TEXTBLOCK | The bi-monthly newsletter of Weller Book Works | SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2019
Read These Books
by Tony Weller
For the past several days, I’ve plunged into our stacks to seek illuminating books that show knowledge and paths toward sensible futures. After examining more than 30 titles from sections like politics, environment, philosophy, economics, current affairs, science, sociology, psychology, et cetera, my fervor is reignited. 
Eric Hoffer. The True Believer . One of Sam Weller’s favorite books. Hoffer understands how convictions are formed. The present edition is part of The Harper Perennial Resistance Library which is a cool series of seminal works on not being stupid citizens. I cannot resist a few great excerpts. “The effectiveness of a doctrine does not come from its meaning but from its certitude.” “Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all unifying agents.”
David Korten. When Corporations Rule the World . With the help of several progressive allies, we brought Korten to Salt Lake City about 20 years ago to kick local sensibilities forward. Early in his life, he worked for American corporations in foreign countries and called himself a Republican. He experienced the exploits of capitalism from within and turned his keen mind toward Green politics. His books convinced me that one cannot earn money without labor unless one is exploiting something or someone. This brilliant book, first issued in 1995, shines critical light on the inevitable extractive extremes of capitalism. “We face an epic choice: people power or corporate power; living communities or corporate colonies; democracy or corporatocracy; more life for all or more money for the few?” The 20th anniversary edition of this prescient book was issued in 2015. It’s more urgent now than ever.
Emma Goldman. Living My Life . A fiery and inspiring memoir of a life dedicated to liberation, justice and equity. Red Emma fought stridently for immigrant and labor rights, women’s and reproductive rights, and liberation of the individual spirit. She was slanderously deemed the most dangerous woman in America for her fearless attacks on mechanisms of power. She also promoted the arts and felt art and beauty should enrich all lives. “If I can’t dance, I want no part of your revolution!”
Nicholas A. Christakis. Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society . Physician and Sociologist Christakis refuted the dark bias of heredity by illuminating laudable evolutionary traits as the basis of civilized society. Blueprint shows the biological paths of human goodness. “Humans can no more make a society that is inconsistent with these positive urges than ants can suddenly make beehives.”
Thomas Piketty. Capital in the Twenty-First Century . Possibly the most important economic work of our time. Piketty’s work encom-passes data from three centuries and 20 nations. Within this deeply detailed work, we learn causes and outcomes of income inequality. Apparently such disparity is the natural outcome of the Capitalism. The economic magic is an irrational machine ever increasing value for a privileged few. “Once constituted, capital reproduces itself faster than output increases. The past devours the future.”
Michael Pollan. How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence . Pollan’s encouraging study provides evidence for insights suggested by earlier psychonauts like Huxley, Leary and McKenna. With magnetic resonance imaging, researchers can see cognitive differences between old and young brains. Old persons, say over 25, think, perceive and emote in mostly habitual ways. It is the basis of human stagnation. Good news! Psychedelics loosen neuropaths and are non-addictive and non-toxic.
Bernie Sanders. Where We Go from Here . Throw aside assumptions and listen to this smart practical man. Bernie’s ideas and goals are bold and sensible. He would insure all citizens with Medicare for all, increase minimum wages, limit sizes of banks, address climate change with The Green New Deal, ban for-profit prisons, provide free public college, and legalize cannabis. “We must build a nation that leads the world in the struggle for peace, for economic, social, racial and environmental justice.” He is right for our time.
Rachel Carson. Silent Spring . This inauspicious book, first published in 1962, had dramatic impact. It lead to banning DDT and showed how seemingly innocuous new inventions can do harm in unpredictable ways. This eloquent book is a foundational work in environmental thought. Carson was attacked by chemical companies for exposing their deception and greed. “The question is whether any civilization can wage relentless war on life without destroying itself, and without losing the right to be called civilized.”
90th Anniversary Celebration
Thank you for being part of our anniversary party last month. We saw so many friends and colleagues I couldn’t quite catch up with all. I want to thank speakers Senator Derek Kitchen, Terry Tempest Williams, and Brooke Williams. Thank you also to Pat Bagley for the Weller Book Works 90th Anniversary art we’re using on bags and Salon invitations. And for musical accompaniment, we thank our friend, the voracious reading saxophonist, Philip Miller.
Our Best Weller's pick is
20% off S eptember & October
Robert Macfarlane
W.W. Norton
List price: $27.95
Our price: $22.36
Reviewed by Frank Pester

In this sequel to The Old Ways Macfarlane takes us on an amazing journey into darkness, burial, and what lies beneath both place and mind. Divided into three chambers, like the chambers of a cave, he descends to worlds we can only imagine. Macfarlane’s prose captivates as he journeys to tight and wet places, to undersea Potash mines, ancient tombs, the eerie catacombs of Paris, and the intricate web of fungal communication between the roots of trees affectionately known as the “Wood Wide Web.” You might just add some of the places he visits to your bucket list.

By illuminating what these underground places mean to those living above, Macfarlane traces the ancient and also urgent effects of our footprint in the age of the Anthropocene. Terry Tempest Williams wrote in her New York Times Review ,

Macfarlane reminds us of Walter Benjamin’s belief that one must “make some sign to the world one is leaving.” How, Macfarlane asks, do we reckon with the fact that “over a quarter of a million tons of high-level nuclear waste in need of final storage is presently thought to exist globally, with around 12,000 tons being added to the figure annually?” How do we communicate danger to future generations, how to let them know that these spent rods of uranium are not to be touched for tens of thousands of years? Robert Macfarlane asks us not only to consider but to face the haunting and crucial question: “Are we being good ancestors?

My favorite piece follows Macfarlane in his travels to the Epping Forest with Merlin Sheldrake, a plant scientist from Cambridge. Though they do not travel underground, they discuss the ways fungi provide communications between the fine root ends of trees. “We stop and lie down for a while on the woodland floor, on our backs, not speaking, watching the trees’ gentle movements in the breeze, and the light lacing and lancing from fifty feet or more above us.” 
Staff Reviews
by Martin Hägglund
Hardcover / $29.95

Reviewed by José Knighton

This life , where we have each initiated and developed our personal, singular awareness, is, by its very nature, finite . This is the crux of Martin Hägglund's deep examination of "secular faith," which he defines as a "commitment to a life that is finite and dependent on the fragile recognition of others," rather than "religious devotion to eternity." He further explores the hope for a "spiritual life" free of the usual, requisite, supernatural or imaginary baggage of eternal lives, heavens and hells (or, for that matter, even, mythical omniscient entities: a concept he apparently finds too irrelevant for his book's consideration). 

In pursuit of "secular faith and spiritual freedom," Hägglund's critique of conventional religions is encompassing: "The subordination of the finite to the eternal is the common denominator both for orthodox religions and for all forms of religious mysticism." Even more damning, from Hägglund's perspective, are conventional religions' attitudes to the very reality of life on Earth: "From a religious point of view, the end of the world is ultimately not a tragedy. On the contrary, many religious doctrines and religious visions look forward to the end of the world as the moment of salvation. This moment can either be imagined as the collective end of humankind when damnation and salvation are decided (as in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) or as the end of an individual through absorption into a timeless state of being (as in Hinduism and Buddhism). In either case, our lives as finite beings are not seen as ends in themselves." 

According to Hägglund, if you believe climate change is an "existential threat to yourself and to future generations, you have to believe not only that life is finite but that everything valuable - everything that matters - depends on finite life. This is exactly what religious faith denies." Even Buddhism which "famously advocates a peaceful relation to nature and all living beings.. is not motivated by a concern for nature and living beings as ends in themselves. Rather the motivation is to be released from karma (and) from life altogether." Maybe it is finally time for a belief that embraces rather than erases this life on this Earth

by John C. Whittaker
University of Texas Press
Paperback / $27.95

Reviewed by Austin Fields

Where I grew up in Ohio in the late 1990s, the neighborhood kids and I made so many bows and arrows that our parents grew accustomed to seeing their front lawns converted into modern trading posts, scattered with archaic lethal weapons. Hans, 9 years old, specialized in the 6 foot tall longbow, far too large for us unless fired vertically. Despite the local streams being loaded with arrowheads, I'm certain none of us were making arrowheads; we just sharpened the arrows, added feathers, and called it a day. 

Fast forward to my adulthood in Utah: I recently came across a copy of Flintknapping: Making and Understanding Stone Tools by John Charles Whittaker. The book succeeds in illuminating how glass-like rocks shatter, known as conchoidal fracture. When cracked, there's a predictable consistency to the behavior of glass, flint, obsidian, petrified wood, chert, chalcedony, agate, etc. By percussion and applied pressure, these materials can be reduced to a dangerously sharp projectile point or tool in as little as 20 minutes. 

I really appreciated the emphasis on safety in here. It only took a few minutes of clobbering obsidian to discover that flintknapping is 100% akin to playing with broken glass, and that you will deeply cut yourself without thick leather gloves, goggles, and long pants. The hints on sourcing materials were fascinating and useful, e.g. railroad ballast and limestone processing plants for discarded chert.

A word on pragmatic books: A great book on knitting should turn someone into a solid knitter, and I'm happy to say that this one book was sufficient to turn me into an acceptable flintknapper. However, as a card-holding bibliomaniac, I've gathered a dozen more books on the subject. Here's a lovely example I found on our mezzanine: The Lithic Industries bulletin from the Bureau of American Ethnology, 1919. I was happy to see the early eyewitness accounts of Native American flintknapping techniques, and the data on paleolithic quarrying methods and locales, such as Flint Ridge, which is just a stone's throw from my Ohio stomping grounds.
by Tom O'Neill with Dan Piepenbring
Little, Brown and Company
Hardcover / $30.00

Reviewed by Emma Fox

The subtitle drew me into reading this book rather than an interest in Manson. Judging from how frequently I find that a customer has covered it with another book, I’m not alone in my feeling of revulsion. When I worked at Barnes & Noble, I often found Donald Trump’s Art of the Deal covered up, turned backwards, or knocked off the shelves entirely. Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties seems to be a book that draws similar ire.

Embedded in the subtitle are tantalizing words: and the Secret History of the Sixties . Others might zero in on its mention of the CIA, but for me, my fascination with post-war America and the upheaval of the ‘American Dream’ was enough to overcome reservations about reading about Manson. I didn’t want to know more about Manson, the murders, or the mythology surrounding him; thankfully, this book didn’t turn out to be another gruesome slog through the life and times of a “true crime icon,” though there are plenty of gruesome details, but instead is a monument to truth-finding, a product of twenty years of dogged research.

Tom O’Neill began researching the topic in 1999 for an article in Premiere Magazine , a film industry rag whose editors wanted a brief look at how the murders affected Hollywood in light of their then-thirtieth anniversary. Without personal enthusiasm for the topic, O’Neill accepted the work, and quickly found that celebrity contacts who had previously been amenable to a chat were suddenly not interested in being interviewed. O'Neill pursued and what he found was evidence of a shocking cover-up. Over the next twenty years, he would carefully record his findings in over sixty binders as twists and turns led him deeper into a world of mind control and CIA collusion. In Chaos O'Neill makes a strong case for a connection between Manson and a CIA program named CHAOS. 

Like its FBI cousin, COINTELPRO, CHAOS was designed to subvert the counter-culture movements of the sixties. The link between CHAOS and the once super-classified program MKULTRA form the lynchpin of O'Neill's narrative as he discusses similarities between Manson's brainwashing techniques and those used by the CIA. Part of the story is speculative by nature; however, O’Neill took care to maintain credible, ethical journalism in what increasingly seemed like a maddening spiral of conspiracy theory.

Much of O’Neill’s work is dizzying in the details. He professes at points that it was difficult to find the narrative needed to put everything in book form, and in the end, he didn’t – there is still more information, and even more he wanted to find. He tried but failed to interview the incarcerated Manson and the still-living members of Manson’s family, all of whom have gone off the grid, and many who shot at him upon his approach. Even without the resolution he longed for, O’Neill’s work is incredible, and in the words of Los Angeles deputy district attorney Stephen Kay, may be strong enough to overturn the verdicts on the Manson murders. 

In the end, what we think we know about the Manson murders and the narrative of the tumultuous 1960s is proven in Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties to be pure fiction.
Store Events

Breakfast Club with lead new book buyer Catherine Weller is every Tuesday from 10:00 - 11:00 AM at the Coffee Connection. Join her for book news and casual conversation - no reading requirement!

Lit Knit is a crafting circle held every second and fourth Wednesday of the month from 6:00 - 8:00 PM. Crafters of all kinds are welcome to join us for crafting and friendly conversation.

Collectors' Book Salon Biblophiles gather in the Rare Book Room for The Collectors' Book Salon every last Friday of the month from January through October.
Culture Collective SLC wants you to write More Love Letters in an exciting pop-up event. Write a letter to someone who needs a little more love (don't we all?) or write a letter for a stranger to find.
Join us for a conversation with author and humanitarian Melissa Dalton-Bradford and Utah attorney Jim McConkie. The stories in Let Me Tell You My Story give voice to the lives of refugees. Proceeds from the book will fund awareness for refugees worldwide.
Poet Eliza Beth Whittington will read and sign Treat Me Like You Treat the Earth . Whittington, a young, queer activist has composed a provocative and surreal collection of poems that challenge readers’ notions of sexual modesty and frankly portray the abuse of our planet.
Randall Munroe, creator of the web comic XKCD and author of What If? will be in Salt Lake City for one special evening to promote his newest book, How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems . The event is co-sponsored by the U of U School of Computing, Utah Triangle (a STEM fraternity), and Weller Book Works. Books & tickets are available at wellerbookworks.com . Don't miss this evening of science & absurdity with an expert in the field!
For over 28 years, Michael G. Snarr worked in the front office of the Utah Jazz and watched as fascinating stories, plots, and subplots unfolded. Balancing the history of the team from the time it re-rooted itself in Utah, Snarr tells us about the business of sports marketing, how it came together, and how some remarkable individuals on the team and business side achieved what few people thought possible in one of the smallest cities in the NBA. Join Snarr for a reading and signing of Long Shots and Lay-ups: Memories and Stories from the Golden Era of the Utah Jazz .
Orson Scott Card will read from and sign his new novel, Lost and Found .

“Are you really a thief?”

That’s the question that has haunted fourteen-year-old Ezekiel Blast all his life. But he’s not a thief, he just has a talent for finding things. Not a superpower—a micropower. Because what good is finding lost bicycles and hair scrunchies, especially when you return them to their owners and everyone thinks you must have stolen them in the first place? If only there were some way to use Ezekiel’s micropower for good, to turn a curse into a blessing. His friend Beth thinks there must be, and so does a police detective investigating the disappearance of a little girl. When tragedy strikes, it’s up to Ezekiel to use his talent to find what matters most.

Master storyteller Orson Scott Card delivers a touching and funny, compelling and smart novel about growing up, harnessing your potential, and finding your place in the world, no matter how old you are.
As part of a religious literacy project, Avremi Zippel, Rabbi at Chabad Lubavitch of Utah, will discuss the wonders of the Hebrew Bible — how it is put together, its diverse messages on faith, ethics, and creation, its contribution to world literature, and the wisdom that Jews and non-Jews can draw from it. A Q&A and refreshments will follow. This event is organized by Books & Bridges, made possible by a grant from Utah Humanities.
Collectors' Book Salon
Introduction by Tony Weller

September and October will be our last Salons of the season. We’ll meet again in January with the traditional themed group sharing. Watch for details.

This month The Collectors’ Book Salon features fellow book dealer Curt Bench on September 28th. Bench is owner and proprietor of Benchmark Books. Beginning in 1976, he was a store manager at Deseret Book, and from 1984 to 1987 was the first and only manager of Deseret’s short-lived Fine and Rare Books Department. Benchmark Books opened in 1987 and specializes in LDS and Utah-related books. Curt Bench belongs to the Mormon History Association, The Utah Westerners and was on the editorial board of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 1993-2003. For the Salon, Bench will speak on "45 Years as a Mormon Bookseller."

Seth Stewart had planned to speak at our May Collectors’ Book Salon but was unable to attend. We have rescheduled his Chat for October 25th. Stewart will discuss examples of how writers have grappled with writing and talking about music throughout the centuries. Music is often compared to language, but describing it in concrete written terms proves difficult. Theorists developed technical vocabulary that waxes esoteric, while lay descriptions can be abstract and overly subjective. Drawing from his experience as a classically trained composer and rock musician, Stewart will present historical milestones of musical literature, from the cosmology-infused narratives of ancient Greece, to the birth of musicology in the 18th century, to modern mass-media coverage of the latest pop album. He’ll share examples of philosophic approaches of Pythagoras and Augustine; social conventions of Beethoven’s time; the complex technical terminology of Schoenberg; and the laypersons’ methods of Rolling Stone Magazine. For his Salon, Stewart will guide our exploration of how various authors made synesthetic bridges to make words describe the experience of music.

L-R: Curt Bench, Seth Stewart
Rare Books
We have a 13 volume set of The Pocket Shakspeare . 32mo, that is trigesimo-secundo, Routledge publication in burgundy cloth with gilt decorated spines. This set was published circa 1900 and Shakespeare is consistently spelled sans the first e. Cute and handy. SOLD
Das 16th century Wunderseichenbuch , known too as the Augsberg Book of Miracles by Till Holger Borcher circa 1550-1552 is a marvelous compendium of miraculous signs. It became available for general readership with this 2013 Taschen facsimile. The clothbound oblong quarto volume shows the original illustrated manuscript in rich color replication. An accompanying paperback translates the hand-written text into Dutch, German, English and French. Volumes are housed in a black linen clamshell box. Strange and wonderful. $350
James Joyce, Henri Matisse and The Limited Editions Club. LEC was founded the same year as Weller Book Works, 1929. George Macy’s plan was to produce a fine edition of a beloved or famous book monthly for subscribers. In 1934, he arranged to produce a new edition of Ulysses with illustrations by Matisse, who had not read the book and took irrelevant inspiration from Homer. Macy used the images anyway. The first 250 copies of the total 1500, were signed by Joyce and Matisse. The remaining 1250 were signed only by Matisse and we are offering one of those in fine condition but the binder missed the first gathering in sewing and it is laid in. This is one of the most desirable and valuable of titles in this series. $2500

More remarkable is the availability of one of 150 portfolios issued concurrently with the novel. Six signed proofs of original etchings by Henri Matisse, each signed by him. It is in near fine condition and a good deal at $75,000.
Not all but very many volumes from The Joseph Smith Papers . Among others we offer:

Documents volume 1: July 1828 – June 1831 , signed by three of five editors. $60

Documents volume 2: July 1831 – January 1833 , signed by four of five editors. $75

Documents volume 3: February 1833 – March 1834 , signed by two of five editors. $50

The Histories. 2 volumes: Joseph Smith and Assigned Histories 1832 – 1847 . Volume one is signed by all four editors. $100

The Journals. 3 volumes 1832-1844 . $150
We acquired numerous small Sherlock Holmes items a few months ago. John E. Ruyle was a California printer, a publisher of limited editions, and a Sherlockian who printed his own works in attractive small format editions. Many are pastiches of Holmes and several are racy. Here are three for your amusement.

The Adventure of the Giant Bat of Sonoma: Being a New Adventure of Turlock Loams . 1/200 copies bound in ¼ leather with peacock marbled paper-covered boards and signed by Ruyle. 1976. $40

The Adventure of the Jogging Man: The Penultimate Adventure of Turlock Loams . 155 were printed in 1979; 50 hand-bound in ¼ green cloth with marbled paper-covered boards and signed by Ruyle at the colophon. $50

The Sign of the Foreskin by Douglas Norman, aka Ruyle. 1/40 copies bound in floral cloth and signed as Norman. 1985. $50 
See something you like? Call 801-328-2586 and ask for the Rare Book department, or email rarebooks@wellerbookworks.com. We ship anywhere!
Thank you for supporting your local independent bookstore.
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