MONDAY Garth Risk Hallberg reads from his enormous, buzzy debut novel City on Fire at Elliott Bay Book Company. I haven’t read this one yet — every season seemingly brings with it a Big Ambitious Novel By a Young White Guy, and it’s very hard to tell which of them really matter. (The last one of these big novels, Joshua Cohen’s The Book of Numbers, was widely celebrated as a success on its release this spring, but most people I know who’ve read it call it a bust.) Everybody’s talking about Fire for its depiction of New York City in the 1970s, which is at least promising; if a writer can successfully write about a city, they’re probably worth your time.
TUESDAY University Book Store hosts an event sponsored by the Science Fiction Writers of America. Authors Jason Hough, Stina Leicht, and Adam Rakunas will read and talk about writing science fiction. Hough is the author of the The Dire Earth Cycle of books, Leicht's “flintlock fantasy” is titled Cold Iron, and Rakunas is the recently transplanted-to-Seattle author of the novel Windswept, which I reviewed in September. It’s always fun to see sci-fi authors get together and talk shop; they’re usually a little more open than their literary fiction cousins when it comes to the art and business of writing.
WEDNESDAY It’s Veterans Day, and so the Red Badge Project presents a reading of new work by women veterans at Hugo House. Seattle authors Suzanne Morrison and Sonya Lea present new work by women who have served in the military, many of whom have experienced trauma. The Facebook invitation for this event calls this “an opportunity for the public to hear the experiences of women veterans, and in so doing, become a part of a community ceremony to witness who they were, and who they are becoming.” Sounds like a fitting way to spend your Veterans Day.
THURSDAY At Town Hall Seattle, it’s a live edition of Ampersand magazine, with special guests including KEXP DJ John (of “…in the Morning” renown) Richards, artist and childrens’ book author Nikki McClure, poet Janie Miller, and many others. The organization that puts this event on, Forterra, “works to conserve the environment and build communities throughout the Northwest.”
FRIDAY Okay, so the event everyone is going to be talking about is Jesse Eisenberg and Sherman Alexie at Broadway Performance Hall. Obviously, this will be a good time. Alexie is a brilliant reader and a very good interrogator. Eisenberg is a marvelous actor. But this event is also going to be packed — it’s a free event and so it’s first-come, first-serve — and it will likely be as “sold out” as a free event can get. We try not to promote sold-out events in this column. So we’d like to suggest you head to the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center in West Seattle for a reading from wonderful poet and novelist Karen Finneyfrock and poet Roberto Ascalon. Finneyfrock will read from her still-in-progress book The Year We Ruined the House. Ascalon will read some of his incredible poetry.
SATURDAY Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery hosts Seattle cartoonist Tatiana Gill, who is celebrating the release of three new books: Omnibusted, Plus, and Living in the Now. Omnibusted collects her recent work, Plus is a collection of sketches celebrating women of all sizes, and Now collects 500 days’ worth of journal comics. Taken together, it’s a truly impressive body of work, and this should be a night to remember.
SUNDAY You might as well camp out in the Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery all weekend long, because today, Jonathan Lethem presents the Best American Comics 2015, which he edited. Lethem, obviously, is one of the finest novelists alive, and he’s also a wonderful fan. He’s written adoring, brilliant pieces about comics that he loves, authors he adores, and music that he can’t live without. He also wrote an excellent book about the movie They Live. Lethem is likely to be a huge geek this afternoon; this is a good thing, because nobody geeks out better.