael Chabon
Join bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon as he discusses his new memoir, Manhood for Amateurs.
7:30 p.m., free
The Booksmith
1644 Haight, SF
(415) 863-8688

“Massive Stars and Their Temper Tantrums”
Join UC Berkeley professor Dr. Nathan Smith as he discusses the properties of the most massive stars, and the life and death of large, unstable stars, such as Eta Carinae.
7:30 p.m., free
Randall Museum
199 Museum Way, SF
(415) 554-9600

Carol Queen
Attend a book party for Queen’s 1996 book, Exhibitionism for the Shy, featuring new chapters on internet exhibitionism and added interviews. Dress up, show off, and talk hot at this discussion on finding your own erotic identity and comfort zone to become the erotically outgoing soul you’d like to be.
6:30 p.m., free
Good Vibrations Berkeley
2504 San Pablo, Berk.

Thursday, May 20

An evening with Chuck Palahniuk
Hear the famed author of Fight Club discuss his new book Tell All, a Sunset Boulevard homage to Old Hollywood, filled with name-dropping and nostalgia.
7:30 p.m., $36
Swedish American Hall
2174 Market, SF
(415) 863-8688

California Condors
Learn more about the reestablished population of California Condors after their near extinction 30 years ago at this talk with National Park Service wildlife biologist Daniel George titled, “The Natural History and Future of California Condors.”
7:30 p.m., free
First Unitarian Universalist Church
1187 Franklin, SF

The Food Industry
Hear Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times reporter Michael Moss discuss lapses in food safety, nutrition related issues, the White House’s war on obesity and more in conversation with KQED reporter Sarah Varney.
Noon, $20
Commonwealth Club
2nd floor
595 Market, SF
(415) 597-6700

Hearts for Madeline
Hear author Page Hodel talk about her new book about when she met Madelene Rodriguez, who soon after died of cancer, and how she still leaves crafted hearts on her doorstep to say ‘I love you.’
7:30 p.m., free
Books Inc.
2275 Market, SF
(415) 864-6777

InsideStorytime: Crime
Enjoy readings from crime writers Lisa Lutz, author of The Spellmans Strike Again, Mark Coggins, author of The Big Wake-up, Seth Harwood, author of Jack Wakes Up, Mitzi Ngim, and Julie Graham with MC Ransom Stephens.
6:30 p.m., $3-$5 sliding scale
Café Royale
800 Post, SF
(415) 505-0869

Low Bite
Attend this launch of Sin Soracco’s new prison novel about survival, dignity, friendship, and insubordination inside a women’s prison.
7 p.m., free
Modern Times Bookstore
888 Valencia, SF

“Lyman vs. Niman: Can you be a good environmentalist and still eat meat?”
Raising livestock is resource-intensive and, we are beginning to learn, a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Nicolette Hahn Niman, a Marin rancher and author of Righteous Porkchop, will argue that there is an ecologically sustainable way to eat meat against Howard Lyman, the author of Mad Cowboy: Plain truth from a cattle rancher who won’t eat meat.
7 p.m., $10-$20
David Brower Center
Richard & Rhoda Goldman Theater
2150 Allston, Berk.
(510) 859-9100

Friday, May 21

To Teach: The Journey, In Comics
Graphic artist Ryan Alexander-Tanner brings William Ayers’ memoir To Teach: The journey of a teacher to life in this new graphic novel.
7 p.m., free
Green Arcade
1680 Market, SF
(415) 431-6800

Saturday, May 22

Attend an Asian Art Museum docent talk featuring a lecture and slideshow presentation about the museum’s exhibition “Shanghai.” The talk will be in English and Cantonese.
2:30 p.m., free
Chinatown Branch Library
Community Room
1135 Powell, SF
(415) 355-2888

Very Good-Looking Seeks Same
Author Robert Philipson will read from his new book, Very Good-Looking Seeks Same: Gay profiles in search of love, a new volume of transgressive, internet inspired poems, at this event featuring refreshments and live jazz music.
5 p.m., free
San Francisco LGBT Center
4th floor
1800 Market, SF
(415) 865-5555

Sunday, May 23

Broken Promises, Broken Dreams
Hear author Alice Rothchild explore the complexities of Jewish Israeli attitudes and the hardships of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza through personal narratives based on work with medical delegations in the region.
3 p.m., free
Modern Times Bookstore
888 Valencia, SF

Monday, May 24

Bay Area author Glen David Gold discusses his new American epic, Sunnyside, starring Charlie Chaplin, about dreams, ambition, and the birth of modern America.
7:30 p.m., free
The Booksmith
1644 Haight, SF
(415) 863-8688

War: As Soldiers Really Live It

Hear Sebastian Junger discuss his new book about the reality of combat, the fear, honor and trust among men in an extreme situation whose survival depends on their absolute commitment to one another. His on-the-ground account follows a single platoon through a 15 month tour of duty in the most dangerous outpost in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley.
7:30 p.m., $12
First Congregational Church of Berkeley
2345 Channing, Berk.
(510) 848-6767

Tuesday, May 25

A Poem for Mother Earth

Attend this poetry sharing and community healing ceremony featuring poetry, spoken word, and music from migrant Raza, indigenous youth, adults, and elders in poverty focused on the impacts of climate change  on indigenous peoples and poor people of color.
Noon, free
Galleria de la Raza
2857 24th St., SF