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Wednesday, September 30, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Book Notes: Ferch scores big with debut collection

Shann Ray Ferch, a Gonzaga University professor writing under the pen name Shann Ray, releases his debut short-story collection “American Masculine” (Graywolf Press, $15) on Tuesday.

It’s already getting high praise from big names:

Dave Eggers: “Shann Ray’s prose brings to mind Cormac McCarthy and Annie Proulx, but is, thankfully, entirely his own.”

Sherman Alexie: “Shann Ray writes about small Western towns and their residents in tough, poetic and beautiful ways. … Buy the book and read it tonight.”

Publisher’s Weekly gave it a starred review and said, “Ray’s collection has an unsettling power as his roughened characters incrementally come to terms with their humanity, fallibility and their realized capacity for atonement.”

The stories are about men trying to make their way in the American West.

Ray grew up in Montana and is a former college basketball player (Montana State University and Pepperdine University) who is now a professor of leadership in Gonzaga’s Doctoral Program in Leadership Studies.

A ‘Bugs’ life

Best-selling author Amy Stewart will give what promises to be one of the most fun – not to mention creepiest and crawliest – presentations at Auntie’s Bookstore, 402 W. Main Ave., this week.

She’ll be reading from her latest book, “Wicked Bugs” (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, $18.95), on Thursday at 7 p.m.

The subtitle gives you a good idea of Stewart’s subject and irreverent tone: “The Louse That Conquered Napoleon’s Army and Other Diabolical Insects.” Every chapter focuses on different havoc-creating or just downright disgusting bugs.

The filth fly, anyone?

This stylish book is a natural follow-up to Stewart’s previous big seller, “Wicked Plants.”

‘Seven Frontier Women’

The late Barbara F. Cochran will not, of course, be reading from her posthumously published book, “Seven Frontier Women and the Founding of Spokane Falls” (Tornado Creek Publications, $24.95), at Auntie’s Bookstore on Wednesday, 7 p.m.

But her publishers, Tony and Suzanne Bamonte, will be there to present a Powerpoint slide show of this book.

It tells the stories of seven remarkable women who helped shape the early days of Spokane Falls: Mary Latham, Susan Glover, Clara Gray, Anna Browne, Jennie Cannon, Alice Ide Houghton and Carrie Adell Strahorn.

The Capt. McClallen story

Olympia author John C. Jackson will discuss a little-known – but highly influential – figure in Western history, Capt. John McClallen, in his new book, “By Honor and Right: How One Man Boldly Defined the Destiny of a Nation” (Prometheus Books, $28).

McClallen was the first U.S. officer to enter the Pacific Northwest after Lewis and Clark. He played a crucial role in the United States’ subsequent claims to the Northwest.

Hear all about it when Jackson reads from his book at Auntie’s Bookstore on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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