Indy Bookstore to Close, Rammell Publishes Tome 

Oldest independent bookstore in Boise closing in July

Boise's longest running indie bookstore to close

Vista Book Gallery, the longest running independent bookstore in Boise, is writing its final chapter this month.

The bookstore, which opened in 1976, will close at the end of July.

Owner Diane Leaverton told Boise Weekly that she has decided to join her husband in retirement and begin planning a move to northern Idaho, where the couple owns property.

The loss of the Bench bookstore means that only two independent bookstores with a focus on new books remain in Boise: Rediscovered Bookshop on Overland Road and A Novel Adventure in downtown Boise. Independent bookstores once numbered in the thousands nationwide, with the American Booksellers Association at a peak of 4,700 members in 1993. After the proliferation of chain stores and Internet sales all but decimated the population of indies by the late '90s, the ABA has reported an upswing in its membership numbers in recent years that it credits, in part, to buy-local movements across the country.

Here in Boise, the closure of Vista Book Gallery is also a blow to local writers. The bookshop had a large selection of material from Idaho writers on its shelves, as well as on its Web site.

Leaverton said what she'll miss most about the bookstore is her customers and, yes, she does have a pretty long list of books to read during retirement.

If there's any good news here, it's that bookworms can get some decent deals on the bookstore's inventory. Everything--including the fixtures--is on sale.

rammell's Government for Dummies

Speaking of books ...

Gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell announced the release of his book last week. A Nation Divided: The War for America's Soul is available on Rammell's Web site for the "nominal" fee of $18.95, which includes shipping. Of course, if you can do without the paper and the hardback, free e-copies are also available on the Web site (although citydesk couldn't find one so we had to look through the 165-page attachment that accompanied the e-mailed press release). The book isn't exactly the kind of material Barnes & Noble would expect to make a mint off of, but Rammell's press team said as much: "Dr. Rammell did not write the book in hopes of becoming a rich and famous author ..."

The preface starts off, "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible ... No; the Pledge of Allegiance should say one nation under God, divisible ... with fading hopes of liberty and justice for all." It doesn't sound like the kind of feel-good, based-on-a-semi-true-story book that Oprah's fans go gaga for. But if there's any doubt left in your mind as to where Rammell stands on key issues after his 2008 run for the Senate seat now occupied by Jim Risch, A Nation Divided should sum it up on everything from illegal immigration to wolves.

Final conclusion? We're divided.

--Rachael Daigle

war in Iraq

U.S. CASUALTIES: As of Monday, July 13, 2009, 4,326 U.S. service members (including 31 Idahoans) have died since the war in Iraq began in March 2003: 3,460 in combat and 866 from non-combat-related incidents and accidents. Injured service members total 31,430. In the last week, five U.S. soldiers died.

Since President Barack Obama was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 97 soldiers have died.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Defense

IRAQI CIVILIAN DEATHS: Estimated between 92,489 and 100,971.

Source: iraqbodycount.net

COST OF IRAQ WAR: $879,049,374,001

Source: costofwar.com

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