Even if you don't know Randall Munroe's name, you likely have at least seen his work. He's the cartoonist behind XKCD, the delightfully nerdy online comic that gets way more mileage out of stick figures than is humanly possible. Munroe brings an engineer's mind to the bizarre, often taking nonsensical claims to their logical extremes for the sake of...I dunno, science? His latest book, How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems, imagines the most complicated way to solve simple problems, to hilarious effect. Third Place Books Lake Forest Park, 17171 Bothell Way NE, 366-3333, http://thirdplacebooks.com, 7 pm, $28.
Everyone knows David Guterson for Snow Falling on Cedars, but his latest book is a grand departure from the world of fiction. Turn Around Time is a non-fiction testament to the beauty of being in Northwest wilderness, and it's written in verse. If you've ever been stunned by the varieties of green available in one square foot of the rain forest out on the Olympic Peninsula, this is the book for you.
Seattle Public Library, 1000 4th Ave., 386-4636, http://spl.org, 7 pm, free.
"Susan Straight's memoirish new book, In the Country of Women, tells the story of how Straight and her three daughters investigated their own family history, only to discover the story of remarkable women who sacrificed so much along the way. Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Ave, 624-6600, http://elliottbaybook.com, 7 pm, free.
Seattle author John Englehardt's debut novel from great small press Dzanc Books is about what happens in a community after a mass shooting. The great local literary magazine Moss recently published an excerpt of the book. This will be a launch party for the book, and I'll be interviewing Englehardt onstage. Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Ave, 624-6600, http://elliottbaybook.com, 7 pm, free.
Cascadia Magazine presents a lineup of great talent from the Northwest, including journalist Karin Jones and climate scientist Sarah Myre. (They'll be discussing polyamory and feminism in the sciences, respectively. Local poets Susan Rich, Martha Silano, Shin Yu Pai, and Robert Lashley will also read. Rendezvous, 2322 2nd Ave, 441-5823, 7 pm, $10 suggested donation, 21+.
See our Event of the Week column for more details. Various locations and times, http://www.kathyackerseattlesymposium.com/schedule.htm
More women than ever are running for office, but author June Diane Raphael won't be happy until women can campaign with the confidence and ease of a mediocre white man. She'll be presenting her new how-to guide for civic engagement, and chatting with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan onstage. Town Hall Seattle, 1119 8th Ave., 652-4255, http://townhallseattle.org, 3 pm, $5.