WED 9/5

Gillian Gaar

Among many other things, Gillian Gaar has literally written the book on the history of women in rock. And now she takes on the task that just about every local music writer at once desires and fears: Entertain Us: The Rise of Nirvana is an account of how Kurt Cobain and his skanky pals managed to go from a really good local band to Axl Rose's Worst Nightmare. Tonight, Gaar debuts her book, which features tons of all-new interviews and a fresh take on the Nirvana myth.

• University Book Store, 7 pm, free

FRI 9/7

Molly Ringwald

Yep, that Molly Ringwald. Her debut collection of linked short stories is titled When It Happens to You, but you're probably not going to this reading because you're into novels told in stories (shout-out to The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing!). You're going because you want to gawk at a celebrity. And that's okay, too.

• Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free

SAT 9/8

Gary Panter

Gary Panter's cartoons are ambitious (one of his major projects is a retelling of Dante's Divine Comedy with slightly cracked versions of popular cartoon characters) and unabashedly punk rock. His comics are huge in scope and slightly alien in feel. Let's get nerdy: If Robert Crumb is the Steve Ditko of the independent comics scene, Gary Panter is Jack Kirby. His personal appearances are rare and you should savor them like diamonds.

• Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, 6 pm, free

FRI 9/14

The Importance of Being Genius

The three shortlisters for this year's Genius Award in literature—Ed Skoog, Kary Wayson, and Ellen Forney—come together for a group reading and Q&A to show off their genius-level work. What kind of weird stuff will two poets and a cartoonist discuss? They have a lot in common; they've all made their bones in short work, they're all beloved members of Seattle's artistic community, and they're all obsessed with nonprose communication methods. Plus: booze! Not even the host for this event—Stranger books editor Paul Constant—can manage to fuck this one up.

• Hugo House, 7 pm, $10

SAT 9/15

Martin Amis

In the 1980s and early '90s, Martin Amis was one of the most important names on the international literary stage. His work set trends in literature, and his bons mots became legendary the second they left his lips. Then he went away for a while. His new novel, Lionel Asbo: State of England, is Amis's attempt to reclaim his (and his father, Kingsley's) throne; it's a story that shrinks England down to a single small-minded man who named himself after "England's notorious Anti-Social Behaviour Order." This is the kind of ambitious book that remakes, or breaks, a reputation.

• Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave, 4 pm, free; also Sun 9/16 at University Book Store, 3 pm, free

MON 9/17

Junot Díaz

Traditionally, you've had to settle in for a long wait between new Junot Díaz books; he's kind of like the George R. R. Martin of beautifully written, hilariously honest literary fiction. So the announcement of his new story collection, This Is How You Lose Her, came as a big surprise earlier this year. After the nine-year wait between Díaz's first story collection and his Pulitzer Prize–winning debut novel, we've only had to wait five years for his second collection. I know you're willing to wait for quality, but let's not question Díaz's new, expedited schedule; this is called a gift horse.

• Town Hall, 7 pm, free

WED 9/19

Maria Semple and Jonathan Evison

Last month, Maria Semple packed the basement reading room of Elliott Bay Book Company for the debut of her very funny second novel, Where'd You Go, Bernadette. This month, she's helping local author Jonathan Evison introduce his third novel, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, to the world. Word on the street is that this is Evison's finest book yet, and it could be the one to vault him from his current role as nationally known regional author to Big-Time Novelist Who Happens to Be from Seattle. Don't forget us when you're famous, Johnny.

• University Book Store, 7 pm, free

Mark Bittman

If you don't know how to cook, I insist you buy a copy of Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. It's the best cookbook ever, because the recipes aren't just formulas for you to follow, they're tiny cooking classes. Bittman's had a great career already—you might also know him as the New York Times' food correspondent—but Everything on its own merits should be enough to vault him to the food-writing hall of fame. Tonight, Bittman will talk about whatever the hell he wants to talk about.

• Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm, $15–$70

THURS 9/20

Paul Auster

Fall is the season to check in with the Important Names of Literature, and they don't get much importanter than Paul Auster. In the years since The New York Trilogy blew apart everyone's heads into itty-bitty clouds of skull particles and gray mist, Auster has regularly produced masterpieces at a rate that must give contemporaries like Don DeLillo indigestion. Now 63, Auster will read from his newest memoir, Winter Journal, about life, language, and aging.

• Town Hall, 7:30 pm, $5

FRI 9/22

Genius Awards

The 10th annual Genius Awards are happening in a way they've never happened before: Of three finalists in each category, the winners will be announced from the stage. The literature nominees are Ellen Forney, Ed Skoog, and Kary Wayson. More info at

• Moore Theater, 1932 Second Ave, 7:30 pm, $12–$50, 21+

FRI 9/28

Verse Chapter Verse with Michael Chabon

The Stranger's music-and-readings series returns with the most-anticipated book of the fall. Michael Chabon has blown audiences away with Wonder Boys, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Klay, and The Yiddish Policemen's Union. Tonight, he introduces Seattle to his newest novel, Telegraph Avenue. As I write this, we can't announce the name of the band, but we promise that they'll be fantastical, too. Plus: A brief talk on the brilliance of Chabon's Wonder Boys from Christopher Frizzelle, and Stranger books editor Paul Constant trying not to sound like an idiot, which is always kind of amusing.

• Fred Wildlife Refuge, 127 Boylston Ave E, 8 pm, free

MON 10/1

Sherman Alexie

Not many authors could pull a midnight reading off, but Sherman Alexie is the Biggest Damn Writer in Seattle, Period. To celebrate the release of his thick new book of short fiction, Blasphemy, he'll give a midnight reading as Monday turns to Tuesday. Alexie's readings are always intimate, hilarious, and offbeat. This one should be even more so; it could be one of those readings Seattle book-lovers will talk about for years to come.

• Elliott Bay Book Company, midnight, free

MON 10/8

A.M. Homes

Best known for her portraits of suburban families on the razor's edge of cracking up, A.M. Homes has been relatively quiet for the last decade. May We Be Forgiven investigates familiar themes for Homes; it's about two brothers—a Nixon scholar and a violent hothead—in search of forgiveness.

• Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free

WED 10/10

Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis

The Decemberists frontman and his wife return with the second volume in their popular young adult series, Under Wildwood. Here are the first three sentences: "Snow is falling. Snow as white as a swan's feather, white as a trillium bloom. The whiteness is nearly blinding against the dark green and brown of the surrounding forest, and it lies in downy heaps between the quiet, dormant clutches of ivy and blackberry bushes." Suck on that, Twilight!

• Fremont Abbey, 4272 Fremont Ave N, 7:30 pm, free

MON 10/15

Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich's new novel, The Round House, is about a brutal attack on a North Dakota reservation, and what happens after that. Those who are already fans of Erdrich's writing about the American plains and modern Native American life are already excited for this one; if you haven't read her before, you're about to enter a world unlike anything else you've ever seen.

• Meany Hall, UW Campus, 7:30 pm, $15–$30

FRI 10/19

¡Viva la Revolucion!

It's time again for the Hugo House's annual literary series, in which three authors and a musician create and perform new work based on a theme of the House's choosing. This time around, Candyfreak author Steve Almond, dreamy young literary star Matthew Zapruder, and spoken-word artist Elaina Ellis read new work about revolucion and viva-ing, along with Daniel Spils of Maktub.

• Hugo House, 7:30 pm, $25

MON 10/22

Chris Ware, Charles Burns, Chip Kidd

Oh, come on. You don't need me to tell you to go to this. This is like if Jesus Christ, Abraham Lincoln, and Molly Ivins gave a one-night-only joint lecture. Charles Burns and Chris Ware are two of the most influential comics artists of all time, and Chip Kidd is the best book designer who ever lived. Sell your children if you have to—this one isn't to be missed.

• Town Hall, 7:30 pm, $5

TUES 10/23

Cory Doctorow

If you've ever seen Cory Doctorow read, you know he's charming, funny, and smart as hell. His readings are always nerdy thrills, and this reading, for The Rapture of the Nerds, promises to be the sci-fi event of the fall. Coauthored with Charles Stross, Nerds imagines the human race at the end of the 21st century, when we as a species are spread across the universe thanks to the infinite advancements of technology—aka The Singularity. But even in a posthuman future, Doctorow and Stross theorize, there's plenty for us to do.

• Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free

TUES 10/23

Hari Kunzru

Resident A&P Hari Kunzru fan Brendan Kiley says of the author's last two novels, "With My Revolutions, a novel about a British domestic terrorist in the 1960s, Kunzru showed his ability to tell a complicated, politically fraught story in a simple, engaging, unpretentious way. Gods Without Men is more ambitious, it reaches through politics and into metaphysics—and it succeeds." He also says Kunzru is "of the Orwell school." What else do you need to know?

• Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm, $15–$70

SUN 10/28

Mark Z. Danielewski

Mark Z. Danielewski, at least, is always doing different things with his work. Sometimes those works are not successful (Only Revolutions was difficult to the point of annoyance), and other times they're energetic refusals to accept books as mere collections of black print on paper. This is a reading for The Fifty Year Sword, which is a ghost story that is reportedly disguised as a kids' book. Sounds like fans of House of Leaves should get their hopes up for this one.

• Town Hall, 7:30 pm, $5

TUES 10/30

Timothy Egan

Timothy Egan is an underrated local author. His nonfiction is celebrated around the country—especially the brilliant dust-bowl historical narrative The Worst Hard Time—but he's often left off the lists of Seattle-based literary luminaries. So let's get our shit together and really celebrate Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher, his new nonfiction account of Edward Curtis, the famous photographer of Native Americans whose 30-volume collection of photographs forever changed the way America looks at itself.

• Town Hall, 7:30 pm, $5

SAT 11/10

Ellen Forney

Genius Award shortlister Ellen Forney finally debuts her first full-length comic memoir, Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me. You've been hearing about this book for months—even years—in the pages of The Stranger, and it's finally time for you to pick up a copy and be blown away by Forney's candor and inventiveness, as she breaks open the comics page and finds new ways to make words and pictures work together.

• Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave, 6 pm, free

WED 11/14

Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Ngugi wa Thiong'o is a celebrated Kenyan novelist and poet who is quickly becoming best known for his memoirs. In the House of the Interpreter, the second volume of his life story, is his account of his time as a high-school student during the Mau Mau Uprising. British colonial rule in Africa was falling apart just as the author was finding his own independence. If you don't think that's fertile grounds for a memoir, you have a very strange idea of what's interesting.

• Town Hall, 7:30 pm, $5

THURS 11/15

Maggie Nelson and Eileen Myles: Poets on Painters

Two of the biggest, best names in poetry come together to talk about painters. Eileen Myles is the missing link between the beats, the punks, and whatever came after; her poems are raw, experiential, and clever on multiple levels. Maggie Nelson's Bluets is the rare poetry book I recommend to anyone and everyone. As artists, they have nothing in common but their love of words and images; I expect that should make for an unforgettable conversation.

Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm, $15–$50

FRI 11/16

Ya Gotta Believe!

The second in Hugo House's investigatory anthologies of new theme-based work features a couple of huge local names—the estimable novelist Ryan Boudinot and the popular yoga memoirist Claire Dederer—and hot young poet Emily Kendal Frey, along with folk musician Mary Lambert. Expect work about belief, self-delusion, and possibly show tunes.

• Hugo House, 7:30 pm, $20

SAT 11/24

Nico Vassilakis

Nico Vassilakis is a local poet whose work challenges the very idea of what a word is; some of his work is made up of stretched-out vowels or words that have been smeared or manipulated in interesting ways. Tonight, he introduces the world to his work as the editor of a new anthology titled The Last Vispo Anthology: Visual Poetry 1998–2008. It's such an avant-garde work that poetry publishers didn't touch it, and Vassilakis teamed with local comics publisher Fantagraphics to produce the book. This is the missing link between words as symbols for thoughts and words as works of art in and of themselves.

• Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, 6 pm, free

WED 12/5

Miranda July

Every time Miranda July appears in Seattle, magic happens. Sometimes, she's got a new movie to share with us. Other times, she's debuting a book. Today, she's just here to hang out and talk at Benaroya Hall, which is a serious and kind of overwhelming venue in which to speak. Whatever she talks about, she'll be really great and you'll be happy that you went.

• Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm, $15–$70