Book Notes: Make plans to visit Monkeyboy Books

SUNDAY, SEPT. 11, 2011

Here’s a terrific downtown shop that all Spokane book lovers should know about: Monkeyboy Books, 123 S. Wall St.

This is a used bookstore right across the atrium from the Europa Restaurant. The setting is loaded with character, with its red brick exterior, warm wood floors and Oriental carpets. And the shelves are loaded with even more character.

The owner and sole employee, Jerry Thrift, specializes in classic literature and contemporary fiction. You’ll find lots of Dickens, Steinbeck, Vonnegut, Twain and Tolkien. Tons of Tolkien.

You’ll find rare copies and first editions, but also inexpensive copies of recent fiction.

Monkeyboy also has a great selection of sports, science fiction and mystery books. And I was amazed by the fine collection of cookbooks, regional books and children’s books. The store is well-organized and the books are well-chosen.

“I’m constantly looking for more,” said Thrift. “The books that catch my eye, I bring in.”

What you won’t find? Aisle after aisle of beat-up pulp paperbacks. The store does carry plenty of paperbacks, but mostly of the higher-end trade variety.

Thrift once owned Inland Books, a longtime used bookstore in Spokane. He sold out and got out of the bookstore business for a while.

Then, two years ago, he opened up Monkeyboy Books below Europa. He moved upstairs to his present spot about a year ago.

Is this a good time to own a bookstore? Thrift answers in this way: “Books are like art. You do it because you love it.”

Anybody else who loves books should spend an hour or so browsing. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays.

GU Visiting Writer’s Series

Gonzaga University’s Visiting Writer’s Series has landed some big names for 2011-2012, including the Pulitzer Prize winners for fiction from both 2011 and 2008.

The series begins this week. Here’s the full lineup:

James Galvin and Dora Malech, poets, Thursday.

Patricia Henley, poet, novelist and short story writer, Oct. 26.

Antonya Nelson, novelist and short story writer, Nov. 16.

Jennifer Egan, the 2011 Pulitzer Prize winner for her novel, “A Visit From the Goon Squad,” Jan. 31.

Junot Diaz, the 2008 Pulitzer Prize winner for his novel, “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” Feb. 22.

Shann Ray, Gonzaga’s own short-story author (“American Masculine”), April 4.

All events are at 7:30 p.m. in the Cataldo Globe Room on the GU campus, except for Henley’s appearance, which will be in the Jepson Wolff Auditorium. Admission is free.

‘Learning From Lincoln’

Eastern Washington University professor Harvey Alvy will give a presentation on his book “Learning From Lincoln: Leadership Practices for School Success” at Auntie’s Bookstore, 402 W. Main Ave., on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

He and co-author Pam Robbins searched for insights into Lincoln’s leadership style and how it can be adapted for modern educators. Alvy is a former school principal and teacher.

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