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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Reading Tonight

posted by on May 20 at 10:21 AM


Readings abound tonight, from the south to the north of Seattle. Things that I’m not going to discuss at length include a Nextbook-sponsored collection of stories about Jewish mothers; the paperback release of a supernatural thriller at the Seattle Public Library; Such a Pretty Fat,a new memoir “from the author of Bright Lights, Big Ass and Bitter is the New Black;” and Merle’s Door, which is another motherfucking book about a ‘freethinking’ dog.

At Third Place Books Ravenna, which is a really nice space that I don’t think I’ve written about before, Cory Doctorow is reading from his book Little Brother. I wrote about the book in this week’s Constant Reader, and I expounded a little bit on it yesterday, too.

At the University Book Store, Andrew Sean Greer reads from his new novel, The Story of a Marriage. Anna Roth reviewed it for us:

There’s a line in Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, a book I read about 10 times when I was 19 and 20, that’s been stuck in my head ever since. He writes that in books by Dostoyevsky, there were things “so true they changed you as you read them.” For a long time that phrase became my gold standard for judging novels.

Hemingway is dangerous for young idealists for all sorts of reasons, but his emphasis on literary Truth was particularly disastrous for me. The search for “one true sentence” became my blind spot; for a good turn of phrase, I was willing to forgive major plot holes and incredible character flaws. I overlooked the fact that things may be True, but that doesn’t automatically make the novel Good. A perfect example of this is The Story of a Marriage by Andrew Sean Greer, a book sprinkled with profound prose that ultimately rings false.

And there are two readings at Town Hall. William H. Calvin reads from Global Fever: How to Treat Climate Change, which is fairly self-explanatory, and Arianna Huffington, of the much-linked blog The Huffington Post, will be reading from her new political book Right is Wrong. I read somewhere that The Huffington Post finally surpassed Drudge in terms of web traffic, and I think that that alone is a reason to go to this reading. There will be some self-satisfied liberal back-patting, but sometimes that’s the price you pay for living in Seattle, and the interesting political analysis will hopefully more than make up for it. It’s probably the best place to spend this particular primary night.

The full readings calendar will provide more information on the readings that I glossed over.

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another motherfucking book about a ‘freethinking’ dog.

What other ones have there been?

Aside from Jonathan Livingston Pitbull, of course....

Posted by NapoleonXIV | May 20, 2008 10:25 AM

Well, there's Marley and Me, and the sequel to Marley and Me, and Good Dog. Stay. and the Bedlam Farm books, and a buttload of other dog books that have come out in the last two years. They're all like Tuesdays With Morrie starring rude dogs, and people buy them as though the pages were made of candy powdered with delicious heroin.

Posted by Paul Constant | May 20, 2008 10:51 AM

I downloaded Little Brother but gave up after a few chapters. Seems like The Golden Compass is much more readable. Are they aimed at the same age level?

Mostly I was annoyed at how his elaborate programming and scripting hacks always worked perfectly the first try. I thought he was supposed to know something about how technology works but he makes it seem to think it all happens like magic.

Posted by elenchos | May 20, 2008 10:58 AM

You need to stop reading those kinds of books.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | May 20, 2008 11:01 AM

Hemingway was a great writer when he started, but his philosophy and mythologizing are garbage. Books aren't "true"; if anything they are spectacularly false. That statement would read more truthfully if it said "so false they changed you". Truth is a stupid goal. And Dostoevsky, in as much as you're reading him when you're reading his translations (which isn't much), is a stupid novelist.

A much more interesting criterion for a novel is "a breathtaking lie".

And people who read books about wise dogs should be electrocuted.

Posted by Fnarf | May 20, 2008 11:18 AM

Mothers are being fucked in this book?


Posted by Hartiepie | May 20, 2008 11:20 AM

It's all fiction.

Posted by isabelita | May 20, 2008 11:41 AM

I'll be attending one of the glossed-over readings, and I'll be pre-funking in the car.

Posted by Jessica | May 20, 2008 11:46 AM

Paul @2,

You forgot about last year's urban-legendary dogliophile best-seller, Achieve Financial Independence By Cultivating Your Third Eye--And Your Dog's Third Eye, by Cesar Millan with Deepak Chopra. All twenty in attendance at the reading at Borders downtown brought their pit bulls and their hologram crystals. Man, what a crazy scene that was. How could you forget?

Posted by Jeff Stevens | May 20, 2008 1:10 PM

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