Tag Archives: Kitsap Regional Library

Did You Live In Your Own “Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet”?

Did you live in Kitsap County in the 1940s, especially during the war years?

Did you and your family immigrate to America? Did you go through the bitter and sweet experience of blending the culture you brought from your home country into American society?

Do you have 25 minutes to spare, to share a few of those stories?

If so, the Kitsap Regional Library is very interested in hearing them.

The call to collect these oral histories is part of the library’s One Book One Community program, which this year celebrates Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet, the well-received, bestselling debut novel by South Kitsap High School graduate Jamie Ford. The above themes are the ones touched on in the book, which alternates in narrative between Seattle’s Chinese and Japanese communities in the 1940s and 1980s. The celebration will culminate in an Oct. 16 speaking appearance in Poulsbo by Ford, who now lives in Montana.

Heidi Larsen, the Kitsap librarian heading the oral history project, explains further.

“When you share your memories of Kitsap County, your experiences of immigration, and living in two cultures, you are giving back to your community,” she said. “Others can learn from your experiences.”

And, Larsen added, “oral histories are a great way to interact with the themes of Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet.

If you’re interested, or know someone who might be, here’s how it works.

First, call your nearest KRL branch. Library volunteers are being trained to conduct oral-history interviews for the project. Once you’ve set an appointment, your interview — approximately 25 minutes — will be recorded. You’ll later receive a copy of the interview on CD.

Another CD recording of each interview will be catalogued into the KRL collection, along with photos of each interviewee, and be posted on the library’s website — krl.org.

(Phone numbers for each KRL branch can be found here.)

Sometime in November, the library system will host an Oral History Celebration, with all interview participants invited.

* * * * *

Just a reminder that Jamie Ford has agreed to do a question-and-answer session for this blog ahead of his Oct. 16 appearance here. I’ll send off my questions and get that scheduled as soon as I finish reading Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet. And I have to say, it’s pretty good. Maybe even quite a bit better than that. Which, from this confirmed mystery-and-true-crime junkie, may be saying something. Or maybe not.

Wait A Minute … They Took A Taxi From Bremerton to Bainbridge Island?

Authors Joshilyn Jackson, Jane Smiley, Tatjana Soli, event organizer Robbie Wright, and authors Josie Brown and Eileen Goudge

Last week’s “Between The Pages” event on Bainbridge Island wasn’t perfect, as you’ll see below … but it was a success. (Let me check that: Once things got to Bainbridge, things were perfect.) But an enthusiastic crowd of about 75, paying at least $50 a ticket, came out to support the Kitsap Regional Library system and listen to a powerhouse lineup of female authors — Jane Smiley, Josie Brown, Eileen Goudge, Joshilyn Jackson and Tatjana Soli — read from their latest books.

Here’s a six-minute video of the evening‘s highlights, prepared by event organizers Robbie Wright and Liberty Bay Books owner Suzanne Droppert.

And when I asked Josie Brown to reflect on the evening, here’s what she had to say:

It was a great adventure, for sure. We had plenty of time to get to the ferry. Too much, apparently, because we got onto the wrong one: the Bremerton one as opposed to the Bainbridge — and didn’t realize it, until we almost docked and my husband, Martin, timidly asked me (because he thought I’d faint): “Hon, um, wasn’t this ferry ride supposed to be a half-hour, tops?”

A mad rush by taxi (we had a colorful driver — Anthony, originally from Buffalo, and the topic with him jumped from his tenure in the armed services to his job as a masseuse, to hemp clothing) and we were there, only fifteen minutes late. Jane was laughing because she’d made it over earlier that morning to visit a pal — and she was the one we thought would get lost or be late, as she’s always the one texting, “I have to be where? When?”

It was a wonderful crowd! Friendly, inquisitive, and obviously avid readers. What I love, too is that there were quite a few teachers and librarians there as well.

Eileen calls us “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Books.” Most of us met face-to-face for the first time just the night before, but you’d think we’d known each other for quite some time, the way everyone got along. Joshilyn is a consummate performer: you can tell she was an actress in her previous profession. Tatjana gives an eloquent read. Her book is serious, but she is lighthearted and fun. She and her husband, Gaylord, dance the tango!

The way back — this time the RIGHT ferry — was too short. It was fun just to sit together and recapped the fun. I hope everyone in the audience had as much fun as we had.

Romance Writers Honor Debbie Macomber on Saturday

Debbie Macomber will be the featured speaker when the Peninsula Chapter of the Romance Writers of America meet at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Sylvan Way Branch of the Kitsap Regional Library in East Bremerton.

Macomber, who helped found the chapter in 1986, will do a Q&A with attendees, and she’ll also be celebrated by her home chapter for her receipt of the national organization’s Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. (She formally received the prestigious prize at RWA’s annual conference in late July, following in the footsteps of romance-writing legend Linda Lael Miller, a former Kitsap resident, who received the same award in 2007.) The award is given “in recognition of significant contributions to the romance genre.”

The meeting is open to anyone interested.

The Peninsula RWA chapter, with 70 members, covers the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas, as well as the Tacoma area. “We support all writers in all genres, not just romance,” said Jennifer Conner, chapter president. “We bring in speakers, editors, agents and other authors to help our members hone their craft and become stronger writers.”

And Conner, a 1979 South Kitsap High graduate, is proof that it works. Her first published romance novel, Kilt By Love, will be released Sept. 27. (It was her seventh manuscript.) Congratulations, Jennifer.

Here’s the summary from Conner’s blog:

When Sasha Nolan loses her job as an events planner, she decides to take her dream vacation to Scotland. Her plan is to find out what Scotsmen wear under their kilts, but instead, she’s stuck on a tour bus of senior citizens. When she meets Allister MacTavish, a modern day laird, all that changes. There’s one simple rule for her vacation, kilt, conquer and leave. Can Sasha follow her rule when Allister asks for her help in creating a plan to rescue MacTavish Castle from financial ruin? Suddenly Sasha finds that she’s tempted to abandon her old life, help Allister, and indulge in every sexual fantasy she’s ever had. Because now, she’s found out what Scotsmen wear under their kilts…nothing at all.

Literary Heavy Hitters Go to Bat for Kitsap Libraries

Authors of literature are usually valued in society as philosophers, sages and teachers. Oh, and quality drinking companions (in my experience, anyway).

To that list, add superheroes.

It’s in the latter mode that five highly regarded fiction writers from all over the United States are coming Thursday to Bainbridge Island for a public reading and reception. Their mission: To raise money for the cash-strapped Kitsap Regional Library system.

Jane Smiley

The $50-a-ticket “Between The Pages” event, at the Bainbridge Performing Arts center, features one marquee name: Jane Smiley, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Thousand Acres, a modern-day retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear which was later made into a movie starring Jason Robards, Jessica Lange and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Josie Brown

Joining Smiley are four other female authors with strong national reputations: Josie Brown, Eileen Goudge, Joshilyn Jackson and Tatjana Soli.

Eileen Goudge

For 90 minutes, they’ll read from their latest novels (more on those below), interview each other and possibly take some questions from the audience, Wright said. They’ll stay for another 40 minutes after to chat and sign copies of their books.

“My karmic way of giving back is to come up with ideas in which the sales of my books can help good causes,” said Brown, a Bay Area author who helped spearhead the event. (She even arranged for copies of her newest novel, Secret Lives Of Husbands And Wives, to be included in the ticket price.)

Brown is friends with Robbie Wright, a corporate events planner who lives on Bainbridge. When Wright told her last spring about the library system’s woes — budget cuts, past levy failures and the theft of children’s books from the Port Orchard branch — Brown came up with the fundraiser idea.

They quickly enlisted Peter Raffa, director of the Kitsap Regional Library Foundation, and the three drew up a wish list of names. One glittery name at the top of their list — show-business novelist Jackie Collins — initially committed to the Between The Pages event.

Joshilyn Jackson

But, Brown said, Collins had to drop out when when the date for the London premiere of a movie based on one of her books shifted from summer to fall. Also having to drop out was novelist Lisa Rinna, who saw the release of her latest novel shifted to October.

They got Smiley, their other top name, to come up from her Northern California home, however. Goudge, a New York author with a second home in the Puget Sound area, came on board next, followed by Jackson, a Georgia resident, and Soli, who lives in Southern California.

Tatjana Soli

All write what could be labeled literary, issue-driven women’s fiction.

“They are heavy hitters, all of whom have have books that resonate with library patrons all over the country,” Brown said. “And there are no more avid readers than those in the Seattle metro area. That’s a known statistic in the book industry.”

And, she added: “Any excuse to get out into the incomparable Puget Sound area is a writer’s joy. Which is why so many great ones live in your neck of the woods, right?”

*****

Sad disclosure: As things stand now, I won’t be able to attend the event, as I must punch in for my regular Thursday swing shift at the paragraph factory in Bremerton. However, if you’re going and bringing a camera, would you mind sharing some of your shots with me so I can share with everyone? E-mail me at thomsen1965@gmail.com. And please share some of the funny anecdotes and other highlights of the evening. And cake, if there’s any.

*****

A little about each author and their latest books:

• Jane Smiley, who has published 13 novels, three nonfiction books and a short-story collection over a 30-year career, came out earlier this year with her latest, Private Life, which follows one Midwestern woman’s life in marriage from the 1880s to World War II. Said Booklist: “Smiley casts a gimlet eye on the institution of marriage even as she offers a fascinating glimpse of a distant era.”

• Josie Brown is a journalist who specializes in celebrity interviews and relationship articles. Her previous novels include True Hollywood Lies and Impossibly Tongue-Tied; her latest release, just out in June, is Secret Lives Of Husbands And Wives, which examines the dramas of two vastly different Silicon Valley couples. Wrote Booklist: “These women inside their fishbowl are fun to peer in on despite being caricaturish, and the momentum of Brown’s writing and plot keeps the pages turning.”

• Eileen Goudge broke into book publishing by contributing to the crazily successful Sweet Valley High series for young teen girls in the early ’80s. She published her first adult novel in 1986, and her latest, released last October, is Once In A Blue Moon, a tale of two tempestuous sisters and their secrets. Said Publisher’s Weekly: “A touching story with wide appeal, Goudge’s novel is a sharp example of dysfunctional family fiction.”

• Joshilyn Jackson, a Florida native and former teacher, broke into book publishing with a splash, with 2005’s gods in Alabama. Her fourth book, released in June, is drawing her biggest notices: Backseat Saints, a Southern-fried tale of an abused woman who runs from the husband who will never let her go. Said Booklist: “Jackson peels back Rose’s hard edges and resignation to reveal a smart, earnest, brave, and surprisingly hopeful young woman who yearns to make a better life for herself.”

• Tatjana Soli, born in Austria, wrote and published short stories for years before breaking out this spring with her debut novel, The Lotus Eaters, an exhaustively researched story of a female wartime photographer in Southeast Asia at the close of the Vietnam War. Wrote Kirkus Reviews: “Graphic but never gratuitous, the gripping, haunting narrative explores the complexity of violence, foreignness, even betrayal. Moving and memorable.”

*****

Between The Pages: A fundraising event for the Kitsap Regional Library Foundation

Who: Authors Jane Smiley, Josie Brown, Eileen Goudge, Joshilyn Jackson and Tatjana Soli

When: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Bainbridge Performing Arts Center, 200 Madison Ave. N., Bainbridge Island

Tickets: $50 (includes copy of Brown’s novel, Secret Lives Of Husbands and Wives), with discount available for groups of eight or more; and $150 for “VIP” access, which includes a catered pre-event reception with the authors and copies of each of their latest novels. Purchase at Liberty Bay Books, 18881 D Front St., Poulsbo.

More Info: For ticket info, Peter Raffa, (360) 475-9039; for event info, Robbie Wright, (206) 390-1989

News and Notes: Bite-Sized Adventures in Authortastic Awesomeness

Some news and notes from around the Kitsap literary scene:

• Just got a note from the folks at Elandan Gardens in Gorst that a copy of Gnarly Branches, Ancient Trees: The Life and Works of Dan Robinson, Bonsai Pioneer has arrived at the home of the world-class bonsai art collection, even though the book won’t be formally released until October. Robinson, of course, is the world-renowned “Picasso of Bonsai” who makes Elandan his home base when he’s not off trotting the globe teaching others the exquisite tree-design art. At $49.95, the price may give pause, but, if you click on the link and leaf through a sampling of pages, you’ll see the the pictures are indeed exquisite. Ordering information is available there as well.

• I asked Ollala crime author Gregg Olsen about his newest fiction thriller, Closer Than Blood. All he would tell me is that it features Kendall Stark, the Kitsap County sheriff’s detective featured in his most recently published novel, Victim Six. Oh, and that it’s set, like the last one, in Port Orchard. And it has “a serial killer with ties to the South Kitsap High School Class of ’94.” It’ll be out the first week of April, which is when the paperback version of Gregg’s latest true-crime book, A Twisted Faith, comes out.

Gregg also reminded me that the “Dateline: NBC” program spotlighting the Kitsap case behind A Twisted Faith airs again on Friday, Sept. 24. He’ll also be discussing the story at a Nov. 12 fundraiser dinner for the Kitsap Historical Society.

• Bainbridge Island author Anthony Flacco, another crime writer, has been no less busy than Gregg. I’ll have a blog post coming soon on an interesting project he’s immersed at the moment, but he’s also plugging away at his next novel. His fiction work to this point has been historical, but this time he’s trying something new.

Said Anthony: “The new story is a contemporary magical romance set in San Francisco in the world of food shows and reality TV. The plot is moved by an ancient native myth that influences the choices of the principal characters.”

Anthony’s most recent books were The Road Out Of Hell, a well-received historical true-crime tale from the 1920s, and Publish Your Nonfiction Book, a Writer’s Digest book he produced last fall with his longtime partner, literary agent Sharlene Martin.

Speaking of The Road Out Of Hell, Anthony announced not long ago that an Italian publisher had acquired the book’s rights and would be hosting some author appearances when the translation releases in March 2011. Said Anthony on his Facebook page: “What a wonderful way to visit that country, La Dolce Vita! One hundred years after my grandparents arrived at Ellis Island.”

• Somehow, in my post last week catching us up on Debbie Macomber’s oeuvre, I missed that Susan Wiggs, the Bainbridge author of romance and women’s fiction, had the same day re-released The Firebrand, the last in a trilogy of historical romances she originally published about a decade ago based on the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Publisher’s Weekly liked it, in a 2001 review: “She has created a quiet page-turner that will hold readers spellbound as the relationships, characters and story unfold. Fans of historical romances will naturally flock to this skillfully executed trilogy, and general women’s fiction readers should find this story enchanting as well.”

Garth Sundem was nice enough to send me his geektastic new book, Brain Candy: Science, Paradoxes, Puzzles, Logic and Illogic to Nourish Your Neurons, a couple of months ago, and I’m feeling guilty for not having mentioned it yet. The new book by the 1994 Bainbridge High grad, much like his first two, is a trip through the “intersection of science, math and humor.” It’s loaded with hundreds of funky little factoids, puzzles, logic tests and other ways of demonstrating how our malleable, easily tricked but surprisingly resilient brains work and how the science of putting it to work more efficiently has advanced.

Sundem, who now lives in Ojai, Calif., eats up science writing and research with two spoonfuls. As a result, his bite-sized-nuggets of geekery require more thoughtful digestion than a potboiler novel. That explains why I’m just on page 73, and why, if I wait till I’m done to do a proper write-up, we’ll likely have a new president in the White House.

So, to get a taste of what Brain Candy is all about, click here for some samples. Or watch this tremendously entertaining 2007 appearance on Good Morning America, in which Sundem banters with Diane Sawyer and shows how math calculations can determine whether or not couples should get married — or stay married.

• And, speaking of former Bainbridge Islanders, Seattle author Brandon Kyle Rudd just released the latest edition of his Cooper’s Pack children’s travel guides, Cooper’s Pack Travel Guide to Seattle. The 72-page picture tome follows the adventures of Cooper the dog and his pal, Elliott the otter, as they hop a ferry from Bainbridge Island and see the sights around downtown Seattle. The book, priced at $12.95, can come with plush toys and other kid-friendly accessories.

Rudd — whose pen name on the guides is just “Kyle” — made his mark on Bainbridge as a kid in the late ’70s and ’80s, publishing the Winslow Advertiser shopper from his fourth through eighth grades, and later Exhibition, a well-regarded visual and literary arts magazine, through his high-school years. His Bainbridge school years made a lingering impression on him, as the bios of his characters at the end of his books throw shout-outs to some of his favorite teachers: Gary Axling (Blakely Elementary), Dave Layton and Eileen Okada (Commodore Middle School) and Paul See (Bainbridge High).

Cooper’s Pack Travel Guide To Seattle is the third in a series; previous editions spotlighted New York City and London, and next year will see Cooper visit Bangkok. The book — or its interactive edition — can be purchased online or at Seattle tourist attractions like the Space Needle, Ivar’s and Seattle Duck Tours. (Interesting sidelight: The media relations person for Cooper’s Pack Publishing, based in Seattle, is Marta Drevniak — who happens to be Gregg Olsen‘s daughter.)

• OK, one last ex-Bainbridge Islander (I get to do this because I happen to be one). Remember the big kerfuffle alluded to in a previous Reading Kitsap post about The New York Times’ alleged bias in book reviews toward white male authors from New York? Well, I found out that if you’re looking for Exhibit B to prosecute that case (Exhibit A being Jonathan Franzen), look no further than former Bainbridge resident Alan Furst.

The 69-year-old Furst, a native Manhattanite who lived on Bainbridge for a while in the ’80s and ’90s when he worked for the Seattle Arts Commission, has written 11 literary spy thrillers. All have been set in Europe, before and during World War II, and nine of them have been reviewed in the Times (check them out here). The tenth, Spies Of The Balkans, was reviewed in The Times not once but twice. (The second review is less complimentary, dinging Furst for Ph.D-level historical research at the expense of character development.)

And Furst also got a lavish feature in The Times’ Books section a couple of years ago, in which he sat with the reporter in his Sag Harbor home and said, “I’m basically an Upper West Side Jewish writer.” (Gentile non-gentlemen, start your outrage engines.)

But here’s my favorite part of the story:

Mr. Furst wrote what he now calls a “transitional book,” “Shadow Trade,” a contemporary spy thriller, and helped Debbi Fields, the chocolate chip cookie mogul, write her autobiography. There were also three novels he’d just as soon not talk about. They were comic murder mysteries set in the world of sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. “It never occurred to me that people didn’t want to read about sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll,” he said. “Or that there might be other things you’d want to do with sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll.”

Awesome, that. Also:

At a writer’s conference in the late ’80s, Mr. Furst went on to say, he ran into Peter Davison, then the poetry editor at The Atlantic Monthly and also an editor at the Atlantic Monthly Press. Mr. Davison said to him, “We looked at your manuscripts,” Mr. Furst recalled. “Do you want to know why we turned them down?” When he said yes, Mr. Davison said they were the most smart-alecky things he had ever seen.

Even more awesome.

• OK. but nothing’s quite as awesome as this. Jamie Ford, the South Kitsap High grad who’s coming Oct. 16 to Poulsbo to speak as part of the Kitsap Regional Library‘s “One Book One Community” program, shared a funny story on his blog about a fanboy writer crush he’s long had on legendary science-fiction author Harlan Ellison.

Seems that the acclaimed author of Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet wanted to honor Ellison’s legacy of performance-theater writing — Ellison used to type short stories in a storefront window and give them away to those who watched — when he takes the stage at Richard Hugo House in Seattle next month for The Novel: Live! fundraising event next month. Facing a two-hour writing turn before a live audience, Ford wrote to Ellison asking the other man — now 76 — if he could wear a T-shirt of his at the event.

Next thing Ford knew, he received a call at his Montana home from the man himself.

Wrote Ford in his blog about the call: “Picking up the phone and hearing, ‘Hi, Jamie, this is Harlan Ellison,’ was like learning that Santa Claus is real. Except he’s Jewish and drops the f-bomb a bit more.”

As a result, Ford will take his turn on stage at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, wearing a Harlan Ellison T-shirt.

Thus concludes this edition of awesometasticness.

Actually, wait, one more thing: Ford has agreed to do a Q&A with me in advance of his visit.

Flippin’ awesome.



Good Stuff That’s Coming Up

A look through Kitsap’s September literary calendar:

• Friday, Sept. 3, 9 a.m. through 4 p.m.: Stillwaters Environmental Education Center, 26059 Barber Cut Off Road in Kingston, begins its annual fundraising book sale. At least 15,000 new and used books, covering all genres and subjects, will be sold each Friday through Sunday, through Oct. 3. During the sale’s last weekend, books will be sold by the grocery bag ($5 on Friday, $3 on Saturday and free on Sunday). All proceeds go to support environmental education. For more information, contact Naomi Maasberg at (360) 297-1226 or at naomi@stillwatersenvironmental center.org.

• Sunday, Sept. 12, at 3 p.m.: Eagle Harbor Book Co. on Bainbridge Island hosts Carol Cassella, the Bainbridge author whose second novel, Healer, will be in bookstores Sept. 7. Those wanting a signed copy can order it in advance through the bookstore. (Full disclosure: I was lucky enough to score an advance copy, am about 150 pages in, and can say it so far is every bit the equal of Oxygen … and probably a lot more than that. I’m working on an interview with Carol for this blog ahead of this reading; stay tuned for details.)

• Tuesday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m.: Liberty Bay Books in Poulsbo hosts Erica Bauermeister, the Seattle author of the novel, The School Of Essential Ingredients. (Of the book, Publisher’s Weekly says: ““In this remarkable debut, Bauermeister creates a captivating world where the pleasures and particulars of sophisticated food come to mean much more than simple epicurean indulgence…Delivering memorable story lines and characters while seducing the senses, Bauermeister’s tale of food and hope is sure to satisfy.”) Bauermeister is a founding member of Seattle7Writers, the literary-and-literacy promotion collective, and will participate in The Novel: Live! fundraising event in October.

• Thursday, Sept. 16, 7 p.m.: The Kitsap Regional Library Foundation hosts Between The Pages, an evening with five authors — Eileen Goudge, Jane Smiley, Joshilyn Jackson, Josie Brown and Tatjana Soli — at the Bainbridge Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $50 for the event, a fundraiser for the foundation, and includes a copy of Brown’s novel, Secret Lives Of Husbands And Wives. VIP tickets sell for $150; that price gets you an invite to a catered pre-event reception with the authors; the latest books bu all five authors and an opportunity to have them signed, among other good stuff. Click on the above link for ticket and other info; tickets can also be purchased through Eagle Harbor Book Co. and Liberty Bay Books. (If, like me, you’re wondering how Kitsap lined up so many literary rock stars for one evening, rest assured that I’m looking into the story behind this event and hope to have a blog soon on that subject. I’m dying to go to this myself, but that damned work thing appears to be getting in the way. Hint, hint, boss.)

• Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m.: Field’s End hosts Bainbridge resident Tom Tyner, aka The Latte Guy, who will speak on “The Ins And Outs Of Writing A Weekly Column.” A land-conservation lawyer, Tyner has written his humorous observations on coffee, parenting and island life on and off for The Bainbridge Island Review since 1993. His earlier columns were collected in a book called Skeleton From Our Closet.

• Tuesday, Sept. 23, 7 p.m. (and continuing for the next four Tuesday evenings): Field’s End hosts novelist and University of Washington English professor Shawn Wong, who will offer a workshop on “Beginning Fiction.” (From the website: “Nearly everyone says or overhears someone say, “I have a great idea for a novel.” How do fiction writers get from idea to written pages? How do you give yourself practical writing assignments to meet your goal? What tricks can you play on yourself to move your writing ability from one level to another? How can you be an objective editor of your writing? There is no tried-and-true path to writing fiction, but Shawn Wong’s students for the past 26 years at UW have gone on to write and publish short stories and novels and win writing awards. What he tells them will be compressed into four sessions. In other words, let’s skip the apprenticeship and get straight to the writing.”) Wong is the author of the novels Homebase and American Knees, both literary novels stemming from his Chinese-American experience. The latter book was adapted into Americanese, an independent movie being release this year. Cost for the four-week workshop is $160. For registration forms and other information on the classes, which take place at the Bainbridge Public Library’s meeting room, go to Field’s End online.

Know of any September signings, readings or other literary events in Kitsap County you’d like to publicize here? Drop me a line at thomsen1965@gmail.com.

Live From Poulsbo, It’s Saturday Afternoon Live! With Your Host, Jamie Ford!

This year’s “One Book One Community” pick by the Kitsap Regional Library is Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet, the bestselling, universally acclaimed debut novel by 1986 South Kitsap High School graduate Jamie Ford.

The library’s programming emphasis on the book and its themes culminates Saturday, Oct. 16, with a visit by Ford himself with the Kitsap reading public at the North Kitsap Auditorium in Poulsbo. The event, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., is free.

I confess that I haven’t yet read the book — it glares accusingly at me from an ever-growing stack of books on my nightstand by authors with Kitsap ties — though I swear I will sometime in the next month (or so). So the reason, as things stand now, that I’m so looking forward to Ford’s visit is this:

The dude is freaking hilarious.

Just from his Facebook statuses (stati?), I could see immediately that this is the sort of guy with whom you could enjoy a cheerful evening of beer consumption. Some recent gems:

Officers on my doorstep at 4:00 a.m. — some kids were breaking into cars in my neighborhood. Should I install an alarm or just skip to claymore mines?

•  My daughter just asked me what color eyebrow piercing she should wear to her job interview. How do I answer that?

High school orientation tonight. My wife and I are threatening to embarrass our teens by making out in the janitor’s closet.

Broke my arm in high school on Friday the 13th. Drew much-wanted attention from cheerleaders. I’ll take that kind of bad luck any day.

Better yet, Ford is one of the relatively few authors who keeps up a blog and fills it with prescient, and cheerfully askew, perspectives on the publishing world.

One of my favorite recent entries is on a controversy over the way The New York Times selects which books it reviews. Upon seeing that Freedom, the forthcoming novel by Jonathan Franzen, got two glowing reviews in a week’s time from The Great Gray Lady, authors Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner blasted off on Twitter, claiming that The Times is biased against women authors and popular fiction. That’s led to a lot of back-and-forth on the interwebs, and Ford weighed in with a wry take:

Honestly, I don’t know if Jodi is spot-on or hurling aspersions from the cheap-seats. I guess I’m just too busy to pay that much attention to the New York Times Book Review. Except for that time they were going to review me, then pulled out when they saw my first name and their literary bus jumped the guardrail and plummeted into the abyss of androgyny.

Despite answering trivia questions about college football and Bud Light commercials, they remained unconvinced of my gender and review worthiness. I even faxed them my birth certificate—clearly evidence that I was indeed male and worthy of their time, but in a form reply they stated that the mere effeminate nature of my name offended them and thereby voided any chance of a glowing review.

Like I said, freaking hilarious.

That’s why I’m hoping that the 90-minute format of Ford’s appearance in Poulsbo, on a Saturday yet, is no coincidence, and that we’ll be treated to 90 minutes of top-flight comedy.

Or, you know, 90 minutes of witty erudition and worthy insights. Works just as well for me.

I’m hoping Ford will indulge me with a Q&A in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.