November 2013 Staff Reviews, New Novels & Nonfiction, and More
present three new Staff Favorites for your reading pleasure. Also,
check out our upcoming author events. Plus, read about the latest Novels
and Nonfiction releases.
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
The Great War
by Joe Sacco
reviewed by Will
This essential book's power is revealed in it's unique format. Printed
on accordion-style paper to reveal 24 drawings that fold out to depict
the first day in the Battle of the Somme, Sacco's black-and-white
illustrations show the horror of the war by drawing us into details of
the battle. Inside the endless trenches, nearby the constant
explosions and oddly--both distinct from and very much a part
of--military regiment and routine, Sacco beautifully renders the
devastation and human toll of the war. Because of the unique nature
Sacco's art, this is a book to reflect on small details by yourself, but
also to share and observe with others.
The Wednesday Wars
and Okay for Now
by Gary Schmidt
reviewed by Mary
Thanks to my daughter the English teacher, I have been "discovering"
some compelling young adult fiction. Both of these books by an
award-winning author (Newbery Honor and National Book Award finalist)
deal with life in junior high school, with all the inevitable issues of
friends, teachers, parents. But even more significant is the
compassionate, humorous way Schmidt handles the underlying questions of
morality and values. All that and an irresistible and informative dose
of Shakespeare and the politics of the 1960's (The Wednesday Wars) and art and Audubon's paintings (Okay for Now). Good-hearted, insightful, and reassuringly well-written.
When Americans think about the end of World War II, most of them
visualize victory celebrations and our troops coming home to rejoin
their families. In other words, we won and the world became a better
place. But history is never that simple. As Ian Buruma shows in Year Zero,
the defeat of the Axis powers in 1945 was actually the start of a new
round of global conflict. As millions of war refugees struggled for
survival in cities destroyed by war, former colonies of the European
powers were demanding independence and preparing to fight for it. A
complicated new world order that would play out during the next 50
years was already taking shape, even as the final shots of World War II
were being fired.
Upcoming Readings at Annie Blooms:
Brownie Groundhog and the Wintry Surprise
Saturday, November 16, 1pm
Kids will love this wintry-wonderful follow-up to the popular Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox.
Brownie is ready for a long winter's nap. "Just don't wake
me up," she warns. But her friends miss her so much that
they can't bear to obey her orders--and they turn
Brownie's "do not disturb" into a comic commotion,
complete with a stunningly beautiful nighttime surprise.
Portland author Susan Blackaby has created a fun romp filled with
delightful wordplay, enhanced by Carmen Segovia's illustrations
featuring splashes of color against a snowy backdrop.
Theo Pauline Nestor
Writing Is My Drink: A Writer's Story of Finding Her Voice
Wednesday, November 20, 7pm
"Theo Nestor is a writer who, I am positive, will be heard from," wrote
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt, and hear from
her we do in this enthralling memoir that doubles as a
witty and richly told writing guide. Yet the real promise
in Writing Is My Drink lies in Nestor's uncanny ability as a
storyteller and teacher to make sure we'll also hear from
you, the reader. Brimming with stories from her own
writing life, and paired with practical "Try This" sections
designed to challenge and inspire, this disarmingly candid account of a
writer's search for her voice delivers charming, wise, and
often hilarious guidance that will motivate writers at
every stage of their careers.
Lisa Borders & Ron MacLean
The Fifty-First State & Headlong
Thursday, November 21, 7pm
The Fifty-First State is the new novel from Lisa Borders, author of Cloud Cuckoo Land.
After her father's death, Hallie Corson returns from her
New York photographer's life to her south Jersey hometown
to care for her long-estranged brother during his final
year of high school. As they learn their family's history,
Josh and Hallie will invite disaster into their lives, and
will learn, together, to navigate its currents, keeping
further losses at bay.
Ron MacLean's Headlong
is a literary thriller about fathers, sons, murder, immaturity,
anarchism, marriage, friendship, and failure. Nick, a 42-year-old
former journalist, has returned to Boston to tend to his
dying father. He soon becomes involved in a web of protest,
eco-terrorism, and violence.
New Novels & Nonfiction
|Here are some of the latest Novels and Nonfiction titles:
by Donna Tartt
Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an
accident that kills his mother. Tormented by his unbearable longing for
her, he clings to one thing that reminds him of his mother: a small,
mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the
underworld of art. The Goldfinch is a novel of shocking
narrative energy and power. It combines unforgettably vivid characters,
mesmerizing language, and breathtaking suspense, while plumbing with a
philosopher's calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art.
by Eleanor Catton
It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New
Zealand goldfields. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles
across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to
discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a
prostitute has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been
discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the
mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and
exquisitely patterned as the night sky.
The Good Lord Bird
by James McBride
Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in
1857, when the region is a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery
forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the
area, an argument between Brown and Henry's master quickly turns
violent. Henry is forced to leave town--with Brown, who believes he's a
girl. Eventually Henry finds himself with Brown at the historic raid on
Harpers Ferry in 1859--one of the great catalysts for the Civil War.
This novel is both a rousing adventure and a moving exploration of
identity and survival.
by Jumpa Lahiri
Born just fifteen months apart, Subhash and Udayan are inseparable
brothers, one often mistaken for the other in the Calcutta neighborhood
where they grow up. But they are also opposites, with gravely
different futures ahead. Udayan stays close to home to fight inequity
and poverty; Subhash moves to America to pursue scientific research. But
when Subhash learns what happened to his brother in the lowland
outside their family's home, he goes back to India, hoping to pick up
the pieces of a shattered family, and to heal the wounds Udayan left
by Stephen King
Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one
horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to
shed his father's legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence.
Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that
sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant "shining"
power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Then Dan meets
the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the
brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan's own demons and
summons him to a battle for Abra's soul.
by Russell Shorto
The author traces the idiosyncratic evolution of Amsterdam, showing
how such disparate elements as herring anatomy, naked Anabaptists
parading through the streets, and an intimate gathering in a
sixteenth-century wine-tasting room had a profound effect on
Dutch--and world--history. Weaving in his own experiences of his
adopted home, Shorto provides an ever-surprising, intellectually
engaging story of Amsterdam from the building of its first canals in
the 1300s, through its brutal struggle for independence, its golden
age as a vast empire, to its complex present in which its cherished
ideals of liberalism are under siege.
The Bully Pulpit
by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Goodwin describes the broken friendship between Teddy Roosevelt and his
chosen successor, William Howard Taft. With the help of the
"muckraking" press, Roosevelt had wielded the Bully Pulpit to
challenge and triumph over abusive monopolies, political bosses, and
corrupting money brokers. Like Goodwin's chronicles of the Civil War and
the Great Depression, The Bully Pulpit describes a time in our
history that enlightened and changed the country, ushered in the
modern age, and produced some unforgettable men and women.
Leading Through Uncertainty
by Raymond P. Davis
Umpqua Bank CEO Ray Davis shares a concise set of smart, actionable
leadership practices that leaders can use to navigate their businesses
and teams through difficult times. These include focusing on honesty
and transparency, motivating and inspiring employees, building an
outstanding corporate reputation, paying attention to details, and
more. By showing leaders how to maintain a clear value proposition and
strong leadership, Leading Through Uncertainty will help any company secure a lasting foothold in any economy.
I Am Malala
by Malala Yousafzai
When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl
spoke out. Malala refused to be silenced and fought for her right to
an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she
almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank
range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to
survive. Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an
extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the
halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a
global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the
Nobel Peace Prize.
David and Goliath
by Malcolm Gladwell
The author challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages,
offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated
against, or cope with a disability, or lose a parent, or attend a
mediocre school, or suffer from any number of other apparent setbacks. David and Goliath
draws upon history, psychology, and powerful storytelling to
demonstrate how much of what is beautiful and important in the world
arises from what looks like suffering and adversity.