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Our guide to readings, spoken word, and other literary events 

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Actors Reading Writers: Popular local actors read modern and classic short stories. First Monday of every month, 7:30 p.m., free. Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant (at Ellsworth), Berkeley, 510-843-4822.

Julia Alvarez: The author reads from Saving the World. Fri., April 28, 7 p.m., free. A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, 601 Van Ness (at Golden Gate), 441-6670, www.bookstore.com.

Kate Barnett: Kate Barnett talks about Guatemala. Wed., April 26, 7 p.m., free. Get Lost Travel Books, 1825 Market (at Guerrero), 437-0529, www.getlostbooks.com.

Morris Berman: The author reads from Dark Ages America. Wed., April 26, 7 p.m., free. A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, 601 Van Ness (at Golden Gate), 441-6670, www.bookstore.com.

Morris Berman: The author reads from Dark Ages America. Thu., April 27, 12:30 p.m., free. Stacey's, 581 Market (at Second St.), 421-4687, www.staceys.com.

Bookarts Users Group: BUG, the Bookarts Users Group, meets the first Tuesday of each month. At BUG, you can meet other book artists, brainstorm solutions for problems, swap materials, and share sources of information. Call for times. First Tuesday of every month, free. San Francisco Center for the Book, 300 De Haro (at 16th St.), 565-0545, www.sfcb.org.

Celebration of the Word: This regular event features an open mike for writers hosted by Jeanne Powell. Mondays, 7 p.m., free. Perry's Joint, 1661 Fillmore (at Post), 931-5260.

Upamanyu Chatterjee: The author reads from English, August: An Indian Story. Sun., April 30, 7:30 p.m., free. Black Oak Books/Berkeley, 1491 Shattuck (at Vine), Berkeley, 510-486-0698.

Upamanyu Chatterjee: The author reads from English, August: An Indian Story. Mon., May 1, 6 p.m., free. Cody's Books/Stockton, 2 Stockton (at Ellis), 773-0444, www.codysbooks.com.

Elizabeth Clark: The author reads from The Mothers' Group. Wed., April 26, 7:30 p.m., free. Books Inc./Marina, 2251 Chestnut (at Scott), 931-3633, www.booksinc.net.

Rich Cohen: The author reads from Sweet and Low: A Family Story. Tue., May 2, 6 p.m., free. Cody's Books/Stockton, 2 Stockton (at Ellis), 773-0444, www.codysbooks.com.

"Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros": This annual event honors children and their families, and promotes literacy, language, and culture. Sun., April 30, 1 p.m., free. Dolores Park, Dolores between 18th & 20th Sts.

Dale Peck: Thu., April 27, 7:30 p.m., free. USF Campus McLaren Complex, 2130 Fulton (at Cole), 422-6107.

Drop-In Writer's Group: Join other writers for a read-and-critique session led by Marnie Webb. Every other Tuesday, 6 p.m., free. Laurel Book Store, 4100 MacArthur (at 38th Ave.), Oakland, 510-531-2073.

Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Book Discussion Group: A book discussion group; open to all. Call for information. Fourth Wednesday of every month, 7:30 p.m., 355-5616. Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Branch Library, 3555 16th St. (at Market), 554-9445.

Family Story Times: Parents and kids aged 2 to 6 are read to at various library branches. Daily, free, www.sfpl.org. Multiple San Francisco locations, multiple addresses within San Francisco.

Karen Finley: The performance artist reads from George & Martha. Tue., May 2, 7:30 p.m., free. Cody's Books/Telegraph, 2454 Telegraph (at Haste), Berkeley, 510-845-7852.

Friday Night Poetry at the Yak: Spoken word, open mike, and acoustic music are the fare at this regular event. Fridays, 7:30 p.m., free. Yakkety Yak Coffeehouse, 679 Sutter (at Taylor), 351-2090.

Tony Hendra: The author reads from The Messiah of Morris Avenue. Mon., May 1, 7:30 p.m., free. Cody's Books/Telegraph, 2454 Telegraph (at Haste), Berkeley, 510-845-7852.

Mary Higgins Clark: The author talks about her life. Tue., May 2, 6 p.m., $18. Commonwealth Club, 595 Market (at Second St.), 597-6701, www.commonwealthclub.org.

Joe Klein: The author talks with Phil Bronstein. Thu., April 27, 6 p.m., $18. Commonwealth Club, 595 Market (at Second St.), 597-6701, www.commonwealthclub.org.

Benjamin Kunkel: The author reads from Indecision. Fri., April 28, 7 p.m., free. Booksmith, 1644 Haight (at Cole), 863-8688, www.booksmith.com.

Jeremy Larner: The author reads from Chicken on Church and Other Poems. Fri., April 28, 7:30 p.m., free. Black Oak Books/Berkeley, 1491 Shattuck (at Vine), Berkeley, 510-486-0698.

June Jordan's Poetry for the People Final Reading: June Jordan's Poetry for the People presents a hundred brave new student poets. Through April 27, 7 p.m., free. UC Berkeley, Barrows Hall, Bancroft & Telegraph, Berkeley.

Catharine A. MacKinnon: The author reads from Are Women Human? And Other International Dialogues. Thu., April 27, 7:30 p.m., free. Black Oak Books/Berkeley, 1491 Shattuck (at Vine), Berkeley, 510-486-0698.

Robert Mann: The author reads from Forensic Detective: How I Cracked the World's Toughest Cases. Wed., April 26, 12:30 p.m., free. Stacey's, 581 Market (at Second St.), 421-4687, www.staceys.com.

Marion Nestle: The author in conversation with Roy Eisenhardt. Wed., April 26, 8 p.m., $18.50. Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness (at Grove), 392-4400.

Marion Nestle: A talk and lunch with the nutritionist and author. Thu., April 27, noon, $75, 392-4400. Hayes Street Grill, 320 Hayes (at Franklin), 863-5545.

Open-Mike Fridays: Authors are invited to read from their work at this regular open-mike event. Fridays, 8 p.m., free. Cafe International, 508 Haight (at Fillmore), 552-7390.

Poetry and Pizza: Your donation gives you license to attack an all-you-can-eat buffet of thin-crust New York-style pizza as you dig the work of local bards. Last Friday of every month, 7:30 p.m., $5, www.poetryandpizza.homestead.com. Escape From New York Pizza, 333 Bush Street (at Kearny), 421-0700.

Queer Open Mic: Queer spoken-word artists and writers read from their work twice monthly at the center's Three Dollar Bill Café. Second and Fourth Friday of every month, 8 p.m., $1-$3. SF LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market (at Octavia), 865-5555.

Retool and Grind: Monthly open mike for musicians, poets, dancers, and others with a yen to command the stage for five minutes at a time. FTMs and those who love them are the staple performers. Last Wednesday of every month, 7 p.m., free. Eros, 2051 Market (at Church), 864-3767, www.erossf.com.

San Francisco Literary Walking Tour: A two-hour meander through North Beach and Chinatown to look at the apartment buildings, cafes, bookstores, and bars frequented by famous writers of the past. Meet at City Lights, 261 Columbus (at Broadway). Saturdays, noon, $25, 441-0140.

Eric Schlosser: The author reads from Chew on This. Thu., April 27, 7 p.m., free. A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, 601 Van Ness (at Golden Gate), 441-6670, www.bookstore.com.

David Sedaris: The famed humorist speaks. Sun., April 30, 8 p.m., $27.50-$36. Flint Center, 21250 Stevens Creek (at Mary), Cupertino, 408-864-8820.

Seminars for Aspiring or Developing Writers in the Bay Area: Each month this series of three-hour adult seminars for fledgling writers tackles a different theme and includes successful big-name panelists; all proceeds benefit student programming at 826 Valencia. Fourth Sunday of every month, 6 p.m., $100. 826 Valencia, 826 Valencia (at 19th St.), 642-5905.

Mara Holt Skov: The author presents Blobjects & Beyond: The New Fluidity in Design. Tue., May 2, noon, free. SF Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third St. (at Mission), 357-4000, www.sfmoma.org.

Sundays at Cafe Prague: Each week a featured reader presents his or her work, after which the mike is open to others who wish to read; all potential readers must arrive by 4 p.m. Sundays, 4 p.m., free. Cafe Prague, 584 Pacific (at Columbus), 433-3811.

Tuesday at Pat's Cafe Reading Series: Each weekly formal reading is followed by an open-mike session for fledgling writers. Tuesdays, 7 p.m., free. Pat's Cafe, 2330 Taylor (at Columbus), 905-8837.

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez: The author reads from Make Him Look Good. Thu., April 27, 6 p.m., free. Cody's Books/Stockton, 2 Stockton (at Ellis), 773-0444, www.codysbooks.com.

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez: The author reads from Make Him Look Good. Fri., April 28, 7:30 p.m., free. Books Inc./Alameda, 1344 Park Street, Alameda, 510-522-2226, www.booksinc.net.

Jim Van Buskirk: The author reads from Celluloid San Francisco: The Film Lover's Guide to Bay Area Movie Locations. Sat., April 29, 7 p.m., free. Cody's Books/Stockton, 2 Stockton (at Ellis), 773-0444, www.codysbooks.com.

Lara Vapnyar: The author reads from Memoirs of a Muse. Wed., April 26, 7 p.m., free. Books Inc./Laurel Village, 3515 California (at Locust), 221-3666.

The Vowel Movement: A monthly all-ages beatboxing event hosted by Kid Beyond and Tim Barsky. First Tuesday of every month, $7-$15. Studio Z, 314 11th St. (at Folsom), 252-7666, www.studioz.tv.

Weekly Open-Mike/Talent Showcase: Poets, musicians, and comics are invited to step right up and present their act to a waiting audience. All present are also eligible to win four free hours of studio recording time. Wednesdays, 7:30 p.m., free. The Canvas Cafe and Gallery, 1200 Ninth Ave. (at Lincoln), 504-0060, www.thecanvasgallery.com.

Word Beat Reading Series: Readings are followed by an open mike hosted by David Gollub, Debra Grace Khattab, and Jeremy Morris Siegel. Occurs on the first and third Thursday of every month. Daily, 7 p.m., free. Mediterraneum Caffe, 2475 Telegraph Ave. (at Dwight), Berkeley, 510-549-1128.

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