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"I was never as grateful as I should have been for everything I had," says the narrator of Lauren Grodstein's A Friend of the Family. He's on his own, separated from his family, living a simple life, trying to avoid the scandal that follows him everywhere. We know immediately that he had a family, and somehow ruined it. The rest of the novel explains why.

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Grodstein will be reading at Third Place Books tonight, but they're doing something a little different for this event. Joining Grodstein will be Craig Popelars, the marketing director at Algonquin Books. (To call him just the marketing guy is seriously underselling him; Algonquin is a small outfit and everyone does a little bit of everything over there. He's one of the forces behind the company.) I've seen Popelars speak, and he's a great advocate of books in general, and Algonquin Books in particular. He'll be talking about what makes Algonquin such a great publisher, and he'll be giving away copies of their books (other Algonquin titles include Water for Elephants, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, A Reliable Wife, and Jonathan Evison's new Northwest epic, West of Here). If you ever wanted to talk to a passionate publisher about their books, this is your big chance.

To learn about other events happening tonight, including a man who translates books from Swedish, a discussion about India and China, an appearance by local author J.A. Jance, and a novel about a divorced woman who has to raise a girl who is—GASP!—a goth, you should visit our readings calendar.