Author discusses America and Middle Eastern literature

Who's in town
Reza Aslan: author of “No god but God” and “How to Win a Cosmic War,” discusses the American cultural blind spot around the literature and history of the Middle East. [6:30 p.m., Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., S.F.]

Lectures
Wallace Sampson:
The editor of the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine discusses why more and more people are opting for complementary and alternative medicine. [5:15 p.m., Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., S.F.]

Literary events
Anne Lamott:
The locally based writer talks about her latest novel, “Imperfect Birds.” [7 p.m., Jewish Community Center, 3200 California St., S.F.]

Poetry night: Poets Simon Pettet and Bill Berkson read from their work. [7 to 9 p.m., Bird and Beckett Books and Records, 653 Chenery St., S.F.]

At the colleges
Master class:
Pianist Awadagin Pratt conducts a master class in which he examines piano masterworks. [9:30 a.m., San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak St., S.F.]

Architecture lecture: Luke Ogrydziak and Zoe Prillinger, of Ogrydziak/Prillinger Architects, a San Francisco based studio, speak. [7 to 9 p.m., California College of the Arts, 1111 Eighth St., S.F.]

Nursing program: USF’s School of Nursing presents an overview of its master’s and doctoral degree options. [4 p.m., USF, Lone Mountain Admission Presentation Room, No. 203, 2800 Turk Blvd., S.F.]

At the public library
Job Seekers Lab:
Computers are available for creating or updating your resume, preparing job applications, and searching online for jobs. [11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Main Library, Training Center, 100 Larkin St., S.F.]

‘Mental Aerobics’: Class explores how to exercise the brain in fun and challenging ways to maintain and improve cognitive vitality and memory. [1:30 p.m., Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Room, 100 Larkin St., S.F.]

Local activities
Cold fever:
The California Academy of Sciences hosts “’Tis the Season for Science,” an Arctic-themed celebration. Attractions include two live reindeer and igloo presentations. [9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Golden Gate Park, S.F.]

Rock band: Grinderman performs at the Warfield. Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Martyn Casey and Jim Sclavunos, all from the postpunk group Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, make up the group. [8 p.m., 982 Market St., S.F.]

Tree lots: Holiday trees are for sale at lots run by, and benefiting, the Delancey Street Foundation. [8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; 2198 Market St., S.F.; 1599 Bryant St., S.F.;  2601 Van Ness Ave., S.F.; and Pier 32, the Embarcadero, S.F.]

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