September 2016 Staff Reviews, Readings, Sports Books, and More!

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In This Issue:
More Staff Faves
New Staff Reviews
Upcoming Readings
New in Sports
More Staff Faves
Here are some other great books on our Staff Favorites table:

by Ann Patchett

The Nix
by Nathan Hill

Whispers in the Mist
by Lisa Alber

The Last Days of Night
by Graham Moore

by Curtis White 
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September 2016 Staff Reviews, Readings, Sports Books, and More!
We hope you enjoy these new additions to our Staff Favorites table. Plus, check out the great author readings coming up and see our roundup of the latest books from our Sports section. 
New Staff Reviews
Here are three new Staff Favorites:
Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day
by Leanne Brown
reviewed by Kate
This is more than just a great cookbook full of cheap, easy, and delicious meals, though it is definitely that! It started out as the author's capstone for her master's in food studies--a free cookbook to make it easier to eat on the SNAP (food stamp) budget of $4 per person, per day. This version is the second edition, but the goal of making healthy eating more attainable remains: for each cookbook purchased, another copy is donated to someone in need, and the full text is still available for free online. But, in addition to being a book that you can feel good about yourself for buying, it's a really exceptional cookbook. I am not a great cook--in fact, I have historically done none of the cooking in my household. This means that cookbooks are often daunting for me, so when I recently needed to begin cooking, I figured something titled Good and Cheap would at least mean that if I screwed up, I wouldn't have spent a ton of money on the attempt. So far, everything I have made from this book has been stellar, in addition to being cheap and pretty quick and easy (which is saying something, since I barely knew how to saute an onion when starting out). I highly recommend this book for anyone starting out cooking, or who wants to eat healthier without spending a lot of time or trouble on the effort.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon
by Kelly Barnhill
reviewed by Karen
A fog of sorrow hangs over the city, because each year the witch in the woods demands a baby as a sacrifice. Except that the "witch" abhors the barbaric practice. Every year Zan races to save the baby, feeding it starlight until she can place it with a loving family in another village. But when she accidentally feeds a baby moonlight, the child becomes dangerously "enmagicked." To shield everyone, Zan undertakes raising Luna with the help of Glerk, a swamp monster, and Fyrian, a tiny dragon. Back in the city, Luna's mother has gone mad with grief, yet the unsympathetic leaders of the city require that the tradition continue for disturbing reasons of their own. While Zan struggles to teach Luna to control her powers, things in the city worsen, and a young man enters the forest intent on killing the evil witch. Luna, Glerk and Fyrian race to save Zan from him, but find they must battle an even more sinister enemy lurking in the woods. With a dark yet whimsical fairy-tale vibe, Barnhill's poetical prose reveals the cost of lies, and the absolute necessity of hope.

by Affinity Konar
reviewed by Michael
In this beautiful and terrifying debut novel, twin twelve-year-old girls Stasha and Pearl are taken to Auschwitz toward the end of World War II, where they become the experimental subjects of Dr. Josef Mengele. Despite this horrifying premise, Affinity Konar imbues her dual narrators with both wondrous innocence and profound inner strength. Also, history tells us that liberation is coming soon ... but soon enough? And what happens then? Gorgeously written and well researched, this novel is among the very best books of 2016.  
Upcoming Readings
Authors Coming in September October
Julia Claiborne Johnson
Be Frank with Me
Monday, September 19, 7pm

In Johnson's debut novel, reclusive literary legend M. M. "Mimi" Banning has been holed up in her Bel Air mansion for years. But after falling prey to a Bernie Madoff-style ponzi scheme, she's flat broke. Now Mimi must write a new book for the first time in decades, and to ensure the timely delivery of her manuscript, her New York publisher sends an assistant to monitor her progress. When Alice Whitley arrives at the Banning mansion, she's put to work right away--as a full-time companion to Frank, the writer's eccentric nine-year-old. As she slowly gets to know Frank, Alice becomes consumed with finding out who Frank's father is, how his gorgeous "piano teacher and itinerant male role model" Xander fits into the Banning family equation-and whether Mimi will ever finish that book.

Kyla Merwin
The Lost Codex of the Christian Heretics
Tuesday, September 20, 7pm

The Da Vinci Code meets The English Patient in this thrilling new novel by Oregon author, Kyla Merwin. Discover the hidden secrets of early Christianity as three daring friends search the remote and mysterious landscapes of 1947 Egypt--unveiling the most controversial archaeological discovery in 2,000 years. The Lost Codex is the story of danger, love, betrayal and choice. It's a journey though the fears and ecstasies of the human spirit, and a search for the most controversial religious material of the 20th century.

Marianne Monson
Frontier Grit
Thursday, September 22, 7pm

The Multnomah Village author reads from her history of frontier women. Discover the stories of twelve women who heard the call to settle the west and who came from all points of the globe to begin their journey. These are gripping miniature dramas of good-hearted women, selfless providers, courageous immigrants and migrants, and women with skills too innumerable to list. Many were crusaders for social justice and women's rights. All endured hardships, overcame obstacles, broke barriers, and changed the world. Monson ties the stories of these pioneer women to the experiences of women today with the hope that they will be inspired to live boldly and bravely and to fill their own lives with vision, faith, and fortitude. To live with grit.

Bill Merritt
Crackers: A Southern Memoir
Tuesday, September 27, 7pm

The Portland author returns to Annie Bloom's to read form his memoir. Merritt grew up in Atlanta, Georgia during the turbulent years between the end of World War II and the Vietnam War. A joyously unreconstructed Southerner, he looks on with amazement as Atlanta changes from a sleepy Southern town into the City Too Busy to Hate. Merritt's family is eccentric and colorful, occasionally courageous, often self-centered. This is the story of how the family was caught up in the Orly Air Crash, the Vietnam War, and the emotional fallout from a Cuban whose family had been murdered by Che Guevara. It is the story of the way the Civil Rights Revolution looked to Southerners.  
This is the story the way Southerners remember it--and tell each other.

Sandra Vischer
Unliving the Dream
Wednesday, September 28, 7pm

Things are darn near perfect for Alex Fisher: she runs a successful business with the love of her life, her husband and the father of her two great kids. She's managed to sail through nearly forty years without so much as a hiccup. That is, until she discovers her husband has been having an affair. Suddenly Alex is bouncing through divorce, through her daughter's subsequent rebellion, and through the big questions of who Alex herself really is and what she really wants. In this universal tale told through a unique voice, Alex finds that no one escapes unscathed-but we can all have a good laugh and some major personal growth along the way. A humorous, compassionate, and honest look at how the worst time in one's life ultimately leads to unexpected fulfillment and authenticity.

Elizabeth Cobbs
The Hamilton Affair
Monday, October 3, 6pm

Texas A&M's Professor Cobbs reads from her historical novel. Please note the special 6pm start time! Set against the dramatic backdrop of the American Revolution, and featuring a cast of legendary characters, The Hamilton Affair tells the sweeping, tumultuous, true story of Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler, from passionate and tender beginnings to his fateful duel on the banks of the Hudson River. Together, the unlikely couple braved the dangers of war, the perils of seduction, the anguish of infidelity, and the scourge of partisanship that menaced their family and the country itself.
  Wednesday, October 5, 7pm

For the Summer/Fall 2016 issue of Portland's own literary magazine, The Timberline Review, Annie Bloom's welcomes Mark Cunningham, Emily Ransdell, Andrea Hollander, David Melville, Penelope Schott, Heather Whited, and Jody Lisberger. The Timberline Review is a new literary journal, a collage of voices speaking through the written word. Short fiction. Creative nonfiction. Essays. Poetry. Work that has the power to inspire a conversation with the times we live in. They're searching for bold new work from writers everywhere. Their mission is to find these voices, and to let them resound from the treetops. They proudly support literary freedom.

Jessica Luther
Unsportsmanlike Conduct
Thursday, October 6, 7pm

Austin, Texas, investigative journalist Luther will read from her book on "College Football and the Politics of Rape." Football teams create playbooks, in which they draw up the plays they will use on the field. Playbooks are how teams work and why they win. This book is about a different kind of playbook: the one coaches, teams, universities, police, communities, the media, and fans seem to follow whenever a college football player is accused of sexual assault. Unsportsmanlike Conduct unpacks this societal playbook piece by piece, and not only advocates that we destroy the old plays, but also suggests we replace them with ones that will force us to finally do something about this issue.

Kate Ristau
Sunday, October 9, 3pm

Portland author Kate Ristau returns to Annie Bloom's for her latest young adult fantasy novel, Clockbreakers. Please note the special 3pm start time! On her eleventh birthday, Charlie receives a key to go back in time. But before she blows out her candles, she rolls her wheelchair right into Ancient Greece with her best friend Maria and her former best friend Trent. She's a Clockbreaker on an action-packed adventure with a mission: to save her father, and perhaps even save the world.

Carolyn Wood
Tough Girl: An Olympian's Journey
Monday, October 10, 7pm

Multnomah Village writer Carolyn Wood presents her debut memoir. Tough Girl opens as sixty-five year old Carolyn decides to walk the Camino de Santiago in hopes of reawakening the youthful determination and resilience that took her on the road to Rome and gold at the 1960 Olympics. What she encounters along both paths--fear, fatigue, pain and loss--are well worth the rewards of discovery.

Rachel King and Catherine Evleshin
Among Animals 2
Thursday, October 13, 7pm

Local writers King and Evleshin will read from their contributions to Among Animals 2, a collection of short fiction from Ashland Creek Press. Within these pages are glimpses of the world through the eyes of those who live among, who rescue, and who study these animals, and these collected tales highlight the ways in which animals and humans understand and challenge one another. Among Animals 2 continues the tradition of gathering stories from the world's most gifted contemporary authors--those who pay close attention to the creatures with whom we share our planet, and who inspire us to pay closer attention as well.

John Domini
Monday, October 17, 7pm

Movieola! is a collection of linked short stories that delights and exploits the language and paraphernalia of industrial Hollywood. The collection delves into a night at the movies, featuring all the familiar types the rom-com, the action-adventure, the superhero and the spy but the narratives are still under construction, and every story line is an opportunity for the unimaginable twist. Motive and identity are constantly shifting in these short stories that offer both narrative and anti-narrative, while the stunted shoptalk of the movie business struggles to keep up.

Kathleen Lane
The Best Worst Thing
Wednesday, October 19, 7pm

Portland author Kathleen Lane reads from her debut middle-grade novel, The Best Worst Thing. Maggie is worried. Ever since she started middle school, she sees injustice and danger everywhere--on the news, in her textbooks, in her own neighborhood. Even her best friend seems to be changing. Maggie believes it is up to her, and only her, to make everything all right. Can she come up with a plan to keep everyone safe? The Best Worst Thing is a perceptive novel about learning the limits of what you can control, and the good--sometimes even best--things that can come of finally letting go.

Claire Rudy Foster
I've Never Done This Before
Monday, October 24, 7pm

Portland author Claire Rudy Foster's I've Never Done This Before is a vivid is a gritty collection of short stories that investigate the effects of addiction on a diverse cast of characters. From a woman grappling with the end of her marriage to her porn addicted husband, to a retired Hell's Angel, to a heroin addicted escort getting a second chance at the high life, these stories explore a vast range of experiences, voices, and themes. Foster has created a collection that is moving and raw, a must read for literary fiction lovers. Includes seven hauntingly gorgeous illustrations by Aaron Lee Perry.

Brian Doyle and Jamie Duclos-Yourdon
Wednesday, October 26, 7pm
Oregon author Brian Doyle's The Mighty Currawongs is a collection of headlong tales-exploring such riveting and peculiar topics as chess in the Levant, tailors who specialize in holes, how to report stigmata to your attending physician, the intense hilarity of basketball, how to have a bitter verbal marital fight in your car, an all-Chinese football team in Australia, and others.

Froelich's Ladder, the debut novel from Portland author Jamie Duclos-Yourdon, is a fabulist adventure novel set in a reimagined nineteenth-century Pacific Northwest. When Froelich disappears from the fourth-tallest ladder in the world, his nephew's quest to find him interlaces with the journeys of two spunky young women who outwit their guardians. This fairy-tale twist on the American dream explores the conflict between loyalty and ambition, and the need for connection, even at the highest rungs.
New in Sports
Here are some of the latest releases in our Sports section:

Forward: A Memoir
by Abby Wambach
Abby Wambach has always pushed the limits of what is possible. At age seven she was put on the boys soccer team. At age thirty-five she would become the highest goal scorer male or female in the history of soccer, capturing the nation's heart with her team's 2015 World Cup Championship. Called an inspiration and badass by President Obama, Abby has become a fierce advocate for women's rights and equal opportunity, pushing to translate the success of her team to the real world. As she reveals in this searching memoir, Abby's professional success often masked her inner struggle to reconcile the various parts of herself: ferocious competitor, daughter, leader, wife. With stunning candor, Abby shares her inspiring and often brutal journey from girl in Rochester, New York, to world-class athlete. Far more than a sports memoir, Forward is gripping tale of resilience and redemption and a reminder that heroism is, above all, about embracing life's challenges with fearlessness and heart.

Ahead of the Curve
by Brian Kenny
The outspoken MLB Network host and commentator uses stories from baseball's present and past to examine why we sometimes choose ignorance over information, and how tradition can trump logic, even when directly contradicted by evidence. Forget batting average. Kill the Win. Say goodbye to starting pitchers. And please, please stop bunting. Ahead of the Curve debunks the old way of analyzing baseball and ushers in a new era of straightforward logic. Illustrated with unique anecdotes from those who have reshaped the game, it's a must-read for fans, players, managers, and fantasy enthusiasts. This fresh, fascinating analysis of baseball will deepen every reader's appreciation of the game.

The Boys of Dunbar: A Story of Love, Hope, and Basketball
by Alejandro Danois
As the crack epidemic swept across inner-city America in the early 1980s, the streets of Baltimore were crime ridden. For poor kids from the housing projects, the future looked bleak. But basketball could provide the quickest ticket out. in the early 1980s, the Dunbar Poets were arguably the best high school team of all time. Four starting players would eventually play in the NBA, an unheard-of success rate. In The Boys of Dunbar, Alejandro Danois takes us through the 1981-1982 season with the Poets as the team conquered all its opponents. But more than that, he takes us into the lives of these kids, and especially of Coach Bob Wade, a former NFL player from the same neighborhood who knew that the basketball court, and the lessons his players would learn there, held the key to the future.

Billion-Dollar Ball
by Gilbert Gaul
Over the past decade college football has not only doubled in size, but its elite programs have become a $2.5-billion-a-year entertainment business, with lavishly paid coaches, lucrative television deals, and corporate sponsors eager to slap their logos on everything from scoreboards to footballs and uniforms. What are the consequences when college football coaches are the highest paid public employees in over half the states in an economically troubled country, or when football players at some schools receive ten times the amount of scholarship awards that academically gifted students do? Billion-Dollar Ball considers these and many other issues in a compelling account of how an astonishingly wealthy sports franchise has begun to reframe campus values and distort the fundamental academic mission of our universities.