George Saunders is often compared to Kurt Vonnegut, but he could also be a Vonnegut character. Listen to this: He was born in Texas, got a B.A. in geophysical engineering from the Colorado School of Mines, worked for years as a geophysical engineer, and logged time in Sumatra with an oil exploration crew. Then, last year, he received both a Guggenheim Fellowship and $500,000 MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant" Fellowship -- all for short stories. Now, as the main course at all the best dinner parties, especially ones at the tables of oilmen, he's throwing caution to the wind and untapping his first collection of nonfiction, which goes by the very Vonnegut-like title The Braindead Megaphone. So it goes.
Mon., Sept. 10, 7 p.m.