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Written on the Dock of the Bay: June 7, 2013


Written on the Dock of the Bay is your weekly guide to literary and bookish happenings in the pleasantly literary and bookish Bay Area.


Dictionary giveaway  // If you're too cheap to buy a dictionary, consider posing as a third-grader this week. 1,200 lucky Oakland Public School kids have been given free access to enough words and definitions to bathe their brains in, thanks to the nonprofit Volunteering for Oakland. One Sequoia Elementary School student wrote a thank-you note to the man who runs the Dictionary Day Program, saying, "I love the dictionary because it has all kinds of things I like about the presidents and planets.  It is so cool.” Indeed.

Apple Enlists Winnie-the -Pooh  // During the second day of the anti-trust civil trial waged against Apple for manipulating electronic book prices, an Apple Inc. lawyer got the Penguin chief executive to admit that Winnie-the-Pooh looks pretty dang good in color on Apple products and not so good, and boringly black and white, on other products. And so, back in 2010, Penguin conceded to Apple's low price demands. Thus, the $9.99 e-book price model began -- out of nothing more, says Apple, than Penguin's desire to see Winnie-the-Pooh looking cute and yellow.

Food at the library // The San Francisco Public Library, in partnership with the City’s Department of Children, Youth and Their Families, is serving free lunch to young people at libraries this summer. The library’s website optimistically declares, "Come for lunch, then hang out to read and learn!" Heaven knows it's hard to read when you're hungry.  Click here  for a full list of lunch dates.


Friday, June 7

One Good Egg reading // "Life could be as simple as swallowing a batch of fertilized eggs and burping up some babies," writes Suzy Becker in One Good Egg. Becker wanted to have two kids basically since she was born. But she waited. Eventually, many moons later, out came a baby and out came One Good Egg. Come to the Book Passage  if you want to hear all about Becker's fertility - because, really, who doesn't?  // DETAILS: Friday, June 7, 7:30pm. Book Passage. 1 Ferry Building, San Francisco

Instant City Issue #8 Release Party // Last July, I spoke to Adobe bookstore  owner Andrew McKinley about the continuing struggles to keep San Francisco's whimsically haphazard artist hangout, Adobe Bookstore, open. And, almost a year later, it's still open. Since then, Adobe has big plans to live on forever-for-now on 24th Street. But while Adobe's still on 16th Street and while you can still sink into piles of books, come to Adobe's Bookroom Gallery  to celebrate the launch of Instant City's  8th issue. Instant City is always about San Francisco, and this week's theme is genre bending - so expect things like vampire cowboys, cowboy vampires, philosophical chic lit, and biblical smut.  // DETAILS: Friday, June 7, 6:30pm. Adobe Books Backroom Gallery. 3166 16th Street, San Francisco

Sunday, June 9

Poetry Flash // Diesel's Poetry Flash  is back in town. This month's installment features Natalie Diaz, Tomás Q. Morín, and James Arthur.  In Natalie Diaz's book of poems When My Brother Was an Aztec, Diaz depicts a sister struggling with her brother's addiction to meth. You may know Diaz as a professional basketball player, if you happen to follow European or Asian basketball players who are also poets. Tomás Q. Morín's collection, A Larger Country, does some Christopher Columbus-style exploration of the memory. James Arthur's Charms Against Lightning  addresses the every day and makes it matter.  // DETAILS: Sunday, June 9, 3pm. Diesel Bookstore. 5433 College Avenue, Oakland

Wednesday, June 12

East Bay Express Book Club launch // East Bay Express book writer Ellen Cushing hates literary events. This isn't slander - she says so. In her defense, she's trying really, really hard to learn to love them. To do so, she's launching the first ever East Bay Express book club, where she's inviting club members to do something different: actually read the book the authors talk about at their events. She'll be at Mrs. Dalloway's  this Wednesday to try to enjoy  Oakland-based author Sam Sattin talk about League of Somebodies, a superhero/coming-of-age story about twisted fathers and frightened sons. (You can read her review in EBX here.)  For those who don't know Cushing, her level of coolness is nearly unbelievable, and she's baking cookies as well as throwing out an invitation to an undecided bar afterwards. So if I were you, and if I were me, I'd be there. //DETALS: Wednesday, June 12, 7:30pm. Mrs. Dalloway's. 2904 College Avenue, Berkeley

Thursday, January 13

Paxton Gate Story Hour // If you've never taken your kid (and for all extents and purposes, let's assume you have a kid) to the Paxton Gate's Curiosities for Kids  eccentric garden store, you should. Paxton Gate Story hour is the perfect opportunity, and it takes place every Thursday at 12pm. This is a store with gnarled tree branches, old rope, and hand-knitted taxidermy the kids will love as much, if not more, than the stories carefully chosen by the Paxton Gate team each week. Trust them with your kid. They'll surprise you. // DETAILS: Thursday, January 13, 12pm. Paxton Gate's Curiosities for Kids'. 766 Valencia Street, San Francisco