|May 2017 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!
Since We Fell
by Dennis Lehane
review by Sharon
Since We Fell could be described as a psychological thriller, but it is much more than that. Lehane devotes much of the book to our protagonist, Rachel. She is a journalist who has had her share of challenges, from an overbearing mother who refused to tell her who her father was, to a traumatic on-air breakdown that goes viral and crushes her emotionally and professionally. By the time she falls in love and marries the seemingly perfect husband, we are emotionally vested in her. She has overcome a lot, but just when her life starts to regain some semblance of normalcy, she realizes that she has been deceived in a big way. It becomes apparent that things are not at all as they seem, and that's when it gets pretty intense! This is a book that builds steam as it goes. If you are looking for a good escape read, this is a great choice.
Britt-Marie Was Here
by Fredrik Backman
reviewed by Mary
Sometimes a person is in the mood for comfort food, and for bibliophiles there can sometimes come a yearning for comfort reading. I was in one of those moods recently and Frederik Backman's Britt-Marie Was Here was as satisfying as homemade macaroni and cheese. Britt-Marie needs her life and her cutlery drawer to be in just the right order, so when her world suddenly shifts, she must take matters into her own hands to put it right, befriending an unemployment office worker and a Snickers-eating rat. But that is just the beginning of a world that expands to include a struggling small town in Sweden with a passion for soccer. You may have met Britt-Marie in Backman's My Grandmother Asked me to Tell you She's Sorry. As with that book and A Man Called Ove, the cast of quirky characters is engaging, endearing and ultimately, comforting. (As I was writing this review, a boxed set of all three books arrived at the store--a perfect Mother's Day gift!)
October: The Story of the Russian Revolution
by China Mieville
reviewed by Ruby
It has been 100 years since the Russian Revolution, and its history is still being told and retold. Enter China Mieville with October, a day-by-day and month-by-month recounting of the revolutions of 1917. This is a great history of those tumultuous days. Mieville, known for the bizarre politics and protests that populate his sci-fi/fantasy novels, demonstrates his strengths as an academic scholar (which he is, London School of Economics degree included) in this nonfiction work. October covers everything from the bicycle brigades that patrolled Petrograd to the politics of Russia's borderlands and the wracking effects of World War I. Ending with the rise of the Bolsheviks in October, Mieville's history does not venture into the aftermath of this revolutionary year. Instead, Mieville asks how we look back, 100 long years later, at the men and women who believed that history could be molded and shaped at the people's will.
If you want to look at the aftermath (or the aftermath-of-the-aftermath) of all this molding and shaping, turn to Svetlana Alexievich. In Secondhand Time, she reconstructs the Soviet psyche after the end of the USSR in a brutal chorus of voices looking back into the 1990s, into perestroika, and into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics of her childhood. Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, a new translation (by Bela Shayevich) of Secondhand Time has recently been released in paperback. Alexievich's history is immediate and gut-wrenching; lived history recalled and shared in interviews and kitchen table conversations across Russia. Her answer to looking back? Let the voices wash over you.
May and June Readings at Annie Blooms:
Tuesday, May 16, 7pm
The Portland author presents her Middle Grade novel. Jupiter is used to being a planet of one, and she likes it that way. But then a cousin, who Jupiter never even knew existed, comes from Ethiopia to stay for the summer, and Jupiter is put in charge of taking care of her. Luckily, Edom doesn't want to be in Portland any more than Jupiter wants her there, and the two hatch a Grand Plan to send Edom back to her mother. In the process, Jupiter learns that community and family aren't always what you expect them to be.
Ivy Get Your Gun
Wednesday, May 17, 7pm
"The Vault" at O'Connor's Restaurant
In Portland author Cindy Brown's fourth Ivy Meadows novel, there's a new sheriff in town--and she can sing! When Gold Bug Gulch's actor-gunslinger Mongo winds up shot for real, actress and part-time PI Ivy Meadows goes undercover as the ingénue in the tourist town's melodrama. Unfortunately, she's distracted by a pack of marauding Chihuahuas, a problematic love life, auditions for Annie Get Your Gun, and a personal mission: to show people the real Annie Oakley. What's more, the no-good, yellow-bellied varmint who killed Mongo isn't finished with the Gulch--or with Ivy. Will our heroine prove she CAN get a man with a gun--before the killer gets her?
Patricia Bailey, Janet Johnson & Heidi Schulz
Middle Grade Reading
Monday, May 22, 7pm
Annie Bloom's welcomes three great Oregon Middle Grade authors on one night! In Patricia Bailey's The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan, life in a 1905 Nevada mining town is not easy for thirteen-year-old Kit, who must find a way to expose goldmine owner Mr. Granger's misdeeds before it's too late. In Janet Sumner Johnson's The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society, Annie tracks a lost treasure to her best friend Jason's backyard, and she's sure the booty will be enough to save Jason's family from foreclosure on their house. In Heidi Schulz's Hook's Revenge, twelve-year-old Jocelyn dreams of becoming every bit as daring as her infamous father, Captain James Hook. So, when Jocelyn receives a letter from her father challenging her to avenge his untimely demise at the jaws of the Neverland crocodile, she doesn't hesitate.
Nan Narboe, Susan Troccolo, and Paul Casey
Aging: An Apprenticeship
Thursday, May 25, 7pm
Local writers Nan Narboe, Susan Troccolo, and Paul Casey will read their pieces from the anthology Aging: An Apprenticeship, edited by Narboe. These 56 thoughtfully selected essays offer an intimate and lyrical account of aging through the decades. In six sections, these detail-rich essays paint an accessible picture of nearing 50, the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, the 90s and beyond with equal parts humor and insight. Nan Narboe introduces the book with a piece on "Informed Aging." In Susan Troccolo's essay "Slaying St. George," she writes about surviving cancer. In Paul Casey's "Katie Couric Is No Friend of Mine," a colonoscopy, not a red convertible, marks his initiation into mid-life.
Penelope Scambly Schott and Sage Cohen
Honest Writing about Tough Personal Stuff
Wednesday, May 31, 7pm
Schott's Serpent Love: A Mother-Daughter Epic is an intimate, intense, and, yes, courageous exploration of a common story, conflict between mother and adult daughter. In this version, the mother's attempt to help the newly-divorced daughter is definitely not a success. We get the mother's story in poetry--well-meaning love and terrible anger--and then the daughter's honest essay in response. In Cohen's Fierce on the Page, you have everything you need to do the writing you are meant to do. And yet the path to success can be difficult to find and follow. Cohen believes that ferocity is your best compass for finding your true way forward. In this collection of contemplative and inspiring essays, you'll unlock the secrets to naming your deepest desires, eliminating the challenges that hold you back, and committing to your practice.
Blood for Wine
Wednesday, June 14, 7pm
In the latest Cal Claxton mystery, Cal's neighbor, Jim Kavanaugh, the owner and gifted vintner of an up-and-coming winery, is accused of murdering his wife. When a blackmail plot is hatched against the owner of adjacent land, it begins to look like a brutal game of real-life Monopoly is underway. Cal agrees to defend Jim, a good friend, which pulls him reluctantly into the blackmail plot. Emotions are running high over Lori Kavanaugh's bloody death. There is no shortage of suspects. There may be more than the one game in play. And defending Jim might well make Cal the next target of a vicious, cunning killer.
Amish Guys Don't Call
Thursday, June 15, 7pm
Local author Dodds will read from her YA novel, Amish Guys Don't Call. Samantha is already facing scrutiny and anxiety at the start of her junior year. But when she realizes that her new boyfriend Zach was raised Amish, Sam must tackle a whole new set of challenges! Zach has chosen not to end his Rumspringa, instigating a potential shunning from his family. Not only that, but Sam's new friends can't miss this opportunity to tease and torment her. Sam has never really come to terms with her parents' divorce, so when her world crashes down on her in the form of cyberbullying and Zach's apparent return to the Amish community, she reverts to old, illegal habits. Does Sam even want friends like these? And, will her culture-crossed love with Zach find a way?
Edge of Morning
Monday, June 19, 7pm
Annie Bloom's welcomes Jacqueline Keeler, editor of the book Edge of Morning: Native Voices Speak for the Bears Ears. In support of tribal efforts to protect the Bears Ears, Native writers bear testimony to the fragile and essential nature of this sacred landscape in America's remote red rock country. Through poem and essay, these often-ignored voices explore the ways many native people derive tradition, sustenance, and cultural history from the Bears Ears.
Tracy Prince and Zadie Schaffer
Notable Women of Portland
Tuesday, June 27, 7pm
Local writers Dr. Tracy Prince and Zadie Schaffer will read from their book, Notable Women of Portland. The story of Portland, Oregon, like much of history, has usually been told with a focus on male leaders. This book offers a reframing of Portland's history. Many women made their mark and radically changed the Oregon frontier, including Native Americans Polly Johnson and Josette Nouette; pioneers Minerva Carter and Charlotte Terwilliger; doctors Marie Equi, Mary Priscilla Avery Sawtelle, and Bethina Owens-Adair; artists Eliza Barchus and Lily E. White; suffragists Abigail Scott Duniway, Hattie Redmond, and Eva Emery Dye; lawyer Mary Gysin Leonard; Air Force pilot Hazel Ying Lee; politicians Barbara Roberts and Margaret Carter; and authors Frances Fuller Victor, Beverly Cleary, Beatrice Morrow Cannady, Ursula Le Guin, and Jean Auel. These women, along with groups of women such as "Wendy the Welders," made Portland what it is today.
New Travel Books
Check out these great new titles from our Travel section:
Take a Walk: Portland
by Brian Barker
This guide to walks in greater Portland includes more than 75 of the best routes and destinations, including such gems as Forest Park in Portland and Rooster Rock in Corbett. Each route described includes distances and notes the steepness of the trail. Highlighted are recommended walks for birders, art lovers, beachcombers, history buffs, gardeners, and those who seek disabled access. Walking trails in the Portland metropolitan area can take you to old-growth forests, hilltops with spectacular views, and riverside locations. Grab your walking shoes and start exploring!
The New York Times: Footsteps
This curated collection of the New York Times' travel column, "Footsteps," explores iconic authors' relationships to landmarks and cities around the world. Footsteps is an anthology of literary pilgrimages, exploring the geographic muses behind some of history's greatest writers. From the "dangerous, dirty and seductive" streets of Naples, the setting for Elena Ferrante's famous Neapolitan novels, to the "stone arches, creaky oaken doors, and riverside paths" of Oxford, the backdrop for Alice's adventures in Wonderland, Footsteps takes a fresh approach to literary tourism, appealing to readers and travel enthusiasts alike.
by Lauren Elkin
A flaneuse is, in Lauren Elkin's words, a determined resourceful woman keenly attuned to the creative potential of the city, and the liberating possibilities of a good walk. Virginia Woolf called it street haunting, Holly Golightly epitomized it in Breakfast at Tiffany's, and Patti Smith did it in her own inimitable style in 1960s New York. Part cultural meander, part memoir, Flaneuse traces the relationship between singular women and their cities as a way to map her own life--a journey that begins in New York and takes us to Paris, via Venice, Tokyo, and London--including the paths beaten by such flaneuses as the cross-dressing, nineteenth-century novelist George Sand, the Parisian artist Sophie Calle, the journalist Martha Gellhorn, and the writer Jean Rhys.
Havana: A Subtropical Delirium
by Mark Kurlansky
Kurlansky presents an insider's view of Havana: the elegant, tattered city he has come to know over more than thirty years. Part cultural history, part travelogue, with recipes, historic engravings, photographs, and the author's own pen-and-ink drawings throughout, Havana celebrates the city's singular music, literature, baseball, and food; its five centuries of outstanding, neglected architecture; and its extraordinary blend of cultures. Once the only country Americans couldn't visit, Cuba is now opening to us, as is Havana, not only by plane or boat but also through Mark Kurlansky's multilayered and electrifying portrait of the long-elusive city.