(Jackson Street) Books on 7th is around the corner and on the internet tubes. We strive to be your full-service new and used bookstore, emphasizing good literature, progressive politics, and, of course, books about baseball. Opened in Hoquiam October 1, 2010

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Arthur Conan Doyle wanted to be remembered for more than Sherlock Holmes. Too bad for him.

JEREMY McCARTER just doesn't get it.

This review reminded me of the one-short story piece I attempted. I sent it off to Stuart McLean.

Dec 1st, we were snowed in and unable to attend the first showing of Vinyl Cafe in America. DAMMIT! Our one holiday extravagance.

We had a lovely night dancing anyway.

It was a slow afternoon at the bookstore and I was by myself while my co-workers were out getting their lunches. A young man entered the shop, quickly tucking a small beanie-baby sort of toy into his pocket.
When I asked if he was after something particular, he said “No, just browsing.” After a circle of the shelves he came back to the front desk and asked if we had any Sherlock Holmes stories. Relieved that it wasn’t the usual lame, jokey or idiotic questions one can get asked in a Mystery Bookstore, I took him to the Sherlockian section. He said he wanted the complete stories, so I recommended the Doubleday hardcover or the Bantam paperbacks in two volumes. He shook his head “No, I want the true stories, the cases Holmes actually solved.” I realized the level of his sincerity and slowly, carefully told him that “Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson were fictional creations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, later in life, Doyle became interested in para-normal occurrences and spiritualism, and this book is a study of the ‘true’ things Doyle investigated.” His shoulders slumped and something seemed to go out of him. “Have you ever had one of those days when everything you thought was true turns out to be wrong?” he asked me with the saddest eyes I’ve ever seen on a seventeen year old. “Yes” I said, “Yes I have.”
He looked away a moment, then tried to straighten up. “Want to see something cute?”
“Okay” I said as he pulled the stuffed toy kitten out of his pocket and faced it towards me. “Yes, that is very cute” I said, as I realized the kitten had the same sad eyes as the young man in front of me.
“Okay, thanks” he said as he turned to leave. “Are you going to be okay, honey?” I asked desperately wishing I could hug him. “Yeah” he replied over world- weary shoulders. “You take care of yourself” I called after him.
I don’t know what else was not true for that young man and I don’t know what made him so sad. But for a moment I stood and looked out the window and for the first time in my life I really, really wished Sherlock Holmes was real.

I'm also reminded of a lovely visit with Leslie Klinger, who told of a die-hard fan, she was going to have herself hyp-mo-tizd, so she could re-read Sherlock, his annotated version, for the first time, again.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

RaindogZilla liked his books!

'T'was the day before Christmas and a quandary was posed.
My credit was maxed, the libraries all closed.
The bookshelves were bare from a trip to Half-Price
and the few that were left were not worth reading twice.
When what to my crestfallen eyes did appear but a man
with a box, he was headed right here.
It was stuffed full of books, like a balm for the soul-
I guess this "Jackson Street" must be in the North Pole.
So, it's with thanks and good wishes for the storekeeps, their shop,
that the registers jingle and of custom nonstop.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007


My Booksense Blurb will be published in the January Picks Newsletter! Here's the full length version:
River, by Lowen Clausen (Silo Press, $15.95)
Lowen Clausen has written an exquisitely heart-breaking novel, with a soul as big as the eponymous River.
After the death of his son, a father takes the river voyage he has always dreamed of. Starting out from his family farm on the headwaters in the Sandhills of Nebraska, his inner voyage takes him to new acceptance of the son he never said goodbye to in life, while he faces the solitude and challenges of the river itself. The land plays as large a part of the story as do the people on the river.
This elegiac story will resonate with everyone who takes its journey for a long time.
-Tammy Domike, Jackson Street Books
This isn't the first time I've gotten my rec printed (Opal, A Fistful of Rain), but it's especially sweet as this is the second one I've gotten for Lowen. Way back when, we got a free copy of a new book by a first time author. We usually approach these offerings with trepidation, but this one was set in Seattle in 1980, (just when I got here!) along First Avenue's strip joints. I fell in love with the book and have been evangelical for the Seattle Cop Trilogy ever since. I slid a copy to the sales rep of my former employer, and they actually offered Lowen a paperback contract! Sweet! That's the only time I've ever managed to get that kind of magic to work.

Or, maybe not. Lowen wisely kept control of the Hardcover rights, and produced beautiful elegant volumes and then, later, a box to hold them. The publisher, not so much. Stereotypical cop/thriller cover art that told you nothing of what was inside. And, they had a habit of letting them go out of print, most notably, Second Watch, just 2 months before the release of Third and Forever. And still, publishers wonder why back list doesn't sell. Hint: keep it in print!

Everything Lowen has done has been a class act.While still a beat cop, he attended writing classes at UW. His dedication to the craft of writing has produced this heart-breaking breath of air. Read this book and then go hug your child.

River is a journey once taken by Lowen and his daughter. I was priveleged to be on the list for his weekly e-journals. of that voyage. The pictures here have become scenes in the book. As you read, come back and look at the pictures.

River (and the boxed set!) are available at Jackson Street Books and fine independent bookstores everywhere!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Visions of the Shifting Sands of Fate

Our friend Darryl has been doing computer graphs and bar charts! on the various candidates and how they poll currently if the '08 election were held now. Looks good for the Dems. My worry has always been that if Hilary Clinton were the candidate, how "electable" she would be. Doesn't look too bad really. Tammy and I really haven't made up our minds at all, though I guess our preferences would go Kucinch, Dodd, Edwards, Obama, Richardson, and all the rest. I hope that by the time we in Washington State actually caucus, it might mean something. We'll see.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

We're Experiencing Technical Difficulties

The picture is gone and I can't get it back. Time to start over with a new template? Anyone out there with mac/blogspot techno advise? Please help!

K ThnxBai!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My dear friend John Marshall reminded me of some basic truths of bookselling today.

Booksellers Write
From the Poetry Frontier by John Marshall

Along with my wife, Christine Deavel, I own and operate a poetry-only bookstore. Since there is currently just one other poetry bookstore in the U.S., I'm doing something few fellow booksellers do. But, like millions of others, I am also a retail clerk. Like car salesmen, we exchange goods for money.

Twenty years ago I sold my first book and felt guilty doing it. I'd been an English major, raised in a military family, so selling was unnatural to me. That feeling lasted quite awhile. Books can teach a great many things, but education in retail sales probably has to come through experience.

I remember one particular turning point. We had a customer who was a professional salesman. He had fallen head-over-heals in love with poetry and shared his enthusiasm, and checkbook, with us on a weekly basis. Quite a character, voluble and vibrant. One day I told him about a cassette tape-recording of the poet H.D. reading with a symphony. I hadn't ordered it because I thought it was too expensive. It was a rare recording and, since the company that offered it and several other gems has long since folded, now I wish I had bought a carton. The customer berated me for not ordering the tape. Said he would have bought two right then if I had them. He told me it is not my business to decide for him the value of an object.

He was oh so right. The store could have afforded a copy of the tape. It would have set us further apart from other stores. There I was, acting like the over-bearing parent of my customers. Not at all what I should have been doing. I was devastated, seeing myself in that glaringly accurate, unfavorable light. This good fellow died a few years ago. I happened on his obit in the paper. My wife and I went to his service. He is missed by us, but he is thanked, too.

I still find myself, though less and less often, wondering if the person I am taking money from can really afford the transaction. And I don't mean will the check bounce? I mean: does it make sense for them in their economic life?

Years ago, when we had a general bookstore, we had a very troubled fellow, who kept asking if this or that book was the "definitive" book on its subject. He was certainly mentally challenged, and looked to be living on the street or in a decrepit house. But he stacked books on the counter as he went along. And his litany of "is this the definitive book on . . . ." showed that he knew a lot about many things, and was making subtle and accurate connections between people and ideas. I don't remember how much the books came to, but it was well over a hundred dollars. He paid for a stack of books I was convinced I was going to be re-shelving with wadded up bills. It was like a dream; totally unanticipated and out of my control. At the time I wondered if I should refuse him, tell him to keep the money, buy some food and a shower. I'm not certain I did the right thing, but I believe I did. I took him seriously, trusted him to know what to do with this time and money, treated him as an equal. I suspect that was a rare encounter for him.

This sweet liberal has learned a sort of libertarian lesson. Retail is about trusting the customer to take care of him or her self. Happily, I'm not trying to sell something I don't believe in. My purpose is to make things available, and to have some knowledge about them. The customers and I are equals. If they want to buy books from me, I am more than happy to oblige. Anything else is a matter of imagination, and that doesn't belong in retail. That's for the arts.

John Marshall (aka J.W. Marshall) co-owns Open Books: A Poem Emporium in Seattle and is a soon-to-be published author. His book of poetry Meaning A Cloud will be published in March by Oberlin College Press. It won the eleventh annual Field Poetry Prize. He and Open Books co-owner Christine Deavel will join our regular cast of Footnotes columnists. Reach John at marshall52@gmail.com.

John and Christine run one of our favoritest bookstores, Open Books. I sold to them back in my rep days, and have valued them and their taste in books always. I didn't really sell to them, I just asked what they thought interesting at the moment. That always led to a spirited discussion! And, most times, I bought a book from them.

I'm pleased to see that a new volume of John's poetry will be available soon.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I was going to write a big ole book report about River, but I'm so happy I get to be the Booksense pick for Lowen twice!

Just had to share!

RIVER, by Lowen Clausen (Silo Press, $14.95 paper, 9780972581127 / 097258112X) "After the death of his son, a father takes the river voyage he has always dreamed of. Starting out from his family farm on the headwaters in the Sandhills of Nebraska, his inner voyage takes him to new acceptance of the son he never said goodbye to in life, while he faces the solitude and challenges of the river itself. The land plays as large a part of the story as do the people on the river. Lowen Clausen has written an exquisitely heartbreaking novel, with a soul as big as the eponymous river." --Tammy Domike, Jackson Street Books, Seattle, WA

Monday, December 10, 2007

It's WOTY* season!

“locavore,” “truthiness,” “grass station,” “plutoed,”

*Word Of The Year

If you've clicked through the knitting links on the sidebar you'd find a lexicographer talking about all things "wordy". What's your favorite new word?

Saturday, December 8, 2007

And So This is Christmas

and What have you done?
What a voice. Silenced too soon.

Imagine Every year, Yoko has paid for a NYT ad and I have torn it off and taped it to my front door. I hope the mailman enjoys it.
(this video of Imagine has graphic war images and video. if viewing with small children, click off when the song starts, about half way through. the first video is vintage John/Yoko footage)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Author reception: Margaret Willson

Please join us for an evening with our neighborhood author, Margaret Willson. Dance Lest We All Fall Down is a gripping first-person account of one woman’s experiences living in a Brazilian shantytown. She, a white American anthropologist, joins forces with an African-Brazilian shantytown activist to change the violence and despair they see around them. Their pledge to the residents to create a top-quality educational center for girls becomes a turbulent journey that takes us from the shantytowns of Northeastern Brazil to urban Seattle to high-society London. With the author, we experience a world of drug dealers, street urchins, and capoeiristas, English socialites, power-hungry “do-gooders,” and wise teachers. This is a true story of insight and inspiration, courage, passion, and intrigue.

Sunday, December 9th, 7pm

Virtual 360 walkabout!

Since we have so many virtual friends, we thought we should show you what our store looks like. And why it takes Dan a while to find that book for you! Enjoy the stacks!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Our Holiday Catalog!

You can browse titles and cover art here! And it's all 10% off through the holidays!

Our Open House Party will be Sunday, December 2nd, 3 pm till the cows come home.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Louis & Paul

Why I buy the salad dressings and salsa!

Reading for Pleasure…or Not

The New York Times reported today on a new study released by the National Endowment for the Arts that found, among other things, “…fewer than half of Americans over 18 read novels, short stories, plays or poetry…” The usual suspects are trotted out: books compete with the visual diversions, movies, tv, video games and the like. Poverty is probably an issue as well. The study also points to the flatness or decline in reading scores among students, and income level for adults. The more one reads the better the scores (including tests in Math and Science); the more one reads the more income one makes. Except in my case.
Of course, this study is of some concern to me inasmuch as I depend on a literate public to make my living. I’m fortunate that my customers are literate and I can conduct good conversations with them. I’d like to continue to do so.
I can’t be sure and I have no proof, but I think that there is a current group of young people who are growing up illiterate. Somehow the get by in school with the rudiments of reading ability and street smarts. But because they have been failed on some way early on, and not taught properly how to read, never discover the pleasures of the printed narrative. Or feel the tactile satisfaction of holding a book in one’s hands.
There is an elderly man who brings me the weekly local neighborhood paper. He told me some time ago, with great pride, that he was taking reading classes at the Goodwill. It’s never too late.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

This Land is Your Land

Via Howie Klein at Crooks and Liars, Mojo Nixon's stirring cover of Woody.

Monday, November 12, 2007

We're #1 !!!1!

at the googles. Really! You fine people have clicked on the Tibetan Turtles so many times, we are at the top of the search for um, real, tibetan turtles. Go click it again! You know you wanta!

Other people have come here for other reasons. Liberty Lake, WA came looking for "spokane woman seeking male sex slave" We're on page 5 there. That same entry was the result of the search for "pen pal contact email of man in glober"

Another seeking googler, looked for used playboys. Yup, there we are on page 1 there also, luckily at the bottom.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Writer’s Strike and the Book Business

This is from the on-line daily version of Publishers Weekly: Authors Lose Air Time as Writers Strike
And then there’s this from the New York Times: TV Writers’ Strike Leaves Jilted Authors Looking for a Bully Pulpit

The gist of the articles is that with the strike and shows like The Daily Show, Colbert, Leno, Letterman and O’Brian, running repeats, authors don’t have a place to pimp their books. I wonder how driven book sales are from these interviews. I’d guess somewhat. I know I get more NPR driven sales as customers will come in and tell me, “I heard about this book on All Things Considered”. I don’t get, however, people asking me if I can remember who Jon Stewart interviewed last night. Not that our customers don’t watch Stewart or Colbert. But I’ll bet that clerks at the chain stores get those questions all the time.

The Queen of promoting authors is Oprah. If she can make Cormac McCarthy a best-selling author, well, you know she has to be huge.

But for the authors, this loss of a place on the tube can be devastating. The real shelf life of most books is two or three weeks. After that most books sit on the bookstore shelves. No one talks about them anymore. And if there is still a market, many customers are happy to wait for the paperback release a year hence.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Working Class Hero

Our friend Adam Felber has posted this at his website on the writer's strike going on in HollyIslamostanwood. Adam has been writing this season for Real Time with Bill Maher and if you have been watching, most of the big laughs are all lines written by Adam. Well, maybe not all, but he is a damn funny guy. Honk if you support the strike, and honk often.

Elsewhere, Comrade Dave von E. (The E stands for Esq.) checks in with his socialist views.

Elsewhere, There are Naked Authors! who bare their viewpoints!

My inner Frenchman wants to tell you that this is important. Since Reagan crushed the Air Traffic Controllers strike in the early '80's, the Labor movement has struggled. Partly because the movment didn't recognize workers who didn't work with their hands, partly due to corruption, but now, as we move toward a service economy, the inabilty of many working class people to recognize that they are, in fact, working class. They don't own it. But they make it. Tip of the hat to my ol' friend, Karl.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Three More Days to Vote!

The 2007 Weblog Awards

You can still vote three times for Jesus' General and Left Behind

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Ceiling Kitteh is readin UR blog

What if LOL kittehs were reading our blog right now? Why, I believe it'd look kinda like this!

Go LOL yourself here!

Thanx to BillY for this wonderousness!

Friday, November 2, 2007

NPR & NYT see the light!

The following from the trade newsletter, Bookselling This Week, is good news for Indie bookstores:

NPR & The New York Times Sites Add BookSense.com Ordering Option
October 31, 2007
BookSense.com was recently added as an online book purchasing option on both the National Public Radio and The New York Times websites. Now, when NPR or NYTimes.com readers are interested in a featured book or bestseller, they are offered an option to buy from local, independent bookstores, as well as from Amazon.com.
The American Booksellers Association worked with NPR and The New York Times for some time in an effort to provide readers with the option of supporting local independent bookstores. Additionally, over the course of the summer, a number of independent booksellers, including ABA President Russ Lawrence of Chapter One Book Store in Hamilton, Montana, contacted NPR to express their continuing concerns about Amazon.com as its sole retail partner for books mentioned on the air and featured on the NPR website.
"We are pleased that BookSense.com is now offered as an option on both The New York Times and National Public Radio websites," said BookSense.com Director Len Vlahos. "There is no question that many serious readers who frequent independent bookstores often turn to NPR or The Times 'Books' sections to help them find the next great read. It's only fitting then to provide these consumers with the choice of shopping at a local bookstore by including a link to BookSense.com."
Readers on the Best Sellers pages of NYTimes.com are presented with the option of purchasing titles from "Local Booksellers" or from Amazon.com. When the "Local Booksellers" option is selected, readers link to a second page listing the bestsellers. A click on a book title then brings them to the BookSense.com Store Locator.
On the NPR website's "Books" section, readers who click on any of the "Featured Books: Available for Purchase" are presented with the choice of buying titles at BookSense.com or at Amazon.com.

I know my sales, and many other bookstore's sales, are driven by both NPR and the New York Times. (Not so much the local papers, which is a pity). It is pleasing that both institutions are sensitive to the needs of the neighborhood bookstore.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tibetan Turtles 4 Burma Monks!

Halloween Turtle Trick? Or Earnest Protest?

They spent so much time on those little posters, I'd say they are pretty serious about this.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

New Books for this Week!

Michael Chabon, fresh from his triumphant novel, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, has yet a new novel, Gentleman of the Road (Ballantine Del Rey $21.95). The story involves two 10th century vagabonds who are impressed into the service of Prince of the Khazar Empire as escorts and bodyguards. The working title, Chabon tell us, was Jews with Swords, so I think you’ll have an idea of what the book is about.

Joseph Ellis continues his work on the early days of the American Experiment (Founding Brothers and His Excellency) with American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic (Knopf $26.95).

All the Rage (Three Rivers Press $16.95) is the latest (and at least for now, the final) anthology of Aaron McGruder’s Boondocks comic strips. Included are the strips that didn’t make it into the funny pages, interviews and appreciations, as well as where the comic strip Fox Trot tried to step into McGruder’s hiatus.

A reminder: We still have signed copies of Walter Mosley’s latest (and last, according to him) Easy Rawlins novel, Blonde Faith (Little Brown $25.99).

Friday, October 26, 2007

New Arrivals This Week!

Bill of Wrongs: The Executive Branch’s Assault on America’s Fundamental Rights (Random House $24.95) is Molly Ivins’ last collaboration with Lou Dubose. From the introduction, they write, “To all the daring, courageous, or just plain stubborn ‘ordinary’ Americans who have ever gotten up on their hind legs, and said, “Well, that’s not right, that’s not fair’: This book is dedicated to you.” She is missed.

The ever witty and erudite Bill Bryson has penned Shakespeare: The World as Stage (Atlas Book/HarperCollins $19.95) and examines the life of the Bard. It is another in the Eminent Lives series, edited by famed biographer James Atlas.

Steve Martin and Roz Chast have produced a fine and funny children’s book, The Alphabet from A to Y with Bonus Letter Z! (Flying Dolphin Press $17.95). It is a very funny book, with text by Martin (“Amiable Amy, Alice, and Andie Ate all the anchovy sandwiches handy”), illustrations and captions by Chast. All 26 letters are included, and as they say, each and every one a Star!.

New in paperbacks include Diane Setterfield’s novel The Thirteenth Tale (Washington Square Press $15.00), and features a Reading Club Guide. Tammy's favorite book of last year is now out in paperback: The Book of Lost Things, by John Connolly (Washington Square Press, $15.00). (This is a book I'm going to re-read every year.~Tammy) The Willow Field (Vintage $14.95) is William Kittredge’s first novel, and is the story of thousand mile drive and Rossie Benasco’s coming of age. And for food lovers everywhere, The United States of Arugula: The Sun-Dried, Cold-Pressed, Dark-Roasted, Extra Virgin Story of the American Food Revolution (Broadway Books $14.95) where David Kamp describes how American chefs have transformed our perceptions with cooking.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Late Night Gorillaz Music Cafe

We've been hearing music outta the back bedroom for a while, but this one song keeps haunting me everytime it comes up on the kid's playlist. And, it comes on everyday. I finally asked, and it's Clint Eastwood! You need to go listen!

Then Danton gave me two more:

Feel Good Inc

This is good shit people!

signed smug Mom who loaned the boy her M.I.A KALA cd! I think I've updated that to her homepage, but it's huge, hard to load. Be warned.

UPDATE: Here's a rocking youtube of M.I.A. at last August's Lollapalooza of my favorite cut. There's the studio version on the sidebar. Makes me wish I was young.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Doc Bussard

I know a Rocket Scientist. Really, I do. He has been a long time customer of Seattle Mystery, an omnivorous reader of mysteries. Robert. huh. We knew him as Doc. We cut our internet eye-teeth on emailing with Doc and Dolly, didn't ever tumble to the fact that he was a Rocket Scientist. A guy who could talk about Inertial Electrostatic Confinement.

He and his lovely wife Dolly have been long-time friends and political mentors. When they would come to town, it was like your favorite Aunt and Uncle visiting. The ones you liked. You wanted to stand up taller, say something intelligent. Long after finding out his tastes in fiction, we discovered he was a big deal in the Science Universe. He's such a big brain, Poul Anderson used his science in his books. His discovery and theory was so right on, Star Trek used it for their main transport system to travel Where No Man Has Gone Before... They aren't called Bussard Ramjet Thrusters for nothing people!

Coupla years back he raced in the Americas Cup and we followed his journey with glee. Wouldn't you just know his boat was named Uproarious?

You can see the timeline of how his theory has been dismissed by the ruling governments. His company went from being one of the brightest possibilities to losing their NASA, and other, grants. From that, he rose like a phoenix with private funding, Because, Ultimately he is right. And I do believe that truth will out. Power and Control covers his career nicely.

Doc died last week. I'm grieving.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pigs Inna Blanket!

Hey Kids! at 5 pm I'll be serving up mass quantities of my signature dish and an amazing assortment of mustards! Dead Guy Ale will be on ice, and you're all invited over! It's been a long week after the whole Christopher Columbus debacle: Day Off? or Retail Worker/Slave? Come party Early to kick off the Weekend!

Oh, yeah. There's gonna be this band from Missoula playing and signing some books.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

New This Week!

The tenth Easy Rawlins thriller, Blonde Faith (Little Brown$25.99) is Walter Mosley’s latest. We should have a few signed copies on Thursday. I Am America (And So Can You!) (Grand Central $26.99) has already won the coveted Stephen T. Colbert Award for Literary Excellence. Congrats, Stephen! Eric Clapton’s Autobiography (Broadway Books$26.00) is out. I haven’t heard much about it, but I find it interesting that it follows on the heels of Patti Boyd’s memoir. I’m sure it will be interesting for Rock ’n’ Roll history fans, following Clapton’s career from the John Mayall group, to the Yardbirds, to Cream, to Blind Faith and his solo career. And Robert Greer’s latest C.J. Floyd novel, The Mongoose Deception (Frog, Ltd. $25.95) now graces our shelves.

There is also some great paperback releases. Julia Child’s memoir of discovering FOOD, My Life in France (Anchor $14.95) was co –written with her nephew, Alex Prud’homme. Dave Eggers widely acclaimed novel, What is the What (Vintage $15.95) tells the tale of the Sudanese born Valentino Achak Deng, one of the Lost Boys, forced to flee his home. Maya Angelou’s Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes (Random House $19.95) is nicely spiral-bound for kitchen use. And Hampton Sides’ Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West (Anchor Books $15.95) has a subtitle that says it all.

October 9th happens to be my birthday. Thanks! I share it with both John Lennon and Jackson Browne. If only I’d their song-writing talents. A tip of the hat to them and a toast to my fellow Librans.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The hermans are coming!

I've been wall-papering Capitol Hill. Hope they like it.

SPECIAL BULLETIN TO ALL SEATTLE TROOPS: On Thursday, Oct 11th, the hermans will stalk Jackson Street Books. At 5 pm, the hermans will rock the parking lot and sign copies of Stalking America: the Diary of an Unknown Rock and Roll Band (Running Press, $17.95). Come join us for an insider look at an up-and-coming indie band. If you can't make it, contact us to arrange for a "personalized" copy. Considering it's the hermans, who knows what you'll get!

I will be serving my signature dish, "Pigs-inna-Blanket" and other tasty treats!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Book Report!

A Nail Through the Heart, by Timothy Hallinan (HarperCollins, $24.95) This is certainly a book that lives up to it's title. While giving us a glimpse into Thailand's inner society and soul, it manages to convey the grandeur and cruelty of Bangkok's extreme poverty and sex trade. It is also a completely perfect mystery, right down to the 'the Blonde walked into my office' conceit. I've been a big fan of Hallinan's work since his Simeon Grist/L.A. detective series. After too long a hiatus, the Poke Rafferty series will definitely satisfy.

"One reason people come here, as I believe you said in your book," Hofstedler continues comfortably, "is that here it is possible to behave openly in ways that one would hide at home."
"I wrote that?" Rafferty says.
"It makes you wonder, does it not," Hofstedler says, "What kind of behavior one would hide in Bangkok."

Poke Rafferty is the successful author of the "Looking for Trouble" Travel Series, and now the publisher's attention-getting advance has brought him to Bangkok to write Looking for Trouble in Thailand. Unfortunately, that is not enough money to let him marry former Patpong go-go dancer Rose, or adopt Miaow, the eight year old gum seller he has rescued from the street.

Persuaded by his ally on the local police force, Arthit, that taking the Blonde's case and finding her missing Australian Uncle will get him both "owed favors" and needed monies, Poke must take to the streets and bars that no longer lure him. Peeling this onion of Bangkok two months after the tsunami reveals dance girls, abandoned children, sadistic sex tourists and Cambodian killers that mingle with the "hungry ghosts" from that great wave.

I must say, one of the things that make this such a haunting read are the echoing chapter titles. I love chapter titles when they are so finely tuned as these.

Penitent Liberal Lesbian and I recently had the honor of attending Tim's workshop, "Finishing Your Novel". You can explore that inspirational session at his website, Writer's Resources.

A Nail Through the Heart is available at Jackson Street Books and Fine Independent Bookstores everywhere.

democommie™™™™®© was unable to help in the writing of this book report as we have assigned him to procure a sound system for next week. I told him we need an amp that goes to 11.

SPECIAL BULLETIN TO ALL SEATTLE TROOPS: On Thursday, Oct 11th, the hermans will stalk Jackson Street Books. At 5 pm, the hermans will rock the parking lot and sign copies of Stalking America: the Diary of an Unknown Rock and Roll Band (Running Press, $17.95). Come join us for an insider look at an up-and-coming indie band. If you can't make it, contact us to arrange for a "personalized" copy. Considering it's the hermans, who knows what you'll get!

I will be serving my signature dish, "Pigs-inna-Blanket" and other tasty treats!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Banned Books Week and Liberal Bookstores

This is the week we celebrate our right to read whatever the heck we want, by remembering the many books that have been banned through the years. To Kill a Mockingbird, 1984, Catcher in the Rye, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and many more have been banned from classrooms and libraries through the years. It is a good thing to remember these things.

Which brings me to consider how bookstores select their stock, in particular books on politics. Here I am thinking of independent, small stores where books are purchased for resale by the store’s owner or buyer, or, in my case, both. Do I select with a bias?

Yes, I do. There are a number of reasons. First is realizing that no bookstore, no matter how large a selection it might maintain, no bookstore has every book. If you walk into Powells, or the Strand, it may seem so. But they don’t. My much humble storefront certainly doesn’t. Secondly, in the mission statement I wrote for Jackson Street Books before we opened for business, I stated that this place would intentionally be a place for fostering progressive politics. No apologies needed for that, I think, which brings me to reason three. It’s my money stocking the store. I don’t receive government stipends from tax monies, and thus more beholden to the taxpayers. The Seattle Public Library may be compelled to stocking Ann Coulter’s latest masterpiece by trying to be “fair and balanced” ; I’m not. But, finally, I am lucky that I have a store in an area where progressive politics predominates. I have no market for books written by Conservatives. I don’t get asked for them. (Incidentally, when you see books by the likes of Limbaugh and Coulter on best-seller lists, it is because Conservative Book Clubs are making quantity buys to ship to their members). If I lived elsewhere, and there was a demand, well, I’d have to re-think my position. I enjoy having a roof over my head, and to see me, you know I haven’t missed too many meals.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Book Report!

Jeffrey Toobin’s fascinating The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court (Doubleday $27.95) has everything any political junkie could want. With wit, lucidity and clarity, Jeffrey Toobin relates the history of recent Court history, recounts the major cases, and give incisive profiles of the men and women who serve on the court.
The New York Times Sunday review of the book (and I try not to read too many reviews before writing my own report, so as not to influence my own view) emphasizes a favorite Beltway game of guessing who amongst the Justices talked to Toobin. While that may be fun, I have to say, I don’t really care. Even if some of the justices didn’t talk to Toobin, his sources are close enough. I got a very good sense of who these people are, how they think, and what their temperaments are like. From the privately affable Clarence Thomas, to the reclusive David Souter (who learned only in 2003 that there was a Pop group called The Supremes), to the fairly pompous Anthony Kennedy, to the over-the-top Antonin Scalia, the justices are vividly sketched. Front and center among them is Sandra Day O’Connor who, more often than not, was the swing vote on the court. She tried over those years to steer a middle course and prided herself on knowing the pulse of the country. Sometimes she succeeded, other times, not. She played a central role and cast the deciding vote in Bush v. Gore, a decision we get the feeling she truly regretted as her disenchantment with the President and her “beloved” Republican Party grew.
Toobin covers the intellectual history as well, from the liberal Warren court, through the Burger and Rehnquist courts, to the recent Roberts Nine. The rise to prominence of the Federalist Society, a conservative movement begun in the early ‘80’s and championed by Robert Bork and Scalia, has dominated the thinking of many Bush nominees and appointments. The movement itself wanted to undermine the constitutional basis of a strong government; if it isn’t explicit in the Constitution, then it isn’t constitutional. Apparently it is a document that is race-blind and without gender bias. All constitutional questions should be judged by what the founding Fathers intended. So we have a lot of justices now serving who can also read minds. Especially the minds of men dead for two hundred years.
Iraq will be a devastating legacy for the administration. Alas, so will the Supreme Court appointments and the other justices on the lower courts that Bush has installed. It will take years, perhaps decades, to undo what has been thrust upon us. Paraphrasing Toobin, the Conservative agenda of overturning Roe, expanding executive power, speeding up executions, welcoming religion into the political arena and ‘returning the Constitution from its exile since the New Deal’ is within reach. Only Anthony Kennedy could stand in the way and for all his sophistication, he isn’t Sandra Day O’Connor. What a frickin’ mess.

The Nine is available at Jackson Street Books and Fine Independent Bookstores everywhere.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Couple of More Thoughts on Threepenny

This is an interesting NYT article on the restoration of G.W. Pabst’s film version of The Threepenny Opera, released in 1931. I saw the film years ago. I hated it. Well, maybe not hate. The scenes with Lotte Lenya were interesting.

One of the perks of attending UCLA was that the film department and its library were incredible. Most Friday nights I attended film showings on campus with my friends, and the showings were usually double bills. On that night I saw Fritz Lang’s great “M”. (Incidentally, Peter Lorre had originally been cast as the Beggar King, Mr. Peacham in the original Berlin stage production, but had to withdraw for some reason I can’t recall.) “M” was shown first, “Threepenny” next and the contrast was remarkable. “Threepenny”, as filmed by Pabst, sucked. And, the linked article shows why. Pabst really didn’t want to make a musical. In any event, the restoration does sound different, and I’ll check it out.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

More Fine New Arrivals!

If it’s Tuesday, it must be street-date for new books! And we received some. First is David Halberstam’s final book, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War (Hyperion $35.00). One cool thing happening around this book, is that in certain cities, Halberstam’s friends are standing in his stead for readings. Coming in at over 700 pages, it will prove to the most exhaustive histories of that war. Last year’s phenomenal Suite Francaise prompts more of Irene Nemirovsky’s work to be rediscovered. Fire in the Blood (Knopf $22.00) is her short novel about village life in France before the Second World War. Run (Harper $25.95) is Ann Pratchett’s first novel since Bel Canto. The events of the novel take place over the course of one day and the plot involves the Mayor of Boston who wants his sons to enter the political arena, a thing they don’t want. The work examines the intersections of the well-to-do and the poverty stricken. Richard Russo, author of Empire Falls, returns to small town New York life in his Bridge of Sighs (Knopf $26.95), a saga of intertwined families.

And good stuff in paperback reissues as well! Erik Larson’s chronicle of the unlikely murderer, Hawley Crippen and Guglielm Marconi, the inventor of wireless communication, Thuderstruck (Three Rivers $14.95) evokes the dynamic early years of the 20th Century. Henning Mankell’s The Man Who Smiled (Vintage Crime$13.95) is the latest Kurt Wallender mystery. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir (Broadway Books $14.95) is Bill Bryson’s story of growing up in the 1950’s. Fans of Alice McDermott should enjoy her latest novel After This (Dial Press $14.00). Finally, Carolyn See’s There Will Never Be Another You (Ballantine $13.95) is a multi-generational novel, involving family reconciliation.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Outside Child- my Booksense recommend

Outside Child, by Alice Wilson-Fried (Komenar Press, $25.95 hc, $15.95 pb)
An "outside child" is a child born of an unmarried woman and a married man. In highly class conscious New Orleans, this will still cause problems among the people who are quick to judge and have memories stretching back for generations.
Ladonis is a MBA graduate, now working for a Paddle Wheel Cruise line. When her boss falls over the end of the boat, it may be accidental or suicide. But disturbing ambitions of the rest of the management team cause her to wonder if it was accidental at all. She must rely on her street smart brother HeartTrouble to help her solve this murder.
Alice grew up in New Orleans and uses the city in a way no other author has. Pay attention to the piers along Woldenberg Park. Alice is, to my knowledge, the first African-American voice to tell stories of modern New Orleans. The next book in this planned trilogy will take place during Katrina.
I loved this story and look forward to the next installments.

signed copies are available.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Virtual Tradeshow!

We only had one day at the show this year, But we were able to find lots of great upcoming books to tell you about. For you outdoor types, Monster Spotter's Guide to North America will help you plan those special hunting trips, and Backcountry Betty will help you rough it in style. Garth Stein will be showing us how to Race in the Rain in his upcoming HarperCollins title. It was good to see a couple of my favorite Mystery girrlfriends, Yasmine Galenorn was signing Changeling, the latest in her Urban Fantasy series. And Jo Dereske signed copies of Miss Zukas' latest adventure, Catalogue of Death. We met Alice Wilson-Fried, who signed Outside Child, her New Orleans Mystery at Jackson Street Books on Friday. I loved this one and it's so nice when an author is so gracious and wonderful as her book! Dan snagged up a couple things he had been looking forward to, including The Arsonists Guide to Writer's Homes in New England, and he really wants the Annotated Godfather. We couldn't manage to stuff a copy of that under his sweater.

This year's BadCat will be What Pets Do While You're At Work. Too funny. Stephen Colbert's I am America (And So Can You!) promises to bring us much truthiness this fall.At the Feast of Authors dinner, we had 6 authors come to our table and tell us about their books. First up, John B. Schwartz, with his novel, The Commoner, the tale of the bride of Japan's 1959 emperor, and the life after one "crosses over" to behind the silk curtain of inscrutable Japanese Court. Interesting parallels here with what Diana's experience must have been.
I had to get a picture with Meg Tilly (that's her on the left), cause it's not very often I met up with a gal who also had to milk cows in her youth. Growing up in poverty on British Columbia farms informs her new YA novel: Porcupine.
Sebastion Faulks has the story of Engleby, a man who can't remember if he is responsible for the death of a woman and so continues on with his life. Twenty years later, things come crashing down around him.
Lauren Kessler had me in tears with her memoir, Dancing with Grace, Finding Life in the Land of Alzheimer's. Her mother died of Alzheimer's Disease, and she spent time working at an old age home to show us that even though so much of that person is gone, so much still remains and how to stay in the life of an Alzheimer's victim, without breaking your heart. This will become an important book as our parents and friends age.
Cai Emmons has written The Stylist, a novel set in the world of Hair Salons, and their inner workings. Since one of her characters is Trans-gendered, she has been asked to come speak at national Trans-gender conventions! I've just started this one and it's quite good.

It looks like it'll be a good Fall and Winter in the land of Independent Book Stores. These books and all of the Holiday Catalogue titles will be available at Jackson Street Books

We haven't seen much of democommie™™™™®© this week, but I'm sure he'll have a good excuse when he gets back here.