September 2013 Staff Reviews, Teen Reads, and More

In This Issue:
More Staff Faves
Back Bay Book Bag Bonanza!
Staff Reviews
Author Readings
New in Teen Reads

More Staff Reviews 

Here Are More Great Picks From Our Staff Reviews Table:

Snow Hunters
by Paul Yoon

The Silent Wife
by A.S.A. Harrison

Creole Belle
by James Lee Burke 

Back Bay Book Bag Bonanza!

Buy Two Books, Bring Home a Bag

We're celebrating the 20th anniversary of Back Bay Books with a book bag giveaway. Buy any two books of the publisher's twenty "greatest hits," and receive this handsome tote:
back bay tote

Here are just a handful of the many excellent titles you can choose from:

The Tipping Point
by Malcolm Gladwell

Infinite Jest
by David Foster Wallace

The Booksellers of Kabul
by Asne Seierstad

Life
by Keith Richards

Room
by Emma Donoghue

The Art of Fielding
by Chad Harbach
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September 2013 Staff Reviews, Teen Reads, and More


We present three new Staff Favorites for your reading pleasure. And Back Bay Books is handing out totes for their 20th birthday. Also, check out our upcoming author events. Plus, read about the latest titles in our Teen Reads 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.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane
by Neil Gaiman
reviewed by Kate
Like many of Neil Gaiman's books, this novel is a bit of a weird one--a mix of realism and myth, where the ordinary has strange depths and the supernatural is in many ways mundane. A farm pond that is also an ocean, a mean nanny whose smiles hide a world-destroying evil--for Gaiman, ordinary experiences are often a shell that covers the true strangeness of life. Told in the first person by an unnamed narrator with a child's unflappable acceptance of the bizarre, the story has the dreamy quality of a half-forgotten memory. This lyrical prose offsets the dark happenings of the story, and while the plot seems to tie up neatly at the end, the reader is left with many questions, the answers to which will only bring more questions to the surface.

Fancy Feet
by Heidi Cave
reviewed by Jen
"Do you want to live?" These are the first words Heidi Cave hears after a terrible accident that kills her best friend, burns over 53 percent of her body, and takes both of her legs. Heidi has to make a choice: Die, or face excruciating pain, many surgeries, and incredible loss. What follows is a story of heroism, grit, grace, and ultimately forgiveness. I couldn't put this book down! The writing is honest, lyrical, and well-paced. It is most definitely a book that affirmed my belief in the power of determination.

Happiness is a Chemical in the Brain
by Lucia Perillo
reviewed by Brian
These stories reminded me of Lorrie Moore, whom I love, but if Lorrie Moore lived in a trailer in Olympia, Washington, with fewer puns but more loser boyfriends. Pretty funny, kind of sad, really good reading. 
Upcoming Readings
Upcoming Readings at Annie Blooms:

Sarah Swanson & Max Smith
Must-See Birds of the Pacific Northwest
Monday, September 16, 7pm
This is a lively, practical guide that helps readers discover 85 of the region's most extraordinary birds. Each bird profile includes notes on what they eat, where they migrate from, and where to find them in Washington and Oregon. Profiles also include stunning color photographs of each bird. Birds are grouped by what they are known for or where they are most likely to be found--like beach birds, urban birds, colorful birds, and killer birds.

Kelly Williams Brown
Adulting
Tuesday, September 17, 7pm
Just because you don't feel like an adult doesn't mean you can't act like one. And it all begins with this funny, wise, and useful book. Based on Kelly Williams Brown's popular blog, Adulting makes the scary, confusing "real world" approachable, manageable, and even conquerable. This guide will help you to navigate the stormy Sea of Adulthood. From breaking up with frenemies to fixing your toilet, this way fun comprehensive handbook is the answer for aspiring grown-ups of all ages.

Linda Lee Peterson
The Devil's Interval
Thursday, September 19, 7pm
Maggie Fiori uses her powers as a journalist to dig into the world of San Francisco's elite after a limo driver is convicted of murdering a socialite. Between managing her sons' soccer practices, saving her damaged marriage, and handling her maddening staff, Maggie fights to prove that the "Limousine Lothario" was guilty of no more than loving his mother. The Devil's Interval is the second mystery from Portland author Linda Lee Peterson.

Jan Baross
Ms. Baross Goes to Mexico
Wednesday, September 25, 7pm
"I'm a snow bird who leaves Oregon in the winter and flies down to the village of San Miguel de Allende, a small artists' colony in Mexico. For over 25 years I've been drawing the people and the changes, from traditional to modern life. Finally, I've finished editing hundreds of drawings into this graphic travel guide of 90 sketches with commentary and insights. It's my story of living, working, and most importantly, playing among Mexicans, Indians and gringos. Living in Mexico is so different from life in the USA." -Jan Baross

Katey Schultz
Flashes of War
Thursday, September 26, 7pm
Numerous characters--returning U.S. soldier and pragmatic jihadist, Afghan mother and listless American sister, courageous amputee and a ghost that cannot let go--appear in Flashes of War, which captures personal moments of fear, introspection, confusion, and valor in one collection spanning nations and perspectives. Written in clear, accessible language with startling metaphors, this unforgettable journey leaves aside judgment, bringing us closer to a broader understanding of war by focusing on individuals, their motivations, and their impossible decisions.

New Teen Reads 

Here are some of the best new titles from our Teen Reads section:

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die
by April Henry
"Take her out back and finish her off." She doesn't know who she is. She doesn't know where she is, or why. All she knows when she comes to in a ransacked cabin is that there are two men arguing over whether or not to kill her. And that she must run. In her riveting style, April Henry crafts a nail-biting thriller involving murder, identity theft, and biological warfare. Follow Cady and Ty (her accidental savior turned companion), as they race against the clock to stay alive.

The Theory of Everything
by Kari Luna
Sophie Sophia is obsessed with music from the late eighties. She also has an eccentric physicist father who sometimes vanishes for days and sees things other people don't see. But when he disappears for good, things take a turn for the weird. Sophie starts seeing things, like marching band pandas, just like her dad. Guided by Walt, her shaman panda, and her new (human) friend named Finny, Sophie is determined to find her father and figure out her visions, once and for all. Perfect for fans of Going BovineThe Perks of Being a Wallflower, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and The Probability of Miracles.

If You Could Be Mine
by Sara Farizan
Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They've shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love. Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light. Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution. In Iran, homosexuality may be a crime, but to be a man trapped in a woman's body is seen as nature's mistake, and sex reassignment is legal and accessible. As a man, Sahar could be the one to marry Nasrin. Is saving her love worth sacrificing her true self?

The Fall of Five
by Pittacus Lore
In this fourth novel in the I Am Number Four series, the Garde are finally reunited, but do they have what it takes to win the war against the Mogadorians? John Smith-Number Four-thought that things would change once the Garde found one another. They would fight the Mogadorians. And they would win. But he was wrong. And when the Garde receive a sign from Number Five, they know they are so close to being reunited. But could it be a trap? Time is running out, and the only thing they know for certain is that they have to get to Five before it's too late.

Jumped In
by Patrick Flores-Scott
Sam has the rules of slackerhood down: Don't be late to class. Don't ever look the teacher in the eye. Develop your blank stare. Since his mom left, he has become an expert in the art of slacking, especially since no one at his new school gets his intense passion for the music of the Pacific Northwest--Nirvana, Hole, Sleater-Kinney. Then his English teacher begins a slam poetry unit and Sam gets paired up with the daunting, scarred, clearly-a-gang-member Luis, who happens to sit next to him in every one of his classes. Slacking is no longer an option--Luis will destroy him. Told in Sam's raw voice and interspersed with vivid poems, this debut novel is about differences, friendship, loss, and the power of words.