A bookseller since 1988, Jesse realized in May 1973 that the earth is choking to death on Homo sapiens, and in the years since has only seen the asphyxiation intensify. A life and lit informed by themes of diminishment, extinction, and impermanence, he tends our Travel and Eastern Philosophy sections and is responsible for the return of our unsold stock to the "Island of Misfit Books." His taste in books runs to Edward Abbey and Derrick Jensen for truth, Han Shan and Gary Snyder for solace. Personally an incorrigible optimist, he lives in Seattle and takes as his totem Ectopistes migratorius. His ambition is to tie a perfect 1/0 "Winter's Hope" (McMillan) and cast it in the Sol Duc some January. His goal is to wake up, in this incarnation or some other.
For the sake of his writing, Preib joins the Chicago Police Department, and these essays are the stunning result. City life at its rawest and ugliest, tempered by reflective insight and moving compassion toward our least powerful citizens. Preib has crafted a challenge to our hardened hearts and chilled souls, and a poignant meditation on the writer's craft and purpose in an age morally adrift.
Re-issued 34 years after its initial publication, this remains THE greatest baseball book of all time, by (arguably) the most colorful personality the game has ever known, Babe Ruth notwithstanding. This guy seemed to be everywhere interesting during the golden era, and the stories tumble one after the other, hilariously. From the 1927 Yankees to "The Shot Heard 'Round the World" to the heartbreak of the '69 Cubs, a happy retrospective from the scrappiest player/manager ever.
Spec Lynn and his squadmates stumble into a firefight, and by dumb luck, fame. A great read and a ruthlessly sardonic (and hilarious) skeewering of the pretense and bullshit that typifies so much of American public life. Also a perceptive reflection on our collective priorities, the Walk will have you wondering how and why ... to paraphrase David Byrne, "well, how did we get here!?!"
A young Republic is feeling its oats, and the world is forced to sit up and take notice...not always gladly. Sayles the master storyteller has crafted a terrific, rollicking, massive and monumental slice of American historical fiction about (arguably) the most freewheeling period in our history. It's wonderful: vast, laconic, ironic, and pungent as a bit of cheap, s***ty Kentucky rope. Enjoy!
The greatest manhunt in modern American history, during one of the wildest years in world history, when the country seemed about to shatter. A riveting and deeply moving slice of true crime history, and a disturbing slice of our past.
The engrossing story of the (arguably) most raucous, divisive, and exciting era in American history and politics (source of many of our current schisms and our latter-day culture of fear), and of the political genius (there's no denying it) who mastered it and us, playing both like a fiddle until the whole thing blew up. Fast and furious recent history, meaty and dense with revelation and insight. Also hilarious, scary, and downright eye-popping. Nixonland reads like a raging hurricane. Terrific.
Think you got it bad? Malone's proofs of real compassion, insight, loving-kindness, and mindfulness in the face of the most extreme torments and challenges may give you pause and perspective. A warm, humorous, whole and inspiring work, and a kind of miracle.
The inimitable Red Pine on the trail of the first patriarchs of Zen. FULL ON CHINA at its best and Porter at his best: relaxed, avuncular, full of trenchant insights on the human condition and the Void. Warm and rich with droll, understated humor. Not everyone gets to wake up the Master-at-arms of the Shaolin Temple at the crack of dawn, demanding answers ... one of Porter's many adventures.
The "Red Summer" of 1919! Boston police strike! Anarchists! Bolsheviki! Influenza! The Seattle General Strike! John Reed, J. Edgar Hoover, and Babe Ruth in a bar fight! Race riots in Chicago! The history and characters explode off the page with the speed and fury of a steam-driven express train. A great book and evrything an historic novel should be.
When worlds collide, can love build a bridge? In this case, yes. This is a delightful book: memoir, travel essay and anthropology all at once and Ms. Thompson does it very well. Refreshingly without ego (especially for the subjects mentioned!) she has mused out a love story, gently and thoughtfully, that goes everywhere (well, almost!) in a wonderful way... I really did hate for it to end!
The troubles Howell Raines had as Executive Editor of the New York Times are as may be. All I know for sure is that over ten years ago he crafted a terrific meditation on fly fishing and its place in one man's life. Recently re-issued by Harper, this book reads (cliché or not) much like a flowing river as it passes through the landscapes and the seasons, and the eddies make it the more interesting. Contemplative and wonderful.
Like D.B. Cooper, poet-logger Wobblies, potlatches, and the geoduck, The Golden Spruce is the kind of story Cascadia produces best: mystical, misty, mystifying, and just a little bit larger than life. A great read, engaging without pandering or condesencion, this story is part whodunit, part song-of-place, and part sorrowful cautionary parable. A must for all readers who love the rainy old Northwest; land, sea, forest and (sometimes) cranky, contrarian inhabitants.
Iain Banks, the mist Highlands of Scotland, and a dram of savoury single-malt Scotch whisky...aaahhh! Grab this great book an' a wee dram of your favourite and enjoy as Banks escorts, you on a "grand tour" of his native land and its unmatched (and unmatchable) native spirit. I enjoyed this book so much, it motivated me to join the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America (www.SMWSA.com).
The best memoir of men and war I’ve ever read, bar none. Fraser, the master storyteller, vividly recounts the great unknown theater of World War II, and the hearty and sardonic mechanations of his squadmates, memorable characters all. Told with a thought-provoking intergenerational perspective that may be a bit hard for modern readers to digest, but perhaps nourishing nonetheless. Out-rollicks his novels, if you can believe it!
Don’t let the possible implications of the subtitle put you off -- this gem may be the finest modern introduction to the Buddha dharma, and the art of living a thoughtful, considerate, deliberate, contemplative and contented life in a crowded world full of yearning and suffering beings. Long on compassion and insight, light on the mumbo-jumbo … just right for the contemporary seeker.
One day's stream of mental and spiritual consciousness -- the entire unfiltered perverse-to-prayerful gamut that most every human psyche ranges over most every day -- serves as the frame to a masterpiece, and the fulcrum of THE salient censorship battle in the history of American letters. This thrilling narrative, simultaneously magisterial and avuncular, tells the story of a courageous group of world literati who wager their fortunes, homes, health and reputations to ensure the unhindered publication of Ulysses, and of the well-intentioned moral and legal guardians who oppose them. Satisfying literary history that revitalizes one's faith in books and bookselling.
One of my all time favorite novels, and the best historical novel I've ever read. The great Haitian revolution (to date the only successful slave rebellion of the modern era) amid the ferment of the Enlightenment and Napoleonic era reaction. This is a violent story, make no mistake. And it could be said that many "deserving" people get it in the neck. But... it is the instances of love and compassion, the humanity that makes this splendid. "A serious historical novel that reads like a dream."