Author Vendela Vida,The Puffy Chair on DVD, and the Sonics v. Denver Nuggets

BooksVendela VidaNot enough that she should co-edit the unrelentingly sunny and snark-free The Believer, not enough that her 2003 debut novel, And Now You Can Go, earned generally positive reviews: now the Bay Area writer is back with Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name (Ecco, $23.95), which, yes, is prompting critics to say all kinds of nice things about her. Her protagonist is a young woman whose dark family secrets send her all the way to Lapland—where dangerous reindeer roam free!—in search of her true identity. The book's a bit of a travelogue and a bit of a detective story, yet it also sits squarely in the canon of young writers investigating how parents mess up their children in so many unpredictable, interesting ways. Still, Northern Lights is a work of fiction, so don't expect reference to the author's actual family or famous husband—leader of a certain hipster literary mafia whom we will call "D.E."—since they're surely not the type to abandon their own kids. Or maybe that's the next book. University Bookstore, 4326 University Way N.E., 634-3400, www.bookstore.washington.edu. Free. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLERDVDThe Puffy ChairAfter the weekend's over and people are done clamoring over sports scores and the box-office grosses, Hollywood has designated Tuesdays as the ideal window to "street" their DVDs. What better day, then, to curl up on the couch with this acclaimed little indie? It only briefly played Seattle last September, but has turned up on a few critics' year-end 10-best lists and picked up two nominations for the Independent Spirit Awards. Debut filmmakers Jay and Mark Duplass hang their road-trip romance around eBay—how generationally apt is that?—as two brothers attempt to reconnect with their father (and perhaps their youth) by bestowing this La-Z-Boy recliner as a gift. During the drive, however, one brother's girlfriend threatens to shift her allegiance to the other—even if he's a borderline crazy recluse sort of dude. Although a good deal more comic and cheerful, The Puffy Chair can be seen as a prelude to Old Joy. Only later will these guys remember how much fun they had wasting their youth. Available at area video stores including Scarecrow Video, 5030 Roosevelt Way N.E., 524-8554, www.scarecrow.com. BRIAN MILLERSportsGot Enough Balls?Before last season, when the Miami Heat acquired dribble-happy head cases Jason Williams, Antoine Walker, and ex-Sonic Gary Payton to go with all-stars Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade, league observers wondered whether they knew about a secret rule change wherein the NBA was going to roll two basketballs out for every game instead of just one. Last year's Heat were a train wreck waiting to happen, or so everyone thought. Instead, they ended up hoisting a golden championship trophy in the air at year's end. Since trading their upstanding, unselfish point guard (Andre Miller) to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for mercurial gunner Allen Iverson, the Denver Nuggets have become this year's version of the Heat. One problem, however: Lifer Nugget superstar Carmelo Anthony received a 15-game suspension before A.I. rolled into the Rockies, putting this great chemistry experiment on hold for a spell. Unfortunately for the hapless Sonics, Anthony's back in action now, which is reason enough to get thee to the Key. Seattle SuperSonics vs. Denver Nuggets, KeyArena, Seattle Center, 281-5800. $10–$2,000. 7 p.m. MIKE SEELY

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