Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bye, Sweetheart!

I was quite bummed to read in Sunday's Oregonian that Chelsea Cain will no longer be writing her weekly column in the newspaper. I always looked forward to her column to provide me with at least a chuckle, if not a full-on guffaw. In fact, it's been part of my health-maintenance routine -- you know what they say about laughter, medicine, etc. (Maybe I should start sending Chelsea my medical bills!) Most recently Chelsea has been writing a Portland-based mystery series about a serial killer. The first book, Heartsick, is out in paperback, and the second book in the series, Sweetheart, is available in hardcover. Chelsea has been a good friend to independent bookstores, and we appreciate that. But I'm sure going to miss that weekly column! Thanks for the laughs, Chelsea. Best wishes for your next project.

Swifty's Big Flight

At certain times of the year you will find hordes of people spread around the grounds at Chapman School in Northwest Portland, sitting on blankets or in lawn chairs, enjoying various nosh and beverages, as they await the dramatic descent of the Vaux's Swifts into the chimney at the school. Now there is a book for kids that tells the story of the Swifts. Swifty's Big Flight, by Lee Jackson and illustrated by Ryan Alexander-Tanner, is now available at the store for only $7.95. In the back of the book are some facts about the Swifts, most importantly that Vaux's is pronounced "vawks," and that they roost by the hundreds and sometime thousands, huddling together, probably to conserve heat.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Gods Behaving Badly

Perhaps you're in the mood for a somewhat lighter read, now that the little boxes for each day on the weather forecasting page of the newspaper read like this: RAIN, RAIN POSSIBLE, SHOWERS LIKELY, RAIN LIKELY, RAIN, OVERCAST, MONSOON. Might I recommend Gods Behaving Badly, by Marie Phillips, just out in paperback. The twelve Greek gods of Olympus are alive and well in the twenty-first century, living together in a crammed London town house and frankly not altogether happy about it. To make ends meet, Artemis, goddess of hunting, is working as a professional dog walker; Aphrodite, goddess of beauty works as a telephone sex operator; and Apollo, god of the sun, is a TV psychic. This is probably not going to go down as the world's greatest piece of literature, but it's darned good fun -- you might even call it a hoot, a romp, or words to that effect. And believe me, it's a lot cheaper than one of those light boxes people use to deal with depression during these dark and gloomy days of winter in Portland.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

We Need to Talk

Email, voice mail, cell phones, Twitter, text messages, and yes even blogs -- does anybody even remember how to have face-to-face real conversations any more? In The Art of Conversation: A Guided Tour of a Neglected Pleasure, Catherine Blyth gives us the tools to rebuild this skill, which she describes as "second only to sex, a lot less hassle, and it really matters. A communication technology that has been in research and development for thousands of years, conversation not only saves time but hugely enriches it. This everyday magic is unbeatable for improving mood, boosting the brain, and forging friendship. With a chatty conversational tone, Blyth mixes personal anecdotes with lessons from philosophy, anthropology, history, and literature. "Good conversation is a team sport," she says. "Pace and energy keep it alive." Buy copies for your friends and family and re-energize the art of talking while looking at each other face-to-face!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

One of the hottest books in the preteen reading range these days has been the series by Jeff Kinney about middle-schooler Greg Heffley and his trials and tribulations. Written in the form of a "diary" (but don't call it that around him!) with sketches and cartoons that illustrate the story, these books have been wildly popular with both boys and girls, and especially with boys who are not so enamored with reading. The first two books in the series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules are available now. The third book in the series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw, will be available in January. Let us know if you want to reserve a copy (503-284-1726), because they're likely to go fast. Also available now is Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Do-It-Yourself Book, which provides original material to prompt journal writing along with blank journal pages. Rumor has it that a movie is in the works as well, and that a nation-wide casting search for someone to play Greg is underway now.

Singing the UPS Blues

For those of you awaiting news of our UPS shipments of books, I'm happy to report that the bulk of them arrived today. If you have a special order from that shipment you'll be getting a call from us today. Sadly, the shipment containing Wild Beauty and Three Cups of Tea is still showing "unable to deliver due to adverse weather conditions," despite having been in the Portland UPS depot since December 20th. I expect that we will receive those boxes on Monday. Thank you all so much for your patience and understanding.

Slush Friday

I've never really liked that term "Black Friday," and Black Friday Redux just seems ridiculous. So I've officially dubbed today Slush Friday. And starting today, Slush Friday, all of our Christmas wrapping paper and boxed cards are half off! So come on in and get stocked up for next year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays to All!

Well, it's 4:45 pm on Christmas Eve, and we're just about ready to knock off for the night. It's been great seeing so many friends -- old and new -- in the store the past few weeks. The snow has been a major pain, but it's been sort of fun seeing people trudging and skiing through the snow and seeing barely any cars on the road. Jennie, Roberta, and I -- and all of us at Broadway Books -- want to wish you all the happiest and safest of holidays and thank you so much for all of your support and your patience during the frenzy of the past week or so. We look forward to seeing you next week and in the coming year. And I promise, the Web site WILL be up very soon.

Yes, We Are Open!! And We Have Cookies!

The elves were up early this snowy Christmas Eve, baking cookies for all those adventurous souls who trudge through the snow down to Broadway Books. Yummy fresh-from-the-oven cookies await, so come on down! (If you're looking for a particular book, you might want to give a call first: 503-284-1726.) Be safe out there! And no snowball-throwing in the store!
We know many of you are waiting anxiously for our UPS shipment of many many books to arrive. Believe me, we are too! In fact, several times yesterday Roberta went outside to do her PleaseComeUPS Dance, but all we got was more snow. (I'm thinking she got the choreography mixed up.) After spending hours on the phone and on-line yesterday and today, this is the most current information we have: the boxes are on a truck scheduled for delivery today at the store, weather/roads/traffic permitting, but no timetable available. I realize that's not particularly helpful. However, we have a tentative solution to offer all of you who are eager to get your gifts wrapped and under the tree or delivered or whatever it is you wish to do with them. Give us a call at the store (503-284-1726) or stop by and we can talk. We apologize for the extra stress at this already stressful time of year, but we're all -- UPS included -- doing the best we can in this most unusual "weather event" (as the TV commentators like to call it, when they're not giving it a clever movie-title-like name). And if the truck does arrive today, we will post the happy news on the blog.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Oregonian's Top Ten National Books for 2008

1. The Boat; Nam Le
2. The Hemingses of Monticello; Annette Gordon-Reed
3. Unaccustomed Earth; Jhumpa Lahiri
4. The Eaves of Heaven; Andrew X. Pham
5. 2666; Roberto Bolano
6. Netherland; Joseph O'Neill
7. State By State; Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey
8. The Wasted Vigil; Nadeem Aslam
9. Nothing to be Frightened of; Julian Barnes
10. Olive Kitteridge; Elizabeth Strout
Just like with the Northwest best books, this is truly a spectacular collection of books -- come and get 'em! But they're going fast, so you might want to call first -- (503) 284-1726.

The Oregonian's Top Ten Northwest Books

Here are the Top Ten Northwest Books, as determined by The Oregonian:
1. Wild Beauty; John Laursen and Terry Toedtemeier
2. Lavinia; Ursula K. Le Guin
3. Northline; Willy Vlautin
4. The Alchemy of Air; Thomas Hager;
5. While They Slept; Kathryn Harrison
6. The Wink of the Zenith; Floyd Skloot
7. Guernica; Dave Boling
8. The Art of Racing in the Rain; Garth Stein
9. A Country Called Home; Kim Barnes
10. Beauty of the City; Philip Niles
At this point we either have these books in stock or are expecting shipments tomorrow -- assuming the trucks can get here through the snow. But you'd better hurry; they're going fast! Our congratulations to all of these authors -- great books all the way around.

Booker Prize Winner

Aravind Adiga, author of The White Tiger, this year's winner of the Man Booker Prize, has been signed to a second book, to be titled Between the Assassinations. Written as a prelude to the prize-winning The White Tiger, the interconnected stories of the next book are organized around a six-day walking tour of Kittur, India, and dramatize events that occur between the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984 and Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. The new book will be published in June 2009.

Fans of Michael Connelly....

...Have something to look forward to! On May 26, 2009, Michael Connelly's new book, The Scarecrow, will be published. This new book brings back reporter Jack McEvoy, the hero of The Poet. Connelly's most recent book, The Brass Verdict, has been garnering rave reviews. The Brass Verdict brings together Connelly's long-time protagonist, Harry Bosch, and the main character of The Lincoln Lawyer, Mickey Haller. The Brass Verdict would make a great gift for anyone who loves good mysteries.

There Will Be Blood, I Mean Cookies....

Yes, we are OPEN! And we have books galore and more! In about ten minutes I will be leaving my home and walking to the store to bring in a tin of fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies, so stop by while they're still here -- and still warm! We've been having so much fun the past few days with holidays shoppers braving the winter wonderland to complete their shopping. So we hope to see you too!

Lily to the Rescue!

At Broadway Books, we happily wrap your purchases for free year 'round. During the holidays, however, we bring in an expert, our wrapper-extraordinaire (and maybe rapper-extraordinaire -- I haven't asked), Lily, who will gift-wrap your purchases and even add a pretty bow. If you want, you can leave your purchases with us and go hit some of the other shops in the neighborhood, or go to one of the near-by coffee shops or restaurants for a little nosh or some libations of your choice. We've got lots of great shops and restaurants within walking distance of the store, so let us take away some of your holiday burden by leaving the wrapping to us! Lily is a high-school senior who will be attending Lewis & Clark next year, and she's a peach, so come say hi.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

We've Got Freshly Baked Goodies!

Despite the blizzard conditions, Broadway Books continues to be open and abuzz with activity. We live close to the store and can walk to work (although at this time of year it's more fun than work -- in fact, yesterday was downright party like!). Friday and Saturday the store was hopping with customers coming from all over the city to buy books for the holidays, and perhaps for hunkering down in front of the fire. Mostly though, it's been the neighborhood folks who are out and about, walking or busing to their favorite neighborhood stores to shop, grab a bite or a pint or a cuppa, schmooze and trade stories with the folks, and generally enjoy the weather close to home where it's safe and warm. So if you're getting a little stir-crazy and need a breath of fresh air, a good read, or some closure to your holiday shopping, bundle up and come on over! We have books and other gifts, free gift-wrapping, and lots of holiday cheer -- including Roberta's homemade gingerbread! And as soon as I get the cookies baked we'll have warm chocolate chip cookies for you as well! Yum! On this Winter Solstice and first night of Hannukah, we wish all of our customers and friends the very best of holidays, and safe travels whenever and wherever.

Our hours today -- Sunday -- are 10 am to 7 pm. Even though we are the sturdiest of girls, an unforeseen event such as a power outage could force us to close our doors early or open later until this series of storms moves on by, so it's always best to call before you venture out to Broadway Books. Our phone number is (503) 284-1726. See you soon!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Olivia Rocks!

I can't believe we still have any of these left in the store, but we do have just one. And what a perfect gift it would make some lucky kid -- no matter the age. Olivia: The Gift Set Collection includes the original, classic, Caldicott-Honor-winning hardcover picture book, a collectible (if you collect that type of thing) mini hardcover of Olivia...and the Missing Toy, and -- this is the clincher -- a CD recording of Olivia read by Dame Edna Everage! How can you pass up a treat like this! Only $29.95 for the whole set. As a side note, for you Latin buffs we also have the original Olivia in Latin! a 26-episode series of "Olivia" will launch on Nickelodeon on January 26.

Our Seventh President

Andrew Jackson, the country's seventh president, was a battle-hardened warrior, a significant yet dimly recalled president. In his new biography of Jackson, American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, Jon Meacham tells the story of this contradictory man. Meacham, the editor of Newsweek magazine, draws on newly discovered family letters and papers to help shape this inside story. Doris Kearns Goodwin, a masterful biographer herself, has this to say about American Lion: "A master storyteller, Meacham interweaves the lives of Jackson and the members of his inner circle to create a highly original book." At this time of significant change and challenge in this country, this book provides tremendous insight into a different tumultuous time and can provide guidance for our times. You'll never again look at the face on a $20 bill again the same way!

Everyone Could Use a Little Heart-Warming Today

In Listening is an Act of Love, StoryCorps founder and legendary radio producer Dave Isay presents the most endearing and powerful stories from the StoryCorps collection. Culling from more than ten thousand interviews from StoryCorps - the largest oral history project in the nation's history - Isay presents a tapestry of American lives, told by the people who lived them to the people they love. "What emerges in these compelling pages is hard-won wisdom and boundless humanity," says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. What a great gift this would make.

Shout Out to Our Wicked Friends!

It's here! The third book in Gregory Maguire's dark, creative revisioning of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Following Wicked and Son of a Witch, A Lion Among Men focuses on the Cowardly Lion. All is not well in Oz, as a Civil War looms. See how it all turns out!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Scanimation -- Ooooh!

Last year one of the biggest hits at our store was Gallop!, a book of "scanimation" by Rufus Butler Seder -- we could hardly keep it on our shelves! This year, Mr. Seder has followed up that collection of animals in movement with Swing!, a scanimation book of people in movement. Watch kids swing the baseball bat and ice skate and play soccer and more. We also have customizable Gallop greeting cards by the box -- 8 cards with eagles soaring, cats leaping, and dogs and horses running. We have all three items in stock! They make great gifts for kids of all ages. Mr. Seder is the inventor of Lifetiles -- glass-tiled murals that appear to come to life when the viewer walks by -- which have been installed at the Smithsonian, Sea World and many other locations.

Award-Winning Fiction - in Paperback!

Looking for some great award-winning fiction? Here are three top-notch suggestions for you, all recently published in paperback:
Pulitzer Prize: The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao,
Junot Diaz - a fierce, funny, tragic book that tells the story of a first-generation Dominican-American ghetto nerd, while bridging several generations and cultures.
Man Booker Prize: The White Tiger, Aravind Adigo - an unadorned portrait of India as seen from the bottom of the heap -- compelling and darkly humorous.
National Book Award: Shadow Country,
Peter Matthiessen - an epic masterpiece from his Everglades trilogy, a wrenching story of familial, racial, and environmental degradation, stretching from the Civil War to the Great Depression.
Oregon Book Award: Bearing the Body,
Ehud Havazelet - Corvallis-based Havazelet's first novel tells the story of widower and Holocaust survivor Sol Minsky and his two sons, Daniel and Nathan, portraits of people bearing the weight of their family.

A Great Day for Book Shopping!

Sorry no posts yesterday. After listening to the newscasters predict essentially the end of the earth all morning ("Whatever you do, don't go outside! If you do, your head will explode and your legs will fall off!" -- or words to that effect), I went to the store a little early for my shift, expecting to find a barren store akin to a leisurely February afternoon, then slide my way home on a sheet of ice. Which would leave me plenty of time for blogging. To my happy surprise, however, I encountered a bustling store full of happy customers working through their holiday shopping lists, and we were rocking and rolling from 9 am to 9 pm! So come on down -- I'm bringing fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies in this morning. Official opening hour is 10, but we're usually there by 9 this time of year. Just give a call if you want to confirm that someone will be there, early or late: 503-284-1726. We're also happy to check on availability of books -- and can have them gift-wrapped and waiting for you. If you're looking for any of the books in the Twilight series, at this point we have them all! Hope to see you soon. Be safe!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Something to Look Forward To

Calling all fans of Christopher Moore! His newest book, Fool, takes on Shakespeare's King Lear. It is a bawdy tale with "gratuitous shagging, murder, spanking, maiming, treason, and heretofore unexplored heights of vulgarity and profanity, as well as non-traditional grammar, split infinitives, and the odd wank." Fans of Moore's previous work - including Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal; The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove; The Stupidest Angel; Bloodsucking Fiends; and You Suck - have a real treat in store: it is wipe-tears-from-your-eyes funny. Best of all, it will be published in February, a particularly bleak and dreary month all the way around, so Fool will be the perfect tonic!

The Birds are Back!

One of the best books of the season, Birdscapes, is back in stock! Recently touted on NPR, this book has been flying off the shelves. It's one of the coolest books every produced: seven different pop-up bird habitats with stereo bird calls. It's way cool. And from the Cornell Ornithology Lab, so it's the real McCoy. Come on down and let us show it to you; it's hard to resist once you've seen it in action!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gift Advice from James Fallows & Roy Blount, Jr

James Fallows and Roy Blount Jr have some great gift-giving advice. Ok, WE think it's great, but admittedly we are more than a little bit biased. Here it is; you can decide for yourselves:

James Fallows: We all know that the automakers domestic and foreign are in trouble because people don't want to buy cars. Real estate is in trouble because people can't or don't want to buy houses. The stock market is in trouble because people don't want to buy stock. And, arguably most ominous for the republic, newspapers are in trouble because people are losing the habit of buying papers.

There is not much any one individual can do about this. I'm not going to buy a new house or car because it would have useful tonic effect on the market. There are only so many papers I can buy per day. But...Roy Blount Jr, through the years a frequent Atlantic contributor and current president of the Authors Guild, suggests a voting-with-your-dollars strategy that is within people's means and can make a significant difference. Starting now, I'm changing my Christmas shopping plans based on Blount's tips. The presents he suggests are good ones.

Roy Blount Jr: I've been talking to booksellers lately who report that times are hard. And local booksellers aren't known for vast reserves of capital, so a serious dip in sales can be devastating. Booksellers don't lose enough money, however, to receive congressional attention. A government bailout isn't in the cards.

We don't want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighborhoods. So let's mount a book-buying splurge. Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party. Buy the rest of your Christmas presents, but that's just for starts. Clear out the mysteries, wrap up the histories, beam up the science fiction! Round up the westerns, go crazy for self-help, say yes to the university press books! Get a load of those coffee-table books, fatten up on slim volumes of verse, and take a chance on romance!

There will be birthdays in the next twelve months; books keep well; they're easy to wrap: buy those books now. Buy replacements for any books looking raggedy on your shelves. Stockpile children's books as gifts for friends who look like they may eventually give birth. Hold off on the flat-screen TV and the GPS (they'll be cheaper after Christmas) and buy many, many books. Then tell the grateful booksellers, who by this time will be hanging onto your legs begging you to stay and live with their cat in the stockroom: 'Got to move on, folks. Got some books to write now. You see...we're the Author's Guild.'

Roy Blount Jr's most recent book is Alphabet Juice: The Energies, Gists, and Spirits of Letters, Words, and Combinations Thereof; Their Roots, Bones, Innards, Piths, Pips, and Secret Parts, Tinctures, Tonics, and Essences; With Examples of Their Usage Foul and Savory.
James Fallows, columnist for The Atlantic magazine, will publish his newest book, Postcards from Tomorrow Square: Reports from China, in January.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Congratulations, Jennie!

Congratulations to our very own Jennie, who just completed the Masters of Library Science program through Emporia State College. She's a real librarian now, just like Nancy Pearl! Shhhhhh! Maybe she'll get her very own action figure -- she deserves one! So sorry that the ceremony got cancelled because of today's weather, but we all extend our congratulations to Jennie. Come by and tell her congrats yourself! She next works Tuesday afternoon. Many of you are familiar with our great and growing graphic novel section -- that's all thanks to Jennie's efforts.

Yes, We Are Open!!

Our sidewalk is swept and our store is open and just waiting for you to come do your holiday shopping, assuming you can get out and about safely. I just walked down from my house, and didn't slip once, so I think all is well right now. Just be sure to bundle up! I'm going back home right now to make chocolate chip cookies, so if you head down here about 3:30 or so you can have some warm-from-the-oven cookies!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Finding What You Need

While we labor tirelessly to ensure that we have all the right books at just the right time, inevitably there will be times when we don't have something you need. Rest assured that in most cases we can get the book for you within a few days -- often the next day. And just like every day of the year, we are happy to gift wrap your purchases here for free. In fact, if we order something for you, we can wrap it and have it ready for you to pick up. Talk about simplifying your holiday shopping! And, if you hit it on just the right day, you might just luck into some warm-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies!

Media Person of the Year

Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the on-line news and opinion Web site, The Huffington Post, is the 2008 Media Person of the Year, according to the annual election held by I Want Media. She was selected from ten candidates. Huffington is also the author of several books, including her most recent, Right is Wrong: How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America, Shredded the Constitution, and Made Us All Less Safe.

It's That Time Again!

Yes, it's that time of year when all of the major publications start issuing their "best of the year" lists. In January we will announce the Broadway Books Bestsellers list for 2008, but in the interim these will have to suffice. We'll start off with the Ten Best Books of 2008 according to The New York Times:


1. Dangerous Laughter: Thirteen Stories, Steven Millhauser

2. A Mercy, Toni Morrison

3. Netherland, Joseph O'Neill

4. 2666, Roberto Bolano

5. Unaccustomed Earth, Jhumpa Lahiri


1. The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals, Jane Mayer

2. The Forever War, Dexter Filkins

3. Nothing to be Frightened of, Julian Barnes

4. This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, Drew Gilpin Faust

5. The World is What it is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul, Patrick French

Personally I've never understood how people can come up with a "best books of the year" list, particularly narrowing it down to ten or even fewer, but I'm glad they're willing to try! The books I read are so varied and dependent upon my mood -- although good writing is good writing, darn it! But I tend to be overly influenced by what I've read most recently. Call me shallow. Right now I'm reading American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, by Jon Meacham, and I'm liking it just fine.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Question du Jour

When movies are made based on novels, the publisher often brings out the book in a new edition called a movie-tie-in version, or "MTI." Which do you prefer? Original covers or MTIs? Here are a couple of examples for you. This first one is one of my favorites, Revolutionary Road, by Richard Yates. Yates has been one of my favorite authors, so I'm happy to see his books garner more attention, but I could do without Kate and Leonardo on the cover -- although both just received Golden Globe nominations for their performances, so I'm looking forward to seeing the movie. Rumor has it these two were in another movie that did fairly well...

The movie won't be out until the day after Christmas, so you have time to read whichever version of the book you prefer. Like most of his books, it's about dashed dreams, disillusionment, suburbia gone bad, betrayal, and all those other heartwarming holiday sentiments. I heartily recommend this book and any of Yates' books. They're great reads, and he deserves a wider audience.

Gift for Oz-ites

Got an Oz fan in your life that's hard to shop for? Here's a book that caught my eye, but it would definitely have to be for the right kind of fan. This is a fascinating interpretation of L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz, that while devoutly loyal to the original text, is both surreal and surprising in its visuals. In this version, the acclaimed collage artist Graham Rawle has created more than one hundred artworks reimagining the famous fairy tale. The Times of London called it "a work of genius," while Nerve described it as "as beautiful as it is demented." Come and decide for yourself which it is -- or maybe it's both! For only $29.95, you can make some fan of Oz and/or art very very happy.


It's hard to know how to follow that last post, because in comparison everything seems so trite, but it's inevitable, so I'm going to follow with some happy news. This morning at 10 there will be warm freshly baked chocolate chip cookies in the store, hot from Sally's oven! Come do a little shopping and then have a cookie on us. They're pretty yummy, so I've been told. Plus, the more you eat then the fewer we will eat, and that's a good thing. See you soon (before they disappear)!

A Moment of Silence

We were terribly saddened yesterday to hear of the passing of Terry Toedtemeier, curator of photography at the Portland Art Museum for more than 20 years. As the Museum's first curator of photography, he assembled a collection of more than 5,000 images for the Museum which chronicle the history of photography. Most recently, in collaboration with John Laursen, he produced the spectacular book Wild Beauty: Photographs of the Columbia River Gorge, 1867-1957, the basis for the current exhibit at the Museum. Prior to joining the Museum, Terry was one of the founding artists of the Blue Sky Gallery in 1975 and served as its co-director. As a photographer, he particularly liked to explore the spectacular geology of the Pacific Northwest, building on his degree in earth science from Oregon State University.

Terry was a native Portlander whose Oregon ancestry dated back to the pioneer migration along the Oregon Trail in the 1850s. His passion for the geology and history of the Columbia River Gorge, for the history of photography, and for the beauty of the world that surrounds us was evident when he spoke at the launch of Wild Beauty.

Our condolences to Terry's friends and family, and also to his collaborator on Wild Beauty, John Laursen.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New from Allen Say

A local Portland treasure, Allen Say, has just published his newest picture book, Erika-San, and it is gorgeous! The book tells the story of an American girl's discoveries while visiting Japan. The author was born in Yokohama, Japan, in 1937 and moved to the United States at age 16. One of his earlier books, Grandfather's Journey, received the Caldecott Medal in 1994. Mr. Say says when he's working on a book he often doesn't get out of the house for days, and that "the finished book often surprises me, and that's the excitement." He is truly a wonderful author/illustrator, and this book is another to be treasured.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's Convenient...

...when your local independent bookstore has just the book you're looking for. Lately everyone's been looking for An Inconvenient Trout, by Jack Ohman, and Broadway Books has it! This long-awaited sequel to Fear of Fly Fishing delves into such weighty matters as fishing partners, Eastern versus Western anglers, and fly fishing versus golf (that ought to ruffle some feathers!). Whether you're a veteran of fly fishing, are new to the sport, or are merely looking for a good laugh, this book ought to do the trick! Jack Ohman is one of the most widely syndicated political cartoonists in the United States, with his work appearing in 300 newspapers. Since 1983 he has been the editorial cartoonist for The Oregonian. Best of all -- for us -- he lives right here in Portland. Come get your copy today before they run out!

Road Trip, Part II

Another great way to pass the time on road trips -- or sitting in front of the fire (gas or wood) on cold wintry evenings -- is listening to audiobooks. The nominees for the 51st Annual Grammy Awards for Spoken Word, which will be presented Sunday, February 8th, in Los Angeles, were just announced. And the nominees are....
  • An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore, read by Beau Bridges, Cynthia Nixon and Blair Underwood
  • Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
  • I Am America (And So Can You) by Stephen Colbert (and Various Artists)
  • Life Beyond Measure by Sidney Poitier
  • When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
So I doubt that the Grammy folks will be calling and asking me to cast a vote, but if they did mine would probably have to go to Engulfed, although they are all very deserving in my opinion. But there is nothing like listening to David Sedaris reading his own material for good old wet-your-pants laughter. And since it's the holidays, might I also recommend the audiobook Holidays on Ice, by Sedaris, which includes the original classics (don't you just love the "Santaland Diaries"?) with six new essays. By the way, did you know that the cover art for Engulfed is by Van Gogh? And if you'd rather read the books yourself, we have signed copies of both Sedaris books!

Road Trip!

With the holidays approaching and the price of gas falling, there are likely road trips looming for many of you. Need a good way to keep the non-drivers amused so they don't comment on your driving or keep up a perpetual "are we there yet"? Try these GO Magnetic Travel Games. In portable zippered tins, these games include backgammon, checkers, sudoku, hangman (my personal favorite), and more. At only $10 each, these games will also make great stocking stuffers! (although they might have to sit outside of the stocking, depending on the size of the stocking)

Michael Dirda on Book Giving

In The Washington Post on Sunday, December 7th, Michael Dirda wrote on "The 10 Commandments of Book Giving." Here's a taste of what he had to say: "Happily, I know from years of experience that books really do make the best holiday gifts - plus they're easy to wrap. Over the years I've gone through all kinds of Christmas presents, and nearly all of them quickly broke or have been long forgotten. Not so the gift books.... Given to me by relatives, teachers and friends, they helped to make the season bright - and they also helped to make me who I am." We couldn't agree more with those sentiments. And even though books are probably the easiest to wrap of all the gifts you give, we're happy to wrap them for you and make it that much easier!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Meryl the Librarian?

Several sources are reporting that Meryl Streep is in talks to play author and librarian Vicki Myron in the film adaptation of the hot-selling book Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, by Myron with Bret Witter. Reportedly, New Line Cinema beat out several other studios interested in buying film rights to this book. The book tells the true story of a tiny, near-frozen kitten that Myron found pushed through the book return slot of the library when she came to work one bitterly cold January morning in 1988, in little Spencer, Iowa, a farming community beset with tough times. The kitten, named Dewey Readmore Books, wins the heart of the staff and the community, and helps the town move through its time of crisis. As with the novel The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, which revolves around dogs but doesn't require that you be a dog lover to appreciate it, Dewey will warm your heart and give you a satisfying read, whether you are a cat lover or not. And truly, who could resist that adorable furry face on the cover!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Lovely wines!

In the interest of supporting local, independent businesses -- not too surprisingly a passion of mine -- I spent last weekend in Walla Walla with some friends, visiting with my family and partaking of the annual Walla Walla Holiday Barrel Tasting event. That's me and my folks (Joan and Bob) in the photo on the bottom and me and my sister (Stacy) and friend Sherry in the middle photo -- aren't we well color-coordinated? Walla Walla has an amazing number of wonderful wineries -- more than 100 at last count -- so it's hard to narrow down a list of favorites, but here are some that stand out in my mind: Cougar Crest, Bergevin Lane, Seven Hills (one of the first five WW wineries!), Rulo, and Syzygy. These wineries stand out both for the quality of their wines and for the enjoyableness of their people. One of the best parts of the Barrel Tasting weekend is discovering new wineries, and we did just that! We discovered Otis Kenyon wines -- great wine (especially yummy cabernet sauvignon!), great label, and great story (stop by the store and I'll share it with you -- the story, not the wine). Aren't we lucky to live in the Northwest, with such top-notch wineries in both Oregon and Washington?! (Sally)