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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Summer Stories: ‘Mayday’ by Bruce Holbert

College hadn’t worked out for Yeller: He had not even learned to drink well. By spring, his second sophomore year at Eastern Washington University, Yeller was an Eagle and a fairly lost bird.

Bruce Holbert: Soundtrack of life a mix of blues and faith

Before February, we tended to equate silence with peace: camping trips, romantic walks, skies full of starlight. They are instances absent the daily transitory noise to which we have become accustomed, but they are far from silent. They fill our ears eventually with the foundational, permanent music of the Earth turning. These instances were voluntary, sought out even. Our recent silence is imposed upon us. We escape it with TV reruns, news sources we agree with, Uber Eats and books we’ve already read – music requiring no thought, only recognition of the first few bars.

Thank You, Teacher

Do you recall a special teacher in your life? Bruce and Holly Holbert's book features essays from famous people (many of them local) about the teacher's that inspired them.

Holbert, Marshall, Farrell, Gordon among finalists for book awards

Six East Side writers – four of them from Spokane – are finalists for the Washington State Book Awards, the Washington Center for the Book announced on Friday. The Spokane nominees are Bruce Holbert , Tod Marshall , Mary Cronk Farrell and Greg Gordon . Joining them are Moses Lake native Heather Brittain Bergstrom , who now lives in California, and Richland writer Maureen McQuerry .

Holbert’s ‘Hour’ worth the time

Bruce Holbert’s second novel, “The Hour of Lead,” opens with an epic snow storm. And into it walks a father, Ed Lawson, looking for his twin sons, Luke and Matt, who are on their way home from school. The year is 1918, and this epic storm caused much damage in Lincoln County but took only two lives, the elder Lawson and one of the twins, Luke.

Sunday Morning (With Apologies to Raymond Carver)

Breakfast: a half dozen scrambled eggs, fried salami, a glass of chocolate milk; and one trip to the toilet until his hand steadies. The half-open window bleeds light onto the floor, but the breeze today comes from the mountain, not the city; it smells clean which provides relief. Today is Labor Day and Clarence Darrow Culnane has a job on a register at The Dollar Store, part-time, but with a promise that if he worked out it would turn more. Outside, the day is pleasantly warm, mitigated by the breeze. Gulls squawk and scoop the pavement and garbage bins for scraps at Dick’s, an outdoor hamburger joint. The cityscape pitches with the river valley’s topography. Beneath his window three rap wannabes attempt to rhyme alligator with tomato, but he no longer alternates nights on others’ sofas; it is his window.

Book Notes: National Book Award winner Alexie to read at the Bing

Sherman Alexie’s breakthrough book, “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” is turning 20, and his most recent collection of stories, “Blasphemy,” is out in paperback soon. Must be time for Alexie to visit his old stomping grounds. Alexie, a National Book Award winner who was raised on the Spokane Indian Reservation, will give a reading at 7 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Bing Crosby Theater, 901 W. Sprague Ave. The reading is free, but a suggested donation of $5 to pay for the venue is appreciated. The reading is sponsored by Auntie’s Bookstore, the Bing, and Get Lit!

Book Notes: Vestal, Olstein launch GU series

This year’s Gonzaga University Visiting Writers Series will kick off with two local writers telling very different stories about life in the West and will include acclaimed Chickasaw writer Linda Hogan. On Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m., Shawn Vestal (“Godforsaken Idaho”), a columnist at The Spokesman-Review, and Bruce Holbert (“Lonesome Animals”), a teacher at Mt. Spokane High School, will share the stage in GU’s Cataldo Globe Room. The rest of the lineup features:

Book Notes: Sweeney hits Auntie’s on Friday

Actress-comedian-writer Julia Sweeney is returning to her hometown on Friday to read from her new book, “If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother.” The reading, at 7 p.m. at Auntie’s Bookstore, 402 W. Main Ave., will also feature a giveaway – call it the after-Mother’s Day gift basket. The goodies include gift certificates for nail and hair service, chocolates, paper flowers, a journal, a bookmark and a bottle of wine. Those attending the event will automatically receive a ticket, and those who purchase Sweeney’s book will receive two additional tickets.

Book Notes: Author’s first novel scores with critics

This past spring, Mt. Spokane High School English teacher Bruce Holbert published his first novel, “Lonesome Animals,” with Counterpoint Press. Since then, the Western detective story has garnered good reviews from readers at and critics at papers such as the Oregonian and Seattle Times, drawing comparisons to Larry McMurtry and Cormac McCarthy. Times critic Adam Woog called it “a brilliant and utterly compelling debut.” The book is getting some end of the year love, too. Woog put “Lonesome Animals” on his list of the year’s best mysteries, along with Dennis Lehane’s “Live by Night” and Peter Robinson’s “Before the Poison.”

Book Notes: Aunties’s offers local flavor with lineup of authors

Coming up at Auntie’s in the coming days: a slew of appearances by notable authors with local ties. Kate McLachlan will read from her paperback “Hearts, Dead and Alive” at 7 p.m. Friday. The next morning, Amber Copelin will read from her children’s book “Will You Love Me When…” at 11 a.m.

Teacher tribute

‘At the age of 11, I entered Bill Javane’s sixth grade. I was short, timid, anxious. My teacher opened my eyes to the world and to my own powers in that world, and in so doing he not only eased my anxieties and timidity but also allowed me to feel I was as tall as I would ever need to be.” – Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary