Josh Ritter, the talented troubadour who hails from Moscow, ID, will go on an altogether different kind of tour this summer—one to promote his new novel, Bright’s Passage, which debuts this Tuesday from Dial Press. Ritter shared with us this vignette about his hometown bookstore, BookPeople of Moscow:
“I remember BookPeople from when it was across the street and in between the Nuart Theater and Clarence’s Barbershop. I remember going in once with my father. The air had a kind of cozy golden light to it, and there was a fantasy picture from Lord of the Rings behind the counter. The man behind the counter had a tremendous beard. This was a real bookshop, one that supplied books as if they were something illicit, something to be savored and read before a fire. The barbershop is long gone now, replaced by a travel agency, and the Nuart is now affiliated with an evangelical Christian church, but BookPeople, now across the street, still conjures up in me the feeling of a first
brush with magic each time I swing through the doors and say hello to Bob and Betsy. When I began playing music they let me play in the store. When I left for college and came back with a record, they sold it for me at the counter. I bought my first Mother’s Day present there, and I bought my first book there, too. When I moved back to Moscow, it was the reliable place to pick up the news of town. I bought all of The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper there, and, as time has passed, Bob and Betsy have become my in-town parents. BookPeople is a book store, but what they really sell is magic and a sense of belonging to a community. I owe more to it than to almost any other place in the world, and in my moments of most extraordinary pride in Bright’s Passage, I picture it sitting on BookPeople’s counter among all the other books that I’ve gotten from them over the decades.”
Ritter will read Thursday, July 14 at 7:30 pm at Powell’s and Friday, July 15 at 7 pm at Elliott Bay Book Company. He’ll make an appearance at BookPeople of Moscow, too, but it’ll after his official tour, when he’s home.