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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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‘Anatomist’ author reading at Auntie’s

Bill Hayes shares at least one thing with your average doctor: a fascination with the human body.

The latest object of that fascination is a blend of memoir and nonfiction titled “The Anatomist: A True Story of Gray’s Anatomy,” from which Hayes will read at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Auntie’s Bookstore.

All three of Hayes’ books – which also include “Sleep Demons: An Insomniac’s Memoir” (2001) and “Five Quarts: A Personal and Natural History of Blood” (2006) – not only follow the author’s obsession with the body, but they do so with the same kind of blended-genre style.

“The Anatomist,” for example, tells both the story of the writing of “Gray’s Anatomy,” the 150-year-old medical textbook, and of Hayes’ own experience at carving up cadavers while enrolled in an anatomy class held for medical students.

“In perusing the body’s 650 muscles and 206 bones, (Hayes) has made the case that we are, as the psalmist wrote, ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ and that dissection has an aesthetic all its own,” wrote reviewer Louis Bayard for the Washington Post.

“The act of carving open a body becomes, in this context, a perverse act of love, a desecration that consecrates ‘the extraordinary, the inner architecture of the human form.’ “

Born in Minneapolis, Hayes and his five sisters were raised in Spokane. Their parents moved here when Hayes was about 3 (his father bought the local Coca-Cola bottling plant in 1964 and ran it until about 1980).

After attending elementary and middle school at Cataldo Catholic School, Hayes graduated in 1979 from Gonzaga Prep. He attended the University of Santa Clara and moved to San Francisco in 1985.

To read an interview with Hayes, go online at bookclub.

‘Valley’ online

Some astute readers know the name John Soennichsen, and not just because of its unusual spelling.

They know it because of the Cheney author’s extremely readable, 2005 nonfiction book “Live! From Death Valley: Dispatches from America’s Low Point” (Sasquatch Books, 192 pages, $22.95).

Now, we’ve given readers of The Spokesman-Review more reason to want to know about Soennichsen. We’re running his original novel “Valley of the Shadow” on

“Valley of the Shadow,” which is being published for the first time, tells the story of a young man from Michigan who, in 1849, decides to go west and seek his fortune.

We’re going to run the entire novel, chapter by chapter, over the rest of the year.

We invite everyone to read along, leaving whatever comments you want. And even, should you desire, to e-mail Soennichsen himself.

You can access the novel by going to and clicking on “Valley of the Shadow.”

Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public.

Book talk

•Auntie’s Morning Book Group (“The Emperor’s Children,” by Claire Messud), 11 a.m. Tuesday, Auntie’s Bookstore, Main and Washington. Call (509) 838-0206.

•Auntie’s Evening Book Group (“On the Road,” by Jack Kerouac), 7 p.m. Tuesday, Auntie’s Bookstore.

•Tin Pencil Fiction Writer’s Group, 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Tinman Gallery, 811 W. Garland Ave. Call (509) 325-1500.

•North Spokane Library Book Group (“The Time Traveler’s Wife,” by Audrey Niffenegger), 7 p.m. Wednesday, 44 E. Hawthorne Road. Call (509) 893-8350.

•Spokane Fiction Writers Group, noon Saturday, Argonne Branch, Spokane County Library, 4322 N. Argonne Road. Call Steve Hughes at (509) 891-1695.

•Auntie’s Youth Book Group (“Leven Thumps and the Eyes of the Want,” by Obert Skye), 2 p.m. Saturday, Auntie’s Bookstore.

The reader board

•Milton Taylor, Bruce Innes, Dick Warwick, cowboy/bush poetry reading, 1 p.m. today, Budding Rose Art Gallery, Rosalia, Wash. Admission: $8. Call (509) 523-4200.

•Bill Hayes (“The Anatomist: A True Story of Gray’s Anatomy”), reading, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Auntie’s Bookstore.

•Dan Savage (“The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family”), Q&A, 7 p.m. Tuesday, University of Idaho Administration Auditorium, Moscow, Idaho. Call (208) 885-2237.

•G.M. Ford (“Nameless Night”), reading, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Auntie’s Bookstore.

•A Little Romance, reading/chocolate- sampling/wine-tasting, 3 p.m. Saturday, Auntie’s Bookstore.

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