February 2020: Author Readings, Indie Next, and New in Biography and Memoir!

February 2020: Author Readings, Indie Next, and New in Biography and Memoir!
 
Drop by to browse our full display of Valentine's Day books, find out which authors are reading soon, check out our First Friday giveaways, see which titles indie booksellers are loving, and discover what's new in Memoir and Biography. But first....
 
New Releases
 
These books are among the biggest new and upcoming releases!
by Isabel Allende
Out Now!
 
In the late 1930s, civil war grips Spain. When General Franco and his Fascists succeed in overthrowing the government, hundreds of thousands are forced to flee in a treacherous journey over the mountains to the French border. Among them is Roser, a pregnant young widow, who finds her life intertwined with that of Victor Dalmau, an army doctor and the brother of her deceased love. In order to survive, the two must unite in a marriage neither of them desires. Together with two thousand other refugees, they embark on the SS Winnipeg, a ship chartered by the poet Pablo Neruda, to Chile. Destined to witness the battle between freedom and repression as it plays out across the world, Roser and Victor will find that home might have been closer than they thought all along. Purchase on Our Website
by William Gibson
Out Now!
 
Verity Jane, gifted app whisperer, takes a job as the beta tester for a new product: a digital assistant, accessed through a pair of ordinary-looking glasses. "Eunice," the disarmingly human AI in the glasses, manifests a face, a fragmentary past, and a canny grasp of combat strategy. Realizing that her cryptic new employers don't yet know how powerful and valuable Eunice is, Verity instinctively decides that it's best they don't. Meanwhile, a century ahead in London, in a different time line entirely, Wilf Netherton works amid plutocrats and plunderers, survivors of the slow and steady apocalypse known as the jackpot. His boss, the enigmatic Ainsley Lowbeer, can look into alternate pasts and nudge their ultimate directions. Verity and Eunice are her current project. Wilf can see what Verity and Eunice can't: their own version of the jackpot, just around the corner, and the roles they both may play in it. Purchase on Our Website
 
First Friday
 
On February 7, 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 Toni Morrison
 
This inspirational book juxtaposes quotations, one to a page, drawn from Toni Morrison's entire body of work, both fiction and nonfiction--from The Bluest Eye to God Help the Child, from Playing in the Dark to The Source of Self-Regard--to tell a story of self-actualization. It aims to evoke the totality of Toni Morrison's literary vision.
And our kids prize is:
 
by Sara Pennypacker
 
From the author of Pax comes a gorgeous and moving middle grade novel that is an ode to introverts, dreamers, and misfits everywhere. But what does a hero look like in real life? And what can two misfit kids do?
 
Upcoming Author Readings
Prospects of Life After Birth
Monday, February 3, 7pm
 
Oregon poet David Hedges's Prospects of Life After Birth: Memoir in Poetry and Prose chronicles the first 17 years in the life of Oregon poet David Hedges, from the high drama of his birth through one lively adventure after another. At six, he swings on a rope into the fiery blast from a locomotive's smokestack. At seven, he carries water for circus elephants and earns a reserved seat under the Big Top. At 10, he helps Sailor Jim build the "world's most fantastic hobo shack." At 11, he travels to St. Louis on the Portland Rose and is taken under the wing of Louis, a black waiter who shows him the "other side" of the train, the galley, in full swing. At 15, he leads a troop of 12-year-olds to victory in the Camp Meriwether Olympics after the Scoutmaster falls ill; is serenaded up close by jazz singer June Christy; brews moonshine gin at a Central Oregon science camp, and takes in the Battle of the Strippers at two Portland burlesque theaters. At 16, he works on an Eastern Oregon ranch, pitching peas and driving a tandem axle truck in the wheat harvest--and experiencing his first brush with love. Noted poet X.J. Kennedy writes, "David Hedges has given us a major work of literature--an account of his early life in vivid, masterfully crafted verse." More Info on Our Website
A Faithful But Melancholy Account of Several Barbarities Lately Committed
Thursday, February 20, 7pm
 
The ten linked stories in Oregon author Jason Brown's A Faithful But Melancholy Account of Several Barbarities Lately Committed follow John Howland and his descendants as they struggle with their New England legacy as one of the country's founding families and the decaying trappings of that esteemed past. Set on the Maine coast, where the Howland family has lived for almost 400 years, the grandfather, John Howland, lives in a fantasy that still places him at the center of the world. The next generation resides in the confused ruins of the 1960s rebellion, while many in the third generation feel they have no choice but to scatter in search of a new identity. Brown's touching, humorous portrait of a great family in decline earns him a place among the very best linked-story collectionsJames Joyce's Dubliners, Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, Alice Munro's Beggar Maid, and Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son. More Info on Our Website
American Daughter
Tuesday, February 25, 7pm
 
In her childhood, Portland author Stephanie Thornton Plymale survived neglect and horrible accidents while living with her mother. After a period of homelessness, she was placed in foster care. By age 10, Stephanie's experience was that of criminal neglect, chronic hunger, truancy, homelessness, and ongoing sexual violation. Stephanie's mother suffered from severe mental illness and was in and out of jail and a series of ghastly psych wards throughout her entire life. Meanwhile and despite all odds, Stephanie's lifelong desire for a sense of home led to her passion for interior design and burgeoning career in the industry. However, time seemed to stop when Stephanie received a call from her mother after a period of estrangement that was enforced by a court order. Her mother revealed her terminal illness and Stephanie became her mother's sole guardian. Her powerful memoir, American Daughter, tells an extraordinary story of trauma, healing and transcendence. More Info on Our Website
Tuesday, March 10, 7pm
 
This reading is in celebration of International Women's Day. Cindy Williams Gutiérrez's new poetry collection, Inlay with Nacre, is herstory--the plight of Woman as bride, wife, mother, and daughter--and a call to action to restore the Feminine in the world. Portland writer Kate Gray's new poetry collection, For Every Girl, is a love song to and celebration of the girl, the queer, the survivor in all of us. Gemma Whelan will be reading from Kissing the Witch by Emma Donahue. She is producing the play of the same name, which will be produced by Corrib, in April of 2020. More Info on Our Website
Worse Than Weird
Wednesday, March 11, 7pm
 
Annie Bloom's welcomes back Portland children's author Jody Little, to read from Worse Than Weird. Readers who love Leslie Connor and Ann M. Martin will adore this story of a citywide scavenger hunt and a girl who learns that family—and weirdness—is relative. Hoping to ditch two months of chicken coops, kale, and her parents’ antiscreen rules, Mac MacLeod sets out to win a citywide food cart scavenger hunt and the money she needs for the summer coding camp of her dreams. But Mac discovers more than just clues during her cross-city sprint—like how her weird parents might not be the worst thing compared to the circumstances of those around her. With the same humor and hope of her debut novel, Mostly the Honest Truth, Jody J. Little gives readers another spunky, unforgettable character to root for. More Info on Our Website
Thursday, March 12, 7pm
 
Los Angeles author Katharine Coldiron presents Ceremonials, a twelve-part lyric novella inspired by Florence + the Machine's 2011 album of the same name. It's the story of two girls, Amelia and Corisande, who fall in love at a boarding school. Corisande dies suddenly on the eve of graduation, but Amelia cannot shake her ghost. A narrative about obsession, the Minotaur, and the veil between life and death, Ceremonials is a poem in prose, a keening in words, and a song etched in ink. In Portland author Jackie Shannon Hollis's memoir, This Particular Happiness: A Childless Love Story, she explores what it really means to choose a different path, delving into the messy and beautiful territory of what we keep and what we abandon to make the space for love. Portland author Claire Rudy Foster's new book, Shine of the Ever, is a literary mix tape of queer voices out of 1990s Portland. By turns tender and punk-tough, fierce and loving, this collection of short stories explores what binds a community of queer and trans people as they negotiate love, screwing up and learning to forgive themselves for being young and sometimes foolish. More Info on Our Website
A Reasonable Doubt
Monday, March 16, 7pm
 
Portland thriller writer Phillip Margolin's latest is the third in his Robin Lockwood series, A Reasonable Doubt. Former MMA fighter and Yale Law graduate Robin Lockwood is a young criminal defense attorney and partner in a prominent law firm in Portland, Oregon. Professional magician Robert Chesterfield is seeking help in acquiring patent protection for an illusion. This is out of the scope of the law firm’s expertise, but when Robin Lockwood looks into his previous relationship with the firm, she learns that twenty years ago he was arrested for two murders, one attempted murder, and was involved in the potentially suspicious death of his very rich wife. Now, decades later, he debuts his new trick—only to disappear at the end. He’s a man with more than one dark past and many enemies—is his disappearance tied to one of the many people who have good reason to hate him? Was he killed and his body disposed of, or did he use his considerable skills to engineer his own disappearance? Robin Lockwood must unravel the tangled skein of murder and bloody mischief to learn how it all ties together. More Info on Our Website
Willa's Grove
Tuesday, March 17, 7pm
 
The Montana author's new novel is Willa's Grove. Willa Silvester is reeling from the untimely death of her beloved husband and the reality that she must say goodbye to the small mountain town they founded together. Yet as Willa mourns her losses, an impossible question keeps staring her in the face: So now what?Struggling to find the answer alone, fiercely independent Willa eventually calls a childhood friend who happens to be in her own world of hurt--and that's where the idea sparks. They decide to host a weeklong interlude from life, and invite two other friends facing their own quandaries. Soon the four women converge at Willa's Montana homestead, a place where they can learn from nature and one another as they contemplate their second acts together in the rugged wilderness of big sky country. More Info on Our Website
 
Indie Next Picks
 
Every month, the coalition of independent bookstores puts together a list of titles recommended by booksellers across the country. Come in to browse the titles below, along with other great new bookseller picks for February 2020.
by Lidia Yuknavitch
 
"A powerful and visceral collection from one of today's most unique voices that will take you out of your comfort zone. Yuknavitch focuses on the subject of the body: bodies trying to find comfort, bodies trying to become whole, bodies destroyed, bodies as an object, how they are connected to one another, how they can be broken, and how much they are worth. To dive into this collection is to let a cinderblock tied to your leg drag you down into unknown watery depths and instead of trying to loosen the knot, holding tight and letting the waters consume you." —Anthony Piacentini, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, NY Purchase from Our Website
by Eoin Colfer
 
"Highfire hooked me from the first pages. Vern, a grumpy dragon languishing in the Louisiana swamps, believes he's the last of his species. Squib, a 15-year-old boy, is just trying to stay out of trouble and earn some money doing odd jobs. The intersection of these two one-of-a-kind characters sucks you in like a whirlpool. I loved reading about the absurd circumstances they found themselves in. This book has all the earmarks of a great hand-seller for the dead of winter, when we all need something new!" —Patricia Worth, River Reader Books, Lexington, MO Purchase from Our Website
by Jenny Offill
 
"Brief and brilliant, Jenny Offill's Weather doesn't need page after page to trap us inside. Tearing through precision-crafted paragraphs, we willingly follow a Brooklyn librarian down a doomsday rabbit hole as she tries to limit the world's damage to those she loves. On the express bus to the demise of civilization, find a seat next to Lizzie for a wild and witty ride through the storm raging across America. An astute and satisfying read." —Ann Woodbeck, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN Purchase from Our Website
 
These previous Indie Next picks are now available in paperback!
by Tara Conklin
 
"Oh, my! I was so moved by this book it brought me to tears. Fiona, Renee, Catherine, and Joe invaded my imagination and kept me spellbound until the end. Siblings! Many of us have them and often don’t think about the nuances of our relationships. Conklin's story brought my own siblings to mind and questions emerged that can't be pursued on paper. Memories are such powerful things and affect our lives in compelling ways. There is so much love in this story. It's absolutely wonderful! Please read it!" — Stephanie Crowe, Page and Palette, Fairhope, AL Purchase from Our Website
by Valeria Luiselli
 
"Really incredible fiction takes you on a journey, and somewhere along the way you realize how much of it reflects your own reality. In Lost Children Archive, Valeria Luiselli's narrator is highly observant of her inner life and the world around her. She unravels a story that’s about family and how walls between people and nations are built — and what they damage. In reading this book, I felt like I was in the car on the family’s road trip — feeling all the conflicting emotions that Luiselli's narrator is feeling as a partner, mother, and resident in today's United States." — Zoey Cole, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, NY Purchase from Our Website
 
New in Memoir & Biography
by Maren Meinhardt
 
Born in Berlin in 1769, the young Alexander von Humboldt moved in the circles of Romantic writers and thinkers, studied mining, and worked as an inspector of mines before his "longing for wide and unknown things" made him resign and begin his great scientific expedition. What Humboldt handed down to us is a radically new vision of science: one that has its roots in Romanticism. Seeking the hidden connections of things, he put his finger on the spot where nature and human art correspond. In his understanding, nature is not just an object, separate from us, to be prodded and measured, but something to which we have a deep, sensual affinity, and where the human mind must turn if it wants to truly come to understand itself. In this concise, illuminating biography, Maren Meinhardt beautifully portrays an exceptional life lived in no less exceptional times. Drawing extensively on Humboldt's letters and published works, she persuasively tells the story of how he became the most admired scientist of the Romantic Age. Purchase from Our Website
by Ann Hood
 
From her Italian-American childhood, through raising and feeding a growing family and cooking with her new husband, food writer Michael Ruhlman, Ann Hood has long appreciated the power of good food. In Kitchen Yarns, pairing her signature humor and tenderness with simple, comforting recipes, Hood spins tales of loss and starting from scratch, family love and feasts with friends, and how the perfect meal is one that tastes like home. Now in paperback! Purchase from Our Website
by Carmen Maria Machado
 
Machado's memoir is an engrossing and wildly innovative account of a relationship gone bad, and a bold dissection of the mechanisms and cultural representations of psychological abuse. Tracing the full arc of a harrowing relationship with a charismatic but volatile woman, Machado struggles to make sense of how what happened to her shaped the person she was becoming. Machado's dire narrative is leavened with her characteristic wit, playfulness, and openness to inquiry. She casts a critical eye over legal proceedings, fairy tales, Star Trek, and Disney villains, as well as iconic works of film and fiction. The result is a wrenching, riveting book that explodes our ideas about what a memoir can do and be. Purchase from Our Website
by Mo Rocca
 
From CBS Sunday Morning correspondent and humorist Mo Rocca, an entertaining and rigorously researched book that celebrates the dead people who have long fascinated him. Rocca has always loved obituaries—reading about the remarkable lives of global leaders, Hollywood heavyweights, and innovators who changed the world. But not every notable life has gotten the send-off it deserves. His quest to right that wrong inspired Mobituaries, his #1 hit podcast. Now with Mobituaries, the book, he has gone much further, with all new essays on artists, entertainers, sports stars, political pioneers, founding fathers, and more. Even if you know the names, you’ve never understood why they matter...until now. Purchase from Our Website