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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Reading Tonight

posted by on October 21 at 10:26 AM


There’s a whole lot going on tonight.

At Seattle Public Library, Julia Glass, who wrote Three Junes, which is a novel, reads from her new book, I See You Everywhere. A local bookseller, someone whose reading tastes I have great respect for, loathed Three Junes. She thought it was way too cutesy and manipulative. She never loathes any book completely, but Three Junes, to this day, makes her hand-shakingly angry. And that is why I’ve never read it.

Up at the University Book Store, Rick Wartzman reads from Obscene in the Extreme, which is about an attempt to censor The Grapes of Wrath. Let me repeat: people tried to censor The Grapes of Wrath! This is kind of depressing to think about, but Sarah Palin has proven that book-banning is still in fashion with certain particular douchebags.

At Town Hall, Antonia Juhas reads from The Tyranny of Oil, which is about our oil dependence. Did you know that we’re dependent on oil? Shocking!

And most importantly, at Elliott Bay Book Company, Miriam Toews reads from her new novel, The Flying Troutmans. I really enjoyed The Flying Troutmans, which is about a family of eccentrics going on a road trip to find their lost father, although I was a little put off by the dust jacket, which equated the novel to Little Miss Sunshine. Books that compare themselves to independent films are not first in my heart, ordinarily, but it’s a good book about characters who are not too eccentric to be real.

But the Toews (roughly pronounced “Taves”) book you should read is A Complicated Kindness, which is an earlier novel of hers that is now available in paperback. It’s about a teenage girl growing up in a strict, fundamental religious town, and it’s her best book yet. You should go and listen to Toews read from her good, new book and then buy her better, older book and wait for the new book to come out in paperback.

The full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is here.

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I second the recommendation of A Complicated Kindness. One of my favourite books of the last few years. And one that my wife, who also grew up in a small Mennonite town, strongly identifies with.

Posted by Gabriel | October 21, 2008 12:43 PM

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