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Book Notes: Auntie’s will play host to poet Laura Read

Sun., Dec. 2, 2012, midnight

Laura Read teaches at Spokane Falls Community College. She’s also a published poet. Her latest book, “Instructions for My Mother’s Funeral,” was released this fall by the University of Pittsburgh Press, and won the 2011 Donald Hall Prize in Poetry.

Read will read from her book at 7 p.m. Friday at Auntie’s Bookstore, 402 W. Main Ave.

The Hall Prize, sponsored by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, is an annual competition that seeks to find new book-length works. Among the other winners in 2011 was Susan Orlean, for “Companion to an Untold Story.”

Contest judge and poet Dorianne Laux had this to say of Read’s book: “Strange in the way all art is strange, light come to light, but always a palpable darkness riding beneath; a mature lyrical voice translating memory’s turbulent, wordless world.”

A quick thumb through the slim volume reveals some lovely imagery, such as this line from “Even Though I Know the Door to Our Compartment Won’t Lock”: “The train shudders against/the darkness but I stay apart from it/like the Geneva morning/arriving at the station with us,/pink-armed and able to draw itself/up over the horizon like a swimmer/ heaving her wet body/out of the pool.”

Read has published in the Mississippi Review, Rattle and Third Wednesday. Her chapbook, “The Chewbacca on Hollywood Boulevard Reminds Me of You,” won the 2010 Floating Bridge Chapbook Award.

Good words

Two local authors made the New York Times’ list of 2012’s notable books.

Jess Walter’s “Beautiful Ruins” and Sherman Alexie’s “Blasphemy” are among the Times’ top 100 of the year.

As the year approaches its end, Walters’ book is getting some notice on “best of” lists. Most notably, Esquire magazine named “Beautiful Ruins” Book of the Year, citing it as “a very funny book about a distinctly American relationship to destiny. … It’s a book that could be written only by a highly attuned spectator of compromised men.”

The Washington Post has it on the paper’s list of 50 notable books. The Kansas City Star has it on their top 100 list. It is a finalist for the Goodreads Choice Awards, voted on by readers of the Goodreads blog; winners will be announced Tuesday. Author Nina Sankovitch listed it in her annual Thankgiving list on Huffington Post. And named it 2012 audiobook of the year, saying Edoardo Ballerini’s handling “of this fantastically complex narration is so accomplished you keep forgetting that it’s a performance.”

And just in time for holiday gift-giving, Walter will sign copies of his books at Auntie’s from 2 to 3 p.m. Dec. 15.

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