TEXTBLOCK | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2020

Season’s Greetings
Gift Ideas & Goodies

By Tony Weller

It has never felt stranger to anticipate our traditionally busiest season of the year: the holidays snuggled around Winter Solstice - in my culture primarily Christmas – now, in our joyously multi-cultural world, joined with Hanukah and Kwanza. One of the most wonderful things about our era is the mixing and synthesis of the various cultures of civilization into the diverse world we enjoy today, when not freaked out about softening the edges of geographically limited certainties inherited from ancestors. Civilized persons will note that persons of difference – different culture, different skin tones, different beliefs and different sexual orientations can live well together. If your paradigm is too fragile for this, let it crumble. No version of freedom should include the freedom to dictate lifestyles to others whose lifestyles do no harm to your own.

So as I sincerely wish the Happy Holidays that are most suitable to each’s preference, I hope you will not blame me for trying to wrap my big progressive arms around everyone while welcoming traditions of non-Christian cultures with the American Christmas.

The historically informed realize that most of the traditions of Christmas are post-industrial creations of Dickens and Montgomery Ward, in the long perspective, rather modern. But who cares? The modern traditions create joy and provide occasions for gratitude, humility, love and giving. Let us celebrate boldly. In our product laden era, there is sage impulse to curb materialism. Happiness studies show that the happiest persons and cultures achieve it through sharing and giving.






The fifth printing of the graphic history, March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, published in 2013. Signed by all three on the title page! $450

A bit ragged in taped old paper wraps is our first edition of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s 1817 play Zapolya: A Christmas Tale. Complete with spine exposed and first few pages nearly detached. $125


A very attractive two-volume set of H.G. Ward’s Mexico in 1827. ¾ Brown leather over marbled paper boards. Spines are ornate with blind and gilt stamped designs and lettering. $1200
A first edition of The Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow, by his sister, beloved LDS poet, Eliza R. Snow Smith. This green cloth bound copy is inscribed by Lorenzo to his daughter Phebe Agusta Florence Snow. $5000

The sesquicentennial facsimile edition of Joseph Smith’s 1830 Book of Mormon. This barely used replica is for sale for $120.
Uncommon copy of James E. Talmage’s The Great Salt Lake: Present and Past, printed in 1900. Bound in Christmassy looking gray wraps embossed in green, red and gold. $45

A five volume 1938 set of The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt along with a 1932 appointment to Captain of Coast Artillery Corps of the New York National Guard signed by Roosevelt. The books are in well-preserved dustjackets and housed in the original publisher’s slipcase which is labelled on all three vertical sides. $750
Delicately hand-written recipe for Harriet Trusedale’s Wedding Cake! J.M. Scott’s recipe dated January 13th, 1843. Five holograph pages hand-sewn into plain pale green wraps. Quaint and charming. $20
A paperback edition of the 18th century book of classical Chinese erotica, The Fragrant Flower by Hua Ying Jin Zhen. This somewhat uncommon 1990 edition from Prometheus Books in Buffalo reproduces the original illustrations alongside the accompanying Chinese with the English translations by N.S. and B.L. Wang. $60
A beautiful copy of Don Quixote illustrated by Gustave Doré. This circa 1890 edition of Cervantes is bound in rich green cloth with bold embossed ornamentation in black and gilt. It’s in quarto format, measuring 22 x 30 cm, and rife with Doré’s detailed illustrations. $400





A fine jacketed first edition of Janet Evanovich’s first Stephanie Plum mystery, One for the Money. $60
Cool bright red leather-bound 1975 Limited Editions Club edition of Franz Kafka’s The Trial, illustrated creepily and signed by Alan E. Cober. In great condition with former owner’s bookplate on front pastedown and housed in a black slipcase. $75





A very nice first edition of H.K. James’ 1914 Destruction of Mephisto’s Greatest Web or All Grafts Laid Bare: Being a Complete Exposure of All Gambling, Graft and Confidence Games. This copy is inscribed by James to a friend. Bright. $275



Signed first edition of N. Scott Momaday’s 1994 Circle of Wonder: A Native American Christmas Story. $30
Four Little Troubles by James Marshall. Small paper first editions in color pictorial slipcase, three by Marshall: Eugene, Sing Out Irene and Snake; and Someone is Talking about Hortense by Laurette Murdock. All delightfully illustrated in vivid tri-color by Marshall. $65





A copy of the 1936 Christmas on the Isthmus containing a lengthy poem by Sue Core about Christmas in Panama. It’s illustrated with little vignettes by Anne Cordts McKeown and amply inscribed and annotated by the person who made a gift of it in 1942. Hey! Silver flecked green endsheets! $30

Our
Best Weller's
pick is
November & December
by Isabel Wilkerson
Random House
9780593230251
List price: $32.00
Our Price: $25.60

Reviewed by
Salem Rogers

The machinations that allow racialized bigotry to flourish in the United States are largely invisible to those who don't know what to look for. Microaggressions, discriminatory practices, and individual racists are all very real threats to communities of color, but as Isabel Wilkerson argues in her stunning book of the same name, mere manifestations of the underlying structure that allows such disparity to exist at all: Caste.

The idea of caste predates the idea of race by several thousand years, and though there are similarities, they are not synonyms. As Wilkerson puts it, "Caste is the bones, race the skin". Caste is the contrived social order that determines who is deemed worthy of resources, respect, or authority. Racism is the tool that uplifts, justifies, and defends caste. This distinction is important because it makes clear the issue is structural. While racism often is, and should be, spoken about as a systemic issue, all too often a more myopic approach is taken where racism is addressed as a matter of converting a few closed minded bigots rather than an oppressive, overarching system deliberately woven into the foundation of this country. Reexamining institutionalized racism through the lens of a caste system may better help many conceptualize the very real threats these hierarchies pose, and what steps must be taken to dismantle them.

Wilkerson asserts her claim of an American caste system through beautifully interwoven social science and history, as well as narratives from her own life and the lives of others. She also draws comparisons between caste in the U.S. to caste in India and Nazi Germany, particularly underlying how German and American eugenicists often worked in tandem, and how Nazis studied American Jim Crow laws while devising their own Nuremberg laws. This is an uncomfortable, but important parallel to sit with. This is just one of many uncomfortable comparisons Wilkerson provides throughout Caste, yet you won't be able to stop reading. Wilkerson is an enchanting writer, and one of her greatest strengths is the ability to condense complex ideas into potent, digestible imagery. She'll begin by pulling you into scenery so vivid and tangible you'll want to linger, then swiftly twist it into metaphor, deepening the resonance and palpability of every argument she makes. 

Disregard Caste at your own risk. As Wilkerson so poignantly puts it, "Ignorance is no no protection from the consequences of inaction."
Bookseller Holiday Picks
By N.K. Jemisin
9780316509848
Orbit
Hardcover $28.00
Recommended by Tamsen Maloy

The City We Became was released while New York City—where the book is set—was under siege. NYC was the COVID-19 hot spot at the time and thus Jemisin’s book appeared prescient in its telling of an invading supernatural force. But The City We Became doesn’t stop with alien monsters. This book tells the stories of gentrification, racism, xenophobia, colonization, capitalism and toxic masculinity all in under a hundred pages and does it through the voice of the city personified.

COVID-19 in NYC and around the world has exposed the falsehood that we’re all in this together and on equal footing. The City We Became lays bare the forces that drive our differing realities.
By Moss Hart
9781250050892
St. Martin's Griffin
Paperback $23.99
Recommended by Lane Richins

This is a great ole' chestnut for me. Moss Hart, winner of the Pulitzer for You Can't Take It With You, playwright of the equally well-known The Man Who Came To Dinner, and member of the Theatre Hall of Fame, had much success in his career. This is his origin story, chronicling his poor beginnings in Brooklyn and the Bronx, his relationship with his disturbed Aunt Kate, who introduced him to the world of theatre, and his struggle to reach Broadway. This extremely popular memoir, written in 1959, was made in to a film and was itself adapted in to a successful play in 2014. Great reading for fans of theatre, New York in the 20's, or interesting men of the 20th century. Merry Christmas all! Stay safe! Keep wearing those masks!


By Gene Wolfe
9781250242365
Tor Books
Hardcover $25.99
Recommended by José Knighton

Preeminent Science fiction author, Gene Wolfe, famously blurbed by Ursula K. LeGuin: "Wolfe is our Melville," died on April 14th, 2019, at the age of 87. His final novel, Interlibrary Loan, published this past summer, contains a quote that is gospel to all bibliophiles: "Books . . . ought to exist. They ought to be actual physical objects you can pick up and put down. We should not have to engage a medium and hold a séance."
By Ayad Akhtar
9780316496421
Little Brown and Company
Hardcover $28.00
Recommended by Tony Weller

It is good Ayad Akhtar’s Homeland Elegies is subtitled: A Novel. Until I was a third of the way through the book, I forgot I wasn’t reading a memoir. The vignettes that comprise it are surprising in their turns and twists. They are held together by the intimate voice of the narrator, a Pakistani American and his struggles with identity in this country of his birth where he is too 'foreign' to belong. As one follows his interactions, one cannot avoid the awkwardness of disagreements about the veracity of American fairy tales and layered critiques of seemingly never-ending sociopolitical conflict between generations of Muslims in America and the regions around Pakistan. Akhtar’s writing is superb. His prose commands credulity to the authenticity of his characters.
Chris Van Allsburg
9780395353936
Houghton Mifflin
Hardcover $18.95
Recommended by Salem Rogers


The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is one of my favorite picture books, and probably the greatest writing prompt of all time. As legend has it, the mysterious Harris Burdick left several captioned illustrations in the hands of a children's publisher many years ago and promised to return with the accompanying stories. Of course, he was never seen again. I encourage you to give this book to a writer of any age, and ask them to write their own versions of Mr. Burdick's stories. The captions are compelling, at times, even ominous, and the illustrations are so enchantingly eerie I still feel slightly awe-struck when I look at them. My personal favorites are Under the Rug, Uninvited Guests, Mr. Linden's Library, and Just Desert.
By Jenny Offill
9780385351102
Knopf Publishing Group
Hardcover $23.95
Recommended by Lila Ann Weller

Sometimes one picks up a book that's so familar that it feels almost like a part of the self, as though someone else has been living your existence, or vice versa. Weather is one of these. Offill gained notoriety for her strange yet lived-in-feeling previous novel, Dept. of Speculation (2014); Weather is likewise breathtaking. A story of stagnancy, mutual happiness & yearning, and differing forms of love, Weather follows a middle-aged formerly promising grad student who's beloved mentor has secured her a job as a campus librarian (despite her lack of a qualifying degree), and her assistant, answering frantic letters to her American-Apocolypse podcast. This is a great read for this era in which many of us are feeling trapped by circumstance, finding new pleasures and solace in unexpected places.

Prehistoric American
Periodical
Out of Print...but we can find them for you....
Recommended by Austin Fields

Prehistoric American is a periodical journal of essays and photography documenting North American stone tools, and their history since they left the ground. The issues contain many high-resolution images, often full page color. The essays involve various subtopics such as authentication and fakes, well known lithic artifact collections, and stories of artifact discoveries. This is a raw data stream worth standing in front of, and can assist in building a more accurate mental image of our history. The series ran for a few decades and are now out-of-print, but we can still track down these and other journals, just ask.
By L.S. Dugdale
9780062932631
HarperOne
Recommended by Frank Pester


When the European continent was besieged by the Black Plague, an anonymous author published the Tractatus Artis bene Moriendis or Treatise on the Art of Dying Well. Using this document as a jumping off point, author L.S. Dugdale, who is a specialist in end-of-life issues, confronts the topic most of us like to set aside. I picked up this book just after the passing of my own mother, and found it comforting and very insightful. To die well, we need to come to terms with our own finiteness, for we all die. The ancient document spoke of a time when death was not hidden as in our own society. The author documents how this has come to be, and asks poignant questions of how we deal with death, terminal illness, mortuary practices and the ritual of mourning. This is not just a book for those caring for elderly family members, but for everyone to think about their life and how to prepare to die well.
by Toby Wilkinson
9781324006893
W.W. Norton
Hardcover $30.00
Recommended by Catherine Weller

Beyond cultural appropriation, the excavation of Egypt, especially the hundred years between the deciphering of the Rosetta Stone and the discover of Tutankhamen's tomb is one of cultural plunder. Everybody -- from the Romans to 20th Century Europeans and Americans -- wanted a piece of Egypt's ancient civilization, and the legitimacy they believed owning it would lend to their own societies. Along the way the travelers and treasure hunters, brilliant scholars and scoundrels created the discipline of Egyptology. Wilkerson has written an informative and enjoyable work that shows not just battles between empires vying to take hold of Egypt, but the way Egypt "discovered itself" and citizens began to claw their land back after nearly 2000 years of foreign occupation. People and places are large in this book. Wilkerson's writing allows the stories of men like Budge, Champollion, and the reckless Vyse to speak for themselves. This is a great book to dig into on a cold dark afternoon.
By Pamela S. Turner
9780358133605
HMH Books for Young Readers
Paperback $9.99
Recommended by Stephanie Leitch

The other evening I watched as a crow and my neighborhood hawk flew wingtip to wingtip overhead, the crow chatting away to their friend. I am lead to wonder, just what is going on in that bird brain? This informative book explores the sapient crow, often maligned and ever associated with macabre omens, and reveals the surprising complexity of the bird's intelligence. They've got a lot to say for a reason.
Events
FRIDAY NOVEMBER 6
7 PM


We're delighted to announce a virtual reading with some of the writers who made the creation of Collective Darkness, a locally published horror anthology, possible.

As a child, did you hide under your blankets when you were scared of the dark?
After reading some of the scariest stories from new and up-and-coming authors, we won’t blame you if you start hiding again. Take a journey with us into the twisted mind of horror. “The Fallout” travels through the unknown, while “Feast” will make you never want to love again...

Tune into our Facebook page Friday, November 6th at 7 PM where the reading will be livestreamed!
SATURDAY NOVEMBER 14
7 PM


We're delighted to announce a virtual reading with Jacob Ethan Gibson, promoting his new Young Adult book, Mariana The Moon Girl, the first book in the series The Secret Fate of Butch Cassidy.

There are only three rules in the Museum of Human History:
  1. Never tell anyone about the museum, or any of its secrets
  2. Follow Mr. Steel’s instructions with exactness
  3. Never lie to Mr. Steel

In all the time that eleven-year-old Mariana has lived in the museum and hunted for the superpowered artifacts of ancient American Legends, she has strictly followed all of the rules. She knows that if she doesn’t, Mr. Steel, the mysterious museum curator, will banish her. But the day that she stumbles upon a family being attacked by a giant tarantula in the desert ruins of Philadelphia—the same day she finds the ancient bifocals of Benjamin Franklin and becomes best friends with his ghost in the process—she breaks every single rule.

The consequences? Miss Murphy, Mr. Steel’s oldest enemy, who is hell-bent on destroying the museum, discovers their whereabouts. Their only escape? Finding the boots of Butch Cassidy, which grant their bearer the power of the perfect getaway.

Join the reading on our YouTube channel Saturday, November 14th at 7 PM!
THURSDAY NOVEMBER 18
7 PM



We couldn't be more delighted to announce a virtual conversation with Kyl Myers (she/hers & they/them), author of Raising Them: Our Adventure in Gender Creative Parenting, and Pidgeon Pagonis, artist, activist, and co-founder of the Intersex Justice Project.

As a first-time parent, Kyl Myers had one aspect dialed in from the start: not being beholden to the boy-girl binary, disparities, or stereotypes from the day a child is born. With no wish to eliminate gender but rather gender discrimination, Kyl and her husband, Brent, ventured off on a parenting path less traveled. Raising a confident, compassionate, and self-aware person was all that mattered.

In this illuminating memoir, Kyl delivers a liberating portrait of a family’s choice to dismantle the long-accepted and often-harmful social construct of what it means to be assigned a gender from birth. As a sociologist, Kyl explores the science of gender and sex and the adulthood gender inequities that start in childhood. As a loving parent, Kyl shares the joy of watching an amazing child named Zoomer develop their own agency to grow happily and healthily toward their own gender identity and expression.

Pidgeon Pagonis (they/them) has slowly, oftentimes not so quietly risen to visibility as an activist on behalf of intersex people. Whether advancing intersex advocacy as the co-founder of the Intersex Justice Project, producing informational videos that go viral on Buzzfeed, creating art that centers intersex voices, appearing on the cover of National Geographic “Gender Revolution” special issue or being honored as a LGBT Champion of Change in 2015 by the Obama White House, Pidgeon has staked out a place at the fore of debates on intersexuality and otherness.

Tune into our YouTube channel Wednesday, November 17th at 7 PM where our discussion will be livestreamed.
MONDAY NOVEMBER 30TH
7 PM

Alena Dillon and
Margo Orlando Littell
Discuss Mercy House and The Distance from Four Points

We're excited to announce our upcoming virtual event with Alena Dillon and Margo Orlando Littell, discussing their new novels, Mercy House and The Distance From Four Points, respectively. Tune in for a conversation between two talented authors and their stories about differently but mutually powerful women.


Mercy House:

Inside a century-old row house in Brooklyn, renegade Sister Evelyn and her fellow nuns preside over a safe haven for the abused and abandoned. Gruff and indomitable on the surface, warm and wry underneath, little daunts Evelyn, until she receives word that Mercy House will be investigated by Bishop Hawkins, a man with whom she shares a dark history. In order to protect everything they’ve built, the nuns must conceal many of their methods, which are forbidden by the Catholic Church.

Evelyn will go to great lengths to defend all that she loves. She confronts a gang member, defies the church, challenges her own beliefs, and faces her past. She is bolstered by the other nuns and the vibrant, diverse residents of the shelter—Lucia, Mei-Li, Desiree, Esther, and Katrina—whose differences are outweighed by what unites them: they’ve all been broken by men but are determined to rebuild.

Amidst her fight, Evelyn discovers the extraordinary power of mercy and the grace it grants, not just to those who receive it, but to those strong enough to bestow it.


The Distance From Four Points:

Soon after her husband's tragic death, Robin Besher makes a startling discovery: He had recklessly blown through their entire savings on decrepit rentals in Four Points, the Appalachian town Robin grew up in. Forced to return after decades, Robin and her daughter, Haley, set out to renovate the properties as quickly as possible―before anyone exposes Robin's secret past as a teenage sex worker. Disaster strikes when Haley befriends a troubled teen mother, hurling Robin back into a past she'd worked so hard to escape. Robin must reshape her idea of home or risk repeating her greatest mistakes. Margo Orlando Littell, author of Each Vagabond by Name, tells an enthralling and nuanced story about family, womanhood, and coming to terms with a left-behind past.

Join us on our YouTube channel, Saturday, November 30th at 2 PM!

Lit Knit Crafting Circle




Join Catherine and the crafters of Weller Book Works on Zoom for an hour of casual bookish conversation and snacks. All crafts and crafters are welcome. BYOB.

Email catherine@wellerbookworks.com for an invitation to attend!

Due to the holidays, Lit Knit will meet November 11th and December 9th from 6-7 PM.

Shop local, shop indie!
With COVID-19 numbers still on the rise in Utah and across the nation, we want to remind our community that we gladly

🌠 facilitate curbside pickups 🌠

🌠 ship worldwide 🌠

🌠 process your orders via phone, our website, and Biblio.com so you can
pay at home & pickup curbside or in-store 🌠


Thank you for continuing to observe safety guidelines to help our community get well & for supporting local, independent businesses like us during this difficult period. We wouldn't be here without you.




📚 Phone orders - reach us at 801-328-2586

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Store hours: Monday-Thursday, 12-5 PM | Friday & Saturday, 11 AM-7 PM