Aimee Bender

But enough about Matt Ruff (see Wednesday). Let’s talk about Aimee Bender (Willful Creatures), visiting from California to read at “Road Trip,” which begins the fall literary series at Hugo House. She’s a smart, funny woman. And certainly there’s plenty of comic mileage to be had from the subject of road-tripping. Like: backseat drivers, friends who can’t drive a stick, the etiquette of farting and window-cracking, and whether riding shotgun gives you control over the radio. Visiting town a couple of years ago, Bender told us, “It’s incredibly fun to write from the point of view of a very judgmental character or a very vicious character.” Right—those are exactly the kind of people you don’t want to be trapped in a car with. Yet isn’t that how road trips inevitably turn out? You begin as best buddies and finish glaring out the windows refusing to speak to each other. Tonight’s jamboree features new work supposed to spring from some ridiculous Kerouac-meets-Tolkien premise, which I’m assuming all parties will crumple up and ignore like a map. Because maps are for sissies. Poet Marie Howe and singer/songwriter Laurie Katherine Carlsson join in the fun. Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave., 322-7030, $15–$25 (individual), $50–$80 (series). 7:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Fri., Oct. 24, 7:30 p.m., 2008

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