3 Brooke Wil­liams reads at Col­lected Works Bookstore

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Brooke Wil­liams has spent his life rev­el­ing in the beauty of the nat­u­ral world, work­ing as a jour­nal­ist, au­thor, and en­vi­ron­men­tal ad­vo­cate. He lives — with his wife, renowned hu­man­i­tar­ian and nat­u­ral­ist Terry Tem­pest Wil­liams — in Cas­tle Val­ley, Utah, and Jack­son Hole, Wy­oming. In his new­est book, Open Mid­night: Where An­ces­tors and Wilder­ness Meet (Trin­ity Univer­sity Press, 2017), Wil­liams traces the foot­steps of his great-great­great-grand­fa­ther, Wil­liam Wil­liams. To achieve a sense of spir­i­tual con­nec­tion to the land his Mor­mon fam­ily grew up on, Wil­liams trav­els to Eng­land to make the jour­ney to Amer­ica all over again. “I had no choice,” he writes. “The idea over­took me like a fever. I knew if I was ever to truly un­der­stand the full ca­pac­ity of place in my life, I needed to go to Europe and find the place I came from, where my an­ces­tors were born and where they lived.”

Open Mid­night is part mem­oir, part med­i­ta­tion, and part ghost story, as the au­thor fleshes out the per­son­al­ity and char­ac­ter of Wil­liam Wil­liams, imag­in­ing a friend­ship be­tween him and Charles Dar­win, his con­tem­po­rary (and pos­si­ble neigh­bor). Wil­liams an­chors his prose in slow, lov­ing de­scrip­tions of na­ture. We know his dog’s path of smells on their morn­ing walk, the dis­tinc­tion be­tween rocks and stones (the lat­ter have been touched and changed by hu­man be­ings), and his thoughts on spa­ces that are called gar­dens, among nu­mer­ous other av­enues of in­tel­lec­tual ex­plo­ration. Above all, Open Mid­night is a kind of prayer — for peace, for con­nec­tion be­tween land and peo­ple, and for the fu­ture of the species, even when the species turns vi­o­lent. Wil­liams reads from Open Mid­night at 6 p.m. on Mon­day, March 6, at Col­lected Works Bookstore (202 Gal­is­teo St., 505-988-4226). — Jen­nifer Levin

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