May 2019: Staff Favorites, Travel, and Author Readings!

May 2019: Staff Favorites, Travel, and Author Readings!
Check out our latest Staff Faves, find out who's reading here soon, and see what's new in our Travel section. But first....
Upcoming Releases
These books are among the most anticipated new releases in the coming weeks. Click on a cover or title to pre-order from our website.
by Melanie Benjamin
Out: May 21
From the author of The Aviator's Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue comes this captivating novel based on the story of the extraordinary real-life American woman who secretly worked for the French Resistance during World War II—while playing hostess to the invading Germans at the iconic Hôtel Ritz in Paris. Based on true events, Mistress of the Ritz is a taut tale of suspense wrapped up in a love story for the ages, the inspiring story of a woman and a man who discover the best in each other amid the turbulence of war.
by Jill Lepore
Out: May 28
With dangerous forms of nationalism on the rise, Lepore repudiates nationalism here by explaining its long history--and the history of the idea of the nation itself--while calling for a "new Americanism," a generous patriotism that requires an honest reckoning with America's past. "In a world made up of nations, there is no more powerful way to fight the forces of prejudice, intolerance, and injustice than by a dedication to equality, citizenship, and equal rights, as guaranteed by a nation of laws." A manifesto for a better nation, and a call for a "new Americanism," This America reclaims the nation's future by reclaiming its past.
by Anthony Horowitz
Out: May 28
"You shouldn’t be here. It's too late . . . " These, heard over the phone, were the last recorded words of successful celebrity-divorce lawyer Richard Pryce, found bludgeoned to death in his bachelor pad with a bottle of wine—a 1982 Chateau Lafite worth £3,000, to be precise. Odd, considering he didn't drink. Why this bottle? And why those words? And why was a three-digit number painted on the wall by the killer? And, most importantly, which of the man's many, many enemies did the deed? Baffled, the police are forced to bring in Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne and his sidekick, the author Anthony, who's really getting rather good at this murder investigation business. But as Hawthorne takes on the case with characteristic relish, it becomes clear that he, too, has secrets to hide. As our reluctant narrator becomes ever more embroiled in the case, he realizes that these secrets must be exposed—even at the risk of death.
Staff Favorites
Here are the latest picks from our staff:
by Sujata Massey
reviewed by: Ruby
Sujata Massey introduced us to Perveen Mistry in The Widows of Malabar Hill and has now released a sequel, The Satapur Moonstone. The mysteries are a delightful blend of thoughtful lawyering and high-stakes drawing room drama. Inspired by real-life lawyer Cornelia Sorabji (who also makes an appearance in the first book in the series), Perveen Mistry is a lawyer practicing with her father's firm in 1920s Bombay. Her status as a Parsi woman allows her to assist on cases that a male lawyer could not: representing women who practice purdah. In both books, Perveen takes on cases involving widows and mothers and navigates the tricky waters between British law, Indian law, and a variety of religious tenets. The tangled politics of interwar India, class divides, and women's rights all conspire to make each case trickier than the last. In The Satapur Moonstone, Perveen ventures away from Bombay to the royal palace of Satapur, a fictional kingdom in the Western Ghats south of Bombay. Massey is as deft at conjuring rainy jungles and isolated palaces as she was at bringing cosmopolitan Bombay to life in The Widows of Malabar Hill. It is this wealth of detail and research that make the books stand out, along with Perveen's endearing and forthright spirit.
by Casey Cep
reviewed by: Sharon
This is a fascinating true crime story that revolves around three people: a reverend who was accused of multiple murders, the lawyer that defended him, and the author that wanted to tell their story. The author was Harper Lee, and the story of Reverend Willie Maxwell was to be the subject of her second, long-awaited book, but it never made it to the printing press. The Reverend had an affinity for buying multiple life insurance policies for both his immediate and extended family members. After the fifth mysterious death of a family member, and his being cleared of murder charges in court, Maxwell is gunned down in an act of vengeance during the funeral for one of the victims. The lawyer that successfully defended him then represents his killer. This is the story that captivated Harper Lee, who spent years in this small Alabama town interviewing and researching it. What was the real story behind these deaths? Why did Harper Lee never finish the book she called The Reverend? In this well-researched account, these are some of the questions Casey Cep tries to answer, while also giving us detailed glimpses into a small town in the Deep South, the courtroom drama that ensued, and the life of Harper Lee.
Upcoming Events
Thursday, May 16, 7pm
Annie Bloom's welcomes six contributors from Sacred Stone, Sacred Water: Women Writers & Artists Encounter Ireland: book editor Carolyn Brigit Flynn, June BlueSpruce, Jean Mahoney, Sarojani Rohan, Linda Serrato, and Jessica Webb. This elegant and intimate collection of writing, art, and photography evokes Ireland's wild beauty and deep soul through the work of 14 American women writers and artists at some of the island's most eminent sacred sites. The contributors include award-winning writers, poets, photographers and artists, with backgrounds as medical doctors, healers, psychotherapists, musicians, shamans, teachers, social workers, and international women's activists.
Poetry Reading
Tuesday, May 21, 7pm
Gallagher's new collection, Is, Is Not, upends our notions of linear time, evokes the spirit and sanctity of place, and hovers daringly at the threshold of what language can nearly deliver while offering alternative corollaries as gifts of its failures. Restorative in every sense, Is, Is Not is a book of the spirit made manifest by the poet’s unrelenting gaze and her intimate engagement with the mysteries that keep us reaching. Southwest Portland poet Paulann Petersen's latest collection, One Small Sun, takes readers from a fur shop in Oregon to a Hyderabadi shrine in India’s subcontinent. Its pages contain a meditation on post-mortem photographs, an ode to the female earwig, an elegy for a grandmother's panache. Tapping deeply into memory, relying on poetry’s ability to bring alive again what is coded into the blood, this collection tells the tales of what she has always realized, is ever learning, but—only through poetry’s vehicle—can truly know.
On Call in the Arctic
Thursday, May 30, 7pm
The fish-out-of-water stories of Northern Exposure and Doc Martin meet the rough-and-rugged setting of The Discovery Channel's Alaskan Bush People in Sims's book, where the author relates his incredible experience saving lives in one of the most remote outposts in North America. In order to do his job, Dr. Sims had to overcome racism, cultural prejudices, and hostility from those who would like to see him sent packing. On Call in the Arctic reveals the thrills and the terrors of frontier medicine, where Dr. Sims must rely upon his instincts, improvise, and persevere against all odds in order to help his patients on the icy shores of the Bering Sea.
Nirvana Is Here
Thursday, June 6, 7pm
The Seattle author will read from his new novel. For Ari Silverman, the past has never really passed. After 20 years, the trauma from a childhood assault resurfaces as he grapples with the fate of his ex-husband, a colleague accused of sexually harassing a student. To gain perspective, Ari arranges to reconnect with his high school crush, Justin Jackson, a bold step which forces him to reflect on their relationship in the segregated suburbs of Detroit during the 1990s and the secrets they still share. An honest story about recovery and coping with both past and present, framed by the meteoric rise and fall of the band Nirvana and the wide-reaching scope of the #metoo movement, Nirvana is Here explores issues of identity, race, sex, and family with both poignancy and unexpected humor.
Himalaya Bound
Monday, June 10, 7pm
Following his vivid account of traveling with one of the last camel caravans on earth in Men of Salt, Michael Benanav now brings us along on a journey with a tribe of forest-dwelling nomads in India. Welcomed into a family of nomadic water buffalo herders, he joins them on their annual spring migration into the Himalayas. More than a glimpse into an endangered culture, this superb adventure explores the relationship between humankind and wild lands, and the dubious effect of environmental conservation on peoples whose lives are inseparably intertwined with the natural world. Intimate and enthralling, Himalaya Bound paints a sublime picture of a rarely-seen world, revealing the hopes and fears, hardships and joys, of a people who wonder if there is still a place for them on this planet.
Volcanoes, Palm Trees & Privilege: Essays on Hawai'i
Wednesday, June 12, 7pm
at Gastromania
The Southwest Portland author will read from her essay collection. The event will be held next door at Gastromania (full bar and food menus available). Liz Prato combines lyricism, research and humor to explore her role as a white tourist in a seemingly paradisiacal land that has been largely formed and destroyed by white outsiders. Hawaiian history, pop culture, and contemporary affairs are masterfully woven with her personal narrative of loss and survival in linked essays, offering unique insight into how the touristic ideal of Hawai'i came to be, and what Hawai'i is at its core. "Liz Prato's profound meditations on place dislocate and then relocate understandings of Hawaiʻi from the point of view of the non-native visitor. This book is a love letter to the land and people of Hawaiʻi, with a keen awareness that some people must let their story of this place go. Breathtaking." —Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Chronology of Water and Book of Joan.
The Other Americans
Tuesday, June 18, 7pm
From the Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of The Moor’s Account, here is a timely and powerful novel about the suspicious death of a Moroccan immigrant—at once a family saga, a murder mystery, and a love story, informed by the treacherous fault lines of American culture. Late one spring night, Driss Guerraoui, a Moroccan immigrant living in California, is walking across a darkened intersection when he is killed by a speeding car. The repercussions of his death bring together a diverse cast of characters who are deeply divided by race, religion, and class. As they tell their stories, connections among them emerge, even as Driss's family confronts its secrets, a town faces its hypocrisies, and love, messy and unpredictable, is born.
Poetry Reading
Thursday, June 20, 7pm
Local poets Cathy Cain and Piper Bringman, whose new collections are published by The Poetry Box, will be reading together. Cathy Cain, like a bee to flower, gathers thought from one encounter with nature to another. She speaks from many perspectives—as herself, as tree, as mushroom, or as goddess-hero. Sometimes playful, even mystical, Cain is deeply honest as she confronts the state of our relationship with the natural environment, with technology, and with what it means to be human. Cardboard Wings is the debut poetry collection by Piper Bringman, a 14-year-old poet who is coming of age. And, although her writing originally grew from a child’s grief for her beloved pet, it has blossomed into a rich voice of aspiration and charm. Join her as she explores the natural world, and shares her experience as a young curious heart navigating these modern times.
New in Travel
by Liz Prato
Local author Liz Prato combines lyricism, research and humor to explore her role as a white tourist in a seemingly paradisiacal land that has been largely formed and destroyed by white outsiders. Hawaiian history, pop culture, and contemporary affairs are masterfully woven with her personal narrative of loss and survival in linked essays, offering unique insight into how the touristic ideal of Hawai'i came to be, and what Hawai'i is at its core. "Searching, wise, intimate and illuminating, Liz Prato's Volcanoes, Palm Trees, and Privilege is a complicated love letter to a place and a powerful reckoning of a life. I was moved and astonished by this beautiful book." – Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild
by Pico Iyer
From one of our most astute observers of human nature, Autumn Light is a far-reaching exploration of Japanese history and culture and a moving meditation on impermanence, mortality, and grief. For years, Pico Iyer has split his time between California and Nara, Japan, where he and his Japanese wife, Hiroko, have a small home. But when his father-in-law dies suddenly, calling him back to Japan earlier than expected, Iyer begins to grapple with the question we all have to live with: how to hold on to the things we love, even though we know that we and they are dying. In a country whose calendar is marked with occasions honoring the dead, this question is more urgent than anywhere else. Iyer leads us through the year following his father-in-law's death. And as the maple leaves begin to redden and the heat begins to soften, Iyer offers us a singular view of Japan, in the season that reminds us to take nothing for granted.
by Frances Mayes
The Roman Forum, the Leaning Tower, the Piazza San Marco: these are the sights synonymous with Italy. But such landmarks only scratch the surface of this magical country's offerings. In See You in the Piazza, Frances Mayes introduces us to the Italy only the locals know, as she and her husband, Ed, eat and drink their way through thirteen regions--from Friuli to Sicily. Along the way, she seeks out the cultural and historic gems not found in traditional guidebooks. Frances conjures the enchantment of the backstreets, the hubbub of the markets, the dreamlike wonder of that space between lunch and dinner when a city cracks open to those who would wander or when a mind is drawn into the pages of a delicious book--and discloses to us the secrets that only someone who is on intimate terms with a place could find.
by Chandler O'Leary
What better place for a road trip than the West Coast (the best coast, by any measure)? From San Diego, California, all the way up to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, you'll find off-the-beaten-path adventures up and down the coast. This charming illustrated book features both the coastal route via historic Highways 101 and 1 (the PCH) and an inland route up Highway 99, highlighting the natural beauty along the shore while also connecting the traveler to major cities and other attractions. Chock-full of unusual facts, hidden history, and Americana, this one-of-a-kind road trip through California, Oregon, and Washington tells a story of the diversity and depth that created the West Coast we know and love today, showcasing both the ever-changing present and vestiges of the past for those who slow down to look. Perfect for fans of Atlas Obscura, Rebecca Solnit, and Julia Rothman.