Thursday, July 30, 2009

Changes to the Bookbroads Blog

Close observers of this blog (are you out there??) will note two additions this week to the fuctionality of our blog . We've added a search component so if, for instance, you remember that I wrote something about Jim Lynch but can't find it, now you can easily search for it. We also added the option of subscribing to the blog through your email address. Once a day you'll get an email with all of the postings we made to the blog that day -- that way you don't have to remember to go to the blog to find out what's shaking at Broadway Books! Of course, you can still just go to the blog when you feel like it and read whatever you've missed, if that's your preference. It's all about YOU!

2009 Man Booker Prize Longlist

This week the judges for the 2009 Man Booker Prize announced the longlist of thirteen titles - or the Man Booker Dozen. The longlist includes Summertime by J.M. Coetzee, who is one of only two novelists to have won the Booker Prize twice with Life & Times of Michael K in 1983 and Disgrace in 1999. (Summertime isn't due out in the US until January.) It also features The Children's Book (October publication) by A.S. Byatt, winner of the Booker Prize in 1990 with Possession -- who announced at the time that she would spend her prize winnings to build her longed-for swimming pool in Provence, something that sounds particularly delightful to me this week, given our weather!

William Trevor, previously shortlisted four times for the annual prize, is longlisted for his new novel Love and Summer (due out September 1). Sarah Waters and Colm Toibin, who have both been shortlisted twice for the Man Booker Prize, have made the 2009 longlist with their latest novels -- both available now in hardcover. Hilary Mantel was previously longlisted for the prize. Her shortlisted book, Wolf Hall, will be published in October.

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.

Any full-length novel, written by a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland and published this year, is eligible for the prize. The novel must be an original work in English (not a translation) and must not be self-published. This year's Man Booker Prize winner will be announced October 6, 2009.

Last year's winner of the Man Booker Prize was The White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga, a novel of the gritty underbelly of contemporary India. His new book, Between the Assassinations, is a collection of linked stories set in the fictional Indian town of Kittur. It is available now in hardcover.

Here are the books selected for this year's Man Booker longlist, along with their scheduled publication dates (where known) in the US:

  • 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

And That's The Way It Was

Walter Cronkite was born was born November 14, 1916, in Saint Joseph, Missouri. On July 17, 2009, the "most trusted man in America" died at his home in New York City at the age of 92. Watching the wonderful tribute on "60 Minutes" recently moved me to tears. (Then again, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I'm a bit of a sap when it comes to stuff like that.)

In 1996, Alfred A. Knopf published his memoir, A Reporter's Life, which became a main selection of The Book-of-the-Month Club and a New York Times Notable Book. In the review, the NYT called the book "Entertaining...The story of a modest man who succeeded extravagantly by remaining mostly himself....His memoir is a short course on the flow of events in the second half of this century -- events the world knows more about because of Walter Cronkite's work." We just got the book back in stock -- and what a great time to read it.

Here's a taste of what the memoir offers: Throughout his life, Mr. Cronkite was fond of music. "My fondness for band music never abated, nor did the desire to lead a band. To this day I can be lured to almost any charity function by the promise that I can lead the orchestra in the role of a 'celebrity conductor.' I'm pretty good at it, the key to success being the least number of milliseconds after the band hits a note that you can pretend you directed them to do it."

One of the landmark endeavors that Mr. Cronkite is most associated with is the US Space Program: "A spirit of high adventure permeated the place [Cape Canaveral, Florida]. While the eyes of the rest of our population might have been downcast as the nation dealt with a succession of problems -- civil rights, assassinations, Vietnam -- it seemed that everyone at the Cape was looking up, up into the skies that invited their conquering touch."

He was also known for his coverage of the Vietnam war, and his growing disillusionment with it: "I was not yet prepared to grasp the fact that Vietnam was no ordinary war as some of us senior correspondents had known it in World War II. This was no routine meeting of press and authority. I was not prepared for the ultimate truth: These hapless spokesmen were charged with explaining a war that had no explanation, and both they and the press knew this to be the awful truth. The press named the evening news briefing 'the five o'clock follies.' It could have been the name for the war."

In one of his most memorable broadcasts, he closed with his now well-known editorial commentary on the war: "We have been too often disappointed by the optimism of the American leaders, both in Vietnam and Washington, to have faith any longer in the silver linings they find in the darkest clouds....But it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could."

He was also known for his reporting of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. And of course he was known for his role in the birth of television news, having been recruited to CBS News in its infancy by Edward R. Morrow himself.

This book is full of history and opinions and personality. A real treat. A lovely read for a hot summer day, say one that is about 100 degrees or so.....

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Let the Cooling Begin. Soon. Now Even.

Hey, did anyone notice that it's darned hot out there?? There's a reason why I don't live in the South. Well, many of them, actually (can you say "bugs"??). But one of the biggest is that I'm not a huge fan of heat and humidity. Especially together. So what's with this heat-and-humidity-IN-PORTLAND thing? My house was a balmy 85 on the main floor when I left to come to work, and my overheated cats were splayed out on the floor like furry hot water bottles. Oh, did I mention we have AIR CONDITIONING here at Broadway Books? I might have mentioned it a time or two already....

Anyway, let's try for a little vicarious book cooling, shall we? Just looking at the covers of these books takes the temperature down a notch or two, and I'm sure cracking them open and reading them will make us all just downright chilly, in the best possible way.

In Cold: Adventures in the World's Frozen Places, Bill Streever takes us on an extraordinary search for cold in a warming world. (Sound familiar?) Streever, who chairs the North Slope Science Initiative's Science Technical Advisory Panel, evokes history, myth, geography, and ecology in showing us the cold that remains in this world and what has been left in its absence -- taking a dip in an Arctic swimming hole, exploring the hibernation habits of animals, and adventuring up Ben Nevis, Scotland's highest peak, among his other poetic escapades.

The Solace of Open Spaces, by Gretel Ehrlich, about the beauty of Wyoming, has long been one of my favorite books. Her most recent book, published a few years ago, is The Future of Ice: A Journey into Cold (now THAT sounds nice about now). The book was written out of Ehrlich's love for winter -- for remote and cold places, for the ways winter frees our imagination and invigorates our feet, mind, and soul -- and also out of the fear that our "democracy of gratification" has irreparably altered the climate. From Tierra del Fuego in the south to Spitsbergen, east of Greenland, at the very top of the world, Ehrlich experiences firsthand the myriad expressions of cold and shares them with us, exploring the important question: If winter ends, will we survive?

Near Death in the Arctic: True Stories of Disaster and Survival, edited by Cecil Kuhne, might be taking us TOO far down the cold path. In this book, Kuhne, gathers astonishing tales of man versus nature, all set against the bleakly beautiful backdrop of the poles of the earth. The anthology includes "South: A Memoir of the Endurance Voyage," by Ernest Shackleton, "The Worst Journey in the World: Antarctic 1910-13," by Apsely Cherry-Garrard, and "Ice Bird: The First Single-Handed Voyage to Antarctica," by David Lewis.

Even a little rain sounds pretty good just about now, so I have to include one of my all-time favorite northwest books, The Good Rain: Across Time and Terrain in the Pacific Northwest, by that wonderful writer Timothy Egan. In the tradition of fine journalism, Egan takes us from salmon fisheries to mountain camps, from an impoverished Indian reservation to the manicured English gardens of Vancouver, interweaving personal experiences and conversations with observations of nature and historical information. A terrific book. Egan (also author of The Worst Hard Time, about the great American Dust Bowl) has a new book coming out in October: The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America.

Finally, if you're not cooled down yet, this book will surely do the trick: The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments, by David Lebovitz. Mmmmm. My mouth is watering just typing all those words! Every luscious flavor imaginable is grist for the chill in pastry chef Lebovitz's gorgeous guide to the pleasures of homemade ice creams and more. Just whip up one of these babies and watch the cooling begin.

We've got all these books in stock in our (did I mention yet?) AIR CONDITIONED bookstore, so come say hi and step out of the heat and let the cooling begin.

Need Air Conditioning???

WE GOT IT!! Broadway Books is a delightful respite at all times, but especially during these grueling heatwave days. Come take advantage of our wonderful air conditioning. It's already 80 in the downstairs of my house, and we haven't come close to the hottest part of the day yet! Egad! I might have to take my two cats down to the store tonight so we can all get some sleep! So, let me say it just one more time: hot books and cool store, awaiting you at Broadway Books. Come see us.

Later today I'll have some reading tips for keeping cool.......

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson, took the reading world by storm when it came out last year. Featuring crusading journalist Mikail Blomkvist and punk genius hacker Lisbeth Salander, the book is part legal thriller and part psychological suspense, a tale of corporate corruption. The eagerly anticipated sequel to that story, The Girl Who Played with Fire, hits the streets tomorrow. In the second book, Salander takes center stage.

You've probably heard the story behind these books: European crusading journalist Stieg Larsson wrote three books, known as the Millenium series, that were accepted for publication, and then died of a heart attack at age 50. The first two books were huge sellers in Europe and are experiencing similar success in this country.

His long-term partner, Eva Gabrielsson, still lives in their old apartment and is battling Larsson's father and brother to regain control of Larsson's work. Gabrielsson, who lived with Larsson for 30 years, claims she holds a laptop which contains the 200-page draft manuscript of a fourth Millenium mystery.

Not surprisingly, Hollywood is hot for the rights to turn the Millenium series into a blockbuster movie series in the US, with rumors of George Clooney, Johnny Depp, and Brad Pitt all interested in playing the central role of the idealistic journalist Mikael Blomkvist. (A low-budget, Swedish film of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo already exists, although that film -- as well as the book in Sweden and most of Europe -- is titled The Man Who Hates Women.)

Here are reviews of The Girl Who Played with Fire from The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, as well as the story behind the Millenium series inUK-based The Guardian. We open at 10 tomorrow morning, the soonest we can sell the new book (which is in hardcover only), and we have the first book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in both mass market and trade paperback. Call us to reserve copies for you, because they're going fast!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

RIP Frank McCourt

As most of you probably know, Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes, Tis and Teacher Man, died of cancer on July 19. Angela's Ashes, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, is absolutely one of the best memoirs ever written (in my humble opinion). If by some twist of fate, you haven't read it yet, now is the time. I've decided to reread it after listening to McCourt in an old interview on Fresh Air the other day. His descriptions of his miserable Catholic childhood in Limerick, Ireland are unbelievably depressing, but in a hysterically funny way. Not many writers can pull that off. It must have been that sense of humor that got him through growing up destitute with an alcoholic father and being forced to attend the local Catholic school where the priests practiced a unique brand of cruelty they crafted specifically for errant, impressionable young lads.

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

Small is Beautiful and Yummy is Yummy

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

Sequel to The Absolutely True Diary...

Good news for fans of Sherman's Alexie's book The Absolutely True Diary of Part-Time Indian (is there anyone who isn't???): He's currently at work on the sequel to that book: The Magic and Tragic Year of My Broken Thumb, which will continue telling the story of Arnold Spirit, Jr., as he heads into his sophomore year. The Absolutely True Diary, winner of the National Book Award, is technically a Young Adult book, but I recommend that everyone read it, regardless of age.

Sherman is one of my favorite authors at book events, because he is smart, wickedly funny, and wildly supportive of independent booksellers. If you ever get a chance to go hear him read or speak in person, DO IT! You will be glad you did.

Here's some background information about Sherman you might find interesting, taken from his Web site: He was born in 1966 and grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, WA, about 50 miles northwest of Spokane. He was born with water on the brain -- hydrocephalic -- and not expected to survive the brain operation he underwent at the age of six months. Fortunately for us, he did! But he suffered from seizures throughout his childhood. Despite these challenges,he learned to read at age three and became a voracious reader.

He chose to attend high school off the reservation in Reardan, about 20 miles south of Wellpinit, because he knew he would get a better education there. He was the only Indian at the school, except for the school mascot. Sherman excelled academically and became a star player on the basketball team. His experiences there inspired his YA novel.

After graduation he attended Gonzaga University and then transferred to WSU, intending to become a doctor. After fainting numerous times in human anatomy class he decided to change his career path. A poetry workshop fueled his writing ambitions, and Sherman had found his new path. He earned a BA in American Studies and then received a couple of poetry fellowships, which led to the publication of his first two poetry collections.

Sherman had a problem with alcohol in college, but he gave up drinking at age 23 and has been sober ever since. His first collection of short stories, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, was published by Atlantic Monthly Press in 1993, and it earned a PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Book of Fiction. In the late '90s, he wrote a screenplay based on one of the stories in that collection, "This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona," which became the wildly popular film "Smoke Signals."

Sherman's first novel, Reservation Blues, was published in 1995 and his second, Indian Killer, in 1996 -- both by Atlantic Monthly Press. His novel Flight was published in 2007 by Grove/Atlantic. Besides being a writer, Sherman has also pursued work as a stand-up comic -- something you'll have no trouble believing if you've ever seen him speak.

While we don't yet have a date on the next Arnold Spirit book, we'll keep you posted as we hear anything. And if you haven't yet read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, now's your chance before the sequel is published!

Monday, July 20, 2009

August Events at Broadway Books

We've got three great events lined up for you in August. To get the details on each, check out our Website ( For the quick summary version, think tattoos, muses (or not), and afterlife. Hope that is tantalizing enough for you to investigate further!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Top Ten Reasons to Hit NE Broadway Sale

Top Ten Reasons to come to the NE Broadway Sidewalk Sale (and in particular Broadway Books), in no particular order:
  1. We have air conditioning!

  2. We have a special selection of books for $4 each or 3 for $10.

  3. All hardcover fiction, including general fiction, mystery, sci-fi, and younger readers, is 25% off this weekend only.

  4. All used books are 25% off this weekend only.

  5. We've got a great selection of sale books.

  6. We have air conditioning.

  7. 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!

  8. There are all sorts of wonderful newly published books for you to choose from.

  9. We have a selection of games, music, and audiobooks as well.

  10. 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?

All Used Books 25% Off This Weekend!

Did you know that Broadway Books also sells used books? It's true! In fact, we have quite a delightful used book section, and it is refreshed weekly with books selected just for our customers by Charles Seluzicki, noted dealer in fine and rare books. We've got novels, cookbooks, memoirs, nonfiction of all types, poetry, and a wonderful collection of art books in our used book section. If you haven't found our used book section yet, just ask one of us and we'll direct you. To celebrate this wonderful collection of used books and as part of our annual sidewalk sale, this weekend we are offering all of our used books at 25% off of their already great prices. What a deal! This special is good from Friday morning at 10 am when we open until Sunday at 5 pm when we close (July 17-19). Come on in and say hi!.

Twilight Series as Graphic Novels

Ask most bookstores what their top-selling Young Adult titles have been for the past year, and you're likely to hear "Stephenie Meyer, Stephenie Meyer, Stephenie Meyer." It's true for us as well. The Twilight series (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn) have been HUGELY popular, by far surpassing most other YA titles. (Although I must tell you that, YTD, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie, has slipped into third place, pushing one of the Twilight books into "lowly" fifth place.) If you are one of the many who just can't get enough of all things Twilight, then you'll be happy to hear that on the horizon are graphic novel versions of the Twilight series. The books will be published by Yen Press, and the artwork is being created by Young Kim, a Korean artist. No publication date has yet been set -- but stay tuned and we'll let you know as soon as we hear anything.

For those of you who have been waiting for Eclipse, Book Three in the Twilight series, to be published in paperback, your wait is almost over. The paperback is due to hit stores on August 4th. If you just can't wait, however, stop by Broadway Books this weekend for our big sidewalk sale, where, for the first time, we are offering all hardcover fiction (including YA titles) at 25% off. The sale starts Friday, July 17th, at 10 am and runs through Sunday, July 19th, at 5 pm when we close. Eclipse in hardcover is $19.99. With a 25% discount, the book is only $14.99 -- only $2 more than the paperback price -- and you don't have to wait until August! While you're here, pick up the fourth book, Breaking Dawn, also at 25% off. Why not? Good prices and a chance to support your local independent bookstore. A definite win-win.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hardcover Fiction Sales -- Ideas to Ponder

Hmmmm. Let's see. What hardcover novels should you pick up at 25% off this weekend during our splendtacular (splendiferous and spectacular) sidewalk sale this weekend? Today we just got in the new mystery by James Lee Burke. Or perhaps you're more in the mood for The Winter Vault, by Anne Michaels (author of Fugitive Pieces). Or perhaps you want a debut novel, say Last Night in Montreal, by Emily St. John Mandel, or Black Water Rising, by Attica Locke. Maybe you've been dreaming of Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Nancy Drew meets Harriet the Spy for grownups), by Alan Bradley (with two more installments of Flavia books under contract -- yippee!). Or have you been eager to read the new book by Shadow of the Wind author, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Angel's Game, also set inBarcelona? The latest from Sarah Waters (Tipping the Velvet, etc), The Little Stranger? Or perhaps you have your heart set on two books getting a lot of great buzz lately: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (a supernatural puzzler involving the Salem witch trials) by Katherine Howe, or The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet (the story of a 12-year-old genius cartographer) by Reif Larsen. Maybe you're in the mood to laugh yourself silly with Christopher Moore's Fool, a spoof on King Lear as only Moore can tell it. Or maybe you've been drooling over the book Roberta and Jennie have been raving about: Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese, the epic novel set primarily in Ethopia and the US. We've also got new hardcover fiction from Phillip Margolin, Chuck Palahniuk, John Grisham, Janet Evanovich, Laurie King, Glen David Gould, Alice Hoffman, Elizabeth Berg, Charlaine Harris, David Baldacci, Stephen King, and Dean Koontz, just to name a few. Or maybe you've decided to use our big sale to make a dent in your holiday shopping: Signed copies of Border Songs, the new novel by Jim Lynch (The Highest Tide) for all of your friends and family. Oh, choices, choices. And these are just a few of the many you can pick up for -- did I mention it already? -- 25% off this weekend only!!! And don't forget about all the great specials we'll have out on our sidewalk: most will be $4 each, or 3 for $10. Come early for the best selection!! Friday & Saturday we're open from 10 am to 7 pm, and Sunday we'll be here from noon to 5 pm.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hardcover Fiction 25% Off -- and More!

This weekend, July 17-19th, is the annual Northeast Broadway Sidewalk Sale! We will have a wonderful selection of titles available on our sidewalk for $4 each, or 3 for $10. A portion of our sale proceeds will go to our ongoing causes, Literary Arts and the NxNE Community Health Center. This year we are also offering ALL hardcover fiction -- including mystery, sci-fi, and young adult/middle readers, along with general fiction -- at 25% off. There's no limit to the number you can buy! This sale only applies on the three days of the sidewalk sale, and it doesn't include special orders. Come early for the best selection. While you're here, check out the great sales at other participating merchants on Broadway, enter to win prizes (including a free night's stay at McMenamin's Grand Lodge), listen to bands, check out the Greyhounds available for adoption at Furever Pets, and enjoy ice cream from the Umpqua Bank roving ice cream truck. A fun weekend for all. We look forward to seeing you!

Winners of 2009 Thriller Awards

The Association of International Thriller Writers announced the winners of the 2009 Thriller Awards at a ceremony in New York City Saturday night.

Best Thriller of the Year went to Jeffery Deaver's book The Bodies Left Behind. Deaver's book is an epic cat-and-mouse chase filled with Deaver's patented twists and turns, where nothing is what it seems, and death lingers just around the next curve on a deserted path deep in the midnight forests of Wisconsin. The Bodies Left Behind, available now in hardcover, will be published in August in paperback.

Tom Rob Smith won the Best First Novel Award for his debut novel Child 44, set in 1950s Stalinist Russia, where the only crimes acknowledged to exist are crimes against the state. In this setting of fear, paranoia, and brutality, war hero and MGB officer Leo Demidov hunts for a serial child killer. Child 44 is available in paperback now. Smith's second Demidov novel, The Secret Speech, was published in hardcover in May.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Katrina from A to Z

My brother and his wife and kids live in Lake Charles, Louisiana, which is a few hours west of New Orleans and quite close to the Gulf of Mexico. When Hurricane Katrina and then Hurricane Rita came through, it was a pretty scary time -- especially with Rita, since the eye of the that storm passed almost directly over Lake Charles. Although they lost every tree in their yard and sustained damage to the house, the good news is that no one was hurt or lost, and most of their belongings were undamaged. But I remember sitting in Portland glued to the news during both events, and being especially stunned at what took place in New Orleans following Katrina. In the United States? In our lifetime? It just seemed unthinkable.

Last week Zeitoun, the new book by Dave Eggers, arrived in the store. It tells the Katrina story and its unbelievable aftermath through the eyes of one family, the Zeitouns. Here's the book description below:

"When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a prosperous 47-year-old Syrian-American and father of four, chose to stay through the storm to protect his house and contracting business. In the days after the storm, he traveled the flooded streets in a secondhand canoe, passing on supplies and helping those he could. A week later, on September 6, 2005, Zeitoun abruptly disappeared. Eggers's riveting nonfiction book, three years in the making, explores Zeitoun's roots in Syria, his marriage to Kathy an American who converted to Islam and their children, and the surreal atmosphere (in New Orleans and the United States generally) in which what happened to Abdulrahman Zeitoun was possible. Like What Is the What, Zeitoun was written in close collaboration with its subjects and involved vast research - in this case, in the United States, Spain, and Syria."

Tulane History Professor Douglas Brinkley (and author of The Great Deluge, also about Katrina) says of this book, "Zeitoun is a poignant, haunting, etheral story about New Orleans in peril. Eggers has bottled up the feeling of post-Katrina despair better than anyone else. This is a simple, beautiful book with a lingering radiance."

I gobbled this book up. Experiencing Katrina through the eyes of an individual family really makes it all seem more real than the images I had watched on the TV news. Now I'm hungry for more. Reading Zeitoun reminded me that I have another book that I bought shortly after Katrina: 1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina, by Chris Rose, a New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist, which recounts the first four harrowing months of life in New Orleans after Katrina. It is described as a roller coaster ride of observations, commentary, emotions, tragedy, and even humor. So that's where I'm going next.

I'm particularly excited about two more books about Katrina coming out soon. A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, by Josh Neufeld, is a graphic novel that portrays both the undeniable horrors and the humanitarianism triggered by Hurricane Katrina by following six New Orleanians from the hours before Katrina strikes to its aftermath. That book will be published in hardcover on August 18th. The second book, which is out now, is coming out in paperback September 1: City of Refuge, by Tom Piazza, is a novel that tells the Katrina story through the eyes of two New Orleans families, one black and one white.

But until those two are published, I highly recommend reading Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers, who has also written What is the What, a fictionalized telling of the story of the Lost Boys of Sudan, and the memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and is the founder and editor of McSweeney's, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco.

Win Tickets to 2009 National Book Awards

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

Guatemalan Blank Books

Sixty new blank books hit the store today. All are covered with colorful Guatemalan fabric and the pages are lined, making the books perfect for travel journals, diaries, recipes – whatever! The fabrics are so bright and the books are fair-trade. They are priced at $8 each. Grab a couple while you’re here!

2010 Calendars are Arriving!

We just cracked open our first box of wall calendars for 2010. Such a lovely selection! We received about three dozen titles today, and they’re all on display in the store. Beauties! We’ll be receiving more as the summer progresses, but for those who can’t wait to start counting days for the coming year, now is a great time to visit the store, before the favorites start selling out. We also have a handful of mini wall calendars, engagement books, and page-a-days for 2010, as well as the ever-popular August-to-August engagement calendars (this year's colors: black, pink, green, blue, purple, and red). Let's make a date!

The Outlander Now Out in Paperback

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

Game On at Broadway Books!

Do you like to play games? Hey, who doesn't?!? We've got some great new ones in the store. Besides the ever-popular Bananagrams (come and get yours if you don't have one yet; it's fantastic!), we now have a great selection of fun card games: Go Fish, Crazy Eights, Slap Jack, Banana Split (yes, it's a banana theme this year); all kinds of great playing cards (large index, for those with failing eyes, like mine, plus animal and wildflower and dinosaur cards); and some great conversation-starter cards called Table Talk, with your pick of all sorts of topics: movies, sports, animals, music, ecology, science, and more. These are great for roadtrips or picnics or just sitting around a table (hence the name). And all are very reasonably priced, if I do say myself. It's game-on time at Broadway Books!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Harry's Here - Come and Get 'Em!

For you Harry Potter fans who have been waiting for the final book to arrive in paperback, tomorrow is your big day! Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Book 7, goes on sale tomorrow morning -- we open at 10 am! And if you want to order a full boxed set of paperbacks, we can take care of that as well.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Fascinating World of Science

I love to read books about science, although I must admit that lately I've fallen for the lure of the novel and haven't gotten back to my non-fiction roots. While I've been away, a bunch of new books have come into the store that look quite interesting -- here's a taste of some:

  • 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 Gal├ípagos 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 Gal├ípagos’ 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!

Signed Copies of All-American Poem

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

Curse of the Pogo Stick

One of the most popular mystery series at Broadway Books this past year has been the series by Colin Cotterill based in Laos and featuring Dr. Siri Paiboun. Dr. Paiboun is one of the last doctors left in Laos after the Communist takeover, a 77-year-old Paris-trained physician serving as reluctant coroner to the Communist Pathet Lao regime in Laos in 1976.

Readers get a bunch for their money with Cotterill's books: a solid mystery story in an exotic locale, tinged with political satire, mystical overtones, and witty irreverent humor. The series launched with The Coroner's Lunch in 2004. Curse of the Pogo Stick, the fifth book in the series, has just been released in paperback. The sixth book, The Merry Misogynist, will be published in hardcover this summer.

Cotterill was born in London in 1952 and trained as a Physical Education teacher. He has taught in Israel, Australia, Japan, and Thailand. He spent four years in Laos, initially with UNESCO, and wrote and produced a language-teaching series for Thai TV. He became involved in child protection and set up an NGO in the south of Thailand. He also joined ECPAT -- an international organization that combats child prostitution and pornography -- and set up their training program for caregivers.

Cotterill lives in Thailand, but he returns to Lao several times a year to help run charities and to conduct research. He says he can't seem to stay away from the country: "I keep coming for the people," Cotterill says. "Every time I come to Laos, there's always an element of the mystical. When I step off the airplane, I know something wonderful or terrible is going to happen to me."

Besides writing his Siri Paiboun series, Cotterill is also a cartoonist. Come check out his series; we think after reading the first you'll be happy to know that you've got five more awaiting you!

Hot Books, Cool Store

Our books are hot but our store is cool! Broadway Books is open until 7 pm tonight and will be open tomorrow, the 4th of July, from 10 am to 3 pm. Sunday we'll be open our regular Sunday hours, noon til 5 pm. Come see us! Our air-conditioning is a welcome relief from the hot temperatures outside.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Oxford English Dictionary at Your Fingertips!

One of my favorite things to do is to read dictionaries. Yes, I mean it. I read dictionaries. I guess that truly pins me down as a dork. But that's ok. I can live with that title. Dork it is! Some of my favorites words: copacetic, the origin of which is not known for sure, and mediocre, which means, literally, halfway up a stony mountain. Love it! One of my favorite dictionaries, not surprisingly is The Oxford English Dictionary, but it can be a handful. But, new in the store is The Oxford English Dictionary 2nd Edition on CD-ROM Version 4.0. How cool is that! For a mere $295, you can have easy access to the internationally recognized authority on the English Language, with definitions of more than 500,000 words and tracing their usage through 2.5 million quotations from a wide range of literary and other sources. And think what a great punch $295 would be on your pink free-book card!

The text on the CD-ROM comprises the full text of the OED 2nd Edition , plus the three Additions volumes, as well as 7,000 new entries from the OED's continuing research. Most importantly, OED v4.0 on CD-ROM boasts superb search-and-retrieval software, designed specifically for the electronic version, enabling you to investigate The OED in ways not possible with the print edition. Questions which might have taken years of patient research can now be answered in seconds.
  • 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.