Friday, July 8, 2011

book worship, part 2: support your local author!

next time i'll write about the great greats: the books that have changed me, or maybe even changed the world a little bit. authors that are dead or foreign (in many ways) and whose genius is so entire that it - sometimes - makes one want to stop writing, because these books are almost too perfect, too complete, and there's no point continuing to try to add to a world that already has such gems in it.

it'd be like making beads from fimo to compete against rubies.

but then, there's also the books that are great and that make one want to keep writing, the ones that are good, well-written, and inspire you - because the people who produced them are real people that you can see and talk to and understand. and people you'd want to know and hang out with, unlike some of the great greats authors (cough cough dostoevsky).

for example, my friend claudia has written a book! how cool is that?

it's called biting back: a no-nonsense, no-garlic guide to facing the personal vampires in your life. it looks like this:

and if you're wondering, yeah, she's talking from experience about dealing with vampires like addiction, crappy partners, and maybe cancer thrown in there for fun.

yeah, she's like buffy, only she kicks even more ass.

i first met claudia in a women's bathroom at salish kootenai college in pablo, montana. i was green and fresh off the wagon train from oregon and taking classes there, she was an exile from the midwest. i ran into her at the sinks one day and she said something incredibly dry and humorous and we talked for at most 5 minutes before realizing that we both loved kurt vonnegut and i knew we'd be friends, right then and there.

i'm going to bask in some sheer second-hand coolness for a moment, 'cause she's my friend. wow.

some corvallis folks have been publishing lately, too. i haven't read it yet, but here's a book that just came out by a corvallis guy, called the shape of the eye:

i've seen the author around town for years. i feel like i know him, even though i've never even had a conversation with him - ever. not even two words. corvallis is funny like that. one of his children must be about the same age as my older son, because we've been crossing paths in the corvallis kid pick-up and drop-off world for a long time. he's memorable because - let's face it - when it's always a dad doing transport duty, it's noticeable, as well as the fact that one of his daughters has down syndrome.

saw him again just the other day, in fact. i wanted to shout out: "hey! congratulations on the book!" but i didn't. it did make me contemplate, however, what thier family goes through. our older kids are all independent now, but we're still crossing paths - at kid pick-up and drop-offs designed for younger kids, his daughter's development more in line now with my younger son's.

i hope to read this book soon. and, by reading a two-paragraph summary of the book, i've already learned more about the author than i did in 10+ years of seeing him around town, so that's good.

and last but not least in my current pantheon of local, actually-people-i-may-one-day-even-interact-with book worship is this book by jess walter, called the financial lives of the poets:

it's so good, so very funny and relevant and real, i've been heavy-handedly recommending to everyone i come across. and the author lives in spokane. spokane! the can! a real northwest place!

in a fit of sophmoric devotion, i actually wrote my very first ever piece of fan mail. the 'email me' quick link on his webpage, which i visited while crafting an email to someone recommending the book only i couldn't remember his exact last name, was just too tempting.

and you know what? he wrote back. like, right away. dostoevsky wouldn't have.


  1. it's amazing what you've said about how some books make one want to stop writing, while others inspire it. i feel that way as well. i cannot wait to be excited to promote my friend's book one day! please keep this up!!


  2. likewise. i can't wait to have more friends' books to promote!