7 Jan 2012
Last night I discovered my new favorite book store, Elliott Bay Book Co in Seattle.
One of my goals in 2012 is to get out to more independent local book stores. Unfortunately, the book store selection with in an hour’s drive from me in all directions, is pretty bleak! I can go to Barnes and Nobles or small shops that mainly sell used copies of best sellers previously bought at Walmart I live in a small town and I know if I want a decent selection of anything, I’m going to have to make the trek to the city. Seattle, it is said, has about 70 book stores. So lots for me to explore in the coming year! Any new discoveries though, are going to be hard pressed to live up to the store I visited yesterday, Elliott Bay Books.
Elliott Bay’s fiction selection was about a million times better than what you will find at B&N. When it comes to classic lit, I’ve already bought everything B&N has to offer. Literally, I bought their Classics Collection and there is nothing left in that store that I want lol.
I was instantly smitten with Elliott Bay when I saw this pretty shelf full of F. Scott Fitzgerald
Now I didn’t have time to thoroughly comb the fiction shelves, but what I noticed just by glancing through Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Shelley, was that the store often offered more than one edition of the more famous works. Imagine that, a selection for the customer!
Here is the Hemingway selection. I was SO tempted to pick up the complete short stories, or the Scribner hardcover of The Old man and the sea. The Fitzgerald hard cover of The Great Gatsby was also screaming my name.
Running through the center of the store, there was several low shelves, you can see them here in the distance.
Three or four of these cases were stuffed full of books on books, essays and criticism. Another two or three cases were filled with poetry. I could have spent ALL DAY looking at these shelves alone. Upstairs was a large biography section and many, many bookcases devoted to history. In the back of the store is a very nice kid’s section, with some interesting and beautiful hardcover books,including the Penguin cloth bounds.
I was a bit dizzy with choice but I finally decided to buy the paperback Old Man and the Sea and Mary Shelley’s The Last Man. I was so pleased to see such an obscure Shelley book I couldn’t help but grab it.
A futuristic story of tragic love and of the gradual extermination of the human race by plague, The Last Man is Mary Shelley’s most important novel after Frankenstein. With intriguing portraits of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron, the novel offers a vision of the future that expresses a reaction against Romanticism, and demonstrates the failure of the imagination and of art to redeem the doomed characters.
F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway might have been contemporaries, but our understanding of their work often rests on simple differences. Hemingway wrestled with war, fraternity, and the violence of nature. Fitzgerald satirized money and class and the never-ending pursuit of a material tomorrow. Through the provocative arguments of Scott Donaldson, however, the affinities between these two authors become brilliantly clear. The result is a reorientation of how we read twentieth-century American literature.
Known for his penetrating studies of Fitzgerald and Hemingway, Donaldson traces the creative genius of these authors and the surprising overlaps among their works. Fitzgerald and Hemingway both wrote fiction out of their experiences rather than about them. Therefore Donaldson pursues both biography and criticism in these essays, with a deep commitment to close reading.
That may be coming home with me next time!
You can visit the Elliott Bay book store blog HERE