Your Week in Readings: The best literary events from January 25th - 31st

MONDAY What better way to kick off your week than a brainy talk about aspirational science? Head to Town Hall Seattle for Oliver Morton, reading from his new book, The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World. It’s about how “an increasing number of climate scientists are advocating for more proactive human intervention in the biosphere,” which can mean anything “from cultivating photosynthetic plankton to seeding clouds with fleets of unmanned ships.” Sounds like this could be a rare hopeful climate-related event.

TUESDAY Tonight, you’ll want to head to Elliott Bay Book Company, where Seattle-by-way-of-West-Virginia novelist Ann Pancake will celebrate the paperback release of her excellent short story collection Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley with author Valerie Trueblood, who will herself be debuting a new collection of stories titled Criminals: Love Stories. Pancake is one of the top five best short-story writers in town, and she works pretty slowly, so you might not have another chance to celebrate a publication date with her for a while. Get out there and enjoy the moment while it lasts.

So that’s your Tuesday sorted, except there’s just one thing: Chop Suey is hosting an event called “A Loose Leaf Reading: An Evening Of Story Telling and Music” that looks really good, too. So I’m going to call this one a tie. This reading, like the Elliott Bay event, is free, and it features musician Nora Hughes with writers Patty Belsick, Casandra Lopez, Jenny Hayes, Kristen Millares Young, and featured reader Michelle Peñaloza. Good stuff.

WEDNESDAY This will be big fun: Seattle science fiction writers Nisi Shawl and Eileen Gunn will be reading at Cafe Racer as part of a science fiction and fantasy-themed open mic night called Two Hour Transport. I have to be honest, here. I’ve never heard of Two Hour Transport before, but it sounds like a fun time: featured readers share the stage with readers who sign up to read their sci-fi stories of five minutes’ duration or less. Gunn has won or been shortlisted for a boatload of awards. Shawl writes short fiction, publishes book reviews, and she has a novel coming out this September that we at the Seattle Review of Books are just dying to read. Maybe you’ll get a sneak preview of that book tonight.

THURSDAY Maggie Nelson reads at Hugo House. Chances are good that if you know a local writer, they have waxed rhapsodic about the idea of attending this reading. Maggie Nelson is an incredible writer (you should absolutely read Bluets and The Argonauts) and a world-class thinker. Tonight, she’ll be discussing “our different writing bodies and what they mean." There will also be a Q&A. This is the highest-profile reading of the week, and the hottest ticket in town.

FRIDAY Musician Korby Lenker reads at Elliott Bay Book Company tonight. He’s got a short story collection titled Medium Hero, which is full of all sorts of great opening lines:

  • “You were my old piano teacher, and now you are dead.”
  • Come pick me up is what the text said.”
  • “I was in a mood.”
  • “Maybe it’s because I’m single again, maybe it’s because my dad had to go to the hospital last week for weird symptoms associated with stroke, but I’m going to write this story down.”

If you’re into short stories, you know the opening lines are half the battle. Not every story in this collection is a jaw-dropper, but they’re all energetic and exciting and eager to be read.

SATURDAY If you’re into the Seattle comics scene, your heart probably broke a little bit when you heard that Intruder, the invitation-only free local comics anthology newspaper, was going to end with issue #20. It’s so good! It’s been going for so long! We all thought Intruder would be around forever! But we still have a few issues left to appreciate, and the Intruder #18 release party is tonight at music shop Spin Cycle on Broadway, so you should go and share some of that love. This party features free comics, live DJs, and, reportedly, “a bag of kettle chips.” Does their generosity know any bounds? Apparently not.

SUNDAY The downtown branch of the Seattle Public Library is hosting something called “The Star Trek Geek Out” all weekend long. Costumes are encouraged. Today’s events include live action interpretations of classic Star Trek scenes, a screening of 2009’s Star Trek reboot movie, and a panel discussion “on Kirk, Spock and gender.” This is not strictly book-related, but come on. Us nerds gotta stick together, you know.