May 2014 Staff Reviews, New Sci-Fi, & More
Here are three new staff reviews for you! We have some great readings coming up, too. Also, get some great ideas for Graduation & Father's Day. Plus, check out the latest in Science Fiction and Fantasy, and browse our new CDs.
|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.
by Brian Doyle
reviewed by Sharon
Declan is fed up with life's complications, people's expectations, and other complexities of existence. He decides to set sail on the Pacific in his boat, The Plover. All he wants is to be alone and unencumbered, to live a simple life on the sea with no destination in mind. But things don't turn out as planned. His first companion is an unwanted seagull, whom he grudgingly befriends ... and this is not the only unlikely crew member Declan takes on during his journey. As the cast of colorful characters grows, the adventure begins. Doyle's prose is amusing, at times profound, full of wonder, and always thoroughly enjoyable. The Ploveris a delightful novel--it is a one-of-a-kind south seas adventure--but also an exploration of the interconnectedness of everything and everyone. It pays homage both to the ocean and to the human spirit, in their vast, mysterious, ever-changing beauty.
by Mark Leibovich
reviewed by Mary
Just out in paperback. Even if you read the hardback a year ago when it created such a stir, you may want to take a peak at this version, updated with an afterward detailing the early reactions from various Washington insiders upset at being included or left out. The story starts at Tim Russert's funeral, and Leibovich gives us an insider's view of the posturing mourners. He goes on from there to names names and tell tales about the highest and lowest profile elected officials, the high-rolling hostesses, the well-rewarded staffers, and of course the media. Much of the story is laugh-out-loud funny, but that laughter never completely masks outrage. As Leibovich says in the Afterward, "Actual readers of the book got the point that the systemic dysfunction of Washington has in fact sustained a vast, decadent and self-obsessed political class." You may not agree, or this may not be news to you, but Leibovich tells the story mercilessly and memorably.
The Steady Running of the Hour
by Justin Go
reviewed by Ruby
In his debut novel, Justin Go balances warfare, adventure, and the surprisingly exciting world of historical research with some delightful odes to mountaineering. When Tristan Campbell is first introduced to the elusive love story of Ashley Walsingham and Imogen Soames-Andersson he is a recent college graduate with a wide-open future and no idea what to do with it. Tristan's attempts to rescue the two lovers from the anonymity of the past become increasingly frantic as he chases their story across Europe. And as World War I closes in on London, Ashley and Imogen confront the reality of their desperate relationship. The reader, unlike Tristan, is easily welcomed into their world by Justin Go's striking ability to recreate the prose of the early 20th century. The inclusion of Ashley and Imogen keeps the novel from falling into the young-adult 'adventure across Europe' trope. Instead, Go creates an adventurous love story that really does manage to stand outside of time.
We have lots of great authors reading in May & June:
Under the Salvadoran Sun
TOMORROW: Thursday, May 15, 7pm
Portland author Davidson's debut novel is about a woman's search for a new purpose for her life in the embrace of post civil war El Salvador. It's love, sex and altruism in the hot and sensual arms of Central America. By a chance meeting with her former lover, Angela, an artist and widow from Seattle, is drawn into assisting him at a Salvadoran orphanage, supervised by an irreverent nun. More is at stake for Angela when she has to confront her daughters' discovery of her past transgression. As the story unfolds, Angela faces the complex world of Salvadoran gangs, threatening to entrap the young boys of the orphanage and secrets that jeopardize her relationship with her lover, Liam.
Jenny Milchman & Lauren Sweet
A Road Diverged in a Wood: Two Writers, Two Choices, Two Very Different Careers
Tuesday, May 27, 7pm
Jenny Milchman and Lauren Sweet met in a writers' group in 1998. Little did either of them know how long their journeys to publication would be, or what different paths they would take. Jenny has two novels published by Random House. Lauren has self-published one novel and the first three segments of a nine-novella series. In a lively, discussion-style format, Jenny and Lauren will talk about the choices they made and how their careers have taken off, answer questions from the audience, and offer ways to find the publication path that might be right for you.
Echo of the Boom
Monday, June 2, 7pm
Efram gets kicked out of every school in the known universe. Molly is raised in total isolation by survivalists. Steven grows up globetrotting with his ex-spy father. Chloe rules three thousand students with an iron fist. A frenetic journey through contemporary youth culture, Echo of the Boom
follows the lives of these four characters as their narratives orbit and intertwine. They wage personal wars, grapple for power, and attempt to understand their roles in the future of society--or their destiny in hastening its destruction. The result is a mesmerizing collection of triumphs and calamities, a chronicle brimming with the language of music, social networking, and video games. Equal partsGossip Girl
and Gravity's Rainbow
, Echo of the Boom
represents a new kind of literature explicitly suited to twenty-first century.
Oregon Short Story Writers
The Night, and the Rain, and the River
Thursday, June 5, 7pm
Join us for this wonderful reading! Four Oregon authors--Jan Baross, Gail Bartley, Steve Denniston, and Jackie Shannon Hollis--read fromThe Night, and the Rain, and the River
, an anthology from local publisher Forest Avenue Press, and edited by Multnomah Village's own Liz Prato. A current of longing runs through twenty-two short stories by Oregon writers. As the characters strive for connection, they make mistakes, reach out to the wrong people, and recalibrate their lives based on what they desire, whether or not it's attainable--or even a good idea.
Tuesday, June 10, 7pm
Former topnotch attorney Parker Stern, still crippled by courtroom stage fright, takes on a dicey case for an elusive video game designer, Poniard. In his game, Abduction!, a real-life movie mogul is charged with kidnapping and murdering a beautiful actress, and the mogul responds with a libel lawsuit. In defending Poniard, Parker discovers that people aren't who they claim to be and that nothing is as it seems.
Thursday, June 19, 7pm
As Skookum Summer
begins, the year is 1981, and reporter Tom Dawson slinks back to his tiny Puget Sound hometown after making a disastrous mistake at the LA Times. Working reluctantly at the local weekly, the Big Skookum Echo
, Tom is drawn into investigating a powerful logger's murder. As the mystery deepens, the murder exposes the strains on the community as pollution, development, and global change threaten traditional Northwest livelihoods. It also forces Tom to confront his own past and discover what home really means to him. Hart weaves together a gripping and suspenseful plot with richly observed Pacific Northwest history and a vivid picture of a community on the brink of change.
The Hip Girl's Guide to the Kitchen
Wednesday, June 25, 7pm
Payne shows you how to master basic cooking techniques--boiling, baking, and sauteing--and simplifies the process of fancy ones, like jamming and preserving, dehydrating, braising, roasting, infusing, and pickling. With this straightforward and fun guide, you can stock up your kitchen with the ingredients, tools, and appliances you'll actually use. You'll also learn how to decode recipes and alter them to make them gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegan.
A Place of Her Own
Thursday, June 26, 7pm
When Martha Maupin's husband died in 1866, leaving her alone on the frontier with their many children, she was torn between grief and relief after a difficult marriage. Lone mothers had few options in her day, but she took charge of her own dream and bought her own place, which is now one of the few Century Farms in Oregon named for a woman. This is the story of the author's great-great-grandmother's daring decision to buy that farm on the Oregon frontier after the death of her husband--and story of the author's own decision to keep that farm in the family.
New Science Fiction
|Here are some of the latest titles from our Sci-Fi shelves:
by Jeff VanderMeer
Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. A four-woman expedition group arrives expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers--they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding--but it's the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything. Annihilation is the first volume in VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, which will be published throughout 2014: volume two (Authority) in June, and volume three (Acceptance) in September.
Words of Radiance
by Brandon Sanderson
The Stormlight Archive sequence began in 2010 with The Way of Kings. Now, the eagerly anticipatedWords of Radiance continues the epic story and answers many of your questions. The Assassin is active again, murdering rulers all over the world of Roshar, using his baffling powers to thwart every bodyguard and elude all pursuers. Meanwhile, at the heart of the Shattered Plains, the Parshendi are making an epochal decision. Hard pressed by years of Alethi attacks, their numbers ever shrinking, they are convinced by their war leader, Eshonai, to risk everything on a desperate gamble with the very supernatural forces they once fled. The possible consequences for Parshendi and humans alike, indeed, for Roshar itself, are as dangerous as they are incalculable.
edited by Daniel H. Wilson & John Joseph Adams
Humans beware. As the robotic revolution continues to creep into our lives, it brings with it an impending sense of doom. What horrifying scenarios might unfold if our technology were to go awry? From self-aware robotic toys to intelligent machines violently malfunctioning, this anthology brings to life the half-formed questions and fears we all have about the increasing presence of robots in our lives. With contributions from a mix of bestselling, award-winning, and up-and-coming writers, and including a rare story by "the father of artificial intelligence," Dr. John McCarthy,Robot Uprisings meticulously describes the exhilarating and terrifying near-future in which humans can only survive by being cleverer than the rebellious machines they have created.
Doctor Who: Eleventh Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver Kit
by Running Press
The Doctor can always rely on his handy Sonic Screwdriver for a variety of uses. This commemorative kit includes a replica of the eleventh Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver in its extended position--complete with light and sound--plus a 32-page book on Doctor Who and history on the Sonic Screwdriver, with full-color photos.