AMONG THE BELIEVERSIn the vibrant San Francisco literary scene, you haven’t made it unless you can play six degrees (or less) to David Eggers. HEIDI JULAVITS can do it in just two. She edits the Believer with author Vendela Vida, who’s married to Eggers, the force behind McSweeney’s and the student writing center 826 Valencia. Anyway, Julavits’s third novel, The Uses of Enchantment, traces the aftermath of 16-year-old Mary’s alleged abduction from a New England prep school and her subsequent push into therapy. Everyone from Michael Chabon to A.M. Homes praises Julavits’s gifts as a prose stylist and says this book is her best yet; find out for yourself when she reads at Newtonville Books, 296 Walnut St, Newton | 7:30 pm | free | 617.244.6619.
GIVE IT YOUR BESTAnother year, another “best of” essay collection. Yawn. Well, Best of American Essays 2006 guest editor LAUREN SLATER has selected “birthing, dying, and all the business in between” as the theme this go-round, so this isn’t your usual batch of self-reflective reflections. Contributors include newcomer Laurie Abraham and her “Kinsey and Me” plus guaranteed-to-please veterans like SUSAN ORLEAN, who chronicles her hunt for a stolen border collie. Orlean will read along with Slater and series editor ROBERT ATWAN at the Brookline Booksmith, 279 Harvard St, Brookline | 7 pm | free | 617.566.6660.