August 2012: Staff Reviews & More
are two new staff reviews for you! Also, we have some great September
events coming up. Plus, check out what's new in Science. And Multnomah
Days is this weekend!
|Our staff brings you two new favorites:
The Beautiful Mystery
by Louise Penny
reviewed by Kathy
is the seventh in this Canadian author's novels featuring Chief
Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec. Gamache and his
second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, find themselves in a small fishing
boat on their way to an isolated monastery on the far shore of a lonely
northern lake. A monk has been murdered, and the key to the crime seems
to be plainchant, "the word of God sung in the voice of God." As
Gamache and Beauvoir disinter the unquiet spirits that corrode this holy
place, they find themselves under attack by their own demons. Penny
draws on history, musicology, neuroscience, and sociology to pursue
multiple threads, while keeping the reader's attention riveted on the
interaction of character and narrative arc in this subtle and complex
The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln
by Stephen L. Carter
reviewed by Carol
law professor Stephen L. Carter fictionalizes the question, "What if
Abraham Lincoln had survived his assassination attempt at Ford Theatre?"
Two years later, Lincoln is left with little support as he faces
charges from his Congress of overstepping his constitutional authority
during and after the war. Was Lincoln a tyrant who crushed the nation's
enemies, or the hero who saved the Union? Part courtroom drama, part
history lesson on race and law, Carter directs a cast of characters
including Abigail Canner, a young black Oberlin graduate who joins his
defense team, and a Lincoln we never knew.
Readings & Hobbit Party
|September Events at Annie Blooms:
The Mirrored World
Monday, September 10, 7pm
The author of The Madonnas of Leningrad reads from The Mirrored World,
a breathtaking novel of love and madness set in 18th century Russia.
Transporting readers to St. Petersburg during the reign of Catherine the
Great, Dean brilliantly reconstructs and reimagines the life of St.
Xenia, one of Russia's most revered and mysterious holy figures, in a
richly told and thought-provoking work of historical fiction that
recounts the unlikely transformation of a young girl, a child of
privilege, into a saint beloved by the poor.
Michael Montlack, Emily Kendal Frey & Michael Sage Ricci
Thursday, September 13, 7pm
Michael Montlack [pictured] is the author of the poetry book Cool Limbo and the editor of the essay anthology My Diva. His newest release is Divining Divas, the poetry follow-up to My Diva. Portland poet Emily Kendal Frey is the author of The Grief Performance, as well as several chapbook and chapbook collaborations, including Airport, Frances, and The New Planet. Michael Sage Ricci
is a Portland writer, artist and writing teacher. His short stories,
poems, essays and interviews have appeared in multiple journals and
anthologies. He is currently finishing his first novel Where the Jersey Devil Lives.
A Brilliant Novel in the Works
Thursday, September 20, 7pm
Yuvi worries. He has a wife who wants things he can't give her, an
editor who wants a book he can't deliver, a brother-in-law whose
gastrointestinal disease may lead him to a morbid end, and dead parents
who, well, they don't really want anything, but that doesn't stop the
memory of them from haunting him. Heartbreaking and hilarious, A Brilliant Novel in the Works
is the utterly original debut novel from Yuvi Zalkow, praised by
Cheryl Strayed as "the secret love child of the smartest person you've
ever met and the weirdo who lives down the block."
The Hobbit Party!
Sunday, September 23, 2pm
Join us for a fun celebration of The Hobbit.
This year is the 75th anniversary of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic tale of
Bilbo Baggins, who ventures forth from the comfort of his home in the
Shire to win a share of the treasure guarded by the dragon, Smaug.
Mark your calendars now, and look forward to future details on all the
awesome activities we'll have in store for you at our Hobbit Party!
New in Science
|The Social Conquest of Earth
by Edward O. Wilson
Where did we come from? What are we? Where are we going? In a
generational work of clarity and passion, one of our greatest living
scientists directly addresses these three fundamental questions of
religion, philosophy, and science while overturning the famous theory
that evolution naturally encourages creatures to put family first.
Wilson draws on his remarkable knowledge of biology and social behavior
to show that group selection, not kin selection, is the primary driving
force of human evolution.
Cycles of Time
by Roger Penrose
Penrose details the basic principles beneath our universe, explaining
various standard and non-standard cosmological models, the fundamental
role of the cosmic microwave background, the paramount significance of
black holes, and other basic building blocks of contemporary physics.
Intellectually thrilling and widely accessible, Cycles of Time is a welcome new contribution to our understanding of the universe from one of our greatest mathematicians and thinkers.
The Believing Brain
by Michael Shermer
Synthesizing thirty years of research, psychologist and science,
Shermer upends the traditional thinking about how humans form beliefs
about the world. Simply put, beliefs come first and explanations for
beliefs follow. Using sensory data that flow in through the senses, the
brain naturally begins to look for and find patterns, and then infuses
those patterns with meaning, forming beliefs. Once beliefs are formed
the brain begins to look for and find confirmatory evidence in support
of those beliefs, accelerating the process of reinforcing them, and
round and round the process goes in a positive-feedback loop.
by Dean Buonomano
The human brain may be the best piece of technology ever created, but
it's far from perfect. Drawing on colorful examples and surprising
research, neuroscientist Dean Buonomano exposes the blind spots and
weaknesses that beset our brains and lead us to make misguided personal,
professional, and financial decisions. Whether explaining why we are
susceptible to advertisements or demonstrating how false memories are
formed, Brain Bugs not only explains the brain's inherent flaws but also gives us the tools to counteract them.
Celebrate the neighborhood on Saturday, August 18. The Multnomah Days
parade begins at 10am. You can chow down before that at the Kiwanis
pancake breakfast at Key Bank, beginning at 8am. The Kids Zone runs from
9-4 at the Multnomah Center, food vendors will be everywhere, and bands
will be playing all day and into the night. Drop by Annie Bloom's for
an air-conditioned break from the crowds. For more information on
Multnomah Days activities, visit the website for the Multnomah Village Business Association