Book Notes: Auntie’s sets Doig reading

SUNDAY, AUG. 26, 2012

I have to admit, whenever I read an Ivan Doig novel, I get an itch to move to Montana. Now that his latest, “The Bartender’s Tale,” is sitting on my bedside table, I expect I’ll be scrolling through online real estate listings, dreaming of place along the eastern front of the Rockies, or maybe one of those big houses on Flathead Lake.

In the meantime, Spokane fans of the Montanan-turned- Seattleite can look forward to a Doig visit. The bestselling author will be at Auntie’s Bookstore at 7 p.m. Sept. 18, reading from “The Bartender’s Tale.”

The novel is a father-and-son story wrapped in a coming-of-age tale. Rusty, on the cusp of manhood, spends his days hanging around the bar his father, Tom, owns in Gros Ventre, Mont. It’s the summer of 1960, and Rusty’s world, like the greater world around him, is about to change.

In a review this past week at npr.org, Carmen Gimenez Smith writes that Doig is dealing with some broad strokes here, with the “luster of nostalgia.” Still, she wrote, “Doig writes the tenderness between Rusty and his father vividly, and his facility with natural, vernacular dialogue is often hypnotizing. The voices are always human and fascinating, if occasionally familiar. ‘The Bartender’s Tale’ is thoroughly engaging, and the book’s soft focus of nostalgia is in itself a kind of pleasure.”

Auntie’s is located at 402 W. Main Ave. For more information, visit www.auntiesbooks.com.>

Also on deck at Auntie’s

Looking further ahead at Auntie’s September schedule, mark your calendar for Amanda Coplin’s appearance at 7 p.m. Sept. 27. The Portland author, who was raised in Wenatchee, is getting notice nationally for her novel, “The Orchardist.”

The novel, set in the foothills of the Cascades at the turn of the 20th century, centers on a lonely man named William Talmadge who takes in two terrified – and pregnant – teenage sisters, Jane and Della.

The Washington Post called “The Orchardist” a “somber, majestic debut” that “arrives like a missive from another century.” Reviewer Wendy Smith goes on to say, “Coplin’s saga of a makeshift family unmoored by loss should be depressing, but, instead, her achingly beautiful prose inspires exhilaration. You can only be thrilled by a 31-year-old writer with this depth of understanding.”

Fun at the Park

Gary Norton, the man who founded and runs Silverwood in North Idaho, has written a memoir and will be singing copies of it next weekend at his theme park.

“American Theme Park” gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to build an amusement park on a chunk of empty land from the ground up. “Many people have said over the years that I must be crazy,” Norton said in a news release, “I intend to spend my life proving them right.”

The book will be on sale and Norton will be available to sign copies from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sept. 2 at the theme park; regular park admission rates will apply. Visit www.silverwoodthemepark.com for more information.

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