June 2012: Staff Reviews & More

Constant Contact
In This Issue:
More Staff Favorites
Staff Reviews
Travel Books
More Staff Faves

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
by Ben Fountain 

The Watch
by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya 

by Neal Stephenson
[now in paperback!]

The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green 
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June 2012

Staff Reviews & More


We have a trio of new staff reviews for you! Also, get out your calendar for late June and July author readings. And plan a summer vacation with our Travel round-up. 
Staff Reviews
Our staff brings you three new staff favorites:

The Wedding Beat
by Devan Sipher
reviewed by Hannah
As a late thirty-something, single male, Gavin Greene is a hopeless romantic, a fact which seems to coincide well with his career as the "Vows" columnist at a highly touted New York City newspaper. He loves his job but is becoming increasingly aware that he too wants to find true love and that being around completely smitten couples day in and day out is starting to wear him down. Finally thinking he's found the love of his life, Melinda, at a New Year's Eve party, Gavin tries to pursue a relationship with her, only to find out that she is engaged and that he has been summoned to write the article on her wedding. With biting wit and subtle sarcasm, author Devan Sipher, who also happens to write the "Vows" column for the New York Times, brings a refreshing male perspective to typical "chick lit," proving that finding true love can be elusive for anyone and that, if you just believe and keep your heart open, you'll find it. 

Alif the Unseen
by G. Willow Wilson
reviewed by Michael
100 great poemsIn this debut novel, a young Middle Eastern hacker must open his mind to the powers of an unknown realm if he is to escape the crushing grasp of The Hand. Graphic novelist G. Willow Wilson leaves the illustrations behind, in this ingenious melding of techno-thriller and Arabian legend. Instead, her compelling tale relies on sharp prose, strong characters, and a vividly realized portrait of "The City." The citizens of this fictional metropolis are jailed (or worse) for questioning its totalitarian regime, led by The Hand. When The Hand turns Alif's newest program against him, he and his childhood best friend, Dina, escape to the streets of The City. Will the ancient book The Thousand and One Days bring them answers, or only more trouble? And is it really so wise to seek counsel from someone (or something) named Vikram the Vampire? Alif and Dina's race against captivity lead them through a labyrinth wherein technology, religion, cultural revolution, and mythology all bleed into one. Full of hairpin turns, Alif the Unseen is a wild ride, and one that you'll be eager to take at a breakneck speed.

by Andrew Nagorski
reviewed by Jeff
hitlerlandIt's been said that journalism is the first draft of history.But it's not an easy task, as Andrew Nagorski shows in Hitlerland. His book focuses on the community of American news correspondents stationed in Germany during the rise of Nazism and their differing views about Hitler's political skills and the potential danger he posed to the rest of Europe. The book shines well-needed light on the late 1920s, when Hitler and his followers were dismissed by many Germans as a fringe movement of troublemakers and extremists. But as Hitler skillfully tapped into German feelings of national pride and the dark undercurrent of anti-Semitism, it became obvious that he wasn't going to fade away. "What is happening in Germany?" and "What does Hitler really want?" were two key questions facing the American reporters. Their search for answers shows how complicated and controversial the first draft of history can be. 
Anna Keesey
Little Century
Wednesday, June 27, 7pm

keeseyIn this debut novel, a young woman heads West and finds she must choose between family and love. In the tradition of such classics as My Ántonia and There Will Be BloodLittle Century maps our country's cutthroat legacy of dispossession and greed, even as it celebrates the ecstatic visions of what America could become.


Matt Love
Sometimes a Great Movie
Thursday, June 28, 7pm
matt loveMatt Love documents the legend of the magical summer when Paul Newman traveled to the Oregon Coast to film Ken Kesey's Sometimes a Great Notion. What ensued was a wild working vacation between Hollywood and Oregonians involving beer, sex, scotch, loggers, beaches, and perhaps, a spectacularly vandalized pool table. Love's book presents over 125 never-before-seen photographs, including many in color.


Plan Ahead for Our July Readings:


Natalie Serber - Tuesday, 7/10

Joe Meno, Nathan Larson & Kim Baxter - Wednesday, 7/11 

Heather Barbieri - Thursday, 7/12

Wild in the City - Wednesday, 7/18

Mark Ellis - Thursday, 7/19  

Travel Books 
Breaking the mold of traditional bicycling guides, Ellee Thalheimer's Cycling Sojourner provides all the tools bicyclists need for multiple day, self-supported bicycle tours in Oregon. Each chapter guides bikers through a different trip throughout the Pacific Northwest, steering travelers through every turn, while pointing out attractions of note. Bicycling is an excellent way to have an active vacation and this guidebook offers bicycle adventures all throughout Oregon. From beginners to experts, this book is suitable for all riding levels and budgets.

Off the Beaten Path Oregon features the things travelers and locals want to see and experience--if only they knew about them. From the best in local dining to quirky cultural tidbits to hidden attractions, unique finds, and unusual locales, Myrna Oakley's guide book takes the reader down the road less traveled and reveals a side of Iowa that other guidebooks just don't offer. 

In one of the most inventive travel books in years, Ina Caro invites readers on twenty-five one-day train trips that depart from Paris and transport us back through seven hundred years of French history. Whether taking us to Orleans to evoke the visions of Joan of Arc or to the Place de la Concorde to witness the beheading of Marie Antoinette, Caro animates history with her lush descriptions of architectural splendors and tales of court intrigue. Paris to the Past has become one of the classic guidebooks of our time. Now out in paperback!

100 great poemsA self-described Francophile from when he was little, Rosecrans Baldwin always dreamed of living in Paris. When he and his wife moved there for his new job, things were not eactly what Rosecrans remembered from a family vacation when he was nine years old. Paris, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down is a nimble comic account of observing the French capital from the inside out. It is a book about a young man finding his preconceptions replaced by the oddities of a vigorous, nervy city-which is just what he needs to fall in love with Paris for the second time.