January 2021: Staff Favorites, Livestream Readings, World Read Aloud Day & More!

January 2021: Staff Favorites, Livestream Readings, World Read Aloud Day & More!
 
See which books our staff are loving, read about our online author readings, and check out World Read Aloud Day! But first....
 
New Releases
by Rosanne Parry
Out Now!
 
This gripping novel from Annie Bloom's own Rosanne Parry about survival and family is based on the real story of one wolf’s incredible journey to find a safe place to call home. Swift, a young wolf cub, lives with his pack in the mountains learning to hunt, competing with his brothers and sisters for hierarchy, and watching over a new litter of cubs. Then a rival pack attacks, and Swift and his family scatter. Alone and scared, Swift must flee and find a new home. His journey takes him a remarkable one thousand miles across the Pacific Northwest. The trip is full of peril, and Swift encounters forest fires, hunters, highways, and hunger before he finds his new home.
by Ann Patchett
Out Now!
 
Ann Patchett delivers her most powerful novel to date: a richly moving story that explores the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go. The Dutch House is the story of a paradise lost, a tour de force that digs deeply into questions of inheritance, love and forgiveness, of how we want to see ourselves and of who we really are. At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves. Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past.
by Angie Thomas
Out Now!
 
International phenomenon Angie Thomas revisits Garden Heights seventeen years before the events of The Hate U Give in this searing and poignant exploration of Black boyhood and manhood. If there's one thing seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter knows, it's that a real man takes care of his family. As the son of a former gang legend, Mav does that the only way he knows how: dealing for the King Lords. With this money he can help his mom, who works two jobs while his dad's in prison. Life's not perfect, but with a fly girlfriend and a cousin who always has his back, Mav's got everything under control. Until, that is, Maverick finds out he's a father. Suddenly he has a baby, Seven, who depends on him for everything. But it's not so easy to sling dope, finish school, and raise a child. So when he's offered the chance to go straight, he takes it. In a world where he's expected to amount to nothing, maybe Mav can prove he's different. When King Lord blood runs through your veins, though, you can't just walk away. Loyalty, revenge, and responsibility threaten to tear Mav apart, especially after the brutal murder of a loved one. He'll have to figure out for himself what it really means to be a man.
by George Saunders
Out Now!
 
For the last twenty years, George Saunders has been teaching a class on the Russian short story to his MFA students at Syracuse University. In A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, he shares a version of that class with us, offering some of what he and his students have discovered together over the years. Paired with iconic short stories by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Gogol, the seven essays in this book are intended for anyone interested in how fiction works and why it’s more relevant than ever in these turbulent times. A Swim in a Pond in the Rain is a deep exploration not just of how great writing works but of how the mind itself works while reading, and of how the reading and writing of stories make genuine connection possible.
by Robert Jones, Jr.
Out Now!
 
A singular and stunning debut novel about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation, the refuge they find in each other, and a betrayal that threatens their existence. Isaiah was Samuel's and Samuel was Isaiah's. That was the way it was since the beginning, and the way it was to be until the end. In the barn they tended to the animals, but also to each other, transforming the hollowed-out shed into a place of human refuge, a source of intimacy and hope in a world ruled by vicious masters. But when an older man––a fellow slave––seeks to gain favor by preaching the master's gospel on the plantation, the enslaved begin to turn on their own. Isaiah and Samuel's love, which was once so simple, is seen as sinful and a clear danger to the plantation's harmony. The Prophets masterfully reveals the pain and suffering of inheritance, but is also shot through with hope, beauty, and truth, portraying the enormous, heroic power of love.
by Eden Dawn and Ashod Simonian
Out Now!
 
Finally, a stylish, cheeky, curated guidebook of cool places for Portlanders (and visitors) to go on dates/outings/field trips/adventures. These range from one-hour coffee and ice cream dates in Portland's neighborhoods to multiday expeditions to Hood River and Mount St. Helens. The authors have a bead on the obscure and fascinating, and the descriptions are motivating enough to prompt even the lazy to head out the door. The book will have serious pickup power and will become an essential resource and armchair read for Portland-area Gen X, millennial, and Gen Z couples (and singles with friends) interested in learning about off-the-beaten-path things to do, see, and taste. No more FOMO! In-the-know authors and tastemakers Eden Dawn and Ashod Simonian will reveal where the cool and quirky go, while educating readers on this beloved city.
by Melanie Benjamin
Out Now!
 
From the author of The Aviator’s Wife comes a story of courage on the prairie, inspired by the devastating storm that struck the Great Plains in 1888, threatening the lives of hundreds of immigrant homesteaders, especially schoolchildren. Based on actual oral histories of survivors, this gripping novel follows the stories of Raina and Gerda Olsen, two sisters, both schoolteachers—one becomes a hero of the storm and the other finds herself ostracized in the aftermath. At its heart, this is a story of courage, of children forced to grow up too soon, tied to the land because of their parents’ choices. It is a story of love taking root in the hard prairie ground, and of families being torn asunder by a ferocious storm that is little remembered today—because so many of its victims were immigrants to this country.
by Joanna Ho and Dung Ho
Out Now!
 
This lyrical, stunning picture book tells a story about learning to love and celebrate your Asian-shaped eyes, in the spirit of Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, and is a celebration of diversity. A young Asian girl notices that her eyes look different from her peers'. They have big, round eyes and long lashes. She realizes that her eyes are like her mother’s, her grandmother's, and her little sister's. They have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea, crinkle into crescent moons, and are filled with stories of the past and hope for the future. Drawing from the strength of these powerful women in her life, she recognizes her own beauty and discovers a path to self-love and empowerment. This powerful, poetic picture book will resonate with readers of all ages.
by Eley Williams
Out Now!
 
Peter Winceworth, Victorian lexicographer, is toiling away at the letter S for Swansby's multivolume Encyclopaedic Dictionary. His disaffection compels him to insert unauthorized fictitious entries––mountweazels––into the dictionary in an attempt to assert some sense of individual purpose and artistic freedom. In the present day, Mallory, a young intern employed by the publisher, is tasked with uncovering these mountweazels before the work is digitized. She also has to contend with threatening phone calls from an anonymous caller. Is the change in the definition of marriage really that upsetting? And does the caller really intend for the Swansby's staff to 'burn in hell'? As these two narratives combine, both Winceworth and Mallory discover how they might negotiate the complexities of the often nonsensical, relentless, untrustworthy, hoax-strewn, and undefinable path we call life. An exhilarating debut novel from a formidably brilliant young writer, The Liar's Dictionary celebrates the rigidity, fragility, absurdity, and joy of language.
by Clare Pooley
 
This is the story of a solitary green notebook that brings together six strangers and leads to unexpected friendship, and even love. Julian Jessop, an eccentric, lonely artist and septuagenarian believes that most people aren't really honest with one another. But what if they were? And so he writes—in a plain, green journal—the truth about his own life and leaves it in his local café. It's run by the incredibly tidy and efficient Monica, who furtively adds her own entry and leaves the book in the wine bar across the street. Before long, the others who find the green notebook add the truths about their own deepest selves—and soon find each other In Real Life at Monica's Café. The Authenticity Project is just the tonic for our times that readers are clamoring for—and one they will take to their hearts and read with unabashed pleasure.
by Tui T. Sutherland
Out Now!
 
In the shadows, trouble is brewing. When Starflight is stolen by his own tribe, he hopes to at least discover some of the long-held NightWing secrets––what magical powers they really have, who they're allied with in the war, and where they've been living all this time. But the truth about Starflight's tribe is more terrible than he ever imagined: Not only do the NightWings live in a dark, miserable place, but they've imprisoned several innocent RainWings there, too. Stranded and alone, Starflight only wants to get back to his friends. But the fate of two kingdoms now rests in his talons, and with no one to save him, Starflight will have to find a way to be brave . . . before it's too late.
 
Upcoming Releases
by April Henry
Out: January 19
 
When a fire cuts off a popular trail in the Oregon forest, a small group trapped by the flames must find another way out—or die—in Playing with Fire, an unrelenting teen-vs-nature YA thriller by Multnomah Village author April Henry. Natalia is not the kind of girl who takes risks. Six years ago, she barely survived the house fire that killed her baby brother. Now she is cautious and always plays it safe. For months, her co-worker Wyatt has begged her to come hiking with him, and Natalia finally agrees. But when a wildfire breaks out, blocking the trail back, a perfect sunny day quickly morphs into a nightmare. With no cell service, few supplies, and no clear way out of the burning forest, a group of strangers will have to become allies if they're going to survive. Hiking in the dark, they must deal with injuries, wild animals and even a criminal on the lam—before the fire catches them.
by Simon Winchester
Out: January 19
 
Land—whether meadow or mountainside, desert or peat bog, parkland or pasture, suburb or city—is central to our existence. It quite literally underlies and underpins everything. Employing the keen intellect, insatiable curiosity, and narrative verve that are the foundations of his previous bestselling works, Simon Winchester examines what we human beings are doing—and have done—with the billions of acres that together make up the solid surface of our planet. Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World examines in depth how we acquire land, how we steward it, how and why we fight over it, and finally, how we can, and on occasion do, come to share it. Ultimately, Winchester confronts the essential question: who actually owns the world’s land—and why does it matter?
by Kathleen Lane
Out: January 19
 
From Portland author Kathleen Lane, discover an "absurd, funny, and thought-provoking" book perfect for "anyone who has ever felt socially awkward or inadequate" (Louis Sachar, author of Holes and the Wayside School series). Welcome to Pity Party, where the social anxieties that plague us all are twisted into funny, deeply resonant, and ultimately reassuring psychological thrills. There's a story about a mood ring that tells the absolute truth. One about social media followers who literally follow you around. And one about a kid whose wish for a new, improved self is answered when a mysterious box arrives in the mail. There's also a personality test, a fortune teller, a letter from the Department of Insecurity, and an interactive Choose Your Own Catastrophe. Come to the party for a grab bag of delightfully dark stories that ultimately offers a life-affirming reminder that there is hope and humor to be found amid our misery.
edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain
Out: February 2
 
A chorus of extraordinary voices comes together to tell one of history's great epics: the four-hundred-year journey of African Americans from 1619 to the present—edited by Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist, and Keisha N. Blain, author of Set the World on Fire. The story begins in 1619—a year before the Mayflower—when the White Lion disgorges "some 20-and-odd Negroes" onto the shores of Virginia, inaugurating the African presence in what would become the United States. It takes us to the present, when African Americans, descendants of those on the White Lion and a thousand other routes to this country, continue a journey defined by inhuman oppression, visionary struggles, stunning achievements, and millions of ordinary lives passing through extraordinary history. This is a history that illuminates our past and gives us new ways of thinking about our future, written by the most vital and essential voices of our present.
by Kristin Hannah
Out: February 2
 
Texas, 1934. Millions are out of work and a drought has broken the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance. In this uncertain and dangerous time, Elsa Martinelli—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or go west, to California, in search of a better life. The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American Dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.
by Ethan Hawke
Out: February 2
 
A bracing meditation on fame and celebrity, and the redemptive, healing power of art; a portrait of the ravages of disappointment and divorce; a poignant consideration of the rites of fatherhood and manhood; a novel soaked in rage and sex, longing and despair; and a passionate love letter to the world of theater, A Bright Ray of Darkness showcases Ethan Hawke's gifts as a novelist as never before. Hawke's narrator is a young man in torment, disgusted with himself after the collapse of his marriage, still half-hoping for a reconciliation that would allow him to forgive himself and move on as he clumsily, and sometimes hilariously, tries to manage the wreckage of his personal life with whiskey and sex. What saves him is theater: in particular, the challenge of performing the role of Hotspur in a production of Henry IV under the leadership of a brilliant director, helmed by one of the most electrifying––and narcissistic––Falstaff's of all time. Searing, raw, and utterly transfixing, A Bright Ray of Darkness is a novel about shame and beauty and faith, and the moral power of art.
by Bill Gates
Out: February 16
 
Bill Gates has spent a decade investigating the causes and effects of climate change. With the help of experts in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, political science, and finance, he has focused on what must be done in order to stop the planet's slide to certain environmental disaster. In this book, he not only explains why we need to work toward net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases, but also details what we need to do to achieve this profoundly important goal. He gives us a clear-eyed description of the challenges we face. Drawing on his understanding of innovation and what it takes to get new ideas into the market, he describes the areas in which technology is already helping to reduce emissions, where and how the current technology can be made to function more effectively, where breakthrough technologies are needed, and who is working on these essential innovations. Finally, he lays out a concrete, practical plan for achieving the goal of zero emissions--suggesting not only policies that governments should adopt, but what we as individuals can do to keep our government, our employers, and ourselves accountable in this crucial enterprise. As Bill Gates makes clear, achieving zero emissions will not be simple or easy to do, but if we follow the plan he sets out here, it is a goal firmly within our reach.
by Tui T. Sutherland
Out: March 2
 
In the newest installment of the Wings of Fire series, tensions are higher than ever as we prepare for a fight for the survival of dragonkind!
by Dav Pilkey
Out: March 23
 
This is book number 10 in the Dog Man series.
 
Annie Bloom's Staff Favorites
by Rumaan Alam
reviewed by Sandy

A family consisting of the parents and their two teenage children head out of NYC to a remote, luxurious home they’ve rented for a week's vacation, planning to leave the world behind. Their peaceful retreat is suddenly shattered when an older Black couple appear at their door in the middle of the night, claiming to be the owners of the house and that they can't return to the city because there is a blackout. Could they please stay? Can this couple be trusted to be who they say they are? How widespread is the blackout? When will they get any news from the outside world? The internet and TV are down and there is no cell phone service. What is going on? Suddenly, animals and birds are acting strangely. Flamingos in swimming pools. Deer amassing by the hundreds. A storm is brewing. The air is still. Then a booming sound so loud it brings the humans to their knees. Glass shatters. Teeth loosen and fall out. Nausea. Insects are silent. Then a second boom. With no way to determine what is happening, there is nothing to do but wait and keep on going and hope. All in all, this is a very disturbing novel on many levels. This book was written prior to the current pandemic and all that has happened in 2020, so it might not be considered dystopian fiction after all. This is page-turner of a novel leaves the reader uncertain as to what lies ahead in the immediate future for both the characters and, I might add, for us in real life.
by Rebecca Sacks
reviewed by Michael
Out: February 2
 
In her debut novel, international journalist Rebecca Sacks uses a cast of fascinating characters to offer readers her keen insights and earned wisdom on the Israeli-Palestine conflict. A writer of great empathy, Sacks exposes the hearts of those living on both sides of the borders that divide the region. Connecting most of the characters is a German journalist named Vera, who's covering the story of a Palestinian boy who was savagely beaten by Israeli teenagers as an act of revenge for the murder of an Israeli girl. The threat of violence permeates these pages. Mostly, though, this novel is about the tenuous links between humanely rendered people––the links between friends, within families, and across borders. City of a Thousand Gates is terrific.
 
Livestream Readings
Searching for Gurney
Tuesday, January 19, 7pm
Register here!
 
Annie Bloom's welcomes back Portland author Jack Estes for a livestream readings from his latest novel. Searching for Gurney explores the damaged lives of three U.S. Marines and one North Vietnamese soldier in the late 1960s and '70s. Each character's story begins at a different place: JT, home and struggling with flashbacks; Coop, on leave and getting drunk at his grandfather's funeral; Hawkeye, at the moment a judge gives him the choice of jail or boot camp; and Vuong, leaving his small village to join the NVA with patriotic fervor. Sent home after a horrific ambush, the Marines face new battles with PTSD and a hostile American public that treats them as criminals. Nightmares, anger, and substance abuse destroy family relationships and, ultimately, one character's life. For all of them, making sense of life after war requires the utmost courage. "Searching for Gurney is a tender, convincing, sometimes harrowing, and wonderfully written novel that explores the psychological aftershocks of the American war in Vietnam." —Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried
Thursday, January 21, 7pm
Register here!
 
The Hellenic-American Cultural Center & Museum (HACCM) is pleased to welcome award-winning writer, filmmaker and Olympic athlete Alexi Pappas to a virtual interview about her new book, Bravey: Chasing Dreams, Befriending Pain, and Other Big Ideas. Annie Bloom's is proud to be the official bookseller for this event. Alexi Pappas is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, and Olympic athlete. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Runner’s World, Women’s Running, Sports Illustrated, The Atlantic, and Outside, among other publications, and she has been profiled in The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, New York, and Rolling Stone. Pappas co-wrote, co-directed, and starred in the feature film Tracktown with Rachel Dratch and Andy Buckley. Most recently, she co-wrote and starred alongside Nick Kroll in Olympic Dreams, the first non-documentary-style movie to ever be filmed at the Olympic Games. A Greek American, Pappas holds the Greek national record in the 10,000-meters and competed for Greece in the 2016 Olympics. She lives in Los Angeles, California.
While I Was Away
Tuesday, January 26, 7pm
Register here!
 
Annie Bloom's welcomes Portland author Waka T. Brown for a livestream reading from her debut book, Middle Grade memoir While I Was Away. Waka will be joined in conversation by Rebecca Petruck, author of Boy Bites Bug. About While I Was Away: When twelve-year-old Waka's parents suspect she can’t understand the basic Japanese they speak to her, they make a drastic decision to send her to Tokyo to live for several months with her strict grandmother. Forced to say goodbye to her friends and what would have been her summer vacation, Waka is plucked from her straight-A-student life in rural Kansas and flown across the globe, where she faces the culture shock of a lifetime. In Japan, Waka struggles with reading and writing in kanji, doesn't quite mesh with her complicated and distant Obaasama, and gets made fun of by the students in her Japanese public-school classes. Even though this is the country her parents came from, Waka has never felt more like an outsider. If she's always been the "smart Japanese girl" in America but is now the "dumb foreigner" in Japan, where is home...and who will Waka be when she finds it?
Sirocco
Thursday, January 28, 7pm
Register here!
 
Annie Bloom's welcomes back Portland author Dana Haynes for a livestream reading from his new thriller, Sirocco, the follow-up to St. Nicholas Salvage & Wrecking. A serial bomber is wreaking havoc throughout Europe. Former New York City cop Michael Finnigan and former Spanish assassin Katalin Fiero––the brains behind St. Nicholas Salvage & Wrecking, a covert bounty-hunting operation based in Cyprus––may be the only ones who can stop the carnage. The partners have a reputation for tracking down the worst of the worst in international crime, all while staying firmly under the radar. But as they draw ever closer to the bombers, and as the terrorism sweeps up Katalin's own family, Finnigan and Fiero have to decide if they can continue to operate in the shadows. As the partners learn who they can––and can't––trust, they come face-to-face with shocking secrets at the highest echelons of the world's intelligence communities. Nonstop action and whip-smart dialogue power this compelling thriller to its final, heart-stopping conclusion.
Running the Distance
Thursday, February 4, 7pm
Register here!
 
Annie Bloom's welcomes Oregonian Jared Blank for a livestream reading from his book Running the Distance. Jared will be in conversation with Miguel De La Rosa of Vadela, and Jane Cooper, past President of The International Dyslexia Association––Oregon Branch. Jared Blank was only five years old when he realized something was wrong. He could already tell that he wasn’t like everyone else. He was having trouble learning to read, holding a pencil, using scissors, and tying his shoes. As it turned out, Jared had dyslexia, and he still does. With the help of his family, friends, teachers, and mentors, Jared learned to see his learning obstacles as opportunities. He also pursued sports and running as a way to excel, express himself, and help others. In writing this book, Jared hopes that sharing his challenges and experiences with school, work, and the World Marathon Challenge will inspire others who struggle to run their own distance and know that they do not have to do it alone.
 
World Read Aloud Day
LitWorld founded World Read Aloud Day in 2010 in celebration of the power of reading aloud to create community, to amplify new stories, and to advocate for literacy as a foundational human right. Over the last eleven years, World Read Aloud Day has evolved into a global movement of millions of readers, writers, and listeners from communities all across the world coming together to honor the joy and power of reading and sharing stories, and continue expanding the definition and scope of global literacy.
 
We would love for you to share your read-aloud stories, photos, and videos with Annie Bloom's. You can tag us on your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, or email the store and give us your permission to share on ours. We'd also love to hear your recommendations for treasured read-aloud books!
 
In Case You Missed it
Check out Annie Bloom's YouTube channel! This is where you can watch previous livestream author events that you might have missed, like Kim Johnson, Joanna Rose, David Biespiel and Vanessa Veselka, Lois Melina with Paulann Peterson, Ellen Michaelson with Natalie Serber, and more!
 
E-Gift Cards
We now offer an alternative to physical gift cards. E-gift cards are available in any amount, from $5 to $200. The e-gift card will be emailed to the recipient and can be used online at our website. Of course, our good ol' Molly Bloom physical gift cards are still available, too.
 
Donate to Street Books
 
Street Books is a bicycle-powered mobile library, serving people who live outside. Street Books strives to empower people on the streets through access to literature and create a community of support for people living outside, through a shared love of books. Annie Bloom's Books is partnering with Street Books by offering 10% off books purchased for their wish list. To view that wish list and to find out more about Street Books, please see: Our Street Books Page
 
Shopping at Annie Bloom's
 
 
While our store remains closed to browsing, our website is always open! We offer curbside pickup on prepaid orders, in addition to several shipping and delivery options. (See our website for more details.)
 
Looking for other ways to support Annie Bloom's? Please visit one of our affiliates, below.
 
Libro.fm Audiobooks
Support Annie Bloom's by purchasing audiobooks through Libro.fm, an indie vendor dedicated to indie bookstores. They offer the same deep catalog of audiobooks as Audible at the same prices. You can choose various membership options or shop à la carte. Click to visit our Libro.fm store.
 
Kobo eBooks
Are you an ebook reader? Head over to Annie Bloom's Kobo store, where your ebook purchases also support independent bookstores (including Annie Bloom's, of course).
 
Annie Bloom's Books | 503-246-0053 | 7834 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, OR 97219
 
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