August Book Events: Joyce Maynard, Goth Hop, Hillwide Garage Sale, Melanie Gideon, Josh Healey

Thursday, August 6
Best-selling local author Joyce Maynard's new novel, Labor Day (HarperCollins, $25), tracks six transformative days in one rural teenager's life. As the summer of 1987 winds down in a small New Hampshire town, a lonely 13-year-old and his withdrawn single mom meet a nice man at the store — who has just escaped from the local prison. Find out more when Maynard reads from and talks about her book at 7 p.m. at the Opera Plaza Books Inc., 601 Van Ness (at Turk). 776-1111, www.booksinc.net.

Friday, August 14
As a way of paying tribute to Edgar Allan Poe, who has been with us for 200 years now (although dead for most of them), Litquake has planned its first-ever Goth Hop. "All are encouraged to dress to the nines, sixes, or sevens; dance to their favorite goth tunes; and enjoy the absinthe bar," authorities say. The evening will also allow for a Twilight write-alike/Monster Mash-Up story contest in which participants are encouraged to indulge unnatural familiarity with Stephenie Meyer's teen-girl-magnet tomes. It costs $10 in advance or $13 at the door, and gets started at 8:30 p.m. at the Verdi Club, 2424 Mariposa (at Hampshire). 861-9199, www.litquake.org.

Saturday, August 15
Beginning at 9 a.m., Red Hill Books gets in on Bernal Heights' 16th annual Hillwide Garage Sale by selling books for a dollar a pound. So what if you already have too many books? Now you can have way too many, and for cheap. As is so invitingly written on the store's Web site, www.dogearedbooks.com/redhill, "Come on by and hunt through the boxes, then marvel as Red Hill's unflappable staff balances towering stacks of tomes on the store's trusty antique scale! Find out how much your books weigh before lugging them around all day!" Tip: paperbacks. 401 Cortland (at Bennington), 648-5331.

Tuesday, August 18
Okay, forget what I said a minute ago about blaming your mother and everybody else's. On that subject, San Francisco Writers' Grotto member Melanie Gideon's The Slippery Year (Knopf, $25), a memoir of her own middle age, has this pearl of wisdom to offer: "There comes a time in every mother's life when it becomes very clear that your child is a much better person than you are." That's actually sort of reassuring. It means there is hope for humanity after all. Probably not in your lifetime, but your lifetime is half over anyway. Let the kids take care of it. Gideon reads at 7 p.m. at Bookshop West Portal, 80 West Portal (at Vicente). 564-8080, www.bookshopwestportal.com.

Wednesday, August 26
Word is, when Bertolt Brecht meets MC Hammer, it's Hammertime. That seems very easy to believe — most things meeting Hammer usually result in Hammertime — but you know you still want to hear Oakland's Josh Healey elaborate. Speech, after all, is his hammer. On this evening, after a Youth Speaks spoken-word workshop starting at 6 p.m. and an open mic thereafter, Healey will turn the clocks to Hammertime: Poems & Possibilities (University of Wisconsin Press), his debut collection. That's roughly 7 p.m. if you need to be literal about it, at Modern Times Bookstore, 888 Valencia (at 20th St.). 282-9246, www.moderntimesbookstore.com.

 
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