A fascinating book on a compelling subject – the world of high-level modern dance and ballet – by Sandpoint author Renée E. D’Aoust hits bookshelves this week.
It’s an artistic memoir titled “Body of a Dancer” (Etruscan Press, $15). D’Aoust will read from it at a book-launch event at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, at the East Bonner County Library, 1407 Cedar St. in Sandpoint.
D’Aoust knows the dance world intimately. She spent years as a dancer in New York, after training at the Pacific Northwest Ballet and at the Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance. The book is what one reviewer called “a remarkable clear-eyed descent into New York’s surreal world of modern dance, peopled by the obsessed, dispossessed, sexy, suicidal, brutal, broke and absurd.”
It’s a frank look at the toll that dance takes on the body and the mind.
“I was willing to bleed for my art,” writes D’Aoust at one point. “But I wasn’t willing to die for it.”
It’s a fine, literate account of how much toil and sweat goes into making art that looks so graceful.
State’s historic documents
If you have any regional history enthusiasts on your Christmas list, you might want to consider a gorgeous new coffee-table book, “New Land, North of the Columbia” (Sasquatch Books).
The subtitle is “Historic Documents That Tell the Story of Washington State from Territory to Today.” Author Lorraine McConaghy is a historian at Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry, and she gathered these materials from archives all over the state.
It’s loaded with full-color illustrations of key historic documents – which are a lot more eye-catching than you might think.
For instance, you’ll see one of the early plans (maps) of Seattle, from 1855, showing the forests, streams, ponds, sand spits and even sawdust piles that now make up downtown Seattle. And, in an altogether different kind of document, you’ll also see an early Nirvana poster.
And our side of the state is not ignored. You’ll see a colorful label for “Indian Head Brand Medical Lake Salts” and the cover of Spokane’s 1967 alternative newspaper, the Spokane Natural. The book also has two full pages of Expo ’74 drawings and logos.
McConaghy will read from and discuss the book at 7 p.m. Friday at Auntie’s Bookstore, 402 W. Main Ave.
When you’re doing your Christmas shopping at Auntie’s Bookstore, check out the signing table. The store will have many authors doing signings throughout the holiday shopping season.
But I thought I’d highlight these well-known local names:
• Patrick F. McManus, our region’s favorite humorist, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. today.
• Tony and Suzanne Bamonte, our region’s prolific historians, Saturday, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the main store, and 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Auntie’s River Park Square branch.