(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, September 26, 2009

The Financial Lives of the Poets

The Financial Lives of The Poets, by Jess Walter (HarperCollins $25.99 ) I've been reading Jess' books for a few years now, and I can safely agree with his wife: "No, dear, you aren't funny." So, in spite of that assessment, Jess set out to write a comedy novel. He has succeeded, if you like your comedy dark and on the bleak side.

Turns out, this is a brilliant novel that captures the free-falling zeitgeist of our current society.

Matt Prior left his newspaper job to begin his start-up blog: poetfolio.com During the boom economy, it seems to be a sure fire hit; financial news in verse. Now at the end of his savings, about to be evicted from the house they bought and have loved, a fateful trip to the 7/11 changes everything. He needs milk. For the boys. For their cereal. In the morning.

That shit's like, $9 a gallon!

Here is a beautifully played out drama, a family you can love. Coming utterly undone. About to lose his house, with no job or prospect, his wife is certainly having an on-line affair with her high school boy friend... Matt's encounter at the 7/11 sets off a new venture: sell pot to the aging boomers who still fancy themselves "happening". A tap on the shoulder a couple days later dashes that American Dream. By the end of the book, there is redemption, resolution, and resignation. And re-connection with family.

The poetry sprinkled throughout is perfect, I recommend A Brief Political Manifesto on page 39.
Luke Baumgarten has written the review I only wish I could. Go read it, and stay tuned for Jess Walter in Second Life, sometime in October.

On a somewhat related note: I will be interviewing Mason Tvert for his book, Marijuana is SAFER on Oct 5th, 6pm (Pacific) at our new place: Lacamas Reading Hall. We'll discuss marijuana myths, propaganda, and how to become active for pro-cannabis legislation.