August 2018: Staff Reviews, New in Science, Author Readings, and More!

August 2018: Staff Reviews, New in Science, Author Readings, and More!
We have three new Staff Favorites for you. Plus, check out who's reading here in August and September, and read about the latest books in our Science section. But first...
Annie Bloom's Is Here to Stay!
Every day, our wonderful customers ask us about the future of Annie Bloom's. With several Multnomah Village businesses closing or relocating in recent months, we understand and very much appreciate your concern. But fear not! We aren't going anywhere. This October, we'll be celebrating our 40th anniversary! (More details on our celebration are coming soon.)
We're also excited that the former site of O'Connor's is currently being remodeled into Gastro Mania, a Mediterranean restaurant that got its start in NW Portland. We've been assured that the Annex will remain an events space and that the new restaurant will include a full bar. The building itself was purchased by Jonathan Loomis, nephew of O'Connor's former owner, Steve Arel. The Loomis family are regular customers of ours, and we're delighted to have them as our neighboring business owners.
In this time of change in Multnomah Village, Annie Bloom's is proud to remain your local independent bookstore... for years to come!
by Naomi Novik
reviewed by Ruby
There are a lot of things to love about Naomi Novik's latest novel. It's a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin that plucks the heart out of that fairy tale and sprints off in a whole new direction. The elves who ride the icy roads around Miryem's small village care about one thing only, and that's gold. So when Miryem starts to scrape together enough money to keep her family comfortable through the next winter, she has more to deal with than just the jealousy of her neighbors. Of course, things get more complicated when the crown prince, the local warlord's daughter, and some magical jewelry get involved. Told in multiple, distinct perspectives, Spinning Silver tears along to a powerful ending. It's my favorite book of 2018, and introduces so many great heroines—this is the kind of fantasy we need more of!
by Willy Vlautin
reviewed by Carol
Willy Vlautin has never written a cheerful book in his brilliant writing career, and Don’t Skip Out on Me is no exception. Young Horace Hopper, half-Paiute, half-Irish, wants to be a championship boxer. Abandoned by his birth parents, he's been taken in by an elderly rancher and his wife who love him like a son. They would like nothing better than to have him take over their Nevada ranch. His desire to prove himself in the ring, however, is stronger than his sense of worthiness. The ranch isn't something he thinks he deserves. In fact, he doesn’t think he deserves much of anything out of life. Your heart will break for Horace as he tries to make his way in the world and you'll find yourself pulling for him, hoping that he discovers his worth.
by Kim Phillips-Fein
reviewed by Will
This book is a doozy, a colorful history of a specific time and place, which continues to have major implications today. New York in the early 1970s was facing many of the same economic problems as the rest of urban America: simultaneous blows of recession, inflation, and suburban flight sucked revenue out of the city and provided an economic shock that provided the circumstances for the financial sector to impose its will on the political system. In order to ride out the immediate crisis, political choices eventually led to austerity in regards to public spending combined with subsidization of the financial and real estate sectors. These fateful, pressured decisions subsequently provided a blueprint for succeeding decades of neoliberal hegemony. Public good was sacrificed at the altar of the banking industry and economic stratification resulted. The hundred-year-plus practice of free college tuition was hurriedly discontinued and spending on the departments of parks, police, fire--and, famously, sanitation--were all drastically cut, as garbage piled high in the streets. Emblematic of this period was the rise of rich redlining heir, Donald Trump. His real estate projects were gifted with massive local tax abatements (and his subsequent misadventures have been buoyed by federal tax and bankruptcy law). In stark contrast was President Ford's harsh response to the city's request for federal public aid, which was summed up by the iconic '70s newspaper headline, "FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD." Phillips-Fien describes increasing institutional distrust in the wake of austerity measures with examples of major events of the time: garbage strikes, blue flu, and a particularly trenchant comparison of the contrasting political responses to the blackouts of '65 and '77.
Upcoming Author Readings
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?
New in Science
Check out these great new titles:
by Maryanne Wolf
From the author of Proust and the Squid comes this lively, ambitious, and deeply informative epistolary book that considers the future of the reading brain and our capacity for critical thinking, empathy, and reflection as we become increasingly dependent on digital technologies. This book comprises a series of letters Wolf writes to us—her beloved readers—to describe her concerns and her hopes about what is happening to the reading brain as it unavoidably changes to adapt to digital mediums. Wolf draws on neuroscience, literature, education, technology, and philosophy and blends historical, literary, and scientific facts with down-to-earth examples and warm anecdotes to illuminate complex ideas that culminate in a proposal for a biliterate reading brain. Provocative and intriguing, Reader, Come Home is a roadmap that provides a cautionary but hopeful perspective on the impact of technology on our brains and our most essential intellectual capacities—and what this could mean for our future.
by Oren Harman
Science is an astounding achievement, but are we really any wiser than the ancients? Evolutions brings to life the latest scientific thinking on the birth of the universe and the solar system, the journey from a single cell all the way to our human minds. Reawakening our sense of wonder and terror at the world around us and within us, Oren Harman uses modern science to create new and original mythologies. Here are the earth and the moon presenting a cosmological view of motherhood, a panicking mitochondrion introducing sex and death to the world, the loneliness of consciousness emerging from the memory of an octopus, and the birth of language in evolution summoning humankind’s struggle with truth. Science may not solve our existential puzzles, but like the age-old legends, its magical discoveries can help us continue the never-ending search.
by Randi Hutter Epstein
Metabolism, behavior, sleep, mood swings, the immune system, fighting, fleeing, puberty, and sex: these are just a few of the things our bodies control with hormones. Armed with a healthy dose of wit and curiosity, medical journalist Epstein takes us on a journey through the unusual history of these potent chemicals, from a basement filled with jarred nineteenth-century brains to a twenty-first-century hormone clinic in Los Angeles. Epstein exposes the humanity at the heart of hormone science with her rich cast of characters, including a 1920s doctor promoting vasectomies as a way to boost libido, a female medical student who discovered a pregnancy hormone in the 1940s, and a mother who collected pituitaries from cadavers as a source of growth hormone to treat her son. A fascinating look at the history and science of some of medicine's most important discoveries, Aroused reveals the shocking history of hormones through the back rooms, basements, and labs where endocrinology began.
by Anil Ananthaswamy
How can a single particle behave both like a particle and a wave? Does a particle exist before we look at it, or does the very act of looking create reality? Are there hidden aspects to reality missing from the orthodox view of quantum physics? Is there a place where the quantum world ends and the familiar classical world of our daily lives begins, and if so, can we find it? And if there's no such place, then does the universe split into two each time a particle goes through the double slit? With his extraordinarily gifted eloquence, Anil Ananthaswamy travels around the world and through history, down to the smallest scales of physical reality we have yet fathomed. Through Two Doors at Once is the most fantastic voyage you can take.
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