Lit Lush Life

From the Book Fest to the Poetry Fest to the readings to the releases


The Sonoma County Book Festival enters its 10th year proud to trumpet that reading (and even publishing) have received exaggerated reports of demise. Attracting thousands of lit lovers to downtown Santa Rosa each year, the Book Festival features panel discussions, author readings, children’s events and a really great marketplace that showcases self-published works, small presses, cool zines and a vibrant word-positive culture. This year, look for O’Reilly Media’s Dale Dougherty, the editor and publisher of the innovative DIY culture mag Make, to discuss the wildly successful Maker Faire and other elements of take-it-back culture at the Sonoma County Library.

Also inside will be historian and emeritus Press Democrat columnist Gaye LeBaron, mom-memoirists Izzy Rose and Tasha Blaine as well as novelists Gerald Rosen (Cold Eye, Warm Heart) and Bart Schneider (Man in the Blizzard), who is shown above. In Courthouse Square, poets take the day and there will be a storyteller installed at the children’s tent. Saturday, Sept. 19, from 10am to 4pm, downtown Santa Rosa. Free.

On Sunday, Sept. 20, travel to Petaluma to get more poetry on, as the Petaluma Poetry Walk commences at 10am at the arts center and moves to various venues throughout the downtown area. Obvious high points are Greg Sarris reading at the Apple Box at 1pm and Bill Berkson at Copperfield’s Books at 3pm. The surprising pleasures are yours to divine. The day ends with five-minute plays at the Aqus Cafe at the Foundry Wharf from 6pm. It’s all free. Call 707.762.0563 for details.

The fall publishing season is kind of crazy-hot this year, with everyone from A. S. Byatt to Nick Hornby to Margaret Atwood to Jon Krakauer releasing new works as if people will actually, you know, purchase and read them. Copperfield’s is preparing for the inky deluge by hosting a Hot Books Preview Night on Thursday, Sept. 24, for the public to meet with sales reps from five different publishing houses to get the straight smooth pitch on what’s the best use of your $24.99 this season. 140 Kentucky St., Petaluma. 7pm to 9pm. Free. 707.762.0563.

Copperfield’s has also opened its Classics and Monsters mash-up writing contest in which poor Jane Austen will find her brilliant and subtle character studies regularly denuded by giant sea squid and the like. You know who you are. See details at

Don’t Miss: Novelist Nicholson Baker reading from his latest, The Anthologist (Sept. 16 at 7pm), and poet Kim Addonizio with her new Lucifer at the Starlite: Poems (Sept. 22 at 7pm), both at Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. Free. 415.927.0960.

Museums and gallery notes.

Reviews of new book releases.

Reviews and previews of new plays, operas and symphony performances.

Reviews and previews of new dance performances and events.

Sonoma County Library