Thursday, May 20, 2010

Video from Gina Ochsner Reading

On Tuesday night we hosted the wonderful Gina Ochsner, who read from her debut novel, The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight, and entertained us with tales about Russia and Latvia, about learning Russian, and about starting her writing career. Gina has won two Oregon Book Awards and been a finalist for a third. You can read more about Gina and her new book in an earlier blog posting. Here's a short snippet from our full-house evening together.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Shotgun on My Chest Video Clip

Last week, for the first time in the 18-year history of the store, we had the pleasure of being entertained by an author in buckskin! I'm serious! Roger Wendlick, who amassed the world's largest collection of books relating to the Lewis & Clark Expedition and noted historian of all things Lewis & Clark, was here to read from his new memoir, Shotgun on My Chest. Our good friend Charles Seluzicki was here to introduce Roger, and we proceeded to have quite the evening from there! This short video clip can hardly do Roger justice -- might I recommend that you read his book if you missed seeing him? You can read more about Roger on our blog.

Celebrate the Irvington Farmers Market!

This Sunday, May 23, marks the grand opening of the Irvington Farmers Market, in its second year. We're so excited about the return of the market that we've decided to celebrate with a wonderful sale. For that one day only -- Sunday, May 23 -- we're offering a wonderful selection of fiction titles for 25% off. Yes, you heard me right: 25% off. You can buy as many as you want. And it's good stuff too, not dogs. (Not that there's anything wrong with dogs, says the cat person.) Our store hours on Sunday are 12 to 5.

The Irvington Farmers Market is located on NE 16th Avenue between Broadway and Weidler Streets. It will be open every Sunday, 11am to 3pm, through November 7th. This Sunday they will have live music with James Jeffrey West and friends.

So, pick up some fresh fruits and veggies and whatnot at the market, then come down and see us for a smashingly good deal on some great summer reading. What could be better than that?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gina Ochsner Reads from Debut Novel

When Keizer-based author Gina Ochsner won an NEA grant, she used the money to travel to Russia and Latvia to do research for her novels. One of her favorite activities was people-watching, especially at the post office and at internet cafes. Then, a colleague in the writing program turned her on to the Arctic-Antarctic Museum, where she became intrigued less by the items on display than by the employees tending to them. This experience inspired the museum at the center of her first novel, The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight: the All-Russia All-Cosmopolitan Museum, a place that holds a fantastic and terrible collection of art knockoffs created with the tools at hand, from foam to chewing gum, Popsicle sticks to tomato juice. She has now been to Russia and Latvia four times and is currently working on a novel set in Latvia.

Gina is the author of two previous books, both short story collections and both winners of the H.L. Davis Award for Short Fiction from the Oregon Book Awards. The Necessary Grace to Fall, published by the University of Georgia Press in 2002, was also the winner of the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. People I Want to Be was published by Houghton Mifflin in 2006.

She grew up in Salem and earned a degree in secondary education from George Fox University, followed by graduate degrees from Iowa State University and the University of Oregon. Gina and her husband and four children live in Keizer. Besides teaching and writing, Gina also gives talks at universities, retreats, conferences, schools, and book clubs on various topics relating to writing, the writer's life, cultivating creativity, and the intersection of art and faith.

The Oregonian recently published a wonderful in-depth article about Gina by Jeff Baker. In that article he writes that Gina said writing her first novel was "like pulling a snowball on a skateboard through hell." She also made it clear that she's not about making people feel warm and cozy when they read her books and stories: "I'm not here to make people comfortable. I'm not even writing to make myself comfortable. I make myself really uncomfortable because then I'm hitting on a raw nerve and that's what it should be all about. The worst thing someone could say about my work is 'That was a nice read. I felt so comfortable.' That would be horrible."

Jeff also noted that as a child, Gina dreamed of being a librarian or "working in a bookstore, a job where someone would pay her to read all day." Hmmm. I might have some bad news for her on that score! I can't remember the last time (or ever?) that I read all day at the store. Something to shoot for, I guess.

As with her first two books, Gina's third book and first novel is already off to great acclaim, including being a finalist for an Oregon Book Award for the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction, making the long list for the 2009 Orange Prize for Fiction (subsequently won by Marilynne Robinson's Home -- pretty good company for a debut novel), and a review in The New York Times Book Review.

The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight is a book of magical realism set in the post-Soviet landscape. The novel tells the stories of Mircha, a ghost who won't go away, and his still-living wife, Azade; Olga, a disillusioned translator/censor for a military newspaper; Yuri, an army veteran who always wears an aviator's helmet; and Tanya, who works at the previously mentioned museum and who always carries a notebook in which she records her observations and dreams.

Colum McCann, author of the National Book Award winning Let the Great World Spin, called Gina's book a magical debut novel from an author who " capture our sundry human moments and make raw and unforgettable music of them." And Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, who wrote the wonderful book Ms. Hempel Chronicles, said "Ochsner's novel is enchanting, at once playful and poignant. With her marvelously light touch, she takes the rubble of post-Soviet Russia and turns it into gold."

We hope you can join us tonight at 7 pm to hear Gina read from her debut novel, The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Friday, May 14, 2010

We Love Europa Editions

In 2005, a distinctive and immediately successful literary publisher was born. Europa Editions, whose corporate office is in Union Square in New York, was founded by Sandro Ferri and Sandra Ozzola Ferri, who are the owner-publishers of Rome-based Edizioni E/O, one of Europe’s most prestigious independent publishing houses. Sandro and Sandra were joined by veteran publisher Kent Carroll, formerly editor-in-chief at Grove Press. This team of three has created a distinguished list of mostly modern European fiction in translation. They also publish English authors. It helps that they have impeccable taste, unmatched connections, and the ability to hire the best translators in the business.

The physical format of each book is the same: all are trade paperbacks printed on creamy paper with French folds on the front and back covers. So these wonderful books are easy to spot on any shelf, and a treasure to hold in the hand.

Many are familiar with Europa’s biggest success to date: Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog. But we invite you to consider the other titles on their list. We carry virtually all of them, as we have learned that this is a publisher that we can truly trust to consistently deliver well-written, modern, literary fiction. The list spans many genres: general fiction, mystery, humor, and more. We especially like Jane Gardam’s two novels, Old Filth and The Man with the Wooden Hat, two novels about British attorney Sir Edward Feathers. Another English author published by Europa that we have loved for years is James Hamilton-Paterson, whose faux-travel memoirs (Cooking with Fernet Branca, Amazing Disgrace, and Rancid Pansies) are hysterically funny send-ups of the current rage for travel writing about Italy. And if you think you’ve run through every single Italian mystery series, we ask you to consider Massimo Carlotto, who was been called “the reigning king of Mediterranean noir” by one critic. His titles include The Goodbye Kiss, Death’s Dark Abyss, Poisonville, and The Fugitive.

Come in and have a look at these marvelous and affordable gems.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Video from David Oates Reading

After some minor technical difficulties, we've finally managed to post (I hope!) a brief video clip from our evening with wonderful David Oates, reading from his new collection of essays, What We Love Will Save Us. It was a great night and a full house. If you weren't able to join us, this clip will give you a taste of what you missed. You can read more about David and his new book in a previous blog posting. Be sure to check out our other event videos at our YouTube channel.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Video of Poets Biespiel and Kuipers

What a pleasure it was to host two wonderful poets in one night last month: David Biespiel and Keetje Kuipers. David read from his most recent book, The Book of Men and Women, published by the University of Washington Press, along with some pieces from his newest work in progress. Keetje read from her debut book of poems, Beautiful in the Mouth, published by BOA editions. You can read more about David and Keetje on our blog.

Below is a snippet of the good times from that evening. You can view more videos from events at Broadway Books at our YouTube channel.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Video Clip from Human Rights Reading

Last month we had the pleasure of hosting Portland poet Willa Schneberg and a wonderful group of local writers she gathered to read from the book I Go to the Ruined Place: Contemporary Poems in Defense of Global Human Rights, published by Lost Horse Press. In addition to Willa, the authors reading that night were France Payne Adler, Patricia Bollin, Edith Mirante, John Paisley, Kirsten Rian, and Sandy Polishuk. Below is a short video clip of some of the moments from that event. Check out videos from other recent events at our YouTube channel!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Award-Winning Mystery Books

Winners of two different mystery award programs - The Edgar Awards and The Agatha Awards - were announced recently.  This year's winner of the Edgar for best novel is The Last Child, by John Hurt. The other nominees for this award were The Missing (Tim Gautreaux), The Odds (Kathleen George), Mystic Arts of Erasing all Signs of Death (Charlie Huston), Nemesis (Jo Nesbo), and A Beautiful Place to Die (Nunn). The winner for the Best First Novel by an American is In the Shadow of Gotham, by Stefanie Pinter. The other nominees in this category were  The Girl She Used to Be (David Cristofano), Starvation Lake (Bryan Gruley), The Weight of Silence (Heather Gudenkauf), A Bad Day for Sorry (Sophie Littlefield), and Black Water Rising (Attica Locke). The Edgar Awards are presented by The Mystery Writers of America (MWA).

The Last Child is a shattering novel of innocence and evil set in North Carolina, where the author lives. A year after his twin sister disappeared, thirteen-year-old Johnny Merrimon continues to search for her, despite the fact that everyone presumes she is dead, which takes him to very dark places, literally and figuratively.

Set in New York in the early 1900s, In the Shadow of Gotham will remind many of the best works of Caleb Carr at his best, as Detective Simon Ziele attmpts to solve the brutal murder of a young Columbia graduate student killed while visiting her aunt.

The Agatha Awards are presented by Malice Domestic, a nonprofit organization saluting the "traditional mystery," books best typified by the works of Agatha Christie -- no explicit sex, no gratiuitous violence or excessive gore. In other words, my kind of book!

This year's Agatha for Best Novel was presented to Louise Penny, for her novel The Brutal Telling, the fifth book in her Inspector Armand Gamache Three Pines series, set in Quebec (the first book in that series is Still Life). The award for Best First Novel went to Alan Bradley for his book The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, the first book in his series featuring the delightful and chemistry-obsessed eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce and set in the 1950s in the bucolic English hamlet of Bishop's Lacy. (The second book in the series, The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag, has just been published in hardback.) Sweetness also won the Dilys Award this year, presented by the Independent Mystery Bookseller's Association to the book they most enjoyed handselling.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Presentation by Lewis & Clark Book Collector

Roger Wendlick never married, and he never graduated from college, but he did amass the world's most complete collection of printed materials relating to the Lewis and Clark Expedition. He was born in Portland, graduated from Jefferson High School and attended Portland State College for a year. He tried on a variety of occupations, including working as a miner, logger, surveyor, maitre d' and wine steward, guitar player, in a paper mill, and for the US Forest Service, before landing on a career in the construction trades.

While recovering from an accident on the job, Roger decided to head abroad for a while, visiting seventeen countries over a ten-month period. When he returned to Portland he began working in construction again, and, for a variety of reasons, decided that he needed a hobby: "Why not collect something, I thought?"

What made him focus on Lewis and Clark items was something he inherited from his grandmother, who had passed away while he was in Europe: a blue souvenir dinner plate from the 1905 Lewis and Clark World's Fair in Portland. He remembered that it had always been special to her, and he began to explore its history. And thus a man's obssession was born.

In 1980, Roger began collecting materials related to the Lewis and Clark Expedition, working in heavy construction to finance his increasingly expensive obssession. His goal was to assemble the world's most complete collection of printed materials related to the expedition. In 1998, Roger achieved his goal and moved his library to Lewis and Clark College -- in a part donation/part purchase agreement. Since then, Roger has devoted himself full time to studying and teaching about the Expedition.

His book, Shotgun On My Chest: Memoirs of a Lewis and Clark Book Collector, was recently published by local 12-Gauge Press. Roger joins us Tuesday, May 11th, at 7 pm to discuss his book and the history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. We hope you can join us for what is sure to be a fascinating presentation!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Building a Stack of Great New Reads

It's been another HUGE week in the book publishing world. I know I'm going to miss some biggies, but here's just a taste of some of the many tantalizing new books on our shelves, just waiting to find a good home with a happy reader:

New fiction in hardcover from Roddy Doyle, Jane Smiley, Scott Turow, Chuck Palahniuk, Isabel Allende, Julie Orringer, and Robert B. Parker (yes, dead people do publish new books). New fiction in paperback: The Little Stranger (Sarah Waters), South of Broad (Pat Conroy), Woods Burner (John Pipkin), Dark Places (Gillian Flynn), Valeria's Last Stand (Marc Fitten), and The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet (Reif Larsen).

Not to be left out, there's plenty of good new nonfiction to be had as well. At the top of the list of books arriving this week I'd have to put the new one by Nathaniel Philbrick, The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn -- which I have already purchased and moved very near to the top of my staggeringly tall to-be-read stack. Another new hardback nonfiction book we got this week is Sh*t My Dad Says, by Justin Halpern -- this Twitter feed is usually good for laughs, and the book offers the same. And then there's that new memoir by someone named Bush -- Laura, I think -- Spoken from the Heart. Another new nonfiction book in hardcover is by the author of a favorite of mine, Agent Zigzag, and that is Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory, by Ben Macintyre.

A nonfiction book many people have been waiting for in paperback arrived this week: Strength in What Remains, by Tracy Kidder, author of Mountains Beyond Mountains, along with The Wilderness Warrior, by Douglas Brinkley (about Theodore Roosevelt);  Coop: A Family, a Farm, and the Pursuit of One Good Egg, by Michael Perry (who if I might say so is one good egg himself, and a good friend to independent booksellers); and the book I'm sorry to say I have too quickly grown into: The Creaky Knee Guide: The 80 Best Easy Hikes, by Seabury Blair Jr.

And the last book I'll mention is the one I wrote about earlier this week: the first book in the new series by Rick Riordan (he of Percy Jackson fame): The Red Pyramid: Book One in The Kane Chronicles. I'm reading it now and it's terrific! Anyone who is a fan of the Percy Jackson books or the books in the 39 Clues series will be all over this book in a big way.

The number of terrific new reads in the store is beyond staggering, but as always we're happy to help you sort through and find just the right new read for you or as a gift. And speaking of gifts, don't forget about our table full of delightful gifts for Mom -- and time is running out on that one! Hope to see you soon.

Peter Rock Rocks Broadway Books

Last month we had the pleasure of hosting local author Peter Rock at Broadway Books on the occasion of the publication of the paperback edition of his novel My Abandonment. It was a wonderful night. Here is a tiny taste of how that evening went.

Shirley Gittelsohn on the Making of her Book

Recently local artist Shirley Gittelsohn spoke at Broadway Books about the making of her book, Paintings and Reflections. She was joined by her editor and project manager, Joella Werlin. We also had the pleasure of a few of the subjects of her paintings in the audience: Ernie Bonyhadi (Shirley's husband), Herb Goodman (full disclosure: Herb is our landlord), and Herb's dog Chouxie. Cannon Beach -- one of my favorite places  -- is another of Shirley's treasured subjects. Here are a few snippets from that great event. You can read more about Shirley's book here. We have just a couple of signed copies of this beautiful book left -- what a terrific gift it would make for some lucky person!

Monday, May 3, 2010

New Series from Rick Riordan!

Tomorrow is a big day for fans of Rick Riordan. The first book -- The Red Pyramid -- in his new series The Kane Chronicles officially goes on sale. Riordan, author of the wildly popular series about Greek gods and the offspring of their matings with mortals (Percy Jackson and the Olympians), now tackles a new series about the gods of Ancient Egypt. Told in alternating chapters by siblings Carter and Sadie Kane, The  Kane Chronicles looks to give us more of what we loved best about the Percy Jackson series: fascinating history lessons seamlessly wrapped in rip-roaring adventures, offering us nonstop action, humor, and suspense in an epic tale of loyalty and heroism. I loved all of the Percy Jackson books, from the first book (The Lightning Thief) through the last (The Last Olympian), and I'm stoked for this new series! We can start selling The Red Pyramid starting at 10 am Tuesday morning. See you tomorrow!