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!?!"
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.
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 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.
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 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."