Stephen Elliott

Most non-fiction writers, when insinuating themselves into the story they’re supposedly reporting, try to disguise that tendency. Not Stephen Elliott, the Bay Area author who took a crack at crime writing by following a murder trial. (In 2006, Hans Reiser was charged with killing his Russian mail-order bride, the mother of his two children.) The Adderall Diaries (Graywolf, $22) are emphatically and forthrightly diaries—first-person and candid, more confessional than investigative, a series of very loosely related ruminations on the author’s drug addictions, sex addictions, unhappy family history, things he’s read, writing classes he’s taught, old girlfriends, and his doppelgänger relationship with a key trial witness. (The latter, also fond of drugs and S&M, was briefly the lover of the slain woman.) Though Elliott interviews Reiser in prison, the former Silicon Valley executive remains unknowable—a study in denial who refuses to acknowledge his own worst impulses. By contrast, Elliott tells us everything about his failings, which makes him seem comparatively healthy. BRIAN MILLER

Fri., Sept. 18, 7:30 p.m., 2009

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