August 2014 Staff Reviews, Science, and More

Constant Contact
In This Issue:
More Staff Faves
Multnomah Days
Staff Reviews
Author Readings
New in Science

More Staff Reviews 

Here Are More Great Picks From Our Staff Reviews Table:

Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?
by Dave Eggers

The Empathy Exams
by Leslie Jamison

by Pierre LeMaitre

Pilgrim's Wilderness
by Tom Kizzia 

Multnomah Days!  

You won't want to miss all the festivities, as our little Village celebrates its birthday this Saturday.

Annie Bloom's will have a special sale on really cheap books, plus free posters!

For more information, click here
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August 2014 Staff Reviews, Science, and More

We present a pair of new Staff Favorites for your reading pleasure. Also, check out our upcoming author events. Plus, read about the latest titles in our Science section. And, of course, don't forget about Multnomah Days! 
Staff Reviews
Our staff brings you two new favorites. Click on a title or cover image to link to our website, where you can read more about the book or purchase it from our secure webstore.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin
reviewed by Carol
AJ Fikry is an independent bookseller. Tragically widowed after his wife is killed in a car accident while escorting a visiting author, AJ is now sole proprietor of Island Books on Alice Island off Hyannis, Massachusetts. The store's motto, "No Man Is an Island, Every Book Is a World," has lost its meaning, and AJ's on a mission to drink himself to death.  He can't even be civil to Amelia Loman, the new sales rep for Knightley Books. Then two things happen. First, his rare manuscript of Edgar Allen Poe's teenage poetry is stolen, then two-year-old Maya is abandoned in the bookstore with a note pinned onto her stuffed Elmo. Booksellers will love The Storied Life of AJ Fikry for the familiar and bookstore lovers will love it even more. This is a story of second chances nurtured among the shelves.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
by Haruki Murakami
reviewed by Michael
In high school, Tsukuru was part of a group of five very close friends--three boys and two girls. Even after Tsukuru moved to Tokyo to study engineering, the friends remained close. Then, suddenly and without explanation, the other four cut him off completely. Tsukuru spent the next fifteen years anesthetized to life, working steadily but failing to maintain significant relationships. Then he meets Sara, who convinces him that he must revisit his past before he can have a satisfying present ... or a future with her. In this subtle yet deeply probing novel, Murakami explores depression, dreams, loyalty, sexuality, and the importance of living a full and colorful life. 
Upcoming Readings
Upcoming Readings at Annie Blooms:

Dana Haynes
Gun Metal Heart
Thursday, August 21, 7pm

Daria Gibron, a freelance operative with a long and deadly history, has been slowly recovering from the injuries sustained from her last case (in Ice Cold Kill). Hiding out in a town in rural Italy, she has been staying as far off the map as she can--until she's tracked down by an old colleague. Diego had been a bodyguard in Florence, protecting an engineer and her invention, when they were attacked by a highly trained paramilitary group. At the same time, a small group of disgraced CIA agents have been waiting for their chance to exact revenge on the person they blame for their discharge--Daria Gibron. When they learn she's in contact with Diego, they get the okay from their former bosses to take her out.

Elizabeth Murray
Living Life in Full Bloom
Monday, August 25, 7pm

Living life in full bloom means living with hope and purpose, with imagination and vision--in a way that honors the Earth, the spirit, and one another. Elizabeth Murray encourages and nurtures each person to explore four personality attributes (Gardener, Artist, Lover, and Spirit Weaver), or pathways, that create a framework for practicing mindfulness, unleashing potential, and reviving communities. As Gardeners, readers will learn to observe and grow; as Artists, they'll discover creativity and new possibilities; as Lovers, they'll lead with the heart and commit to things they're passionate about; and as Spirit Weavers, they'll create rituals and express gratitude.

Carolyn Brigit Flynn & Leah Stenson
Poetry Reading
Wednesday, September 3, 7pm

Communion is Carolyn Brigit Flynn's offering of love poems to the earth, addressed in these poems as Beloved. The poems invoke the author's movement from an urban Catholic childhood into an embodied communion with the sacred presence of the Earth. Inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke's Book of Hours, each poem uses one of Rilke's lines as its title and springboard. Portland poet Leah Stenson will be reading from three books of poems. Reverberations from Fukushima, an anthology she co-edited, features contemporary Japanese poetry and essays on the first nuclear disaster of the 21st Century. The Turquoise Bee is an autobiography of love, of individual loves. The poems in Heavenly Body explore the pathos of loss and separation, reveal deeply personal moments in the lives of friends and family, and trace the saga of long-distance love.

Melissa Hart
Wild Within: How Raising an Owl Inspired a Family
Thursday, September 25, 7pm

Melissa, a desperately lonely young divorcee and L.A. transplant, finds herself stranded in rainy Eugene, Oregon. At the local dog park, she meets Jonathan. Their courtship blossoms in a raptor rehabilitation center. Melissa and Jonathan start out convinced they don't want children, but caring for birds who have fallen from their nests triggers a deep longing in Melissa to mother an orphaned child. Thus they embark on a heart-wrenching journey to adoption.

Molly Gloss
Falling from Horses
Wednesday, October 29, 7pm

In 1938, nineteen-year-old ranch hand Bud Frazer sets out for Hollywood, setting his sights on becoming a stunt rider in the movies--and rubbing shoulders with the great screen cowboys of his youth. On the long bus ride south, Bud meets Lily Shaw, who also harbors dreams of making it in the movies, though not as a starlet but as a writer, a "real" writer. The two strike up an unlikely kinship that will carry them through their tumultuous days in Hollywood--and, as it happens, for the rest of their lives.

New In Science 

Here are some of the best new titles from our Science Section:

Stuff Matters
by Mark Miodownik
An eye-opening adventure deep inside the everyday materials that surround us, packed with surprising stories and fascinating science Why is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? Why does a paper clip bend? Why does any material look and behave the way it does? These are the sorts of questions that Mark Miodownik is constantly asking himself. From the teacup to the jet engine, the silicon chip to the paper clip, the plastic in our appliances to the elastic in our underpants, our lives are overflowing with materials. Full of enthralling tales of the miracles of engineering that permeate our lives, Stuff Matters will make you see stuff in a whole new way.

How Not to Be Wrong
by Jordan Ellenberg
Armed with the tools of mathematics, we can see through to the true meaning of information we take for granted: How early should you get to the airport? What does "public opinion" really represent? Why do tall parents have shorter children? Who really won Florida in 2000? And how likely are you, really, to develop cancer? Math, as Ellenberg says, is "an atomic-powered prosthesis that you attach to your common sense, vastly multiplying its reach and strength." With the tools of mathematics in hand, you can understand the world in a deeper, more meaningful way. How Not to Be Wrong will show you how.

A Troublesome Inheritance
by Nicholas Wade
Drawing on startling new evidence from the mapping of the genome, Wade provides an explosive new account of the genetic basis of race and its role in the human story. Fewer ideas have been more toxic or harmful than the idea of the biological reality of race, and with it the idea that humans of different races are biologically different from one another. Wade believes deeply in the fundamental equality of all human peoples. He also believes that science is best served by pursuing the truth without fear, and if his mission to arrive at a coherent summa of what the new genetic science does and does not tell us about race and human history leads straight into a minefield, then so be it. This will not be the last word on the subject, but it will begin a powerful and overdue conversation.

Blue Mind
by Wallace Nichols
Why are we drawn to the ocean each summer? Why does being near water set our minds and bodies at ease? In Blue Mind, Nichols revolutionizes how we think about these questions, revealing the remarkable truth about the benefits of being in, on, under, or simply near water. Combining cutting-edge neuroscience with compelling personal stories from top athletes, leading scientists, military veterans, and gifted artists, he shows how proximity to water can improve performance, increase calm, diminish anxiety, and increase professional success. Blue Mind not only illustrates the crucial importance of our connection to water--it provides a paradigm shifting "blueprint" for a better life on this Blue Marble we call home.

The Chemistry of Alchemy
by Cathy Cobb, Monty Fetterolf & Harold Goldwhite
In this exploration of the ancient art of alchemy, three veteran chemists show that the alchemists' quest involved real science and they recount fascinating stories of the sages who performed these strange experiments. Their efforts were not in vain: by trial, by error, by design, and by persistence, the alchemists discovered acids, alkalis, alcohols, salts, and exquisite, powerful, and vibrant reactions--which can be reproduced using common products, minerals, metals, and salts. So gather your vats and stoke your fires! Get ready to make burning waters, peacocks' tails, Philosophers' stone, and, of course, gold!