|How many books can you read between now and Labor Day? Play Annie Bloom's Book Bingo for the chance to win gift cards of $25 and $50!
Complete rows of five books in a number of categories ("Local Author," "Banned Book," Graphic Novel," etc.). Everyone who turns in a Book Bingo form with at least one row completed will get a coupon for 10% off any one book, plus entry into the gift card raffle. Bingo forms are available at the front counter.
|July 2015 Staff Reviews, Readings, Book Bingo, and More!
We hope you enjoy these new additions to our Staff Favorites table. Plus, play Book Bingo, check out the great author readings coming up, and see our roundup of the latest books from our Psychology section.
New Staff Reviews
|Here are three new Staff Picks for you to peruse:
Our Souls at Night
by Kent Haruf
reviewed by Bobby
Sadly, Haruf passed away shortly after completing this exquisite final novel. Seventy-something widow Addie Moore walks down the block of her small town to make a proposal to Louis Waters, also in his seventies and windowed: namely, if he would consider coming to her house sometimes to sleep with her. She assures him it is not about sex but about companionship. Ursula Le Guin describes Haruf as "... stunningly original...He talks quietly, intimately, yet with reserve, as one adult to another." Our Souls at Night is a careful meditation, not without drama, upon the meaning of human companionship and the sometimes conflicting family ties. Fortunately Haruf leaves a treasury of work including Plainsong, Benediction, Eventide, Where You Once Belonged, and The Ties That Bind, all fine and thoughtful novels, each of which I can heartily recommend.
The Wild Inside
by Christine Carbo
reviewed by Edie
A grizzly bear, Glacier National Park, and a special agent for the Dept. of the Interior--what else would one need for an exciting suspense story? Ted Systead is sent to investigate a crime that recalls his own horrific experience with a grizzly at age fourteen. Now, a man has been bound to a tree and has been savaged by a Park grizzly, and none of the residents or Park staff are particularly helpful. The resentment between locals and outsiders (and he is considered very much an outsider) makes Ted's work nearly impossible. It is obvious that Carbo knows her setting very well, and Montana and Glacier are wonderful backdrops for dire doings.
The Next Next Level
by Leon Neyfakh
reviewed by Michael
You've never heard of Midwest rapper Juiceboxxx, and that's okay. Before reading this book, neither had I. And this isn't really a biography of Juiceboxxx. Instead, it's Neyfakh's investigation into his own deep fandom and what it means to be friends with someone whose life has taken a course entirely different from his own. A teenage acquaintance of Juiceboxxx, Neyfakh goes to college, marries, and becomes a journalist with a steady job. Meanwhile, Juiceboxxx spends the next decade playing mostly small gigs, couch-surfing, and self-releasing hip-hop albums that mix messages of positivity with stories of Juice's own struggles to live the artist's life. Funny, endearing, and observant, The Next Next Level is what loving music is really all about.
Readings for July & August
Kate Carroll de Gutes
Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear
Tuesday, July 14, 7pm
Multnomah Arts Center instructor Kate Carroll de Gutes presents her debut essay collection. On the surface, this book considers her sexuality, gender presentation, and the end of her marriage. But, as editor Judith Kitchen says, "peel it back, begin to take it apart, both semantically and linguistically and personally, and it all comes clear." These essays are about issues we all face: growing up, identity, love, loss, and sometimes, the quest for the perfect fashion accessory. With wit matched by self-compassion and empathy, the essays offer a lesson on the inevitable journey back to the places where we begin.
Liz Prato with Stevan Allred & Joanna Rose
Baby's on Fire
Wednesday, July 29, 7pm
Multnomah Village's own Liz Prato presents her debut short story collection, Baby's on Fire. She'll be joined in conversation by her former writing instructors, Stevan Allred and Joanna Rose, of The Pinewood Table writing workshop. Stevan Allred is the author of the story collection A Simplified Map of the Real World, published by Portland's own Forest Avenue Press. Joanna Rose is the author of the novel Little Miss Strange. Here's what Aimee Bender said about Baby's on Fire: "Reading this book felt like talking to a good friend with good music on in the background. Liz Prato's stories are great fun to read, and funny, and warm as can be, so even when they are painful and sad, they still genuinely welcome a reader."
Wednesday, August 12, 7pm
Millions of people around the world look to the Bible as a source of encouragement and faith formation, a reminder that God is love and is in control, and a guide to living one's life the way God desires. But this treasured book has also been misused and manipulated by many, placed on a pedestal of untouchability, and protected from questioning and honest engagement. Bird encourages people of faith to explore the texts on their own, freed from long-held myths and misconceptions; experience the Bible anew; and appreciate this holy book for what it is--not what we think it should be. With the sensitivity of one who has discovered this freedom herself, Bird invites readers to engage what the Bible really says about twelve key issues, including sin, sex, and the role of women.
YA Authors Marni Bates, Livia Blackburne, Robin Herrera & Mary Elizabeth Summer
Thursday, August 20, 7pm
Four great Teen Read authors in one night! In Bates's Awkwardly Ever After, it's prom season, and Melanie is flirting with her best friend's brother, while huge geek Isobel has the attentions of a renowned player, and Corey is dating rockstar Timothy, which might get them both banned from prom. In Blackburne's Midnight Thief, talented thief Kyra joins forces with Palace knight Tristam in acts of survival and vengeance. In Herrera's Hope Is a Ferris Wheel, ten-year-old Star Mackie starts a poetry club at her new school, and, through Emily Dickinson's poetry, learns some important lessons about herself and comes to terms with her hopes for the future. In Summer's Trust Me, I'm Lying, con artist high school sophomore Julep discovers her father missing and struggles to trace his trail of clues through a maze of creepy stalkers, hit attempts, family secrets, and worse, the threat of foster care.
Brian Doyle, Tom Janikowski, and Amy Schutzer
Authors on Red Hen Press
Thursday, August 27, 7pm
Brian Doyle is the author of Martin Marten, The Plover, Mink River, Bin Laden's Bald Spot, A Book of Uncommon Prayer, and many others. In Tom Janikowski's The Crawford County Sketchbook, a series of stories wind their way through the lives of the Switchback and Morgan families, framed by several ponderings of moral philosophy and existence. In Amy Schutzer's Spheres of Disturbance, Helen is choosing to die. Over the course of one day in 1985, those who surround her--among them her daughter, an art thief, a high-strung housewife and crochet artist, a lesbian poet, and a pregnant Vietnamese pot-bellied pig--grapple with her impending end.
Novelists M.J. Rose, Wendy Webb and Cat Winters
Monday, August 31, 7pm
In M.J. Rose's The Witch of Painted Shadows, Sandrine Salome flees New York for her grandmother's Paris mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds there is even more menacing. In Wendy Webb's The Vanishing, recently widowed and penniless Julia Bishop accepts a stranger's mysterious yet unique job offer: caretaker to his mother, Amaris Sinclair, the famous and rather eccentric horror novelist whom Julia has always admired ... and who the world believes is dead. In Cat Winters's The Uninvited, Ivy Rowan survives the great influenza epidemic of 1918, only to discover that her younger brother and father have killed a young German, and she still sees uninvited ones: ghosts of loved ones who appear to her.
New in Psychology
Here are some of the latest releases in Self-Help and Psychology:
Better Than Before
by Gretchen Rubin
This book presents a practical, concrete framework to allow readers to understand their habits and to change them for good. Infused with Rubin's compelling voice, rigorous research, and easy humor, and packed with vivid stories of lives transformed, Better than Before
explains the (sometimes counter-intuitive) core principles of habit formation. Whether readers want to get more sleep, stop checking their devices, maintain a healthy weight, or finish an important project, habits make change possible. Reading just a few chapters of Better Than Before
will make readers eager to start work on their own habits even before they've finished the book.
Madness in Civilization
by Andrew Scull
The loss of reason, a sense of alienation from the commonsense world we all like to imagine we inhabit, the shattering emotional turmoil that seizes hold and won't let go--these are some of the traits we associate with madness. Today, mental disturbance is most commonly viewed through a medical lens, but societies have also sought to make sense of it through religion or the supernatural, or by constructing psychological or social explanations in an effort to tame the demons of unreason. Madness in Civilization
traces the long and complex history of this affliction and our attempts to treat it.
Healthy Brain, Happy Life
by Wendy Suzuki
From the outside, it looked like Dr. Wendy Suzuki had it all. And yet, Wendy was forty, single, overwhelmed by her responsibilities, and often found herself in uncomfortable interactions with everyone around her. So, she set out on a journey that would transform her body, her mind, and her brain. Healthy Brain, Happy Life
is an accessible blend of memoir and science narrative that will transform the way you think about your brain, your health, and your personal happiness. Through both groundbreaking brain research and personal stories, Wendy offers practical and fascinating ways to improve memory, engage the mind more deeply, and learn new skills that will ultimately transform your body and your life.
The Skeleton Cupboard
by Tanya Byron
Professor Byron recounts the stories of the patients who most influenced her career as a mental health practitioner. Spanning her years of training--years in which Byron was forced her to contend with the harsh realities of the lives of her patients and confront a dark moment in her own family's past--The Skeleton Cupboard
is a compelling and compassionate account of how much health practitioners can learn from those they treat. Among others, we meet Ray, a violent sociopath desperate to be shown tenderness and compassion; Mollie, a talented teenager intent on starving herself; and Imogen, a twelve-year old so haunted by a secret that she's intent on killing herself. Byron brings the reader along as she uncovers the reasons each of these individuals behave the way they do, resulting in a thrilling, compulsively readable psychological mystery that sheds light on mental illness and what its treatment tells us about ourselves.