April 2019: Staff Favorites, Author Readings, Indie Bookstore Day, and Poetry

April 2019: Staff Favorites, Author Readings, Indie Bookstore Day, and Poetry
Check out our staff's latest faves, find out which authors are reading here soon, read about Independent Bookstore Day, and see what's new in our Poetry section. But first....
Upcoming Releases
These books are among the most anticipated new releases in the coming weeks. Click on a cover or title to pre-order from our website.
by Ian McEwan
Out: April 23
Machines Like Me takes place in an alternative 1980s London. Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a terrible secret. When Charlie comes into money, he buys Adam, one of the first synthetic humans and—with Miranda's help—he designs Adam's personality. The near-perfect human that emerges is beautiful, strong, and clever. It isn't long before a love triangle soon forms, and these three beings confront a profound moral dilemma. In his subversive new novel, Ian McEwan asks whether a machine can understand the human heart—or whether we are the ones who lack understanding.
by Rosanne Parry
Out: May 7
From our very own Rosanne, this gripping novel about survival and family is based on the real story of one wolf's incredible journey to find a safe place to call home. Swift, a young wolf cub, lives with his pack in the mountains learning to hunt, competing with his brothers and sisters for hierarchy, and watching over a new litter of cubs. Then a rival pack attacks, and Swift and his family scatter. Alone and scared, Swift must flee and find a new home. His journey takes him a remarkable one thousand miles across the Pacific Northwest. The trip is full of peril, and Swift encounters forest fires, hunters, highways, and hunger before he finds his new home.
by Casey Cep
Out: May 7
This is the stunning story of an Alabama serial killer and the true-crime book that Harper Lee worked on obsessively in the years after To Kill a Mockingbird. Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell's murderer was acquitted--thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the Reverend. Sitting in the audience during the vigilante's trial was Harper Lee, who spent a year in town reporting, and many more years working on her own version of the case. Now Casey Cep brings this story to life, from the shocking murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South. At the same time, she offers a deeply moving portrait of one of the country's most beloved writers and her struggle with fame, success, and the mystery of artistic creativity.
by David McCullough
Out: May 7
As part of the Treaty of Paris, in which Great Britain recognized the new United States of America, Britain ceded the land that comprised the immense Northwest Territory, a wilderness empire northwest of the Ohio River containing the future states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. In 1788 the first band of pioneers set out from New England for the Northwest Territory. They settled in what is now Marietta on the banks of the Ohio River. Drawn in great part from a rare and all-but-unknown collection of diaries and letters by the key figures, The Pioneers is a uniquely American story of people whose ambition and courage led them to remarkable accomplishments. This is a revelatory and quintessentially American story, written with David McCullough's signature narrative energy.
Staff Favorites
Here are some great new books, as chosen by three members of the Annie Bloom's staff:
by Ann Leckie
Reviewed by Nick
Fans of Ann Leckie's science fiction will surely enjoy her latest novel The Raven Tower, which breaks the trend of space opera with a fantasy setting reminiscent of ancient Mediterranean civilization. Leckie utilizes a unique narrative structure to intertwine two seemingly separate stories: one a Shakespearean tale of empire and betrayal, one the life story of an ancient god. The Raven Tower tells the reader a gripping tale while simultaneously establishing an intricately detailed fantasy world for it to rest upon.
by Niels Birbaumer and Jorg Zittlau
Reviewed by Andy

Every brain needs a break and every mind needs some down time. Unfortunately, the brain is constantly seeking the next experience, which our society overwhelms us with, and has also evolved to expect the worst. Luckily, in Empty Brain Happy Brain, neurobiologist Niels Birbaumer shows how we're able to reach a state of emptiness in which "the defense and stress systems in the brain are inhibited, a strange kind of openness occurs in the senses, thinking in words and sentences is rolled back, and any feeling of 'drive' ebbs away." Music, meditation, flotation tanks, marching in step, chanting at sporting events, arrowhead poison and other portals to emptiness are described. The Buddha, Schopenhauer, locked-in patients, psychopaths and college students grace the pages. It is a wide-ranging book connecting many disparate disciplines, most interestingly contemplative practice and neuroscience.
by John Lanchester
Reviewed by Karen

Kavanagh is stuck on the wall defending the border. It's deadly cold and miserable and there's no way out of it. Everyone must serve two years on the wall where sea levels are rising and the danger of invasion by the Others is ever present. Even though the penalty for any breach of the wall is to become an outcast–an Other–Kavanagh wonders if some excitement wouldn't be better than the solitary, mind-numbing, twelve hour shifts he has to endure. In a world where the only goal seems to be continued existence, he begins to contemplate the risk of change and, even more precarious, of relationship. John Lanchester strikes a chord in this dystopian novel by underlining issues of our time–climate change, political polarization, xenophobia–in a survival story that becomes much more.
Upcoming Events
Wednesday, April 17, 7pm
The Portland author returns for the latest in her Emma Golden Mystery Series. A crumbling old resort. A dead brother. A phantom boat in the mist. Nightmares. And then, a body. In this modern-day gothic novel set on the scenic Columbia River Gorge, Sage Blackthorn revisits demons from her past and confronts a multitude of new ones when she returns to her childhood home to solve the mystery of her brother’s death. Once at Blackthorn, the family’s decrepit resort, Sage is confronted with a flood of problems. What is going on, and who can she trust?
Revenge in 3 Parts
Thursday, April 25, 7pm
The Oregon author reads from her debut thriller, which takes the reader from Paris to Portland, Oregon, and finally to Kauai. Criminal attorney Angeline Porter thrives on crime--righting wrongs, fighting for justice, putting away murderers. But after rebuking the sexual advances of the head of her firm, plus putting away his friend, a serial rapist, Angeline is disbarred. When Angeline's beautiful but troubled sister Sophie commits suicide, she seeks to right the myriad of injustices that provoked her sister and acts to avenge her death. Taut and intense with heart-pumping twists, Revenge in 3 Parts uses classic noir language laced with modern tropes--a hacker named Snoop, the Ashley Madison dating site, and Snapchat--and burns with contemporary femmes-noir energy creating a new crime genre and heroine for a disturbed modern age.
All Day!
Annie Bloom's is celebrating the 5th annual Independent Bookstore Day with a slew of super-cool exclusive books and literary items, plus a scavenger hunt! Some of the unique items available on Independent Bookstore Day include: Wings of Fire mini flipbook short story by Tui T. Sutherland, The Girl Who Drank the Moon (signed with exclusive sticker pack for Bookstore Day) by Kelly Barnhill, Women Talking by Miriam Toews (signed with an exclusive Bookstore Day cover), "We Should All be Feminists" (Adiche) zippered pouch, "Fight Evil, Read Books" enamel pin, Adjustment Day (signed with an exclusive Bookstore Day cover) by Chuck Palahniuk .... and more items available on April 27!
Thursday, May 9, 7pm
Annie Bloom's welcomes Seattle author Ari Rosenschein to read from his debut short fiction collection, Coasting, which follows music industry aspirants, a brooding record store clerk, goth teens, and others into rehearsal rooms, 12-step meetings, a cult indoctrination, even a Russian heavy metal bunker. Along the way, they pursue success, connection, and a sense of purpose. Perched between Middle Men and A Visit From the Goon Squad, Coasting "will make recovering scenesters laugh, nod, and cringe in recognition, and then give thanks they grew up." -Kara Vernor, author of Because I Wanted to Write You a Pop Song.
Thursday, May 16, 7pm
Annie Bloom's welcomes six contributors from Sacred Stone, Sacred Water: Women Writers & Artists Encounter Ireland: book editor Carolyn Brigit Flynn, June BlueSpruce, Jean Mahoney, Sarojani Rohan, Linda Serrato, and Jessica Webb. This elegant and intimate collection of writing, art, and photography evokes Ireland's wild beauty and deep soul through the work of 14 American women writers and artists at some of the island's most eminent sacred sites. The contributors include award-winning writers, poets, photographers and artists, with backgrounds as medical doctors, healers, psychotherapists, musicians, shamans, teachers, social workers, and international women's activists.
Poetry Reading
Tuesday, May 21, 7pm
Gallagher's new collection, Is, Is Not, upends our notions of linear time, evokes the spirit and sanctity of place, and hovers daringly at the threshold of what language can nearly deliver while offering alternative corollaries as gifts of its failures. Restorative in every sense, Is, Is Not is a book of the spirit made manifest by the poet’s unrelenting gaze and her intimate engagement with the mysteries that keep us reaching. Southwest Portland poet Paulann Petersen's latest collection, One Small Sun, takes readers from a fur shop in Oregon to a Hyderabadi shrine in India’s subcontinent. Its pages contain a meditation on post-mortem photographs, an ode to the female earwig, an elegy for a grandmother's panache. Tapping deeply into memory, relying on poetry’s ability to bring alive again what is coded into the blood, this collection tells the tales of what she has always realized, is ever learning, but—only through poetry’s vehicle—can truly know.
New in Poetry
Take a look at some of the latest titles from our Poetry section.
by Kim Stafford
The Portland poet's latest collection offers a prismatic view of Earth citizenship, where we must now be ambidextrous. The book takes a stern look inward calling for sturdy character and supple spirit, and a bold look outward seeking ways to engage grief trouble. Wild Honey, Tough Salt begins with poems that witness a buoyant life in a difficult world: wandering New Orleans in a trance, savoring the life of artist Tove Jansson, reading the fine print on the Mexican peso and the Scottish five-pound note. Clues to untapped energy lie everywhere by the lens of poetry. The book then moves to considerations of the worst in us--torture and war: how to recruit a child soldier? How to be married to the heartless guard? What to say to your child who is enamored by bullets? In the third section, Stafford offers a spangle of poems blessing earth: wren song, bud growth, river's eager way with obstacles. And the final section offers poems of affection: infant clarities of home, long marriage in dog years, a consoling campfire in the yard when all seems lost. The book will soften your trouble, and give you spirit for the days ahead.
by Naomi Shihab Nye
Nye places her Palestinian American identity center stage in her latest full-length poetry collection for adults. The collection is inspired by the story of Janna Jihad Ayyad, the "Youngest Journalist in Palestine," who at age 7 began capturing videos of anti-occupation protests using her mother's smartphone. Nye draws upon her own family's roots in a West Bank village near Janna's hometown to offer empathy and insight to the young girl's reporting. Long an advocate for peaceful communication across all boundaries, Nye's poems in The Tiny Journalist put a human face on war and the violence that divides us from each other.
by Tony Hoagland
In this accessible and distilled craft guide, acclaimed poet Tony Hoagland approaches poetry through the frame of poetic voice, that mysterious connective element that binds the speaker and reader together. A poem strong in the dimension of voice is an animate thing of shifting balances, tones, and temperatures, by turns confiding, vulgar, bossy, or cunning--but above all, alive. The twelve short chapters of The Art of Voice explore ways to create a distinctive poetic voice, including vernacular, authoritative statement, material imagination, speech register, tone-shifting, and using secondary voices as an enriching source of texture in the poem. Mining his personal experience as a poet and analyzing a wide range of examples from Catullus to Marie Howe, Hoagland provides a lively introduction to contemporary poetry and an invaluable guide for any practicing writer.
by Campbell McGrath
Deeply personal but also expansive in its imaginative scope, Nouns & Verbs brings together thirty-five years of writing from Campbell McGrath, one of America's most highly lauded poets. Offering a hint of where he’s headed while charting the territory already explored, McGrath gives us startlingly inventive new poems while surveying his previous work—lyric poems, prose poems, and a searing episodic personal epic, "An Odyssey of Appetite," exploring America's limitless material and spiritual hungers. Nothing is too large or small to remain untouched by McGrath's voracious intellect and deep empathy—everything from Japanese eggplant to a can of Schaefer beer to the smokestacks of Chicago comes in for a close and perceptive look even as McGrath crosses borders and boundaries, investigating the enduring human experiences of love and loss.
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