Each Wednesday Critical Mass puts together a rundown of book-centric events that'll keep you "lit" all week long. Read it, honey.
Poet, critic and translator Ammiel Alcalay grew up in a Sephardic Jewish household in Boston. He's best known as a Middle Eastern scholar, and the person who gave voice to the Serbians in American media during the Bosnian War. His latest book, Islanders
, is set during the Vietnam War. Alcalay was only in his twenties then, so it's fitting the protagonist of his new book is a young man trying to negotiate a relationship between identity and place. Catch Alcalay putting on his lyrical face for this poetry reading. Tonight, 6 p.m., free, Kelly Writers House, 3805 Locust Walk, 215-573-9748.
Thursday: Under Their Thumb: How a Nice Boy from Brooklyn Got Mixed Up with The Rolling Stones (and Lived to Tell About It)
is Bill German's Almost Famous
. As a teenager, German launched an all-about-The Stones magazine called Beggars Banquet
that got him access to one of the most beloved rock n' roll bands of all time. Thu., Nov. 18, 7 p.m., free, Wissahickon Valley Public Library, 650 Skippack Pike, Blue Bell, 215-643-1320
...And we're back to Vietnam. But this time, the tone is dark and deadpan as poet-proser Linh Dinh's cast of characters navigate a surreal, war-wrought Saigon. Dinh's meta-fiction has been known to mess with genres and, fair warning, absurdity and confusion are his keystone motifs. For this reading of his novelistic debut, Love Like Hate
, Dinh has teamed up with Ocean Vuong, a senior English major at Brooklyn College who was born in Saigon in 1988. Fri., Nov. 19, 7pm, Moonstone Arts Center, 110A S. 13th St., 215,735-9598.
Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Wooden Shoesince your old place burned down in '97 and you moved to South Street now one year agohappy birthday to you... Stop by the anarchist bookstore's birthday party, nib on some refreshments and shop around with your 10-percent off goodie-bag coupon. Sat., Nov. 20, 4pm, free, Wooden Shoe Books, 704 South St., 215-413-0999.
In the '60s, Caribbean-American writer, poet and activist Audre Lorde published poetry advocating feminism and lesbian and gay rights. In 1980, she co-founded Kitchen Table, the first publishing platform for "women of color" in America. Pay homage to this brave woman by perusing her poetry at Giovanni's Room, where ad-hoc readings of Lorde's work will be happening all day. If you're already a fan, bring your favorite poems along for show and tell. Sun., Nov. 21, 2pm, free, Giovanni's Room, 1145 Pine St., 215-923-2960.
Three days before your kitchen turns upside down for the holiday, take the young ones to a mellow reading of Thanksgiving stories and a craft-making session that might even yield a festive table decoration. And yes, you should put your child's creation on the table even if it's ugly. Mon., Nov. 22, 6:30pm, free, Barnes and Noble, 911 Haddonfield Road, Cherry Hill, NJ, (856) 486-1492
Despite the constant threats he's faced since "slandering" Islam in The Satanic Verses
, Booker prize winner Salman Rushdie has kept on writing, no-holds-barred. His latest is Luka and the Fire of Life
, a fantasy about a 12-year-old boy trying to wake his father up from a sleep coma. Auditorium tickets are sold out, but simulcast tickets are still up for grabs. Tues., Nov. 23, 7:30pm, $6, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine St., 215-686-5322.
If you had a reading you'd like covered in Bookish, send it to Daniella at Daniella.Wexler@citypaper.net.