THE BLOG
10/07/2011 07:40 pm ET Updated Jan 21, 2012

Litquake: What Not To Miss

San Francisco's Litquake -- America's best (and wackiest) literary festival -- is upon us. For a glorious week in glorious October, the City's Mission District celebrates literature not simply by adding liquor to ice but by chasing down that pair with some of the best readings around. Think of it: a week of writing in the city of writing.

And you... thinking of moving to Portland... seriously?

Every year is fantastic, but 2011's lineup is especially strong. Jack Boulware, Jane Ganahl, and their amazingly talented staff do a phenomenal job of juxtaposing complementary events.

In a follow-up post, I'll sketch out some itineraries for LitCrawl, which slithers through the Mission on Saturday, October 15. But, before then, there is a virtual Eden of bookish glee.

Here are some highlights of the upcoming week.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8
  • On Saturday, just set up shop in the Variety Preview Room. The trifecta of "Writing in California Prisons," "Rhyming or Not: Bay Area Poetry," and "Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid: Science Fiction in a Real World" are about as different and interesting as can be.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9 MONDAY, OCTOBER 10

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 11
Midweek, I want something calmer but still engaging and edgy. It's hard to pass up Chuck Klosterman. Klosterman is one of the best interrogators of popular culture. So, I'll head to see him at the Booksmith...

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 12
...and then return to see Mary Roach as part of the One City, One Book project. Where Klosterman teases out the complex in the seemingly simple, Roach writes accessibly about the potentially inaccessible.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 13
Not to be missed is the "Flight of Poets," where sommelier Christopher Sawyer pairs six wines with six poets: Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Jane Hirshfield, Robert Polito, Rachel Richardson, C. J. Sage, and Matthew Zapruder. Curated by Tess Taylor and Holly Hardy at the Hotel Rex.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14
Here, I'm drawn to the killer back-to-back combo of "Numina Femenina: The Voice of the Feminine in Mexican Literature" and Jefferey Eugenides at Books, Inc. Numina Femenina goes live at 6pm and Eugenides emerges from the stacks at 7. That you can hit both of these wildly divergent events with such ease is what Litquake is all about.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 15
On Saturday, get up, drink some coffee, take some Advil, and head over to my employer, The University of San Francisco, for "Kidquake at USF: Monsters in the Bookshelf." Curated by my friends and colleagues Tom Lucas and Glori Simmons, this interactive event in the University's Thatcher Gallery will feature workshops, demonstrations, and exhibits geared to kids of pretty much every age.

After KidQuake, go home, take more Advil, steal a little disco nap. You will want to be rested, well-rested, for the LitCrawl...