tonight at book passage

Don George, weekly travel columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and editor of the Lonely Planet humor anthology By the Seat of My Pants, will be at Book Passage in Corte Madera tonight at 7:00. I’ll be joining him to talk about my essay, “Blackout in Ushauia,” which involves an electrical outage at the Southern tip of Tierra del Fuego and an awkward encounter my husband and I had with a large family in our hotel room. Other contributors will also be sharing their funny travel stories.

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doing time

Remember that piece in Harper’s a few months back wherein Lynn Freed compares teaching creative writing to suffering in a gulag? Did it seem a bit over-the-top? From the mind of Mark Pritchard, author of Too Beautiful and Other Stories and How I Adore You, comes a hilarious spoof, The Secret Diary of a Prisoner in the Creative Writing Gulag. Here’s a sample entry:

October 5, 1983
I try to begin each class with a bit of Proust, Stendahl, or Trollope. One of the students snickered every time I said “Trollope;” he thought I meant a whore. Faced with À la recherche du temps perdu, only one student had a question: “Has anybody ever read this whole thing?”I moved on to a discussion of point of view. A student wearing what I later discovered was a cap associated with the American sport of baseball offered this observation: “So, no matter how many people you got, third person is only one person.”Only two more months before I go to Ibiza.

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fusion city!

Wondering what to do with your Monday night? Join me at San Francisco’s Edinburgh Castle Pub. Kate Braverman is hosting a new series billed as a “literary talk show,” and this is the second event in the series. We’ll sort of be talking about first novels, but with Kate at the helm, anything could happen. In the lineup: Kim Addonizio, Katia Noyes, Charlie Anders, and yours truly. Also on the ticket: a performance by Daphne Gottlieb. 950 Geary, 7:00 p.m.

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on the wrong side of history

from AP: More than 150 nations agreed Saturday to launch formal talks on mandatory post-2012 reductions in greenhouse gases — talks that will exclude an unwilling United States. For its part the Bush administration, which rejects the emissions cutbacks of the current Kyoto Protocol, accepted only a watered-down proposal to enter an exploratory global “dialogue” on future steps to combat climate change. That proposal specifically rules out “negotiations leading to new commitments.”

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