Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Practical Steps to Living More Sustainably

Next Monday evening (Oct 5th) at 7, Emily Doskow will be here to read from her new book (co-written with Janelle Orsi), The Sharing Solution: How to Save Money, Simplify Your Life, & Build Community, published by Nolo. We hope you will be able to join us for this sure-to-be informative and entertaining evening. I thought I'd share with you some excerpts from the book:

"For a variety of reasons, people are looking for ways of living that are more sustainable -- not only environmentally sustainable, but also economically and personally sustainable. One of the most sustainable choices we can make is sharing.

"Sharing contributes to the greater good in lots of ways. First, it's nice. It can help people feel connected to their neighbors, coworkers, and even strangers. It builds community and meets our needs in creative ways. It sets a good example for our children.

"Second, it's economical. Almost every type of sharing we discuss in this book will save you some money -- sometimes more, sometimes less, but always some.

"Third, it's green. Most kinds of sharing result in fewer resources being used, and that's good for the environment. Sharing also makes it possible to afford more environmentally friendly choices, such as solar panels, grey water systems, and community supported agriculture."
"The ultimate beauty of sharing is that it's a solution we create for ourselves. It's not a government program, nor is it the "latest and greatest" product marketed to us on billboards. It's a solution based on our own needs and lifestyles, in our own communities. It's a way for each of us to shape our own lives in positive ways and simultaneously benefit the world as a whole."

Part I of The Sharing Solution discusses the basics of sharing: the kinds of things to share, finding sharing partners, questions to ask when considering sharing arrangements and how to communicate effectively and create written documents. Part II presents solutions to specific sharing situations, such as sharing housing, sharing food, sharing child or pet care, sharing transportation, and sharing at work. In the back of the book you'll find a whole host of additional resources to explore about sharing, as well as worksheets, checklists, and sample agreement forms.

Emily Doskow is an attorney in private practice in Berkeley and the author or coauthor of many Nolo titles, including Neighbor Law, Nolo's Essential Guide to Divorce, and Making It Legal: A Guide to Same-Sex Marriage, Domestic Partnerships Civil Unions. Her co-author, Janelle Orsi, is an attorney in Berkeley, California. Her law and mediation practice is focused on helping individuals and organizations share resources and create more sustainable communities.

Bill McKibben, the author of Deep Economy and The End of Nature, says of The Sharing Solution, "It's possible someone has published a more timely book, but I've never seen it. For a planet dealing with economic crisis and ecological limit, sharing is not only the right and moral solution, it's the necessary (and charming) one as well." Ernest Callenbach, author of Ecotopia and Ecotopia Emerging, says "This canny, thorough book offers detailed advice on how to make clear sharing agreements and minimize potential confusion and conflict." And Annie Leonard, author and host of The Story of Stuff and a Time Magazine 2008 Hero of the Environment says the book is "a must-read for those who want to chart a new path: a more sustainable, more compassionate, and more fun one."

Given the economic and environmental concerns facing us now, we think this book offers a timely and important message that can help us all take practical steps to make our lives and our world better. We hope you can join us!

Friday, September 25, 2009

PBS Series and Book on National Parks

I'm so excited to watch the PBS series on America's National Parks, which begins Sunday night on OPB -- especially having just finished reading Timothy Egan's terrific book (The Big Burn) about America's largest-ever forest fire, and the establishment of the National Forest Service.

The National Parks: America's Best Idea, an Illustrated History, by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns, is the official compaion volume to the twelve-hour PBS series, and it is spectacular! At $50 it isn't cheap, but it is almost 400 pages of incredible history and illustration -- both historical photos and contemporary, some in lucious two-page spreads. This book will make a wonderful keepsake that can be returned to over and over again. What a great gift!

The authors recount the adventures, mythmaking, and intense political battles behind the evolution of the park system, and the enduring ideals that fostered its growth. And they introduce us to a diverse cast of compelling characters -- both unsung heroes and famous figures such as John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ansel Adams -- who have been transformed by these special places and committed themselves to saving them from destruction so the rest of us could be transformed as well.

The world's first national park was Yellowstone, established in 1872; the US system now encompasses nearly four hundred sites and 84 million acres -- including Crater Lake in Oregon, established in 1902.

Dayton Duncan, writer and producer of The National Parks, is an award-winning author and documentary filmmaker. He is the author of nine other books and has collaborated on all of Ken Burn's films for twenty years as a writer, producer, and consultant. Ken Burns, director and producer of The National Parks, has won numerous prizes for his work, including the Emmy and Peabody Awards and two Academy Award nominations. His previous films incluce The War, Jazz, Baseball, and The Civil War, which was the highest-rated series in the history of American public television.

I can't recommend this book highly enough. It is both fascinating and gorgeous. Come check it out for youself -- and be sure to catch the first segment of the series Sunday night!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Timothy Egan's New Book is Terrific!

Life does not always behave so serendipitously, but today it chose to do so. For the past few days I've been reading -- and loving -- a new book, you know, the kind of book that you can't bear to put down to go to work or do laundry or eat meals or take care of any of the myriad responsibilities and engagements that typically occupy your time. The sort of book that as much as you want to keep reading, you also dread seeing it come to an end, because you are enjoying it so.

Just before coming into work today I finished my book, with a contented sigh, but then felt slightly sad -- not only because I had come to the end of a deliciously wonderful book, but also because, according to the back of the Advance Reading Copy I have, the book wouldn't be published until mid October.

Imagine my giddy surprise to walk in the front door of the store this afternoon and see the very same book, in shiny new hardcover format, sitting on the front table, having been released a few weeks early. So I'm happy to report that you, too, can now lose yourself in this wonderful book. Which means I should probably tell you what it is.

The book is The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt & the Fire That Saved America, by Timothy Egan. Egan, as you probably know, is the author of The Worst Hard Times, his book about the Great American Dust Bowl and winner of the National Book Award. He is also the author of two other books I treasure: The Good Rain, about the Pacific Northwest, and Lasso the Wind, about the West.

Egan is a spectacular researcher, writer, and storyteller -- I'd compare him to Jon Krakauer and Erik Larson, maybe Simon Winchester -- and he's got a beauty of a story here. On the afternoon of August 20, 1910, a battering ram of wind moved through the drought-stricken national forests of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, whipping the hundreds of small blazes burning across the forest floor into a roaring inferno that jumped from treetop to ridge as it raged, destroying towns and timber in the blink of an eye. All told, it burned through more than three million acres in just two days, the largest-ever forest fire in America. To put it in perspective, the fires in LA in early September that garnered so much TV news time with stunning photos of roaring flames involved less than a couple hundred thousand acres at their peak.

Intertwined with the story of the fire, and of the efforts to save the people and towns in its path, is the story of Gifford Pinchot, the first head of the National Forest Service, and President Teddy Roosevelt, and their combined efforts to pioneer the notion of conservation, promoting the idea of public land as our national treasure, owned by and preserved for every citizen. It's amazing how much the discussions in 1910 mirror the discussions we're having now, as we approach 2010 -- conservation, sustainability, putting public need ahead of private greed, government involvment versus private control, etc.

You can read what I've written about Egan in the past here. This is a terrific book from one of my favorite writers; I can't recommend it highly enough. Hurry! Come see for yourself.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Social Action Writing Event Tonight

Please join us tonight for a reading from the terrific new anthology, Fire and Ink: An Anthology of Social Action Writing, published this month by the University of Arizona press.The book is divided into ten sections focused on significant social issues, including identity, sexuality and gender, the environment, social justice, work, war, and peace. One of the editors, Frances Payne Adler, will be here to discuss this collection of stories, poems, interviews, and essays that confront some of the most pressing social issues facing us today. Adler is the author of five books of poetry, most recently The making of a Matriot. Also reading tonight will be three other friends of the store. Paul Merchant is the William Stafford Archivist at Lewis & Clark College. His latest poetry collection, Some Business of Affinity, was an Oregon Book Award finalist in 2007. Sandy Polishuk is the author of Sticking to the Union: An Oral History of the Life and Times of Julia Ruutila, and co-producer of the DVD, "Good Work Sister! Women Shipyard Works of World War II." Willa Schneberg received the Oregon Book Award in poetry for In the Margins of the World. Her most recent collection, published by Calyx Books, is Storytelling in Cambodia. You can read about all of our upcoming events at our website.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Best of the Bests

It's that wonderful time of year when we get in all of different books in the "Best American" series for 2009. This is what we've got for you: The Best American Short Stories 2009, edited by Alice Sebold;, The Best American Essays 2009, edited by Mary Oliver; The Best American Travel Writing 2009, edited by Simon Winchester; The Best American Science & Nature Writing 2009, edited by Elizabeth Kolbert; The Best American Mystery Stories 2009, edited by Jeffery Deaver; The Best American Sports Writing 2009, edited by Leigh Montville; The Best American Crime Reporting 2009, edited by Jeffrey Toobin; The Best American Comics 2009, edited by Charles Burns; and The Best American Nonrequired Reading, edited by Dave Eggers. We also have The Best New Stories from the South 2009, edited by Madison Smartt Bell, and The Best American Poetry 2009, edited by David Wagoner.

I haven't had a chance to look closely at each of them yet, but I did notice that Oregon is well represented in this year's essay collection, with essays by both Brian Doyle and Barry Lopez -- wahoo!! These books usually go fast, so come on down while the picking is good.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hot New Titles on Sale Today

It's another huge week in a whirlwind publishing season of big-name authors and long-awaited books. Yesterday Senator Ted Kennedy's memoir, True Compass, went on sale. (Did you see the "60 Minutes" segment on Sunday?) Today we have two much-anticipated books: a novel and a nonfiction title. Dan Brown's sequel to The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol, is set in Washington, DC, and again features Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon. Will it see the success The Da Vinci Code saw? That book has sold 80 million copies and has been translated into 44 languages. Wow. Also on sale today is Jon Krakauer's book, Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, which tells the story of the NFL-star-turned-Army-Ranger who was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004, and the resulting cover-up of the event. Sad. I'm a HUGE Krakauer fan -- his researching, storytelling, and ability to tell it like it is make for books that pack a big wallop. We've got all of these books and more, so we hope you'll come see us.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Two Poets Reading Tonight

Two terrific Oregon poets will be reading at Broadway Books tonight at 7 pm. Scot Siegel is the author of the book Some Weather and the chapbook Untitled Country, which is part of the Pudding House Chapbook Series. Scot is an urban planning consultant who serves on the Board of Trustees for Friends of William Stafford. His poetry has appeared in Open Spaces, Acorn, Essence, Windfall, The Oregonian, Red River Review, and other print and online journals. Joining Scot tonight is poet Shaindel Beers, who is currently a professor of English at Blue Mountain Coummunity College. She serves as Poetry Editor of Contrary and is a poetry reviewer for Bookslut. She has been published in A Prairie Home Companion, Eleventh Muse, Minnesota Review, Women in Judaism, and many other journals and anthologies. Her book, A Brief History of Time, was published this year by Salt Publishing. A native of Indiana, Shaindel now lives in Pendleton. We hope you can join us tonight!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Edgar Sawtelle in Paperback!

Yes, it's finally here, for those of you who have been waiting for the paperback version of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski. When this debut novel came out in hardcover last year, it was a smash hit. Janet Maslin, in her review in the New York Times, wrote "A great, big, mesmerizing read....Pick this book up and expect to feel very, very reluctant to put it down." The New Yorker had this to say: "In this debut novel, Wroblewski illustrates the relationship between man and canine (at times, from the dog's point of view) in a way that is both lyrical and unsentimental, and demonstrates an ability to create a coherent, captivating, fictional world in which even supernatural elements feel entirely persuasive." And the Chicago Times called it "easily the best work of fiction ever written about dogs." And while I'm on the subject of dogs, don't forget about the "Telling Tales" fundraiser for AnimalAid at Furever Pets on Friday. Click here for details.

Man Booker Shortlist for Fiction

Today the shortlist for the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Fiction was announced, culled from an original longlist of thirteen. The six finalists are listed below. The winner will be announced at a dinner in London's Guildhall on October 6th and announced simultaneously on BBC radio and television.
  • AS Byatt, The Children's Book
  • JM Coetzee, Summertime
  • Adam Foulds, The Quickening Maze
  • Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
  • Simon Mawer, The Glass Room
  • Sarah Waters, The Little Stranger
As of today, only The Little Stranger is available for purchase in the US. The books by Byatt and Mantel will publish in this country in October, and the Coetzee book will be available in December. Of course, scheduled publishing dates are subject to change.

Coetzee is a two-time previous winner of the Booker, and Byatt has won once before. Last year's winner was The White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga. The Booker Prize for Fiction was first awarded in 1969. You can read more about the Man Booker Prize and interviews with the authors on the longlist here.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Taking Care of our Four-Legged Friends

Once again, I must apologize for the minimal blogging of late. Life has been a bit challenging for me lately. A week ago we said goodbye to Mikey, my 14-year-old kitty, who got hit by cancer. He was a sweet, cuddly playful boy, and I miss him a ton. I adopted Mikey and Joey a little more than ten years ago, when they were 3 and 6, respectively. Their owner was moving to Hawaii and didn't want them to have to go through the mandatory quarantine. So they got a new home with me, and they enhanced my life tremendously. Mikey is the fluffy gray kitty and Joey is the black & white -- they came to me pre-named.

Joey is a survivor. He's slightly brain damaged from pain medication he was given after being hit by a car and he has one eye, a collapsed lung, and a tumor in his abdomen. But he's an amazing cat, 17 years old and going strong. And he loves playing with his Undercover Mouse from Furever Pets.

I'm sharing this information with you because I know so many of our customers are animal lovers. At Broadway Books we are happy to see your well-behaved animals join you in the store -- in fact, we have doggie treats behind the counter, because most of our animal visitors are dogs (although we did get a lovely cat in recently, who is a professional working cat -- she visits people in nursing homes and hospitals).

And because you are animal lovers, I'm sure you'll be interested in an upcoming event in the neighborhood. On Friday night, September 11th, from 8 to 10 pm, our friend Symon Lee, who owns Furever Pets just down the street from Broadway Books, is hosting a fundraiser at his store for Animal Aid, a nonprofit, no-kill animal rescue and outreach organization serving the Portland metropolitan area since 1969. We are proud to be involved in this fundraiser. The event is called "Telling Tales," and Garth Stein, author of the bestselling novel The Art of Racing in the Rain, will be there to read from his book and sign copies.

We'll be there selling Garth's book, and other local merchants are participating as well, with a percentage of all sales being donated to Animal Aid. There will be food, wine, music, goodie bags, and a silent auction. Tickets for the event ($25, or more if you wish to make a larger tax-deductible donation) are available at our store, at Furever Pets, or at the Animal Aid website. For more information about the event or the organization, check out their website. Hope to see you there!