Thursday, November 26, 2009

Safe and Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope wherever and whenever you read this you are warm and dry and cozy and surrounded by folks you love. Today is a day of giving thanks, and I am thankful for so very much. I'm thankful for my wonderful friends and family -- I feel especially blessed in that department -- but I'm also extraordinarily thankful for and appreciative of the Broadway Books community: my terrific colleagues, the authors and publishers reps we work with, and our fellow merchants in the NE Broadway community, but most importantly you, our wonderful and supportive and endlessly interesting customers.

Have you had a chance to see the great window display that Kate did for us this month? Kate has made some eye-popping windows since she started at the store this fall, but I have to say this is one of my favorites, because it's all about celebrating local, and celebrating YOU! "You make the difference," it says, and it's true. Without you and your support we wouldn't be in our eighteenth year in the community. When you shop at Broadway Books, you tell us that you value our presence in your community and that you want us to stay. And we appreciate that so much. If you haven't seen it yet, you might think about stretching your legs between courses today to wander down and take a peek (even though the store is closed today), because this weekend the window will magically change (the magic we call "Kate") to our new holiday window, with oodles of great gift ideas for you.

As you begin your holiday shopping (ok, some of you have already begun and others, like me, haven't even begun to think about it) we hope that you'll think local as much as you can. Personally, I can think of few things more hideous than standing outside of a mall store in the dark cold rain tomorrow morning at 4 am waiting for the doors to open and the masses to pour in, pushing and shoving to get at the bargains. But everyone has their own way of doing things. We hope to make your holiday shopping experience hassle-free and satisfying -- and dare I say even enjoyable! We'll help you select gifts for even the hardest-to-shop-for person on your list; we'll special order available items not in the store; we'll gift wrap all of your purchases; heck, we'll even stand in line to ship them for you if you want! And starting Friday we shift into our longer holiday hours so you have more options for stopping by: Monday through Saturday we'll be open from 10 am to 9 pm (although frankly you'll often find us there at 9 am), and Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm.

Our December newsletter offers many great gift-giving ideas, but there wasn't enough room to accommodate them all! Come in and see for yourself. Our shelves are sagging with goodies. And come back again next weekend (December 4-6) for the annual Lights on Broadway celebration, where you'll find carolers and holiday cheer and sales galore up and down NE Broadway and the neighborhood. Watch the blog for more on that event next week!

But, getting back to my original thought, thank you -- for all that you do to make us Book Broads feel appreciated and needed. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Jesse Katz Love-Fest

A standing-room-only audience hated to leave last night as Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist and local-boy-made-good Jesse Katz delighted us all, reading from his memoir The Opposite Field, about his journey of being a husband, a son, and most of all a father. Jesse was introduced by his father, Mel Katz, a neighbor and friend of Broadway Books and well-known artist and art educator. Sadly, Jesse's mom, Vera Katz, was unable to attend because she opted not to infect us all with her cold. After reading and answering questions, Jesse graciously signed books til his fingers were worn to the nubbins. Well, maybe not completely to the nubbins. But close. And what the heck is a nubbin, anyway? The bottom line is that we have signed copies for you! This lovely book would make a wonderful gift for anyone, but especially for a son or husband or father. Or baseball lover. May we all learn to hit to the opposite field. And may we all be so lucky to have such wonderful family ties and friendships. What a wonderful way to head into the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Chelsea Cain and the Case of the Severed Hand

Chelsea Cain was her usual wicked funny totally entertaining self when she read at the store last week. She read from her latest book, Evil at Heart, the third in the Gretchen Lowell/Archie Sheridan/Susan Ward serial killer thriller series, and then answered questions from the just-about-as-entertaining audience. Including questions about buckets of eyeballs. Ugh.

As promised, Chelsea came with her own severed hand. Well, not her OWN severed hand, of course, but a plastic stand in. (See photo.) She was particularly pleased that we had arranged to have the flashing lights of a police car bouncing off the store wall's in the middle of the reading. Truth be told, we DIDN'T arrange for someone to drive the wrong way on Broadway (which is a one-way street in our neck of the woods) and have a cop pull said driver over directly in front of our store in the middle of the reading. But, heck, if we'd thought of it we would have. Anything for Chelsea!

So sorry if you missed the reading; it was a fun night. But, the good news is that if you act fast, you can still get signed copies of Chelsea's books for that special someone in your life. Just make sure you're driving the correct direction down Broadway. Better yet, just hoof it on over!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Nationl Book Awards Ceremony Tonight!

Tonight's National Book Awards presentation offers a local angle for Portland readers: one of the nominees in the Young People's Literature category lives among us! Local writer and artist Laini Taylor is the author of the nominated title Lips Touch: Three Times, illustrated by her husband and collaborator Jim Di Bartolo. Check out the wonderful profile of Laini and Jim by Jeff Baker in the Oregonian. The awards presentation will start about 9:15 Eastern time.

You can read the full list of nominees here, in a previous blog post. Tonight is also the 60th Anniversary of the National Book Awards, and as part of that celebration they've asked the public to select the Best of the Best, the most popular of all of the National Book Award winners for fiction -- the first time in its history that the National Book Awards folks have opened things up to a public vote. Here are the six finalists: The Stories of John Cheever; Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison; The Collected Stories of William Faulkner; The Complete Stories, by Flannery O'Connor; Gravity's Rainbow, by Thomas Pynchon; and The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty. Hmmm. Which one do you think should win? At this snazzy looking page you can see the book covers of ALL of the fiction winners from previous years, from 1950 (The Man with the Golden Arm, by Nelson Algren) to 2008 (Shadow Country, by Peter Matthiessen)

Good luck, Liani & Jim! Congratulations on this wonderful acknowledgment of your work.

Monday, November 16, 2009

New-Book Tuesday!

Tomorrow is Tuesday, and you know what that means! New books!!!! Here's a taste of what's on tap for tomorrow: Too Much Happiness, the newest collection of short stories by the incredible Alice Munro; Changing My Mind, a book of essays by Zadie Smith; and The Original of Laura (Dying is Fun), by Vladimir Nabokov. And yes, you're right; that last author is no longer with us. For some 30 years or so. It's an interesting story. Stop by and we'll tell you all about it. Just a taste of this week's Tuesday releases. Come check them out!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thanks to all Holiday Book Talkers!

Holy cats! How much fun was that???? Last night was our third Book Talk, and I think it was the best one yet! The hardest part by far was narrowing down the selection of books we talked about; there are just so many amazing new books out this fall, which made it quite the challenge.

Heart-felt thanks to all who attended -- you made it so much fun. This time around we took a gift-giving focus when talking about new books. Who knew Roberta and I could talk about so many great books in such a short amount of time? Well, I'm guessing some of you suspected as much....There were several happy prize winners, and some people got a terrific head start on their holiday shopping. And everyone enjoyed Roberta's incredibly yummy gingerbread. Big thanks to Great Wine Buys, an independent neighborhood wine shop, for the loan of glasses and for directing us to some tasty wine. Our next Book Talk is planned for the spring, but we're considering offering another holiday focused one before the year is out. Anyone interested in that? Let us know what you think; we'd be happy to gear up for an encore! Thank you to Deb Hartman for the accompanying photograph of the happy book talkers in action. Seriously. I have no idea what I'm doing in this photo, but I'm clearly emphatic about something!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

2009 National Outdoor Book Awards

Here are the just-announced winners of the 2009 National Outdoor Book Awards:
  • History-Biography: Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America by Douglas Brinkley (Harper).
  • Nature and the Environment: Our Living Earth by Yann Arthus-Bertrand (Abrams Books for Young Readers)
  • Design & Artistic Merit: Lars Jonsson's Birds illustrated by Lars Jonsson (Princeton University Press)
  • Outdoor Literature: Halfway to Heaven by Mark Obmascik (Free Press)
  • Natural History Literature: Every Living Thing: Man's Obsessive Quest to Catalog Life, from Nanobacteria to New Monkeys by Rob Dunn (Smithsonian Books)
  • Instructional: Girl on the Rocks: A Woman's Guide to Climbing with Strength, Grace and Courage by Katie Brown, photographs by Ben Moon (Globe Pequot Press/Falcon Guides)
  • Outdoor Adventure: Guide to the Green and Yampa Rivers in Dinosaur National Monument by Duwain Whitis and Barbara Vinson (RiverMaps)
  • Nature: Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America by Roger Tory Peterson (Houghton Mifflin)
  • Children's: Whistling Wings by Laura Goering, illustrated by Laura Jacques (Sylvan Dell Publishing)

Agree? Disagree? Others you would recommend?

The National Outdoor Book Awards (NOBA) is the outdoor world's largest and most prestigious book award program. It is a non-profit, educational program, sponsored by the National Outdoor Book Awards Foundation, Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education, and Idaho State University. The purpose of the awards is to recognize and encourage outstanding writing and publishing. Reviews of these titles and a list of the honorable mentions can be found at the NOBA Website.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chelsea Cain Returns to Broadway!

As a kid, Chelsea Cain aspired to be a firedog. Fortunately for us, she wasn't able to pull it off, so instead she became a terrific writer and storyteller. On Tuesday, November 17th, Chelsea returns to Broadway Books to read from the third book in her series about Portland police detective Archie Sheridan, the fetching serial killer (Gretchen Lowell) who torments him, and Susan Ward, the ambitious newspaper reporter. We all learned to love Archie and be attracted to/repelled by Gretchen in Chelsea's first two books, Heartsick and Sweetheart. This third Portland-based book, Evil at Heart, entwines the three once again and deals with the issue of the media's infatuation with serial killers. And of course all of it is shot through with the author's trademark style and humor.

Here's what some reviewers have said about her newest book: "snappy pace and sustained creepiness," "crime, horror, and a little comedy," with "compelling flawed heroes and antiheroes." And "it just doesn't get much better than this."

Chelsea spent her early childhood on a commune in Iowa, then moved with her mother to Bellingham, Washington, where she grew up. She was ten years old when the first victim of the Green River Killer was found; the Washington State serial murder wouldn't be captured until 2001. And that's when the seeds of this series were planted. Chelsea has always been a little obsessed with detectives and detecting, however. In fact, one of her earlier books was Confessions of a Teen Sleuth, with a grown-up Nancy Drew looking back on her life and setting the record straight.

Fortunately for all of us fans of Archie and Gretchen and Susan -- and of Chelsea -- she recently signed another deal with her publisher for the next two books in this current series and Book #1 in a new thriller series. Hooray!

Please join us next Tuesday night at 7 for an entertaining evening with Chelsea. And believe me, they are always entertaining!

Book Talk for the Holidays!

Tick tock! Time is running out to sign up for tomorrow night's Book Talk. We invite book-clubbers and book lovers alike to join us for our third Book Talk. A few months ago we hosted a gathering for readers who were looking for good book club choices or just good reads in general. It was so successful and so much fun that we had another one. And now we're hosting a third -- this time to share our thoughts on some of the best new books of the season, with a peek at what’s to come and with an eye to gift-giving as well as choosing books for your personal library or your reading group. This event is open to the first 35 people who register by paying the fee of $5, which will be refunded toward any purchase that night. We’ll have refreshments, prizes, and a bunch of fun. What a delightful way to get lots of great holiday gift ideas. Register now to assure a spot! Our last event was packed.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Siverly & Drake Read Poetry Tonight

Two very fine teachers and poets, Bill Siverly and Barbara Drake, will be with us tonight to read from new books. Bill Siverly, originally from Idaho, has lived in Portland since 1972. He is co-editor of Windfall: A Journal of Poetry of Place, which features poetry of the Pacific Northwest and appears twice yearly on the equinoxes. Bill’s new book, Clearwater Way, is a journey from the Washington Coast up the Columbia, Snake, and Clearwater Rivers and into the woods of north Idaho. The journey is also back in time, to his childhood, and is inspired by the Wasco myth cycle about Coyote, who traveled the same terrain, creating land forms, resources, and cultural practices.

Barbara Drake grew up at the Oregon coast. She is the author of a number of poetry chapbooks, a memoir, and a college textbook about writing poetry. Barbara’s new book is Driving 100. The major theme of this work is that the past in all of its mystery and wonder is driving relentlessly into the dark. Barbara’s strong voice and sympathetic observation create a haven in her poetry for things which are passing away, and in these poems they go on living in the light of her unique poetic reality, exquisite in line, image, memory and emotion.

We hope you can join us for this terrific event tonight, which starts at 7 pm.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Talking 'bout Books at BB

We had so much fun at our sold-out Book Talk events last spring that we're going to have another one! Thursday, November 12, at 7 pm is the date for our next Book Talk, this time with an eye to holiday gift-giving. You can learn about the best new books of the season, with a peek at what's to come, mingle with other book lovers and share good reads, have a little nosh, win prizes, and perhaps get some of your holiday shopping out of the way!

Space is limited, so sign up now. Reserve a spot for the next Book Talk by paying $5 in advance, which will be refunded toward any purchases you make that night. Call us at 503-284-1726 to reserve your spot, or just stop by to sign up. We're open from 10 to 7 Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 on Sunday. After Thanksgiving we'll change to our extended holiday hours until Christmas.

Hope to see you there!

Great News for Percy Jackson Fans!

Fans of Rick Riordan's series based on Greek mythology, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, got some great news recently: Riordan will soon launch a new series involving Egyptian Gods loose in the modern world. The series, featuring siblings Carter and Sadie Kane, will launch May 4, 2010, with The Kane Chronicles, Book One: The Red Pyramid (Disney-Hyperion). You can read more about the new series on Rick Riordan's blog.

You can also read more about Rick Riordan and Percy Jackson in a previous blog here about the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

A film version of the first book in the Percy Jackson series, The Lightning Thief, will be released in February 2010. The final book in that series, Book Five: The Last Olympian, was published last May. Both of Riordan's series are targeted to the 10-14 age group, but kids of all ages have been known to devour the Percy Jackson books (including yours truly).