|April 2017 Staff Favorites, Sports, Readings, and More!
We've got new staff reviews for you! Plus, read about Independent Bookstore Day, author readings, and the latest in Sports.
New Staff Reviews
|New reviews for you!
The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone
by Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach
reviewed by Andy
The authors detail how, until directly questioned, we believe we understand a great many things about the world. They stress that the world is simply too complex and full of too many details for one mind to master, so we often rely on intuition instead of deliberation. We operate under this "knowledge illusion" in part because we rely on the thoughts and expertise of others while rarely explicitly acknowledging this. As such, intelligence is best conceived as being spread over a community. We're always working in teams and always relying on an unspoken "division of cognitive labor" while attempting to achieve our goals. The knowledge illusion results in a host of problems when we attempt to deal with complex issues (e.g., climate change, the economy, politics). The book shines when the authors remain in the areas of their expertise. When they venture into philosophy and physics, their examples are scant and the issues they bring in become oversimplified. This criticism (or compliment), of course, is a good example of the main thesis of the book.
The Bear and the Nightingale
by Katherine Arden
reviewed by Karen
Vasya the only one who sees the spirits that protect her people from evil, but she isn't the only person who believes in them. Others leave offerings until Vasya's stepmother calls in a priest who demands the people give up their pagan ways. Soon after, things begin to go dreadfully wrong, and Vasya struggles to bolster the spirits, striving to save her village from the evil that threatens to engulf it. Based on a Russian folktale, The Bear and the Nightingale is engaging in both its storyline and its poetic language.
by Cory Doctorow
reviewed by Nick
Walkaway presents a post-scarcity near future where almost anything--food, clothes, medicine, electronics--can be 3D printed with ease. As capitalism seamlessly transforms to oligarchy and social inequity rages on, many disillusioned citizens decide to simply "walk away" from the rat race to inhabit environmentally ravaged or otherwise disenfranchised territory, free to try their hand at creating whichever brand of utopia they prefer. A fascinatingly thorough conception of how spiraling technology will wage war against conventional socioeconomic structures, Doctorow infuses his techno-adventure with lessons all too relevant for humanity as we continue deeper into the 21st century.
Independent Bookstore Day
| Saturday, April 29, 2017
marks the third annual Independent Bookstore Day
. Annie Bloom's will be celebrating all day
long with fun activities: scavenger hunt, poster board, color-in postcards. We will also be selling unique items created exclusively for IBD, including Elephant & Piggie onesies, Jenny Lawson "Lost & Found" prints, Literary Cocktail Party books, and more!
April and May Readings at Annie Blooms:
Tuesday, April 18, 7pm
Portland author DeFreitas will read from her novel Hot Season. In the tinder-dry Southwest, three roommates--students at Deep Canyon College, known for its radical politics--are looking for love, adventure, and the promise of a bigger life that led them West. But when the FBI comes to town in pursuit of an alum wanted for "politically motivated crimes of property," rumor has it that undercover agents are enrolled in classes, making the college dating scene just a bit more sketchy than usual. Katie, an incoming freshman, will discover a passion for activism that will put her future in jeopardy; Jenna, in her second semester, will find herself seduced by deception; and Rell, a senior, will discover her voice, her calling, and love where she least expects it.
Ruth Tenzer Feldman and Amber Keyser
Young Adult Authors
Thursday, April 20, 7pm
In Portland author Feldman's Seven Stitches, it's been a year since the Big One devastated Portland. Meryem continues to search for her mother even as she learns to live without her. After she receives a magical prayer shawl handed down from her maternal grandmother, a mysterious stranger appears, and Meryem is called to save a young girl living in slavery--in sixteenth-century Istanbul. In Keyser's Pointe, Claw, childhood friends Dawn and Jessie are both running out of time. Jessie has one shot at her ballet dream. Dawn's blackouts are getting worse. At every turn, they crash into the many ways girls are watched, judged, used, and discarded. Should they play it safe or go feral? The answer lies in the forest with a bear in a cage.
Ruth Wariner and Anna LeBaron
Escaping Cults, Publishing Memoirs
Tuesday, April 25, 7pm
Annie Bloom's welcomes cousins Ruth Wariner and Anna Lebaron to read from their memoirs about escaping the polygamist cults in which they were raised. In 1972, Ervil LeBaron (infamously nicknamed the "Mormon Manson") had his brother Joel LeBaron killed in a bid to take over as prophet of their family's fundamentalist church. The two men both practiced polygamy and fathered almost 100 children in total. Now, 45 years later, two of their (many) daughters have written about their experiences. Wariner details her experience in The Sound of Gravel and LeBaron in The Polygamist's Daughter. Thanks to their books, the authors reconnected and began a major family healing process.
Wednesday, April 26, 7pm
Portland writer Amy Minato will read from her new poetry collection, Hermit Thrush. "Cinematic, sensual, timeless, immediate. Amy Minato's poetry echoes vignettes from the wilds of nature and the deep well of the human heart. Poised to forge the alchemy between human nature and the natural world, Hermit Thrush is more than a book of poems, it is a rare elixir of connection in a thirsty world." -Kate Power
Thursday, May 4, 7pm
Local author Wendt will read from his novel. It's 1976 and the United States is home to The Giganticos, a football super squad led by the one and only Pearl of Brazil, and more or less the only reason AASSA (American All-Star Soccer Association) exists. Enter Danny Hooper, a third-division English footballer from East Southwhich Albion, whose thuggish reputation limits him to playing the role of enforcer. After Danny takes his frustrations out on an unfortunate opponent's tibia, he finds himself sold to the Rose City Revolution of Portland. But there is more to the trade than a shocked Danny could ever imagine: turns out, he's going to America not just to introduce soccer to its skeptical masses, but to help foil a communist plot.
Tuesday, May 9, 7pm
Andreas will read from his memoir. Carol Andreas was a traditional 1950s housewife from a small Mennonite town in central Kansas who became a radical feminist and Marxist revolutionary. From the late sixties to the early eighties, she went through multiple husbands and countless lovers while living in three states and five countries. She took her youngest son, Peter, with her wherever she went, even kidnapping him and running off to South America after his straitlaced father won a long and bitter custody fight. This is an extraordinary account of a deep mother-son bond and the joy and toll of growing up with a radical mother in a radical age.
Ivy Get Your Gun
Wednesday, May 17, 7pm
"The Vault" at O'Connor's Restaurant
In Portland author Cindy Brown's fourth Ivy Meadows novel, there's a new sheriff in town--and she can sing! When Gold Bug Gulch's actor-gunslinger Mongo winds up shot for real, actress and part-time PI Ivy Meadows goes undercover as the ingénue in the tourist town's melodrama. Unfortunately, she's distracted by a pack of marauding Chihuahuas, a problematic love life, auditions for Annie Get Your Gun, and a personal mission: to show people the real Annie Oakley. What's more, the no-good, yellow-bellied varmint who killed Mongo isn't finished with the Gulch--or with Ivy. Will our heroine prove she CAN get a man with a gun--before the killer gets her?
Patricia Bailey, Janet Johnson & Heidi Schulz
Middle Grade Reading
Monday, May 22, 7pm
Annie Bloom's welcomes three great Oregon Middle Grade authors on one night! In Patricia Bailey's The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan, life in a 1905 Nevada mining town is not easy for thirteen-year-old Kit, who must find a way to expose goldmine owner Mr. Granger's misdeeds before it's too late. In Janet Sumner Johnson's The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society, Annie tracks a lost treasure to her best friend Jason's backyard, and she's sure the booty will be enough to save Jason's family from foreclosure on their house. In Heidi Schulz's Hook's Revenge, twelve-year-old Jocelyn dreams of becoming every bit as daring as her infamous father, Captain James Hook, so, when Jocelyn receives a letter from her father challenging her to avenge his untimely demise at the jaws of the Neverland crocodile, she doesn't hesitate.
Nan Narboe, Susan Troccolo, and Paul Casey
Aging: An Apprenticeship
Thursday, May 25, 7pm
Local writers Nan Narboe, Susan Troccolo, and Paul Casey will read their pieces from the anthology Aging: An Apprenticeship, edited by Narboe. These 56 thoughtfully selected essays offer an intimate and lyrical account of aging through the decades. In six sections, these detail-rich essays paint an accessible picture of nearing 50, the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, the 90s and beyond with equal parts humor and insight. Nan Narboe introduces the book with a piece on "Informed Aging." In her essay "Slaying St. George," Susan Troccolo writes about surviving cancer. In Paul Casey's "Katie Couric Is No Friend of Mine," a colonoscopy, not a red convertible, marks his initiation into mid-life.
Penelope Scambly Schott and Sage Cohen
Honest Writing about Tough Personal Stuff
Wednesday, May 31, 7pm
Schott's Serpent Love: A Mother-Daughter Epic is an intimate, intense, and, yes, courageous exploration of a common story, conflict between mother and adult daughter. In this version, the mother's attempt to help the newly-divorced daughter is definitely not a success. We get the mother's story in poetry--well-meaning love and terrible anger--and then the daughter's honest essay in response. In Cohen's Fierce on the Page, you have everything you need to do the writing you are meant to do. And yet the path to success can be difficult to find and follow. Cohen believes that ferocity is your best compass for finding your true way forward. In this collection of contemplative and inspiring essays, you'll unlock the secrets to naming your deepest desires, eliminating the challenges that hold you back, and committing to your practice.
New in Sports
Check out these great new titles from our Sports section:
Baseball Meat Market
by Shawn Krest
Sportswriter Shawn Krest shares a detailed narrative behind the best and worst MLB player trades in history. Few topics of baseball can get fans as easily riled up as trades, and any baseball fan will spout words of rage or thrill at the big blockbuster ones. However, reviewing those mismatch trades is a little like judging the best home runs by how far they went. Instead of only focusing on the first-round knockouts, this book deals with the 12-round title fights of baseball trades. The best trades are the ones that changed the history of the sport. The worst ones didn't just get a GM fired--they cost a city its team. In Baseball Meat Market, readers get a bird's eye view of these most important trades and how they shaped baseball into what it is today.
Arnie: The Life of Arnold Palmer
by Tom Callahan
In this definitive biography, veteran sportswriter Tom Callahan shines a spotlight on one of the greatest golfers ever to play the game. The winner of more than ninety championships, including four Masters Tournaments, Arnold Palmer was a legend in twentieth century sports: a supremely gifted competitor beloved for his powerful hitting, his nerve on the greens, and his great rapport with fans. Perhaps above all others, Palmer was the reason golf's popularity exploded, as the King of the links helped define golf's golden age. Callahan knew Palmer well for many years, and now pays tribute to this golfing icon. Filled with great stories from the key people in Palmer's life, Arnie is an entertaining and illuminating portrait of a remarkable man and his extraordinary legacy.
Dust Bowl Girls
by Lydia Reeder
In the early 1930s, during the worst drought and financial depression in American history, Sam Babb began to dream. Like so many others, this charismatic Midwestern basketball coach wanted a reason to have hope. Traveling from farm to farm near the tiny Oklahoma college where he coached, Babb recruited talented, hardworking young women and offered them a chance at a better life: a free college education in exchange for playing on his basketball team, the Cardinals. Dust Bowl Girls takes readers on the Cardinals' intense, improbable journey all the way to an epic showdown with the prevailing national champions, helmed by the legendary Babe Didrikson.
by Jeff Passan
Yahoo's lead baseball columnist offers an in-depth look at the most valuable commodity in sports--the pitching arm--and how its vulnerability to injury is hurting players and the game, from Little League to the majors. Injuries to the ulnar collateral ligament start as early as Little League. Without a drastic cultural shift, baseball will continue to lose hundreds of millions of dollars annually to damaged pitchers, and another generation of children will suffer the same problems that vex current players. Informative and hard-hitting, The Arm is essential reading for everyone who loves the game, wants to keep their children healthy, or relishes a look into how a large, complex institution can fail so spectacularly.