Start: 6:30 pm
Each month, the Elliott Bay Fiction Book Group reads and discusses the best in contemporary fiction with the occasional classic thrown in for good measure. Our selection for December and January is The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky with which we will be discussing this epic tale in two parts. After his great portrayal of a guilty man in Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky set out in The Idiot to portray a man of pure innocence. The twenty-six-year-old Prince Myshkin, following a stay of several years in a Swiss sanatorium, returns to Russia to collect and inheritance and "be among people." Even before he reaches home he meets the dark Rogozhin, a rich merchant's son whose obsession with the beautiful Nastasya Filippovna eventually draws all three of them into a tragic denouncement. In St. Petersburg, the prince finds himself a stranger in a society obsessed with money, power, and manipulation. Scandal escalates to murder as Dostoevsky traces the surprising effect of this "positively beautiful man" on the people around him, leading to a final scene that is one of the most powerful in all of world literature.
Start: 7:00 pm
Tonight's program features a quartet of Northwest-based poets and writers published by Black Lawrence Press. Western Washington University professor Carol Guess has published over a dozen works of fiction and poetry, including Doll Studies: Forensics (Black Lawrence) and Index of Placebo Effects (Matter Press). Marcel Jolley was born in Skagway, Alaska, and now lives in Camas. His story collection, Neither Here Nor There (Black Lawrence, 2007), won the inaugural Lawrence Book Award. His novel, The Following Sea, is forthcoming in 2013. Portland poet Scott Alexander Jones is the author of the chapbook, One Day There will be Nothing to Show That We Were Ever Here (Bedouin Books) and of Elsewhere (forthcoming from Black Lawrence). His poems have appeared in over fifty journals. Lawrence Matsuda was born at the Minidoka War Relocation Camp, and is the author of A Cold Wind from Idaho (Black Lawrence Press). A student of Nelson Bentley and Tess Gallagher, he has published in many journals and anthologies along the way.
Start: 7:30 pm
Co-presented with the TOWN HALL CENTER FOR CIVIC LIFE. Chuck Thompson isn't into political reconciliationhe's on to letting the South getting a move on150 years after the Civil War. Better Off Without 'Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Succession (Simon & Schuster) is a conversation starter, albeit one with a smile. "Fry yourself some grits, unfurl that Confederate flag, and read this gem of a book. Chuck Thompson doesn't have a politically correct bone in his Yankee body. He skewers the South mercilessly, and hilariouslyand backs up his barbs with facts. Lots of facts. Better Off Without 'Em is sure to set hearts racing, on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line." - Eric Weiner. $5 tickets are available at the door starting at 6:30 p.m., or in advance via www.strangertickets.com. Town Hall Seattle is at 1119 Eighth Avenue (at Seneca). Preferred seating for Town Hall members. For more information on this evening, please call Elliott Bay at (206) 624-6600, Town Hall at (206) 652-4255, or see www.townhallseattle.org.