Back of Beyond publishes first book
Aug 02, 2018 | 862 views | 0 0 comments | 47 47 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Back of Beyond Books has sold books from its Main Street address in Moab for the past 29 years. The store has specialized in books on the American southwest and the Colorado Plateau, serving as source of maps, guidebooks and literature to residents and visitors alike, according to a recent press release.

The best-selling book at Back of Beyond is Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire. During Abbey’s two seasons working as a ranger at Arches National Monument in the late 1950s, he kept a descriptive journal of his experiences. From these journals, Desert Solitaire was published in 1968 and slowly became a classic of environmental literature.

“With the 50th anniversary of Desert Solitaire upon us, Back of Beyond Books has embarked upon a unique publishing program to both honor the importance of Abbey’s book and continue the discussion surrounding Desert Solitaire,” said store owner Andy Nettell. “This November, Back of Beyond in partnership with Torrey House Press will publish Desert Cabal: a New Season in the Wilderness by Amy Irvine. In Desert Cabal Amy Irvine admires the man who influenced her life and work while challenging all that is dated—offensive, even—between the covers of Abbey’s environmental classic.”

Irvine names and questions the “lone male” narrative—white and privileged as it is—that still has its boots planted firmly at the center of today’s wilderness movement, even as she celebrates the lens through which Abbey taught so many to love the wild remains of the nation. Nettell admits that, “Irvine’s words make me squirm a little, mostly because she speaks to truth. Abbey for many is untouchable, and for a contemporary writer to question Ed makes some uncomfortable. The essay speaks powerfully to the environmental and political state we find ourselves in today and anyone who cares about Abbey country will want to read this book.”

Back of Beyond is also publishing a facsimile of the first draft of Desert Solitaire, with hundreds of manuscript changes in Abbey’s hand. This document has never been published before and only 50 sets of the facsimile will be available. Ken Sanders Rare Books is coordinating the publication of four Desert Solitaire ‘themed’ literary letterpress broadsides featuring original words by writers Wendell Berry, Terry Tempest Williams, Doug Peacock and Irvine.

“I’m so excited about these three publications,” says Nettell. “But it is a little scary too. Even though I’ve been in the book trade for 18 years, I really had no idea how expensive books and publications are to publish.” To that end the store launched a KickStarter crowd-sourcing fund raiser Aug. 1 to support the publication program. “We need to raise $15,000 to successfully publish the book, the facsimile and the broadsides.” Nettell continues, “I’ve never felt comfortable asking for donations, but I am so committed to this program and feel it so critical we continue Ed’s legacy that we’re going this route. I’m confident that we will succeed in this campaign and produce three beautiful, thought-provoking publications.”

The KickStarter program runs 30 days with a link available on the FaceBook pages of Back of Beyond Books, Torrey House Press and Ken Sanders Rare Books. For more information, contact Nettell at 435-259-5154.

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.