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Two poets are reading tonight. Marilyn Stablein, who used to be a local poet before moving away and becoming somebody else's local poet, reads at Hugo House. Her new poetry collection is titled Splitting Hard Ground. However, the Leon Bahm and Sarah Galvin reading at Pilot Books gets my vote for best poetry reading of the night. Galvin is a good local poet who has contributed, most recently, to local zine SMALLS.

And Elliott Bay Book Company hosts Howard Norman, who is the author of some great novels, including The Bird Artist. Norman will be reading from his newest, weirdly titled epistolary novel, What is Left the Daughter. Most other nights, this would be the reading of the night.

But Mary Roach is reading at Kane Hall tonight, and Mary Roach trumps Howard Norman. I wrote about her new book, Packing for Mars, in the books section this week:

Roach works very hard to exonerate one of America's earliest astronaut chimps in Mars: A shady journalist invented a story suggesting that a chimp named Enos masturbated during NASA training exercises. The story became a legend, which over time transubstantiated into the "fact" that Enos masturbated during a postflight press conference. Roach quadruple-checks the story, tracking down the source of the rumor and ultimately debunking it. It's a lark about chimp masturbation, to be sure, not breaking the story on Abu Ghraib, but one still has to admire Roach's journalistic fortitude.

You can find my big long interview with Roach over here. Roach is a funny, engaging speaker, and she is eager to answer your questions about bodily fluids in space. This will be a good reading; I guarantee it.

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.

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