But first, if you have today off, you should do your civic duty and go to Seattle Public Library's Central Branch downtown at noon. They're kicking off a series of discussions called Citywide Conversations: Help Plan the Future of the Library today. You should attend this, because the Seattle Public Library is maybe not heading in the right direction. If you can't make this (admittedly poorly scheduled) meeting, they'll be having a bunch of other meetings at different branches of the library at different times of the day. We have posted them all in the reading calendar. If you care about the library, you should go to at least one of these.
We have another afternoon event today at 3:30 at Kane Hall. Reiko Matsuura will read. Matsuura wrote a book called The Apprenticeship of Big Toe P that was a bestseller in Japan. It is about a young woman who wakes up one day to find her big toe has become a penis. (That is the best sentence I'll write all week.) The book is out in new translation here in the States.
Pilot Books kicks off Small Press Fest tonight from 6 to 6:15 pm with Don Mee Choi. One poem by Don Mee Choi begins "Stars are whores." Another poem begins "Help me, She-bear, help me help me." Hooray! If you enjoy books, you should attend at least one of these events at Pilot Books in March. I have a list of picks for the festival over here.
University Book Store hosts Chitra Divakaruni tonight at 7 pm. One Amazing Thing is a novel about "a group of nine diverse people in the basement of an Indian consulate in an unidentified American city after an earthquake." This looks like a fun one.
And Third Place Books hosts David Shields tonight. Have you read Charles's piece about Reality Hunger: A Manifesto yet?
David Shields's main argument in his new book, Reality Hunger, is rock solid: The novel has lost much of its force and should be avoided by writers who have any real interest in the future of writing. "This is the case for most novels," he writes in entry 378 (the book is made up of 617 short comments and quotes). "You have to read seven hundred pages to get the handful of insights that were the reason the book was written, and the apparatus of the novel is there as a huge, elaborate, overbuilt stage set." Is Shields, the quintessentially postmodern writer, advancing a new kind of modernism? Yes he is.
The full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is here. And if you're planning on staying in and you're looking for personalized book recommendations, feel free to tell me the books you like and ask me what to read next over at Questionland.