Los Angeles hosts a slate of novel literary events this week, including a witchy book launch, a combination reading and self-defense workshop and a potluck book swap.
For readers searching for thought-provoking conversations, check out events with Roxane Gay, Saeed Jones, Sasha Sagan and Nicole Richie. There’s a book talk for dog lovers too.
Here are the full listings:
Self-defense class and book talk
A UCLA professor of world arts and cultures/dance will lead a workshop on empowerment self-defense on Saturday. Janet (Jay) O’Shea’s workshop draws on games and theater exercises and is open to participants of all levels. O’Shea also will discuss her book “Risk, Failure, Play: What Dance Reveals About Martial Arts Training.”
Noon Saturday at Pieter Performance Space, 420 W. Avenue 33, Los Angeles. $20 for the workshop; $35 for the workshop and book.
Potluck book swap
Online journal Girls at Library and fashion boutique Bird Brooklyn invite readers to exchange an old book for a new one at their fall book swap on Saturday afternoon, but that’s not all. Guests are welcome to bring small dishes from a favorite cookbook, or treats that call to mind a scene from literature, such as Proust’s madeleines. RSVP requested to firstname.lastname@example.org as space is limited.
3 p.m. Saturday at Bird Brooklyn, 8870 Washington Blvd., Culver City. Free.
Book launch as magical rite
Amanda Yates Garcia, the Oracle of Los Angeles, celebrates the launch of “Initiated: Memoir of a Witch” at Skylight Books on Saturday. Yates Garcia’s story of self-discovery and triumph over the underworlds of poverty, misogyny and an ancestral curse will capture the imagination of anyone puzzling through life’s mysteries. She will discuss her debut with author Pam Grossman, and as evidenced by The Oracle’s previous performances at institutions like the Hammer and J. Paul Getty museums, the event will be an initiation into magic all its own.
6 p.m. Saturday at Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles. Free.
Forging new rituals
Sasha Sagan learned from a young age about the marvels of science and the wonders of the universe. She had a good teacher: Her father is Carl Sagan, the well-known American astronomer. In her book, “For Small Creatures Such as We: Rituals for Finding Meaning in Our Unlikely World,” Sagan creates secular rituals around birthdays, holidays and other special occasions that honor life and family. Nicole Richie will join the author in conversation.
7 p.m. Monday at Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. Free.
Join Saeed Jones and Roxane Gay
Award-winning poet Saeed Jones will discuss his debut memoir, “How We Fight for Our Lives,” with author Roxane Gay at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre on Tuesday night. Jones’ collection “Prelude to Bruise” won the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry and the Stonewall Book Award/Barbara Gittings Literature Award. “How We Fight for Our Lives,” which won a Kirkus Prize on Thursday, is a coming-of-age story written in vignettes that examines race, queerness and power. This event is hosted by Skylight Books.
8 p.m. Tuesday at Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles. $30.
Must love dogs
W. Bruce Cameron, author of canine novels “A Dog’s Purpose,” “A Dog’s Way Home,” and “A Dog’s Journey,” will appear at Vroman’s Bookstore on Tuesday for a reading, Q&A and book signing. His new book is “A Dog’s Promise.” For his book tour Cameron has partnered with Best Friends Animal Society, which aims to make America no-kill by 2025.
7 p.m. Tuesday at Vroman’s Bookstore 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. Free.