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.
Welcome to Everett! You drove here from Topeka. That’s a long drive. Did you listen to any cool music or audiobooks?
It 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?
I’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?
Two 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?
My 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?
The 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?
The 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.
If you were stranded on Jetty Island and could only take three books, what would you take?
Infinite Jest—I’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.