Readings, signings, and other events vaguely literary for Monday, January 12, 2009

* 7:00 PM: U-District UW Bookstore presents William Iggiagruk Hensley to read and sign Fifty Miles from Tomorrow: a Memoir of Alaska and the Real People. Part memoir, part celebration of Inupiat culture, Fifty Miles… is a rich and fascinating read.
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* 7:30 PM: After three sweeping novels of historical India, local writer Indu Sundaresan demonstrates her mastery of the short form with In the Convent of Little Flowers, her first, but hopefully not last, collection of stories. Elliot Bay Books is hosting Sundaresan to read and sign.
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* 7:30 PM: Science writer Steven Johnson is at Town Hall Seattle to read and discuss The Invention of Air. In this most recent book, Johnson attempts to explicate the influence of iconoclastic chemist and theologian Joseph Priestly, perhaps the first science-exile to America, on the founding ideals of the new nation. Downstairs, $5.
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* 7:30 PM: Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, visits Town Hall Seattle to discuss his memoir, In The Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center by God. A fervent, but slightly awkward writer, Robinson’s enthusiasm and passion for his God of “radical inclusion” will undoubtedly transfer well to the Great Hall stage. Presented by the Diocese of Olympia, Integrity Puget Sound, and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. $15
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* 7:30 PM: If you were lucky (or smart) enough to know that Michael Pollan would be coming to Benaroya Hall months ago, you might have tickets to this lecture. If you hang out outside Benaroya before the lecture, you might even be able to score one or two. It could happen. Pollan has become something of a phenomenon in the last few years. The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food are at the forefront of the current wave of evangelical-foodie texts, for good reason; however, Pollan’s earlier books are also excellent. It’s worth reading his works in chronological order to best appreciate the development of Pollan as a writer, journalist, parent, and activist.
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7:30 PM: Hugo House hosts Octopus and Ontology, a reading with poets Bruce Beasley and Deborah Poe, as part of the Spontaneously Luminous Series. I am suspicious of luminousness. Also, spontaneity worries me.
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