The Rocks Don't Lie: Starred Library Journal Review

June 20, 2012

The Rocks Don't Lie by David Montgomery (Norton, August 2012) earned a starred review from Library Journal:

 ...Montgomery (geomorphology, Univ. of Washington; Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations) offers a thorough critique of creationist worldviews (including Noah’s flood) while treating his opponents with respect, reflecting on both ancient and modern debates and demonstrating that Christians have been arguing among themselves about these subjects for millennia. He admits that geologists have often stifled dissent and stubbornly rejected the idea that massive floods could have ever occurred, discounting such ideas as myths though there have, in fact, been many throughout human history. These catastrophic events likely inspired the famous stories of floods found around the globe, Montgomery concedes. VERDICT The combination of historical study and humility on behalf of geology makes for an extremely persuasive work. Highly recommended.

—John M. Kistler, Washington, PA

Full review on the Library Journal website.

Posted by Waleslit on June 20, 2012  |  Permalink

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Oprah!

June 6, 2012

Oprah Magazine loves Happiness is a Chemical in the Brain by Lucia Perillo. From the review:

“Don't tell me about bad boys,” writes Lucia Perillo. “I've seen my black clouds come and go.” What she's also seen are some pretty dark-minded women—from a solitary mother addicted to cough syrup to a mistreated housewife who dreams of armed robbery. In the hands of a less-talented writer, these characters would turn out hard-boiled and, worse, hard to love. Instead, Perillo infuses each one with joy and humor, celebrating the best intentions behind the worst choices... Relentlessly compassionate, this is a collection for the mistake makers and trying-as-hard-as-we-canners of the world—which probably means all of us.

Posted by waleslit on June 6, 2012  |  Permalink

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The Reviews Don't Lie

June 4, 2012

Another strong review for David Montgomery's book The Rocks Don't Lie (Norton, August 2012) Kirkus Reviews. To read the full review on their website you will need a subscription, but here's a slice:

Examining a wide variety of flood and creation stories across centuries, Montgomery provides an enthusiastic and valuable recounting of the history of geology and how the advances in science have consistently faced opposition from the guardians of so-called religious authority, based on a literal reading of the Bible. The immense chronological spans and what is now known about the origins of the Earth and universe provoke the bitter opposition of the creationists. Montgomery insists that faith and science “can peacefully coexist,” and his extensive documentation shows that the revival of creationism, as it exists today, has nothing to do with either science or faith.

A forceful rallying cry for people of goodwill to join together to develop an alternative to the dangerous irrationalism that afflicts so many Americans.

Posted by Waleslit on June 4, 2012  |  Permalink

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The Rocks Don't Lie: Starred PW review

May 30, 2012

A starred review in Publishers Weekly for The Rocks Don't Lie by David Montgomery (Norton, August 2012):

Many theologians and scientists within the Christian tradition have long interpreted the biblical story of Noah’s flood as a worldwide event and a foundation for determining the geological age of the earth. In this rich, animated narrative, geologist Montgomery points out that theologians have often bent an amazing array of geological evidence to support a literal interpretation of Noah’s flood. But what does the Earth itself tell us? Using the evidence he finds in the various strata of rocks in a roadbed in Kentucky, Montgomery contends that the “440 million-year-old, trilobite-bearing limestone” is clearly not a chaotic, mixed-up product of an earth-churning flood. The rocks formed when an ancient “proto-Atlantic Ocean” led to the formation of a thick pile of sediment that gradually accumulated layer by later—stretching from Newfoundland to Alabama. Moreover, plate tectonics shatters the myth of a global flood by explaining the sequences, ages, and assemblages of rocks we find throughout the world, as well as the global distribution of topography. Brilliant and provocative, Montgomery’s exploration of scientific and theological understandings of Noah’s flood vibrantly opens our eyes to the marvels of ancient rocks that are far grander than ourselves.

Posted by Waleslit on May 30, 2012  |  Permalink

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The Lost Bank: A Book Trailer

May 2, 2012

Kirsten Grind talks about her debut book, The Lost Bank (Simon and Schuster, June 2012) in this video clip on "The Failure of Washington Mutual."

Posted by Waleslit on May 2, 2012  |  Permalink

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A PNBA Nomination!

April 25, 2012

Happiness is a Chemical in the Brain, stories by Lucia Perillo (W.W. Norton, May 2012)was nominated for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association's Book Awards. The full list of 2013 nominees is here. Congratulations Lucia!

Posted by Waleslit on April 25, 2012  |  Permalink

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Stealing the Good Stuff

April 20, 2012

Q: What advice can you share for aspiring poets?
A: My advice to aspiring poets is to find a community of other poets who are willing to read one another’s work. And to read widely, in a variety of time periods and cultures, to identify which traits of poems are appealing and which aversive. And what can be stolen.

That's Lucia Perillo in an interview with Galleycat as part of their National Poetry Month series. Read the full interview here.

Posted by Waleslit on April 20, 2012  |  Permalink

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Agency co-founder Dan Levant passed away April 9

April 20, 2012

Dan Levant co-founded Levant & Wales in 1990 with Elizabeth Wales. It was the first Seattle-based national literary agency.

...At the time, the great technological breakthrough was the fax machine, and Levant liked to say that New York could fax everything to the agency except lunch. The agency has thrived with a list of quality nonfiction and fiction, and a penchant for outspoken writers, including sex advice columnist Dan Savage.

Six years later Levant sold his interest in the agency to Wales. But he never fully retired and was active in book projects until his death. He consulted for and served as a director of Epicenter Press of Kenmore, Washington, a regional nonfiction publisher founded in 1988. At Epicenter, he helped guide publication of two bestsellers-Two Old Women, by Velma Wallis, which was translated into seventeen languages and sold more than 1.5 million copies, and Sarah, by Kaylene Johnson, the first biography of the former Alaska governor, Sarah Palin. Levant conceived of and served as developmental editor for a new title released this month, Shipwrecked: A Peoples' History of the Seattle Mariners, by Jon Wells.

Dan Levant loved the opera, cooking, and life itself. He left an indelible mark on the Seattle area, especially in the publishing community, and on those around him. Levant is survived by his wife, Sara Crowell Levant; children Maria Levant Brun and her husband, Francois; David Levant, and his wife, Cindy; and five grandchildren: Morgane, William, and Sophie Brun, and Emma and Sam Levant.

His full obituary is on the Epicenter Press website, here.

Posted by Waleslit on April 20, 2012  |  Permalink

Whaleboats under sail

March 28, 2012

"A true artist!"-- Two starred, boxed reviews for Lucia Perillo in the March 26 edition of Publishers Weekly for her first fiction collection, Happiness is a Chemical in the Brain (Norton, May 2012) and a new poetry collection.

MacArthur Fellow and Pulitzer Prize-nominated [finalist] poet Perillo debuts a work of fiction in a lyrical short story collection that reveals a genius for plot and metaphor. The collection's 14 stories take place in the Pacific Northwest and chart a broad emotional arc... Perillo (Inseminating the Elephant) strikes a glorious balance between wryly intelligent prose and emotional force, recalling Alice Munro at her best. This volume's vibrant stories demonstrate the full potential of the short story form when put in the hands of a true artist.

You can read the full review for Happiness is a Chemical in the Brain here, and the review for On the Spectrum of Possible Deaths here.

Posted by Waleslit on March 28, 2012  |  Permalink

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Whaleboats under sail

March 5, 2012

Starred, boxed review from Publishers Weekly for Kirsten Grind's The Lost Bank: The Story of Washington Mutual-- the Biggest Bank Failure in American History (Simon & Schuster, June 2012). We've quoted from the review below and you can see it on the PW website here:

Hubris and greed break the bank in this absorbing saga of the housing bubble. In her first book, Wall Street Journal reporter Grind chronicles the rise of Washington Mutual from a sleepy Seattle-based thrift to America’s biggest savings and loan bank, its reckless plunge into the can’t-lose subprime mortgage market, and its 2008 failure. As the honest, avowedly “nice” WaMu succumbs to the lure of easy money, an almost Shakespearean boardroom melodrama unfolds, featuring vivid personalities like Kerry Killinger, WaMu’s conquering hero-turned-vacillating nebbishy CEO, and Jamie Dimon, the ruthless JPMorgan leader who swallowed WaMu. (Grind raises disturbing questions about how JPMorgan benefited from the FDIC’s forcing a possibly salvageable WaMu into receivership.) Even more revealing are the bit players—the WaMu salespeople peddling extortionate adjustable rate mortgages to impecunious borrowers who didn’t understand what they were signing. Grind pens a lucid, entertaining guide to the delusions and frauds powering the debacle, from Fed chief Alan Greenspan’s rose-tinted economic forecasts down to the falsified documents that put people with no income, assets, or perhaps even pulses into mortgages they could never repay. Hers is one of the best accounts yet of WaMu’s demise—and of the Great Crash as it played out on a human scale.

Posted by Waleslit on March 5, 2012  |  Permalink

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