In his new memoir, Little Failure—a childhood nickname bestowed by his mother—Gary Shteyngart tosses fiction aside and discusses his life as a Jewish immigrant with dreams of literary success. It’s hilariously honest and queasily self-effacing. Here’s Shteyngart’s explanation of what he wants out of his first real love affair: “A chance to lower myself into complete abasement, a chance to beg for someone’s love over and over again, knowing I will never get it.” He’s not above begging for the love of an audience: He’ll happily autograph anything you want him to. Be creative. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Ave, 624-6600, elliottbaybook.com, free, 7 pm, Mon Jan 13) PAUL CONSTANT Brigitte Lacombe

Wed 12/4

recommended Castalia

The UW Creative Writing MFA showcase returns with first-year poet Allison Stagner, first-year prose writer Kay C. Rogers, and Stranger contributor Sarah Galvin, who writes some of the funniest poems you've ever heard. In addition, UW faculty member Andrew Feld will read poetry.

Hugo House, free, 7 pm

recommended Coll Thrush

The interestingly named Thrush is the author of Native Seattle: Histories from the Crossing-Over Place. Stranger art critic Jen Graves says Thrush is "AWESOME." The caps are hers. She is not the sort of person to overuse capital letters, so pay heed.

Olympic Sculpture Park, 2901 Western Ave, 654-3100, seattleart museum.org/visit/OSP, free, 7 pm

recommended Julia Serano

Serano is the author of Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive. This is a book that a whole lot of people on Tumblr ought to read.

Elliott Bay Book Company, free, 7 pm

Thurs 12/5

Amy Tan

The wildly popular author of The Joy Luck Club returns with her new novel, The Valley of Amazement.

University Temple United Methodist Church, 1415 NE 43rd St, 634-3400, utemple.org, free with book purchase, 7 pm

Fri 12/6

recommended Ellen Forney, David Montgomery

Montgomery is a prominent local geologist. Forney is a Stranger Genius Award–winning cartoonist. These two people have been artists in residence at Town Hall for the last few months. Tonight, they'll talk about their work, what they've been up to, and where they're going.

Town Hall, $5, 7 pm

recommended Kate Lebo

Lebo is the author of A Common-place Book of Pie, a book of poetry that is inspired by different types of pie. At these readings, Lebo will often take requests from the audience: Name a pie and she'll read you a poem for that pie. I've never once seen her stumped by a weird pie, which is pretty impressive.

Elliott Bay Book Company, free, 7 pm

Sat 12/7

recommended What to Read in the Rain

This is a release party celebrating the new anthology collecting local writers and students at 826 Seattle, which benefits the very good local writing organization. The event features a reading, a signing, and "Northwest-themed refreshments."

826 Seattle, 8414 Greenwood Ave N, 725-2625, 826seattle.org, free, 1 pm

Tues 12/10

recommended Daniel James Brown

The Boys in the Boat is subtitled Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. It's about the UW rowing team that fought the Nazis.

University Book Store, free, 7 pm

recommended The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two

Local poets Kelly Davio, Nicelle Davis, Maggie MK Hess, Sierra Nelson, and Alexis Vergalla will read new work about Miller's Law, which says that we can only retain so much information in our memories.

Hugo House, free, 7 pm

recommended Nicola Griffith

Griffith is a local fantasy author. Her newest, Hild: A Novel, is about a king's rebellious niece in 7th century Britain.

Central Library, free, 7 pm

Wed 12/18

Langdon Cook

Cook's new book, The Mushroom Hunters: On the Trail of an Underground America, travels from Seattle to New York in search of people who go out into the forest in search of a fungus to eat.

University Book Store, free, 7 pm

recommended Who Will Speak? — An Evening in Celebration of Poetry and Readers

Poet Roger Reeves will read from his debut collection, local poets and performers will read work written by Copper Canyon poets, and "the first 100 RSVPs will receive a complimentary book of poetry at the door." Since Sherman Alexie says that Copper Canyon is the best poetry publisher in the US, this is a hell of a deal.

Hugo House, free, 7 pm

Tues 1/7

Jayne Ann Krentz

A woman has to come to terms with a difficult moment in her past in the highly prolific Krentz's new novel, River Road.

Seattle Mystery Bookshop, free, noon

recommended Nancy Bartley

A 12-year-old Washington boy shot and killed a sheriff in 1931. He was nearly killed by a lynch mob. The Boy Who Shot the Sheriff tells the story of what happened to that boy and why he shot a cop.

Elliott Bay Book Company, free, 7 pm

Wed 1/8

Laurie Halse Anderson

A girl and her Iraq war vet dad are on the run in Impossible Knife of Memory.

University Book Store, free, 7 pm

recommended Ilan Stavans

Stavans is the translator, most recently, of a collection of Neruda poetry titled Neruda Odes, All the Odes: A Bilingual Edition. Tonight, he'll read from the poems and discuss translation. I'm a sucker for Neruda, and you should be, too.

Town Hall, $5, 7:30 pm

Thurs 1/9

recommended Kurt Timmermeister, Dan Savage

The local author, who has a farm on Vashon Island, discusses his new book, Growing a Feast, with Dan Savage. I work with Dan Savage and I can't imagine him ever setting foot on a farm, so this could be a kind of interesting pairing.

Town Hall, $5, 7 pm

Fri 1/10

recommended Scott Montgomery

Montgomery's Does Science Need a Global Language? examines the use of English in the worldwide scientific community.

University Book Store, free, 7 pm

Mon 1/13

recommended Ingrid Ricks

Subtitled A Girl's Story, Hippie Boy is Ricks's memoir about growing up dysfunctionally Mormon.

University Book Store, free, 7 pm

Tues 1/14

recommended Kim Fu

A boy and his three sisters flee their home and travel the world in For Today I Am a Boy.

Elliott Bay Book Company, free, 7 pm

Tami Parr

Are you ready for a book title? Okay, here goes: Pacific Northwest Cheese: A History. Yup.

University Book Store, free, 7 pm

Wed 1/15

recommended Chang-Rae Lee

Chang-rae Lee is an excellent literary novelist. His new one, On Such a Full Sea, takes place in the far future, which is a change of pace for the author, who has traditionally been quite the realist.

Central Library, free, 7 pm

Ransom Riggs

Ransom Riggs sounds like the name of a fictional detective. He follows up his breakout debut novel, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, with a second book called Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine's Children. It's also got found photographs in it, like the first book.

University Book Store Mill Creek, 15311 Main St, 634-3400, free, 7 pm

Sat 1/18

recommended Clean Republic

The local organization, which distributes and sells "personal alternative energy products including electric bike conversion kits and wind turbines," will give a presentation titled "How and Why to E-Bike."

Ada's Technical Books, free, 3 pm

Mon 1/20

recommended Elizabeth Kolbert

The New Yorker writer's new book, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, is about extinctions happening all around us and possibly our own extinction as a species.

Town Hall, free, 7:30 pm

Tues 1/21

Scott Stossel

Stossel has always been anxious. His new book, My Age of Anxiety, examines the fact that anxiety didn't really exist as a thing three decades ago, but now it's everywhere.

Town Hall, free, 7:30 pm

Thurs 1/23

Julie Kramer

A TV news reporter receives a package containing human teeth in Delivering Death.

Seattle Mystery Bookshop, free, noon

recommended Cheap Wine & Poetry

Wine is so cheap at these events to get you in the mood for poetry. When you're drunk, poetry is more meaningful, funnier, and more beautiful. (It's like sexual attraction that way.) This outing of the popular poetry series features Rauan Klassnik and Amber Nelson, among other readers.

Hugo House, free, 7 pm

recommended Max Tegmark

Promotional materials indicate that Our Mathematical Universe is based on the author's "hypothesis that our physical reality is a mathematical structure and his theory of the ultimate multiverse." For some reason, this book description makes me really wish David Foster Wallace was alive to read it.

Town Hall, free, 7 pm

Fri 1/24

Pam Houston

The very popular author of Cowboys Are My Weakness will give a lecture on writing dialogue. This event will be followed by a Q&A between Houston and local yoga memoirist Suzanne Morrison.

Hugo House, $10, 7 pm

Tues 1/28

recommended Armistead Maupin

San Francisco's Maupin is a popular author who comes to town often. The Days of Anna Madrigal revisits one of Maupin's most famous characters, who in press materials is referred to as the "transgender landlady of 28 Barbary Lane."

Elliott Bay Book Company, free, 7 pm

Wed 1/29

recommended Richard Powers

Powers is one of the most underrated authors in the business today. His novels are incredibly smart, tremendously affecting, and intricately crafted. His new novel is titled Orfeo, and it features a retired composer who is a genetic engineer in his spare time. Something goes wrong—with the genetic engineering part, not the composing part—and trouble happens. You should be excited for this book.

Town Hall, free, 7:30 pm

Thurs 1/30

Garth Stein, Jennie Shortridge

The local novelists share the spotlight for just one night. Stein is the author of The Art of Racing in the Rain. Shortridge is the author of Love, Water, Memory.

University Book Store, free, 7 pm

recommended Sophie Cabot Black

Here's a piece of a poem from The Exchange: "I took care of myself. I took care/Of myself, thinking much too often/I took care of someone else./Everything feels like payment." That's a nice couple stanzas, right there.

Elliott Bay Book Company, free, 7 pm

Wed 2/5

recommended McKenzie Funk

Funk's book Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming allegedly reads like a dystopian novel. It's about all the people who are cashing in on the death of the human race.

Town Hall, free, 7:30 pm

Thurs 2/6

recommended Rabih Alameddine

An Unnecessary Woman is a novel about a Beirut woman who loves books and is viewed as eccentric by everyone around her.

Elliott Bay Book Company, free, 7 pm

Fri 2/7

recommended Bob Shacochis

The novelist and journalist, who published a lot of books in the 1990s but who seemingly disappeared for a decade before returning with his new novel, The Woman Who Lost Her Soul, this year, will give a talk on the "manipulation of time in narrative." After his talk, Shacochis will be interviewed by local author Peter Mountford.

Hugo House, $10, 7 pm

Mon 2/10

recommended Daniel Jones

Jones edits the Modern Love column in the New York Times. He's peddling an anthology collecting his column at this event, with local Modern Love writers Nicole Hardy, Theo Pauline Nestor, and Wilson Diehl.

Hugo House, $5, 7 pm

Tues 2/11

recommended Roddy Doyle

Doyle is a beloved author for good reason. His novels Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha and The Woman Who Walked into Doors have moved thousands upon thousands of people. His new novel, The Guts, is a sequel to his popular novel The Commitments, which was turned into a movie a long time ago.

University Book Store, free, 7 pm

Wed 2/12

recommended Harriet Baskas

Baskas's Hidden Treasures: What Museums Can't or Won't Show You is about the dark side of museums. It may or may not involve a wallet made out of human skin.

University Book Store, free, 7 pm

Sat 2/15

recommended Search for Meaning Book Festival

Seattle University's spiritual-minded book festival has often been a very hot ticket, presenting authors like Michael Chabon and Sherman Alexie. The 2014 lineup hasn't been released yet, but maybe you should plan on reserving a ticket anyway.

Seattle University, Pigott Auditorium, 900 Broadway, 296-6135, seattleu.edu, 9 am

recommended Jerry Pollack

Are you ready for the most exciting lecture title in this whole damn magazine? Are you ready? Here it is: "The Fourth Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid, and Vapor." EEEEEEEEEE!

Ada's Technical Books, 3 pm

Sun 2/16

Bev Sellars

They Called Me Number One is a memoir by a Xat'sull chief about her early life in British Columbia.

Central Library, free, 2 pm

Tues 2/18

Matthew Quick

Quick's Silver Linings Playbook became the very good movie, but the book itself wasn't very good. But because the movie was so good, a lot of people are going to give Quick's next novel, The Good Luck of Right Now, a shot. Let's wish him luck. The book is about a young man who doesn't know what to do when his mom dies.

Elliott Bay Book Company, free, 7 pm

Wed 2/19

recommended Chris Ware, Chip Kidd

The Greatest Cartoonist of Our Time appears in discussion with the very popular designer of books. Ware is the kind of genius who appears once in a generation. His cartoons can make you cry. Kidd's book covers can make you laugh with their cleverness and inventiveness. This should be a night to remember.

Town Hall, free, 7:30 pm

Fri 2/21

recommended Must the Gun Always Fire? (And Other Rules of Writing)

Fiction writer Anthony Doerr, poet Natalie Diaz, and double-threat poet/novelist Karen Finneyfrock will read new work based on the theory of Chekhov's gun and other rules of writing, along with musician Jake Uitti.

Hugo House, $25, 7 pm

Mon 2/24

recommended Natalie Handal

Poet in Andalucía is a reverse response to Federico Garcia Lorca's Poet in New York. That's a clever idea for a book.

Elliott Bay Book Company, free, 7 pm

Thurs 2/27

Nathan Oates

The short-story author reads from his new book, The Empty House, in an event hosted by Willow Springs Editions.

Naked City Brewery & Taphouse, 8564 Greenwood Ave N, 838-6299, nakedcitybrewing.com, free, 5 pm