Books Reading Tonight
posted by March 24 at 10:11 AMon
There are two open mics tonight and also two exciting readings and then one other reading I don’t know anything about.
Let’s start with the unknown quantity: Mavis Hara is reading at the Beacon Hill branch of the Seattle Public Library, with her book An Offering of Rice, which is a collection of short stories and some poetry. There is a blurb on the publishers’ website, from Sylvia Watanabe that reads, in part:
This long awaited book of stories from Mavis Hara is everything we hoped for—and more. Gritty and tough-minded, lyrical by turns, this is no mere nostalgic feel-good journey to the plantation past.
This is a very bad blurb; I would go so far as to say that it is how not to write a blurb. The phrase by turns is a horrible phrase overused in blurbs and reviews. What does it mean? At the same time, this book does both x and y. But it just sounds stupid and pretentious. Likewise, calling a book gritty doesn’t do a whole lot, either: Is it realistic? Is it full of sand? Who can say? But you shouldn’t hold a blurb against the author: More information on the book is here.
Also tonight, Parag Khanna is reading at the University Bookstore from The Second World, which is about how “America’s dominant moment has been displaced by a geopolitical marketplace.” This is important stuff, about empires and globalization and all that, and it would be grand to have a discussion about it.
If you’re more into fiction, Joshua Ferris is at the Elliott Bay Book Company, reading from Then We Came To the End. …End is a great debut novel, just out in paperback, about life in an office. And it’s told in the first-person plural: “We” is the narrator of the book, and, weirdly, it is not at all annoying. The book does have its faults—it’s one hundred pages too long, for instance, and a couple subplots could have been trimmed—but no fault is so great as the paperback cover, as seen above. The hardcover cover was so much better and can be seen here. It wasn’t the best cover in the world, but the paperback makes it look like a Chip Kidd classic. In any case, this should be a good reading, and funny, and at some point in the future, you’ll have to buy a ticket to see Ferris read at a large venue, so you should enjoy the free readings while you can.
Full readings listings, including the next week or so, here.