Thursday, July 30, 2009
Chaired by broadcaster and author James Naughtie, the 2009 judges are Lucasta Miller, biographer and critic; Michael Prodger, Literary Editor of The Sunday Telegraph; Professor John Mullan, academic, journalist and broadcaster; and Sue Perkins, comedian, journalist and broadcaster. Naughtie said of the longlist, "We believe it to be one of the strongest lists in recent memory, with two former winners, four past shortlisted writers, three first-time novelists, and a span of styles and themes that make this an outstandingly rich fictional mix." A total of 132 books, 11 of which were called in by the judges, were considered for the ‘Man Booker Dozen' longlist of thirteen books.
- The Children's Book, A.S. Byatt (Oct 2009)
- Summertime, J.M. Coetzee (Jan 2010)
- The Quickening Maze, Adam Foulds
- How to Paint a Dead Man, Sarah Hall (Sept 2009 PB)
- The Wilderness, Samatha Harvey (available now in hardcover)
- Me Cheetah, James Lever
- Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel (Oct 2009)
- The Glass Room, Simon Mawer
- Not Untrue & Not Unkind, Ed O'Loughlin (April 2010)
- Heliopolis, James Scudamore
- Brooklyn, Colm Toibin (available now in hardcover)
- Love and Summer, William Trevor (Sept 2009)
- The Little Stranger, Sarah Waters (available now in hardcover)
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Later today I'll have some reading tips for keeping cool.......
Monday, July 27, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Teacher Man is also an excellent read. It recounts his years teaching at Stuyvesant High School in New York City and oozes that same sense of joy and wonderment that evades Angela's Ashes. The tales he tells about his students will have career teachers nodding their heads, like "Yeah, I've seen that before...", and non-teachers thinking, "No way. I can't believe they tried to get away with that."
Whichever book you choose to read, for the first time or for the fifth time, let's try and keep his his stories alive and remember him for the remarkable human being he was.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
One of my favorite places to go in the neighborhood is Foster & Dobbs Authentic Foods, on the corner of 15th & Brazee in NE Portland. The store celebrates artisanal foods and products from small producers, featuring European and American farmstead cheese, cured meats, craft beer, wine, and fine groceries. The store's Web site sums up their buying philosophy: "We seek out foods made by people with a passion for quality, integrity, and flavor. Many of our products are from family farms and small businesses dedicated to place and tradition."
Gotta love that! They're great at recommending specific foods and beverages, and they're happy to let you have a taste before you buy (at least of the meats and cheeses). They also offer delicious meals made from their yummy treats, and they offer their own version of happy hour, which they call Pause -- some nibblies and a glass of wine, perfect after a day of work or after a walk through our wonderful neighborhood. (In fact, while I was enjoying this year's Irvington Home Tour I took advantage of their location to stop, sit, and enjoy some sustenance. Yum!!!)
Here's a little background on the shop and it's owners, Tim Wilson and Luan Schooler, taken from their Web site:
"With a nod to our family history, the shop’s name is drawn from our mothers’ maiden names. The Fosters (Tim’s family) have been beekeepers for seven generations and in Oregon since 1910. On the Dobbs side of the family we are restaurateurs, ranchers, and coffee farmers.
"Foster & Dobbs opened the week before Thanksgiving 2005. The shop had long been a dream of ours. We love food! Our professional backgrounds are in the arts. Luan was a theatre artist for many years and most recently served as Literary Manager and Dramaturge at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Tim has 20 years in arts administration and currently serves as Executive Director of the Western Arts Alliance. We really see the shop as an extension of our artistic work—we think of our roles here as curators and storytellers."
I love that the shop's name comes from Tim and Luan's mother's maiden names. Back in my past life I worked for a publishing company, Prentice Hall, that was started by two guys named Gerstenberg and Ettinger, who had the good sense to also name their company after their mother's maiden names, Prentice and Hall.
Luan is the one who turned me on to comte cheese. I was going on a hike with a friend, to be followed by a picnic (the picnic being the carrot that would get me through the hike). We stopped at Foster & Dobb's on our way out to the gorge to pick up some nibblies for the picnic, and one of the items Luan recommended (all were exquisitely wonderful) was some comte cheese, and I've been hooked ever since.
In July Foster & Dobbs is doing a series of Friday wine tastings, from 4:30 to 6:30. The July 31st tasting features wines from Truchard Vineyards in the Carneros region of Napa Valley. I've always LOVED wines from the Carneros region. A few years ago a friend and I went on a jaunt down to California wine country to do a little shopping and tasting, and we discovered Truchard and boy were we happy we did! The wines were wonderful and the people were wonderful, and we came back to Oregon with a car filled with great wines. (I even have some left in my wine cellar but, sadly, not any of the Truchard.)
Here's some information about Truchard Vineyards, taken from their Web site:
Truchard Vineyards was established in 1974, when Tony and Jo Ann Truchard came to the Carneros region of the Napa Valley and purchased a 20 acre parcel of land. They transformed what was an abandoned prune orchard into a vineyard and began selling the fruit to a local winery. The Truchards now sell grapes to more than 20 premiere Napa Valley wineries.
The Truchard Estate Vineyard is a series of hills and valleys, which contain a variety of soils: clay, shale, sandstone, volcanic rock and ash. The various combinations of terrain, geology, and marine-moderated temperatures provide unique winegrowing conditions. Currently the vineyard grows 10 different grape varieties, making it one of the most diverse estate vineyards in California.
In 1989, the Truchards began making wine for themselves using only their estate-grown fruit. With the addition of a 10,500 square foot wine cave, the winery has become a beautiful, modern facility. The winery makes 11 different wines, producing a total of 16,000 cases per year.
Truchard wines are produced with the vineyard in mind. We always will consider ourselves “a big vineyard and a small winery”. The wines are hand-crafted using traditional winemaking techniques and exemplify the high quality fruit of the Truchard Estate Vineyard. They are truly: “wines with a sense of place”.
Unfortunately, I'm working at the store that evening, but there's no reason why YOU can't go taste some great Truchard wines in my stead. Or maybe I should just close the store a little early.....But if you can't hit the Truchard tasting, try for one of the others, or just head over there any old time for a little culinary delight. And tell them Sally says hi!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
- We have air conditioning!
- We have a special selection of books for $4 each or 3 for $10.
- All hardcover fiction, including general fiction, mystery, sci-fi, and younger readers, is 25% off this weekend only.
- All used books are 25% off this weekend only.
- We've got a great selection of sale books.
- We have air conditioning.
- There will be bands and roving ice cream trucks and sales of all types throughout the NE Broadway neighborhood -- eat, drink, shop, and be merry!
- There are all sorts of wonderful newly published books for you to choose from.
- We have a selection of games, music, and audiobooks as well.
- The staff is cute, knowledgeable, and lots of fun. Ok, I might be slightly biased on this one. Did I mention we have air conditioning?
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
I just learned about this cool thing that the National Book Foundation is doing. I've reprinted here the description of the project from their Website:
"To celebrate the 60th year of the National Book Awards, the National Book Foundation will present a book-a-day blog on the Fiction winners from 1950 to 2008.
"The blog will run from July 7th to September 21st, starting with Nelson Algren’s The Man With the Golden Arm, ending with Peter Matthiessen’s Shadow Country, and including works by Ralph Ellison, Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, and Alice McDermott. Discover lesser known but equally talented National Book Award Fiction Winners such as Conrad Richter, Wright Morris, and Robb Forman Dew. Then return here, on September 21st, you will have a chance to select The Best of the National Book Awards Fiction and win two tickets to the 2009 National Book Awards, the first time in its history the Awards will open to a public vote."
When you click on an active book cover, you go to a page with information about the book and about the literary world that year. Very interesting. Visit every day for the next 77 days, and if you want to read any of them, give us a call and we'll see if we can order you a copy (if we don't already have it). Check it out here.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
A while back I wrote about a new novel I really enjoyed: The Outlander, by Gil Adamson. The book has recently been published in paperback and is flying off our shelves. We got a new supply in yesterday, so hurry in to get a copy for yourself. Great summer reading. [This is also a good example for my on-going "do covers matter?" discussion, as the cover has been dramatically changed from the hardcover to paperback versions. Check them both out on my posts and tell me which you like best. Do either influence your decision to open the book up?]
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
- Galapagos at the Crossroads: Pirates, Biologists, Tourists, and Creationists Battle for Darwin's Cradle of Evolution, by Carol Ann Bassett ($26, National Geographic). Bassett teaches environmental writing and literary nonfiction athe University of Oregon and directs an ongoing summer program for her students on environmental writing in the Galapagos. Her portrait of today’s Galápagos depicts a deadly collision of economics, politics, and the environment that may destroy one of the world’s last Edens. Each chapter in this provocative, perceptive book focuses on a specific person or group with a stake in the Galápagos’ natural resources. Told with wit, passion, and grace, the portrait is as readable as it is sensible.
- Plan Bee: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Hardest-Working Creatures on the Plant, by Susan Brackney ($21.95, Perigee/Penguin). Brackney is a beekeeper, nature writer, and avid gardener in Bloomington, Indiana. Humble, hard-working, overtaxed, and underrecognized, the honeybee finally gets her due in this engaging, whimsical, and expertly written guided tour of the world of bees, filled with fascinating facts, inspiring insights, expert recipes (cooked bees?), and instructions.
- Central Park in the Dark: More Mysteries of Urban Wildlife, by Marie Winn ($15, Picador). By the author of Red-Tails in Love, this new book explores a natural world that flourishes in the midst of a crowded and mechanized city. The exuberant essays lead the reader through the cycle of seasons as experienced by nocturnal beasts (raccoons, bats, black skimmers), insects (moths, wasps, fireflies, crickets), and other denizens of the park's trees and swamps and thickets. Alongside a cadre of amateur and expert naturalists, Winn reveals a world that lies hidden in the dark between the bright lights and traffic of Fith Avenue and Central Park West.
- Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness, by Lisa M. Hamilton ($25, Counterpoint). Books about where our food comes from are a hugely growing section of the science-book market, and I think it's probably a good thing that we all lean more about what we eat and what factors determine what's available to us. In this book, Hamilton explores our food system through examining the stories of three unconventional farmers, and makes the argument that to correct what is wrong with the food system, we must first bring farmers back to the table.
- Human: The Science Behind What Makes Your Brain Unique, by Michael S. Gazzaniga ($16.99, Harper Perennial). What happened along the evolutionary trail that made humans so unique? In a lively, accessible, witty narrative, Gazzaniga -- director of the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind at UC-Santa Barbara -- pinpoints the change that made us thinking, sentient humans different from our predecessors, exploring what makes human brains special, the importance of language and art in defining the human condition, the nature of human consciousness, and even artificial intelligence.
- Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, by Richard Wrangham ($26.95, Basic Books). In a groundbreaking theory of our origins, renowned primatologist Wrangham shows that the shift from raw to cooked foods was the key factor in human evolution. By making food more digestible and easier to extract energy from, Wrangham reasons, cooking enabled hominids' jaws, teeth and guts to shrink, freeing up calories to fuel their expanding brains. It also gave rise to pair bonding and table manners, and liberated mankind from the drudgery of chewing (while chaining womankind to the stove). Catching Fire will provoke controversy and fascinate anyone interested in our ancient origins -- or in our modern eating habits.
- Waking Up in Eden: In Pursuit of an Impassioned Life on an Imperiled Island, by Lucinda Fleeson ($13.95, Algonquin Books). Part memoir, part nature writing, part adventure tale, Waking Up in Eden tells Fleeson's story of chucking her big-city life to move to the edge of a rainforest in Kauai. She accompanies a plant hunter in search of the last of a dying species, follows a paleontologist who deconstructs island history through fossil life, and shadows a botanical pioneer who propagates rare seeds, hoping to reclaim the landscape. Inspired by nineteenth-century travel writer Isabella Bird, Fleeson renovates a former plantation cottage, enters an outrigger canoe race, and, of course, cultivates her garden.
- The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet, by Neil DeGrasse Tyson ($23.95, Norton). This book isn't brand-spanking new (it came out in January), but I mention it because a) it's a fascinating topic and b) the author will be in Portland July 21st at the OSMI Science Pub at the Bagdad Theater in a "Cosmic Conversation" with Paula S. Opsell, Senior Executive Producer of NOVA. Astrophysicist and Hayden Planetarium director Tyson was involved in the emotionally controversially process of demoting Pluto from planet status (in August 2006). Consequently, Pluto lovers have freely shared their opinions with him, including endless hate mail from third graders. In his typically witty way, Tyson explores the history of planet classification and America's obsession with the "planet" that's recently been judged a dwarf. This book offers a scientifically based but lighthearted look at the former planet.
- And, lastly, a book that I actually DID read when it first came out in hardback but love so much I just must mention it here: The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild, by Craig Childs ($14.99, Back Bay Books). Naturalist, adventurer, and NPR contributor Childs portrays the sometimes brutal beauty of the wilderness in a series of essays focusing on a variety of wild creatures. Whether recalling the experience of being chased through the Grand Canyon by a bighorn sheep, of swimming with sharks off the coast of British Columbia, of watching a peregrine falcon perform acrobatic stunts at two hundred miles per hour, or attempting to rescue an understandably cranky raccoon trapped in a water hole in the desert, Child brings the reader along for the experience. And what a great cover!
There's many more books in the store about the world around us; I've barely scratched the surface of them here. Come on down and take a peek for yourself!
You'll never guess who came into our store this week....Portland's very own Matthew Dickman, poet-on-the-rise and winner of the 2008 APR/Honickman First Book Prize. While he was here shopping for books, he graciously signed copies of his debut collection of poems, All-American Poem, a book of great hopefulness about the ecstatic nature of our daily lives. And how appropriate to buy All-American Poems on the 4th of July! You can read more about Matthew and his brother, Michael, here. We're open until 3 today, and we have 3 signed copies, so come see me! Did I mention I've got freshly baked cookies????
Friday, July 3, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
- New to this version: Now compatible for Mac users as well as PC users; Flash-base; Smoother and faster performance providing instantaneous search results; New word-wheel which supports incremental letter-by-letter browsing; 7,000 new words and meanings.
- Existing functionality retained from earlier versions includes: Installation to the hard drive, so the CD is not required during use of the dictionary; Options to customize the entry display and show or hide pronunciations, spellings, etymology, and quotation text; Flexible full text search options, with search filters and an option to rank entries and search results alphabetically or by date.
We keep this little baby behind the counter, so you'll have to ask us for it. What a spectacular gift it would be -- for you or someone you love. Considering that the 20-volume hardcover version costs $995 and doesn't include the vast amount of new material that this CD-ROM holds, this version is quite the bargain at $295.