An Evening with Revolutionary Road
All too frequently, when people organize marathon readings or "evenings with" certain books, they feel like the sort of thing that you might attend for extra credit in high school English. (James Joyce and Walt Whitman in particular seem to inspire these sorts of events, thanks in no small part to how good their words sound when read aloud.) But tonight's dead author tribute is particularly exciting, as Richard Yates' Revolutionary Road gets the coffeehouse treatment. The 1961 novel is a dark and damning indictment of post-war American bourgeoisie listlessness. A favorite novel of contemporary authors Richard Ford and A.M. Homes, Revolutionary Road is one of the most painful stories of everyday, lonely existence to come out of American literature, and is one of those rare books that will profoundly alter your sense of well being. Grendel's Coffee House, 729 E Burnside, 595-9550, 7:30 pm, free


Thom Hartmann
Air America radio personality Thom Hartmann's new book, Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class and What We Can Do About It, is, predictably enough, about the widening gap between the upper and lower economic classes. Conservatives, Hartmann argues, have screwed the workingman time and time again in an effort to accumulate as much wealth as possible. Far from being just a nihilistic indictment, though, Hartmann outlines a plan of procedural action that can return power to ordinary people. Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside, 228-4651, 7:30 pm, free


Knitting Rules
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is known as one of the great humorists of the knitting world, which is one of the coolest/least cool designations in the world. Her last book, At Knit's End (get it?), was the ultimate manifesto for antisocial crafters who can't face real world experiences without yarn and needles as an interpersonal buffer and who give the world's worst Christmas presents. Pearl-McPhee's new book is called Knitting Rules!. Hopefully it's more creative than the title lets on. Powell's Books for Home and Garden, 3747 SE Hawthorne, 235-3802, 7:30 pm, free

What Color is Your Jockstrap?
I really can't imagine a worse title for a book than What Color is Your Jockstrap. Maybe if (God forbid) my "jolly" aunt had a not-too-serious injury that laid her up in the hospital for a week, I would buy her this book from the first-floor gift shop. But only if they were out of Sudoku books. Maybe then I'd get her this collection of "absurd, surreal, and wacky" travel essays. But then again, a bag of Jelly Bellies and a copy of Entertainment Weekly would probably mean more to me if I was the one with a broken ankle. So yeah, I think I'd rather give her yesterday's sports section from USA Today than this book. Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside, 228-4651, 7:30 pm, free

Whitley Strieber
Remember that '80s alien-encounter literary phenomenon, Communion? It was Whitley Strieber's first-hand account of what he professed to be an alien abduction on the day after Christmas, 1985. Since Communion, Strieber has written a handful of follow-up books about his experience, although none of them came close to matching the popularity of the original. Now Strieber's back with a novel, The Grays, which professes to synthesize all of the author's alien knowledge and research into a work of fiction. As opposed to the scientific treatises of his earlier books. Powell's in Beaverton, 8725 SW Cascade, 643-3131, 7 pm, free

BITCHFest: Ten Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages of Bitch
For the past decade, Bitch has been the most reliable cultural magazine in the US written from a feminist perspective. There are tons of magazines written by and for women, but Bitch has consistently probed the tougher questions and issues, rather than simply trying to sell the latest Cat Power CD. Tonight, editors Lisa Jervis and Andi Zeisler swing through Reading Frenzy to celebrate this anthology of some of the magazine's greatest hits from the past ten years. Wet t-shirt contest follows. KIDDING! Reading Frenzy, 921 SW Oak, 274-1449, 7 pm, free