Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hugo House to Host Their First Writers' Conference

The Richard Hugo House will be hosting their first ever writers' conference over the weekend of May 21-23 and boy, have they got some good stuff in store for participants. The conference will include panels and workshops, among other festivities, to the theme of Finding Your Readers in the 21st Century.

Not only are we in the middle of a terrible economy, but the modern publishing world as we know it is going through a historical transition and looking fairly uncertain for many professionals and lovers. Local bookstores are closing; our favorite magazines and newspapers are increasingly becoming thinner; the industry has seen hundreds of lay offs; and as this decade's most popular saying goes, "Everything is moving to the web."

As the Hugo House notes, "Meanwhile, writers soldier on, putting one word after another, revising and revising again, wondering how, and if, anyone will read their work. Well it's time to stop wondering and take matters into your own hands."

Finding Your Readers in the 21st Century will feature a wide array of favorite Seattle authors, editors, writers, and professionals, such as award-winning publishing consultant Alice B. Acheson, poet and Crab Creek Review editor Kelli Russell Agodon, The Stranger's David Schmader, cofounding editor of Seal Press Barbara Sjoholm, and Bruce Taylor, a.k.a. "Mr. Magic Realism," and many influential others.

Monday, April 12, 2010

This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: How Laura Munson Saved Her Marriage and May Just Save Yours as Well

Laura Munson will be reading from her debut memoir, This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness at Third Place Books on Tuesday, April 13, at 7 p.m. This event is FREE.

From the vague title alone, you're not really quite sure what you're getting yourself into when beginning Laura Munson's debut memoir, This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness.

Written in the style of a diary, This Is Not The Story You Think It Is details the four-month journey of Munson's highs and lows in a time of marital crisis. Munson wrote the book in real time, and it's apparent throughout that even she is not quite sure how the story will actually end.

We first meet Munson at five a.m. on a Montana summer morning, where as if we were a close friend, she reveals to us,
"At this moment in my life, I am strangely serene. In fact, I may have never felt more calm. Or more freed. Or more certain that these things owe themselves to a simple choice: to accept life as it is. Even and especially when it really fucking sucks. Even and especially if my husband left last night to go to the dump after announcing that he isn't sure he loves me anymore... and nine hours later, still hasn't come back."
You can't help but read that paragraph without instantly thinking: OH. SHIT. Or more so, you can't help but imagine how you might react in that given situation--would you plead, cry for reconsideration? Throw plates and furiously scream back? Take your tire iron to your husband's Escalade Subaru in revenge?

Have You Hugged Your Local Library Lately?

Let your library love shine as today kicks off the beginning of National Library Week. So if you haven't been to the library in awhile to pay your respects, this week is the perfect--if not best--time to do just that. And who knows, maybe your favorite librarian will be in such a good mood they'll waive those late fees for you. Maybe.

This year, libraries all around the country will be celebrating their special week to the theme of "Communities Thrive @ Your Library," and the American Library Association has chosen Neil Gaiman as this year's Honorary Chair of National Library Week. Though not in Seattle, Gaiman will be speaking about libraries and censorship as a part of the honorary week and will appear in print and radio PSAs nationwide.

The Seattle Public Libraries will be giving away free commemorative bookmarks (while supplies last) at all locations and the "Animal Truck" bookmobile will be parked on 4th Ave. in front of the downtown Central Library from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on April 14--National Bookmobile Day. The bookmobile program reaches out to provide library services to those who cannot get to a physical library due to age, disability, or illness.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

All About Insects: Hugh Raffles Visits Town Hall Tonight

Hugh Raffles will be speaking at Town Hall tonight on his latest book, Insectopedia, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5.

Though many of us don't think twice when taking a newspaper to an errant fly or killing a spider in the shower that was really that BIG, anthropology professor Hugh Raffles encourages us to stop and consider our decisions in his latest book, Insectopedia.

Insectopedia is organized alphabetically, similar to that of an encyclopedia, with one entry for each letter. Complete with essays, meditations, short vignettes, and plenty of Raffles' miscellaneous musings, Insectopedia explores themes of history and science, travel and anthropology, economics, pop culture, and philosophy that shows the impact that insects have in our lives and that of which that we have in theirs.

With entry titles such as "Kafka," "Sex," "Chernobyl," and "Zen and the Art of Zzz's," Raffles expertly creates a well-rounded story on the relationship that we humans have with our much smaller counterparts. Our fears, phobias, love, and obsessions--even our sexual fetishes--that are triggered by insects. By far, Insectopedia is not your average dry science read that you may have studied while growing up.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Environmentalist Barry Lopez to Speak at Seattle Arts & Lectures

Barry Lopez will be speaking at Benaroya Hall as a part of Seattle Arts & Lectures on Wednesday, April 7, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $10-70.

Revered as "a modern day Henry David Thoreau,""a writer's writer," and overall as "arguably the nation's premier nature writer," Barry Lopez is an essayist and author of over a dozen well-known fiction and nonfiction works.

Lopez is best known for his 2001 book, Arctic Dreams, which won him the National Book Award. Other nonfiction books of Lopez's include About This Life, Crossing Open Ground, and Of Wolves and Men, which was also a National Book Award finalist and recipient of the Christopher and John Burroughs awards.

As a landscape photographer until 1981, it's easy to understand why Lopez is, in many ways, in tune with the nature around him, and that of in the world at large. Lopez has traveled to over 70 different countries, has spent time with aboriginal peoples in the high Arctic of Canada and Alaska and Australia's Northern Territory, and he currently resides in western Oregon near the McKenzie River.

Monday, April 5, 2010

William T. Vollmann Reads from Kissing the Mask

William T. Vollmann will be in town this week to read from his latest nonfiction book, Kissing the Mask, at both the Northwest African American Museum (7:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 6) and Third Place Books LFP (7:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 7). Both events are FREE.

We could not be more excited for William T. Vollmann's readings this week. We were first introduced to Vollmann's work a couple years ago and quickly became hooked--the man is seriously brilliant. The Stranger even goes as far as to refer to him as a genius, and we can't say that we disagree much.

Many may know Vollmann best for his widely talked about eccentricites--his obsession with prostitution, admitted crack smoking habits, lack of eyebrows, or even the fact that while writing his first novel You Bright and Risen Angels he slept under his office desk for almost a year and lived off of candy bars from the vending machine--we've all heard the stories; the miscellaneous quirks that make Vollmann stand out for better or worse.

Imperfect Birds: Anne Lamott's "Rosie" Trilogy Comes to a Close

Anne Lamott will be at the University Village Barnes & Noble on Tuesday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m. to read from her latest novel, Imperfect Birds. This event is FREE.

At first glance, one may not realize that Anne Lamott's latest novel, Imperfect Birds, is the final piece of a trilogy--or as her faithful readers may call it--the last book in the "Rosie" series. Imperfect Birds stands on its own as a novel quite perfectly, in fact. The characters, the setting, and the plot are all introduced in full detail, as if they hadn't already played their roles in Lamott's previous novels, Rosie and Crooked Little Heart.

We began Imperfect Birds without any knowledge of its connection to the other books. Absolutely no idea that this was the ending of a trilogy. Not once does the book reveal this information, or make you feel as if you're missing a large chunk of the story.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy National Poetry Month

Good morning Seattle Lit friends and Happy National Poetry Month! Whether you're reading your favorite poems today, writing, attending a great reading (such as the Dark Coast Press Book Release Party tonight!), or even just thinking about poetry--we hope you are having an excellent day. Cheers to a month full of poetry, and plenty of good readings and events where that came from. April Fools' Day may come once a year, but poetry lasts forever.

And if you're looking for a new poem to start off your day, consider heading over to Verse Daily, where a new poem is featured each morning. You may just find a new favorite, or at the least, some inspiration to keep all those pranksters at bay until the day rolls over safely.