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Books

This week of star-studded book events features Salman Rushdie, Colson Whitehead and Emily Nussbaum

“I Like to Watch” author Emily Nussbaum
“I Like to Watch” author Emily Nussbaum will talk TV at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre.
(Clive Thompson)

One surefire sign that fall has arrived: Publishing houses trot out the heavy hitters, which is good news for readers looking for anticipated books to devour and author talks to attend.

This week’s slate features some big names -- Colson Whitehead, Salman Rushdie and Emily Nussbaum -- and much more.

Here’s the rundown for the week ahead:

Lessons from rejection. In a season of star-powered literary events, it’s useful to remember that nearly every writer, no matter how brilliant, has faced some degree of failure. At local romance bookstore the Ripped Bodice, writers Liza Palmer, Chaz Lamar, Frederick Smith and Maika and Maritza Moulite open up about their own gaffes and missteps along the road to publication. How did they overcome the stumbles and why didn’t they give up? Show up for the schadenfreude and stay to find out.

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3 p.m. Sunday at the Ripped Bodice, 3806 Main St., Culver City. Free.

Fighting the good fight. In Cathleen Schine’s latest novel, “The Grammarians,” two language-loving identical twins butt heads over preserving standard English vs. reveling in the evolution of the spoken and written word. Book nerds likely will find the novel’s absurdist conflict perfectly reasonable. As tension mounts, the sisters vie for custody of a prized copy of Merriam Webster’s New International Dictionary (who wouldn’t?). Catch Schine reading from “The Grammarians” at Diesel Bookstore.

3 p.m. Sunday at Diesel Bookstore, 225 26th St., Santa Monica. Free.

Cocktails and conversation. In my humble opinion, there’s no better time for a book event than early evening. You have an ample buffer to arrive after weekend errands, plenty to discuss at a subsequent dinner and still time to knock off a chapter or two of your current read before bed. Literary lady-about-town Julia Ingalls hosts her reading series “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere” at the Mandrake this Sunday at that very hour, featuring novelists Meg Howry and Chris L. Terry, essayist Terrance Flynn and Cave Canem Poetry Prize-winner F. Douglas Brown.

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5 p.m. Sunday at the Mandrake, 2692 La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. Free.

What happened to the “Nickel Boys”? Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and MacArthur Foundation fellow Colson Whitehead’s new novel, “The Nickel Boys,” was inspired by the true story of Florida’s Dozier School for Boys, which he described as “a place of incredible evil” in an interview with former Times books editor Carolyn Kellogg. “In Whitehead’s fictional version, the Nickel School, teen boys Elwood and Turner become friends there in the early 1960s,” she writes, “yet we’re not sure how these young, gifted and black boys will survive.” Whitehead will discuss the book with Kima Jones, founder of Jack Jones Literary Arts, as part of “Scripps Presents.”

7 p.m. Tuesday at Garrison Theater, Scripps College, 241 E. 10th St., Claremont. $30.

Meet Don “Quichotte.” In Salman Rushdie’s latest novel, “Quichotte,” Cervantes’ epic “Don Quixote” gets a 21st century makeover. Set in contemporary America, this social satire and road trip quest has already made the Booker Prize long-list; a piling-on of tragicomedy, meta-fiction and magical realism, it’s what the kids call “extra” and a fine new addition to Rushdie’s imaginative and much-lauded oeuvre. As part of “Writers Bloc Presents,” Rushdie will be in conversation with The Times’ Patt Morrison, and having seen these two on stage before, I can promise that they are a particularly amusing pairing.

7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Ann & Jerry Moss Theater at the Herb Alpert Educational Village at New Roads School, 3131 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica. $20.

She likes to watch. In a review of Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural critic Emily Nussbaum’s new essay collection, “I Like to Watch,” Times contributor Peter Biskind called her “one of the best, if not the best, critic writing about TV today.” Her essayistic reviews, he writes, are essential reading, “springboards from which she plunges into deep waters, the big questions that roil the culture, like the relationships between politics, gender, art and audience.” Nussbaum will be in conversation with Maria Semple, best known for her novel “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” at ALOUD.

7:30 p.m. Thursday at Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, 4814 Hollywood Blvd. , Los Angeles. $42.


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