Saturday, May 29, 2010

BEA (BookExpo America) Takeaways

The place to bump boards with Tony Hawk, hear Stephen King sing "Louie Louie" in front of a full band, or watch David Sedaris talk about kinky sex in front of countless octogenarians through your hands, BookExpo America is always a good time, and from what I hear, this year was no exception. (Streisand spoke on opening night!). Among the questions raised by the numerous author/bookseller/publisher panels, however, one concern loomed high above the rest for all the book-ies: Electronic Books.

We ask: What do you think about them? If you read them via an e-reader, ipad, or iphone, how does that kind of reading compare to the real thing? Will they change the way we read forever? What will they do to the publishing industry, do you think? How will they effect and authors and authorship? Is there a way for e-books and independent bookstores to coexist peacefully, or does the birth of one necessitate the death of the other, as with Jake's exchange of bodies at the end of Avatar?

Please, please, let us know what you think!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Karl Marlantes at Third Place Books

Karl Marlantes, Woodinville resident and author of the excellent, Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War, is reading tomorrow, Wednesday, May 19, at Third Place Books! The event starts at 7.00 pm.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


A Father/Son Beerok!:

David Guterson's The Other (Vintage, $12.00) and 7 Seas Brewing's Ballz Deep Double IPA -- Yes, it's strange, and even auspiciously weird that one of the Northwest's best writers (David Guterson) now has a son (Travis Guterson) playing brewmaster at one of its most exciting new breweries, 7 Seas (Gig Harbor). And Ballz Deep is a good beer, by the way, really in spite of its poor name. Hoppy with a residual sweetness that bonds flavor to smoothness (spicy Yakima hops provide the 'berserk' flavor kick, while a pale ale malt mixed with a variety of Crystals make the base), it is that rare double IPA that doesn't have a pitbull's bite, or, conversely, taste like pond water. The Other is fantastic, too. A coming of age tale about dropping out, growing up, staying authentic, Seattle, and Seattle's wilderness(es), it that funny sort of book which sees an author sinking into the maturity of his talent by writing about youth and growing up. Which is why I think it's great pair with the younger Guterson's brand new brewery (which started selling its beers off the shelf in mid-April!)!

Swill it and kill it


Tuesday, May 4, 2010


With National Poetry Month done and gone, it's time to get back to the novel -- especially because so many great ones have come out in the last month or so.

Here are a few littering my bedside!:

The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall (W.W. Norton, $21.65, hardcover) -- Like the ultra-watchable, insanely believable Big Love on HBO, The Lonely Polygamist is a dramatic, always surprising, and consistently hilarious saga about the logistical and spiritual mechanics of polygamist life. Among other things, it's written well and has a lot to say about underground, awesome....

The Book of Evidence by John Banville (Vintage, $12.00) -- Part Bellow, part Camus, part Michael Cunningham, Banville is one of the best and still, very much himself. And I like this older Banville novel, too. It's a dark, fixing book written for those enjoy wry smiles and harbor steely stomachs; 'gruesome' is its middle name and 'calculating' its last. Beautiful, still, as well.

Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes (Atlantic Monthly Press, $19.96, hardcover) -- Matterhorn is a big book, figuratively, literally, pretty much any way you hold up to light. And surprisingly, it's also a debut. I'm not real far in it -- just 40 pages or so -- and can readily admit that it's taken a hold of me. (Two words: penile leeches. ). And oh yea, it's about Vietnam and written by a former Marine who's spent 30 years in his attic making it one of the most riveting, comprehensive and peerless books about a subject so many great authors have already explored. How Marlantes found the room, or the acumen, to take over that conversation is beyond me, but thank god for it.