Authors Out the Wazoo!

Hey bookworms—welcome to another week in paradise!

Every nerd's imaginary girlfriend, Sarah Vowell, brings her quirky humor and funny voice to town to benefit Write Around Portland. First Congregational Church, 1126 SW Park, Wed Oct 26, 7:30 pm

The man who ate canned dog food for Letterman, Cabin Boy Chris Elliot takes time to read from his debut novel The Shroud of the Thwacker. Powell's on Hawthorne, 3723 SE Hawthorne, Tues Oct 25, 7:30 pm

For the more highbrow among us, Portland Literary Arts has your hook-up with Simon Winchester, author of The Professor and the Madman. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, Thurs Oct 20, 7:30 pm, $18-25

Gregory Maguire, who created a wildly popular historical revision of the Wizard of Oz in Wicked, tries to bottle lightning twice with Son of a Witch. First Unitarian Church, 1011 SW 12th, Fri Oct 21, 7:30 pm

And New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik's new book, The King in the Window, tackles the tweener fantasty genre. Powell's, 1005 W Burnside, Sun Oct 23, 7:30 pm

If all these readings make you feel like filling those empty bookshelves, you're in luck, as the Friends of the Library Used Book Sale runs all weekend! 1635 NE Sandy, Sat Oct 22, 9 am-6 pm; Sun Oct 23, 11 am-5 pm; Mon Oct 24, 9 am-3 pm. CHAS BOWIE

Where to Stick Your Hand

This is an exciting year for puppets. Besides being repeatedly elected to prominent positions in political office, being news anchors on Fox, and passing anti-panhandling ordinances, puppets have also been making a considerable show in the arts. Puppet culture reaches a high point this weekend at PuppetGanza, an all-ages, cabaret-style puppet celebration started by the Mudeye Puppet Company. Cabaret-style nightclub Nocturnal will host the Halloween-themed festivities, with local puppeteers Cloud Monster, Penny's Puppet Productions, and Moe Bowstern. Oh, what? You don't know Cloud Monster? Well, he was before your time—big in the '70s.

I've seen these puppets, friends. It's monstrous papier-mâché madness. And it's not all hand puppets. Some of the puppets cover the head or whole body. Sometimes they take the form of giant transvestite banana slugs named Dick Cheney (okay, that's a lie), zombie elephants, and the infamous Frog People. Performances have names like "The Umbrella Who Would Not Be Trashed."

One warning: The event is family friendly. I know not everybody is family friendly friendly—there will probably be elementary school children fighting in a canvas bag and other such regular occurrences of family life. But don't let that stop you. EVAN JAMES

Nocturnal, 1800 E Burnside, Sun Oct 23, 3 pm, $7 adults, $5 children