TEXTBLOCK | The bi-monthly newsletter of Weller Book Works | JULY-AUGUST 2019
The culture shifts that parallel our 90-year bookselling journey are quite dramatic. Founder Gustav Weller would hardly recognize the contemporary environment of our industry. His era of bookselling occurred after the industrial/capitalist revolution permitted the growth of an educated middle class, after we discovered how to make cheaper wood-pulp paper from trees with machines and long after we automated the printing press, but  before television had mesmerized and dulled our senses. Despite these luxuries, Gustav’s term was burdened by the Great Depression. Sam and Lila Weller would have different experiences.

In 1939, Gustav Weller moved to a farm, leaving the business in the hands of his children. After World War II, Gus made his 23 year-old son Sam run the bookstore. In the 1940s, Lila Nelson worked at the Deseret News. Late in the decade, she met Sam Weller. In 1953 they married and Lila began working in the store doing the accounting. She also invented a smart inventory system that sharpened operations. Those who knew Sam remember him as a whirlwind of charismatic energy. He was passionate and chaotic. Lila became the nucleus holding the atom called Sam in orbit. My parents were conditioned by the hardships of the Depression, but their bookselling years occurred  after  the war when the economy was recovering. In the 1950s television was distracting readers but the era also brought the paperback revolution, which moved books into ever more hands in convenient, affordable, and hip packages.

When I started working in the bookstore in the 1970s, many of our sections were still sorted old-school, by imprints , the word publishers use to side-step the complexities of corporate tiers. That was in the era when publisher’s sales reps visited stores to assist with restocking. Also, books from imprints like Penguin or New Directions looked so very enticing when displayed as a series. By the late 1980s I was buying second-hand book collections and hiring for the bookstore. I had known Catherine Cheves for several years before we became happily entangled in 1988. She then worked at the Eccles Health Sciences Library. She had worked in the Marriott Library before and would move to the University of Utah Law Library before joining Sam Weller Books in 1994, just in time to navigate the digital, economic, and social changes that would alter nearly every aspect of the book industry, and just a couple years before Sam lost his vision and retired. He passed away in 2009, before Catherine and I selected Trolley Square for our transition to Weller Book Works. Fourth-generation bookseller Lila Ann Weller’s childhood was imbued with books, reading, and the dreams and thought such entails. She started selling books in 2013 and her grandmother, Lila, born in 1915, still works in the store today. No bookseller’s view is longer than hers.

From the 1930s until the 1990s, we had a few branch stores. For a time we operated three branches and employed 60 booksellers. In the 1990s, when the nation lost 60% of its privately owned bookstores, we contracted and closed the last two branch stores in Bountiful and Sandy. In 2012, we released the fifth edition of our bookstore in Trolley Square. We go by Weller Book Works now and still have smart booksellers and a thoughtful selection of books in an environment that inspires exploration and discovery.

The Next 90 Years
I was asked what we might be in another 90 years. Though I usually avoid speculation, I embraced the inquiry as a challenge. I do this because of my belief in the catalytic potential of books and the pleasure of working with the persons who read them. I was encouraged in my Utopian hopes by reading the recently published graphic biography from City Lights,  Herbert Marcuse: Philosopher of Utopia  by Nick Thorkelson. Marcuse understood the value of progressive vision. William Blake once wrote, “What is now true was once only imagined.” Da Vinci never flew in a helicopter but he drew one.

I hope you will forgive me for presenting a grand vision of a gracefully designed society as home for Weller Book Works in the year 2109. I cannot conceive of our bookstore without envisioning the world around it. Photography altered but didn’t eradicate painting, and in the same way, books will endure. Even now, a generation into the digital era, books are settling into their new position in our lives.

I believe in the possibility of an equitable, free, peaceful and sustainable society. Even though I make decisions with dice, I am not a gambler and moment by moment, I spend more energy perceiving and understanding than projecting. So I am casting my hopes as future facts. Concepts  must  precede action and the good old days were not so good and gone anyhow. Permit yourself grand visions! They give you navigational clarity and protect you from stumbling into puny beliefs.

Click below to read Tony's vision of the store in the Next 90 Years
Our Best Weller's pick is
20% off July & August
Charles Johnson
List Price: $16.00
Our Price: $12.80

Reviewed by Tony Weller

Charles Johnson won the National Book Award in 1990 for The Middle Passage . I am a season late in recommending his 2018 collection of stories, Night Hawks , but the good news is that it is now available in paperback and just as wonderful in the reading as it was last year. 

Johnson’s writing is astute, so natural one forgets how terribly smart and insightful he is. Each story touched and surprised me, really crept up on me and into me before I knew what was happening. Johnson’s stories are intimate, psychologically complex, and sociologically provocative. Temporally, they reside in antiquity and the distant future. Geographically they move from the U.S. to Europe to Asia. Johnson’s field of art is the landscape of the human soul. The reader lives the plights of a disrespected urban worker who steals revenge and tenuous liberty, only to subvert herself with an act of indignant vandalism; a startlingly personal firsthand ponderance by Plato; the agony of slaves escaping slave catchers; a Muslim American military medic saving, then killing his racist Major in Afghanistan; and post-apocalyptic romance in a world without death. 

These are nearly perfect little tales. Charles Johnson’s breadth and intuition are breathtaking. I found myself asking how this single man could put his sensibilities into such a swath of situations. The delicate specificities make these fictions feel like news. Johnson is a brilliant writer and a true mensch. I adore him.

Sunny days, cool nights, lots of camping and relaxing poolside - Summer is time for reading! Whether it's to the hum of the lawnmower down the street or the evening chirp of crickets, our staff suggestions will keep you reading through the heat.

"One should read because there's nothing better to do." - Bruce

"Beginning as an apprentice bookbinder and bookseller, Michael Faraday went on to become one of history's most influential scientists despite just an elementary education. The Chemical History of a Candle is the printed form of six lectures given by Faraday in 1848 as part of his famous Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. Utilizing the candle as an explanatory tool, he demonstrates properties of physics, chemistry, and electrolysis in an exciting and accessible manner. A perfect book for those dark summer nights."
Lane Recommends: Kids books by local authors!

Summer is kids reading time. This summer, we have three new picture books by local authors that are informative and cool to look at! Can You Hear the Poppies? (hardcover, $18.95) by Laurie Tye deals with emotions and the power of nature. Hear What's Here (hardcover, $17.99) by Mike Agrelius is an enjoyable primer on homonyms in the English language. What Kind of Book Am I? (hardcover, $13.95) by Kody Probst takes children on a journey of the story of book genres, ultimately helping kids choose what genre is the best fit for them.
Lila Recommends: On Cussing by Katherine Dunn, paperback $12.95

Those who have read Katherine Dunn's fiction, most notably Geek Love , are already intimate with her fluid, zesty, profane, and transportive prose. 

On Cussing is a brief & fun exploration of the history and power of curse words, and Dunn's thoughts on cussing vibrantly and effectively. A speedy, lively read, On Cussing invites us to ponder the relationship between words deemed curse words and our bodies & identity.
Tim recommends: The Socialist Manifesto
by Bhaskar Sunkara, hardcover $28.00

Sunkara composes an approachable primer on the aims, history, and future of socialism.
Stephanie recommends : When Montezuma Met Cortez: The True Story of the Meeting that Changed History by Matt Restall, paperback $19.99
Otto recommends: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, paperback $14.95

The Bluest Eye , one of Toni Morrison's many incredible novels, describes the psychological decay of a young girl's mind caused by the American white hegemony. Told in Morrison's unique style, this novel is an emotionally enthralling account of the conceptions of beauty within a particular African American experience. This is my favorite book of all time!
Jos é recommends: The Ash Family by Molly Dektar, hardcover $26.00

Berie (soon to become Harmony) wants a more "essential life," one more "connected to wild nature" than the life of a college student that her mother insists upon. When a spontaneous opportunity arises to join the Ash Family farm commune in the Great Smoky Mountains she pounces on it. Unfortunately, the social aspects of the farm lean more toward apocalyptic than utopian.  
Emma recommends: National Parks: A Kid's Guide by Erin McHugh, hardcover $19.99

Summer is the season of road trips, and road trips often lead to America's splendid national parks. National Parks: A Kid's Guide is retro-cool and packed with interesting facts about America's parks, monuments, and landmarks. It's perfect for keeping each other entertained during long car rides!
Frank recommends: Underland by Robert McFarlane, hardcover $27.95

Robert McFarlane’s beautiful prose in Underland is captivating as you journey with him to tight and wet places, to under sea Potash mines, ancient burial tombs, the eerie catacombs of Paris and the intricate web of fungal communication between the roots of trees, affectionately know as the “Wood Wide Web.” You might just add some of the places he goes to your bucket list.
Kylee recommends: How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell, hardcover $25.99

An internet artist who is also an enthusiastic bird-watcher and avid naturalist, Jenny Odell has written a book that's a retreat in every sense of the word. How to Do Nothing is less about doing nothing than it is about doing more interesting things than can be found inside our endless apps. In place of typical self-help prescriptions it argues for the transformative power of attention itself to create worlds and lives we might actually want to live in.

Catherine recommends: Originally aired on KUER's RadioWest Summer Reading Program , you can find the full list on our website at wellerbookworks.com .
Taylor Jenkins Reid
Ballantine Books
Hardcover / $27.00

Told in the style of an oral history, this tale of sex, drugs, and rock n' roll is the stuff of legends. The audiobook version is fantastic - check it out on Libro.fm !
Joshua Specht
Princeton University Press
Hardcover / $27.95

A people-centric look at the complex history of exploitation and innovation behind the food we consume today.
Greg Pizzoli
Hardcover / $16.99

The Book Hog LOVES books - but he can't read. When a friendly librarian invites him to story time, he learns what a treasure books really are!
John August
Roaring Brook Press
Hardcover / $16.99

If you like lake monsters, mystery, magic and wonder, you won't be able to stop reading this adventure about a group of kids at summer camp.
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 Interesting people with varying reading tastes gather at the Collectors' Book Salon every last Friday of the month from January through October. Glasses are filled and socializing begins around 6:30 PM.

The Next 90 Years
SATURDAY, AUGUST 17 4:00-6:00 PM
Weller Book Works turns 90! Join us for a celebration with a few remarks on the store's history and future, food, live music, and of course, birthday cake. We'll offer a special Anniversary Day Sale of 30% off used books (some restrictions apply.) Without your support, our store wouldn't exist - so come party with us! Join us as we celebrate our storied history and place within the community.
As part of a religious literacy project organized by Books & Bridges, Dr. Ravi Gupta, Professor of Religious Studies at Utah State University, will discuss the meaning, influence, and spiritual power of The Bhagavad Gita . The lecture is free, open to the public, and made possible by a grant from Utah Humanities.
American Red is based on the extraordinary true story of one of the most deadly terrorists in US history and the detectives, lawyers, spies, and lovers who brought him down. Meet author David Marlett at a reading & signing of his thrilling historical novel.
Where do secular liberals and religious conservatives stand shoulder to shoulder? It turns out that a literal reading of the Bible dovetails neatly with what some see is as a liberal cause. But refugee resettlement is not blue or red. It's a unifying cause, as documented in The Stranger Among You: How the Faith-Based Refugee Resettlement Movement is Shattering Our Red and Blue Silos by Kate Rice. Join Rice for a discussion and signing.
Cassandra Kircher was in her twenties when she was hired by the National Park Service, landing a life that allowed her to reinvent herself. Join Kircher for a reading & signing of Far Flung: Improvisations on National Parks, Driving to Russia, Not Marrying a Ranger, the Language of Heartbreak, and Other Natural Disasters.
Collectors' Book Salon
Introduction by Tony Weller

Since their inception in 2012, we’ve hosted more than 75 Collectors’ Book Salons in which we've heard stories and learned from more than 60 bibliophiles. I meet interesting, remarkable and smart persons here, and once a month, we have a gathering for those who share esteem for old, collectible, obscure, or fancy books.

Salons start casually at 6:30 PM with socializing and light refreshments, and at about 7:15 an invited bibliophile shares her, his, or their particular bibliopassion in the Collector's Chat.
The Collector’s Chat for our July Salon will feature Mark J. Edlund, Doctor of Psychiatry. In 2015 Mark spoke about uncommon bibliographies regarding the Mormon Church and the West, and showed us some of his collection of association copies pertaining to Mormon and Western Americana. We are happy that he has agreed to return for another chat, this time titled "Bedrock Western Americana: The Arthur H Clark Company and the Lakeside Classics."

Few publishers of Western history have reputations and catalogs as impressive as Clark's and Lakeside's. For over a century Arthur H. Clark has laid wide fields of first-hand source documents before the eyes of readers. Alternately, the Lakeside Press has reprinted important Americana in high quality diminutive “handy” editions. Both companies have high production values. When I encounter a book published by either, I know it will be worthy content in a good package. Join us and Mark Edlund on July 27th.
In August, Weller Book Works will celebrate 90 years of bookselling in Salt Lake City. For that reason, we will have a different type of entertainment at the Salon on August 30th. Rather than a specific speaker, we are inviting guests to share stories about our store as they knew it: Zion Bookstore, Sam Weller’s Books, and Weller Book Works. Is there anyone living who remembers our founder Gus Weller’s era, 1929-1939? Share your stories with us August 30th.
Rare Books
A 15 volume set of The Works of Jules Verne in green cloth with paper labels. One of 300 of the Edition Decoreé published by Vincent Parke in New York in 1911. In good condition but labels are yellowed and the red ink has faded. 

The Works of Jules Verne , $600
A near fine first edition of Carrie Fisher’s 1990 novel, Surrender the Pink, autographed boldly in purple marker by her. 

Surrender the Pink , SOLD
A great 1st printing of 11/22/63 by Stephen King, autographed by him on the title page.

11/22/63 , $450
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.
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