Book It: The Five Best Literary Events This Week

Michael Pollan will be at the Tattered Cover Colfax on May 31.
Michael Pollan will be at the Tattered Cover Colfax on May 31. Montgomery Barron
There's a lot of literary activity this week, from important discussions about guns and American life to the expansion of minds and hearts and lives, leading into this year's edition of LitFest and culminating with the Colorado Book Awards on June 2. Oh, and Michael Pollan is coming to town, too. Keep reading for the best literary events on the calendar, and then book a few...

University of New Mexico Press
William Briggs, How America Got Its Guns
7:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 30
Boulder Bookstore
1107 Pearl Street, Boulder
$5 (can be credited to purchase)

Join author William Briggs as he lays out a balanced and painstakingly unbiased account of the history of guns in America, focusing on the Second Amendment and the laws and court cases that it's spawned. Guns account for the deaths of more than 30,000 American every year — and too many of those are children. Briggs’s book, How America Got Its Guns: A History of the Gun Violence Crisis, goes beyond bumpersticker slogans and tackles the complexities of an issue that's very much in need of examination — and resolute action.

click to enlarge PENGUIN PRESS
Penguin Press
Michael Pollan, How to Change Your Mind
Thursday, May 31, 7:30 p.m.
Tattered Cover
2526 East Colfax Avenue
$33 (admission includes a copy of the book)

Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) comes to Denver to read from and sign his much-anticipated new book, How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence. (I don’t know if Pollan’s books are getting better, but their titles sure are getting longer.) It's a brave and brilliant journey into our understanding of the mind, of ourselves, and of the world in which we all live. With its use of science, memoir, travel writing, history and medicine, the book is a triumph of participatory journalism.

click to enlarge RED HEN PRESS
Red Hen Press
LitFest Kickoff Party
Friday, June 1, 6 p.m.
Lighthouse Writers Workshop
1515 Race Street
$20 members/$30 non-members

Lighthouse Writers Workshop spends the first two weeks of June kicking your literary ass in a completely constructive and generous way — that sort of positive, feel-good, creatively productive ass-kicking that will make you smile, make you grateful, and make you come back for more year after year. The full schedule of the two-week literary bacchanal can be found here, but on this inaugural night of LitFest 2018, come to hear Steve Almond read from Bad Stories: What the Hell Just Happened to Our Country, have your tarot cards read, enjoy some live music, eat a little, drink a little, mingle a little, and prep yourself for the inevitable and much-welcomed ass-kickings to follow.

click to enlarge NEW PAGE BOOKS
New Page Books
Melissa Joy Jonsson, The Art of Limitless Living
Friday, June 1, 7 p.m.
Barnes & Noble Bookstore
960 South Colorado Boulevard, Glendale

We already are what we wish to become: that’s the central message in Melissa Joy Jonsson’s book The Art of Limitless Living: The Joy, Possibility, and Power of Living a Heart-Centered Life. Jonsson comes to the Barnes & Noble on Colorado Boulevard to read from and sign her book about self-improvement and what she calls “interactive reality creation.” It’s a wild world out there; care to gamble a Friday night on that world suddenly becoming your heart-centered oyster?

click to enlarge Wayne Miller's Post-Poems won the Colorado Book Award for poetry in 2017. - MILKWEED EDITIONS
Wayne Miller's Post-Poems won the Colorado Book Award for poetry in 2017.
Milkweed Editions
Colorado Book Awards
Saturday, June 2, 4:30 p.m.
Sie FilmCenter
2510 East Colfax Avenue

Colorado Humanities and the Center for the Book present the 27th annual Colorado Book Awards, recognizing the state’s best literary efforts in categories that range from fiction to poetry to young adult to nonfiction and more. This ceremony honors the finalists from the 2018 contest, naming the winners in fourteen subject areas — all of them representing the best writing in colorful Colorado.
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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen