August 2018: Author Readings, New Biographies, Indie Next, and More!

August 2018: Author Readings, New Biographies, Indie Next, and More!
Check out who's reading here in August and September, read about the latest biographies, see which new titles indie booksellers are loving, and visit us on First Friday!
by Scott Thornley
reviewed by Edie
It is always a pleasure to find a new mystery series to introduce to our readers. Canadian writer Scott Thornley has three titles new to the the U.S. audience, and they are terrific. The first, Erasing Memory, finds Detective Superintendent MacNeice enmeshed in the murder of a violinist that stretches back to old Balkan hatreds. The Ambitious City and Raw Bone are equally as fine. MacNeice's team is interesting and well-developed, as is MacNeice himself, who is a widower and has a penchant for watching birds and drinking grappa. A thoughtful, quiet man, he reminds me a bit of Adam Dalgliesh. We have all three titles, so come on in!
by Anne Tyler
by James McLaughlin
by Cindy Baldwin
reviewed by Bobby
Though I am loathe to join a parade, I am going to bang my little drum for three of the best books I've read in ages. Clock Dance is pure Anne Tyler. A woman of a certain age and gentility responds to a call for help from a relatively unknown former girlfriend of her son. She lands in a modest neighborhood in Baltimore and, after having overstepped her bounds, ends up with a whole new family. Bearskin by James McLaughlin took my breath away. A man fleeing a Mexican drug cartel by working in the wilds of Virginia encounters both brutality and beauty in the isolated hills. This is a thriller written with the clear intensity and detail of Cormac McCarthy and it will totally absorb you. Though I usually do not find young adult literature completely satisfying, I make an exception for Portland author Cindy Baldwin's Where the Watermelon Grow. It deals with mental illness and coming of age with so deft a touch, I felt changed by reading it.
by Dorthe Nors
reviewed by Michael
I loved the voice of Sonja, a middle-aged translator in Copenhagen who's learning to drive for the first time. She's neurotic, but very thoughtful in how she navigates her anxieties––about using a stick shift, her bossy instructor, the grisly details of the mystery she's translating, her overly familiar massage therapist, her overly familiar second driving instructor, her estranged sister, homesickness, and loneliness. Despite all these concerns, Sonja is a quick-witted and engaging narrator of her own little life. I was glad to share it, briefly.
First Friday
On August 3, visit us during First Friday in Multnomah Village.
For your browsing enjoyment, we'll be serving wine. Plus, we'll be giving away great prizes for our monthly drawings. Drop by Annie Bloom's anytime after 6:00 on Friday night to sign up.
One lucky adult will win:
by Paul Gerald
Get outdoors with local author and hiking expert Paul Gerald. Now in full color, his best-selling guide helps you locate and access the top hikes within 60 miles of the city. A perfect blend of popular routes and hidden gems, the selected trails transport you to scenic overlooks, mountain retreats, and magical forests that renew your spirit and recharge your body.
And our kids prize is:
by John Skewes
In Larry the adorable pooch's latest adventure, he goes on vacation with Pete and the family to Portland, Oregon. As usual, in hot pursuit of a tempting treat, he gets separated from the family and frantically tries to find them again. Along the way he discovers some of the city's most fun and interesting landmarks and cultural attractions, including the waterfront, the zoo, the Portland Art Museum, Hawthorne Bridge, Old Town, and the Park Blocks.
Upcoming Author Readings
Remind Me Again What Happened
TOMORROW! Thursday, August 2, 7pm
Denver writer, professor, and literary journal editor Joanna Luloff presents her debut novel. Claire wakes in a hospital room in the Florida Keys. She has no idea how she got there or why. The loss of so many memories is paralyzing. Some things she can piece together by looking at old photos saved by her husband, Charlie, and her best friend, Rachel, and by combing through boxes of letters and casual jottings. But she senses a mystery at the center of all these fragments. Is Charlie still her husband? Is Rachel still her friend? Told from alternating points of view that pull the reader into the minds of the three characters, the story unfolds as the smudge that covers Claire's memory is gradually, steadily wiped away.
Children's Book Reading
Thursday, August 9, 7pm
Jane Kurtz's new book is What Do They Do with All That Poo?. There are so many different kinds of animals at the zoo, and they each make lots and lots (and sometimes LOTS ) of poo. In Trudy Ludwig's Quiet Please, Owen McPhee!, Owen doesn't just like to talk, he LOVES to talk. When Owen wakes up with a bad case of laryngitis, it gives him a much-needed opportunity to hear what others have to say. Cate Berry's latest is Penguin and Tiny Shrimp Don't Do Bedtime. They DO NOT have a bedtime story to share with you. This book will never make you sleepy. Not at all. Not even a little.
The Silver Shoes
Tuesday, August 21, 7pm
Hall's novel is the dual tale of two dynamic women from two very different eras searching for fulfillment. San Francisco artist Anne McFarland has been distracted by a cross-country romance with sexy Sergio and has veered from her creative path. While visiting him in New York, she buys a pair of rhinestone shoes in an antique shop. Almost ninety years earlier, Clair Deveraux, a sheltered 1929 New York debutante, tries to reside within the bounds of polite society and please her father. But when she meets Winnie, a carefree Macy's shop girl, Clair's true desires explode wide open.
Thriving through Transitions
Tuesday, August 28, 7pm
Have you ever wondered why some people seem to thrive as they experience change while others seem to crumble at even the idea of it? And is it even possible for a person expand their ability to adapt? Local author Kuhn's Thriving through Transitions offers an insightful perspective, along with an easy to follow 5 Step Process for turning life’s greatest obstacles into opportunities to thrive.
Local Authors
Thursday, September 6, 7pm
Love and Lechery at Albert Academy is the sequel to Dolores Maggiore's debut YA novel, Death and Love at the Old Summer Camp. In September 1959 Pina’s got only one thing on her mind at the elite Albert Academy: four years of blissful rooming with her heartthrob Katie, pursuing their taboo relationship of the previous summer. Then Pina stumbles over the lecherous Head Mistress Craney, lurking in the hall. Pina and Katie become obsessed with the blood-curdling game of cat and mouse Craney is craftily staging in every nook and cranny. Worth the Wait is the third novel in the Out in Portland series from local author Karelia Stetz-Waters. For fifteen years, Avery Crown tried to forget her best friend Merritt Lessing. Unfortunately, her efforts have not been as successful as her TV career as the queen of home renovation. So when she runs into Merritt at their high school reunion, Avery asks for one night with the woman she's always wanted.
Moving Targets
Wednesday, September 12, 7pm
Annie Bloom's welcomes back local author Warren Easley to read from his sixth Cal Claxton mystery novel. Sculptor Angela Wingate is determined to learn if the recent death of her mother, Margaret, was a hit-and-run while out on her morning jog or like murder. As Cal begins to poke the principal players at Wingate Properties and to question Margaret's will, links surface between a lucrative riverfront project and a ruthless Russian ring. With a possible deadly foreign assassin in play, the threat level rises and the body count starts to grow. Cal enlists his Cuban friend Nando, an enterprising investigator with an on-call hacker, and a bouncer at a strip club who knows the Russian underworld. And Cal gradually develops other allies--a skeptical police captain and a city councilwoman who opposes the massive riverfront project. Beneath this story run the narratives of several strong women connected to Cal who are learning just how powerful they can be as they change up their lives.
The Path to Publication
Monday, September 24, 7pm
Join these authors for a discussion on The Path to Publication: Three debut children's authors discuss the journey from would-be writer to published author.
In Portland author Cindy Baldwin's Middle Grade novel, Where the Watermelons Grow, twelve-year-old Della Kelly worries that the sickness that put her mama in the hospital four years ago is back. With her daddy struggling to save the farm and her mama in denial about what’s happening, it’s up to Della to heal her mama for good. And she knows just how she’ll do it: with a jar of the Bee Lady’s magic honey, which has mended the wounds and woes of Maryville, North Carolina, for generations.
In local author Carolyn O'Doherty's debut YA novel, Rewind, sixteen-year-old Alex is a Spinner--she has the ability to rewind time to review past events. Alex's society uses the Spinners' skills to solve major crimes, but messing with time comes with consequences: no Spinner lives past the age of twenty. At sixteen, Alex is in her prime—until time sickness strikes early. When she is offered an experimental treatment, Alex sees a future for herself for the first time. But the promising medication offers more than just a cure—it also brings with it dire consequences.
In California author Victoria Piontek's Middle Grade debut, The Spirit of Cattail County, Sparrow's best friend, the Boy, is a ghost that only she can see. So when her mama passes away, Sparrow doesn't give up hope. After all, if the Boy can linger after death, then surely Mama can return as well. But the Boy has a secret of his own, one that Sparrow will need to uncover before the ghost will lead her to Mama. To solve the mystery, Sparrow joins forces with some unlikely allies—Maeve and Johnny, siblings from a family of town outcasts—and Elena, a visiting child fortune-teller.
Poetry Reading
Wednesday, September 26, 7pm
Portland poets Sherri Levine, Liz Nakazawa, and Rebecca Smolen all have new chapbooks out with local publisher The Poetry Box.
Sherri Levine's In These Voices allows us to peek inside the lives of a variety of characters. Levine, through the magic of language, embodies a jilted lover, a worried husband, a young woman, a son, a granddaughter and even a squirrel.
Liz Nakazawa's Painting the Heart Open are poems of memory, thanks, prayer, bliss, dreams and blessings, embedded in color, and, while ethereal, are also rooted firmly to the earth. Hope is the sustaining thread even if some poems veer into darkness. Light is never too far away.
Rebecca Smolen's Womanhood & Other Scars explores what it means to be a woman in the 21st century. Through the eyes of the poet as young girl, teenager, daughter, granddaughter, wife and mother, we traverse both the triumphs and heartbreaks of womanhood. Let these poems blanket you in the realization you are not alone.
Saving Miss Oliver's
Thursday, September 27, 7pm
The prestigious boarding school Miss Oliver's School for Girls is on the cusp of going under. The trustees just fired the headmistress of the last thirty-five years, and the alumnae and students are angry and determined to hate her successor, the new--and male--head Fred Kindler. If only he can gain the support of the legendary senior teacher Francis Plummer, then Fred might have a fighting chance to save the school; but no one except Francis's wife and the school librarian, Peggy, is willing to give Fred a chance. With Fred's career on the line and the Plummers' marriage at stake, will Miss Oliver's survive to be the school it once was?
August 2018 Indie Next List
by R.O. Kwon
"R.O. Kwon’s debut knocked me sideways. The Incendiaries is a serious reckoning with the problem of fanaticism and the violence of blind devotion. The story of Will and Phoebe is told with an extraordinarily smart and soulful style. I was amazed at how perfectly Kwon’s spare language fit her novel's expansive scope. A stunning portrait of what faith can do and undo, The Incendiaries will delight and disturb. But, most of all, it will impress." —John Francisconi, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT
by AJ Pearce
"What initially seems like a breezy career girl story quickly turns into a gripping novel set in the WWII London blitzkrieg. During the nightly bombing runs, Emmeline volunteers at a nearby fire dispatch center. She dreams of becoming a journalist, but instead lands a day job screening advice-seeking letters for a weekly magazine, Women's Friends. All too soon, she and her friends become victims of the bombings and must deal with losses and new horrors each night. In Dear Mrs. Bird, AJ Pearce has given us a most memorable story about both the visible and hidden casualties of war. Recommended for all, including book clubs!" —Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA
Here are a few previous Indie Next picks, now available in paperback!
by Nate Blakeslee
"American Wolf uncovers the true legacy of the American wolf's survival after its reintroduction into the Rockies after nearly becoming extinct in the 1920s. The book focuses on renowned wolf Six-O, who's unlike any female wolf that Yellowstone park ranger Rick McIntyre has ever seen. Many of Six-O's survival challenges are directly linked to the larger issue between those against the reintroduction of wolves and those who see wolves as an integral part of our ecosystem. Nate Blakeslee's American Wolf is an essential read for anyone interested in a fascinating piece of American history and learning more about an important issue that continues to plague the West."Stephanie Coleman, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO
by Ben Blum
"Ranger Games is a fascinating examination of family, duty, psychology, and crime. Ben Blum's cousin Alex wanted one thing in life, to be a U.S. Army Ranger, but after completing the program and right before his first deployment, he seemingly inexplicably wound up driving the getaway car for an armed bank robbery with three other Rangers. Blum digs deep into his cousin's story and the culture of the Rangers to find out why and how, and the result is a riveting, thought-provoking book." —Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS
by Nicole Krauss
"No surprise: Forest Dark was worth the wait. Tapping into intellectual and deeply personal moments, the two main characters are ones to identify with even as the circumstances they find themselves in are fantastic. Krauss' reflections about marriage are poignant, and there is a lot to contemplate. At first, I enjoyed having moments when I wasn't reading to think, but toward the end I found myself not being able to put it down." —Kira Wizner, Merritt Bookstore, Millbrook, NY
New in Memoir & Biography
Check out these great new titles:
by Penelope Lively
Lively takes up her key themes of time and memory, and her lifelong passions for art, literature, and gardening in this philosophical and poetic memoir. From the courtyards of her childhood home in Cairo to a family cottage in Somerset, to her own gardens in Oxford and London, Lively conducts an expert tour, taking us from Eden to Sissinghurst and into her own backyard, traversing the lives of writers like Virginia Woolf and Philip Larkin while imparting her own sly and spare wisdom. Now in her eighty-fourth year, Lively muses, "To garden is to elide past, present, and future; it is a defiance of time.
by Jean Guerrero
In this lyrical, haunting memoir, journalist Jean Guerrero tries to locate the border between truth and fantasy as she searches for explanations for her father's obsessive and erratic behavior. Refusing to accept an alleged schizophrenia diagnosis at face value, she takes his dark paranoia seriously and investigates all his wildest claims. She crisscrosses the Mexican-American border to unearth the stories of cousins and grandparents and discovers a chain of fabulists and mystics in her lineage, going back to her great-great-grandmother, a clairvoyant curandera who was paid to summon spirits from the afterlife. As she delves deeper and deeper into her family's shadowy past, Jean begins mirroring her father's self-destructive behavior. She risks death on her adventures, imperiling everything in her journey to redeem her father from the underworld of his delusions.
by R. Gregory Nokes
Few people in the nineteenth-century American West could boast the achievements of Peter Burnett. He helped organize the first major wagon train to the Oregon Country. He served on Oregon's first elected government and was Oregon's first supreme court judge. He opened a wagon road from Oregon to California. He worked with the young John Sutter to develop the new city of Sacramento. Within a year of arriving in California, voters overwhelmingly elected him as the first US governor. He also won appointment to the California Supreme Court. Yet with the exception of the wagon road to California, in none of these roles was Burnett considered successful or well remembered. The Troubled Life of Peter Burnett is the first full-length biography of this complicated character.
by Deborah Levy
This memoir explores the subtle erasure of women's names, spaces, and stories in the modern everyday. In this "living autobiography" infused with warmth and humor, Deborah Levy critiques the roles that society assigns to us, and reflects on the politics of breaking with the usual gendered rituals. What does it cost a woman to unsettle old boundaries and collapse the social hierarchies that make her a minor character in a world not arranged to her advantage? Levy draws on her own experience of attempting to live with pleasure, value, and meaning--the making of a new kind of family home, the challenges of her mother's death--and those of women she meets in everyday life. The Cost of Living is urgent, essential reading, a crystalline manifesto for turbulent times.
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