The Seattle Review of Books recommends one literary event for every day of the week. As always, we aspire to a nice mix of national and local authors in a variety of venues. This week, we’re following the suggestion of one Jeff Youngstrom, who wants us to bold the author names in this post. What do you think? Helpful? Not helpful? If you have any suggestions, we’d love to hear them. You can always hit us up on Twitter or email.
MONDAY We start the week off with a huge name: Salman Rushdie reads at Town Hall. His newest book, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, “follows the lineage of the mythical Jinn and their part-human children with fantastical powers.” It’s reportedly a tribute to traditional Middle Eastern storytelling. While it’s true that Rushdie has not written a great book in a very long time and he’s been too easily distracted by celebrity nonsense over the last decade, he’s still one of the most important authors of our time. If you’re a young whippersnapper who doesn’t know about the fatwa against him, you should understand that it was a very big deal.
TUESDAY University Book Store hosts a celebration of a collection of essays from scientists and authors. All the essays are about dirt. Literal dirt. The book is titled Dirt: A Love Story. You’ve got to love books that focus on bizarre subjects with a passionate fastidiousness. Contributor David R. Montgomery will be reading and signing at this event.
WEDNESDAY You’ll want to head to Hugo House tonight for the latest edition of Wage Slaves: Tales of the Grind, which is a work-themed reading series that launched a couple years ago. Tonight features a doozy of a lineup: Bruce Barcott, Sam Ligon, and Brian McGuigan, in addition to SRoB-featured poet Anastacia Renee Tolbert and SRoB interviewee Kate Lebo, who’s coming back from Spokane just for this reading. Doughnuts and coffee will also be served, as is Wage Slaves tradition.
THURSDAY Seattle Review of Books co-founder Paul Constant — uh, that’s me — will be giving a talk about Seattle and the Future of Books as part of the 28th Ignite Seattle lecture series at Town Hall. I’m petrified of the Ignite format, a Powerpoint talk in which the slides advance every fifteen seconds whether the reader is ready for them to advance or not. So this could be a disaster. Fun!
However, we have a rule here at Seattle Review of Books. If we’re recommending an event in this column that Seattle Review of Books is taking part in, we’ll also recommend a second, non-SRoB event. We don’t like conflicts of interest any more than you do. So our ALTERNATE THURSDAY event is the Dock Street Salon at Phinney Books, featuring local authors Donna Miscolta and Allison Green. Miscolta is celebrating her new book contract and Green is the author, most recently, of The Ghosts Who Travel with Me. They’ll read and discuss their “publishing journeys” for the Salon part of the night.
FRIDAY For the last day of the work-week, you should head down to the downtown branch of Seattle Public Library for a reading from Erica Jong. The Fear of Flying author reads from her new book, Fear of Dying. Like the title says, it’s a rumination on mortality that plays on the title of her classic novel. (She also wrote a book titled Fear of Fifty.) Like everyone, I read Fear of Flying when I was way too young to appreciate anything but the sex scenes. I have not kept up on Jong since then. But she’s at an interesting place in her career and this is sure to be an interesting reading.
SATURDAY Go to Seattle First Baptist Church for a reading from Richard Blanco, who you probably know best as “the youngest, first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve” as an inaugural poet. Tonight, he’ll be reading from his memoir, The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood, but you’ll probably be able to talk him into reading some poems, too. Though his poem at Obama’s second inauguration was frankly lackluster, he’s a very good poet.
SUNDAY The last featured reading of the week is The Buddhists in the House, a special poetry reading at Gallery 1412. Readers include Maged Zaher, Deborah Woodard, Norman Fischer, and Susan Schultz. Expect Buddhist-themed poetry and also, because Zaher and Woodard are involved, expect brilliance, too.