Fall Books Picks

Lauren Weedman

Long a favorite of Seattle stage (Rash, Bust) and small screen (Almost Live), Weedman is now based in L.A., where she was a cover girl this spring for L.A. Weekly. Having mined (and presumably embellished) her recent foibles in A Woman Trapped in a Woman's Body: Tales From a Life of Cringe (Sasquatch, $16.95), she's practically guaranteed to deliver the funniest, ovary-est author event of the fall. Perennial themes include dating, family, and trying to make it in Hollywood—where she's turned up on Reno 911! and launched an absurd new weekly Web show called Our Bodies, Myself (on the Oxygen network's site, of all places). Even as Weedman attempts to take Tinseltown by storm, she refuses to be intimidated by its starlets "wearing jeans so low their tampon strings could get caught in their belts." Neumo's, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467, www.sasquatchbooks.com. Thurs., Oct. 4.

Shalom Auslander

What's the big deal with Slim Jims? Bacon—now that we can understand being forbidden to Jews. But where are Slim Jims mentioned in the Torah? Then there's the matter of circumcision—what's a sorta-lapsed Jew, now a prospective father, supposed to do with his son's extra funnel of flesh? In his memoir, Foreskin's Lament (Riverhead, $24.95), Auslander frankly deals with all the secular temptations—porn, pot, and Slim Jims included—that have occasionally overcome his wavering faith. Even if the larger subject is estrangement from God and tradition, the particulars are catholic in their detail. In high school, for instance, who doesn't want to hang out with the party kids in their Trans Ams, who smoke and drink and screw with impunity? Especially when Auslander is the dork driving a beat-up old Nissan Pulsar with one pop-up headlight broken. He recalls, "My car looked like Moshe Dayan." (Presented by the Nextbook series on Jewish culture.) Conor Byrne Pub, 5140 Ballard Ave. W., 888-219-5222, www.nextbook.org. Thurs., Oct. 25.

Will Self

Ex-addict, inveterate walker, and all-around eccentric, the lanky Brit will discuss his new Psychogeography: Disentangling the Modern Conundrum of Psyche and Place (Bloomsbury, $34.95). It's a quite literally rambling collection of 50 recent essays, each with a new illustration by Ralph Steadman, all having to do with the notion that travel is a consciousness-expanding activity. (As if to prove it, Self launched a recent book tour in New York by hoofing it into Manhattan from JFK, a frightening outer-borough journey even by cab.) Who needs drugs (anymore) when you can visit the interior of India, the outback of Australia, or even the shopping malls of Iowa? Not Self, who immerses himself in each new milieu, determined not to shelter his brain, or eyes, behind windshield or computer screen. He's in no rush to get a rush. Seattle Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., 634-3400, www.spl.org. Tues., Oct. 30.

Adrian Tomine

Today a contributor to The New Yorker and McSweeney's, Tomine made his early reputation with the comic Optic Nerve. Now he takes issues of class, ethnicity, and male sexual longing on a road trip in Shortcomings (Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95). His hero, Ben Tanaka, has a thing for white girls—is that wrong? His Asian girlfriend thinks so ("I know your type"), and perhaps so does Ben, but maybe his fixation is just an excuse for breaking up. Driving from the Bay Area to New York, he's forced to consider his mixed motives, all rendered with the kind of artful self-awareness that Tomine brings to his distinctive panels. His pen is as decisive as his hero is not. University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., 634-3400, www.bookstore.washington.edu. Mon., Nov. 12.

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