Local Lit | May’s top tips for book lovers

Michael Pollan with Mina Kim @ Zellerbach Playhouse: May 3

Jump into lit early this month with a scintillating conversation presented by the UC Berkeley School of Journalism. Bay Area-based food science and culture writer Pollan will join Kim, host of KQED’s beloved “Forum” daily talk show, to parse the universe of well-being. Pollan is the former John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism at Berkeley Journalism and cofounder of the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics.

Pollan is the author of nine books, including “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals,” “The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World,” and “This is Your Mind on Plants.” From what is on our minds to what is on our plates, expect mind-blowing expansion.

May 3 @ 5:30 p.m. | $40 | journalism.berkeley.edu/event/

Family Day @ Berkeley Public Library: May 4

This all-ages event is a terrific “warmup” for the 10th annual Bay Area Book Festival coming June 1-2. Check out the impressive lineup of author appearances and events coming to the upcoming two-day festival held in downtown Berkeley at https://www.baybookfest.org/2024festival/. This early May event is free and allows access to a young readers and writers showcase, youth/teen-oriented author talks and panels, free book giveaways, and activities centered around arts, crafts and STEAM. Special celebration of “Star Wars: May the 4th be With You” and National Free Comic Book Day add extra pizazz.

May 4 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Free | baybookfest.org

Elissa Strauss with Courtney E. Martin @ Mrs. Dalloway’s Books: May 11

Spend the pre-Mother’s Day evening at the Elmwood neighborhood bookstore with author and journalist Strauss as she introduces her new book, “When You Care: The Unexpected Magic of Caring for Others.” Strauss explores how caregiving, parenting, communal living shape our society, culture, interactions and inner lives. Her essays and columns have appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Glamour, Elle, Allure, The American Prospect, and more. She is the artistic director of LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture and lives in Oakland. Strauss will be in conversation with writer Martin (“Learning in Public: Lessons for a Racially Divided America from My Daughter’s School”), who also runs a popular substack newsletter called Examined Family and is the storyteller-in-residence at The Holding Co, a lab to redesign caregiving. Martin lives in a cohousing community in Oakland.

May 11 @ 7 p.m. | Free | mrsdalloways.com

Brian Copeland @ Great Good Place for Books: May 16

Copeland is a playwright, actor, television comedian, and radio talk show host widely known—and admired—for “Not a Genuine Black Man,” a memoir and solo-act play that is the longest-running solo play in San Francisco history. In his debut novel, “Thriller,” TV investigative reporter Topher Davis and his sister, SFPD homicide detective Lynn Sloan, must uncover the mystery behind the murder of a police officer and other Bay Area cops who have shot unarmed African Americans without being held accountable by the law. Hear Copeland talk about his own investigations while crafting his first crime fiction — which is hopefully a harbinger for future Topher Davis/Lynn Sloan books.

May 16 @ 7 p.m. | Free | ggpbooks.com

Carvell Wallace @ City Arts & Lectures: May 16

In his memoir “Another Word for Love” the podcaster, journalist, and co-author of “The Sixth Man” with Golden State Warrior Andre Iguodala relates a blistering account of his life. It’s a remarkable memoir that is disturbing and devastating but also full of hope. Appearing in conversation with artist and creative director George McCalman, themes of homelessness, queerness, Black culture and activism, poetry, ancestral history and more are on the table.

May 16 @ 7:30 p.m. | $30 | cityarts.net/event/carvell-wallace

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