Summer in general and August in particular is a sleepy time for book publishing. But several local authors have been hard at work, so let's take a quick look at their inky efforts.
It's tourist season, so erstwhile SW contributor J. Kingston Pierce has supplied the text to a coffee table book ideally suited to tourists: Seattle: Yesterday & Today (West Side, $24.95). With contemporary photographs by Robert Holmes, the book follows the same format as Paul Dorpat's "Now & Then" feature in the Times' Sunday Pacific Northwest section. So close to the same format, in fact, that I was surprised to see that Pierce and not Dorpat was the author.
After the jump, Raymond Carver returns from the grave, and those darn LOLcats continue their Web domination...
Another photo book comes from globe-trotting shutterbug Art Wolfe. Travels to the Edge: A Photo Odyssey (Mountaineers, $24.95) is the paperback companion volume to a recent PBS travel series. It's a full-color expedition from Baja to Bhutan, travel porn for those on a backyard camping budget. But we can still dream.
Raymond Carver (1938-1988) is still dead, but the former Olympic Peninsula resident is represented by a new Library of America edition of his Collected Stories ($40). The pub date is actually September, but the book is already sitting on my desk, and I'm excited to read the long versions of classic stories including "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love," without the editorial axe-work of Gordon Lish. Carver's widow, the still-living poet Tess Gallagher, lobbied for these unabridged versions to be published. The old, super terse versions could be read in a single Metro ride; these newer ones, printed on 1,000 pages of onionskin paper, are better suited to a slow ferry to Bremerton.
As cited in our recent Best of Seattle® issue, Ben Huh's Web site icanhascheezburger.com has expanded into publishing. The latest such volume is How to Take Over teh Wurld: An LOL Guide to Winning (Gotham, $12), full of adorable kitties and atrocious spelling. (Again, the pub date is September, but LOLcats aren't so good with dates, either.)
Since her book Flirting With Forty was made into a Lifetime movie with Heather Locklear (yes!), Seattle author Jane Porter has kept typing industriously away. Her new novel Easy on the Eyes (Grand Central, $13.99) is about a widowed news anchor looking for a second chance at love. Sample sentence: "Michael reaches out and touches the back of my head as he drives, his fingers tangling in my windblown curls before sliding to my cheek."
In the realm of slightly upmarket literature, where curls are never windblown, the newest Monkeybicycle anthology ($12) includes work from local writers Martha Clarkson, Ryan Boudinot, and Cody Walker. Over two dozen Northwest poets are featured in the latest Floating Bridge Press Review ($10), which also includes selections from the Pontoon and Subtext writing groups.
Over at The Seattle Times, Jerry Brewer has written Gloria's Miracle (San Juan, $21.95), based on his acclaimed prior columns about the cancer-stricken young daughter of a devout Catholic basketball coach. The October title has a frankly religious bent. Quoth Brewer in his own promotional blurb, "It will make you think about your life. It will challenge you. It will show you courage in its barest, most natural form." (He and the Strauss family will appear at a Sept. 8 event at Highline Performing Arts Center in Burien, beginning at 5 p.m.)
In a very different pew is Holy Roller: Finding Redemption and the Holy Ghost in a Forgotten Texas Church (WaterBrook, $18.99). Author Julie Lyons is a former local resident and SPU grad, most recently the editor of our sister publication the Dallas Observer. Her book is based on her crime beat experiences at another Dallas paper during the '90s, when gang violence was epidemic. Yes she found a thriving Pentecostal church in the very worst neighborhood, where gang-bangers, dealers, pimps, and hos went to worship. And, in addition to reporting on these denizens, she joined their church.