July 2013 Staff Reviews, Psychology, and More

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:

 

Tubes 

by Andrew Blum

 

Little Century 

by Anna Kesey

 

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves 

by Karen Joy Fowler

 

The Absent One  

by Jussi Adler-Olsen 

Join Our Mailing List

July 2013 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. 

Skinner
by Charlie Huston
reviewed by Edie
It you want a crazy ride into a techno-thriller, this book is for you. Huston has a number of great stories out (Sleepless is one) but this one is mindblowing. Skinner is an asset protector who is the best in the business, but his CIA handlers have grown afraid of him and sent him away---but of course, when a cyborterrorist attack looms, who is needed? This is actually pretty scary, as many scenes could be straight out of today's newspaper. At the end, you end up wondering, "Who is watching?"

The Unwinding 

by George Packer

reviewed by Will
Packer has gathered the stories of Americans across social and economic classes in this narrative history of American institutional decline over the past few decades--a decline that has created a more divided, less equal, and more downwardly mobile country. At the heart of the book, Packer focuses on the quixotic journeys of three people: a laid-off factory worker who becomes a community organizer, a gas station-convenience store owner who reinvents himself into a biofuel evangelist and entrepreneur, and an idealistic political aide turned lobbyist who ditches easy street in a doomed attempt to enact just political reform. Interspersed throughout the stories of these people's adversities, Packer weaves in reportage of some of the major influences of the last quarter century by chronicling the crash of the housing market and the resulting displacement of citizens, the crushing of labor and the manufacturing industry, and the corrupting of the political system. Packer lays the responsibility for institutional failure at the doorstep of "a decadent kleptocracy" and an insulated elite class represented in profiles of celebrities: haughty entertainers (Jay Z. and Oprah), hubris-filled Wall Streeters (Robert Rubin), hustling corporate magnates (Sam Walton), hyperbolic propagandists (Andrew Breitbart), huckstering politicians (Gingrich and Biden), and a huckstered frontman (Colin Powell). The Unwinding is a disturbing examination of the real human and societal costs of late-stage financial capitalism.

Children of the Jacaranda Tree
by Sahar Delijani
reviewed by Bobby
Delijani was born in Iran's Evin Prison in 1983, as was one of the characters in this intense, stunning debut novel. In the riveting opening scene, a young woman who's about to give birth is shackled in the back of a prison van, being roughly shuttled from one location to another. This is an intimate story of the brutal effects of revolution and religious tyranny upon three generations of families and loved ones. The story emerges almost as a chorus of voices. Many characters weave details of their losses and hopes into the narrative beautifully, and sometimes horrifyingly. There is separation and betrayal. Lies are told; but there is also great strength and courage in the search for the comfort of family and place, like the fragrant jacaranda tree. 
Upcoming Readings
Upcoming Readings at Annie Blooms:

Steven Goldsmith
The Healing Paradox
Thursday, July 18, 7pm
Why does Western medicine fail to cure chronic physical and mental illness? Dr. Steven Goldsmith's answer is at once counterintuitive and commonsensical: the root of the problem is our combative approach. Instead of resisting and fighting our ailments, we should cooperate with and even embrace them. Drawing on fascinating case studies and personal experiences from his forty-year career as a medical doctor and psychiatrist--as well as abundant clinical, experimental, and public health data--Dr. Goldsmith presents an exciting, revolutionary approach that will change the way you think about medicine and psychotherapy.

Karen and Jim Shepard
Tuesday, July 23, 7pm
Annie Bloom's is thrilled to host wife-and-husband author duo Karen and Jim Shepard. Karen Shepard's new novel is The Celestials. In June of 1870, seventy-five Chinese laborers arrived in Massachusetts to work for Calvin Sampson, one of the biggest industrialists in that busy factory town. This book beautifully reimagines the story of Sampson's "Chinese experiment" and the effect of the newcomers' threatening and exotic presence on the New England locals. Jim Shepard's latest, You Think That's Bad, is a wildly diverse collection of astonishingly observant stories. Like an expert curator, he populates the vastness of human experience with brilliant scientists, reluctant soldiers, workaholic artists, female explorers, depraved murderers, and deluded losers, all wholly convincing and utterly fascinating.

George Estreich & Matt Yurdana
Reading & Concert
Saturday, July 27, 4pm

Matt and George are good friends who write books separately and play music together. Matt sings and plays guitar. George avoids singing whenever possible, and plays other instruments instead, some of them homemade. Their music is acoustic, except when it is electric. Some of the music is written by Matt, who prefers to write music for other people's words. Even though they are writers, they are unable to agree on a band name. Their reading/concert will feature a group discussion in which a free book will go to the audience member suggesting the best band name not already in use.

 

Roosevelt High School Writers
Where the Roses Smell the Best
Monday, July 29, 7pm
This collection of poetry, prose, and vignettes is about what makes Portland special. These pieces were written by students of Roosevelt High School as well as established authors and poets.The result lets you see how Portlanders see Portland's people, places, and lifestyles. From the eccentric personalities who live among us to the natural beauty that surrounds us, this book captures Portland in its entirety. Where the Roses Smell the Best is the first publication of Roosevelt High School's Unique Ink Publishing. Unique Ink is a student-led publishing center whose mission is to work with the community to publish regional pieces. The publishing center will enable youth and adult writers to powerfully raise their voices. Alongside the student writers will be featured readers Paulann Petersen, Sybilla Cook, Thea Constantine, and Emma Oliver.

New In Psychology  

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

The Tools
by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels
The Tools is a dynamic, results-oriented practice that defies the traditional approach to therapy. Instead of focusing on the past, this groundbreaking method aims to deliver relief from persistent problems and restore control--and hope--to users right away. Every day presents challenges that the tools transform into opportunities to bring about bold and dramatic change in your life. For years, Phil Stutz and Barry Michels taught these tools to an exclusive patient base of high-powered executives and creative types. Now their revolutionary practice is available to anyone interested in realizing the full range of their potential. Stutz and Michels want to make your life exceptional--in its resiliency, its productivity, and its experience of real happiness.

Finding Your Element
by Ken Robinson
Sir Ken Robinson's TED talk video and groundbreaking book, The Element, introduced readers to a new concept of self-fulfillment through the convergence of natural talents and personal passions. Now comes the companion book, 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.

The Art of Thinking Clearly
by Rolf Dobelli
This is an eye-opening look at human psychology and reasoning--essential reading for those who want to avoid "cognitive errors" and make better choices in all aspects of their lives. Have you ever: Invested time in something that, with hindsight, just wasn't worth it? Or continued doing something you knew was bad for you? These are examples of cognitive biases, simple errors we all make in our day-to-day thinking. But, by knowing what they are and how to spot them, we can avoid them and make better decisions. Simple, clear, and always surprising, this indispensable book will change the way you think and transform your decision-making--at work, at home, every day. It reveals, in 99 short chapters, the most common errors of judgment, and how to avoid them.

The Book of Woe
by Gary Greenberg
For more than two years, author and psychotherapist Gary Greenberg embedded himself in the war that broke out over the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders--the DSM--the American Psychiatric Association's compendium of mental illnesses and what Greenberg calls "the book of woe." The author's account of the history behind the DSM, and his behind-the-scenes reporting of the deeply flawed process by which the DSM-5 has been revised, is both riveting and disturbing. Anyone who has received a diagnosis of mental disorder, filed a claim with an insurer, or just wondered whether daily troubles qualify as true illness should know how the DSM turns suffering into a commodity, and the APA into its own biggest beneficiary. Invaluable and informative, The Book of Woe is bound to spark intense debate among expert and casual readers alike.