Seattle, WA -- July 26, 2007

At the Elliott Bay Book Company, an independent bookstore established in 1973, I was too late to hear the poet Steven Nightingale, but I did get to learn about the store--they have a selection of books that they sell for 20%, of which they donate a portion of the profits to a different cause each month. Next month it will be literacy and what they raise will be matched. Books are selected for either their relationship to the cause or because they're popular.

I also had the opportunity to talk to one of the booksellers about his favorite books--Truman Capote's Other Voices, Other Rooms and All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren.

All the King's Men won the Pulitzer prize in 1947. It’s a fictionalized version of the life of a truly great man who became a corrupt senator. He thinks it’s the best American novel and it’s distinctively southern.

Recently he’s read Harry Potter, out of obligation. He needs to, working at the bookstore. Mostly, though, he reads southern literature. He’s 2500 miles away from home so he feels like he needs to.

A book that was a turning point in his life-- End of Alice, by A.M. Homes. The book made him realize how far books can go. It’s about a nineteen year-old girl who falls in love with a twelve year old boy. She begins writing to a pedophile in prison for advice and in turn he writes about a thirteen year old girl who he murders. He read this book when he was eighteen and he still hasn’t bounced back from it. It was so wrong on so many levels. He hasn’t read anything before that so blatantly overstepped boundaries, taking leaps and bounds over them. It’s a rough book.

He grew up in the south outside of Memphis. He’s the first person in his family who's moved more than 100 miles away.

No comments: