Edan Lepucki will be in conversation with Sherman Alexie at the Central Library tonight at 7 p.m. The reading is free.

Back in June, Stranger Genius of literature Sherman Alexie appeared as a guest on The Colbert Report to discuss Amazon's contract dispute with publisher Hachette. Colbert and Alexie discussed the disastrous impact Amazon's refusal to carry Hachette titles was having on young and emerging authors. Established writers like Alexie were taking serious hits to their wallets from Amazon's boycott, but a novelist putting out their debut novel on a Hachette imprint during these difficult months might see their entire career flushed down the toilet due to lack of sales.

Colbert and Alexie chose one such upcoming novel to spotlight: California, by Edan Lepucki. "It's an incredible book," Alexie enthused, about a "United States where an economic/social/political apocalypse has happened," but also a "love story of a young couple who are trying to survive." Colbert announced that through a partnership with Portland independent bookseller Powell's, he'd be making copies of the book available for pre-order on his website.

The plan, Colbert announced, was to land California (Little, Brown and Company, $26) on the New York Times best-seller list without Amazon's help. The plan worked; California debuted at number three on the hardcover fiction list on the week of July 27, and Lepucki is now on a nationwide tour in support of the book. Tonight, she'll be appearing in conversation with Alexie at the downtown library.

So, after all the well-meaning celebrity showboating and anti-Amazon sentiment, how is California? The flip answer would be "pretty good."

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