WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS AT PORTLAND BOOK FESTIVAL
It's raining books as Literary Arts brings the Portland Book Festival, formerly Wordstock, to readers of all ages and tastes on Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Portland Art Museum and other nearby venues.
The wall-to-wall marathon book event features 100-plus writers and skips across genres and venues to put a head-spinning lineup in the hands of readers of all stripes.
First up, know that the Tom Hanks event for his collection, "Uncommon Type: Some Stories," is at capacity and guaranteed seating has been claimed. But, breathe, there are so many pop-up readings, lectures, panels, and signings that we bet you won't even miss Hanks.
Here's a sample of just some of this year's events:
• Musician/writer Willy Vlautin will give one of the many featured pop-up style readings at this year's book festival. His spare and heartbreaking novel, "Don't Skip Out on Me," is about a young Mexican boy who longs to be a boxing champion, and the old farming couple who want to care for him.
Vlautin's band, Richmond Fontaine, created a soundtrack to accompany the lonesome feel of "Don't Skip Out on Me." The Scappoose-based writer's first book, "Lean On Pete," was set in the world of horse-racing, and written mostly from the bar at Portland Meadows race track.
12:45 p.m.-1 p.m., Modern Art Galleries, second floor, Portland Art Museum
• Jonathan Lethem's new book is his first detective novel since his unforgettable "Motherless Brooklyn." See what you make of "The Feral Detective."
Set in post-election America, it's a place of deep unease, strange rituals and initiations. Our heroine is Phoebe Siegler, a smart, funny, Manhattanite stunned by the election who exits her life to track down a friend's missing daughter. She arrives on the outskirts of L.A. seeking help from a detective named Charles Heist, who keeps an opossum in his desk drawer.
We soon learn that the girl, Arabella, may have fallen into the hands of one of two rival groups inhabiting remote areas of California's high desert. The off-the-grid tribes, we learn, call themselves the rabbits and the bears.
When Phoebe first meets the feral detective Heist, she's bowled over by lust and wonder. In a similar way, the reader won't be able to resist the pull of this weird and wonderful novel or Lethem's brilliant writing.
Lethem will be a part of the panel "Gone Girls: Murder and Mystery," along with Portland's Rene Denfeld, author of "The Child Finder."
10-11 a.m., Winningstad Theatre
• In her memoir "Tough Girl," Portland native and retired teacher Carolyn Wood writes about being a 14-year-old training for the Olympics in the sub-basement swimming pool of the Multnomah Athletic Club.
As a grown adult, Wood works through personal upheavals like her unexpected divorce. To overcome this and other setbacks, Wood sets up new physical challenges for herself and conjures the tough, fighting girl she once was to pull her through.
• Moms on the lam will enjoy "Mothers and Money," a panel on which Portland-based writer Patrick deWitt will appear along with two other writers.
DeWitt's latest book, "French Exit," is the funniest book about death and decay you'll ever read. In it, readers meet a wealthy widow named Frances and her adult son, Malcolm. Also along for the ride is their cat, who Frances believes is her dead husband reincarnated.
With their considerable fortune almost gone, the two beat a hasty retreat for Paris to escape scandal once more. DeWitt's earlier book, a western called "The Sisters Brothers," recently was released as a film.
11:30-12:30 p.m., Pam Miller Gallery, Portland Art Museum
• Portland writer Virginia Boecker's latest book, "An Assassin's Guide to Love and Treason," is set in the Elizabethan era and geared for readers in their early teens.
When Lady Katherine's father is killed for being a Catholic, she escapes to London and disguises herself as a male to play a part in Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night." Soon, she meets a young assassin hired by Queen Elizabeth to sniff out her enemies and the plot thickens.
Young love, conspiracy and early forms of spy craft create a perfectly thrilling romp through English history. Boecker is part of a panel called "Secret Identities: Deception and Disguise."
5-6 p.m., The Old Church
• Direct message your middle-schooler — if she'll be seen with you — to meet up for "Culture Shock: Middle Grade Graphic Novels."
Moscow-born Vera Brosgol is one of three presenters. She'll have her graphic novel "Be Prepared" in tow. In it, big-eyed Vera is the child of divorce and her mom can't afford the American Girl dolls and expensive summer camps other kids enjoy.
But the resilient Vera is determined to attend summer camp, even if it's no-frills and hosted by her Russian Orthodox Church. But fitting in still isn't as easy as she thought it would be.
• Summer camp from hell could be the theme of "The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore," the new novel by Seattle's Kim Fu. When a group of five young women become stranded on an island while kayaking, it shapes the subsequent lives of each of the women.
4:45-5:45 p.m., Whitsell Auditorium, Portland Art Museum
• The highly anxious Courtenay Hameister brings us all the laughs in "Okay Fine Whatever." In her first book, Hameister set out to deliberately do things that terrify her, and then manages to write about it with great sensitivity and candor.
As she says, when you're afraid of everything, everything is an adventure. The format lets the former "Live Wire Radio" host and "professional nervous person" do what she does best: overthink, obsess and make us laugh as she beats back crippling fear and self-doubt.
12:15-1:15 p.m., Whitsell Auditorium, Portland Art Museum
Tickets for the Portland Book Festival are $17-20; see www.literary-arts.org for more information.