August 2012 Staff Reviews & More

Constant Contact
In This Issue:
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Staff Reviews
Readings
Science
Multnomah Days
More Staff Faves
Our staff enjoyed these books, too. And they're all in paperback!

by Russell Banks


Maine
by J. Courtney Sullivan


Office Girl
by Joe Meno


Wicked Autumn
by G.M. Malliet
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August 2012: Staff Reviews & More

Greetings!

Here 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!  
Staff Reviews
Our staff brings you two new favorites:

The Beautiful Mystery
by Louise Penny
reviewed by Kathy
Annie Bloom's Constant Contact logo
This 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 novel.

The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln
by Stephen L. Carter
reviewed by Carol
Yale 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:

 

Debra Dean    

The Mirrored World

Monday, September 10, 7pm

Annie Bloom's Constant Contact logo 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

Annie Bloom's Constant Contact logo 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.   

 

Yuvi Zalkow

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

Annie Bloom's Constant Contact logo 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.

Brain Bugs
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.
Multnomah Days!  
 
multnomah village logo
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.