Thursday, April 30, 2009
Want to read what our president is reading? In a recent interview, President Obama mentioned that briefing notebooks are beginning to wear on him, so in the evenings he has started reading the novel Netherland, by Joseph O'Neill. The book was named one of the Top Ten Books of the Year by the New York Times last year -- in fact, one of the paper's reviewer described it as stunning, "with echoes of The Great Gatsby. Wow. Another called it "the wittiest, angriest, most exacting, and most desolate work of fiction we've yet had about life in New York and London after the World Trade Center fell." O'Neill writes regularly for The Atlantic Monthly and has written two previous novels and a family history. Join President Obama and stop by Broadway Books to pick up your own copy! Maybe you can chat about it with him next time he's in town.
Yes, it's true. Today is the last day of April, which means it's also the final day of our annual Let's Get Potty for Poetry sale. Just to remind you: when you buy one book of poetry at regular price, you can buy a second book of poetry (of equal or lesser price) at a 50% discount! If you buy two books, you can buy two at half price, three gets you three, and so on. Doesn't this sunny blue-sky day just make you feel like sitting outside reading poetry? I know it does me! In fact, I think a little Nikki Giovanni is just what I'm in the mood for. Join me? We have lots more to choose from -- including the books from both Matthew and Michael Dickman, the Portland poet sensations. This sale won't come around again for another year, so don't let the day slip away without restocking your poetry shelves.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
We hope you can join us at Broadway Books tonight to hear John Daniel read from his new collection of essays, The Far Corner: Northwest Views on Land, Life, and Literature. John is one of my favorite writers, and an all-around terrific person, so you're surely in for a good time tonight. Signed copies of The Far Corner (and Rogue River Journal) would make great gifts for friends and relatives. [And you can go next door after the reading to catch the end of the Blazer game on their flat-screen TVs. It's really too much for the poor old ticker to watch the entire game and all of that crappy officiating!]
Monday, April 27, 2009
- Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak
- Make Way for Ducklings, by Robert McCloskey
- Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, by Mo Willems
The ten other finalists who were not selected for induction this year will appear on the Hall of Fame ballots for 2010, along with additional titles selected by next year's jury. Here are those ten finalists:
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault and Lois Ehlert
- Corduroy, by Don Freeman
- Curious George, by H.A. Rey
- Goodnight Gorilla, by Peggy Rathmann
- The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper
- Madeline, by Ludwig Bemelmans
- Napping House, by Audrey Wood
- Stellaluna, by Janelle Cannon
- The Story of Ferdinand the Bull, by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson
As the daughter of a former elementary school librarian, I've always had a serious fondness for picture books, and I'm a fan of most of the books on these two lists. Some of my other favorite picture books include Officer Buckle and Gloria (Peggy Rathmann), all of the Olivia books (Ian Falconer), and the books by Jon Muth. And I could go on and on; it's so hard to narrow my list of favorites in this category.
Congratulations to this year's inductees!
Friday, April 24, 2009
I'm reading a stunningly great book right now, and even though I'm only about halfway through, it's so good I just had to tell someone. (Hello, is anyone out there?) I realize I'm a little late to the party. I should have known this would be a wonderful book. It was named one of the Top Ten Books of the Year by The New York Times. It was also named a top book by The Washington Post Book World, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Seattle P-I, the Christian Science Monitor, and The Atlantic magazine, among others. Finally, last week it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, so I realized it was time to stop resisting and start reading. And boy howdy am I glad I did!
The book is Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout. It's a novel in stories set in a small community on the coast of Maine, wrapped around family dynamics, small-town gossip, and grief. Olive Kitteridge, a seventh grade math teacher married to a pharmacist, is prickly, ok, maybe even gruff, and a large presence. The book slides in and out of different perspectives, but Olive is always there. And I know she is someone who will stay in my mind. The characters in this book are complicated, and not always admirable, but boy are they compelling.
This is what the Pulitzer committee had to say: "a collection of 13 short stories set in small-town Maine that packs a cumulative emotional wallop, bound together by polished prose and by Olive, the title character, blunt, flawed and fascinating." Louisa Thomas, in a review in The New York Times, said this about the book: "There's nothing mawkish or cheap here. There's simply the honest recognition that we need to try to understand people, even if we can't stand them."
Strout was raised in small towns in New Hampshire and Maine. After graduating from college she earned her law degree from the Syracuse University College of Law. In an interview with Lisa Mahon, she said this about her brief foray into the practice of law: "I have always wanted to be a writer, from my very earliest memory. My mother encouraged me, buying me notebooks and telling me at the end of the day, 'Write it down.' I'm talking about when I was no more than five or six. So I always thought in terms of sentences. Then as I got older I thought I might also go into the theatre, because I loved theatre very much. But by the end of college I realized that the solitariness of writing suited my nature better, and so the emphasis went back to that.
"I confess, however, that a few years out of college I went to law school, and this was partly because I was very afraid of failing as a writer. Somehow I thought if I failed as a lawyer, it wouldn't mean as much to me, and besides, I was tired of cocktail waitressing. Well, I did fail as a lawyer, I was a terrible lawyer, and I hated it. What I learned was that it was far better to attempt to be a writer and fail at that, than to attempt to be something else. This was an important lesson to learn. (And expensive.)"Strout is the author of two other novels. Amy and Isabelle, her first novel, was shortlisted for both the 2000 Orange Prize and the 2000 PEN/Faulkner award for fiction. Her second novel was Abide with Me.
Granted I haven't read the entire book yet, but the likelihood of something this deliciously good -- and so universally acclaimed -- falling on its face in the second half is unlikely. And those of you counting pennies (and I count myself in that bunch) will be happy to know the book is out in paperback. Run, hurry,lickety-split, down to Broadway Books and get your copy and settle in for a sensational, intense weekend of spectacular reading.
PS: I have no explanation for why some of this posting is bold faced and a different color, but I give up trying to make it not be so. Life is complicated, and some things you just have to accept and move on.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
There's a new national movement afoot called The 3/50 Project, which I read about on that great new Portland literary Web site, readinglocal. Here's the gist of it: Pick three local, independent businesses that you'd hate to see go away, and then spend $50 each month total across all three stores (not $150 total). Here's what the project's Web site has to say:
"Think about which three independently owned businesses you'd miss most if they were gone. Stop in and say hello. Pick up a little something that will make someone smile. Your contribution is what keeps those businesses around. If just half the employed US population spent $50 each month in independently owned businesses, their purchases would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue. Imagine the positive impact if 3/4 of the employed population did that.*
© Cinda Baxter 2009; all rights reserved. Proudly supporting RetailSpeaks and independent retailers everywhere.
* Employment statistics courtesy U.S. Department of Labor/Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2/6/2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Hardly a week goes by that someone doesn't ask me when Dan Brown will be publishing a new book. And now we have an answer! His new novel, the eagerly awaited follow-up to his #1 international phenomenon, The Da Vinci Code, will be published in the US and Canada by Doubleday on September 15, 2009. The Lost Symbol will have a first printing of 5 million copies, and it will once again feature Dan Brown's unforgettable protagonist, Robert Langdon. The announcement was made yesterday by Sonny Mehta, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
"This is a great day for readers and booksellers," said Mehta."The Lost Symbol is a brilliant and compelling thriller. Dan Brown's prodigious talent for storytelling, infused with history, codes and intrigue, is on full display in this new book. This is one of the most anticipated publications in recent history, and it was well worth the wait."
Brown's longtime editor, Jason Kaufman, Vice President and Executive Editor at Doubleday said, "Nothing ever is as it first appears in a Dan Brown novel. This book's narrative takes place in a twelve-hour period, and from the first page, Dan's readers will feel the thrill of discovery as they follow Robert Langdon through a masterful and unexpected new landscape. The Lost Symbol is full of surprises."
"This novel has been a strange and wonderful journey," said Brown. "Weaving five years of research into the story's twelve-hour time frame was an exhilarating challenge. Robert Langdon's life clearly moves a lot faster than mine."
The Da Vinci Code, published by Doubleday on March 18, 2003, spent 144 weeks on The New York Times Hardcover Fiction bestseller list, 54 of them at #1—the position at which it debuted. It was the bestelling hardcover adult novel of all time with 81 million copies in print worldwide. The novel has been translated into 51 languages.
The film based on The Da Vinci Code was a #1 box office smash when it was released by Columbia Pictures in May 2006 with Ron Howard directing and Tom Hanks starring as Robert Langdon. Box office receipts were $758 million. The same team will release Angels and Demons, based on another of Brown's Langdon novels, to theaters worldwide on May 15, 2009.
Brown is the son of a Presidential Award winning math professor and of a professional sacred musician. He initially had a songwriting career himself, before turning to writing. His wife, Blythe, is an art historian and painter who collaborates with him on his research. He has told fans that he often uses gravity boots to hang upside when faced with writer's block because doing so "seems to help me solve plot problems by shifting my entire perspective."
We will have The Lost Symbol at the store when it is released in September. Call or email us if you want to reserve a copy. (503-284-1726; firstname.lastname@example.org)
Monday, April 20, 2009
Fiction - Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
History - The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed
Biography - American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham
Poetry - The Shadow of Sirius by W.S. Merwin
General Nonfiction - Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon
If I had Sally's or Jennie's skills, I'd include photos of these books but I'm taking this blogging thing one step at a time so that's all you're getting from me today. Next time, I promise to do better!
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Sunday, April 19, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
The American Booksellers Association has announced the winners of the inaugural Indies Choice Book Awards. Formerly the Book Sense Book of the Year Awards, the new Indies Choice Book Awards reflect the spirit of independent bookstores nationwide through new categories and a broader range of winners and honor books.
The 2009 Indies Choice Book Award winners, chosen by the owners and staff at ABA member bookstores during more than four weeks of voting, are:
- Best Indie Buzz Book (Fiction): The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (The Dial Press)
- Best Conversation Starter (Nonfiction): The Wordy Shipmates, by Sarah Vowell (Riverhead)
- Best Author Discovery: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski (Ecco)
- Best Indie Young Adult Buzz Book (Fiction): The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins)
- Best New Picture Book: Bats at the Library, by Brian Lies (Houghton Mifflin)
- Most Engaging Author: Sherman Alexie
"On behalf of independent booksellers across the country, we're proud to announce the first Indies Choice Book Award winners," said ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz. "Each perfectly represents the array of unique and thought-provoking titles championed by ABA members. We look forward to saluting the winning authors and illustrators at a very festive Celebration of Bookselling Luncheon at BEA."
Five Indies Choice Book Awards honor recipients were also named in each category:
Best Indie Buzz Book (Fiction) Honor Books
- City of Thieves, by David Benioff (Viking)
- The Given Day, by Dennis Lehane (Morrow)
- Netherland, by Joseph O'Neill (Pantheon)
- People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks (Viking)
- Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri (Knopf)
Best Conversation Starter (Nonfiction) Honor Books
- American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon, by Steven Rinella (Spiegel & Grau)
- The Forever War, by Dexter Filkins (Knopf)
- Hurry Down Sunshine: A Memoir, by Michael Greenberg (Other Press)
- A Voyage Long and Strange: On the Trail of Vikings, Conquistadors, Lost Colonists, and Other Adventurers in Early America, by Tony Horwitz (Holt)
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, by Haruki Murakami (Knopf)
Best Author Discovery (Debut) Honor Books
- Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith (Grand Central)
- The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson (Knopf)
- Mudbound, by Hillary Jordan (Algonquin)
- The Story of Forgetting, by Stefan Merrill Block (Random House)
- White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga (Free Press)
Best Indie Young Adult Buzz Honor Book (Fiction)
- Graceling, by Kristin Cashore (HMH)
- Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
- Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow (Tor)
- My Most Excellent Year, by Steve Kluger (Dial)
- Savvy, by Ingrid Law (Dial)
Best New Picture Book Honor Books
- Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken, by Kate DiCamillo; illustrated by Harry Bliss (HarperCollins)
- Monkey and Me, by Emily Gravett (Simon & Schuster)
- The Pout Pout Fish, by Deborah Diesen; illustrated by Dan Hanna (FSG)
- Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, by Mem Fox; illustrated by Helen Oxenbury (Harcourt)
- Wave, by Suzi Lee (Chronicle)
Most Engaging Author Honor Recipients
- Michael Chabon
- Ann Patchett
- Jon Scieszka
- David Sedaris
- Terry Tempest Williams
Winners and honor books are all titles appearing on the 2008 Indie Next Lists, which launched last July, and on the Book Sense Picks Lists from the first half of the year. Most Engaging Author honorees are being recognized for being engaging at in-store appearances, as well as for having a strong sense of the importance of independent booksellers to their communities at large.
I'm happy to note that several of the authors selected for Most Engaging Author honor have appeared in Portland recently thanks to the efforts of Literary Arts -- and having heard many of them myself I can assure you they are well deserving of such an honor.
How many of these books have you read? Do you agree with the selections? Come on down and talk to us about them. We love to talk about all things books!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
- Decline plastic bags whenever possible
- Plant something
- Take a bath with someone you love
- Shop locally
- Write to someone who inspired you
- Register online as an organ donor
- Spend time with someone of a different generation
These are just a few of the many, simple ideas in the book. Simple yes, but if everyone were to implement them they could lead to BIG -- and positive -- changes in the world.
In support of the ideas behind the book, the publisher is encouraging all of its employees to take a paid day off on Friday, May 1, to volunteer to make positive changes in the community -- volunteering at the San Francisco Public Library, the San Francisco Zoo, or other non-profit organizations. The publisher has also launched a website in support of the book.
Hmmmm. What small steps can we each take? Come get a copy of this book to get some ideas!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Other news in the sports world, one that hits a little closer to home, the Blazers have been on a roll lately with a playoff position secured and a good chance at home court advantage.
All this has reminded me of the oft-forgotten sports section in Broadway Books. I found a great title for the Golf enthusiast: Fifty Places to Play Golf Before You Die by Chris Santella. Augusta is not one of the fifty -- perhaps too elite and too stuffy to really matter to most golfers, perhaps left off for other reasons -- but there are some great photos and great perspectives from plenty of Golfing Greats. Mark O'Meara tees off the book with a foreword.
Another book that we carry is one my father gave to me a few years ago and was an easy source of enjoyment: The Yogi Book by Yogi Berra. Full of his classic sayings, Berra was a great baseball player, a great coach, and an hero of a whole generation of baseball fans. He was well-known for quotes like, "90% of the game is half mental," and one of my favorites, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it," but he has plenty more. It's a great coffee table book.
So, sports fans, don't forget to check out the sports section while in the store. Of course, we can order a missing sports book and all books at no cost to you. And Go Blazers!
Friday, April 10, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
In April 2004, he began to lose his sight as a result of cancer. In preparation for surgery he was prescribed a steroidal drug, one of the effects of which was to initiate a temporary burst of mental and physical energy. This, combined with the realization that his blindness might return if the treatment wasn't successful, spurred him finally to begin writing in earnest the novel that he had been contemplating for more than thirty years, and which up to then had only existed as a random collection of notes, drafts, and discarded first chapters. Following surgery, work continued on what is now The Meaning of Night, and in January 2005, after a hotly contested UK auction, it was sold to John Murray. [It is now available in paperback in the US from WW Norton.]
Some of Cox's most important literary influences were Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Conan Doyle, Sarah Waters, and George MacDonald Fraser (of The Flashman novels). The Meaning of Night is a literary thriller set in Victorian England. Here's the opening line: "After killing the red-haired man, I took myself off to Quinn's for an oyster supper." Fasten your seatbelts; you're in for a stunning ride.
The novel tells the extraordinary story of Edward Glyver, book lover, scholar and murderer. As a young boy, Glyver always believed he was destined for greatness. This seems the stuff of dreams, until a chance discovery convinces Glyver that he was right: greatness does await him, along with immense wealth and influence. And he will stop at nothing to win back a prize that he now knows is rightfully his. Glyver's path leads him from the depths of Victorian London, with its foggy streets, brothels and opium dens, to Evenwood, one of England's most enchanting country houses. His is a story of betrayal and treachery, of death and delusion, of ruthless obsession and ambition. And at every turn, driving Glyver irresistibly onwards, is his deadly rival: the poet-criminal Phoebus Rainsford Daunt.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
In previous books she has explored how cadavers decay (Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers) and whether you can weigh a person's soul (Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife). A.J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically had this to say about Bonk: "I would read Mary Roach on the history of Quonset huts. But Mary Roach on sex? That's a godsend! This book is -- if not better than the act itself -- then a hilarious and entertaining alternative."
Roach currently lives in Oakland, California, but she grew up in Etna, New Hampshire. This is what her Web site has to say about her background: "My dad was 65 when I was born. My neighbors taught me how to drive a Skidoo and shoot a rifle, though I never made much use of these skills. I graduated from Wesleyan in 1981, and drove out to San Francisco with some friends. I spent a few years working as a freelance copy editor before landing a half-time PR job at the SF Zoo. My office was in a trailer next to Gorilla World. On the days when I wasn't taking calls about elephant wart removal surgery or denying rumors that the cheetahs had been sucked dry by fleas, I wrote freelance articles for the local newspaper's Sunday magazine.... In 1996, my article on earthquake-proof bamboo houses took the Engineering Journalism Award in the general interest magazine category, for which I was, let's be honest, the only entrant. I often write about science, though I don't have a science degree and must fake my way through interviews with experts I can't understand.... I have no hobbies. I mostly just work on my books and hang out with my family and friends. I enjoy bird-watching--though the hours don't agree with me--backpacking, thrift stores, overseas supermarkets, Scrabble, mangoes, and that late-night "Animal Planet."
Here's a video of Ms. Roach discussing some of the topics she covers in Bonk: