This space is usually reserved for profound, insightful personal essays (and occasionally for witless blather) but sometimes we just want to plug a book we like. In this case four of them.
Pharos Editions is a new imprint of Seattle’s Dark Coast Press, and it’s “dedicated to bringing to light out-of-print, lost, or rare books of distinction. A carefully curated list of beautifully produced books, Pharos titles are hand-picked and introduced by some of today’s most exciting authors, creators, and artists.” Quoted for truth. The selectors are some of the strongest literary writers in the nation, and they all happen to be from the Northwest—we’re honest fans of each and every one. Gander at this group:
“A gritty, vitriolic rant. A novel with hair on it. A goddamn magnificent bastard of a novel.”
Matt Groening recommends You Play the Black and the Red Comes Up by Richard Hallas, about mid-century drifters, shysters, and crime:
“A whiplash ride with major plot reversals on almost every page. [This novel] is sheer joyful amoral absurdity.”
Jess Walter recommends The Land of Plenty by Robert Cantwell, a 1935 novel that depicts the wide-ranging repercussions of a labor strike among lumberers in Aberdeen:
“Written in powerful, plain-spoken prose, its tough realism and psychological acuity hum with authenticity.”
Sherman Alexie recommends Inside Moves by Todd Walton, the story of two down-on-their-luck ex-athletes:
“Inside Moves is the Bull Durham of basketball, except with war injuries, amputees, prostitutes, radical surgery, and the lonesome wails of hungry souls.
You can listen to three of these guys (Matt couldn’t make it) chat entertainingly with The Stranger's books editor Paul Constant at a recent Town Hall appearance. They do an excellent job of explaining what makes these stories so compelling. Trust us, though—Pharos Editions is a very worthy project that’s produced some fascinating books. And there’s more to come, with several new titles on the way. They’ll undoubtedly be of equal interest, although they should be a little less testosterone-fueled since some female voices will be the next to be heard. Stay tuned.