Monday, January 31, 2011

Paperback of Henrietta Lacks Soon!

One of the top-selling nonfiction books at Broadway Books in 2010 was, not too surprisingly, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. We've written about this book a ton already on this blog, so I won't go on and on about the book here. Better yet, I'll just offer you two little nuggets: First, the paperback version of this book goes on sale in early March; call or email us if you want to reserve a copy (or a few, since the book makes such a great gift and would be an ideal book club book). Second, here's a video of Rebecca talking about why you might want to read this book. And really, nobody says it better than the author, right?

Finalists for 2010 NBCC Award

Each year about a kajillion literary prizes are awarded -- the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Awards, the Orange Prize, the Story Prize, the Costa, the various PEN awards, etc. I think the three literary awards that each year most consistently align with my personal reading tastes are the Booker Prize, the Oregon Book Awards, and the National Book Critics Circle Award --  both the finalists and the winners in each of these tend to be books that resonate with me.

Recently the NBCC announced the finalists for 2010. I've read a couple of these already. An even greater number can be found in various precariously tippy stacks of to-be-read books throughout my house. A few more I've merely thought about reading, and some I've never heard of but now feel compelled to suss out.

Here is the list of finalists for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Awards:


  • A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (Knopf)
  • Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (FSG)
  • To the End of the Land by David Grossman (Knopf)
  • Comedy in a Minor Key by Hans Keilson (FSG)
  • Skippy Dies by Paul Murray (Faber & Faber)

  • Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick (Random House)
  • Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne (Scribner)
  • Apollo’s Angels by Jennifer Homans (Random House)
  • The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukharjee (Scribner)
  • The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (Random House)

  • Half A Life by Darin Strauss (McSweeneys)
  • Just Kids by Patti Smith (Ecco)
  • Crossing Mandelbaum Gate by Kai Bird (Scribner)
  • Autobiography of An Execution by David Dow (Hachette)
  • Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens (Twelve)
  • Hiroshima in the Morning by Rahna Reiko Rizzuto (Feminist Press)

  • How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Questions and Twenty Attempts at An Answer by Sarah Bakewell (Other Press)
  • The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham: A Biography by Selina Hastings (Random House)
  • Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History by Yuente Huang (Norton)
  • The Killing of Crazy Horse by Thomas Powers (Knopf)
  • Simon Wiesenthal: The Life and Legends by Tom Segev (Doubleday)

  • The Posessed by Elif Batuman (FSG)
  • The Professor and Other Writings by Terry Castle (HarperCollins)
  • Lyric Poetry and Modern Politics: Russia, Poland, and the West by Clare Cavanagh (Yale)
  • The Cruel Radience by Susan Linfield (Univ. of Chicago)
  • Vanishing Point by Ander Monson (Graywolf)

  • One With Others by C.D. Wright (Copper Canyon)
  • Nox by Anne Carson (New Directions)
  • The Eternal City by Kathleen Graber (Princeton)
  • Lighthead by Terrance Hayes (Penguin)
  • The Best of It by Kay Ryan (Grove)
  • Sanderof Lifetime Achievement Award: Dalky Archive Press
  • Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing: Parul Sehgal
Here's some more information about the last two awards: The Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, named after the first president of the NBCC,  is given annually to a person (a writer, publisher, critic, or editor, among others) who has made significant contributions to book culture. 

Nona Balakian, one of the founders of NBCC, was an editor at The New York Times Book Review, joining the staff in the 1940s after studying with literary critic Lionel Trilling at Columbia University. The annual citation for excellence in reviewing was named in her honor after her death in 1991.

Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in New York City on March 10th. The National Book Critics Circle, founded in 1974 at the Algonquin, is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization consisting of some 600 active book reviewers who are interested in honoring quality writing and communicating with one another about common concerns. It is managed by a 24-member all-volunteer board of directors.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Gorgeous Local Journals -- Limited Supply

This week we received a small shipment of very, very beautiful journals.  They're hand-bound, using vibrantly colored paper from France, Japan, Italy and Thailand on the covers and buttery, 25% cotton premium bond for the inside pages.

These are "special occasion" journals.  They're not for writing random thoughts or grocery lists or to-do lists.  But we can think of several occasions that call out for just such a beautifully bound volume.  One of them is even designed to be a wedding (or other event) guest book. We have only ten of them, and each one is unique. They are made by Stuart R. Evensen at the Provenance Bindery in Portland.

The bottom line

Small size (5 1/2 x 8) price: $35 each (we have seven)
Large size (9 x 11 1/2) price: $55 each (we have two)
Guest Book (11 x 9 1/2) price: $55 (we have one)

Our goal:

To find the perfect home for each one.

We Love Our Ducks!

As the daughter and granddaughter of four Oregon State University grads (although for the grandparents -- one of whom was tutored by Linus Pauling -- it wasn't called that back then), I am the black sheep in the family because I LOVE MY DUCKS!!! Yes, it's true: I'm a web-footed, green-and-yellow clad Duck, through and through. But all Oregonians -- yes, even my parents -- are proud of the year the UO football team put together, representing our state in the national title game and performing well.

To commemorate the magical season, the university's newspaper, the Oregon Daily Emerald, has published a gorgeous 140-page hardbound book with pictures and descriptions of each game in the season, including the last one against Auburn. The book is called Duck Season: Oregon's Magical Flight to the National Game. It's $34.95, and it is a stunner. It even records how many pushups the Duck had to do for each game!

What a much-appreciated gift this would make for the Duck fan in your life. While I will definitely be getting one for myself, I don't think I'll buy one for my folks. Maybe I'll send a copy to my brother and sister-in-law, die-hard Louisiana State fans who will be attending the big first game in Dallas next fall.....

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Finalists for the 2010-2011 Oregon Book Awards

Congratulations to all of this year's finalists for the 2010-2011 Oregon Book Awards, just announced this week by Literary Arts. The winners will be announced at the award ceremony on April 25 at the Gerding Theater at the Armory. Kurt Andersen, novelist, journalist, and host of the radio program "Studio 360" will serve as master of ceremonies for the evening.

In addition to the seven categories, this year there is a Reader's Choice award that lets YOU vote for your favorite of all the finalists across the categories. Here's the link you can use to vote. I've already cast my ballot. It was a tough call, I must say. I won't tell you which one I voted for, but if you know me you might be able to guess....

Here are the finalists:

Ken Kesey Award for Fiction:
  • Emily Chenoweth, Hello Goodbye
  • K.B. Dixon, A Painter's Life
  • Jane Kirkpatrick, A Flickering Light
  • Scott Sadil, Lost in Wyoming
  • Willy Vlautin, Lean on Pete
Frances Fuller Victor Award for General Nonfiction:
  • Paul Collins, The Book of William
  • Tom Krattenmaker, Onward Christian Athletes
  • Barry Sanders, Unsuspecting Souls and The Green Zone
  • Paul VanDevelder, Savages and Scoundrels
Sarah Winnemucca Award for Creative Nonfiction:
  • Carol Ann Bassett, Galapagos at the Crossroads
  • Tom Bissell, Extra Lives
  • John Daniel, The Far Corner
  • Lisa Ohlen Harris, Through the Veil
  • Kathleen Dean Moore, Wild Comfort
Stafford/Hall Award for Poetry:
  • David Biespiel, The Book of Men and Women
  • Donna Henderson, The Eddy Fence
  • Henry Hughes, Moist Meridian
  • Jennifer Richter, Threshold
  • Zachary Schomburg, Scary No Scary
Angus L. Bowmer Award for Drama:
  • Marc Acito and C.S. Whitcomb, Holidazed
  • Wayne Harrel, Second Bloom
  • Susan Mach, The Lost Boy
  • George Taylor, Good Citizen
  • Molly  Best Tinsley, Glacial Genes
Eloise Jarvis McGraw Award for Children's Literature:
  • Dale E. Basye, Rapacia: The Second Circle of Heck
  • Dawn Babb Prochovnic, The Nest Where I Like to Rest
  • Graham Salisbury, Calvin Coconut: The Zippy Fix
  • Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen, A Small Brown Dog with a Wet Pink Nose
  • Barbara Kerley, The Extraordinary Mark Twain
Leslie Bradshaw Award for Young Adult Literature:
  • Scott William Carter, The Last Great Getaway of the Water Balloon Boys
  • Kerry Cohen Hoffman, It's Not You, It's Me
  • Anne Osterlund, Academy 7
  • L.K. Madigan, Flash Burnout
  • Emily Whitman, Radiant Darkness
How rich we are in Oregon with wonderful authors and wonderful local publishers and wonderful literary organizations and wonderful independent bookstores -- ok, I might be just a little biased on this last one! Don't forget to vote for your favorite from all of the finalists before the ceremony. If you want to attend the ceremony, you can find ticket information here.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

2011 Calendars Now 50% off!

Having trouble remembering what day of the week it is? Needing to plan events in the coming months? Looking for some inexpensive artwork to spruce up your rooms? Here's a thought: how about getting new 2011 calendars at Broadway Books at half price? That's right, starting today all of our wall calendars and engagement calendars are now 50% off. Hurry in for the best selection, because they're going fast, just like the days are racing past.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Climbing Portland's Stairs with Laura Foster

Here's another recently edited video from our Fall Reading Series -- progress is happening! This is one of our favorite Portland guides, Laura O. Foster (author of Portland Hill Walks and Portland City Walks) talking about her most recent book, The Portland Stairs Book, a delightful pocket-size guide to almost all of the wonderful staircases our city has to offer. Don't try to adjust your computer at the beginning of Laura's talk to make it brighter -- we had the lights down low so we could watch photographs of some of the stairs on her computer. It sort of reminds me of sleepovers, where someone would hold a flashlight by her chin shining up on her face and then tell spooky stories. Laura tells us stories, alright, but not particuarly spooky ones. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Brian Doyle Reading from Mink River (& more)

I'm happy to report that the video clip from Brian Doyle's reading from his debut novel, Mink River, has finally arrived! Enjoy. Because we sure enjoyed it!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Video Clip from Heidi Durrow Reading

Ok, I'm working backward on my backlog of event video clips. The clip from Heidi Durrow's reading on Tuesday is now up and running! You can find it here, and also on the Events page of our website (along with previous event video clips). More to come, I promise!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Heidi Durrow's Return a Smash Hit!

Last night's visit from former Portlander Heidi Durrow was a major treat for those willing to ignore the forecasted bad weather. A full house of well-bundled fans greeted Heidi in her return to her hometown to celebrate the release of her debut novel in a paperback edition, after enjoying a year of tremendous acclaim in hardcover (including being named by both The Oregonian and The Washington Post as one of the top books of the year). 

Here is a link to a review of the event by Oregonian writer George Rede. Below that is an interview Heidi did in the afternoon on Koin's Studio 6 -- and yes, she CAN do a very convincing southern grandma accent! We have a limited number of signed copies of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky available at Broadway Books! Congratulations, Heidi, on your well-deserved success!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Win the Day!

Don't forget to come to the store and quack like a Duck today to get 20% off any one item in the store. We're so excited about tonight's game we can hardly stand it. Go Ducks!!!

A Little More Heidi Durrow

Here's another video clip of Heidi Durrow, talking about her brilliant debut novel, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky (from a reading a Kepler's Books, a wonderful independent bookstore in the Bay Area). We'll be celebrating the release of the paperback edition of Heidi's book tomorrow night at 7 pm at Broadway Books, and Heidi will be in the house -- to read from her novel and possibly give you a little tease from her newest book in progress!!! Hope you can join us.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Heidi Durrow Back to Portland to Read at BB!

We are so excited to be hosting Heidi Durrow next Tuesday, January 11th, at 7 pm for the Portland premiere of the paperback edition of her debut novel, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky! Heidi grew up in Portland, attending Harriet Tubman Middle School and Jefferson High. We wrote about Heidi's book when it first came out in hardcover from Algonquin Books. Here's what we had to say. The book is a coming-of-age novel, wrapped in a bit of a mystery, and an examination of society's ideas of race, class, and beauty. But mostly it is just a beautifully written page-turner of a book. Oh, and did I mention it's set in Portland??

Barbara Kingsolver, who selected the manuscript for the Bellwether Prize, described it as a "breathless telling of a tale we've never heard before. Haunting and lovely, pitch-perfect, this book could not be more timely." Author Caroline Leavitt said the book is "as exquisitely written as a poem." Recently The Oregonian named it one of the best books of the year -- one of many publications to recognize the book.

Heidi is a graduate of Stanford, Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism, and Yale Law School. But her website summarizes her background best: "I'm a former corporate attorney, a former journalist, a former Life Skills trainer for NBA and NFL athletes, a podcaster and a festival producer. I'm a coffee drinker, an avid user of bendy straws (yes, with the coffee). Oh, and I'm a writer."

I've had the pleasure of chatting with Heidi a couple of times at book events. Here is a brief video clip from the first time we met, in which she tells us why we'll like her book. And you know what? She was right!

We hope you can come for this event on Tuesday. Heidi is one of the most delightful authors I've met, so I'm sure we're all in for a good time. Come early if you want a seat -- we're expecting a big crowd!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

More Recognition for Rebecca Skloot

It's been a year of recognition -- richly deserved -- for Portland-raised Rebecca Skloot for her astounding book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. And now yet another recognition, this one by the reading public. The website Goodreads has just announced their 2010 Goodreads Choice Awards. More than 150,000 votes were cast, in a variety of categories, and Rebecca's book came out on top in two categories: Nonfiction and Debut Author. Congratulations, Rebecca!! [You can read more about her book on our blog.]

There were a bunch of categories, so I won't list all of them here (you can read them all on the Goodreads website), but here are some of the other books recognized by the members of Goodreads:
  • Picture Book: It's a Book, Lane Smith (LOVE this, for obvious reasons!)
  • Historical Fiction: Fall of Giants, Ken Follett
  • Humor: Bite Me, Christopher Moore
  • Fiction: Room, Emma Donoghue
  • Mystery/Thriller: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Stieg Larsson
  • Fantasy: Towers of Midnight, Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson
  • Favorite Book: Mockingjay (Book Three in the Hunger Games trilogy), Suzanne Collins
I must concur that the Goodreads readers came up with some pretty darned good books!

It's a Quack Attack!

We're pretty darned proud and excited that a school from Oregon is represented in Monday night's BCS National Championship game! To honor and support the U of O football team, aka The Ducks, we're calling for a Quack Attack on Monday, January 10th, from 10 am to 5 pm: Come to the store during those hours and quack like a duck and we'll give you 20% off any one item in the store. You've got a few days to perfect your best quacks!! We'll be wearing our Duck finest. Go Ducks!!!

2010 Costa Book Award Winners

Category winners of the 2010 Costa Book Awards,  which recognizes some of the most enjoyable books of the year by writers based in the UK and Ireland, have just  been announced. (Because this is a UK literary prize, not all of the books are currently available in this country.) Here are this year's winners:

Novel: The Hand that First Held Mine, by novelist and former journalist Maggie O'Farrell, who wins her first major literary prize with her fifth novel. (This book will be available in paperback in two weeks.)

First Novel: Witness the Night, by Kishwar Desai who explores India's hidden female infanticide in the first book of a series featuring the unconventional female protagonist, Simran Singh.

Biography: The Hare with Amber Eyes, a memoir by potter and ceramic artist Edmund de Waal. (This book is currently only in hardcover; we are out of stock at the moment but have it on order.)

Poetry: Of Mutability, by Jo Shapcott -- her first new work in more than a decade, influenced in part by her experience with cancer.

Children's Book: Out of Shadows, by debut writer and web designer, Jason Wallace. (This book will be published in hardover in the US in March.)

The Costa Book of the Year is selected from the five Category Award Winners. The overall winner receives a further £30,000. The winner of the 2010 Costa Book of the Year will be announced in January 2011. Since the introduction of the Book of the Year award in 1985, it has been won nine times by a novel, four times by a first novel, five times by a biography, six times by a collection of poetry, and once by a children's book.  The 2009 Costa Book of the Year was A Scattering by Christopher Reid.

The Costa Book Awards began in 1971 as the Whitbread Literary Awards. Costa Coffee began sponsorship of the awards in 2006. Some of the previous winners include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson, The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman, Beowulf by Seamus Heaney, Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes, Somewhere Towards the End by Diana Athill, Small Island by Andrea Levy, The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penny, Day by A.L. Kennedy, Restless by William Boyd, White Teeth by Zadie Smith, Oranges are not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson, and The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Water for Elephants Movie Soon

The endlessly popular book Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen, is close to hitting the big screen. The movie is set to premiere in the US on April 22, with a cast that includes Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon, Christopher Waltz, and Hal Holbrook. Just in case you haven't read the book yet (odds are slim), it's told from the perspective of Jacob Jankowski, now in his 90s and living in an assisted-living facility, about his experiences as a young man during the depression. After his parents are killed he drops out of veterinary school and gets a job with a third-rate traveling circus, tending to the animals. The book has a wonderful cast of circus personalities -- including Rosie (played by Tai) the elephant, who only understands commands in Polish -- and the story is made real through the accurate historical details.

Sara Gruen is an author who is known for her in-depth research and attention to details in her writing. In her most recent book, Ape House, she spent years researching linguistics and the bonobos and in particular the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa:

"During the course of my research, I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Great Ape Trust -- not that that didn't take some doing. I was assigned masses of homework, including a trip to York University in Toronto for a crash course on linguistics. Even after I received the coveted invitation to the Trust, that didn't necessarily mean I was going to get to meet the apes; that part was up to them. Like John, I tried to stack my odds by getting backpacks and filling them with everything I thought an
ape might find fun or tasty -- bouncy balls, fleece blankets, M&M's, xylophones, Mr. Potato Heads, etc. -- and then emailed the scientists, asking them to please let the apes know I was bringing "surprises." At the end of my orientation with the humans, I asked, with some trepidation, whether the apes were going to let me come in. The response was that not only were they letting me come in, they were insisting. The experience was astonishing -- to this day I cannot think about it without getting goose bumps."

If you haven't read Water for Elephants yet, you've got plenty of time before the movie opens. A friend of mine listened to the audiobook version and gave it a big thumbs up. To whet your appetite, here is a trailer from the forthcoming movie.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010 Bestsellers at Broadway Books

We've just posted our top-selling fiction and nonfiction titles from 2010 on our website (click on "Bestsellers" tab). Check 'em out! We also have printed lists of our top twenty of both fiction and nonfiction available at the store. While you're there, check out the great-looking window Kate just set up.