September 2018: Staff Reviews, Kid's Books, Readings, and More!

September 2018: Staff Reviews, Kid's Books, Readings, and More!
 
We've got three new Staff Favorite reviews to share with you, plus: noteworthy upcoming releases, author readings, and the latest books for kids from toddlers to teens! But first:
 
Fear Is Here!
by Bob Woodward
Out Now!
 
With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, author Bob Woodward reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files and documents. The focus is on the explosive debates and the decision-making in the Oval Office, the Situation Room, Air Force One and the White House residence. Fear is the most intimate portrait of a sitting president ever published during the president’s first years in office.
 
New Staff Reviews
 
Check out these new books our staff are loving:
by Emily Whitman
reviewed by Karen
 
Aran’s mother is a selkie, a being who morphs between human and seal shape, but Aran was born without a pelt can’t join his mother and the rest of the selkie clan as they explore the ocean. Placed in the care of a human woman when his mother goes away, Aran struggles to keep his true identity hidden while simultaneously helping the humans who become a part of his life. This middle-grade book by Portland author Emily Whitman will appeal to readers who enjoy a dose of fantasy. A beautifully written coming-of-age story.
by John Heminway
review by Erin
 
At forty-five, Anne Spoerry became a member of the elite Flying Doctors Service, flying a plane solo across Africa to provide medical care to thousands of people. She was the beloved "Mama Daktari" and her bravery and compassion for those in need was legendary, but, as Hemingway reveals, her early life was deeply troubling---particularly her time at Ravensbruck, a Nazi death camp. Heminway unravels the mystery of one of the world's most celebrated "Mother Teresa" figures, and in doing so evokes humanity in all of its contradictions. In Full Flight is a riveting biography that explores the complexity of good and evil existing simultaneously in the fabric of one woman's life.
by John Hendrix
reviewed by Rosanne
 
In a year full of weighty political tomes, each more grim than the last, I find myself in need of inspiration more than information. The Faithful Spy is both a salve for the weary soul and a much needed encouragement to brave action in dark times. In this slim volume, John Hendrix chronicles Dietrich Bonhoeffer's life, from the comfort and privilege of his childhood to his spiritual influences including the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. Through image and text, direct quotations and summaries, The Faithful Spy shows how Hitler and his Nazi party took hold of a nation no more innately racist than any other. How Hitler manipulated their media and their political processes to pin the economic suffering of the depression on "the other." It shows how a man no more innately heroic than any other chose to ally himself with "the other" that the Nazis so despised. It illustrates his growing faith and growing conviction that Hitler must be stopped at all costs. There is no happy ending for Bonhoeffer and yet this is not a bleak book, but rather a testament to how one man found the courage to act in the face of great evil.
 
Upcoming Releases
 
These three soon-to-be-released books are gonna be big! Click on a cover or title to pre-order from our website.
by Robert Galbraith
Out: September 18, 2018
 
When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike's office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. Trying to get to the bottom of Billy's story, Strike and Robin Ellacottonce his assistant, now a partner in the agencyset off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside. The most epic Robert Galbraith novel yet, Lethal White is both a gripping mystery and a page-turning next installment in the ongoing story of Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott.
by Hank Green
Out: September 25, 2018
Pre-order now to get a cool pin!
 
The Carls just appeared. Coming home from work at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanshiplike a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armorApril and her friend Andy make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world—everywhere from Beijing to Buenos Airesand April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight. Compulsively entertaining and powerfully relevant, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing grapples with big themes, including how the social internet is changing fame, rhetoric, and radicalization; how our culture deals with fear and uncertainty; and how vilification and adoration spring from the same dehumanization that follows a life in the public eye.
Out: October 9th, 2018
Pre-order this title and get a free tote bag with your book!
(while supplies last)
 
In Killing Commendatore, a thirty-something portrait painter in Tokyo is abandoned by his wife and finds himself holed up in the mountain home of a famous artist, Tomohiko Amada. When he discovers a previously unseen painting in the attic, he unintentionally opens a circle of mysterious circumstances. To close it, he must complete a journey that involves a mysterious ringing bell, a two-foot-high physical manifestation of an Idea, a dapper businessman who lives across the valley, a precocious thirteen-year-old girl, a Nazi assassination attempt during World War II in Vienna, a pit in the woods behind the artist’s home, and an underworld haunted by Double Metaphors. A tour de force of love and loneliness, war and art—as well as a loving homage to The Great GatsbyKilling Commendatore is a stunning work of imagination from one of our greatest writers.
 
Upcoming Author Readings
Fall 2018 Reading
Tuesday, September 18, 7pm
 
Annie Bloom's welcomes a selection of contributors from the latest issue of Portland literary journal the Timberline Review. Join us as we celebrate the release of the Timberline Review Issue 7, with the theme of Rebirth. Come hear readings of works from this issue, including poetry, essays, and short stories.
Women of the Blue and Gray
Thursday, September 20, 7pm
 
Hidden amongst the photographs, uniforms, revolvers, and war medals of the Civil War are the remarkable stories of some of the most unlikely heroes--women. North, South, black, white, Native American, immigrant--the women in these micro-drama biographies are wives, mothers, sisters, and friends whose purposes ranged from supporting husbands and sons during wartime to counseling President Lincoln on strategy, from tending to the wounded on the battlefield to spiriting away slaves through the Underground Railroad, from donning a uniform and fighting unrecognized alongside the men to working as spies for either side. Local author Marianne Monson's book brings to light the incredible stories of women from the Civil War that remain relevant to our nation today. Each woman's experience helps us see a truer, fuller, richer version of what really happened in this country during this time period.
The Path to Publication
Monday, September 24, 7pm
 
Join these authors for a discussion on The Path to Publication: Three debut children's authors discuss the journey from would-be writer to published author.
 
In Portland author Cindy Baldwin's Middle Grade novel, Where the Watermelons Grow, twelve-year-old Della Kelly worries that the sickness that put her mama in the hospital four years ago is back. With her daddy struggling to save the farm and her mama in denial about what’s happening, it’s up to Della to heal her mama for good. And she knows just how she’ll do it: with a jar of the Bee Lady’s magic honey, which has mended the wounds and woes of Maryville, North Carolina, for generations.
 
In local author Carolyn O'Doherty's debut YA novel, Rewind, sixteen-year-old Alex is a Spinner--she has the ability to rewind time to review past events. Alex's society uses the Spinners' skills to solve major crimes, but messing with time comes with consequences: no Spinner lives past the age of twenty. At sixteen, Alex is in her prime—until time sickness strikes early. When she is offered an experimental treatment, Alex sees a future for herself for the first time. But the promising medication offers more than just a cure—it also brings with it dire consequences.
 
In California author Victoria Piontek's Middle Grade debut, The Spirit of Cattail County, Sparrow's best friend, the Boy, is a ghost that only she can see. So when her mama passes away, Sparrow doesn't give up hope. After all, if the Boy can linger after death, then surely Mama can return as well. But the Boy has a secret of his own, one that Sparrow will need to uncover before the ghost will lead her to Mama. To solve the mystery, Sparrow joins forces with some unlikely allies—Maeve and Johnny, siblings from a family of town outcasts—and Elena, a visiting child fortune-teller.
Poetry Reading
Wednesday, September 26, 7pm
 
Portland poets Sherri Levine, Liz Nakazawa, and Rebecca Smolen all have new chapbooks out with local publisher The Poetry Box.
 
Sherri Levine's In These Voices allows us to peek inside the lives of a variety of characters. Levine, through the magic of language, embodies a jilted lover, a worried husband, a young woman, a son, a granddaughter and even a squirrel.
 
Liz Nakazawa's Painting the Heart Open are poems of memory, thanks, prayer, bliss, dreams and blessings, embedded in color, and, while ethereal, are also rooted firmly to the earth. Hope is the sustaining thread even if some poems veer into darkness. Light is never too far away.
 
Rebecca Smolen's Womanhood & Other Scars explores what it means to be a woman in the 21st century. Through the eyes of the poet as young girl, teenager, daughter, granddaughter, wife and mother, we traverse both the triumphs and heartbreaks of womanhood. Let these poems blanket you in the realization you are not alone.
Saving Miss Oliver's
Thursday, September 27, 7pm
 
The prestigious boarding school Miss Oliver's School for Girls is on the cusp of going under. The trustees just fired the headmistress of the last thirty-five years, and the alumnae and students are angry and determined to hate her successor, the new--and male--head Fred Kindler. If only he can gain the support of the legendary senior teacher Francis Plummer, then Fred might have a fighting chance to save the school; but no one except Francis's wife and the school librarian, Peggy, is willing to give Fred a chance. With Fred's career on the line and the Plummers' marriage at stake, will Miss Oliver's survive to be the school it once was?
A Year Off
Wednesday, October 3, 7pm
 
The Portland authors' book is one part travel guide, one part travel essays and photos, and one part memoir documenting the story of a couple who decided to take a year off from their jobs and 'regular lives' to travel the world together after only knowing each other for a few months. This inspiring book is for all the dreamers, would-be adventurers and endearingly practical professionals looking to scratch the travel itch and take a risk on what may be the best time of their lives.
Girl with a Gun: An Annie Oakley Mystery
Thursday, October 4, 7pm
 
Fifteen-year-old Annie Oakley is the sole supporter of her widowed mother and two siblings. After a stunning performance in a shooting contest against the handsome and famous sharpshooter Frank Butler, Annie is offered a position in the renowned Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. Finally, she has a chance to save the nearly foreclosed family farm and make her dreams come true. But then her Indian assistant is found dead in her tent. When another innocent is murdered, Annie begins to fear the deaths are related to her. And to make matters worse, her prized horse, Buck, a major part of her act, is stolen. With the help of a sassy, blue-blooded reporter, Annie sets out to find her horse, solve the murders, and clear her name.
 
New Children's and YA Books
by Stefan Lohr
 
Welcome to Wimmelworld--a land of few words, yet endless entertainment--for curious kids ages 2 to 5. In these one-of-a-kind picture books, every page is bursting with life--and tons to discover. Wimmelbooks are virtually instruction-free, inviting kids to make their own way through the busy Wimmelworld they encounter, and to craft their own stories. First, you're introduced to a unique cast of characters who are hidden in plain sight on the pages that follow. As you seek them out, each character's storyline unfolds, but it's up to kids to interpret the scenes and create stories they think fit. It's hours upon hours of fun--and an effortless introduction to literacy to boot.
by Sonia Sotomayor and Lulu Delacre (illustrator)
 
As the first Latina Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor has inspired young people around the world to reach for their dreams. But what inspired her? For young Sonia, the answer was books! They were her mirrors, her maps, her friends, and her teachers. They helped her to connect with her family in New York and in Puerto Rico, to deal with her diabetes diagnosis, to cope with her father's death, to uncover the secrets of the world, and to dream of a future for herself in which anything was possible. In Turning Pages, Justice Sotomayor shares that love of books with a new generation of readers, and inspires them to read and puzzle and dream for themselves. Accompanied by Lulu Delacre's vibrant art, this story of the Justice's life shows readers that the world is full of promise and possibility--all they need to do is turn the page.
by Dana Simpson
 
Meet Ozy and Millie, two middle-grade students in Seattle who happen to be foxes. Millie is a mischievous 10-year-old with a talent for evading homework, a habit of questioning authority, and a knack for inventing bizarre jump rope rhymes. Ozy is her calm, thoughtful counterpart, whose adoptive father, a red dragon named Llewellyn, is full of strange stories and ancient wisdom. Also featured are Felicia, a sheep at the head of the cool clique, and Avery, a hapless raccoon who desperately wants to be popular. In this collection of funny and charming comics, the sweet, philosophical humor of author Dana Simpson (Phoebe and Her Unicorn) shines through.
by Sharon Creech
 
Louie doesn't have the best luck when it comes to nurturing small creatures. So when his father brings home a sickly newborn mini donkey, he's determined to save him. He names him Winslow. Taking care of him helps Louie feel closer to his brother, Gus, who is far, far away in the army. Everyone worries that Winslow won't survive, especially Louie’s quirky new friend, Nora, who has experienced loss of her own. But as Louie's bond with Winslow grows, surprising and life-altering events prove that this fragile donkey is stronger than anyone could have imagined.
by Wade and Cheryl Willis Hudson
 
What do we tell our children when the world seems bleak, and prejudice and racism run rampant? With 96 lavishly designed pages of original art and prose, fifty diverse creators lend voice to young activists. Featuring poems, letters, personal essays, art, and other works from such industry leaders as Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming), Jason Reynolds (All American Boys), Kwame Alexander (The Crossover), Andrea Pippins (I Love My Hair), Sharon Draper (Out of My Mind), Rita Williams-Garcia (One Crazy Summer), Ellen Oh (cofounder of We Need Diverse Books), and artists Ekua Holmes, Rafael Lopez, James Ransome, Javaka Steptoe, and more, this anthology empowers the nation's youth to listen, learn, and build a better tomorrow.
by Whitney Gardner
 
It's the beginning of the new school year and AJ feels like everyone is changing but him. He hasn't grown or had any exciting summer adventures like his best friends have. He even has the same crush he’s harbored for years. So AJ decides to take matters into his own hands. But how could a girl like Nia Winters ever like plain vanilla AJ when she only has eyes for vampires? When AJ and Nia are paired up for a group project on Transylvania, it may be AJ's chance to win over Nia’s affection by dressing up like the vamp of her dreams. And soon enough he's got more of Nia's attention than he bargained for when he learns she's a slayer. Now AJ has to worry about self-preservation while also trying to save everyone he cares about from a real-life threat lurking in the shadows of Spoons Middle School.
by Angie Thomas
 
This special edition of the acclaimed, award-winning novel contains a letter from the author, the meanings behind the names in the book, a map of Garden Heights, fan art, the full, original story that inspired the book, and an excerpt from On the Come Up. In The Hate U Give, sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.