Spring Arts Preview 2013: Books

Some of the country’s best writers are reading in Seattle this season.

Saying Joyce Carol Oates has a new novel out (Daddy Love, a riveting story of child abduction) is like saying a Kardashian made the cover of People magazine. She’s phenomenally prolific, but Oates also happens to be tremendously skilled at crafting compelling stories. Ask her how she excels at both quantity and quality during this appearance (3/12; Seattle Public Library, 1000 Fourth Ave.; 206.386.4636; spl.org).

Karen Russell’s body of work may be puny by comparison, but it’s no less powerful. Her first novel, the magical realist, Southern gothic Swamplandia!, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize (her first novel!). And her new book of short stories, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, promises to be just as wildly inventive. She’ll share her stunning gift for building weird worlds at Seattle Arts & Lectures (4/3; Benaroya Hall, 200 University St.; 206.621.2230; lectures.org).

Moving on to the fierce femmes of nonfiction, Mary Roach (beloved for her factual and funny books Stiff, Spook and Bonk) has a new pop-science probe due out in April: Gulp. This time she’s looking within—down the alimentary canal, sharing true stories of gastrointestinal intrigue. Only Roach could give guts this much glory (4/8; Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave.; 206.652.4255; townhallseattle.org).

New Yorker contributor Susan Orlean, most famous for her exploration of orchid obsessives, The Orchid Thief, shares the result of her latest immersive interviewing, Rin Tin Tin. The book reveals the people behind the Hollywood hound, and also Orlean’s keen ear for real-life characters (5/14; Benaroya Hall; lectures.org).