TEXTBLOCK | SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2020
Welcome Back into
Weller Book Works

By Tony Weller
After weeks of selling books from behind closed doors we are happy to welcome you back into our bookstore. Monday, August 17th, we re-opened to browsing and even with the enduring concerns about safety, it has felt good returning to a semblance or ordinary bookselling. Each of us has been affected by the challenges CoViD19 in different ways and to different degrees. We are maintaining careful safety protocols and while hours and staffing levels are not as wide or large as during pre-pandemic times, we’ll increase both as circumstances improve. We are still providing curb-side pick-up service and ordering and shipping books as fast as we are able. To ensure the safety of our customers and staff, we require face-coverings by all and we sanitize commonly touched surfaces daily. We have plexiglass dividers at common service points and ask customers to sanitize hands upon entry. So far there have been no reported cases of coronavirus in our staff and we intend to keep it that way. Thank you for the support you have given us during the months of closure. Thank you also for respecting the safety measures we have taken in our bookstore for the safety and health of all.

Please Vote and Encourage Your Friends to Do It
If a restaurant doesn’t have the dish one orders, a prudent diner selects another dish. I have cast many votes for candidates who didn’t win. I am rather impatient with incremental change and feel best voting for someone whose ideals and policies cut to the chase with bold solutions to issues at stake. My candidates have been Green Party or Progressive. Last presidential election, like many of you, I was encouraged and enthusiastic about the clarity and intelligence of Bernie Sanders. He didn’t win the nomination and with less enthusiasm, I cast my vote for Hilary Clinton – she was the best remaining option. But many progressives refused to vote, as though their abstinence had tangible value, and look what followed. We don’t always get our first choices, but we will have another U.S. President, hopefully sooner than later. Not voting is not only unhelpful, it is barely noticed by others and has no more value than giving you the ability to say, “…not my fault.” Money has too much influence in our political system. It takes 1000 ordinary votes to offset the influence of a millionaire. That number may be closer to 10,000. There is a reason the conservative party is thwarting voting rights; they expect to lose if everyone votes. If you can’t have the dish you want, do you really want to go hungry?
 
Pandemic Insights
We all hate the disruptive effects of the coronavirus we suffer. If I could will it away, I would in a moment. Even though infection rates are worse presently than they were at the bogus peak hailed in April, time has a way of calming our sensibilities. As we have improved our understanding of CoViD19, we have improved our ability to cope with it. As my fears diminished, I found myself appreciating less crowded roads. Only fools believe that we can pollute our air, water and soil without consequences. The sad circumstances of the coronavirus have reduced road congestion, improved air quality, and helped us understand how much we don’t need to drive. Each of these is a component of an environmentally sustainable world. Let us preserve these outcomes. With adjustments to urban planning, investments in mass transit and with never before tried principles of economy, labor and distribution of wealth and time, these very changes will become necessary parts of sensible life on earth. Any theory predicated on never-ending growth is irrational and delusional. There is no more time to waste. Older climate change deniers are cynical and irresponsible. Their children will curse them while paying for their errors.



Rare Book Highlights
By Tony Weller

We missed a few Text Blocks during the 19 weeks when our doors were closed and too few of us scrambled to order, receive, ship and run books to the curb while protecting ourselves and you from infection. As we re-establish our footing, we are re-learning processes that ran almost like clock-work in normal times. This is the first newsletter produced within the new paradigm. Our 91 year-old bookstore has always consisted of Weller family with our larger family of book-persons. My daughter Lila Ann started working here in 2013 and began working with rare books in 2016. She is the editor of this newsletter. While I, Tony Weller, usually select new acquisitions for this part of our Text Block, with our buying slowed and time-sense disrupted, I invited Lila Ann to select the books for this section of this issue. One of my greatest pleasures in our bookstore is the regular exposure I get to the sensibilities of other readers, especially those of generations younger than mine. These are not books acquired within the last few months but ones that caught the attention of this well read and experienced millennial bookwoman. The brief descriptions are mine.
A superior copy of Richard F. Burton’s City of the Saints and Across the Rocky Mountains to California. First American edition in blind embossed brown cloth with folding maps in great condition. $650




A nearly perfect early reprint of Booker T. Washington’s autobiography, Up from Slavery. The 1901 edition from A. L. Burt, a likely unread copy. $125

 A paperback copy of the uncommon 1971 book Ritual Magic by E. M. Butler. $25

A copy of the unusual proof of the 2009 anthology Burn This Book in publisher’s zip-lock bag with plenty of matching matchbooks. Edited by Toni Morrison and with contributions from Paul Auster, Russell Banks, Nadine Gordimer, David Grossman, Pico Iyer, Toni Morrison, Orhan Pamuk, Ed Park, Francine Prose, Salman Rushdie and John Updike. You do not have to burn it! $90

Horace M. Kallen’s Cultural Pluralism and the American Idea: An Essay in Social Philosophy. A signed 1st edition in dust jacket. Published by the University of Pennsylvania in 1956. $75
Bill Owens: Photography. A 2007 1st edition printed in Italy. $75
A signed 1st edition of The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arudhati Roy. $40
Events
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 24
7 PM

The Last Tiger is Somewhere
with authors
Rob Carney
& Scott Poole

An element of The Utah Humanities Book Festival
We're extremely pleased to host Rob Carney and Scott Poole, authors of The Last Tiger is Somewhere.

In The Last Tiger Is Somewhere, two poets from the West bring their work together and take apart the news. Recent history gets jigsawed. Rob Carney and Scott Poole turn the news on its head in this collection that brings together the best of both poets into a series of prayers, praise songs, fairy tales, commandments, guilty verdicts, and mathematical equations. The collection is adorned with portraits and photographic negatives, and framed by an introduction by Carney and an afterword by Poole.

Join us virtually on the 24th by heading to our Facebook page or clicking here: https://zoom.us/j/94609743709?pwd=RnNaTEhieldMZHpybXM4bWltZXVoZz09

This event is made possible with support from Weller Book Works, The City Library, and Utah Humanities.
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 29
7 PM

A Poetry Reading and Q&A with Rob Carney
and Ken Waldman

An element of The Utah Humanities Book Festival

Rob Carney is author of Facts and Figures: Poetry. There's a lunatic logic at work in these poems, from the opening section of thirteen facts to the final pages inspired by Christopher Smart, the 18th-century poet locked away in an asylum with his cat. Here, astrophysics becomes an empathy lesson, spelling lessons give way to magic, and the best healing witch in Louisiana shares the stage with orcas and a hermit crab. Add to that a math exam that doesn't add up, and if/then conditionals that add up strangely; plus, the worst fire in Spokane, Washington, and the origin story of owls. Facts and Figures is saner than a calendar. Calendars have twelve months, but the year—like this book—has thirteen moons.

Ken Waldman is author of Sports Page. Mark D. Baumgartner writes, "It's easy to get lost in Ken Waldman's Sports Page. There is joy here, poem after poem: the easy turn of 6-4-3 double play, the hard drop of a backhand return. The breadth of his reach is startling. Baseball and basketball, tennis and golf, fishing swimming, and even chess all find their way into the poems gathered here. Waldman transports us from the field to the press box to our own personal spaces, where we battle invisible ghosts and unlikely dreams and, sometimes, we lose. Sports Page shows us again and again the deep beauty in the struggle. these are poems with fight, poems with grit, poems with genuine and unmistakable grace."

Join us virtually once again on the 29th by heading to our Facebook page or clicking here: https://zoom.us/j/94317640568?pwd=MWVhSlJITHl4SFh3aGVLOFM3M1lRZz09

This event is made possible with support from Weller Book Works and Utah Humanities.
THURSDAY OCTOBER 1
7 PM

A Reading and Q&A with Shira Dentz and
Adam O. Davis

An element of The Utah Humanities Book Festival

Shira Dentz is author of Sisyphusina, a cross-genre collection of prose, poetry, visual art, and improvisatory music, centered on female aging.

Faced with linguistic and literary traditions that lack rich vocabularies to describe female aging, Dentz uses the hybrid form to suture new language that reflects internal and physical processes that constitute a shifting identity. By deviating from formal classical construction, and using the recurring image of a rose, Sisyphusina circles around conventions of beauty, questioning traditional aesthetic values of continuity, coherence, and symmetry. Some of the book’s images are drawn from separate multimedia collaborations between the author and composer Pauline Oliveros, and artists Kathy High & Kathline Carr. A musical composition improvised by Pauline Oliveros, based on one of her text scores, titled Aging Music, is the book’s coda, and readers can listen to it online by scanning a QR code inside the book. The interweaving of these collaborations with the author’s voice and voices from other sources imbue this book with a porous texture, and reimagines the boundary of the book as a membrane.

Adam O. Davis is author of Index of Haunted Houses. This is a book of ghost stories, and for the most part, ghosts are jealous monsters, intent upon our destruction. They never appear overtly here, yet we gradually become aware of the spirits in haunted houses in the way they tread over creaky floors, slam doors, and issue sudden gusts of wind. These poems are Koan-like—the fewer the words, the more charged they are. The engine driving the sense of haunting and loss is money, which Davis describes as “federal bone” boiling around us. Bison in Nebraska are reduced to bones, “seven/standing men/tall” fodder for the fertilizer used by farmers in the 1800s. There is, too, an equality to the hauntings—every instance has its moment, but persists, despite being in the past, present, or future. Index of Haunted Houses is spooky and moving—a stunning debut, one that will surprise, convince, and most of all, delight.

Join us virtually once again on October 1st by heading to our Facebook page or clicking here: https://zoom.us/j/93352986458?pwd=bkRDNXN6ZkxIaXU1aTJJOCsxTGFqQT09

This event is made possible with support from Weller Book Works and Utah Humanities.
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.

Lit Knit is held the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of monthly.
Fresh New Book Arrivals
and Upcoming Goodness
By Salem Rogers
Random House
Hardcover $30.00
9780399589683

One of the few people working in the film industry better known for his screenwriting than directing, Charlie Kaufman has delighted cinephiles for decades with his cheeky, absurdist storytelling showcased in Being John Malkovich (1999), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), and Synecdoche, New York (2008). It feels both an organic extension of his artistic strength and a pleasant surprise that he should bless us with a novel now. Like most of Kaufman’s work, Antkind is a meditation on the voyeuristic nature of film and by extension, the consumption of media as a whole. The novel follows reclusive film critic B. Rosenberger Rosenberg who happens across the greatest film ever made. Unfortunately, the film is destroyed, leaving B. its sole witness and propelling him on an obsessive journey to recreate what was lost.
By Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Del rey
Hardcover $27.00
9780525620785

This slow-burning thriller unfolds in the Mexican countryside where Noemí Taboada’s cousin lives with her wealthy, English husband in the dreary mansion “High Place”. Her cousin has written some disturbing letters recently – the house is talking; her husband might be poisoning her – so Noemi leaves Mexico City for High Place where she is confronted with her cousin’s deteriorating mental health and her own hellish dreams, leaving Noemí to question her own perception of reality. Mexican Gothic is a loving exploration of Gothic horror tropes, expertly utilized by Moreno-Garcia to address the real-life horrors of isolation, class disparity, and colonialism.
Postcolonial Love Poem
By Natalie Diaz
Graywolf Press
Paperback $16.00
9781644450147

This breathtaking collection of poetry is about bodies. Specifically, BIPOC bodies, queer bodies, and what it means to inhabit that space. It’s about generational trauma and systemic violence, but with an emphasis on the radical act of loving a body, heritage, and culture that has been continuously shoved to the margins, and the joy and resiliency found therein. Natalie Diaz exhibits a masterful control of imagery and language, and the lyrical beauty and assertiveness of her work has an undeniable presence. It’s about time you picked her up.
By Aimee Bender
Doubleday
Paperback $26.95
9780385534871

I read Aimee Bender’s short story collection, Willful Creatures back in high school and have been unable to get her out of my head ever since. Bender has a way of entangling the mundane with the profound, of peeling away the banality of daily life to catch a glimpse of the miracles behind it. The Butterfly Lampshade examines the fractured relationship between now-grown Francie and her mentally ill mother, peppered with childhood memories that still haunt Francie: a beetle carcass, dried roses, a dead butterfly floating in a glass of water. This novel is a dissection of the continuity in identity between child and adulthood, and the power of memory to strengthen and distort how we relate to others, ourselves, and the world at large.



 Bookseller Thoughts and Reviews
by Michael J. Benton
Thames & Hudson
Paperback $16.95
9780500295533


Fossilized dinosaur feathers were first found in Australia in the 1960's. In the same decade, the scanning electron microscope became commercially available. It took about 50 years for a diligent lab technician to merge these two developments and catch sight of melanosomes, the structures containing the melanin that gave the feathers their color. By comparing these structures with those of modern bird feathers, the ginger color and striped tail of Sinosauropteryx was discovered. We have no way of directly observing dinosaurs in the time they lived, but the application of new technologies is the only path toward increasing our knowledge of past life forms on Earth. What was the bite strength of Utah's state fossil, Allosaurus? Thanks to the application of structural engineering to a computer model of their skulls, we now have an acceptable answer.

Dinosaurs Rediscovered lays out the tandem progress of technology and paleontology. Dense with cutting-edge information while remaining readable and fun, I was impressed with how much was covered so quickly. I appreciate when a science book keeps the generalizations to a minimum in the beginning pages. Concrete examples build imagery and make for more enjoyable, colorful reading sessions. It took forever to read, just from having to stop in awe every few minutes. The way the concepts are rolled out without leaving terms unexplained keeps this book readable for almost anyone. I encourage you to learn the Geologic Time Scale, collect rocks, and ponder your place in it all. Paleontology exists because we ask questions and seek answers, and this books shows how far we've gotten in that pursuit.

Shop local, shop indie!
You can still browse & order books on our website
and place orders over the phone!

📚
We’ll be processing & shipping orders 
Monday-Saturday 12 - 6 PM
Sunday 12-5 PM

We’re glad to facilitate curb-side pickup during these hours, just give us a call & let us know when you arrive.



We ship world-wide! 🌏🌍🌎


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

📚 Audiobooks are available on our website through our friends at Libro.fm

📚 Ebooks from Hummingbird and Kobo


Thank you for your support
💗


COMPLACENCY IS NOT A VIRTUE

Thank you for supporting your local, independent bookstore!
Weller Book Works | 801-328-2586 | books@wellerbookworks.com | wellerbookworks.com
Store hours: Monday-Thursday, 11 AM-8 PM | Friday-Saturday, 10 AM-9 PM | Sunday, 12 PM-5 PM