Hundreds of book lovers crowd a concert hall in Eugene, Oregon. Some grin over the top of two-foot stuffed lion and tiger toys clutched in their arms, prizes for being among the first 50 people to arrive on this chilly October evening. Onstage, three authors in pajamas and slippers read from their novels and short fiction, pausing periodically to launch a plastic hand or lighted beach ball into the audience. This is Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups with Portland authors Chuck Palahniuk, Lidia Yuknavitch and Chelsea Cain – a literary event that rebels against the traditional bookstore reading.
“Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups was the brainchild of Chuck,” Yuknavitch explains. “He wanted to reinvent the magical childhood feeling of stories before bedtime, but also torque it for adults by making material edgy enough that it would explode polite podium reading. We stage events to support each other’s new books, but we also stage them to bring sexy and fun back to literary readings. Like micro rock concerts. Because books rock.”