Lauren Oyler with Terry Castle / No Judgment: Essays

The Booksmith

1727 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

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Booksmith is thrilled to host nationally bestselling novelist and essayist Lauren Oyler for No Judgment: Essays, a collection of brand-new pieces about the role of cultural criticism in our ever-changing world. Lauren will be in conversation with author, scholar and local hero Terry Castle. Join us!

About the book:

In her writing for Harper’s, the London Review of BooksThe New Yorker, and elsewhere, Lauren Oyler has emerged as one of the most trenchant and influential critics of her generation, a talent whose judgments on works of literature – whether celebratory or scarily harsh - have become notorious. But what is the significance of being a critic and consumer of media in today’s fraught environment? How do we understand ourselves, and each other, as space between the individual and the world seems to get smaller and smaller, and our opinions on books and movies seem to represent something essential about our souls? And to put it bluntly, why should you care what she – or anyone – thinks?

In this, her first collection of essays, Oyler writes with about topics like the role of gossip in our exponentially communicative society, the rise and proliferation of autofiction, why we’re all so “vulnerable” these days, and her own anxiety. In her singular prose – sharp yet addictive, expansive yet personal – she encapsulates the world we live and think in with precision and care, delivering a work of cultural criticism as only she can.

Bringing to mind the works of such iconic writers as Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, and Terry Castle, No Judgment is a testament to Lauren Oyler’s inimitable wit and her quest to understand how we shape the world through culture. It is a sparkling nonfiction debut from one of today’s most inventive thinkers.

About the authors:

Lauren Oyler’s essays on books and culture appear regularly in The New Yorker, the New York Times, the London Review of Books, Harper’s, and other publications. Her first novel, Fake Accounts, was a national bestseller when it was published in 2021. She lives in Berlin. Photo by Carleen Coulter.

Terry Castle has recently retired after teaching literature and the arts at Stanford for forty years. She is the author of eight books—including the prize-winning anthology, The Literature of Lesbianism, and the acclaimed essay/memoir collection, The Professor: A Sentimental Education, runner-up for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2010. Over the years she has written for the London Review of Books, New York Review of Books, The Atlantic, Harper’sNew York Times Book Review, and The New Republic. Castle is also an unsuccessful visual artist and photographer. Photo courtesy the author.

Please note:

  • Masks will not be required for this event, but we are limiting capacity somewhat. For that reason, we can't guarantee we'll have space for walk-ins. The best way to ensure you’ll get a seat is to order the Book + Seat ticket; you can also RSVP for a free seat while they last.
  • We are happy to offer *signed copies* of No Judgment: order a Book + Seat ticket bundle if you'd like to pick up a signed copy at the event, or order here if you just want a signed copy and no admission.
  • Safety protocols are subject to change. If we feel it is not safe to gather, as the event gets closer, we will pivot to a virtual event and your registration will remain valid.
  • Questions? Write [email protected].


Refund Policy:

No refunds or returns.

Cancellation Policy:

In the event of cancellation, you will be refunded the price of your ticket within 4 business days.

Lauren Oyler with Terry Castle / No Judgment: Essays poster
The Booksmith
1727 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117