John Ross Reading and Memorial April 29

| 0 comments | Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Northtown Books will host a reading of poems and stories in memory of John Ross on Friday, April 29th from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The well-known journalist, who died this past winter in Mexico, has been celebrated in Mexico City and San Francisco’s Mission District, both for his writing and his devotion to be-bop and rebellion.

John Ross lived in Humboldt County for a decade beginning in the mid ‘70’s, mostly in the three or four blocks of downtown Arcata. His first poetry chapbooks were read and published on H Street, and while others were issued from San Francisco and Mexico City and his journalism brought him international renown, the poems and stories of those years appear throughout his work.

The event will be hosted by Jerry Martien and will feature old friends and fellow writers reading from John’s work, followed by a performance of some of his poems set to the music of SquarPeg.

A memorial ceremony will take place the following Sunday, May 1, in Trinidad. Meet in front of the elementary school at 2 PM, rain or shine. Bring a single red flower. Be prepared to walk to the cemetery (about a quarter mile). Arrangements will be made for anyone unable to walk this distance (email in advance).

For much more about John and his life and work, go here.

Benjamin Ross presents The Polluters April 13

| 0 comments | Tuesday, April 12, 2011

In conjunction with Humboldt Baykeeper, Northtown Books welcomes Oxford University Press author Benjamin Ross Wednesday, April 13th at 7 p.m. for a presentation on his book The Polluters: The Making of Our Chemically Altered Environment.

The Polluters reveals at last the crucial decisions that allowed environmental issues to be trumped by political agendas. It spotlights the leaders of the chemical industry and describes how the...y applied their economic and political power to prevent the creation of an effective system of environmental regulation. Research was slanted, unwelcome discoveries were suppressed, and friendly experts were placed in positions of influence, as science was subverted to serve the interests of business. The story of The Polluters is one that needs to be told, an unflinching depiction of the onslaught of chemical pollution and the chemical industry's unwillingness to face up to its devastating effects.

"The engrossing, infuriating history of American pollution... An important, disheartening account of widespread willful ignorance."--Kirkus Reviews

"Startling, intense, and brilliantly elucidated... sharply relevant to the present-day disasters of the BP oil spill and the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion... an unlikely page-turner."--Booklist

"The Polluters documents how the strategies used by today's polluters to duck regulation of their toxic chemicals were pioneered by polluters who poisoned the American landscape and killed hundreds of Americans in the early twentieth century. For nearly one-hundred years, corporate polluters have subverted democracy and corrupted public officials to control government regulation of toxic chemicals maximizing profits at the expense of public health."--Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Sharon Levy Friday, April 8

| 1 comments | Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sharon Levy brings her new popular science book from Oxford University Press, Once and Future Giants: What Ice Age Extinctions Tell Us About the Fate of Earth’s Largest Animals, to Northtown Books on Friday, April 8 at 7 p.m.

Mammoths, camels and saber-toothed cats once walked the ground that has become Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, and foraged on the marsh land now buried beneath Chicago’s streets. Then, just as the first humans reached the Americas, these Ice Age giants vanished forever. Today great beasts like elephants, lions and grizzly bears are threatened worldwide. Sharon’s talk will explore relationships between people and big wild animals, past and present, and the vital lessons ancient extinctions can hold for modern conservation.

Sharon is a veteran science journalist and biologist who covers conservation and biology for OnEarth, New Scientist, BioScience, Audubon, Nature, and other magazines. She has lived in Arcata since 1994.

For more info on Sharon and her work, please go here.

Novelist Summer Wood February 26

| 0 comments | Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Summer Wood presents her new novel Wrecker, set in part in the Mattole Valley, at Northtown Books Saturday, February 26 at 7 pm.

It’s June of 1965 when Wrecker enters the world. The war is raging in Vietnam, San Francisco is tripping toward flower power, and Lisa Fay – a young innocent from a family farm down south – is knocked nearly sideways by life as a single mother in a city she could barely manage to navigate as just one.

Three years later, she’s alone again. Kids aren’t allowed in prison. And Wrecker, scared silent, furious, and hell-bent on breaking every last thing that crosses his path, is shipped off to live with distant relatives in the wilds of Humboldt County.

Wrecker is a wonderful portrait of a California long lost, but still alive here. Wrecker will wreck your heart and then put it back together again, with the big heart of a chosen family.” —Susan Straight, author of Highwire Moon and Take One Candle Light a Room

“This novel is a love song to well intentioned, wholly dedicated, and deeply flawed motherhood. Summer Wood creates more than just a great story, deftly, elegantly, and intricately told. She broadens both our notion of family, and our appreciation for whatever we call our own. Wrecker is a big-hearted, big-loving compassionate book.” — Pam Houston, author of Cowboys Are My Weakness

Nicholas Karavatos returns February 3

| 0 comments | Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Briefly returning to the United States from the United Arab Emirates, poet Nicholas Karavatos will be performing in spontaneous collaboration with electric guitarist Jeff Kelley Thursday, February 3 at Northtown Books at 7 pm.

In December 2009, Amendment Nine published Karavatos' first book, titled No Asylum, designed by Richard LaPreziosa and printed by Robert Arena at Bug Press in Arcata.

Nicholas Karavatos lives near Dubai, teaching literature and writing at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. He’s been an Assistant Professor there since 2006. He taught general studies at a small private college in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman from 2001 to 2006.

Jeff Kelley will be playing guitar in spontaneous collaboration with Nick. These spoken word performances are the latest phase in an aural collaboration that dates from 1983.

“Nicholas Karavatos is a poet of great range and clarity. This book is an amazing collection of smart sharp political poetry in tandem with astute and tender love lyrics. All of it voiced with an impressive singularity.” - David Meltzer

John Ross 1938-2011

| 0 comments | Thursday, January 20, 2011

We're very sad to note the recent passing of poet and journalist John Ross, a longtime friend of Northtown Books.

John was a fixture on the poetry scene in Arcata in the 70s, and after he moved his home base to Mexico he'd still make regular stops in Humboldt on his various book tours. We'll miss him.

His friend Frank Bardacke gives a good account of John's life and work at Counterpunch.

Photo from the North Coast Journal Blogthing.

Cannabiz author John Geluardi November 5

| 0 comments | Wednesday, October 27, 2010

November 5th at 7 pm, journalist John Geluardi comes to Northtown Books.

His new book Cannabiz tells one the most important political and business stories of our generation: the transformation of a counterculture movement into a growth industry with staggering potential. Charting the rise of medical marijuana in California and 14 other states, award-winning journalist John Geluardi vividly recounts the movement’s early activism, its legal challenges and victories, and its emergence as a commercial and political force.

Tracing the history of marijuana in the United States, Cannabiz also reports on the industry’s key players, political allies and opponents, internal strife, and audacious aspirations—including a 2010 ballot initiative to legalize the adult use of marijuana in California. Along the way, Geluardi describes local efforts to regulate dispensaries, ranging from workable ordinances in some cities to bureaucratic paralysis in Los Angeles, where dispensaries came to outnumber McDonalds franchises. He also reports on efforts in our own Humboldt County to keep pot illegal—and prices high.

Adroitly profiling this unique industry, Cannabiz tells a distinctively American story—one whose colorful characters and fascinating details evoke Prohibition and the Gold Rush.

John Geluardi is a veteran Bay Area reporter. A staff writer for SF Weekly, he wrote features on crime, local and national politics, and culture. In 2008, he received three first-place awards from the San Francisco Penninsula Press Club for his stories on vice presidential candidate Matt Gonzalez, the legendary Caffe Trieste, and a series of San Francisco homicides the police falsely classified as suicides.

Praise for Cannabiz

“Cannabiz fully captures the vibrant and ever-evolving political and economic landscape of the budding medical marijuana industry. Geluardi accurately paints the City of Oakland as a leader in legitimizing the industry and as the Silicon Valley of cannabis.”
Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland City Councilmember

“Cannabiz is politically informative and culturally astute. Geluardi paints a complex picture of a transitional moment—one in which the nation’s kneejerk anti-marijuana politics and criminal justice sanctions are falling out of favor. He shows how medical marijuana, a once outlandish idea, has become mainstream, and how quickly America’s economic and political culture has adapted to this new reality.”
Sasha Abramsky, Inside Obama’s Brain and Breadline USA

Jerry Martien: At the School of Doors September 17th

| 0 comments | Friday, September 10, 2010

Jerry Martien will read and sign copies of his poetry chapbook, At the School of Doors, on Friday, September 17, at Northtown Books in Arcata at 7 pm.

The six-page poem draws on the author’s experience as a poet and teacher, a carpenter, and a doorman at Arcata’s Jambalaya Club. It is printed, folded and sewn (all by hand) so its cover and two sheets of paper open and close like doors. The edition of 150 copies is issued by Tangram, the small press imprint of Berkeley printer Jerry Reddan, who began his trade at Eureka Printing in the 1970’s.

Martien will read this and other poems of passage, followed by a discussion of art and craft, writing and earning a living, and the role of metaphor in making sense of our lives.

Martien is the author of several Tangram chapbooks and broadsides, and a collection of poetry, Pieces in Place. He has recorded two CDs, Jerry Martien and the Band of Angels, and recently The Road to Heaven with bass player Shao Way Wu. Besides his door jobs and brief stints as a nighwatchman and truck driver, he has edited small magazines, worked at Northtown Books, and taught in rural classrooms with California Poets in the Schools and in Humboldt State’s creative writing program.

The reading and discussion is free to the public.

Joesph Mattson reads from Empty the Sun, Thursday September 9th

| 0 comments | Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"Here I was, doing ninety on the Santa Monica Freeway with a quart of whiskey shoved into my crotch and my dead neighbor in the trunk. It had come time to leave Los Angeles"

Thus begins Joseph Mattson's new post apocalyptic whiskey drenched novel, which culminates in a shotgun battle with God.

Thursday September 9th at 7 pm, Northtown Books welcomes Joseph Mattson to read from his new novel, Empty the Sun. The novel includes a CD soundtrack by former Humboldtian Ben Chasny (aka Six Organs of Admittance).

"Joseph Mattson writes like a guitar player with nineteen fingers - everywhere at once, stinging, dark, and beautiful."

--Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight

"Several passages induced the shiver of aesthetic bliss in my spine that Nabokov famously described as the indicator of good and true writing."

--James Greer, author of Guided by Voices: A Brief History

"Joseph Mattson is a monster of a writer"

--Beth Lisick, author of Everybody Into the Pool.

For more on the book go here.

See Joseph Mattson battle Curb Your Enthusiasm's Jeff Garlin for watermelon supremacy with music from the soundtrack for Empty the Sun by Six Organs of Admittance:

Sanae, Senryu Poet: Her Life in 5-7-5

| 0 comments | Thursday, August 26, 2010

Friday August 27th at 7 pm, Northtown Books welcome Amy and Aiko Uyeki to Northtown Books to read and sign their new book 'Sanae, Senryu Poet: Her Life in 5-7-5'.

Shizue Harada came to the United States in the 1920s following her husband in arranged marriage. She didn’t become Sanae, a writer of a Japanese poetry form called senryu, un...til she had lived a full life, working factory jobs and raising two children.

Sanae’s daughter, Aiko Uyeki, has compiled her poetry in a collection that captures Sanae’s strong Buddhist faith, her wry humor and simple wisdom, her musings about growing old and her approaching death.

Complementing these poems is the artwork of Amy Uyeki, Sanae’s granddaughter. With word and image, a picture is painted of the life of Shizue Harada, a Meiji era wife whose story mirrors many first generation Japanese Americans who left familiar shores to seek the American dream.

Please join us for this special event.