NIKKI GIOVANNI--Noted poet Giovanni reads from her fourteenth book of poems, Blues: For All the Changes. Her work is full of empathy and understanding of the human condition, but she brooks no apologies for lack of passion. Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 1634 - 19th Ave, 322-6500, 7 pm, free.
ELIZABETH COOK-LYNN--Colonial politics and identity struggles for Native Americans drive Crow Creek Sioux writer Cook-Lynn's poetry and scholarship. Her newest book of poetry, I Remember the Fallen Trees, gives personal voice to powerful anger, joy, and discord, while her most recent nonfiction study, The Politics of Hallowed Ground: Wounded Knee and the Struggle for Indian Sovereignty, co-written with attorney Mario Gonzales, dissects the ongoing governmental struggle for tribes affected by the Wounded Knee Massacre. Open Books, 2414 N 45th St, 633-0811, 7 pm, free.
NICHOLSON BAKER--He's hard to pin down when it comes to style, having written near-porn, lit crit, and, most recently, The Everlasting Story of Nory, a novel in the voice of a 9-year-old girl. This kind of writing is something that Roald Dahl did better (along with the porn), but Baker is a fine public speaker and worth seeing. Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way NE, 366-3333, 7 pm, free.
PONTOON II--Poets anthologized in Floating Bridge Press' collection of Northwest poets read from their newest work. Tonight, the last of a series of readings, features Greg Bachar, Holly Hughes, Alice C. Morse, and Kary Wayson. University Book Store, 4326 University Way NE, 634-3400, 7 pm, free.
PETER MATTHIESSEN--Matthiessen's widely-recognized work (At Play in the Fields of the Lord, The Snow Leopard) covers continents; his latest book, Bone by Bone, concludes a Florida trilogy, giving voice to sugarcane farmer and murderer E.J. Watson. Kirkus calls it "A brilliant character study and a provocative commentary on the 'capitalist energies' that built America." Elliott Bay, 101 S Main St, 624-6600, 7:30 pm, free.
LISA MICHAELS--Seattle writer Lisa Michaels' memoir Split traverses her '60s childhood on the protest line, her parents' subsequent divorce, and Michaels' own discovery of purpose. Detailed, meditative, and intelligent, Split is riddled with literary sensibility (Michaels was a contributing editor at The Threepenny Review) and dry, self-aware humor. Michaels reads tonight for the paperback release. Elliott Bay, 101 S Main St, 624-6600, 7:30 pm, free.
*COMIC BOOK WORKSHOP--Marvel comics artist Justin Norman teaches teens to create their own. See Pick Box. Lake City Library, 12501 28th Ave NE, 684-7518, 1 pm, free.
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS--Prickly Vanity Fair journalist Hitchens opines from his newest book, No One Left to Lie to: The Triangulations of William Jefferson Clinton. Hitchens sets himself up as a defender of democracy, a lefty keeping Clinton accountable. Elliott Bay, 101 S Main St, 624-6600, 3 pm, free.
*SALMAN RUSHDIE--See Calendar Lead. Fifth Avenue Theater, Fifth & Marion, 621-2230, 7:30 pm, $7.50-$15.
JEAN STROUSE--Strouse reads from her hefty biography, Morgan: American Financier, a detailed account of the rise of J.P. Morgan. Strouse is highly respected for her research; her previous bio, Alice James, won her a Bancroft Prize. Elliott Bay, 101 S Main St, 624-6600, 7:30 pm, free.
RUTH OZEKI--My Year of Meats is documentary filmmaker Ozeki's foray into fiction, a scathing condemnation of the beef industry through a storyline that visits ranch families and a Japanese obsession with Americana. Ozeki reads here for the paperback release. University Book Store, 4326 University Way NE, 634-3400, 7 pm, free.
G.E. PATTERSON--Tug, a beautifully produced first book, compiles Patterson's poems about the modern existence of black men and their "hard love" for one another. Patterson's poetry has been receiving wide praise for its ambition and wit. Open Books, 2414 N 45th St, 633-0811, 7 pm, free.
JOANNA TROLLOPE--British psych drama curries romance in Trollope's work, earning her a bevy of fans. Her newest book, Other People's Children, splices stepfamilies. Elliott Bay, 101 S Main St, 624-6600, 7:30 pm, free.
DAVID GUTERSON--Guterson, whose wild success with Snow Falling On Cedars ensures attention to his newest book, East of the Mountains, reads for its Seattle debut. Mountains tells the story of one man's approach to illness, and his subsequent rediscovery of life. First United Methodist Church, Fifth & Marion, 624-6600, 7:30, free.
MARK BOWDEN--Bowden's blow-by-blow coverage of the battle between American forces and Somali street fighters in 1993 is published as the in-depth study Black Hawk Down. Kane Hall 120, UW Campus, 634-3400, 7 pm, free (advance tickets).
NEAL STEPHENSON--Opening with a quote from Alan Turing ("There is a remarkably close parallel between the problems of the physicist and those of the cryptographer"), Stephenson's new blockbuster Cryptonomicon, throws war, encryption, and paranoia into a technically dense narrative. Stephenson is the local author of Snow Crash and The Diamond Age. Kane Hall 220, UW Campus, 634-3400, 7 pm, free (advance tickets).
MICHAEL A CREMO--Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race details Cremo's theory that humans in their modern form existed millions of years ago and that evolutionary theory is bunk. University Book Store, 4326 University Way NE, 634-3400, 7 pm, free.
Note to regularly programmed open mics: The Stranger will list events only if we receive an announcement--regular listings will be dropped unless we are notified that the events are in fact ongoing.
665--Words and music add up in this evening venue, tonight presenting the ever-popular Open Mic O'Rama. Four Angels, 1400 14th Ave (at Union), 689-8661, 7:30 pm, free.
THE PEARL--Turn irritation into beauty: bring fiction, poetry, film or drama. Every first Thursday celebrates DeadPoets. The Pearl, 4215 University Way NE, 547-3326, 8 pm, free.
LIVINGROOM--Every Monday about this time, people read and rant and play music. Tonight, make room for Daniel T. Fleming. Habitat Espresso, 222 Broadway E, 689-8661, 7:30 pm, free.
HOMELAND--The homiest of open mics, tonight featuring Jayne Fenton Keane, along with espresso chocolate chip cookies. Globe Cafe, 1531 14th Ave (at Pine), 324-8815, 7:30 pm, free.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR WRITERS:
WORDSCAPE--The Stranger recommends that you pick up Wordscape, Seattle's free monthly guide to literary events, to find a complete listing of opportunities for writers. Wordscape has an outstanding listing of contests, grants, and calls for writing, which we can only envy. Pick it up at most local bookstores and libraries!