Cooking, Politics, and Broken Hearts

Those are just some of the subjects visiting authors will bring to town this summer.

WHILE NEW YORK publishing houses may shift to summer hours, three-day weekends, and checking e-mail from the Hamptons, their authors are out on the dusty road. Lowly writers have to keep flogging their books to those of us who crave quality literature—or just good air-conditioning in the bookstore. Though not every date below is set in stone, these are some of the leading figures expected to read, sign, and tan during Seattle's summer months. Refer to our books calendar (p. 109) for more particulars, but Seattle Public Library's "Seattle Reads" series welcomes Iranian graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi to several events (the largest being at Town Hall, Friday, June 2). Her excellent Persepolis series has much to say about the collision between Western and Islamic mores, and she'll be conversing in English with readers also familiar with Embroideries (new in paper). Seattle favorite Ivan Doig (Elliott Bay, Thursday, June 1) sets The Whistling Season in eastern Montana, the same unforgiving terrain of Jonathan Raban's Bad Land. Michelle Tea also has many local partisans, and her novel Rose of No Man's Land is just out in paperback (Elliott Bay, Saturday, June 3). June also sees the return of Curtis Sittenfeld, whose Prep made her a debut best seller and whose cruel New York Times review of Melissa Bank's The Wonder Spot obviously marked her desire not to be pegged as a mere chick-lit writer. Her second novel is The Man of My Dreams, which certainly sounds chick lit–ish (Third Place, Friday, June 2). Seattle blogger-turned-author Rebecca Agiewich will be ministering to broken hearts at multiple venues from her BreakupBabe, beginning Monday, June 5, at Elliott Bay. A big draw in any medium, The New Yorker's Calvin Trillin puts politics to verse in his satirical poetry collection A Heckuva Job: More of the Bush Administration in Rhyme. Sample stanza: "When shells fall close and smoke is thick/Real guys never run. They stick/Or so says Five Deferments Dick" (University Bookstore, Tuesday, June 6). Less lyrical and more irate is Greg Palast, who vents his spleen in Armed Madhouse: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Class War. It'll be an angry house he faces at Town Hall (Thursday, June 8). Tim Russert's got his own damn TV show to build a readership, and his Wisdom of the Fathers is likely to capitalize on the legions who bought his previous Big Russ and Me (University Bookstore, Thursday, June 8). Somehow those feel-good advice books sound so much more convincing with a network-polished voice like his. Also lately a TV star, Anthony Bourdain has at least earned his stars in the kitchen. His The Nasty Bits again mixes adventure with hard-to-stomach (or at least cook) recipes, and he's always a funny, off- the-cuff speaker (University Book Store, Tuesday, June 13). On which subject, Bill Buford (Among the Thugs) also gets into the kitchen in Heat (Elliott Bay, Monday, June 12). Given the way things are headed in Iraq and the Middle East generally, and with Iran's nuclear program, Mark Bowden should have plenty of interesting portents to offer from his Guests of the Ayatollah, a comprehensive account of the 1979 embassy takeover and hostage crisis in Tehran (University Bookstore, Thursday, June 22). Most John McPhee books are simply too big to read without a week's uninterrupted vacation time. For that reason, his trucking adventures in the atypically short Uncommon Carriers (portions of which appeared in The New Yorker) are much shorter and more manageable. You can basically read chapters between gas station stops (Elliott Bay, Monday, June 26). New in paper, Killing Yourself to Live from Chuck Klosterman combines road trip with playlist as he drives from New York to Seattle (Elliott Bay, Monday, June 26). Monica Ali became a big deal in British fiction with Brick Lane, and Seattle is one of only four U.S. cities where she'll read from her follow-up, Alentejo Blue. Trust me, this will be standing room only (Elliott Bay, Tuesday, June 27). Always funny, always peeved, always threatening to crack the screen on your TV with his appearances on The Daily Show, Lewis Black reads from his latest tome of outrages, Nothing's Sacred (Third Place, Monday, July 17). Like a Watergate flashback, John Dean reminds us how Republicans of the early '70s weren't really so bad—um, except for that one guy—in his Conservatives Without Conscience, which takes on the GOP of today (Town Hall, Wednesday, July 26).

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