Escaping the city for the middle of nowhere, with tens of thousands of books
Partners for 35 years, Polly Hinds and Lynda German left Denver thirteen years ago in search of a quieter life, and they found it in isolated Sweetwater Station, Wyoming.
Not content to keep busy with the upkeep of dozens of farm animals, the two started a mammoth rare book store, with 70,000 titles up for sale.
Their hands filthy from chores, the two veteran booksellers carry armloads of hard-bound volumes, careful not to dirty the historical tomes and two Zane Grey works of fiction, “The Last Ranger” and “Last of the Great Scouts.” The words scrawled in red on a storage shed explain the contrast: “BOOKS FOR SALE.”
Thirteen years ago, the pair fled Denver following a bizarre altercation with police, looking for a quieter life. They found it here on a deserted ranch 40 miles from the nearest store…
Photos: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times
How many have you read?
Anyone have an exciting read lined up for the weekend?
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Happy birthday, Kurt Vonnegut
The legendary author, who passed away in 2007, would have turned 91 years old today. And what better way to remember him than to pick up a copy of his work, as David L. Ulin did a few years ago, to rediscover why “Slaughterhouse-Five” meant so much during his youth.
I first read the novel, after all, in this very house, when I was 12 or 13. To return to it 36 years later was to confront viscerally the central point of the book, which is that time is not a continuum but a collection of simultaneous moments, that everything we have ever done and everything we will ever do co-exists within us all at once.
Photos: Jill Krementz / Associated Press, Jennifer S. Altman / For the Times, Frank Espich / The Indianapolis Star
Happy birthday Roald Dahl! For your mean grow-up books along with all those beloved books for children.
Happy Roald Dahl Day!
We’ll forgive Roald for the the occasional nightmare or two. And of course, a shout-out for Roald isn’t complete without credit to his masterful illustrator, Quentin Blake.
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Remembering Anne Frank, who would have been 84 today
Eighty-four years ago, the celebrated diarist and tragic victim of the Holocaust Anne Frank was born in Frankfurt, Germany. During the peak of the war, when her German-Jewish family was forced into hiding in Amsterdam, she kept track of her thoughts, trials and revelations in her diary.
Eventually, her family was discovered and all save for her father Otto died in Nazi concentration camps. In 1947, Otto worked to have her diary published as a book, and since then her words have been read across the world.
Her lasting legacy may be her persistent optimism in the face of overwhelming despair. As she wrote in her diary:
It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical.
Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart. I simply can’t build my hopes on a foundation of confusion, misery, and death. I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that this cruelty too shall end, and that peace and tranquility will return once again.
Read more over at Jacket Copy.
Photo: Associated Press
The Los Angeles Times’ Summer Reading Guide
There’s something special about summer reading, turning the pages against the breeze while basking in the sun, or filling up hours usually occupied by school with that list of novels you’ve been telling yourself you’d get to eventually.
It’s in that spirit that the Times has built its summer reading guide, a perfect starting point for those of all ages looking to cozy up with a book.
So check out our listings in their entirety here, and see if there’s anything new that sparks your interest, or enjoy the affirmation of seeing something you were already planning on reading on the list (we’re particularly excited for Marisha Pessl’s “Night Film”).
Preserving ancient teachings in Timbuktu
Boubacar Sadeck, the youngest of Timbuktu’s scribes at 38, is a master of an ancient art - one that ties him closely to the historical writings that he spends his days transcribing and preserving.
"My weakness, my love, is calligraphy," said the scribe, who fled Timbuktu, famed for its collection of centuries-old manuscripts, when Islamist militias invaded last year. "If I go a day without writing, I feel as if something is missing or strange. When I sit down with my paper and my pen, I feel wonderful. I feel at ease."
Many of Timbuktu’s ancient scripts are now refugees separated from their former home in Ahmed Baba Institute after Islamist militias invaded. The rest have been either lost or destroyed in the chaos caused by the successful fight to drive the militias out of the city. Now, the future of these artifacts from the past is up in the air.
Read more in reporter Robyn Dixon’s story here
Photos: Evan Schneide / UN, Eric Feferberg / AFP/Getty Images
Come visit the Los Angeles Review of Books at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books! You can find us this weekend at our booth, number 26, located in the Trousdale Parkway on the USC campus. This is your chance to not only meet the staff that makes the Review possible, but to pick up a copy of our beautiful new print edition magazine: a selection of our best interviews and author questionnaires. Bring your friends, and we hope to see you there.
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The intersections between Los Angeles and literature
Yesterday marked the debut of our Literary L.A. feature, which highlights literary hotspots across the city. Want to go where Ray Bradbury wrote “Fahrenheit 451” on a type writer fueled by dimes? We have you covered.
And of course, the tool’s a work-in-progress, so send over your feedback on authors, works or mentions you’d like to see included!
Check out the tool here, or get psyched for this weekend’s Festival of Books, running from April 20-21 at the USC Campus.
2012 L.A. Times Book Prize Finalists announced
Biographer Robert Caro, novelist Michael Chabon and cartoonist Chris Ware are among the fifty authors whose books were announced as the Times’ finalists for the 33rd annual Book Prizes.
Also nominated are Nate Silver for “The Signal and the Noise,” U.S. poet laureate Louise Glück and Katherine Boo for “Behind the Beautiful Forevers.”
Think anyone was left off of the list? Sound off below!
It’s not only Winston Churchill’s birthday today, but Mark Twain’s as well. (Churchill was born in 1874, Twain in 1835.) This report on an event at which the latter introduced the former appeared in The Times on Dec. 14, 1900. Churchill wouldn’t become Britain’s prime minister for nearly four decades.
Little Free Library brings neighbors together through books: A nationwide movement, Little Free Library prompts bibliophiles to put up small shelved structures outside their homes where people can take books and leave some too. The result can be conversation, friendship and a sense of community.
In the half a year that Beggs’ Little Free Library has perched on a post in front of his Sherman Oaks home, it has evolved into much more than a book exchange. … When a 9-year-old boy knocked on his door one morning to say how much he liked the little library, Beggs knew he was on to something.
Photo: Fiona Sassoon, 10, gets some neighborly advice from David Dworski, left, on book selections at Dworski’s diminutive outdoor library in Venice. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times