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30 notable L.A. literary events in October

September 30, 2010 |  9:45 am

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Fall is a bountiful time for books, and for literary events in Los Angeles, too. Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Cunningham, cookbook author Mark Bittman, bestselling bad boy Tucker Max, L.A. Times book critic David L. Ulin, and Rick Riordan, the man who created young-adult hero Percy Jackson, will all be reading from their new books locally. Steve Martin talks about art and fiction at the Getty, writers face off in Opium Magazine's Literary Death Match, and tickets are on sale to see David Sedaris at Vroman's on Nov. 30 (purchase a copy of his book "Squirrel Meets Chipmunk" from the bookstore now; only 200 seats are available). Below, a selection of 30 notable literary events coming this October. All events are free, unless otherwise noted.

Oct. 2, 5 p.m.: L.A. author Rob Roberge reads from his new short-story collection, "Working Backwards From the Worst Moment in My Life" at Skylight Books.

Oct. 2, 7 p.m.: Greg Graffin, the lead singer of Bad Religion -- who also has a Ph.D. in zoology from Cornell -- reads from and signs his new book "Anarchy Evolution: Science, Faith, Bad Religion in a World Without God" at Book Soup.

Oct. 4, 7 p.m.: Sara Gruen, author of "Water for Elephants," reads and signs her new novel "The Ape House" at Vroman's Bookstore.

Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m.: Two McSweeney's authors -- Darin Strauss and Adam Levin -- read from and discuss their very different books. Levin's "The Instructions" is a 900-page debut novel; Strauss' "Half a Life" is his first nonfiction work, exploring the aftermath of accidentally having killed a girl while driving (he talked about it on "This American Life"). At Skylight Books.

Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m.: Sarah Marcus talks about her history of Riot Grrl, "Girls to the Front" with music from Dunes and Anna Oxygen at Skylight Books.

Oct. 6, 7 p.m.: Humorist and New Yorker editor Ben Greenman reads from and signs "Celebrity Chekov," Chekov's stories re-peopled by today's headline-grabbers, at Book Soup.

Oct. 6, 7:30 p.m.: Actress Marlo Thomas reads from and signs her memoir, "Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny" in a land that I see where the children are free.... Oops, sorry, that's not right, she's at the Saban Theater. Tickets are $40 with book purchase, $20 without.

Oct. 7, 8 p.m.: Humorist P.J. O'Rourke discusses and signs his new book "DON'T VOTE" with Judy Muller at Track 16 Gallery in Santa Monica with Live Talks Los Angeles. Tickets are $20 to $95.

Oct. 7, 7:30 p.m.: David Breskin reads as the poetry leg in the world premiere of "Dirty Baby," an innovative triad of literature, art and music. Nels Cline leads the music, and the art is courtesy Ed Ruscha. At LACMA.

Oct. 9, 7 p.m.: Steven Johnson discusses and signs "Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation" at Vroman's Bookstore.

Oct. 11, 7 p.m.: Michael Cunningham, author of "The Hours," reads from and signs "By Nightfall," his new novel, at Vroman's Bookstore. He's also at the L.A. Public Library for ALOUD at 7 p.m. on Oct. 12.

Oct. 12, 7 p.m.: Actor/comedian/director/writer/banjo player/art collector Steve Martin, author of the forthcoming "An Object of Beauty," and novelist Frederic Tuten ("Self Portraits: Fictions") discuss the intersection of art and their work at the Getty Center.

Oct. 14, 7 p.m.: Joseph O'Neill reads from and discusses his family memoir, "Blood-Dark Track" at the L.A. Public Library's ALOUD series.

Oct. 14, 7:30 p.m.: Opium Magazine's Literary Death Match pits writer against writer in cities nationwide. Seth Greenland, and D.R. Haney are among those facing off; judges include Jesse Thorn from "The Sound of Young America."

Oct. 16, 12 p.m.-4 p.m.: A bus and walking tour of L.A.'s mid-century rivalry between mobster Mickey Cohen and LAPD chief William Parker with John Buntin, author of "L.A. Noir." Conducted by Esotouric, $62.

Oct. 18, 7:30 p.m.: Bestselling mystery writer Michael Connelly reads from and signs his new book "The Reversal" at Skylight Books. [Also at Vroman's on Oct. 5.]

Oct. 19, 7 p.m.: Tucker Max reads from and signs his latest book, "A--holes Finish First," at Book Soup.

Oct, 19, 7 p.m.: New Yorker music critic Alex Ross conducts an audio tour of great bass lines in music history at the L.A. Public Library ALOUD series to accompany his new book, "Listen to This."

Oct. 20, 7 p.m.: Rick Riordan's beloved young-adult hero Percy Jackson is back in "The Lost Hero." Riordan reads and signs at All Saints Church in Pasadena, presented by Vroman's Bookstore. $18.99 with book purchase, $5 without.

Oct. 21, 7 p.m.: Writing in Latino/Escribir en Latino, a panel discussion at the L.A. Public Library's ALOUD Series, with authors Susana Chávez-Silverman, Rubén Martínez and Luis Rodriguez, moderated by Ilán Stavans, editor of "The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature."

Oct. 23, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.: The Los Angeles Archives Bazaar, held for the first time at USC's Doheny Library, will include exhibits from more than 70 historical Los Angeles collections, as well as panel discussions, documentary screenings and a speech by L.A. Times columnist Patt Morrison.

Oct. 25, 6:30 p.m.: Josh Kun, author of "And You Shall Know Us by the Trail of Our Vinyl," conducts a listening party exploring the unexpected connections between Jewish and African American music (Billie Holiday singing in Yiddish?) from the 1930s to 1960s. At the Annenberg Beach House.

Oct. 26, 7 p.m.: Edwidge Danticat reads from and discusses her new book, "Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work" at L.A. Public Library's ALOUD series.

Oct. 26, 7:30 p.m.: Mark Bittman, cookbook author and New York Times columnist, discusses his new cookbook, "Food Matters" at the Skirball Center. Tickets are $15.

Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m.: L.A. Times book critic David L. Ulin reads from and signs his new book, "The Lost Art of Reading" at Skylight Books.

Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m.: Charles Bukowski is remembered in a night of readings and recollections at the Huntington Library, where an exhibit of his papers opens Oct. 9.

Oct. 28, 7 p.m.: Glen Creason, the Los Angeles Public Library's map librarian for more than 20 years, conducts a multimedia journey of Los Angeles through maps at the L.A. Public Library's ALOUD series.

Oct. 28, 8 p.m.: Actor Sir Michael Caine discusses his memoir "From Elephant to Hollywood" at Live Talks Los Angeles, held this night at the Colburn School in downtown Los Angeles.

Oct. 29, 7 p.m.: Director Judd Apatow reads from and signs "I Found this Funny," an anthology of humor pieces benefiting the Dave Eggers  literacy nonprofit 826 National.

Oct. 29, 7:30 p.m.: Singer and actor Rick Springfield discusses his memoir "Late, Late at Night" at the Saban Theater. Tickets are $40 with book purchase, $20 without.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Steve Martin during his co-hosting duties at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards in March.  Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

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