by MICHAEL BOWEN & r & & r & Bibliophilia & r & & r & Last week, one Binster (OK, it was me) reviewed Oliver Sacks' new book, Musicophilia. (Sexy title, that.) Sacks' nonfiction book about the neural and cognitive pathways by which we perceive (and misperceive) music was given a first print run of 40,000 copies by the publisher, Knopf.
Now follow me here on the math. Let's guess that 5,000 copies are remaindered, lost or sent to journalists (which amounts to the same thing). Divide 35,000 by the U.S. population (303 million), prorate to the population of our metro area, and you get about 55 copies to be made available for sale in Spokane and Kootenai counties.
Yet an informal survey of three large local bookstores -- they're very tight-lipped about sales figures, mind you -- suggests that by Nov. 5 (just three weeks after its publication date), about two-thirds of more than two dozen on-the-shelf copies of Musicophilia had already been sold at just those three stores.
It'll be a year, perhaps two, until Sacks' book will appear in the less expensive quality-paperback format, and "Spokane is a town that likes a bargain," as one store manager told me. And yet around here, enough people to form a large discussion group have already snapped up this title in hardback.
Journalistic cynicism suggests that only half those purchased copies will ever actually be read by someone. So here in the Bin, we're buzzing with curiosity: Does anybody actually read this stuff?
If you purchase and/or read Musicophilia anytime in the next six months or so, please write email@example.com and reveal all the details. We're thinking a book club-style discussion, a cocktail party, interesting new people to meet, maybe a string quartet warbling in the background. Or else a night of beer-swilling at Hooters. Whichever works for you.
"Godzilla Eats Las Vegas"
Ho-hum, another Gonzaga Wind Symphony and Percussion Ensemble concert. Except at this one, you get to see Liberace and Wayne Newton devoured alive. It's all part of a multimedia work to be performed along with other contemporary musical compositions with titles like "Cartoon" and "Nitro": next Thursday, 7:30 pm, at the Bing, five bucks. Call 323-6733 if you have any questions for Mr. 'zilla.