Literary Event of the Week: Susanna Ryan and Nathan Vass in conversation

I hate to drive. I hate cars in general. Driving makes me anxious and angry and dumb. I prefer to get around Seattle by walking or taking transit.

Seattle is better on foot. When you're moving slower, you can appreciate the subtle ways that neighborhoods gradually change and morph, one into the other. You can see the detail that goes into the older buildings. You can find the amazing network of pedestrian paths that web outward from the city to Everett and Auburn and Redmond. You can really see where you live.

And on transit, you develop an understanding of who you're sharing your city with. You get to see your neighbors, understand how they live their lives, eavesdrop on which books they're reading. Taking transit makes me feel more connected to humanity. We're all going somewhere, and the vast majority of us are good and decent people who'll give up a seat for others who need it.

This Friday at Third Place Books Lake Forest Park, two local authors who exemplify the two best ways to get around town are going to be in conversation. Nathan Vass, the Seattle bus driver who wrote the excellent essay collection The Lines That Make Us, will be in conversation with cartoonist and local historian Susanna Ryan, author of the comic collection Seattle Walk Report.

I loved both these books. Vass's impeccably designed volume — it looks like a bus schedule — collects slice-of-life stories, observations about the changing city, and deeper thoughts about humanity and art. Ryan's comics are funny and enthusiastic peeks into the overlooked treasures of Seattle daily life: the finer details of civic infrastructure, the bizarre things people leave behind on the street, the history that we walk by every day.

Putting these two authors together is completely inspired. They're both young, optimistic, earnest observers of everyday life. This should be a conversation that every Seattleite would find to be inspiring — no matter how they get around. Third Place Books Lake Forest Park, 17171 Bothell Way NE, 366-3333,, 6 pm, free.