meanwhile, back at the ranch

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Thursday, December 04, 2008
Fun times were had in the book quarter of the pearl district Wednesday night!

* I really wanted to say something here about how the neighborhood has changed so much from the olden days when I used to work nearby and I really wanted to use the word UNCTUOUS, since it popped into my head unbidden and immediately cleaved to UNGUENT, even though that is so wrong! Get apart, you words! You don't mean what I mean! (I am going to start a line of lifestyle cosmetics made from photographs of trees called Not Your Mother's Unctuous Unguents which will become one of Oprah's favorite things and will sell like hot cakes (which no one buys anymore), despite the fact that it will be naught but a beautifully packaged jar of AIR. Know that I bottled each one myself!)

Martina and I headed down to Powell's for a reading and for a little christmas shopping. (I cannot even wrap my head around the fact that it is December. Are we sure about this? I think it's still late October. Have you been fooling with the space/time continuum again? I can always tell.) Here are some photos.

(I have a bunch of other stuff that I keep thinking I'll have done to post, but I keep not having it done so here's another PHOTO POST. But it's bookstore photos for once and not suspicious squirrels or a day in the life of a leaf, so that's something.)

pink sunset

...except I have to post this one tree picture! The sunset was really pretty -- the clouds were leaving (it was sunny today) so we got enough light to get some color. Some PINK color.

paris review reading

Philip Gourevitch, post-George Plimpton editor of The Paris Review, was reading at Powell's. The Paris Review has a new collection of interviews -- the 3rd of an eventual 4 volumes. It was so interesting! We were a little bit late and had to stand (which seems to be the way of things anymore), but it was okay. I have a preferred to lean against shelf in the architecture aisle which affords a decent view. Gourevitch did read some from the book, but mostly he talked about the philosophy of the Review interviews and how honored he was to be a part of that legacy. (I always appreciate when someone embraces being the steward of something larger than themselves -- be it the earth, public libraries, or in this case a literary treasure trove.) It was interesting to hear the balance between making the interviewer as invisible as possible and getting a great interview. They have to make themselves invisible and give the writer being interviewed enough space to say what they want to say, but be assertive enough to get the good stuff. He noted how odd it was for him, coming from a primarily journalistic background, to EDIT an interview to the degree they are edited for TPR. Not only are they edited, but the subject has an opportunity to review before it goes to press! He did note that writers, unlike most politicians, are working toward some kind of truth all the time, so if anything they may sharpen up something rather than water it down. (He gave the example of Kurt Vonnegut, who "chewed through" five (5!) interviewers and in a sense ended up interviewing himself.)

It made me really want to read the interviews, which wasn't an attitude I necessarily had when I went to the reading. He talked a lot about the writer's struggle to stay free -- even free from themselves (their egos, etc.). He quoted the oft repeated Hemmingway saying (originally in a Paris Review interview): "the most essential gift for a good writer is a built- in, shock-proof shit detector, " but perceptively noted that this shit detector is often needed to keep a writer out of their own way -- to detect their own shit, to stay free and say the true thing that needs to be said.

Now, on to the rest of the store! The readings are held upstairs in the Pearl (like the district!) Room gallery. This page has a map and a great little 50 second video tour of the store. If you've never been to Powell's before, it gives you a good sense of what it's like. (ENORMOUSLY WONDERFUL.)

mmm Modigliani

We snuck out during the Q&A through the M aisle of the art books. New and used books are shelved side by side. Looking at this picture, I can tell you that I have always liked Modigliani (his name, his paintings), and that a lot of the Taschen art books are on a really good sale right now.


A-Ha! In the gold room there is MURDER and INTRIGUE and fantasy, sci-fi, and manga. (I do love that the rooms are named by color. I feel like I'm either in an Andrew Lang Fairy Book (Rose Room) OR in a locked house English Mystery (Gold Room).)

title narrative

Hee. There are remaindered books along the window wall in the blue room (which I think may be my favorite room) -- they also have a collection of old fancy hardcovers. These were just like this, in this order: The Runaway, Secret Marriage, You Can't Have Everything. I think it tells a pretty evocative story! The Late Miss Hollingford was actually to the left -- I was all "ho ho! it would be funny if it was on the end!" so Martina picked it up and made it happen! Poor Miss Hollingford. There was a copy of Lavender and Old Lace two books down that I kept thinking was ARSENIC and old lace, which would be one way to deal with the bounder who forced her into her secret can't have everything marriage.

available posters

This was hanging in the blue room, advertising posters for sale in the orange room. I want the poster of the posters, but, as Miss Hollingford would no doubt quickly tell me if only she could, you can't have everything.
3 comments on "meanwhile, back at the ranch"
  1. We create our own reality. That book HAD to be moved! It would have been wrong not to.

    I still like the idea that Lavendar & Old Lace is about two inept murderesses who don't realize that lavender isn't toxic, but do discover through a series of botched killings that it is a member of the mint family and a lovely substitute in recipes calling for rosemary (as long as you don't add too much).

  2. p.s. Your sunset picture reminds me that the sunsets have been GORGEOUS the past few days!

  3. ha ha! I love the series botched killings notion. What happens? Do they try to poison and end up having to strangle with curtains or tablecloths? or bonking over the head with something heavy? do you use the woody stem part in cooking, or just the flower? The rosemary comparison makes me think the woody part... hmm.


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