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Category: Books


Sherman Alexie reads and signs new book “Blasphemy” at Urban Grace

blasphemy cover art“Blasphemy” in a church? Well, yes, if it’s Sherman Alexie‘s new book.

The acclaimed Washington writer comes to Tacoma’s Urban Grace Church next Tuesday, reading from and signing his latest book of bitingly candid short stories, “Blasphemy” in a free public event organized by the Tacoma Public Library.

A collection that Publisher’s Weekly called “glimpses into a harried and conflicted humanity” with “plenty of bawdiness and Alexie’s signature wicked humor,” “Blasphemy” was released in October last year and instantly made the top-books lists in Kirkus Review, the New York Times and NPR. In 30 short stories Alexie covers contemporary issues like racism, addiction and infidelity with his usual candor and sharp wit, ranging from road-trip morality tales to lethal wind-turbines, from Asian manicure salons to donkey basketball leagues, from homeless Indians to hearing loss.

Born in 1966 to a Coeur d’Alene father and Spokane Indian mother, Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation and has had an award-winning 20-year career publishing 20 books of adult and young adult novels as well as short stories. He lives in Seattle. Read more »


“Geography Club,” the movie: Former Tacoma novelist Brent Hartinger gets his gay-teen novel filmed, with fall release planned.

brenthartingerbeachBrent Hartinger, a former Tacoma writer who hit big with his gay-empowerment young adult novel “Geography Club” in 2003 is now seeing his award-winning book turned into a movie, with a fall release date planned. Directed by Gary Entin, the film stars Cameron Deane Stewart as the protagonist Russel Middlebrook, with “90210” actor Justin Deeley, Nikki Blonsky (“Hairspray”) and Ally Maki (“Ten Things I Hate About You”) supporting.

“I’m thrilled,” said Hartinger, who moved to Seattle a couple of years ago but who based “Geography Club” on his former hometown Tacoma, where it was initially banned by the University Place school district. “I spent almost a week on the set in Los Angeles last summer, and it was a surreal experience.”

Hartinger, who married his long-term partner Michael Jensen in December, is the author of numerous young adult books, including two more in the Russel Middlebrook series, and a number of plays including a stage adaptation of “Geography Club.” He co-founded the gay teen help center Oasis in 1990. Read more »


“Sound South User’s Guide” goes from Kickstarter to physical reality at King’s in Tacoma tomorrow, Orca in Olympia on Tuesday

From an artsy Tacoma idea to a $22,700 Kickstarter project, the “South Sound User’s Guide” is now a flesh-and-blood book (well, paper-and-glue, anyhow) and local supporters are celebrating with launches at Kings Books tomorrow. An Olympia launch will happen Tuesday night at Orca books. The book offers an intimate, locals’-eye perspective to the South Sound, going through its various neighborhoods and locations with tips on eating, recreation, shopping and the arts, accompanied by the pen-and-ink Tolkien-esque illustrations of Tacoma artist and former gallerist Sean Alexander.

Why a tourist guide to the South Sound? Firstly, because there wasn’t one, said editor Ken Miller, the book’s mastermind, back when he was first asking the community for advance financial support on kickstarter.com, the online project fundraising site. It’s also due to the natural beauty of the place, says Ron Swarner in the book’s foreword.

But, he goes on, the real reason is that “there’s a pioneering spirit that draws us all here.” You can see that pioneering spirit in action tomorrow afternoon from 2 p.m. at King’s, as Miller, Alexander and all the local writers who contributed to the book get together with the folks who backed them. The book will be available for claiming (if you backed at that level on Kickstarter) or purchase. Drinks and nibbles will be provided.

As art, the Guide is cute enough you’ll want to buy it just to look at it. Read more »


A true circus of book-art by Tacoma print artist Jessica Spring at the University of Puget Sound’s Collins Library, plus artist talk by Yuki Nakamura

Letterpress blocks by Jessica Spring. Courtesy photo.

Collins Library has done it again: The University of Puget Sound library is home to yet another wonderful exhibit of book-based art, this time by Tacoma letterpress artist Jessica Spring in a kind of “Greatest Hits” compilation of her work over the last decade. Called “Circus Libris,” it truly is a circus of books: books leaping over horses, tumbling in pyramids and generally doing the kinds of tricks you don’t expect from paper and ink.

In six vertical and five horizontal glass cases the books highlight Spring’s eternal inventiveness and skill in print arts. They range over various forms, subjects and styles, but one thing sings through – the ability of handmade books to transform even mundane ideas into works of art.

Read more »


Printers and paper-art lovers alike gather at King’s Books this Sunday for the annual Wayzgoose

Tacoma’s a hotbed for the print arts, and there’s nothing to show it quite like the annual Wayzgoose at King’s Books. The Wayzgoose – a medieval term for the annual feast given by a master printer for his employees – is now in its 8th year and humming as much as ever, with a festival involving local artists, giant steamroller prints and, new this year, a mobile print truck, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. this Sunday.

Here’s a disclaimer: My daughter’s actually one of the participants this year, selling her hand-made fashion-based cards. But I see that as a symbol

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Wayz and Means Letterpress Film Festival celebrates King’s Books Tacoma and the Wayzgoose

It’s hard to believe King’s Books has only been in Tacoma for 12 years. The independent new-and-used bookstore on St. Helens Avenue downtown seems like an institution that’s been around forever, hosting community events from art festivals to Shakespeare, offering a home to Scrabble geeks and book fans, and of course selling a huge range of cheap books. But the bookstore is turning 12 this April with a paper-themed birthday party to match: the Wayz and Means Letterpress Film Festival this Sunday.


The festival’s also a fundraiser for the store’s annual letterpress get-together, the Wayzgoose, held this year

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Artist-based guide book to the South Sound is on the way via kickstarter.com

Sean Alexander, "Tacoma Dome." Courtesy image.

The South Sound has a lot of big-time stuff – a volcano, a wildlife refuge, museums for cars, glass and art, our state’s own history museum and even a major golf tournament coming up. What we don’t have yet? A guide book. Which is something three local artists have just begun to fix. Writer Ken Miller and artists Chris Sharp and Sean Alexander are collaborating on the South Sound Users Guide, which has just launched on kickstarter.com, and already has 15 per cent of its budget pledged by 46 backers.

“I’m excited about the book, in part because it helps identify our region as a special part of the world,” said Miller by email. “Everything we write about will be unique and local.” Read more »


New York Times bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz to visit Lakewood Library

Popular romance author Jayne Ann Krentz will be giving a free writing workshop and signing books this Saturday at the Lakewood Pierce County Library, offering tips on how to get work published. Her latest book in the Dark Legacy series, “Copper Beach,” will be available at the event.

Krentz, the author of 50 New York Times bestsellers, writes under three different pen names: Jayne Anne Krentz (her married name) for contemporary romantic suspense, Amanda Quick for historical romantic suspense, and Jayne Castle (her birth name) for futuristic/paranormal romantic suspense such as the Looking Glass Trilogy.

The Seattle-based writer

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