Meet Brad at the Evergreen Branch

The Evergreen Branch recently welcomed a new manager, Brad Allen. Brad comes to us from Kansas, where he worked at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. We’re happy to introduce him to you here. Be sure to say hello next time you’re at the Evergreen Branch.

Brad Allen
Welcome to Everett! You drove here from Topeka. That’s a long drive. Did you listen to any cool music or audiobooks?
book coverWarren ZevonIt is a long drive indeed, but I’m a fan of road trips. I listened to two great audiobooks: I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President by Josh Lieb and T.C. Boyle’s The Tortilla Curtain. I also listened to some of my favorite music including Pavement, Wilco, Radiohead, R.E.M., Neil Young, Warren Zevon, and The xx.

Kansas makes me think of The Wizard of Oz. Can you recommend any favorite Kansas authors or books or movies about Kansas?
Wizard of OzWildwood BoysI’ve yet to travel from Kansas and not heard, “You’re not in Kansas anymore.” It’s an irresistible response to learning someone is from Kansas. Two great authors more or less from Kansas are Gordon Parks and Langston Hughes. A great book is James Carlos Blake’s Wildwood Boys, a historical novel about the pre-Civil War Kansas-Missouri Border Wars told from the perspective of Bloody Bill Anderson. I love John Williams’ Butcher’s Crossing, set in both Kansas and Colorado. John Williams’ wonderful book Stoner is one of my absolute favorites, but it’s set in Missouri.

Do you have any favorite books or shows with a Washington setting or author?
Financial Lives of the PoetsTwo of my favorite television shows are closely associated with Washington: Twin Peaks and Northern Exposure. As for books, I’ve recently become a fan of Spokane author Jess Walter and Olympia author Jim Lynch. The Financial Lives of the Poets and Border Songs are two of the best books I’ve read in the past year.

What’s your favorite book?
StonerRevolutionary RoadMy all time favorite is Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road. Yates is an incredibly underrated writer. My previous favorite book was David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. The aforementioned Stoner is a recent favorite.

What was your favorite book growing up?
Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxyTo Kill a MockingbirdThe book that blew my mind as a youngster was Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Its meditation on the great expanses of time and the universe changed the way I thought about the world. The other seminal book of my childhood was To Kill a Mockingbird. I read it the summer after sixth grade and it hooked me on a life of reading.

What’s your favorite movie?
Nurse BettyThe Big LebowskiThe Coen Brothers’ The Big Lebowski is the greatest movie of the last 25 years. Other favorites are Mulholland Drive, Nurse Betty, Ghostbusters, and No Country For Old Men.

Infinite JestIf you were stranded on Jetty Island and could only take three books, what would you take?
Infinite JestI’ve been meaning to reread it and it’s really long. Charles Willeford’s Sideswipe. And Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow — it might be quiet enough to actually concentrate to read it.

And We’re Off

EileenToday marks the inaugural post on “A Reading Life,” Everett Public Library’s venture into blogging about books as well as other library materials and topics. We’ve been working on this blog project for several months, and we’re all hoping that you’ll find our posts lively and well-written, and the books we write about worth adding to your need-to-read list.

Eventually we hope our blog will become a dialog between and among readers. You’ll be able to comment on our posts, and maybe even recommend books you’ve enjoyed. Right now we’re waiting for approval of our new social software policy before we turn on comments, so you’ll have some time to think about what you’re reading here before you can comment.

hardballIt wouldn’t seem right not to mention a few books to help launch this enterprise, so I’ll tell you what I’m reading. I just finished Sara Paretsky’s latest V. I. Warshawski mystery, Hardball. I’m a longtime fan of V. I., and she’s in good form here. Paretsky has written a fast-moving story that was difficult to put down.

It took me a little longer to finish Olen Steinhauer’s The Tourist, a touristconvoluted tale of espionage in the early 21st century, because it’s as much driven by character as plot—although there’s plenty of action, too. Steinhauer’s been compared to LeCarre and Deighton, and George Clooney has bought the movie rights.

spivetNow I’m reading something completely different, The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet by Reif Larsen. I’m only a few pages into the story of T. S., a 12-year-old cartographic genius, so it’s too soon to know if I’ll like it, but I do love the drawings and maps that are an integral part of the text.

Stay tuned for more of “A Reading Life.”