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Book Notes: Roach packed for Spokane, will read Thursday

Sun., Oct. 16, 2011

This is the big week for the city’s annual communitywide reading event, Spokane Is Reading.

Best-selling author Mary Roach will be here Thursday to talk about “Packing for Mars,” her rollicking book about the space program. It’s this year’s Spokane Is Reading selection.

We’ll run an in-depth interview with her in Thursday’s Today section.

Just to pique your curiosity, here’s a sample quote from our interview, about the challenges of researching one of her chapters: “Taxpayer dollars are not funding research into the best sexual positions (in space). Of course, Internet hoaxsters would love you to believe that. And I would love to have discovered that.”

Roach’s two events Thursday are a reading at the Garland Theater, 924 W. Garland Ave., at 1 p.m. and another at the Bing Crosby Theater, 901 W. Sprague Ave., at 7 p.m. Both are free.

New local books

A number of books of significant local interest have recently arrived:

“All You Can Eat” (Gray Dog Press, $15.95) by Richard Harlan Miller – Miller, a local author and former journalist at The Spokesman-Review, has just released his first novel, which is set in Spokane.

That is, Miller’s darkly comic version of Spokane.

It’s about an unusual, quiet, reserved vampire who wanders the skywalk system. It covers plenty of other topics, including “leather bars, Mexican cantinas, online dating, Volkswagen repair, Nietzsche’s sex life and Abe Lincoln’s nose,” according to the publisher.

And it’s a vampire novel that never uses the word “vampire.”

The settings also range from Seattle to Glacier National Park. Publisher’s Weekly says Miller’s characters “break from the vampire stereotypes.”

He will read from the book on Tuesday, 7 p.m. at Auntie’s Bookstore, 402 W. Main Ave.

• “Back on the Court: A Young Woman’s Triumphant Return to Life, Love & Basketball” by Sonya G. Elliott – Elliott (the former Sonya Gaubinger) is a graduate of University High School and was a basketball player for Eastern Washington University during its 1987 conference championship run.

This memoir’s main theme is summed up on the back cover: “Struck by a train just days before her wedding, Sonya Elliott, an athlete and fashion model, miraculously survives – her fiancé does not.”

Elliott calls it a “a story of recovery and hope.” She is currently the head girl’s basketball coach at West Seattle High School.

“How Do I Help Him? A Practitioner’s Guide to Working With Boys and Men in Therapeutic Settings” (Gurian Institute Press, $19.95) by Michael Gurian – Gurian is Spokane’s nationally recognized expert on gender psychology and related issues, and the author of influential books including “The Wonder of Boys” and “Boys and Girls Learn Differently.” He’s also a longtime mental health counselor.

This book is a guide to how therapists and mental health professionals can most effectively work with men and boys.

Taylor Mali at Whitworth

A reminder: Taylor Mali, the well-known slam poet, will read (perform, really) at Whitworth University’s Cowles Auditorium, in a free performance, Tuesday at 7 p.m. (no tickets required).

Mali is the author of the poem “What Teachers Make,” which has become a YouTube sensation.

Autumnal poetry in Sandpoint

Lost Horse Press and the Sandpoint Library are hosting two of the region’s significant poets in “An Autumnal Poetry Reading,” Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Rude Girls Room of the Sandpoint Library.

The poets are:

Christopher Howell, a 2005 Washington State Book Award winner, three-time Pushcart Prize winner, author of many volumes including “Light’s Ladder” and a creative writing teacher at Eastern Washington University.

Jonathan Johnson, author of two collections including “In the Land We Imagined Ourselves” and professor at EWU’s Inland Northwest Center for Writers.

The event is free, and refreshments will be served.

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