If one of your resolutions is to read more books, you are in luck! January’s literary scene offers events to satisfy any reader’s taste. There’s a mix of virtual and in-person events, depending on your risk tolerance and preference during these uncertain COVID-19 times.
For hardcore nonfiction enthusiasts, Third Place Books will virtually host Emily Levesque, astronomy professor from the University of Washington, to talk about her book The Last Stargazers: The Enduring Story of Astronomy’s Vanishing Explorers on January 5th. In The Last Stargazers, Levesque gives an account of modern astronomy writing about the mind-bogglingly powerful telescopes and the people that operate them, as well as how computers and coding have expanded what we can learn about space.
If you want to bring more diversity to your to-read stack, look no further than the launch of We Need a Reckoning: Poetry, Essays, and Memoir by Women of Color of the Tacoma, Washington Region on January 7th at Seattle Town Hall. The event contributors Krista Pérez, Katharine Threat, Lydia K. Valentine, and Jesi Hanley Vega will read from the collection and answer questions. You can attend in-person or watch the livestream for $5.
Buy tickets here.
Linguistics nerds and fans of science fiction and fantasy would enjoy the virtual launch of Seattle playwright Scotto Moore’s first novel, Battle of the Linguist Mages on January 11th. The novel follows a young gamer from Los Angeles pulled into the battle between a cabal that has developed the art of combat linguistics, spell-casting anarchists, and unnatural forces. The event is free.
If you’re looking for inspiration to start the new year strong, on January 24th Bernardine Evaristo will discuss her debut non-fiction book Manifesto: On Never Giving Up at Benaroya Hall. Evaristo came into the spotlight in 2019, when her novel Girl, Woman, Other won the Booker Prize and was listed by Barack Obama and Roxanne Gay as their favorite book of the year. In Manifesto, Evaristo reflects on the obstacles she overcame as a working-class, mixed-race woman dreaming of becoming a writer. In-person tickets start at $35, and livestream is also available for $10.
Buy tickets here.
As Seattle residents, being educated about the intersection of technology and racism is a must. An event to look forward to is Clyde W. Ford’s reading and discussion of Think Black in a free virtual event from Seattle Public Library on January 26th. Ford’s father was hired as IBM’s first Black software engineer in 1947, and Ford himself became an IBM employee later on. In his memoir, he shows the impact corporate racism had on him and his father, interweaving the narrative of his personal life and large-scale trends in technology and society.
To continue with books on race, Cathy Hong will be a guest on Ijeoma Oluo’s Our Existence Beyond Trauma series on January 28th at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. Hong’s book Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, which is part memoir and part cultural criticism, won her a spot on the TIME 100 Most Influential People of 2021 list. Ijeoma Oluo is perhaps most well known for her best-seller So You Want to Talk About Race, a book I was tempted to give to everyone I know as a Christmas gift when it came out in 2018. In-person tickets start at $10, and you can watch the livestream for as little as $5.
Buy tickets here.
Lovers of sweeping fictional sagas, this one is for you. If you purchase Isabel Allende’s latest novel Violeta from University Book Store, you will be able to attend the virtual presentation of the book on January 29th. Allende is one of the most read South American authors, and her works often contain elements of magical realism. In Violeta, Allende shows us the historical events of the 20th century from the perspective of the titular character, an upper-class South American woman.
After you purchase the book from University Book Store, you will receive a zoom link 48 hours before the event.