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LitWatch December: Have a very bookish holiday

This month features author readings, book release parties, a festive holiday storytime, the return of The Moth Mainstage, and Patti Smith at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

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‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!…

— from A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863)

Moore’s poem is one of the best-known holiday classics in the English language, along with A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (1843), How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (1957), and The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (1985). Colloquially known as The Night Before Christmas, the poem was first published anonymously in 1823 as Account of a Visit From St. Nicholas and later claimed by Moore in 1837.

This Christmas Eve, Powell’s Books is offering a Kids’ Storytime that will include a reading of the poem in a close-to-true form with Victorian-era-style illustrations by artist and author Matt Tavares. Not only is it set to be a festive celebration for children, but also an enjoyable experience for their accompanying adults.

Now I present to you the rest of the December calendar, heavy with happenings toward the start of the month and sparser toward the end, leaving plenty of space for friends and family to gather and celebrate with their loved ones.

Wishing you a good book and a cozy place to read this winter season. Happy holidays to all, “and to all a goodnight.”

Week 1: Dec. 1-7

Author Reading: Matthew Quick
Presented by Powell’s Books
7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1
Powell’s City of Books
1005 W. Burnside St., Portland
Free

Join The Silver Linings Playbook author Matthew Quick as he reads from his newest book, We Are the Light. The release from Simon & Schuster tells the story of Lucas Goodgame, a man from Pennsylvania who goes on a journey to heal from grief and difficulty through art and the rejection of toxic masculinity.

Patti Smith will be at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on Dec. 1.

Patti Smith: Songs & Stories
Presented by Portland’5
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
1037 S.W. Broadway, Portland
Tickets start at $38.99

Iconic musician, writer, and author of Just Kids, Patti Smith will appear at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall to share her newest book. A Book of Days chronicles more than 365 photographs from the artist’s Instagram page and personal collection, featuring vintage pictures, to compile a portrait of Smith’s life. The ticket price includes a copy of the book, which will be distributed to attendees at the venue.

Holiday Cheer: 53rd Annual Celebration of Oregon Authors 
Presented by The Oregon Historical Society
Noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4
Oregon Historical Society
1200 S.W. Park Ave., Portland
Free

Sip hot chocolate, shop local literature, and listen to carolers as you talk with local authors during the 53rd Annual Celebration of Oregon Authors. Nearly 70 Oregon writers are participating, including Carl Abbott, Heather Ames, Brian Benson, Phillip Margolin, Barbara Roberts, Susan Sokol Blosser, and many more.

Author Reading: Brooke Barker
Presented by Powell’s Books
7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5
Powell’s City of Books
1005 W. Burnside St., Portland
Free

Sponsor
White Bird Dance Trinity Irish The Reser Beaverton Oregon

Brooke Barker, known for her Instagram account “Sad Animal Facts,” will read from her newest illustrated release, How Do Meerkats Order Pizza? Wild Facts about Animals & the Scientists Who Study Them. This middle-grade book is meant to help both kids and adults learn more about animals in our world.

Douglas Brinkley
Presented by Powell’s Books
7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5
Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing
3415 S.W. Cedar Hills Blvd, Beaverton
Free

Historian Douglas Brinkley will read from Silent Spring Revolution, his book exploring the catalyst for long-term environmental activism that started during the Sixties. Beginning with the first detonation of a test atomic bomb, Brinkley examines the harm humans have caused the natural world and creates a call to action for protecting it.

In-Store Event: Central Oregon Writers Guild 2022 Anthology Launch Party
Presented by Roundabout Books
6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6
900 N.W. Mt. Washington Drive, No. 110, Bend
Free

A launch party celebrating the Central Oregon Writers Guild 2022 Literary Collection will feature readers Ted Virts, Krayna Castelbaum, Lynda Sather, Niki Rainwater, Jennifer Delahunty, and David Cook.

Week 2: Dec. 8-14

Author Reading: Molly Hashimoto
Presented by Powell’s Books
7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8
Powell’s City of Books
1005 W. Burnside St., Portland
Free

Join artist and author Molly Hashimoto for a reading from Trees of the West — a follow-up to Colors of the West and Birds of the West. In her new book, Hashimoto discusses her connection with nature, its importance in our daily lives, and the mediums she uses to cultivate and create her work.

The Moth: Mainstage in Portland
Presented by Literary Arts
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
1037 S.W. Broadway, Portland
Tickets: $21-$85

The Moth is back with a lineup of five storytellers who tell it like it is, live and in person at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. While the storytellers’ names have not yet been released, this year’s voices promise compelling and thought-provoking stories about their personal experiences.

Community Reading and Book Release
Presented by Write Around Portland
6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14
First United Methodist Church, Collins Hall
1838 S.W. Jefferson St., Portland
Free

Join Write Around Portland in celebrating the culmination of its fall in-person workshop season. Participants will read their finished and newly published works featured in the 59th anthology, Moon Leaps. After the reading, Moon Leaps will be available for purchase at the event.

Find out about snowy plovers during a Dec. 14 lecture in Cannon Beach. Photo: Keenan Adams, US Fish and Wildlife Service

World of Haystack Rock Library Lecture Series Presents: Snowy Plovers
Presented by Cannon Beach Library and Friends of Haystack Rock
7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14
Cannon Beach Library
131 N. Hemlock, Cannon Beach
Free

The World of Haystack Rock Library Lecture Series happens at Cannon Beach Library and online via Facebook Live. This month celebrates the snowy plover, a small bird important to the Oregon Coast ecosystem. Allison Anholt, coastal community science biologist with the Portland Audubon Society, will deliver the lecture and lead the discussion.

Week 3: Dec. 15-21

Slamlandia
Presented by Literary Arts
7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15
Literary Arts
925 S.W. Washington St., Portland
Free

Join Slamlandia for its December iteration of the open mic night and poetry slam. The event will be hosted by poet, author, and co-founder of the Bigfoot Regional Poetry Slam, Julia Gaskill. Proof of COVID-19 vaccine or a negative PCR test is required for entry.

Week 4: Dec. 22-31

Kids’ Christmas Storytime
Presented by Powell’s Books
10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 24
Powell’s City of Books
1005 W. Burnside St., Portland
Free

On the morning of Christmas Eve, get bundled up in your best holiday sweaters and take the kids downtown to Powell’s City of Books or a festive reading of the classic Clement C. Moore poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Or Account of a Visit From St. Nicholas.

Amy Leona Havin is a writer, choreographer, and filmmaker based in Portland, Oregon. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington, and is the Artistic Director of Portland-based multi-media dance company The Holding Project. Her works can be read in Humana Obscura, San Diego Poetry Annual, The Dust Magazine, The Chronicle, Mountain Bluebird Magazine, and others, and she has been shortlisted for the Bridport International Writing Competition Prize in Poetry. Havin’s artistic process is rooted in classical and somatic movement practices, non-fiction writing, and honoring the landscape of the natural world.

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