Summer Readers

Don't have time for the entire book? How about hearing a highlight from the author? Here's who's coming to town this summer—or at least until the Fourth of July. Autographs not necessarily included with purchase.

Sean Wilsey Sean who? Unless you're a McSweeney's reader, the name of this young writer and editor may not jump out at you. But his whopping big new memoir, The Glory of It All, was excerpted in The New Yorker. And a backstabbing portrait of his San Francisco socialite stepmom made it into The New York Times' Sunday Style section. He's got friends and enemies in all the right places, and he's got plenty of dish on them both. Reviewed June 1. Elliott Bay Book Co., 7:30 p.m. Fri., June 3.

Melissa Bank Her 1999 jumbo best seller, The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, was too good to be dismissed as mere chick lit. Better still, I know one of the cads she once dated—and rightfully dumped—in those autobiographical pages. Next up is her debut novel, The Wonder Spot, a coming-of-age tale that follows its Jewish suburban heroine from girlhood to her twentysomething years—and presumed dating adventures—in New York City. Reviewed June 1. Elliott Bay Book Co., 7:30 p.m. Wed., June 8.

Paul TherouxBlinding Light marks the return of his rather jerky writer character—and alter ego?—Slade Steadman, from 1985's Trespassing. Faced with writer's block while loafing on Martha's Vineyard, the guy heads to Ecuador, where he discovers nature's own form of Viagra in the jungle. Back home, his new—ahem—potency in the bedroom and at the keyboard leads to complications some will call Clintonian. Third Place Books, 6:30 p.m. Sat., June 11.

Nick Hornby They had to book an entire movie theater for this guy. Already optioned as a film (like About a Boy and High Fidelity before), his new novel, A Long Way Down, centers on a bunch of depressive types who enter into what might be called an antisuicide pact. What might happen if these miserable sods actually allowed themselves to live for another three months? Well, among other things, probably a motion picture starring John Cusack. Reviewed June 8. Neptune Theater, 7 p.m. Tues., June 14.

Michael Finkel We all hate lying journalists, right? Jayson Blair, Stephen Glass, Jack Kelly, and now those guys at Newsweek, too. Well get a load of the too-true-to-be-fiction plot of True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa: The author got busted by and fired from The New York Times for fabricating a composite character. In disgrace, he learned that a serial killer, then on trial, had appropriated Finkel's own character. And Finkel at least partially redeems himself by writing about it. Reviewed June 8. Third Place Books, 7 p.m. Wed., June 15.

Curtis Sittenfeld School's out, so the schoolteacher writer of Prep is free to promote her debut novel, which is—surprise, surprise—set at an East Coast prep school very much like the one that employs the author. Though it's a coming-of-ager set in the same milieu of A Separate Peace, Prep's geared more toward adult readers than teens. And you needn't have attended boarding school to recall those painful wounds of adolescence. Reviewed June 15. University Book Store, 7 p.m. Tues., June 21.

Michael Cunningham The Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist (The Hours) returns with Specimen Days. Instead of Virginia Woolf, he's got Walt Whitman as an anchor to three tales of interconnected lives in Manhattan. Ghosts, terrorism, and gay romance figure in his locus of coincidences and echoes. There's even a green lizard space-alien character, too, which might be harder for Nicole Kidman to play, even with the fake nose. Reviewed June 15. Elliott Bay Book Co., 7:30 p.m. Wed., June 22.

James Frey Self-proclaimed bad-boy king of young memoirists (A Million Little Pieces), he continues to document his freak-filled life in My Friend Leonard. Essentially, he and a gangster type enter into what might be called the Rehab Olympics, as they trade true-life tales of addiction, debasement, and "Can you top this?" misadventure. It's a race to the bottom, and Frey wouldn't have it any other way. Reviewed June 22. Town Hall, 7:30 p.m. Tues., June 28.

Bruce Campbell This affable actor (The Evil Dead) turned memoirist is popular for all the right reasons. And then there's his massive lantern jaw. Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way is actually a novel following a certain actor named Bruce Campbell (hmm) onto the set of a Mike Nichols movie, where he has to work with stuck-up prima donnas Richard Gere and Renée Zellweger! Sounds like Bruce has been studying those Charlie Kaufman scripts he didn't get to read for. This time, however, he may be calling the shots on his next movie set instead of taking them on the chin. Neptune Theater, 6 p.m. Mon., June 27.

bmiller@seattleweekly.com

 
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