And the masses have spoken. Well, it was a small mass of readers who responded to my invitation to supply nominations for The Spokesman-Review Book Club. But it was vocal. Since November 2002, when we tackled – a little ambitiously, I admit – David James Duncan’s 656-page novel “The Brothers K,” the club has maintained a book-a-month pace that has touched on some of the Pacific Northwest’s great body of literature.
Among those we have read: Raymond Carver, Ken Kesey, Marilynne Robinson, Chuck Palahniuk, David Guterson, Sherman Alexie and Charles Johnson.
We’ve hit fiction, but we haven’t ignored the nonfiction of Kim Barnes, Jon Krakauer, Larry Colton and Pete Fromm. And, of course, there was always November 2003 when we read the late, great Moritz Thomsen’s moving travel memoir “The Saddest Pleasure.”
But we aren’t done. We’ve hardly begun. Thanks to suggestions by interested readers – thank you, thank you – here’s the reading schedule through the end of 2005:
September – Spokane’s Dennis Held recommended “Blue Spruce,” the book of short stories by Tacoma author David Long. Held’s nomination offered 10 reasons why we should read the book, but let’s skip to No. 1: “It’s just a great book – entertaining and, at the same time, instructive in ways that matter.”
October – Ione, Wash., reader Peggy Thomas’ first choice was Ivan Doig’s novel “Dancing at the Rascal Fair.” But as I explained to her, the club read “Rascal Fair” back in February 2003. So she agreed that “The Jump-Off Creek,” by Portland writer Molly Gloss, was a “good suggestion.”
November – I nominated John Keeble’s “Out of the Channel: The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in Prince William Sound.” The Medical Lake writer, and longtime creative writing instructor at Eastern Washington University, is known mostly as a novelist (“Yellowfish,” “Broken Ground”). But he’s no slouch at nonfiction, which this book proves.
December – The late James Welch’s novel “The Heartsong of Charging Elk” was recommended by Spokane’s Marcia Tunik. “I read the book, and thoroughly enjoyed it,” she wrote in an e-mail. “It transports the reader.”
If you have anything that you want to suggest, send it along ( firstname.lastname@example.org). Remember that we read only books by Pacific Northwest writers and generally only those in paperback.
Ride the Horse
Sandpoint-based Lost Horse Press, which has been putting out some quality fiction and poetry for the past several years, just got word that Joy Passanante’s short story collection, “The Art of Absence” (164 pages, $16.95 paper), is a finalist for the 2004 Idaho Book of the Year Award.
Sponsored by the Idaho Library Association, the annual award is given to “recognize and honor one book, selected from among all the books published in any one calendar year, which has made an outstanding contribution to the body of printed materials about Idaho.”
All 14 nominees are listed on the library association’s Web site at www.idaholibraries.org/bookaward.
It’s your story
Everyone has a story, and StoryCorps wants to hear yours. Part of a “national initiative to document everyday history and the unique stories of Americans,” StoryCorps – according to a press release sent out by the Washington State University News Service – will park a specially outfitted Airstream MobileBooth trailer on Moscow, Idaho’s, Main Street beginning Thursday through Sept. 5.
Sponsored by WSU’s Northwest Public Radio, people will be invited to participate in pairs, recording their conversations or interviews in 40-minute sessions. Afterward, participants will be given a CD of the session. And, with their permission, copies of the CD will be archived at the Latah County and Whitman County historical societies and Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center.
To participate, call (800) 850-4406 or visit www.nwpr.org.
Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public.
“Poetry reading group (747-3454), 3 p.m. today, Auntie’s Bookstore, Main and Washington (838-0206).
“Saturday Afternoon Kids Club Reading Time (for ages 5-12), 2 p.m. Saturday, Christian Life Bookstore, 520 E. Francis Ave. (483-5338).
“Valley Hastings Summer Book Club, recycled art workshop with Robin Clayton, 3 p.m. Saturday, Valley Hastings, 15312 E. Sprague Ave. (924-0667).
The reader board
“Patrick Carman (“Beyond the Valley of the Thorns”), signing, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Valley Barnes & Noble, 15310 E. Indiana Ave. (922-4104).
“Carlene Ness (“Don’t Forget Your Umbrella”), Marilyn Magney Newkirk (“Spokane, 22nd Street and the Fifties”), readings, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Auntie’s Bookstore. Ness also will sign books from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Valley Hastings.
“Paul Lindholdt, Derrick Knowles, Stacy Warren, Dan Brister, Chuck Pezeshki (“Holding Common Ground”), readings, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Auntie’s Bookstore.
“Milton Ghivizzani (“Employee of the Year”), signing, 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, NorthTown Barnes & Noble (482-4235).
“Robert Thomas Raming (“War and the Death of the American Dream”), signing, 2 p.m. Saturday, Coeur d’Alene Borders, 450 W. Wilbur Ave. (208-763-4497).
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