It's Wednesday, which means the worldwide reading party is tonight at 6 pm PST. Tickets here. If you've never heard of the Silent Reading Party, start here.
Because the party is worldwide, people can attend from anywhere—including upstate New York, where obviously the party starts at 9 pm EST. One resident of upstate New York, the bestselling novelist Gary Shteyngart, will be joining us tonight as the party's *special guest.*
It feels extra special to have Gary at tonight's party because he's been a friend of the reading party almost since the beginning. He's attended the party himself in person, back when the party only took place at the Sorrento, on visits to Seattle for book tours.
After attending a reading party in 2014, some of the details from that party—like what books people were reading—ended up in an essay Gary wrote for Travel + Leisure about Seattle:
But the best reading series in Seattle may not involve any writers at all. These are Chris’s regular readings held at the historic Sorrento Hotel. No bearded poets mounting the podium here. People simply gather with their books and read. Kind of like your college library, except it is held in the Sorrento’s gorgeous Fireside Room, replete with plush banquettes, an original fireplace, and, very much unlike your college library, an excellent selection of liquor. Passing through the sweet reverential quiet of people turning the pages of books and taking the occasional slurp of single-malt, I spot Moby Dick, Mary Karr, and Vladimir Nabokov, a heady selection, consumed by about 60 people from young women in dreadlocks to walrus-mustached Kindle warriors. The hush, the gentle communion, along with the flicker of intent conversation, permeates the alcoholic glow of the room. These are some of the most attractive people I’ve seen in Seattle, and their noses are buried in books and booze. An intense young man flipping through a volume called Searching for Whitopia: An Improbable Journey to the Heart of White America tells me, “I got it from the library!”
Did you hear that? "Some of the most attractive people in Seattle" come to this party.
Don't you want in to that club? Of course you do.
Tickets are available on a sliding scale, and the more you choose to pay, the more money that goes to our musician Paul Matthew Moore and to The Stranger's editorial department. If you'd rather just make a direct contribution to The Stranger, we highly encourage that too, but coming to the reading party means you're supporting us while getting the gift of two hours of piano music.
What will Gary be reading tonight? You'll have to tune in right at 6 pm if you want to see—we all hold up our books so we can see what each other is reading at the start of each party.
"This is so freaking exciting!" Gary says about being tonight's special guest. "Won’t you join me in reading silently?"
Join us! The link goes out two hours before the party starts, so get your ticket taken care of now.