Heroine of Afghanistan
Melody Chavis' new book tells the true story of Meena, the late founder of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, a country that needs revolutionary women like a drowning man needs oxygen. So it's an important story and one that needs to be shared; just be ready for some bad writing. Chavis tries to reconstruct Meena's story from Meena's point of view, and the result sounds like it's being written for a child. Powell's Books on Hawthorne, 3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd, 238-1668, 7:30 pm, free

Spectaculum and FO A RM
Two new Portland literary journals flaunt their wares (how many literary journals can one city have? who's reading them all?). Spectaculum's a poetry rag; the cutely-titled FO A RM is "dedicated to resonances among diverse mediums," which sounds like it could have just about anything. Spare Room Collective, at Pacific Switchboard, 2486 NW Kearney, 233-4562, 7:30 pm, free

* Outloud: Poetry Against the Bush Wars
The Outloud series moves from Pacific Switchboard to the cozy confines of Dignity Village. Tonight's event features a potluck (bring a dish!), an open mic, songs from the Homeless Liberation Front, and of course plenty of poetry from the likes of Anais La Rue, Brigid Whipple, Casey Kohl, and more. Dignity Village, 9325 NE Sunderland, 281-1604, 6 pm, free


Larry Colton
Once a pro baseball player, Colton's now a local writer. His latest book, Counting Coup, is a nonfiction account of Sharon La Forge, a member of Montana's Crow Indian tribe and an amazing basketball player. Colton's been endorsed by Katherine Dunn, who's most popular book is about circus freaks, which tells you he might not be just another sports writer. Mountain Writers Series at the Lake Oswego Library, 706 Fourth St., 236-4854, 7:30 pm

* Sex, Time and Power
This reading is worth seeing simply to see how in God's name author Leonard Shlain defends his book's main argument, which is: when women evolved and started menstruating and having orgasms, they set the foundation for the discovery of... time!!? The Einstein of feminist studies speaks tonight. Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St, 228-4651, 7:30 pm, free


Keith Scribner
In Scribner's Miracle Girl an atheist inventory and space planner who, ironically, works for the Catholic Diocese of Hudson City, must reassess his faith when he witnesses a strange Vietnamese girl perform a miracle. Annie Bloom's Books, 7834 SW Capitol Hwy, 246-0053, 7:30 pm, free

Chuck Palahniuk
Part Dorian Gray metaphor, part reincarnation potboiler, and part House of Leaves-like chiller, our hometown literary hero takes his second stab at a genre you might call Magical Thriller. Unlike last year's Lullaby though, Chuck Palahniuk can't quite get the whole thing working in Diary. The story of a freakishly talented woman artist who keeps a coma diary for her tortured husband sorely lacks the cutting humor of Palahniuk's earlier satirical work. And even though there's a great scene where he fools us into thinking a statue is a man about to nab a young girl, the tone of the book is rarely as spooky as it aims to be. KEVIN SAMPSELL Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St, 228-4651, 7:30 pm, free

Zoe Heller
Heller's new book What Was She Thinking? is ripped straight from the Tabloid headlines. A 40-year-old British woman, Sheba, gets arrested for diddling one of her 15-year-old male students. Meanwhile Sheba's colleague and staunchest defender Barbara, has plans to do some diddling of her own... on Sheba! Scandalous. Twenty-Third Avenue Books, 1015 NW 23rd Ave, 224-5097, 7:30 pm, free