RJ Ingram lives in Oakland and is pursuing an M.F.A. in creative writing from Saint Mary's College. Rocket Caleshu is an M.F.A. candidate in the Critical Studies Department at the California Institute of the Arts.
What if your favorite literary figures had smartphones and unlimited data plans? Such is the premise of Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters, the first book from the wry and always amusing Mallory Ortberg, Oaklander and co-creator of the women-centric website The Toast. Ortberg draws from well-known literary figures and books (Jane Eyre, obvs., along with Sherlock Holmes, Atlas Shrugged, The Hunger Games), as well as less prominent figures (Circe, The Wife of Bath), but you don’t have to be a former English major or someone who wears bloomers to enjoy these missives. A few favorites include texts from Odysseus to Circe: “Why did you turn my friends into pigs?” “I don’t know. Maybe the real question is why are your friends so turn-into-pigsable”; Beth from Little Women complaining that sun shining through a window is killing her; and a (presumably teenage) Virginia Woolf texting her intrusive mother: “I NEED A ROOM OF MY OWN NOT A ROOM YOU COME INTO WHEN I’M GONE AND CLEAN UP … MY FICTION IS THAT YOU’RE AN UTTER BITCH TIDY THAT UP.” Ortberg will sign, read, (and hopefully shout) from her book on Saturday at Pegasus Books (2349 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley). Regardless of your literary inclinations, Texts from Jane Eyre is sure to leave you ROFL B-)
has been bringing a hand-picked selection of prominent and emerging writers to Pegasus Books Downtown (2349 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley) on the third Wednesday of every month. Hosted and curated by Rad Dad zine editor Tomas Moniz and Berkeley Poetry Festival organizers Sharon Coleman and MK Chavez, the series aims to provide a picture of the diverse Bay Area literary landscape by gathering different types of writers on the same stage. “We’ve paired slam poets with writers of erotic memoir; we’ve highlighted writers published by mainstream presses, hard core zinesters who still staple each issue, comics artists, and playwrights,” Moniz wrote in an email. For its fourth anniversary edition, the series is hosting authors Virgie Tovar, Daniel Riddle Rodriguez, Matthew Zapruder, and Aimee Suzara. Though Lyrics and Dirges’ lineup is always eclectic, Tovar promises an especially memorable performance. Author of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion, Virgie Tovar travels the country preaching the motto “Lose Hate Not Weight,” and serving up refreshingly raw lectures and readings concerning body politics, sex, and identity. She fits the bill for Lyrics and Dirges nicely, which also aims to represent socially engaged writers who share perspectives that are relevant to their communities.