Local Lit: December’s top literary picks

A Great Good Place for Books, Dec. 3 (offsite event) and the entire month

Independent bookstores were hit hard by PG&E’s power shutoffs in October, making the holidays the perfect time to barrel into owner Kathleen Caldwell’s cozy shop in Montclair Village. The devoted staff are not only on first name basis with local authors like Anne Lamott, Jane Smiley, Khaled Hosseini and others, they treat customers as if they are close family members.

Jump immediately to order a copy of Bay Area author Nancy Davis Kho’s new book, The Thank-You Project: Cultivating Happiness One Letter of Gratitude at a Time, and attend Great Good Books’ launch party on Dec. 3 at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Then be sure visit the store at any time: a book is a perfect gift for anyone on your list.
Author Nancy Davis Kho Discussing The Thank-You Project; 12/3 at 7 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church; 1707 Gouldin Rd, Oakland; (510) 339-8210.

E.M. Wolfman General Interest Small Bookstore: Dec. 11
Go underground and visit the downtown Oakland literary hub for a conversation with radio journalist Lewis Raven Wallace and journalist Tasneem Raja. Tackling the hefty topic of objectivity and the myth of “neutral” newsrooms, Wallace will introduce his new book and podcast, The View from Somewhere: A Podcast About Journalism With A Purpose. With a mission to reimagine local journalism in the East Bay, the free event allows everyone to have input.
December 11; 7-9 pm; Free; E.M. Wolfman General Interest Small Bookstore; 410 13th Street; Oakland; 415-250-5527

KPFA Speaker Series featuring Michael Eric Dyson, author of Jay-Z Made in America: Dec. 11
Michael Eric Dyson, author, sociology professor at Georgetown University and a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, comes to Berkeley to benefit KPFA radio. Exploring the legacy and lyrics of composer and hip hop artist Jay-Z in his new book, Jay-Z: Made in America, Dyson celebrates the performer as an American cultural icon. The book is a “happy birthday” to Jay-Z, who turns 50 on Dec. 4 and continues to test rap’s boundaries and lead artists less than half his age.
December 11; 7:30 p.m.; $12-15; First Congregational Church, 2345 Channing Way, Berkeley; 800-838-3006 or local independent bookstores.

Oakland Public Library, Saturdays in December

Did you know the downtown Oakland public library offers free citizenship classes? Local teachers offer instruction and information on the primary knowledge needed to pass the test, the first step to becoming a United States Citizen. Reading and writing tips, answers to 100 questions and how to complete the N400 form are all covered in the two-hour course. Even people already citizens might benefit from the class: recent studies show many adults cannot name the three branches of the United States federal government.
Saturdays in December; 10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.; free; Main Library Conference Room, 2nd floor, 125 14th St. Oakland; (510) 238-3134

Get Lit #54 at Ale Industries, Dec. 17
Imbibe in literature, live music, an Ale Industries beverage, and food from Guadalajara Restaurant & Tequila Bar as a dozen local writers read rough drafts or debuts of new, never-before-read work. “Get Lit” events are organized by cross-disciplinary Nomadic Press, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting emerging and established artists across all media. Given a three-minute limit, the writers’ tapas-size readings might tempt further exploration or reveal a new voice worthy of celebration…or not, but at three minutes and paired with refreshments, who can complain?
December 17 @ 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. $15 – $25; 3096 E 10th Street, Oakland; 510-479-3185

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