Casual book talk and news with Catherine.
at Coffee Connection in Trolley Square
and casual nerdy conversation.
Every 2nd and 4th Wednesday
Sep 13 & 27
and Oct 11 & 25
THE COLLECTORS' BOOK SALON
Book lovers come together for sharing and conversation. Light refreshments will be served.
On Sep 29, Chat led by rare book curator and artist, Madelyn Garrett.
On Oct 27, Chat conducted by Western Historian Gregory Thompson.
Last Friday of every month
Collectors' Chat 7:15 pm
From Tony Weller
Books Open Doors.
Reject Confidence Built on Myth.
Nothing I think is unrelated to my reading. After the joy of learning to read as a child, it was the power of knowledge that next attracted me to books. I perceive books as low-tech magical objects where we store experiences and dreams of other humans. When reading, we delve more deeply into the consciousness of others than is possible in conversation.
Every other month, Weller Book Works' staff nominates books and votes for our Best Weller's Pick. Last month, two big idea books were nominated:
The Amateur: The Pleasures of Doing What You Love
Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment
. Each book in its way supports my explanation, my excuse, for criticisms I reluctantly pronounce.
We don't live long enough to learn all the things we might like to learn. And there are too many books. Nonetheless, we navigate with what we have. I have studied Zen Buddhism in my way for over 30 years and I can't wreck it. Maybe I should have be bothered by Robert Wright's title,
Why Buddhism is True
, but I think it is funny. Wright convinced me that what we call self - judgements, perceptions, thoughts, impulses, opinions - are mostly responsive to environment, so as I attack comfortable beliefs, it barely feels like me doing it. I don't relish arguments and conflict but not as much as I can't stand injustice and idiocy.
I read diversely. Sequencing reading of my carefully chosen books with dice has led me to increasingly diverse topics. I have forgone specialists' knowledge for general knowledge. Like eating well, I include books that I believe will be good for me even when they don't interest me. After years of such, I realized diverse reading facilitated uncommon insights. Envisioning the knowable as a giant puzzle no-one lives long enough to complete, it occurred to me that my dice system of reading, provided me with a broad, if shallow, impression of our world, shaped by myriad smart writers. Our Best Weller's Pick for this period,
hails discoveries and insights by ambitiously distracted persons of such orientations.
In a community the social impulse toward cohesion is so strong, there exists a kind of conceptual inertia that stands against expressions of new ideas. Mental implacability becomes worse as sizes of groups increase. Principles required to maintain social cohesion often thwart progress and efficiency. Yeah, it can lead to kinder persons but it also prevents people from adjusting sensibilities and improving understanding, particularly when the adjustments don't align with prevalent dogma. The less reasonable a belief is, the more its stability is tied to cohesion and absence of dissent. Diversity is most threatening to persons with borrowed confidence.
History shows humans don't easily change customs until they have suffered a whole lot. Half the problem is about projecting solutions into unknown futures. The other half is those in power clinging to the inequity that keeps them in place. We
change, we can grow better. Let's do that before we cause more suffering. Resist those who fight facts, learning and science. They are troglodytes. Open minds, open spirits, and open books can show us the way.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 7 PM
Bruce Campbell! Bruce is touring the country promoting his new book, Hail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B-Movie Actor, the follow-up to his New York Times bestseller, If Chins Could Kill. Bruce brings us through his life in the last decade, and his roles as varied as they are numerous: appearances in Spiderman movies, his self-referential My Name is Bruce, the #1 show Burn Notice, and his new STARZ hit series Ash vs Evil Dead.
But, this is no ordinary book tour. It's a game show! Bruce will be presenting LAST FAN STANDING, a game that gives everyone the chance to play along and win. With provided clickers, each audience member participates in a series of multiple choice questions where the first four players with the correct answers advance to the Podium Rounds, where they fight a winner-take-all battle of Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Superheroes, and Horror trivia. After each round the player with the lowest score is eliminated, until there is only one . . . last fan standing!
Co-sponsored by the Salt Lake Film Society. Presented at the Tower Theater.
VIP and General seating is limited! Get your ticket
General Admission: $50. Signed copy of Hail to the Chin, plus a chance to be Last Fan Standing.
VIP Admission: $100. Signed copy of Hail to the Chin, a chance to be Last Fan Standing, and a personal meet and greet with Bruce, with photo op.
WBW will also have extra copies of the book for sale at the event.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 7 PM
Anne Newman Sutton Weeks Poetry Series presented at Gore School of Business Auditorium, Westminster College. Jay Hopler's The Abridged History of Rainfall won the gold medal for poetry in the 2016 Florida Book Awards. Evie Shockley is the author of The New Black, winner of the 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry; and Semiautomatic (forthcoming in 2017).
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 3 PM
It's our monthly book club, Wine Drinkers with Reading Problems. In partnership with We Olive Trolley Square, we discuss culinary-themed books for discussion over wine and small plates. September's title is Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, by Anthony Bourdain. A deliciously funny and shocking wild-but-true tales of life in the culinary trade from Chef Anthony Bourdain, laying out his more than a quarter-century of drugs, sex, and haute cuisine. If you'd like to join the club, please contact Lane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 6:30 PM
Multi-author event with Rob Carney and
Robert Terashima. Carney is the author of four previous books of
poems, including 88 Maps, a finalist for the Washington State Book Award, as well as the forthcoming collection The Book of Sharks. Terashima's Issei and Other Poems tells the story of his own family, from the Issei generation, living in America at a time when Asian people were denied from becoming citizens of the United States.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 6:30 PM
Books and Bridges present Scott Abbott, Professor of Integrated Studies and Humanities at Utah Valley University, who will lecture from his book in progress, Standing as Metaphor: Homo Erectus in the Culture of Homo Sapiens. As Homo Sapiens, we define ourselves by the standing posture of Homo Erectus. The metaphor of standing defines our conceptions of time and space; it is often the subject of art and science, and it has molded our vision of ourselves.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 7 PM
George Constantz reads and signs Ice, Fire and Nutcrackers: A Rocky Mountain Ecology. Why do quaking aspens grow in prominent clumps? Why and how does a rufous hummingbird drop its metabolism to one-hundredth of its normal rate? Using his experience as a biologist and ecologist, Constantz illuminates and broadens perspectives with his provocative accounts of birds, insects, rodents, predators, trees, and flowers.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 6, 7 PM
Virginia B. Webb presents Wildcats, Wagons, Wives, and Wardens. This book narrates the true story of Albert, raised in the early 20th century by a Mormon father in the hills and valleys around the Utah/Idaho border. He eventually joined him in leaving the LDS Church to continue practicing plural marriage, going to prison twice for choosing to do so.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2 PM
Laurie C. Tye reads and signs The Animal in Me Too. Tye and award-winning wildlife photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen present animals with their unique behaviors and offer colorful and fun examples for children to learn more about themselves and the natural world around them.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7, 7 PM
Emily Clark reads and signs Art Triumphant, her first collection of poetry, featuring several poems published in Sow's Ear Poetry Review, A! Magazine for the Arts, and Askew Poetry Journal. A total of twenty-five poems cover wide-ranging topics such as art, writing, love, life, philosophy, religion, history, and politics.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10, 6:30 PM
Susan Kite comes to discuss, read and sign her books. First, the third installment in The Mendel Experiment, her young adult sci-fi series: Power Stone of Alogol. And second, the Etowah Writers' Guild anthology, Haunted Houses and Terrifying Tales, in which nonfiction, sci-fi, humor, and horror come together to provide something for everyone for Halloween.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 13, 7 PM
Glass Spider Publishing presents a dual-author event. First, a non fiction from Tiffany Anderson: her self-help book Butternut to Bionic: A Resource Guide to Hip Replacement Surgery. Drawing on her personal experience and her 20 years in the field of health, Anderson presents the patient's perspective and shares guidance, support, and encouragement.
Second, a fantasy novel by Kathleen Bradford,The Light Worker.
Valeen left behind a painful past when she moved to a peaceful mountain town. But the nightmares have started again, and, with her friend Laura, she is soon thrown into an unimaginable reality and a terrifying enemy.
Best Weller's Pick for September-October
The Amateur: The Pleasures of Doing What You Love
Review by Holden Rasmussen
Publisher's Price: $24.95
Our Price $22.36
The word "amateur" comes from the Latin "amator," which means "lover." Contemporaneously, "amateur" is more often used as a pejorative epithet. However, Andy Merrifield wants us to reinvoke the connotation of the lover when we think of amateurs.
One of Merrifield's central aims is to demonstrate why and how 'experts' have become lionized while amateurs, ordinary citizens, have been marginalized. Part of the answer: Big Data and the corporatization of news media and public services. For example, in the 1970s, New York City hired the services of the RAND corporation to help make firefighting services more efficient. I cannot detail all of the evidence presented in the book, but in short, RAND attempted to quantify the unquantifiable when they tried to determine which fire stations were cost-effective. They could not account for every factor and ultimately eliminated crucial fire stations in the South Bronx. Unsurprisingly, entire neighborhoods burned down after the experts finished their analysis.
This is only one instance Merrifield uses to counter the belief that corporations and their experts make public services more efficient. More than just a rejoinder to capitalist, so-called 'pragmatic' technocracy, The Amateur is a celebration of independent thinking and square-peg, leftist politics. Merrifield argues that the lionization of corporate experts is killing curious, independent thinking in almost all spheres of life. He argues that we need to remember and revive the spirit of the amateur, a figure we have unfairly maligned in recent decades. From Franz Kafka to Jane Jacobs, Walter Benjamin to Rachel Carson, Merrifield provides hopeful, historical examples of amateurs who undermined the enemies of independence and curiosity. These people were always on the outskirts of expert circles. It was this outsider perspective and their love for something that allowed them to change the world.
Indeed, Merrifield waxes romantic at times; a small short-coming. Nonetheless, bottom-up dissent is an important tool in a struggle against large, corporate elements. Top-down ideologies that privilege expert pundits effectively bar the ordinary citizen from participation in the polis. The Amateur is a call to action as much as it is an erudite study. Across history, revolutions in philosophy, politics, and the arts began with people who were outside of an expert circle. Oftentimes, society vilified these independent thinkers, only to later recognize them for their contributions. People who loved something enough to become involved and criticize the status quo have paved new ways of thinking and living. We can do the same, but only when we embrace doing what we love over doing what seems practical, easy, and 'efficient.' This book is a timely reminder of, not only how to change the present, but also that the present will change. It is up to us to make sure it changes for the better.
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