(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

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.