|April 2015 Staff Favorites, Sports, Readings, and More!
We've got new staff reviews for you! Plus, read about our latest Theme section, author events, and the latest in Sports.
New Staff Reviews
|New reviews for you!
by Laura Ruby
reviewed by Ruby
With monstrous guard dogs, faceless kidnappers, and a magical flying horse, Laura Ruby breathes the dark chills of magical realism into the town of Bone Gap. Roza, the spontaneous caretaker of abandoned brothers Finn and Sean, has gone missing. While everyone else is sure she ran off (just like their mother), Finn convinces the beekeeper's daughter, Petey, to help him search high and low in the corn fields for clues. Bone Gap is a YA novel that scrubs some of the varnish off of fairytale notions of women's power, replacing them with the tang of a fantastical, dark journey--to find the lost girl, to reach the people you love, and to free yourself. Petey and Roza might just be my favorite heroines this year, and Bone Gap is a tight, magical, important story.
Waking, Dreaming, Being
by Evan Thompson
reviewed by Andy
A wonderful presentation of how two eminently pragmatic endeavors can inform and advance one another: Western neuroscience and Eastern contemplative practice (specifically Tibetan Buddhism in this work). No background in either is necessary to absorb the wealth of insights lucidly laid out in this book. If you're interested in consciousness and how the brain and mind interact, this is a great book to tackle.
by Nick Hornby
reviewed by Kathy
About the time that the first daffodils bloom, I yearn for a recess from challenging novels that explore how broken people struggle to make sense of lives shattered by random evil. Hornby provides just the relief I needed in his new novel. Barbara, as she is being crowned Miss Blackpool of 1964, foresees the conventional life suddenly stretching out before her. But she is funny, and determined, and has long dreamed of being Lucille Ball. She refuses her crown and runs away to London. From chance encounters and her own good-natured toughness, Sophie Straw, BBC star comedienne, is born. Sophie's life unfolds in the midst of a creative whirlwind as the staid BBC succumbs to the power of popular "light" entertainment, and she and her fellow actors, writers, and producers, encounter the gains and pains of sudden wild success. The characters in this novel are kind and decent people, much like most of us, and I enjoyed every delightful minute in their company.
By the way, April is National Poetry Month, and, for those of you wanting to dwell a bit more in the time of the daffodils and savor the gentle blessings of ordinary life, Kathy also recommends Ted Kooser's new collection, Splitting an Order.
Upcoming Readings & Events
Readings and Independent Bookstore Day
Step Into Nature
Thursday, April 16, 7pm
Step outside your door and reconnect with nature. This guide will replenish your connection to the earth and inspire you to develop and strengthen your imagination. The natural world has inspired artists, seekers, and thinkers for millennia, but in recent times, as the pace of life has sped up, its demands have moved us indoors. Vecchione demonstrates how nature can support and enhance your creative output, invigorate your curiosity, and restore your sense of connection to and love of the earth. Included throughout the book is "The Cabinet of Curiosities," exercises and suggestions for practical and unexpected ways to stimulate your imagination, deepen your relationship with nature, and experience the harmony between creativity and the natural world.
at The Craft Factory
Saturday, April 18, 10am
A charming read-aloud picture book about learning to be yourself, filled with movement and including a page with fun facts about bugs! Fly can't wiggle like a worm. He can't jump like a grasshopper. And he can't swing like a spider.
Don't give up, Fly! Keep trying, and with a little help from your garden friends, you'll find your own special talent. From acclaimed Portland illustrator Karl Newsom Edwards, this is a story about self-discovery through perseverance that encourages toddlers to get up and move to their own buggy groove!
When Your Mother Doesn't
Tuesday, April 21, 7pm
Nearly three decades of secrets lie between Lola Ashby and the two girls she reluctantly raised. Now, badgered by the one father figure she respects, older daughter Frankie agrees to drive from Portland to visit her ailing mother, Lola, who abandoned her and her adopted sister, Callie, when they were in high school. When Callie announces she's moving her fashion model career to LA from the East Coast, Frankie guilt-trips her sister into meeting up in the Idaho panhandle for a family reunion to dilute the impact of their mother's indifference. However, on Frankie's first night on the road, the trip gets more complicated when a well-dressed elderly woman at a rest stop dumps a young boy in her lap with a request to take him on to Montana. And Callie's exit from Pittsburgh is fraught with its own shady and violent difficulties. Meanwhile, Lola strengthens her resolve to keep the past and the secrets where they belong.
The Shark Curtain
Thursday, April 23, 7pm
Set against the changing terrain of middle-class values and the siren calls of art and puberty, The Shark Curtain invites us into Lily Asher's wonderful, terrible world. The older of two girls growing up in suburban Portland, Oregon, in the mid-1960s, her inner life stands in quirky contrast to the loving but dysfunctional world around her. Often misunderstood by her flawed but well-intentioned parents, teenage Lily orbits their tumultuous love affair, embracing what embraces her back: the ghost of her drowned dog, a lost aunt, numbers, shoe boxes, werewolves, rituals, and stories she pens herself (including one about a miscarried sibling she dubs "Frog Boy"). With "regular" visits from a wisecracking Jesus, an affectionate but combative friendship is born--a friendship that strains Lily's grasp of reality as much as her patience.
Independent Bookstore Day
Saturday, May 2
Saturday, May 2, 2015 marks the inaugural Independent Bookstore Day. Annie Bloom's will be celebrating all day long with hourly drawings, scavenger hunts for kids and adults, and snacks and beverages. Plus, we'll be partnering with our next-door neighbors The Craft Factory, who will offer book-themed craft sessions and story times. Anni Bloom's will also be selling unique literary items created exclusively for IBD, including Roxanne Gay signed chapbooks, literary tea towel sets, Guess How Much I Love Reading onesies, signed Captain Underpants prints, and other super cool pieces.
She Writes Press
Céline Keating, Leanna Lehman, Kamy Wicoff
Monday, May 4, 7pm
In Keating's Play for Me, married videographer Lily falls deep into the world of a guitarist named JJ. This novel captures the thrill and heartbreak of deciding to leave behind what you love to follow what you desire. In Lehman's Vote for Remi, high school US government teacher Remi's students nominate her for president as a hoax. As the campaign takes on a life of its own, Remi is forced to confront a myriad of long-held social biases and cultural cliches, and realizes she isn't quite the woman she thought was. In Wicoff's Wishful Thinking, divorced mother Jennifer obtains a miraculous time-travel app called Wishful Thinking. But Jennifer soon finds herself facing questions that adding more hours to her day can't answer.
Wild Women, Wild Voices
Tuesday, May 12, 7pm
In her years as a writing coach, Judy Reeves has found twin urges in women: they yearn to reclaim a true nature that resides below the surface of daily life and to give it voice. Wild Women, Wild Voices responds to women's deep need for expression with specific and inspiring activities, exercises, and writing prompts. With true empathy, Reeves invites, instructs, and celebrates the authentic expression--even the howl--of the wild in every woman.
The Spy's Son
Thursday, May 14, 7pm
at O'Connor's "The Vault"
Investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prize finalist Bryan Denson tells the riveting story of the Nicholsons--father and son co-conspirators who deceived their country by selling national secrets to Russia. In 1997, Jim Nicholson became the highest ranking CIA officer ever convicted of espionage. But his duplicity didn't stop there. While behind the bars of a federal prison, the former mole systematically groomed the one person he trusted most to serve as his stand-in: his youngest son, Nathan.. When asked to smuggle messages out of prison to Russian contacts, Nathan saw an opportunity to be heroic and to make his father proud.
New in Sports
Check out these great new titles from our Sports section:
Every Day I Fight
by Stuart Scott
Shortly before he passed away, on January 4, 2015, Stuart Scott completed work on this memoir. It was both a labor of love and a love letter to life itself. Not only did Stuart relate his personal story--his childhood in North Carolina, his supportive family, his athletic escapades, his on-the-job training as a fledgling sportscaster, his being hired and eventual triumphs at ESPN--he shared his intimate struggles to keep his story going. Every Day I Fight is a saga of love, an inspiration to us all.
by Steve Kettman
Granted unprecedented access to a working GM over several seasons, Steve Kettmann traces Sandy Alderson's history and his renewal of the Mets despite a limited budget, through big trades that brought back high-profile prospects to the development of young aces including Matt Harvey, Zach Wheeler, and Jacob deGrom. Now, the turnaround is almost complete. Baseball Maverick is a gripping, behind-the-scenes look at a Major League team and a fascinating exploration of what it means to be smart.
by Dan Jenkins
Jenkins delves into the greatest rounds of golf he's ever seen; the funniest things said on a golf course; the rivalries on tour and in the press box; the game's most magical moments--and its most absurd. Unplayable Lies is an ode to the game Jenkins loves. But it is Dan Jenkins, so nothing--even the game of golf--can escape his wrath, his critical eye, or his acerbic pen. Half of the forty-one essays here are brand new, the others are all reworked and rewritten, based on pieces that were originally published in "Golf Digest." Often biting, usually cranky, always hilarious and surprising--this is Dan Jenkins at his best.
The Secret Game
by Scott Ellsworth
This is the true story of the game that never should have happened. In the wartime fall of 1943, at the little-known North Carolina College for Negroes, Coach John McLendon was on the verge of changing the game forever. Within six months, his Eagles would become the highest scoring college basketball team in America. Across town, the Duke University team were prepared to play anyone--that is, until an audacious invitation arrived, one that was years ahead of anything the South had ever seen before. This is the story of how a handful of forgotten college basketball players not only changed the game forever, but also helped to usher in a new America.