Local Lit | March’s top literary happenings

Support your favorite local, woman-owned independent bookstore | All month

During Women’s History Month, supporting East Bay women bookstore owners is easy. Simply shop online or in-person at Great Good Place for Books, Marcus Books, Mrs. Dalloway’s or Orinda Books, to name just a few. Double down on the women-boosterism by ordering one or more of the terrific new releases by Bay Area women authors coming out this month. (See some below!)

Another way to shop literature and cheer on lady leaders in the field? Women are often most actively involved at Oakland and Berkeley public library’s Friends of the Library central and branch book shops. Investigate past and present women authors, attend a virtual event or workshop (at bookstores or libraries), or pick simply up a new or second-hand book and help fund programs at your local library or support the local bookselling trade.

Anne Lamott ~ Dusk, Night, Dawn: On Revival and Courage | March 1

Do not panic if you are just arriving to the news and late to learn about this special collaborative book launch event for Lamott’s newest collection of essays, Dusk, Night, Dawn: On Revival and Courage. The Bay Area favorite and best-selling author can be seen at this virtual event hosted by Kepler’s Literary Foundation and presented with publisher Riverhead Books and other independent booksellers. At turns funny, startling, warm, blunt and always immensely relatable, Lamott’s take on her recent marriage, aging, indigestion and more is raw, realistic and laced with grace. Like her previous memoirs (Operating Instructions, Small Victories, Help, Thanks, Wow and Bird by Bird), the truths exposed and explored leave messages surprisingly hopeful, energizing and uplifting.

This ticketed event includes a signed hardcover copy of Dusk, Night, Dawn on a first come, first-served basis. Pre-order is necessary to ensure a signed copy. The event will be pre-recorded and live streamed to ticketholders in a secure webinar. Ticketholders are invited to pre-submit Q&A at the time of registration (there will be no live Q&A). Because this event takes place ahead of the book’s official publication date, book shipment and pickup information will be sent by email to individual ticketholders. Tickets are non-refundable.

March 1 | 6:00 – 7:00 pm | Cost: $26-26 | www.keplers.org/upcoming-events-internal/lamott2021-e2r8c

Isabel Allende ~ The Soul of a Woman | March 4

Isabel Allende’s first novel, The House of the Spirits, was followed by 25 best-selling books that have been translated into more than 42 languages. Now approaching age 80, Allende’s latest work, Soul of a Woman, offers a memoir of her early years as a rebellious school child, life as a young married woman and mother of two, and her midlife when she finds an outlet as a romantic and feminist through family, writing, and human rights advocacy.

After surviving the loss of her daughter, Paula Frias, Allende established a charitable foundation that has awarded grants to more than one hundred nonprofits worldwide on behalf of women and girls. Discovering love in a third marriage in her later years, Allende writes of rejuvenation, “but only if we minimize our expectations, give up resentment, and relax in the knowledge that no one, except those closest to us, gives a damn about who we are or what we do.”

Former President Barack Obama awarded Allende the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and she is the recipient of the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation and the PEN Center USA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, among others. Raised in Chile, Allende lives in California.

March 4 | 6:00 – 7:30 pm | Free | www.bookpassage.com/allende-soul

Joanell Serra ~ (Her)oics: Women’s Lived Experiences During the Coronavirus Pandemic | March 13

The stories of fifty-two women across the U.S. (three from the Bay area) weigh in with vibrant perspectives on their experiences and risk-taking roles during the Covid-19 pandemic. Hear from front-line responders, recovering patients, women living in isolation, giving birth, celebrating marriages, loving and losing the dying, and more. Reflecting different locations, ages, races, and life situations, the anthology is compiled and co-edited by novelist and licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Joanelle Serra (The Vines We Planted) and author, podcaster and journalist Amy Roost. Serra headlines the virtual event.

March 13 | 4:00 – 6:00 pm | Free | www.bookpassage.com/event/joanell-serra-heroics-women%E2%80%99s-lived-experiences-during-coronavirus-pandemic-virtual-event

Nicola DeRobertis-Theye ~ The Vietri Project | March 23

DeRobertis-Theye is a native of Oakland and graduate of UC Berkeley now living in Brooklyn, New York. Her new novel follows the story of protagonist Gabriele, who quits her job in a Berkeley bookstore and pursues Vietri, a mysterious customer based in Rome whose orders have mysteriously ceased. The search for Vietri delivers to Gabriele fascinating stories of a timeworn village, bizarre residents, a communist murder trial, the community’s financial vicissitudes, and Italy’s colonial history in Ethiopia and Libya. Gabriele ultimately stumbles on records related to her own tangled family history that include her mother, who suffered from mental illness. Gabriele’s questions about her future—E poi? (And then?)—reach a critical climax from which a sense of identity emerges. This enjoyable, suspenseful debut novel leaves readers hoping for a sequel, curious about Gabriele’s next adventure. Presented by Booksmith and The Bindery, the stores offer book orders with free shipping throughout San Francisco and the East Bay. This event is free and all ages, but RSVP is required.

March 23 | 6:00 – 8:00 pm | Free| www.booksmith.com/event/

Nick Greene ~ How to Watch Basketball Like a Genius | March 30

Oakland writer Nick Greene is male, but since basketball appeals to all genders don’t miss out on this end-of-month event. Greene’s new book, How to Watch Basketball Like a Genius, has every manner of expert deconstructing the sport: wine critics critique LeBron’s ability to delegate on the fly; magicians analyze Chris Paul’s dribbling techniques, cartographers deconstruct Steph Curry’s three-point shots; and choreographers, fashion designers, scientists and others weigh in. It’s as entertaining as a romp on the court. Greene is a contributing writer for Slate and former web editor at the Village Voice. His work has been published in Vice, Men’s Health, and Chicago Magazine.

March 30 | 6:00 – 8:00 pm | Free | www.greenapplebooks.com/event/virtual-event-nick-greene

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