It's summertime, but we're all socially distancing, and even outdoor events are not risk-free, so we're keeping the Silent Reading Party going every Wednesday right now, and we're spicing things up with special guests!!
In case you're new to the party: You attend from the safety of your own home, and all ages are welcome. Get your ticket for this week here.
Two weeks ago, during Pride week, the special guest was gay novelist Garth Greenwell. Last week, the special guest was noted heterosexual Gary Shteyngart. In the grand tradition of reading party special guests, they didn't do anything except sit there and read quietly, like everyone else.
This week, the special guest is Sheila Heti, a novelist who's also written all kinds of other things. She's published nonfiction, she's written plays, she used to be the interviews editor of The Believer, she's about to publish a book of the first sentences of her diary entries (arranged alphabetically—it's BRILLIANT!), and she wrote the introduction to a new forthcoming book by Virginia Woolf.
Sheila memorably came to Seattle for a Hugo House Literary Series event in early 2015, reading a short story that she wrote based on Hugo House's theme, and then a few months later she sold that story to The New Yorker, so everyone in the Hugo House crowd felt very smug about being the first people ever to hear it.
Otessa Moshfegh, the author of My Year of Rest and Relaxation, reads that story aloud right here as part of the magazine's ongoing series of fiction writers reading other fiction writers' work.
If you'd rather read it yourself, here you go: it's called "My Life Is a Joke."
If you want more detail about the new Virginia Woolf book that Sheila wrote the introduction and afterward to, click on those letters. (It's actually a Woolf essay, not a new book, but it's being published as a standalone volume for the first time.)
You can read more about Sheila over here on her website.
Just like previous Silent Reading Party special guests, Sheila will do absolutely nothing at the party except sit there and read silently, to herself, just like you, while Paul Matthew Moore plays soothing piano music.
But afterward, you'll always be able to say you were at a party with Sheila Heti.