THURSDAY 9/27

* Jonathan Franzen
Author of The Corrections, and a New Yorker contributor riding a wave of popularity as he taps into a universal fear of mortality, aging, Parkinsons, and other diseases and family life. First Unitarian Church, 1011 SW 12th Ave, 246-2441, 7:30 pm

* Karl Soehnlein
There's more than one way to finesse a sex scene. Soehnlein's style is to come at it directly, pulling no punches, no flinching, no poetic scrim of lovely buzz words. This is a smart, sensitive, direct story of one boy's coming of age, coming out, growing up gay in the suburban '70s. Very cool and endearing, it was this years Lambda Literary Award winner for Best Gay Fiction. Powell's Books on Hawthorne, 3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd, 238-1668, 7:30 pm

Sam Lipsyte
Lipsyte's collection, Venus Drive, was a mix of interesting ideas and honest emotion gummed up by sections of tough-guy posturing and hip signifiers. The Subject Steve is the tale of a man dying of boredom. It's been called Palahniuk without the misanthropy, Saunders without the heart. It's also Kafka without the era, Groucho without Harpo, Sarte without the comprehensive existential philosophy, Freud sans the coke. Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St, 228-4651, 7:30 pm

Richard Robbins
Robbins, the director of the creative writing program at Minnesota State University, will read his poetry. Reed College, Psychology Auditorium, 3203 SE Woodstock, 777-7591, 8 pm


FRIDAY 9/28

Poetry Fling: Open Mic Readings
All ages, all skill levels, no skill level, all styles. Read your own work or that of your favorite poet. Featuring Carolyn Reynolds Miller and Rising & Falling. Barnes & Noble, 1720 N Jantzen Beach, 283-2800, 7 pm

Portland Poetry Workshop
Full of verse and all alone? Here's your poetry support group. It's never too late to get started writing poetry, unleashing that inner voice. Start with a writing exercise, a discussion of work, and party favors. Barnes & Noble Northeast (Lloyd Center), 1231 NE Broadway, 335-0201, 7 pm

* Terry Tempest Williams
The thing about the American desert, is that for all its beauty and bareness, there's also a lot of toxic substances out there. With a low water table, excessive agricultural use of chemicals and irrigation, and other misuse of the arid land, it's not the pristine place it appears to be. Terry Tempest Williams knows all about it. Her book, Refuge, found a wide audience. It's a beautiful, honest, heartbreaking narrative connecting the land to a family history of cancer. Now with Red, the author urges people to take a stand on behalf of America's Redrock Wilderness, an amazing place given tribute by a powerful author. Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St, 228-4651, 7:30 pm

Hirohito & The Making of Modern Japan
A look at the complicated role of one emperor and so much more. Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St, 228-4651, 7:30 pm


SATURDAY 9/29

Garrison Keillor
Lake Wobegon Summer 1956 tells the story of a 14-year-old and his compulsions, his drives--including his soft porn masterpiece, High School Orgies. Tickets on sale at Powells. First Unitarian Church, 1011 SW 12th Ave, 246-2441, 2 pm, $8


MONDAY 10/1

David James Duncan
My Story As Told By Water: Science, humor, nature, and what might be called rural planning critique. Why do we let corporations ruin our rivers, anyway? Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St, 228-4651, 7:30 pm


TUESDAY 10/2

Jeff Selis
Writing for dog lovers. Dog Bless America: Tails From the Road. Broadway Books, 1714 NE Broadway, 284-1726, 7 pm

Molly Gloss
Another reading from Wild Life. Looking Glass Bookstore, 318 SW Taylor, 227-4760, 7 pm

Mona Simpson
Off Keck Road. Readers who hope to be writers, movie watchers who imagine becoming readers, love this author like their own dear mother. Sure to draw a crowd. Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St, 228-4651, 7:30 pm

Ask Elizabeth
Elizabeth Lyon answers questions about writing, editing, publishing, and getting published. Sponsored by Willamette Writers. The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th, 7 pm, free-$10


WEDNESDAY 10/3

Michael Curtis Ford
The Ten Thousand: A Novel of Ancient Greece. Borders Books and Music, 708 SW 3rd Ave, 220-5911, 7 pm

Luis Rodriguez
Hispanic Heritage Month. Rodriguez , author of Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in LA, will speak about coming to the US and growing up in a Latino neighborhood. Central Library, 801 SW 10th Ave, 248-5234, 7 pm

Craig Danner
Himalayan Dhaba A self-published adventure tale receiving rave reviews. Powell's Books on Hawthorne, 3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd, 238-1668, 7:30 pm