|May 2016 Staff Favorites, Travel, Readings, and More!
We've got new staff reviews for you! Plus, read about gift ideas for Grads & Dads, author events, the latest Travel books, and the newest additions to our magazine racks.
New Staff Reviews
|New reviews for you!
The Summer Guest
by Alison Anderson
review by Sharon
When Ana Harding is first commissioned to translate a Ukrainian diary, she has no idea how special it is going to be. It is the diary of Zinaida Lintvaryova, a young blind woman with a terminal illness and her account of the singular friendship she has with Anton Chekhov, who is spending his summers at the countryside estate of Zinaida's family. The diary itself is a poignant and evocative read, but Ana becomes obsessed with references to a novel that Chekhov may have written during that time, and the possibility that it may still be found and translated. She meets with Katya Kendall, the somewhat secretive publisher, but still has no answers as to the fate of the novel, so she decides to do some investigative work on her own-- with surprising results. The Summer Guest is a captivating read. It transports the reader to another time, and introduces three unforgettable women, each struggling with a solitude of their own, but their lives are bound by one very special diary.
by Katherine Zoepf
reviewed by Ruby
Living in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and pre-civil-war Syria, Katherine Zoepf worked on the interviews that would become Excellent Daughters. Publishing her work piecemeal brought both encouragement and chastisement from those she had already talked to. This book is the result of these ongoing conversations, explanations, and critiques. Zoepf's interviews with women in the Middle East tell a clear and reflective story while refusing to simplify a diverse and vital group of voices. Zoepf's subjects confront everything from Disney-themed weddings and the job market, to family- and state-perpetrated violence against women. Zoepf does not pretend to agree with everything she hears, but she confronts her own reactions with thoughtful, incisive prose. Wholly focused on women and dominated by their first person voices, Excellent Daughters is an engaging book that comes at an opportune moment and should be read by Western men and women alike. We rarely hear the opinions of young Muslim, Middle Eastern women in Western media, and Zoepf's work serves as a refreshing rebuttal to this neglect. Excellent Daughters is a powerful work of journalism.
Listen, Liberal, by Thomas Frank
Dark Money, by Jane Mayer
reviewed by Mary
In an attempt to be (somewhat) fair and balanced, I'm offering two titles which are provocative and stimulating reading for this political season. Remember when Thomas Frank talked to us about What's the Matter with Kansas? Well now he is speaking equally forcefully about what's the matter with liberals. His targets include both Clintons, President Obama, and the Democratic party for abandoning the working class. Frank's indictment of the role of the liberal "well-graduated" innovators and entrepreneurs in perpetuating income inequality is particularly disturbing.
Jane Mayer has a different take in Dark Money, exposing the widespread, long-standing influence of the Koch brothers and their fellow billionaires on the political process at all levels of government. Both books describe how these forces from the left and right have successfully influenced what goes on at some of our most prestigious institutions of higher learning. Frank and Mayer make their cases compellingly. These books were hard to put down.
Authors Coming in May and June
The New "N" Word
Wednesday, May 25, 7pm
The great question before our country now is when will middle-class Americans, especially the white middle class, finally wake up and realize that now they are the new "n" words and are being discriminated against and exploited. If you are white, maybe you can't see this because this kind of treatment used to be reserved for us (African Americans). But the fact is that they are treating you with disdain and you are getting poorer and poorer. They are taking the American Dream away from you and your children by refusing to invest in the education and training that leads to opportunities for higher-paying jobs, occupations, and professions. Our elected officials have sold you out to some of the super-rich elitists, seeing you as cheap labor, just like they saw us.
Walking With Ramona
Tuesday, June 7, 7pm
Walking with Ramona
explores the streets, schools, characters, and neighborhoods of author Beverly Cleary's Portland. With this newest and most unusual Portland guidebook, readers can walk the very sidewalks Beverly walked and climb the very school steps that Beverly climbed. Beverly Cleary's Portland was much different than the Portlandia of today. Walking with Ramona
brings to life what that 1920s and 1930s Portland was like for the girl from Yamhill who went on to become an internationally beloved author. Characters like Ramona and Beezus, Henry and Ribsy, and Ellen and Austine come to life on this hour-long walking route through the Northeast Portland neighborhood where Beverly grew up.
The Mercy Journals
Tuesday, June 14, 7pm
This novel is set thirty years in the future, in the wake of a third world war. Runaway effects of climate change have triggered the collapse of nation/states and wiped out over a third of the global population. One of the survivors, a former soldier nicknamed Mercy, suffers from PTSD and is haunted by guilt and lingering memories of his family. His pain is eased when he meets a dancer named Ruby, a performer who breathes new life into his carefully constructed existence. But when his long-lost brother Leo arrives with news that Mercy's children have been spotted, the two brothers travel into the wilderness to look for them, only to find that the line between truth and lies is trespassed, challenging Mercy's own moral code about the things that matter amid the wreckage of war and tragedy.
The Mountain Man's Dog
Thursday, June 16, 7pm
In the small town of Clarkesville, in the heart of the Oregon Cascade Mountains, humble forester Lehigh Carter stumbles into the complex world of crooked cops and power-hungry politicians... all because he rescues a stray, injured dog on the highway. The Mountain Man's Dog
is a briskly told crime thriller loaded with equal parts suspense, romance, and lighthearted humor, pitting honor and loyalty against ruthless ambition and runaway greed in a town too small for anyone to get away with anything.
Thursday, June 23, 7pm
"The Vault" at O'Connor's
When Ivy Meadows lands a gig with the book-themed cruise line Get Lit!, she thinks she's died and gone to Broadway. Not only has she snagged a starring role in a musical production of Oliver Twist, she's making bank helping her PI uncle investigate a string of onboard thefts, all while sailing to Hawaii on the S.S. David Copperfield. But Ivy is cruising for disaster. Her acting contract somehow skipped the part about aerial dancing forty feet above the stage, her uncle Bob is seriously sidetracked by a suspicious blonde, and-oh yeah-there's a corpse in her closet.
Ellen Jackson & Trudy Toliver
Portland Farmer's Market Cookbook
Wednesday, June 29, 7pm
The Portland Farmers Market is a year-round farmers market consistently named among North America's Top Ten. This cookbook is a tribute to the farmers, chefs and shoppers, who embrace their world-class market like no other. With 100 seasonally organized recipes for every meal of the day, stories of the market's farmers and producers, shopping and cooking tips, and glorious color photography, the Portland Farmers Market Cookbook
is a celebration of a place and its people, who are proud to share their bounty with the Portland community and beyond.
New Travel Books
Check out these great new titles from our Travel section:
Wild by Nature
"National Geographic Explorer" writer Sarah Marquis takes you on the trail of her ten-thousand-mile solo hike across the remote Gobi desert from Siberia to Thailand, at which point she was transported by boat to complete the hike at her favorite tree in Australia. This is an incredible story of adventure, human ingenuity, persistence, and resilience that shows firsthand what it is to adventure as a woman in the most dangerous of circumstance, what it is to be truly alone in the wild, and why someone would challenge themselves with an expedition others would call crazy. For Marquis, her story is about freedom, being alive and wild by nature.
by Geoff Dyer
From one of our most original writers (Kathryn Schulz, "New York" magazine) comes an expansive and exacting book: firmly grounded but elegant, often hilarious, and always inquisitive about travel, unexpected awareness, and the questions we ask when we step outside ourselves. Dyer's restless search continues in this series of fascinating adventures and pilgrimages. Weaving stories about places to which he has recently traveled with images and memories that have persisted since childhood, Dyer tries to work out what a certain place means, what it's trying to tell us, and what we go to it for.
by Githa Hariharan
Inspired by Italo Calvino's playful and powerful writing about journeys and cities, Hariharan combines memory, cultural criticism, and history to sculpt fascinating, layered stories about places around the world from Delhi, Mumbai, and Kashmir to Palestine, Algeria, and eleventh-century Cordoba, from Tokyo to New York and Washington. In narrating the lives of the vanquished and marginalized in these places, she plumbs the depths of colonization and nation-building, poverty and war, the fight for human rights, and the day-to-day business of survival.
Meet Me in Atlantis
by Mark Adams
Everything we know about the legendary lost city of Atlantis comes from the work of one man, the Greek philosopher Plato. Adams learned there is an entire global sub-culture of amateur explorers who are still actively and obsessively searching for this sunken city. In Meet Me in Atlantis, Adams racks up frequent-flier miles tracking down these Atlantis obsessives, trying to determine why they believe it's possible to find the world's most famous lost city and whether any of their theories could prove or disprove its existence. The result is a classic quest that takes readers to fascinating locations to meet irresistible characters; and a deep, often humorous look at the human longing to rediscover a lost world.
Check out these new titles from our magazine racks:
For kids 9 and up, Muse is a science and art magazine that is full of facts with jokes. Many articles are written by award-winning authors. If you want to know what a gentlemen ladybug is called, this magazine is for you (or your child).
Each issue of Veranda contains articles on garden design and outdoor living. Gorgeous photographs are one of its outstanding features.
Frankie, an Australian magazine, features design, art, music, real life stories that are quirky and opinionated, and short-form interviews with artists of all types.
Founded in 1952, Mad Magazine will be familiar to everyone. It still offers humorous satire on all aspects of American life. It's time revisit Mad!
Marijuana Venture covers all the business subjects, such as marketing, research, investment, management, pest control, etc.
Color Calm is a brand new monthly creative coloring magazine for adults who enjoy relaxing art therapy after a busy day at work.