For some readers, the real joy comes in those first few moments when you pick up a new book and, without any previous knowledge whatsoever, begin reading a flow of words that strikes you as magic.
The key here is a combination of two specific things: quality prose and the joy of new experience.
There are others, however, who prefer to eliminate the guesswork associated with choosing their books.
And so we have such sources as the New York Times Book Review or the New York Review of Books or any number of other critical listings.
One of the most comprehensive seems to be the magazine Current Books. Advertising itself as “the most widely distributed book publication in bookstores,” Current Books claims to be sold in some 3,840 bookstores across the nation, including all B. Dalton, WaldenBooks and Hastings chains and such independent stores as Auntie’s Bookstore.
“We try to publish the best portions of 25 to 30 great books that are out now in bookstores,” says the magazine editor/publisher, Edwin S. Grosvenor.
Each excerpt runs from 1,200 to 4,000 words in length, and each includes an introduction to the specific book in the author’s own words.
Mixed in also are articles, new fiction, poetry and cartoons.
The newest edition, billed as the “Third Anniversary Issue,” includes excerpts from such notable books as Anne Tyler’s “The Ladder of Years,” Martin Amis’ “The Information,” Norman Mailer’s “Oswald’s Tale” and Sherman Alexie’s “Reservation Blues.”
The price is $4.95 ($6.95 in Canada).
A writer’s prize
The Tacoma Public Library is instituting an annual literary award in the name of Washington author Murray Morgan (“Skid Road,” a history of Seattle, is among his 20-odd books).
The Morgan Prize ($1,000 and a plaque) will be awarded annually to “an outstanding Washington author in recognition of the monograph published during the previous year which is of high literary quality and wide interest, and embodies the principles of excellence and high standards of research in narrative as exemplified in the distinguished career of Murray Morgan.”
The first Morgan Prize will be awarded in the fall.
About Grand Coulee Dam
Paul C. Pitzer, author of “Grand Coulee: Harnessing a Dream” (Washington State University Press), will sign copies of his book and talk about the dam at Book People in Moscow, 512 S. Main, on Tuesday from 5-7 p.m.
The Portland author also will speak at the Cheney Cowles Museum, 2316 W. First, in Spokane on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. His talk is entitled “Why We Couldn’t Build the Grand Coulee Dam Today,” and it opens the third exhibition in the museum’s summer-long “Rivers and Dams” program.
, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Dan Webster staff writer Staff writer Susan English contributed to this report.