Novelist Rachel Kushner and more book events for the week ahead

Novelist Rachel Kushner, author of "The Mars Room."
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

The transformative power of literature is on full display at this week’s book events.

Beyond the Edge of the World continues at Clockshop, Writers Resist returns to Venice, two novelists read their work and a new book can help kick start your New Year’s resolutions.

Here’s what’s coming up in the week ahead.

Talking politics

In January 2017, the Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center hosted its first annual Writers Resist reading, an act of literary protest that drew esteemed voices and a massive crowd. This Sunday it presents Writers Resist IV, the final such event before California’s presidential primary. Readers include Doug Brown, Shonda Buchanan, Kate Gale, Brian Ingram, Dana Johnson, Cassandra Lane, Suzanne Lummis, Sarah Maclay, Doug Manuel, Marsha de la O, Judith Pacht, Alicia Partnoy, Phil Taggart, Amy Uyematsu, David L. Ulin and Gail Wronsky.

1 p.m. Sunday at Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Blvd., Venice. Free.

Reading with Rachel Kushner

Diane Leslie’s book group at Diesel is discussing Rachel Kushner’s novel “The Mars Room.” The book features Romy Hall, who is serving two consecutive life sentences at the fictional Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility in the Central Valley after killing a man in self-defense. “Kushner returns throughout the novel to the exhausting, constant possibility of violence,” wrote Idra Novey in a review for The Times; she called “The Mars Room” “a novel of great urgency and devastation.” Kushner, a two-time National Book Award finalist, will be in attendance on Wednesday. Reservations are required for this event.


5 p.m. Wednesday at Diesel Bookstore, 225 26th St., Santa Monica. $20.


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Bright lights in complicated times

Beside the Edge of the World, an arts initiative and collaboration between the Huntington and Clockshop, uses Thomas More’s “Utopia” as a jumping-off point for tough questions. Can artists help us to envision a brighter future? What can we learn from the past? Writer Dana Johnson and artist-designer-writer Rosten Woo will investigate “utopia, dystopia, lost and found histories, California communes, and the black trailblazers of the Golden State” during a discussion about their projects on Thursday. Carlos Kareem Windham will moderate the conversation.

6:30 p.m. Thursday at Clockshop, 2806 Clearwater St., Los Angeles. Free.

New year, new habits

It’s only mid-January: there’s still plenty of time to set New Year’s resolutions (or double down on intentions that have already begun to slip). Debra Eckerling will present her new book, “Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals,” at Pages Bookstore on Thursday.

7 p.m. Thursday at Pages Bookstore, 904 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach. Free.

Ocean Vuong, bestselling author of “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous,” joins the L.A. Times Book Club on Jan. 27.

Revenge of the campus novel

Caroline Zancan brings her sophomore novel, “We Wish You Luck,” to Skylight Books on Thursday. When a professor at a prestigious MFA program ravages a fragile student’s work, his friends plot their revenge in this clever campus novel told in the collective voice of these three former MFA classmates. Zancan, who is also a senior editor at Henry Holt, will be joined in conversation by Aja Gabel after the reading.

7:30 p.m. Thursday at Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles. Free.