Lawyers, Guns and Many, Many Books!

“We buy books because we believe we’re buying the time to read them.”
–Warren Zevon, 2002


Crystal & Ariel Zevon Discuss The Excitable Boy’s Extensive Collection and Its Impact on His Music

With a Silent Auction of Selected Volumes on Friday and Saturday
and a special presentation Saturday at 2:30 PM, Contois Auditorium

In March, Crystal Zevon purchased a 100 year old farmhouse whose property adjoins her home. An old sign on the house names it “Brookview.” Crystal added R&R with the explanation that R&R can mean whatever you want it to. For her, it’s Roots & Resistance. For others, Roots & Resilience or Rest & Recreation or maybe even Rock & Roll?

Within three weeks of purchase, with no advertising, a group of 22 young people from ‘Cosecha’, a group who work for justice for migrant workers, held a 5 day retreat at Brookview R&R, which was already somewhat furnished with donated beds, chairs, tables and lamps. A week later, there was another group there for a retreat. At the same time, local community members hold regular pot luck dinners and others come with sewing machines and patterns for shopping bags and a mission to rid Vermont of single use plastic bags.

In June, there was a house concert with so many attendees that the windows were opened and the wrap around porch was quickly filled. A local herbalist holds classes and there are plans for book groups, film showings and also a Sunday flea market out of the garage. Crystal is in touch with the chief of the local Abenaki band about hanging an Abenaki flag and opening the house to honor the spiritual and cultural lives of the Abenaki.

What sets Brookview R&R apart is its mission of creating an alternative economic structure not based on the almighty dollar. A time & skill bank is being organized. If you stay there or shop at the flea market, you will learn that there are no price tags. People are informed that the cost of running the house runs about $1,000/mo. and there are a lot of upgrades and fixes needed so donations are appreciated…BUT help with gardening or housecleaning is just as valuable as money! And, if you’re unable to contribute any of the above, just your presence will help make the community thrive.

As the house was being organized, Ariel Zevon had an idea. What if we could really focus on the house and its mission without having to spend most of our time and effort trying to raise funds? One of the things Ariel inherited when her rock star father, Warren Zevon, died in 2003 was his extensive and eclectic library. She felt that she has lived among her father’s books her entire life, and, since his passing, she spent years in a house in Barre where they were displayed on bookshelves. However, since moving to the Northeast Kingdom and living totally off-grid, neither Ariel nor her mother, Crystal, have a place for the books. So they’ve begun selling them on eBay to raise funds for Brookview R&R!

As they post books for sale, Crystal and a friend, Caitlin Wallingford Smith, are cataloging the books. Numerous university libraries were interested in the collection until they learned that Warren Zevon didn’t write in the margins. Nor did he underline. Except for rare exceptions where a few lyrics are penned on a back cover of a Martin Amis paperback or older books where Warren signed his name inside the front cover, the pages are clean of markings. What he did do, however, is use his library as a kind of filing system. Nestled between pages are photographs, letters, dated and signed receipts, airline boarding passes and more. There are stories, or imagined stories, that go with not only the items themselves but their particular placement in certain books marking specific pages.

There are many fascinating aspects to exploring the depths of the Warren Zevon book collection, not the least of which are the e-mails coming from people who can tell a story about a certain book or backstage conversation.

Ariel and Crystal have their own stories as well and they’ll be sharing some of them at the Festival on Saturday the 16th. They will also bring some of the books with stories and some with mysteries for display and placement in a silent auction to be held Friday and Saturday. 100% of monies raised from the sale of Warren’s books will benefit Brookview R&R.

Lawyers, Guns and Many, Many Books! Join us Saturday, September 16 at 2:30 in Contois Auditorium for a special presentation by Crystal and Ariel Zevon. They’ll talk about the excitable boy’s vast collection and the impact of literature on his music, share memories and stories and hold a silent auction of selected volumes. Who knows, we might even spin a few tunes!

Bruce Springsteen pays tribute to Warren Zevon by playing My Ride, Co-written by Zevon and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon


Inside the back cover, lyrics to Warren’s song “Networking”…



Inside The Brothers Karamazov…

was this handmade calendar of Warren’s Mutineer tour with names like Shaffer (Paul), Asher (Peter), Goldberg (Danny). There was also a blurry photo of Warren. The pages they are between likely have meaning as well. His books were his filing system and he knew what was where and what they meant… but, as far as I know, he took his system with him!