Edmund Morris's trilogy of Theodore Roosevelt biographies (concluding with his recent book Colonel Roosevelt) probably runs second only to Robert Caro's exhaustive Years of Lyndon Johnson in terms of ambition for modern presidential biographies. And while Morris's books lack's Caro's obsessive attention to detail—ask him what Johnson had for lunch on December 15th, 1952, and Caro could probably tell you after a few minutes' research—the Roosevelt biographies are more accessible, readable, and, frankly, fun than the Johnson epic.

It helps, of course, that Morris has chosen the more adventurous subject. Colonel Roosevelt opens with Roosevelt as a global celebrity, a kingmaker on safari, hunting for hippos and trying to avoid the press (an early chapter calls him "The Most Famous Man in the World"). Roosevelt is the only president whose entire life would work as an adventure novel, and Morris does him proud. (Which is not to say that he falls into Roosevelt's black hole of charisma, either: It would be easy for a biographer to get seduced by Roosevelt's larger-than-life appeal, but Morris remembers that he is a deeply flawed individual.)

If you're thinking about tackling Morris's Roosevelt biographies, you should go listen to him speak at the Central branch of the Seattle Public Library tonight. I haven't seen Morris speak, but I'm sure his enthusiasm for his subject will shine through. Copies of all three volumes of the biography will be for sale, and Morris will be happy to answer any of your Roosevelt-related questions. If you're burned out on the State of the Union-related stuff and are looking for something unpresidential to do tonight, there's much more—including the first volume of a new sci-fi series by the son of Dune author Frank Herbert, a book about why the internet is making us feel more alone, a few open mics, a debut short story collection by a local author and other events, too—in our exhaustive reading calendar.