Sometimes book readings can be dry, stale.
But that won’t be the case when Nick Jaina comes to town.
The acclaimed writer and musician will read from his book, Get It While You Can, on May 8 in Richland.
And he’ll break up the prose by breaking into song.
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“The book is about my life — experiences I’ve had and music I create. Sometimes (a section) relates to a song or is about a song, and I have the ability to play that song. I talk about music I love, and I’m able to read a passage and quote that song,” he said.
The event starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Caterpillar Cafe in Adventures Underground in the Uptown Shopping Center. Admission to the event is by donation.
Tri-City musician Drew Gale will open.
Jaina is based in Portland, and he’s earned widespread praise for his work.
I’d feel embarrassed describing Nick Jaina as a genius outright, and I’m sure he’d hate that too, but it’s so tempting — because he is so clearly the real deal.
Morgan Troper, The Portland Mercury
Morgan Troper wrote in The Portland Mercury that Jaina’s most recent album, Primary Perception, which includes the nimble and melodic Don’t Come to Me, is “simultaneously heartwarming and wrenching.”
“I’d feel embarrassed describing Nick Jaina as a genius outright, and I’m sure he’d hate that too, but it’s so tempting — because he is so clearly the real deal,” Troper wrote.
Get It While You Can also is racking up love. It was a 2016 Oregon Book Awards finalist, and The Los Angeles Review of Books called it “a love song to music and to those who make it and live it.”
Jaina hails from Sacramento, Calif., and has also called New Orleans home. He’s been in Portland for about a decade.
He found his way to music, fittingly, through words.
“Paul Simon, The Beatles, Leonard Cohen — I’m always drawn to the lyrics. I know a lot of people who listen to music and don’t think about the lyrics, which is fascinating to me. I love great lyricists,” he said.
For him, songwriting became a way to tell stories, to express himself.
And he built a fan base, a career in it — touring the world, releasing several albums on HUSH Records and Fluff & Gravy Records, writing soundtracks for films and plays.
His busy schedule didn’t leave him a lot of time to write prose, but penning a book “always was in the back of my mind,” he said.
Then a hard time hit. An emotional breakdown, heartbreak left him feeling lost.
Get It While You Can was born.
The great thing about doing shows like this — people come up afterward and want to share things, to talk. It’s a big part of what I love about doing this. The whole thing is one big conversation.
Nick Jaina, writer and musician
An “impressionistic memoir about love of music and the world,” according to his website, it has stories of his life, and also unsent love letters, even a list of the different kinds of sadness.
It’s meant to be a source of hope and comfort, Jaina said.
At one point, “I felt like there were no good things,” he said. “I worked my way through that, and I wanted to offer something positive in the world, a beacon of hope of how to navigate the world.”
He’ll have copies of the book on hand in Richland. And plenty of stories to tell and songs to sing.
“The great thing about doing shows like this — people come up afterward and want to share things, to talk. It’s a big part of what I love about doing this,” he said. “The whole thing is one big conversation.”
For more information, go to www.nickjaina.com.
IF YOU GO
What: Portland author and musician Nick Jaina will share songs and read from his new book, Get It While You Can. Tri-City musician Drew Gale will open the show.
When: 6:30 p.m. May 8.
Where: Caterpillar Cafe, 227 Symons St., Richland.