Elliott Bay Books Is Moving to Capital Hill

It is official, Elliott Bay Books is moving to 1521 10th Avenue Capital Hill. From the email sent out today, it looks like a good move and I for one will be more likely to go there more often now that it is near things I goto, instead of a separate trip into Pioneer Square. I would hate to loose their great line-up of author events.

After many weeks of speculation about the future of The Elliott Bay Book Company, I am now able to confirm that the book store will be moving to a new location on Capitol Hill in the spring of next year.
The past two years have been a difficult, painful period of exploring and evaluating possibilities in an attempt to determine what would be best–and necessary–to ensure the long-term health and vitality of the store. And while the thought, and the practicalities, of moving from the site and the locale which have been home for the past 36 years are daunting to say the least, I am convinced that this upcoming relocation will afford us the best opportunity to remain, and further develop as a thriving enterprise.

First–about the new location. We will be moving into a beautiful vintage building on 10th Avenue between Pike and Pine. The building dates from 1918–and was the original Ford truck service center for Seattle. The space will be comparable to the current store (in fact a bit larger), and will incorporate a café and a room dedicated to author appearances. It has the fir floor–complete with creaks–we’re used to treading, and gorgeous high wood ceiling-including massive wood beams–and skylights. While no space could exactly duplicate the charm of the original store, I can promise that the new building will offer a warm, comfortable and cozy environment that will be true to the beautiful place Walter Carr founded on Main Street.

The building has its own parking below street level-and between this and a nearby lot we will be able provide ample validated parking. In addition the new space will offer something we’ve never been able to offer before–wheelchair access to all levels.

The neighborhood is one of incredible vitality. I’m confidant that this move will boost our business to the level necessary to maintain our commercial viability–and to facilitate the ongoing investment necessary to keep any business vital.

Yu Hua at Elliott Bay Book Co

Yu Hua was at Elliott Bay Book Co on March 1st. He is promoting his new book Brothers and is on a tour of the states. Since it is rare to have access to an author like him, especially since he doesn’t speak English, it was a treat to see him. He is a funny man even with an interpreter and has a good sense of the dark. He made a few comments that are of special interest.

  1. He picks his translators himself. Although he doesn’t speak English he looks for someone who knows the literature of the target language. He isn’t as interested in the Chinese scholars who only know about Chinese literature. He is more interested in having the readers be able to read the book, than a pure translation.
  2. Since he went to school during the Cultural Revolution his education was hindered. Therefore, when he began to write he only knew about 4000 characters. The lack of characters led to a sparse writing style. He said from a bad thing came a good thing.
  3. Like a good cook who  is made better by eating many different types of food; a writer who samples good writing will become better.
  4. He has been lucky to live in a land where changes that have taken place over the last 40 years in China, took 400 years to occur in Europe.
  5. His father was a surgeon whose surgery was in the same building as their house and the morgue was next to the bathroom. Occasionally, he would sleep in the morgue because it was cool. He can remember seeing his father covered in blood from surgeries. These memories informed his early works with violence. He also told a little joke wondering what made the trees near the house grow so well, the bathroom or the morgue.
  6. When Mao died he said the sound of 1000 people sobbing sounded ridiculous, not sad. He couldn’t keep from laughing. So he put his head down on the stool in front of him. He was shaking from the laughter so much that the teachers thought he was crying the hardest.