Thursday, July 29, 2010

He could be Biggs. Or even bigger.

Last night was a perfect picture postcard for the bookish scene in Seattle.  I caught one full reading @ the U Bookstore, swung through the last 15 minutes of another @ Elliott Bay Book Company, and decided to skip the last part of a third @ the Richard Hugo House, even though I actively appreciate what regularly gets done there.  Along the way, I even got sucked into the absurd pleasure of the movie "Grassroots" doing a location shoot on Capitol Hill.  Jason Biggs (from "American Pie" and a whole lot more brain swamp stuff) stars, the story's local, the locations include the Comet - the adoptive booster in me wants it to be awesomely awesome.  But the anarchist in me appreciated the brief conversation I had in the thin crowd with a very wasted teenage pair.  I love the yutes.  You can fill in the blanks by my verbatim answers to their first two questions.  "No, Jason Biggs is not dead.  Yet.  Now...shhhsh."  And, "no, I don't work on this movie." 

But back to the readings - Eric Jay Dolin gave what amounted to a fully formed history lecture regarding his book "Fur, Fortune and Empire".  He's the sort of guy that can answer questions with fully formed, anecdote-laden responses that impressively show how well he's paying attention.  Dolin shows up to work and does it well.  His book is meticulous, dense, and completely worth the purchase if you're big on American History.  Those that know my background can understand why I've been waiting for this guy's book tour for months - not that many definitive histories on the fur trade come along these days.  But even those not tied by family history to this particular history can nonetheless find some captivating cocktail stories at the very least in the mix.  My rating of the book - a serious B-plus.  In a good way.  I see this man's work as a resource that I've already learned a great deal from, and I expect it will lead to much more thought on down the road.

The reading I then caught just the last chunk of was Jonathan Tropper (promoting the paperback edition of last year's hilariously awesome novel "This Is Where I Leave You").  Tropper's the sort of self-deprecating, comfortable, intentionally but not irritatingly clever writer that makes you forget just how hard it is to do what he does way too well.  I've been evangelizing about that novel for quite some time.  Maybe he doesn't need it since his novels (this latest was #5) already get optioned for movies.  I just can't understand why this guy hasn't blown up like Krakatoa.  Not that he's a volcano looking to tip the planet's climate off-kilter for a decade or so.  I'm just saying he could make a really big bang, if people are paying attention.  On second thought, he's not a Krakatoa.  He could be the equivalent of introducing Pop Rocks.  More hilarious, and more fun to talk about.  Whatever lame metaphor I'm trying to squeeze out before running my daughter off to camp, read Tropper.

Hope your own location shoots don't require you to fake the weather today.  Rock on.

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