Monday, February 28, 2011

We heart Jonathan Evison

Tomorrow night at 7:30pm, Jonathan Evison will be speaking about his book, West of Here, at our store. Booksellers have been raving for months about Jonathan's book, West of Here. It's a bold book that draws on the American experience. Set in the fictional town of Port Bonita, Washington, half of the narrative focuses on the town’s founders circa 1890 while the other half shows their descendents in 2006. The novel becomes a kind of conversation between two epochs, one rushing blindly toward the future and the other struggling to undo the damage of the past.

Here's one of our fav quotes from New West reviewer Jenny Shank,
"Without ever getting preachy about it, in West of Here, Jonathan Evison has wrestled many of the West’s most pressing contemporary issues—such as environmental degradation, the challenges facing Native Americans, and loss of distinctive local businesses in small towns—into one humdinger of a story."

Several booksellers from our store got to meet Jonathan last fall at the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Association Trade Show. While there, Jonathan read this awesome and totally heartwarming poem to us. After reading the poem, you'll be able to see why he's one of our favorite authors and we hope he'll become one of yours, too.

A Bookseller’s Love Story by Jonathan Evison
For thirteen years I've been stocking the shelves at The Book Cathedral,
and it is my love story.
You will probably not remember me by my name,
but call me Ishmael.
Or Tom Jones, or Tom Sawyer, or Elmer Gantry, or McTeague,
or The Idiot, if you like.
You may not remember me for my wispy hair, or brick-shaped loafers,
nor for the wealth of cat hair clinging to the seat of my faded dockers.
I distinguish myself by my love of books,
and by never using the search function--I've no need of it.

Ask me who's between Allende and Sherwood Anderson,
and I shall tell you without pause, Martin Amis,
between Sartre and Schulberg, Saunders,
and at the end of the line, you'll find Zusak,
unless of course we're out, in which case you'll find Zafon.
Blindfold me and spin me around in circles,
then set me straight and run my fingers down the spines,
and I'll tell you when we get to Proust, or the shorter novels of Melville.
Ask me where to find Silas Wegg and I shall point you to Dickens.
Ask me where is Oskar and I'll tell you
he's banging his tin drum between Golding and Graves.
And if it's Sancho Panza you're after, you'll find him chasing windmills
with Quixote just to the left of Chaucer.

Ask me All About Lulu.
Ask me For Whom the Bell Tolls.
Ask me where A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, or What Makes Sammy Run,
and I shall tell you without hesitation, that the answer to the universe
is 42. Or that it's never too late to have a happy childhood.
Or that A Good Man is Hard to Find.
Or that The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.
Or that You Can't Go Home Again.
I will show you the beating heart of Ragtime,
drag you kicking through Hard Times, In Our Time, to Places I've Done Time.
Through The Age of Innocence, The Age of Reason,
to The Winter of Our Discontent.
You'll meet The Sleeping Father, The Time Traveler's Wife,
The Bigamist's Daughter, and Wittgenstein's Mistress.
I'll lead you to the Shining City,
beneath The Sheltering Sky, past Lions and Shadows,
to The Dark Side of Guy de Maupassant-and if it pleases you,
to the very Heart of Darkness, itself.
I will tell you The History of Love,
The Brief History of the Dead.

I will tell you The Secret Life of Bees. I'll tell you A Tale of Two Cities
that will make All the Pretty Horses whinny and All the King's Men weep.
I will explain The Mysteries of Pittsburgh,
How the Dead Dream, and The Way of the Pilgrim.
I will talk Of Mice and Men, Of Time and the River, of Leaves of Grass,
until finally, at the end of night, when The Moon is Down,
the sun will also rise, and everything will be illuminated.

Now, ask yourself: where else are you gonna' get this kind of service
but an indie bookstore?

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