November 2020: Indie Next Picks, Calendars, Portland Book Festival, and More!

November 2020: Indie Next Picks, Calendars, Portland Book Festival, and More!
See which new titles indie booksellers are loving, check out our selection of 2021 calendars, and read about the terrific lineup for this year's Portland Book Festival. But first....
A Promised Land Pre-Orders
Demand is high for Barack Obama's memoir. To meet that demand, the publisher is shipping the book in stages. Only the first 125 pre-orders for A Promised Land will be available to pick up at Annie Bloom's on its November 17 publication date, with more copies due to arrive the following week. At the risk of sounding like an infomercial: order now!
by Barack Obama
Out: November 17
In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency—a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil. This beautifully written and powerful book captures Barack Obama's conviction that democracy is not a gift from on high but something founded on empathy and common understanding and built together, day by day.
New & Upcoming Releases
by Jeff Kinney
Out Now!
In The Deep End, Greg Heffley and his family hit the road for a cross-country camping trip, ​ready for the adventure of a lifetime. But things take an unexpected turn, and they find themselves stranded at an RV park that’s not exactly a summertime paradise. When the skies open up and the water starts to rise, the Heffleys wonder if they can save their vacation—or if they're already in too deep.
by Leigh Bardugo
Out Now!
Galaxy "Alex" Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale's freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. In fact, by age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she's thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world's most prestigious universities on a full ride. What's the catch, and why her? Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. Their eight windowless "tombs" are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street's biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living.
by Lindy West
Out Now!
West was once the in-house movie critic for Seattle's alternative newsweekly The Stranger, where she covered film with brutal honesty and giddy irreverence. In Shit, Actually, Lindy returns to those roots, re-examining beloved and iconic movies from the past 40 years. From Forrest Gump, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and Bad Boys II, to Face/Off, Top Gun, and The Notebook, Lindy combines her razor-sharp wit and trademark humor with a genuine adoration for nostalgic trash to shed new critical light on some of our defining cultural touchstones-the stories we've long been telling ourselves about who we are. At once outrageously funny and piercingly incisive, Shit, Actually reminds us to pause and ask, "How does this movie hold up?", all while teaching us how to laugh at the things we love without ever letting them or ourselves off the hook. Shit, Actually is a love letter and a break-up note all in one: to the films that shaped us and the ones that ruined us. More often than not, Lindy finds, they're one and the same.
by Jerry Seinfeld
Out Now!
The first book in twenty-five years from Jerry Seinfeld features his best work across five decades in comedy. Since his first performance at the legendary New York nightclub "Catch a Rising Star" as a twenty-one-year-old college student in fall of 1975, Jerry Seinfeld has written his own material and saved everything. "Whenever I came up with a funny bit, whether it happened on a stage, in a conversation, or working it out on my preferred canvas, the big yellow legal pad, I kept it in one of those old school accordion folders," Seinfeld writes. "So I have everything I thought was worth saving from forty-five years of hacking away at this for all I was worth." For this book, Jerry Seinfeld has selected his favorite material, organized decade by decade. In page after hilarious page, one brilliantly crafted observation after another, readers will witness the evolution of one of the great comedians of our time and gain new insights into the thrilling but unforgiving art of writing stand-up comedy.
by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Out Now!
Updated with a new introduction from Robin Wall Kimmerer, the special edition of Braiding Sweetgrass celebrates the book as an object of meaning that will last the ages. Beautifully bound in stamped linen cloth with a bookmark ribbon and a deckled edge, this edition features five brilliantly colored illustrations by artist Nate Christopherson. Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings––asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass––offer us gifts and lessons, even if we've forgotten how to hear their voices. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return.
by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage
Out Now!
Level up your vegetables. In this groundbreaking cookbook, Ottolenghi and Belfrage offer a next-level approach to vegetables that breaks down the fundamentals of cooking into three key elements: process, pairing, and produce. For process, Yotam and Ixta show how easy techniques such as charring and infusing can change the way you think about cooking. Discover how to unlock new depths of flavor by pairing vegetables with sweetness, fat, acidity, or chile heat, and learn to identify the produce that has the innate ability to make dishes shine. Chock-full of low-effort, high-impact dishes that pack a punch and standout meals for the relaxed cook, Ottolenghi Flavor is a revolutionary approach to vegetable cooking.
by Lee & Andrew Child
Out Now!
Jack Reacher is back! The series continues as Lee Child teams up with his brother, Andrew Child, fellow thriller writer extraordinaire. In a town near Pleasantville, Tennessee, Reacher spots a hapless soul walking into an ambush. "It was four against one" So Reacher intervenes, with his own trademark brand of conflict resolution. The man he saves is Rusty Rutherford, an unassuming IT manager, recently fired after a cyberattack locked up the town's data, records, information, and secrets. Rutherford wants to stay put, look innocent, and clear his name. Reacher is intrigued. There's more to the story. The bad guys who jumped Rutherford are part of something serious and deadly, involving a conspiracy, a cover-up, and murder—all centered on a mousy little guy in a coffee-stained shirt who has no idea what he's up against. Rule one: if you don’t know the trouble you're in, keep Reacher by your side.
by David Sedaris
Out: November 3
David Sedaris's best stories and essays, spanning his remarkable career—as selected by the author himself. In these stories, Sedaris shops for rare taxidermy, hitchhikes with a lady quadriplegic, and spits a lozenge into a fellow traveler’s lap. He drowns a mouse in a bucket, struggles to say "give it to me" in five languages, and hand-feeds a carnivorous bird. Full of joy, generosity, and the incisive humor that has led David Sedaris to be called "the funniest man alive" (Time Out New York), The Best of Me spans a career spent watching and learning and laughing—quite often at himself—and invites readers deep into the world of one of the most brilliant and original writers of our time.
by J.K. Rowling
Out: November 10
Once upon a time there was a tiny kingdom called Cornucopia, as rich in happiness as it was in gold, and famous for its food. From the delicate cream cheeses of Kurdsburg to the Hopes-of-Heaven pastries of Chouxville, each was so delicious that people wept with joy as they ate them. But even in this happy kingdom, a monster lurks. Legend tells of a fearsome creature living far to the north in the Marshlands... the Ickabog. Some say it breathes fire, spits poison, and roars through the mist as it carries off wayward sheep and children alike. Some say it's just a myth. And when that myth takes on a life of its own, casting a shadow over the kingdom, two children––best friends Bert and Daisy––embark on a great adventure to untangle the truth and find out where the real monster lies, bringing hope and happiness to Cornucopia once more.
by Ernest Cline
Out: November 24
The highly anticipated sequel to the beloved worldwide bestseller Ready Player One, the "ridiculously fun and large-hearted" (NPR) near-future adventure that inspired the blockbuster Steven Spielberg film.
by Dav Pilkey
Out: December 1
A pioneering new graphic novel series by the author and illustrator of the Dog Man and Captain Underpants series. In Cat Kid Comic Club, Li'l Petey, Flippy, and Molly introduce twenty-one rambunctious, funny, and talented baby frogs to the art of comic making. As the story unwinds with mishaps and hilarity, readers get to see the progress, mistakes, and improvements that come with practice and persistence. Squid Kid and Katydid, Baby Frog Squad, Monster Cheese Sandwich, and Birds Flowers Trees: A Haiku Photo Comic are just some of the mini-comics that are included as stories-within-the-story, each done in a different style, utilizing humor and drama, prose and poetry, illustrated in different media including acrylics, pastels, colored pencils, felt-tip markers, clay, hand-made cardboard sculptures, photographs, pipe cleaners, construction paper collages, and cookies. Readers of all ages will be inspired to dream up their own stories and unleash their own creativity as they dive into this new graphic novel adventure from Dav Pilkey and his heartfelt, humorous, and amazing cast of characters in the Cat Kid Comic Club.
by Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz
Out: December 8
Is it possible for a sitting vice president to direct a vast criminal enterprise within the halls of the White House? To have one of the most brazen corruption scandals in American history play out while nobody’s paying attention? And for that scandal to be all but forgotten decades later? The year was 1973, and Spiro T. Agnew, the former governor of Maryland, was Richard Nixon's second-in-command. Long on firebrand rhetoric and short on political experience, Agnew had carried out a bribery and extortion ring in office for years, when—at the height of Watergate—three young federal prosecutors discovered his crimes and launched a mission to take him down before it was too late, before Nixon’s impending downfall elevated Agnew to the presidency. In this blockbuster account, Maddow and Yarvitz detail the investigation that exposed Agnew's crimes, the attempts at a cover-up—which involved future president George H. W. Bush—and the backroom bargain that forced Agnew's resignation but also spared him years in federal prison. Based on the award-winning hit podcast, Bag Man expands and deepens the story of Spiro Agnew's scandal and its lasting influence on our politics, our media, and our understanding of what it takes to confront a criminal in the White House.
Indie Next Picks
Every month, the coalition of independent bookstores puts together a list of titles recommended by booksellers across the country. Here are some of their top picks for November 2020.
by Bryan Washington
"Reading Memorial is like sitting down with a dear friend, asking 'What’s going on with you?' and settling in for much-needed catch-up on life, love, heartache, and family. Washington's writing is so intimate and direct that you feel the exhilaration, frustration, and uncertainty that Benson and Mike feel about their relationships, both with one another and with their families, which inspires a heart-felt connection to these characters that is hard to find in the world during socially distant times." —Colleen Ellis, Lark and Owl Booksellers, Georgetown, TX
by Jess Walter
"The gorgeous writing, vivid setting, compelling characters, and engrossing story aren’t even the best parts of this novel. Instead, I just keep marveling at how Jess Walter takes events from history to illuminate our present while keeping them rooted in their own time, from the labor movement to class, race, and gender equality and civil rights issues, to protests and freedom of speech. The northwest in 1909 has never been so relevant. Beautiful Ruins was a hard act to follow but, amazingly, Walter manages it with aplomb." —Ariana Paliobagis, Country Bookshelf, Bozeman, MT
by Becky Cooper
Out: November 10
"As much a journey for the writer as it is for the reader, this book solves a murder but leaves us with many unanswered questions. We Keep the Dead Close challenges us to question our assumptions as well as the paths we use to arrive at those assumptions. Delving into the academic culture of Harvard, the misogyny of the 1960s, and the burgeoning women’s rights movement, the story follows several threads, all of which have a significant impact on the life of Jane Britton, whose story is told with empathy, compassion, and five decades of curiosity." —Camille Kovach, Completely Booked, Murrysville, PA
by Anthony Horowitz
Out: November 10
"Anthony Horowitz has done it again! With Moonflower Murders, he has crafted another superlative, page-turning, cunning, book-within-a-book mystery chock full of clues (and red herrings), featuring the appealing former editor Susan Ryeland from Magpie Murders. Terrifically engaging, smart, and fun, this book is practically impossible to put down. Don’t miss it!" —Tova Beiser, Brown University Bookstore, Providence, RI
by Jacqueline Winspear
Out: November 10
"As a fan of her Maisie Dobbs novels, I couldn’t wait to learn more about Jacqueline Winspear herself. This memoir takes the reader through the early and adolescent years of the author’s life as well as the history of her parents. Winspear's memoir of an English country childhood is also a love letter to her parents, whose choices and outlook shaped her life. She paints a vivid picture of postwar England, and her story is engaging, vivid, and hopeful." —Scott Lange, The Bookman, Grand Haven, MI
by Christie Tate
"I cannot recommend this book enough! Group reads like a novel while also being incredibly insightful. Christie Tate is able to articulate a reality that I, and I’m sure others, haven't quite been able to express to those closest to us. This book will help people realize that there are things they haven't let themselves face yet, but it will also show them that their feelings are normal and natural. I, for one, am going to recommend this from now on to anyone I think might benefit from Tate's journey, which I think will be just about anyone." —Sterling Miller, Ferguson Books & More, Grand Forks, ND
New in Poetry
by Claudia Rankine
"Claudia Rankine really steps up the moment with this book. She invites readers to join a conversation that helps us think through uncomfortable parts of American history. The poems, essays, and images in the book allow for a conversation that opens your eyes and enriches your understanding of our time. Readers will be excited to pick up this wildly creative and powerful writing on race, difference, and politics in America." —Alyson Turner, Source Booksellers, Detroit, MI
by Barbara Kingsolver
"Kingsolver writes poetry that is both accessible and profound. This is the kind of collection you’ll loan out to a friend or relative and never get back. You should probably go ahead and buy two or three all at once!" —Pat Cawiezell, Magic City Books, Tulsa, OK
by Nikki Giovanni
"I would not call myself a poetry reader, but there is something about Nikki Giovanni's poetry that speaks to me so deeply. Sentimental and comforting, Make Me Rain covers a wide range of topics, from quilts and rising bread to the social change we so desperately need in our world. Giovanni's wisdom and understanding once again prove why she is such a poetic powerhouse and leave the reader wanting to explore her past work again, too." —Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC
edited by Roxane Gay
"This stellar selection of the wonderful Audre Lorde's work is a must-have. These powerful words deserve a wider audience, and it is wonderful to see Lorde's work introduced to a new generation by the excellent Roxane Gay." —Christie Schaefer, Octavia Books, New Orleans, LA
Calendars for 2021
by Deborah DeWit
Artist Deborah DeWit finds beauty in the simple, ordinary rhythms of life. Whether of a quiet meadow morning or a windowsill still life, her expressive photographs celebrate the virtues of the everyday. DeWit's honest and charming photos are paired with quotes on living simply, offering the viewer a chance to pause and reflect any time during a busy day.
With its delightful photos of our canine pals, it's no surprise that Dogma is one of our best-selling calendars. Each month you're treated to a charming photograph paired with a lighthearted saying capturing the personality and perspective of man's best friend. Dogma hasn’t gone entirely to the dogs—it's offered in multiple formats.
Ansel Adams was the most honored American photographer of the 20th century. Through his photography and leadership in the Sierra Club, he remains a leading voice in the fight to conserve America's wilderness. The 2021 Ansel Adams Wall Calendar features thirteen exquisite, high-quality reproductions of Adams's photographs, carefully selected and ordered to reflect the changing seasons. These stunning images––majestic mountain vistas, dramatic waterfalls, and landscapes of the American West––will delight all year long.
The family favorite that inspired an equally awesome book, The Kid's Awesome Activity Calendar sparks creativity and keeps kids' minds engaged, all year long. Each seasonal, colorfully illustrated spread is jam-packed with interactive entertainment, including offbeat prompts to get the mental wheels turning, lively games, and cool crafts. Plant a verdant garden in May. In October, join a monster party. Help build the ultimate gingerbread house for December. It's a wild ride for kids' imaginations—and the sort of wholesome, unplugged fun that parents love.
People just can't get enough of sloths and their chilled-out, unhurried ways. Here they are munching tasty hibiscus flowers. Hanging upside down. Cuddling with their friends. All the while showing off those inscrutable (and adorable) Mona Lisa smiles. Our top-selling mini wall calendar, The Original Sloths features 12 full-color portraits of these mellow creatures living their best sloth life in a Costa Rica sanctuary. The small format not only increases the cuteness quotient, but enables animal lovers to hang the calendar in compact spaces like lockers, cubicles, and on the fridge.
The most popular nature calendar ever published, this Sierra Club classic lets you track your daily activities and appointments and enjoy stunning photographs of North American flora and fauna at the same time! As much at home on your desk as in your briefcase, bag, or daypack, the Sierra Club's week-by-week engagement calendar is all about variety! In addition to featuring spectacular wild landscapes from all across the continent, this 120-page planner includes delightful images of wildlife, as well as amazing close-ups of nature's most vibrant colors and intricate patterns.
The Moleskine Weekly Notebook is dated from January to December. Formatted to show the week's appointments on the left and a ruled page for notes and ideas on the right, it is a handy and versatile planner that incorporates the freedom of a notebook.
5.512" H × 0.551" W × 3.543" L
That's what she really said. Featuring wise and witty quotes from some of the world's most noteworthy and notorious women on topics such as aging, success, relationships, politics, and more, the Wild Words from Wild Women 2021 Day-to-Day Calendar is a must-have for wild women everywhere. 
This calendar contains sassy, amusing, and thought-provoking quotations by and for women such as:
  • "I'm not looking for a man; let's start there." —Rihanna, when asked what she looks for in a man
  • "Am I going to have to use my "Mother of Five" voice to be heard?" —Nancy Pelosi, as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
  • "Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas." —Marie Curie, super-scientist
  • "Wearing or not wearing a bra is terribly unimportant. It's being able to buy that bra yourself—that's important." —Lillian Hellman, persnickety playwright 
  • "I didn't fall in love; I rose in it." —Toni Morrison, beloved Nobel laureate of literature
Portland Book Festival
Annie Bloom's is thrilled to be partnering with Literary Arts for this year's Portland Book Festival. We're the official booksellers for a terrific lineup of authors––including the events highlighted below––as well as Veronica Roth, Raven Leilani, Charles Yu, Naomi Novik, pop-up readings from many wonderful local authors, and more!
Fri, November 6 from 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm PST
A not-to-be-missed discussion featuring two of the most exciting debut novels of the year, immigrant stories of an adventure tale across the gold rush–era American West, and the trials of football and faith in a modern Alabama high school. These debut novels are wholly new coming-of-age tales which reinvent the cowboy story and the Southern Gothic.
Thu, November 12 from 6:00 pm - 6:45 pm PST
Nowhere is safe in these novels of post-collapse contemporary dread and family tension. In Rumaan Alam's Leave the World Behind, longlisted for the National Book Award, a blackout on the Eastern seaboard forces two families together in an isolated rural house, cut off from the outside world. And in award-winning author Jonathan Lethem's The Arrest, two siblings in a world where most of what we take for granted—cars, guns, computers, airplanes—have quit working find their lives upended by a man with a nuclear-powered super car.
Fri, November 13 from 2:00 pm - 2:45 pm
A cross-genre discussion featuring best-selling authors Claire Messud (Kant’s Little Prussian Head and Other Reasons Why I Write: An Autobiography in Essays) and Lydia Millet (A Children’s Bible, finalist for the 2020 National Book Award in Fiction), in conversation with Alexander Chee (How to Write an Autobiographical Novel).
Livestream Author Readings
Answer Creek
Thursday, November 5, 7pm
Register here!
Annie Bloom's Books welcomes Washington author Ashley Sweeney for a livestream reading from her new novel, Answer Creek. Ashley will be in conversation with Portland author Ellen Notbohm, who previously read at Annie Bloom's from her novel The River by Starlight. About Sweeney's Answer Creek: From the award-winning author of Eliza Waite comes a gripping tale of adventure and survival based on the true story of the ill-fated Donner Party on their 2,200-mile trek on the Oregon-California Trail from 1846 to '47. About Notbohm's The River by Starlight: Based on true events, this sweeping novel weaves a century-old story, timeless in its telling of love, heartbreak, healing, and redemption embodied in one woman's tenacious quest for control over her own destiny in the face of devastating misfortune and social injustice.
The Care of Strangers
Tuesday, November 10, 7pm
Register here!
Annie Bloom's welcomes Portland author Ellen Michaelson for a livestream reading from her debut novel, The Care of Strangers. She will be in conversation with fellow Portland writer Natalie Serber, author of Community Chest. Michaelson's The Care of Strangers is a moving story about friendship set in a gritty Brooklyn hospital, where a young woman learns to take charge of her life by taking care of others. About Community Chest: Diagnosed with breast cancer, Natalie Serber did the only thing she could: she wrote her way through the confusion and fear. In this fierce and good-humored memoir, she maintains her sense of gratitude and grace.
Celebrating World Kindness Day
Thursday, November 12, 7pm
Register here!
Choosing Compassion over Fear: Celebrating World Kindness Day. Annie Bloom's welcomes Marlena Fiol and Dawna Markova for a conversation and readings from their new books. We all have an equal capacity to harm or to heal. Confronted by our current challenges, will we choose to shut down in fear and anger, or will we reach out with kindness and compassion? Marlena Fiol shares an up close & personal look into one person’s journey from fear and anger to compassion. Her book, Nothing Bad Between Us, reveals her deeply personal story about growing up on a leprosy compound in Paraguay, South America, with a father who was both a generous, dedicated healer and a brutal disciplinarian. Dawna Markova's Living A Loved Life is an uplifting collection of stories woven from Dr. Markova's own experience as well as those of her clients.
In Case You Missed it
Check out Annie Bloom's new YouTube channel! This is where you can watch previous livestream author events that you might have missed, like Kim Johnson, Joanna Rose, David Biespiel and Vanessa Veselka, Lois Melina with Paulann Peterson, and more!
E-Gift Cards
We now offer an alternative to physical gift cards. E-gift cards are available in any amount, from $5 to $200. The e-gift card will be emailed to the recipient and can be used online at our website. Of course, our good ol' Molly Bloom physical gift cards are still available, too.
Thank You!
Thank You for Your Continued Support!
While our store remains closed to browsing, our website is always open! We offer curbside pickup on prepaid orders, in addition to several shipping and delivery options. (See our website for more details.)
Looking for other ways to support Annie Bloom's? Please visit one of our affiliates, below. Audiobooks
Support Annie Bloom's by purchasing audiobooks through, an indie vendor dedicated to indie bookstores. They offer the same deep catalog of audiobooks as Audible at the same prices. You can choose various membership options or shop à la carte. Click to visit our store.
Kobo eBooks
Are you an ebook reader? Head over to Annie Bloom's Kobo store, where your ebook purchases also support independent bookstores (including Annie Bloom's, of course).
Street Books
Street Books is a bicycle-powered mobile library, serving people who live outside. Street Books strives to empower people on the streets through access to literature and create a community of support for people living outside, through a shared love of books. Annie Bloom's Books is partnering with Street Books by offering 10% off books purchased for their wish list. To view that wish list and to find out more about Street Books, please see: Our Street Books Page
Annie Bloom's Books | 503-246-0053 | 7834 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, OR 97219