August 2019: Staff Faves, Author Readings, and New in Science!

August 2019: Staff Faves, Author Readings, and New in Science!
Read our new Staff Favorites, see which authors are reading here soon, and check out the latest books on Science. But first....
New & Upcoming Releases
These books are among the most anticipated new releases in the coming weeks. Click on a cover or title to order from our website.
by Dav Pilkey
Out Now!
The Supa Buddies have been working hard to help Dog Man overcome his bad habits. But when his obsessions turn to fears, Dog Man finds himself the target of an all-new supervillain! Meanwhile, Petey the Cat has been released from jail and starts a new life with Li'l Petey. But when Petey's own father arrives, Petey must face his past to understand the difference between being good and doing good.
by Louise Penny
Out: August 27
It's Gamache's first day back as head of the homicide department, a job he temporarily shares with his previous second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir. Flood waters are rising across the province. In the middle of the turmoil, a father approaches Gamache, pleading for help in finding his daughter. As crisis piles upon crisis, Gamache tries to hold off the encroaching chaos, and realizes the search for Vivienne Godin should be abandoned. But with a daughter of his own, he finds himself developing a profound, and perhaps unwise, empathy for her distraught father. As the rivers rise, and the social media onslaught against Gamache becomes crueler, a body is discovered. And in the tumult, mistakes are made. Gamache must face a horrific possibility, and a burning question. What would you do if your child's killer walked free?
by Margaret Atwood
Out: September 10
When the van door slammed on Offred's future at the end of The Handmaid's Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her—freedom, prison or death. With The Testaments, the wait is over. Margaret Atwood's sequel picks up the story fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead. "Dear Readers: Everything you've ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we've been living in." —Margaret Atwood
Staff Favorites
by Hazel Prior
reviewed by Carol
Ellie Jacobs takes a walk near her home in the Exmoor countryside one day. While her husband, Clive, is a domineering lout, Ellie tries to create a peaceful life for herself by writing poetry and walking in the woods. On this day, however, Ellie comes across a barn that has been converted into a harpmaker's studio. Dan Hollis, the harpmaker, isn't like anyone she has ever met. He's a quiet loner, spectacularly awkward yet incredibly handsome. When Dan impulsively gives Ellie one of his harps, Clive demands that Ellie return it. Dan takes it back but suggests that Ellie could visit her harp whenever she wants. Dan then introduces Ellie to his erstwhile girlfriend, Rhonda, a professional harpist, who agrees to give her lessons. When Ellie discovers a secret about Rhonda, that revelation changes Dan's quiet world forever. You will find yourself yearning for this odd pair's happiness.
by Anthony McCann
reviewed by Will
McCann uses his poet's eye for describing the people, place, and history behind the 2016 armed occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. He takes the reader down the various ideological and religious rabbit holes that bound together these seemingly superfluous people—armed interlopers who believed themselves to be infuriatingly ignored in an increasingly corporate and global economy. The followers of Ammon Bundy were radicalized by media myths and fueled by Facebook and Youtube; the overlapping conspiratorial ideas that attracted the extralegal posse members pieced together cowboy martyrdom, John Birch screeds, fringe religious beliefs, white supremacy and most commonly sovereign citizenry, which extracts a partial passage from the U.S. Constitution and ignores the context and meaning of the document. As the occupation developed, it resembled a bizarre recreation of Manifest Destiny in which most local Oregonians, but more specifically Native American tribal members (who were, of course, earlier displaced by, among others, ranchers) objected to the takeover of public lands by a self-described patriot movement. The eventual Bundy acquittal in court highlights the arbitrariness of the justice system and has emboldened a cultural movement that has increasingly dangerous consequences as it embeds itself within state and national government and inspires armed, individual actors.
Upcoming Events
Echo of Distant Water
Tuesday, August 20, 7pm
The local author will read from his book about the 1958 disappearance of Portland's Martin family, which spurred the largest missing persons search in Oregon history. The mystery has remained perplexingly unsolved to this day. For the past six years, J.B. Fisher (Portland on the Take) has pored over the case, obtaining a wealth of first-hand and never-before publicized information, including police reports, materials and photos belonging to the Martin family, and the personal notebooks and papers of Multnomah County Sheriff's Detective Walter E. Graven, who was always convinced the case was a homicide and worked tirelessly to prove it. Graven's personal documents provide fascinating insight into the question of what happened to the Martins—a path leading to abduction and murder, an intimate family secret, and civic corruption going all the way to the Kennedys in Washington, DC.
Thursday, August 22, 7pm
Portland author Cody Luff will read from his new novel, Ration, which combines the darkness and despair of The Road and The Handmaid's Tale with the charm of Lauren Oliver's Replica. All the girls who live in the Apartments are forced to weigh their own hunger against the lives of their neighbors. When Cynthia is wrongly accused of ordering an "A" ration, a high-calorie meal made from the body of one of her friends, she is punished with brutality at the hands of the other girls and exile from the only home she's ever known. Outside, Cynthia finds a world ravaged by scarcity, but also an unlikely ally in one of the women who tormented her for years. Motivated not by self-preservation, but instead by revenge, Cynthia will stop at nothing to find justice for the girls in the Apartments. Set in the far future, Ration is an unflinching take on the ways in which society can harm the very people it seeks to protect.
The Unabomber
Thursday, August 29, 7pm
The Portland author will read from his true-crime book for young readers. The Unabomber was a lone-wolf terrorist who carried out fourteen bombings that left three people dead and another twenty-three injured. A cunning genius, he dodged his FBI pursuers for nearly two decades, terrifying Americans from coast to coast. Agent Kathy Puckett, a spy hunter and highly trained psychologist, served as the turning point in the FBI's efforts to understand the mind of the faceless killer. Her insights helped send more than a hundred agents to a remote cabin in the mountains of western Montana on April 3, 1996. There the FBI captured Theodore J. Kaczynski, engineer of the most notorious bombing spree in U.S. history. Bryan Denson presents the story of the FBI's investigation of the Unabomber and the agent who helped bring him to justice.
In Conversation
Tuesday, September 10, 7pm
Bellingham's Spencer Ellsworth and Portland's Fonda Lee will discuss their new fantasy novels. Come have drinks and books and discuss the history of fantasy, its challenges, and the exciting, diverse future of the genre. In Ellsworth's The Great Faerie Strike, Ridley Enterprises has brought industry to the Otherworld, churning out magical goods for profit. But when they fire Charles the gnome, well, they've gone too far. Fonda Lee's Jade War is the second book of the Green Bone Saga, an epic trilogy about family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of blood and jade.
Dancing to Broken Records
Tuesday, September 17, 7pm
Annie Bloom's welcomes Portland author Jack Moody to read from his fiction collection, Dancing to Broken Records. Henry Gallagher is a failure. Born into a broken family, now a young alcoholic struggling with mental illness, Henry is successful at one thing: destroying his life. While spending his time and waning finances at local bars and on any woman who will show him affection, Henry reflects on his past, seeing no future other than the one he believes has been preordained for him. From a funeral in Ireland, to a chance meeting with a German millionaire, to a booze-soaked and bloody version of Last Tango in Paris, Henry's life is both darkly humorous and unapologetically human. Accompanied by stories of other down and out characters fighting their way through the underbelly of society, Jack Moody's debut collection poses Henry's greatest question: Do we end up where we do purely because of the choices we've made, or are some of us simply doomed at birth to fail?
Western Waters
Thursday, September 26, 7pm
The Portland author will read from his book on Fly-Fishing Memories and Lessons from Twelve Rivers. In this collection of essays about well-known (and some not-so-well-known) Western waters, Alkire blends how-to, where-to, and natural history with lyrical prose and a deep insight that only comes with knowing a place well. From rainforest rivers to desert rivers, from tidal rivers to those along the Continental Divide, the author has waded and fished these waters over the decades. Along with his fishing adventures, the book also looks at the geography, the early explorers of, and the modern-day impacts on the rivers themselves.
New in Science
by Andrew Blum
The author of Tubes takes readers on a fascinating journey through an everyday miracle. In a quest to understand how the forecast works, he visits old weather stations and watches new satellites blast off. He follows the dogged efforts of scientists to create a supercomputer model of the atmosphere and traces the surprising history of the algorithms that power their work. He discovers that we have quietly entered a golden age of meteorology—our tools allow us to predict weather more accurately than ever, and yet we haven’t learned to trust them, nor can we guarantee the fragile international alliances that allow our modern weather machine to exist. Written with the sharp wit and infectious curiosity Andrew Blum is known for, The Weather Machine pulls back the curtain on a universal part of our everyday lives, illuminating our relationships with technology, the planet, and the global community.
by Sam Kean
This is the gripping, untold story of a renegade group of scientists and spies determined to keep Adolf Hitler from obtaining the ultimate prize: a nuclear bomb. Scientists have always kept secrets. But rarely have the secrets been as vital as they were during World War II. In the middle of building an atomic bomb, the leaders of the Manhattan Project were alarmed to learn that Nazi Germany was far outpacing the Allies in nuclear weapons research. Hitler, with just a few pounds of uranium, would have the capability to reverse the entire D-Day operation and conquer Europe. So they assembled a rough and motley crew of geniuses - dubbed the Alsos Mission - and sent them careening into Axis territory to spy on, sabotage, and even assassinate members of Nazi Germany's feared Uranium Club. The details of the mission rival the finest spy thriller, but what makes this story sing is the incredible cast of characters-both heroes and rogues alike. Thrust into the dark world of international espionage, these scientists and soldiers played a vital and largely untold role in turning back one of the darkest tides in human history.
by Sarah Parcak
Parcak shows the evolution, major discoveries, and future potential of the young field of satellite archaeology. From surprise advancements after the declassification of spy photography, to a new map of the mythical Egyptian city of Tanis, she shares her field’s biggest discoveries, revealing why space archaeology is not only exciting, but urgently essential to the preservation of the world’s ancient treasures. Parcak has worked in twelve countries and four continents, using multispectral and high-resolution satellite imagery to identify thousands of previously unknown settlements, roads, fortresses, palaces, tombs, and even potential pyramids. From there, her stories take us back in time and across borders, into the day-to-day lives of ancient humans whose traits and genes we share. And she shows us that if we heed the lessons of the past, we can shape a vibrant future.
by Jon Gertner
For the last 150 years, explorers and scientists have sought to understand Greenland. Locked within this vast and frozen white desert are some of the most profound secrets about our planet and its future. Greenland's ice doesn't just tell us where we've been. More urgently, it tells us where we're headed. Scientists from all over the world are deploying every technological tool available to uncover the secrets of this frozen island before it’s too late. As Greenland's ice melts and runs off into the sea, it not only threatens to affect hundreds of millions of people who live in coastal areas. It will also have drastic effects on ocean currents, weather systems, economies, and migration patterns. Gertner chronicles the unfathomable hardships, amazing discoveries, and scientific achievements of the Arctic's explorers and researchers with a keen sense of what this work means for the rest of us. The melting ice sheet in Greenland is, in a way, an analog for time. It contains the past. It reflects the present. It can also tell us how much time we might have left.