I've attended hundreds of book readings, but I've never been to a reading in someone's living room. And so my plus one and I are in West Seattle to see Stephen Elliott read from his new book, The Adderall Diaries, in an acquaintance's home. Elliott has been on a book tour for three months straight, and in all that time, he's only stayed in a hotel once. Most of his readings have been in the houses of fans he's never met before, and then he crashes on their couch, punk-rock style.
On arriving, we can immediately see the benefits of attending such an unorthodox reading—the spread is un-fucking-believable—wine, fancy cookies, smoked salmon, and pizza. People are lounging on a huge denim sofa, and the hostess has artfully arranged copies of Elliott's book everywhere. Since it's the only reading she'll ever likely host, she's pulled out all the stops.
The reading itself is warm and pleasant. Elliott reads a passage, then takes intensely personal questions from the 20 or so people spread around the house, snacking and drinking lazily all the while. We don't just hear from Elliott's compelling narrative about a murder trial; he also digresses about sex, money, and other off-the-record salaciousness. Then he sells copies of his own books, and book buyers who didn't bring cash get a personalized "You Owe Me" note written in the front with an address to which they can send a check. My plus one, previously an Elliott virgin, buys all his books, which Elliott lovingly personalizes. This is by far the coziest book reading I've ever attended.
Want to tell The Stranger that people always eventually send the money, thus reigniting our belief in humanity at your house party? Send the date, place, and party details to partycrasher@the stranger.com.