Mysteries and memoirs, science and social commentary, politics and family relationships are all on the reading list this fall in Santa Barbara. Authors and speakers appearing in town range from veterans and Iraq War journalists to comedians, historians, and conservation writers. The days may be getting shorter, but they’re packed with literary events.
Trading Pain for Pain
Focusing on the socially relevant topic of teenagers who inflict physical pain on themselves through “cutting” as a way of dealing with mental anguish, Laura Snow’s novel is a frightening journey through the teenage psyche. Snow will discuss her book as well as sign copies. Thu., Sept. 20, 7pm. Borders Books in Goleta, 7000 Marketplace Dr., Goleta. Call 968-1370.
Diana Raab’s book explores family relationships through a granddaughter reading a journal of her grandmother’s found long after the latter’s death. In addition to her appearance at Borders Books, Raab will speak at the Santa Barbara Book & Author Festival. Thu., Sept. 20, 7pm. Borders Books in Santa Barbara, 900 State St. Call 899-3668.
What It Means to Serve
Robert Donayre will talk about his memoir of his time as an airborne ranger and his experiences as a member of the Peace Corps. The contrast between the two is at the center of this fascinating narrative. Sun., Sept. 23, 2pm. Borders Books in Goleta, 7000 Marketplace Dr., Goleta. Call 968-1370.
Sherman Alexie presents a look at his new book, Without Reservations: An Urban Indian’s Comic, Poetic, and Highly Irreverent Look at the World. Breaking down stereotypes of what it means to be Native American, Alexie’s talk promises to be as hilarious as it is enlightening. Mon., Sept. 24, 8pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
Santa Barbara Book & Author Festival
The ninth annual festival features, among many others, authors Larry and Steven Crandell, Jan Burke, and Philip F. Deaver. Also present as panelists will be Jeramy Gordon of the Santa Barbara Daily Sound and Marianne Partridge of The Independent. T.C. Boyle will attend to receive a literary award. Be sure to check out the lectures, discussion panels, and booths. Sat., Sept. 29, 10am-5pm. Santa Barbara Central Library, 40 E. Anapamu St. Call 962-9500 or visit sbbookfestival.org.
The Stuff of Thought
Steven Pinker’s book explores the relationship between linguistics and the nature of the human mind, offering a great deal to think about indeed. Pinker will share his thoughts with the audience. Sat., Sept. 29, 4pm. Victoria Hall Theater, 33 W. Victoria St. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
The Shock Doctrine
Naomi Klein, who originated the term “disaster capitalism,” speaks on what happens when a disaster-afflicted area becomes a target for greedy land developers. Sat., Sept. 29, 8pm. Victoria Hall Theater, 33 W. Victoria St. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
Storming the Gates of Paradise
Somewhat of a pun, the title of Rebecca Solnit’s new book indicates the author’s adventures in both geographical and political landscapes. She will discuss how her work as an environmentalist informs this exploration of American politics. Thu., Oct. 4, 8pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
Imperial Life in the Emerald City
This fascinating account of life inside the American zone in Baghdad, by Rajiv Chandrasekaran of the Washington Post, is an exclusive look at the life of a journalist in war-torn Iraq. Come hear the author discuss the experiences behind the book. Mon., Oct. 8, 8pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
Here in town to discuss his new book, North River, Hamill is an expert on historical New York City. This novel is set during the Depression, focusing on immigrants and their challenges. Wed., Oct. 17, 8pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
An Evening with Orhan Pamuk
Orhan Pamuk, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, is coming to Santa Barbara to discuss his new novel, Snow. Pamuk is known for his sometimes controversial insights into Turkish culture and religion. Fri., Oct. 19, 8pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
A certified genius (he won the MacArthur Foundation “genius award”), Paul Farmer’s life’s work has been studying the way the world’s impoverished inhabitants disproportionately contract diseases like AIDS. Mon., Oct. 22, 8pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
Richard Tarnas, in Conversation with John Cleese
The Mind & Supermind series presents this discussion-but it’s anyone’s guess which of these two men is which. They’ll converse on science, religion, and the meaning of life, and you can bet it’ll be entertaining. Mon., Nov. 5, 7:30pm. Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. Call 966-4946 or visit lobero.com.
Return of the Condor
Award-winning writer John Moir, who has chronicled the California condor’s return from the brink of extinction, makes a Santa Barbara appearance to discuss his book. A true environmental success story, the saving of the condor will inspire any budding conservationist. Wed., Nov. 14, 7pm. Borders Books in Santa Barbara, 900 State St. Call 899-3668.
An Evening with George Will
For any Santa Barbarans who judge the nation’s conservatives by Dubya alone, George Will’s talk will provide some contrast. A brilliant journalist and writer, Will has a book available for signing. Mon., Nov. 19, 8pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Anyone familiar with modern acronyms will recognize the not-so-subtle message of Ashley Gilbertson’s book title-WTF sums up the feelings of many Americans when it comes to the Iraq War. A photojournalist, Gilbertson has linked his visual experiences in Iraq with commentary, which he will share during his Santa Barbara appearance. Tue., Nov. 27, 8pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.