July 2014 Staff Reviews, Psychology, and More

Constant Contact
In This Issue:
More Staff Faves
Staff Reviews
Author Readings
New in Psychology

More Staff Reviews 

Here Are More Great Picks From Our Staff Reviews Table:

 

The Burgess Boys

by Elizabeth Strout

 

And the Mountains Echoed

by Khaled Hosseini

The Plover

by Brian Doyle

 

The Lowland

by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Empathy Exams

by Leslie Jamison

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July 2014 Staff Reviews, Psychology, and More


We present three new Staff Favorites for your reading pleasure. Also, check out our upcoming author events. Plus, read about the latest titles in our Psychology section. 
Staff Reviews
Our staff brings you three new favorites. Click on a title or cover image to link to our website, where you can read more about the book or purchase it from our secure webstore. 

Book of Ages
by Jill Lepore

reviewed by Ruby 

Book of Ages opens wide the eighteenth century through a narrow subject. Jane Franklin, sister to the famous Benjamin, comes to life through Lepore's compassionate and humorous prose. This is the biography of a common and fascinating woman, but one whose life was not considered worthy of a historical biography in her own time. In Book of Ages, Lepore asks not only what it means to write history today but what it meant for Jane. Jane Franklin lived in an age when the newly created novel was considered the truest form of history for the common people. So a biography for Jane Franklin? Her contemporaries would be stunned. We are pleased and thankful. Lepore's writing is thoughtful, engaging, and often funny. Truly enjoyable are the guest appearances from Jane Austen, Lady Jane Grey, Virginia Wolf, and even the infamous Jared Sparks.

 

The Farm 

by Tom Rob Smith

reviewed by Bobby

Smith writes deft and engrossing, character-driven thrillers. His Child 44 trilogy (Child 44, Secret Speech & Agent 6) won high praise. His most recent, The Farm, is one of those books that grabs you from the first paragraph. Daniel, a young man living in London, receives a frantic call from his father who has retired with Daniel's mother to her native Norway to live on a seemingly idyllic farm. Daniel's father tells him that his mother has become violent and that he had to commit her to an asylum. As Daniel is preparing to go to his father's aid, he receives a call from his mother saying she has been released and is boarding a plane for London and that his father is involved in a conspiracy and cannot be trusted. What ensues is a compelling tale in which the truth is elusive and the ending truly surprising.

 

The Tilted World
by Tom Franklin & Beth Ann Fennelly
reviewed by Edie
Federal agents Ted Ingersoll and Ham Johnson are in Hobnob, Mississippi, when the river starts to flood--this is in 1927. Although their mission is to roust out bootleggers (you remember that this is Prohibition time, right?), they become embroiled in saving a baby's life; finding someone to care for it; solving murders; finding hidden stills; and controlling their panic as the river rises and rises. The story is told in the voices of two protagonists: Ingersoll and Dixie Clay Holliver, the tough woman they leave the baby with. Franklin has a wonderful ear for language, and the particular cadence of Mississippi and the characters he and Fennelly (his co-author wife) evoke sound true to the time and location. The backdrop of the historic flood is fascinating as is the mystery. And it is not a bad thing that this is also a love story. I do hope this writing couple tries it again. 
Upcoming Readings
Upcoming Readings at Annie Blooms:

Warren Easley
Dead Float
Wednesday, July 16, 7pm

Cal Claxton--a small town lawyer who works to fish--has to pinch himself when his best friend and fishing guide asks him to help guide an upcoming trip with a group of executives from a high-tech firm in Portland. But the trip through the remote Deschutes River Canyon turns ugly when a member of the fishing party is murdered. Everyone in the party is a suspect, including Cal himself. Does the fact that the company's value is about to explode play into the crime? And what about the freight line running along the river? All Cal knows is that he better come up with answers because he's suspect number one.

Liz Prato, Wendy Willis & Bonnie ZoBell
Short Stories & Poetry
Thursday, July 24, 7pm

Join us for this excellent trio of authors from independent publishing house Press 53. Multnomah Village writer Liz Prato is thrilled to announce that her short story collection will be published by Press 53 in May 2015. Liz is the editor of the recently published The Night, and the Rain, and the River, a collection of short stories by Oregon authors. Blood Sisters of the Republic is Portland poet Wendy Willis's first collection. Bonnie ZoBell's linked novella and story collection, What Happened Here, delivers a wildly different cast of characters living on the same block in North Park, San Diego, site of the PSA Flight 182 crash in 1978.

Debra Gordon Zaslow
Bringing Bubbe Home
Thursday, July 31, 7pm

Debra Zaslow was humming along on baby-boomer autopilot, immersed in her life as a professional storyteller, wife of a Rabbi, and mother of two teenagers when she felt compelled to bring her 103-year-old grandmother, Bubbe, who was dying alone in a nursing facility, home to live and die with her family. Zaslow had no idea if she would have the emotional stamina to midwife Bubbe to the other side. When Bubbe finally dies, something in Debra is born: the possibility to move into the future without the chains of the past.

Dan Berne & John Jared Smith
Portland Novelists
Thursday, August 7, 7pm

In Dan Berne's novel The Gods of Second Chances, family means everything to Alaskan fisherman Ray Bancroft, raising his granddaughter while battling storms, invasive species, and lawsuit-happy tourists. Set against a backdrop of ice and mud and loss, Berne's gripping debut novel explores the unpredictable fissures of memory, and how families can break apart even in the midst of healing. Jared John Smith's Rabbit is about J, a male American folklorist, aged twenty-seven, collecting ghost stories across states for freelance pieces. Along the halfway point of a 4,000 mile road trip through humid forestry and dry canyons, J meets with his homeless, mentally-ill father for the first time since age five. There are musings on sizes of stars and fragile creatures, the deaths of rabbits; mostly, it is a frantic hunt for family and its definition.

Dana Haynes
Gun Metal Heart
Thursday, August 21, 7pm

Daria Gibron, a freelance operative with a long and deadly history, has been slowly recovering from the injuries sustained from her last case (in Ice Cold Kill). Hiding out in a town in rural Italy, she has been staying as far off the map as she can--until she's tracked down by an old colleague. Diego had been a bodyguard in Florence, protecting an engineer and her invention, when they were attacked by a highly trained paramilitary group. At the same time, a small group of disgraced CIA agents have been waiting for their chance to exact revenge on the person they blame for their discharge--Daria Gibron. When they learn she's in contact with Diego, they get the okay from their former bosses to take her out.

Elizabeth Murray
Living Life in Full Bloom
Monday, August 25, 7pm

Living life in full bloom means living with hope and purpose, with imagination and vision--in a way that honors the Earth, the spirit, and one another. Elizabeth Murray encourages and nurtures each person to explore four personality attributes (Gardener, Artist, Lover, and Spirit Weaver), or pathways, that create a framework for practicing mindfulness, unleashing potential, and reviving communities. As Gardeners, readers will learn to observe and grow; as Artists, they'll discover creativity and new possibilities; as Lovers, they'll lead with the heart and commit to things they're passionate about; and as Spirit Weavers, they'll create rituals and express gratitude.

New In Psychology  

Here are some of the best new titles from our Psychology/Self-Help Section:

It Ain't Over ... Till It's Over
by Marlo Thomas
This book introduces us to sixty amazing women who are proving that it's never too late to live out a dream--to launch a business, travel the world, get a PhD, indulge a creative impulse, make a family recipe famous, escape danger, find love, or fill a void in life with a challenging new experience. Brimming with anecdotes that will inspire smiles, tears, and--most of all--hope, It Ain't Over speaks to women of all ages with an empowering message: The best is yet to come.

Finding Your Element
by Ken Robinson
The Element, introduced readers to a new concept of self-fulfillment through the convergence of natural talents and personal passions. Now comes the long-awaited companion, the practical guide that helps people find their own Element. Finding Your Element comes at a critical time as concerns about the economy, education and the environment continue to grow. The need to connect to our personal talents and passions has never been greater. As Robinson writes in his introduction, wherever you are, whatever you do, and no matter how old you are, if you're searching for your Element, this book is for you.

One Small Step Can Change Your Life
by Robert Maurer
The essential guide to kaizen--the art of making great and lasting change through small, steady steps--is now out in a new edition. This book is for anyone who wants to lose weight. Or quit smoking. Or write a novel, start an exercise program, get out of debt, or conquer shyness and meet new people. Rooted in the two-thousand-year-old wisdom of the Tao Te Ching, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Here is the way to change your life without fear, without failure, and to begin a new, easy regimen of continuous improvement.

Motherless Daughters
by Hope Edelman
This 30th Anniversary Edition has been revised and updated. Ask any woman whose mother has died, and she will tell you that she is irrevocably altered, as deeply changed by her mother's death as she was by her mother's life. Although a mother's mortality is inevitable, no book had discussed the profound, lasting, and far-reaching effects of this loss--until Motherless Daughters, which became an instant classic. Twenty years later, it is still the book that women of all ages look to for comfort and understanding when their mothers die, and the book that they continue to press into each other's hands.