[CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post claimed that Third Place Books was selling only used books at 20 percent off on January 1st. In fact, they're selling every book, new and used, at 20 percent off.]
The youngest son of “Big Jim” Whittaker, the first American to climb Mount Everest, is also a mountain climber. Maybe Leif Whittaker can explain what the deal is with his bizarre family business — everybody knows the punchline “because it’s there,” but what really makes two generations of a family decide to climb mountains? Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Ave, 624-6600, http://elliottbaybook.com . Free. All ages. 7 p.m.
Michael Chabon’s latest novel combines rocket science, deathbed confessions, and family secrets into one memoirish novel. Ostensibly a story about Chabon’s dying grandfather, Moonglow is quieter and more direct than some of his other novels, and its realism and relatively simple sentences might open Chabon up to a new audience. Seattle Public Library, 1000 4th Ave., 386-4636, http://spl.org. Free. All ages. 7 p.m.
See our Literary Event of the Week column for more details. Hollow Earth Radio, 2018 E. Union St., 617-1683, hollowearthradio.org. Free. All ages. 8 p.m.
The fourth Rainier Valley Lit Crawl centers around Hillman City, venturing to, in order, Spinnaker Bay, Big Chickie, Adugenet, and Union Bar. Those four venues will host an array of authors including Daemond Arrindell, Sarah León, Fernando Pérez, Jekeva Phillips, Anastacia Renee, Thomas Walton, and Corina Zappia. Spinnaker Bay, 5718 Rainier Ave S., 725-2337, http://gregbem.com/. Free. All ages. 5 p.m.
Seattle’s largest craft show is a great place to cross off all the last-minute gifts on your holiday shopping list. You can find a little bit of everything here, but be sure to visit the seven papercraft exhibitors, including journal makers, book arts experts, and letterpress printers. Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, 4326 301 Mercer St, http://urbancraftuprising.com Free. All ages. 10 a.m.
This reading from Thomas Friedman’s latest book, Thank You for Being Late, is ostensibly sold out, but many Town Hall events have last-minute seating available for people who show up and wait in line. Friedman’s latest book — about technology, globalization, and climate change — looks like it’s worth a few minutes of standing in the cold. Town Hall Seattle, 1119 8th Ave., 652-4255, http://townhallseattle.org. $5. All ages. 7:30 p.m.
The catchphrase of The Furnace reading series is descriptive, intense, and memorable: “One Writer. One Story. Read to completion (with vigor).” It’s oddly sexual in tone — I can think of no other reading series in Seattle that is described with the same language as a handjob — but it’s exactly what you get when you show up for a Furnace reading.
Founded by Seattle writers Anca Szilagyi and Corinne Manning in 2012, the quarterly Furnace series has brought one writer to Hollow Earth Radio’s studios before a live studio audience to read a story that incorporates audio elements like music and sound effects. The reading is broadcast live on Hollow Earth, and audio recordings live forever on their website. If you’re looking for particular recordings to sample, the top two recordings on the Furnace’s Sound and Video page are great places to start.
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s story “The Freezer Door” circulates through her interests: the increasingly conformist attitudes of modern American cities, sexuality, and the complexities of attraction. She moved to San Francisco in 1992 and joined in on the seemingly never-ending parade of hookup culture. Everyone, at the time, was kissing everyone. She explains, “this kiss didn’t necessarily feel like a radical act; it was just something you did when you were a faggot.”
And possibly the best Furnace is from October of 2015: Anastacia Renee Tolbert’s story “The City.” In her introduction, Szilagyi calls Tolbert “a queer superhero of color,” and that’s just about right. Not many poets would have the guts to read a narrative poem featuring the city of Seattle as a protagonist, but Tolbert pulls it off and makes it look effortless. Over a droning retro electronic soundtrack created by local sound collective WINDOWS95SECONDEDITION, Tolbert reads, “this city sits on itself like a tired woman after a long day of being black…we are beautiful in the rain because the rain makes us blurry.”
It’s a Seattle in crisis, a Seattle trying to find its own voice, a city distracted by coffee and body image. It’s the Seattle out our window. Later in “The City,” Tolbert announces that in Seattle, “we all have a story to tell and that’s why there are so many writers here.” That could just as easily have been an alternate, non-handjobby catchphrase for the Furnace, too.
This Friday, Manning and Szilagyi will present the last-ever Furnace reading. (“Corinne and Anca love you forever but we are in our 30s and need to finish our books,” a notice on The Furnace site says.) They’re violating one of the cardinal rules of the series with the finale: the final Furnace will feature not one writer but an army of them, made up of Furnace alumni including Sycamore, Tolbert, Chelsea Werner-Jatzke, Nancy Jooyoun Kim, and Buffy Aakaash. Szilagyi and Manning will fold contributions from all the writers together into a single story, with a soundtrack by WINDOWS95SECONDEDITION and The Shtick Figures. It will undoubtedly be read to completion (with vigor.)
Hollow Earth Radio, 2018 E. Union St., 617-1683, hollowearthradio.org. Free. All ages. 8 p.m.
See our Event of the Week column for more details. Various locations. Free. All ages. Noon – 5 p.m.
Sarah Riggs has written five books of poetry and she’s also also directed films, including Six Lives: A Cinepoem. Riggs has come all the way from New York City to celebrate the latest book of poetry by Seattle author Sarah Mangold, the excellently titled Giraffes of Devotion. Open Books, 2414 N. 45th St., 633-0811, openpoetrybooks.com. Free. All ages. 7 p.m.
This West Seattle-centric reading series features Imani Sims (whose poem “Allure” begins “She was perfect pitcher,/Cooled glass and ice center”) and Alma García, a writer of short stories (and, recently, a novel) who writes about the Latinx experience and what an appropriate size would be for a “dog-sized” dog. C&P Coffee Co., 5612 California Ave. SW, http://wordswestliterary.weebly.com. Free. All ages. 7 p.m.
This reading series brings fine literary writers to the beautiful neighborhood bookstore, Phinney Books. Tonight’s readers are novelists Tobias Carroll and Jarret Middleton, and short story author Matthew Simmons, who is the author of the new collection The In-Betweens. Simmons writes about road trips and jackalopes and black metal. Phinney Books, 7405 Greenwood Ave. N., 297-2665, http://phinneybooks.com. Free. All ages. 7 p.m.
As Sarah Galvin noted in her excellent review, Michelle Tea is an iconic memoirist and queer sex symbol. Her newest book, Black Wave, is a memoir with a dystopic novel laid over the top, which kind of resembles the world in which we live right now. Tea is joined by memoirist Donna Kaz and musician Jordan O’Jordan. Fred Wildlife Refuge, 128 Belmont Ave. E., 322-7030. http://www.hugohouse.org. Free. All ages. 7 p.m.
See our Event of the Week column for more details. Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Ave, http://seattle7writers.org. Free. All ages. 3 p.m.
With his thoughtful, funny poems, Ed Skoog was one of the best writers in Seattle. Then he had to move away. But this city still fucking loves him to pieces. Today, he debuts his new title from Port Townsend publisher Copper Canyon Press with a signing at Seattle’s best (and only, but still best) poetry bookstore. Open Books, 2414 N. 45th St., 633-0811, http://openpoetrybooks.com. Free. All ages. Noon.
Dan Wells’s newest fantasy novel is titled Extreme Makeover, and it’s about an anti-aging hand cream that “overwrites the DNA of whoever is wearing it.” Wells reads with novelist Seanan McGuire, whose Every Heart a Doorway is about a boarding school for magical children that is plagued by a serial killer. University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., 634-3400, http://www2.bookstore.washington.edu/. Free. All ages. 7 p.m.
Simon Roy, the comics artist behind the new sci-fi series Habitat, signs the first collection of his book, which is about an orbital space station that is hurtling toward civil war. Roy is joined by writer Matt Sheean and artist Malachi Ward, who will sign their new collected comic Ancestor, about a mind-computer interface. Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Ave, 624-6600, elliottbaybook.com . Free. All ages. 7 p.m.
The Elements: Love City Love, 1406 E Pike St., http://twitter.com/lovecitylove. Free. All ages. 7 pm.
Rock Is Not Dead: Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, 925 E. Pike St., 658-0110, http://fantagraphics.com/flog/bookstore. Free. All ages. 7 p.m.
Hugo House, 1021 Columbia St., 322-7030, hugohouse.org. Free. All ages. 7 p.m.