Tuesday, March 29, 2011

April Events on the Website

Check out our website to see what's happening at Broadway Books in April -- besides a whole bunch of great books, of course! We've got fun and thoughtful and entertaining and possibly even a little provocative on the menu. Come see us whenever you can. We love to see your smiling faces.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Books from Mitchell and Egan in Paperback

Almost every day here at Broadway Books we chortle with glee (seriously, we chortle; come see for yourself) as we pull open boxes of new books that make it seem like our birthday or some other fabulous gift-giving holiday almost every day of the week. It's particularly exciting when hot books arrive in their gleaming, newly published, trade paperback format, because that is the most popular format with our customers and with book clubs.

This week a couple of treasures arrived in paperback form: Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad and David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet.

A Visit from the Goon Squad recently won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, and it made the longlist for the 2011 Orange Prize (the winner will be announced June 8th). It was also a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the LA Times Book Prize and was named to numerous publications' "best of" lists for 2010.

The imaginative and intricately crafted novel is a collection of carefully arranged interlocking stories that move back and forth in time from the 1970s to a point in the near future, with time as a goon that inflicts its damage. The stories feature kleptomaniac Sasha; her boss Bennie, punk rocker turned music producer; and his sleazy mentor Lou.

Ron Charles of The Washington Post calls it a "deeply humane story about growing up and growing old in a culture corroded by technology and marketing." Janet Maslin of The New York Times says that Egan is "such a piercingly acute storyteller that the exhilaration of reading her outweighs the bleak destinies she describes.

Egan was born in Chicago and raised in San Francisco. Her previous books include The Invisible Circus, Look at Me, and The Keep.

Mitchell's epic novel centers on an earnest young clerk, Jacob de Zoet, who arrives in Japan in the summer of 1799 to make his fortune and return to Holland to wed his fiance. But his plans are shaken when he meets the daughter of a Samurai. Set in Dejima, an artificial island created as a trading outpost in Nagasaki Harbor and designed to keep the West at bay, the novel tackles intercultural relations, trust and betrayal, racial and gender boundaries, the search for identity, and finding unexpected love in a changing world. 

Writing in The New York Times Book Review, Dave Eggers called the book "An achingly romantic story of forbidden love...a novel of ideas, of longing, of good and evil and those who fall somewhere in between [that] confirms Mitchell as one of the more fascinating and fearless writers alive." Publishers Weekly described it as "dense and satisfying" with "literary brawn and stylistic panache." The book was awarded a 2011 Commonwealth Writers Prize and was named one of the best novels of the year by numerous publications.

Mitchell, who lives in Ireland, is the author of the novels Ghostwritten, Number9 Dream, Cloud Atlas, and Black Swan Green.

We've got oodles more great new books on our tables -- the bowing table legs and our frequent chortling are evidence of that! Come and see. We're open every day of the week!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sarah Vowell's Take on Hawaii

Fans of Sarah Vowell and her "nerd civics lessons" can rejoice in today's publication of her latest book: Unfamiliar Fishes (Riverhead Books), in which Vowell  tells the the story of Hawaii’s Americanization – from the first American immigrants in 1820 to the annexation of Hawaii in 1898. New England missionaries started arriving in 1820 to Christianize the local "heathen," worrying natives that they might "pray them all to death."  Some might question whether this was an improvement over existing conditions.

In her characteristic wry combination of erudition and humor, Vowell tells the story of our fiftieth state, the birthplace of our current president. And just because I think it helps to have Sarah Vowell's voice in your head when you read her books, here's a video clip of her telling Hawaii's story through plate lunches. Yes, you heard me: plate lunches.

VoiceCatcher Reading will be in May

Last week The Oregonian listed a VoiceCatcher reading at Broadway Books this Saturday, March 26. That event is actually being held at the Multnomah County Central Library (801 SW 10th), in the US Bank Room, from 2 to 3 pm.

The VoiceCatcher event at Broadway Books is scheduled for Thursday, May 26th, at 7pm. We apologize for any confusion. You can check for other forthcoming VoiceCatcher events at their website, and of course you can check ours to see what's happening at Broadway Books!

Maisie Dobbs and Precious Ramotswe Return!

It's a great day for mystery lovers! Two of our most popular series have new books out in hardcover this week: Jacqueline Winspear with her Maisie Dobbs series and Alexander McCall Smith with his No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series.

In A Lesson in Secrets, Maisie Dobbs accepts an undercover assignment from Scotland Yard and Britain's Secret Service, posing as a junior lecturer at a private college in Cambridge to monitor any activities "not in the interests of His Majesty's government." Shortly thereafter, the college's controversial pacifist founder and principal, Greville Liddicote, is murdered. To solve this mystery, Maisie must overcome a reluctant Secret Service, discover shameful hidden truths about Britain's conduct during the Great War, and face off against the rising powers of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei -- the Nazi Party -- in Britain.

A Lesson in Secrets is the eighth installment of the Maisie Dobbs series, following The Mapping of Love and Death, now available in paperback. Winspear was born in the UK; she currently lives in the Bay Area. You can read more about her background -- and what inspired her to write about this period of time in the world -- at her website. I know Jacqueline from a previous life, and I can tell you from personal experience that she is a most delightful person. Her books are both well researched and well loved.

The Twelfth (!!) installment of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party, follows on the heels of The Double Comfort Safari Club (now out in paperback). As associate detective Grace Makutsi prepares to tie the knot with furniture saleman Phuti Radiphuti, Mma Precious Ramotswe tackles several challenges: an ill-advised candidate for the Botswana Parliament, a runaway father of twins, and mysterious sightings of Ramotswe's beloved white van, which her husband sold for parts.

Alexander McCall Smith is an amazingly prolific author (more than 60 books!), with five series underway currently: The No. 1 Ladies' Detectve Agency series, The Isabel Dalhousie series, The Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, The 44 Scotland Street series, and the newly started Corduroy Mansions series. Like Maisie Dobbs, Precious Ramotswe is a dearly loved character, and her fans eagerly pounce on the newest installment each time. Smith was born in what is now known as Zimbabwe and taught law at the University of Botswana. He currently lives in Scotland. You can read more about him and about his myriad other books at his website.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Irvington Cats Featured on Greeting Cards

Broadway Books has a reputation for being a dog-friendly place, with treats for our four-legged buddies and lots of ooooohing and ahhhhing -- especially when Roberta is here. But we're also big fans of our feline four-legged buddies. And now we have a card line to prove it! Kim Miller, photographer extraordinaire, and her husband Chris (our very own Broadway Books book bro) have developed a line of greeting cards featuring Irvington cats -- and quite handsome cats, if we do say so ourselves! Come see for yourself what great cards -- and what adorable cats -- these are!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

We Think Women Rock!

The Orange Prize for Fiction is the UK's only annual book award for fiction written by a woman. The prize was established in 1996 to celebrate fiction by women throughout the world and to promote it to the widest range of readers possible. It is awarded for the best novel of the year written by a woman in the English language, regardless of her nationality.

The long list for the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction was announced today, and it includes nine debut novels. The list includes the author of the newly released hot novel, The Tiger's Wife (Tea Obrecht) and the winner of the just-announced National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction (Jennifer Egan). Here are all the authors on the long list:

Lyrics Alley by Leila Aboulela (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) - Sudanese; 3rd Novel
Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch (Canongate) - British; 10th Novel
Room by Emma Donoghue (Picador) - Irish; 7th Novel
The Pleasure Seekers by Tishani Doshi (Bloomsbury) - Indian; 1st Novel
Whatever You Love by Louise Doughty (Faber and Faber) - British; 6th Novel
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (Corsair) - American; 4th Novel
The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna (Bloomsbury) - British/Sierra Leonean; 2nd Novel
The London Train by Tessa Hadley (Jonathan Cape) - British; 4th Novel
Grace Williams Says it Loud by Emma Henderson (Sceptre) - British; 1st Novel
The Seas by Samantha Hunt (Corsair) - American; 1st Novel
The Birth of Love by Joanna Kavenna (Faber and Faber) - British; 2nd Novel
Great House by Nicole Krauss (Viking) - American; 3rd Novel
The Road to Wanting by Wendy Law-Yone (Chatto & Windus) - American; 3rd Novel
The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) - Serbian/American; 1st Novel
The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer (Viking) - American; 1st Novel
Repeat it Today with Tears by Anne Peile (Serpent's Tail) - British; 1st Novel
Swamplandia! by Karen Russell (Chatto & Windus) - American; 1st Novel
The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives by Lola Shoneyin (Serpent's Tail) - British/Nigerian; 1st Novel
The Swimmer by Roma Tearne (Harper Press) - British; 4th Novel
•Annabel by Kathleen Winter (Jonathan Cape) - Canadian; 1st Novel

This year's five-person judging panel includes the novelist Tracy Chevalier (Girl with a Pearl Earring, etc). The short list will be announced on April 12, with the awards ceremony to be held on June 8. Bettany Hughes, Chair of Judges, said "It was a huge tussle to get the list down to twenty, but what we have is a gorgeous, widely varied longlist - we'll certainly enjoy re-reading each and every one as we make tough choices to select the Orange Prize shortlist for 2011."

Last year's winner of the Orange Prize was Barbara Kingsolver, for her novel The Lacuna. Previous winners of the prize are Marilynne Robinson, Rose Tremain, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi, Zadie Smith, Lionel Shriver, Andrea Levy, Ann Patchett, Valerie Martin, Kate Grenville, Linda Grant, Suzanne Berne, Carol Shields, Anne Michaels, and Helen Dunmore.

The UK-based Guardian offers jacket covers (European), descriptions, and reviews of all of the books on the Orange Prize long list.

PS: We hope you get a chance to check out our window display this month in honor of March being National Women's History Month -- with this year's theme being "Our history is our strength."

Monday, March 14, 2011

NBCC Winners Announced!

In January we reported on the list of finalists for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Awards. Recently, the winners of those awards were announced. Here they are!
A Visit from the Goon Squad will be available in paperback in about a week. We'd be happy to hold a copy for you. All the rest are currently available in hardcover only, with the exception of Clare Cavanagh's book of criticism. You can click on each title to read about each book.

    Two Local Poets to Read on Tuesday

    On Tuesday at 7 pm we have the pleasure of hosting two local poets, both former writers for The Oregonian: Don Colburn and Oz Hopkins Koglin.

    Don Colburn was born in Georgia and grew in Massachusetts. A long-time reporter for The Washington Post and The Oregonian, Don was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing. He is a graduate of Amherst College and has an MA in journalism from American University and an MFA in creatvie writing from Warren Wilson College.

    His first two collections of poetry, Another Way to Begin and As If Gravity Were a Theory, won national poetry manuscript contests. He has just published a third collection, Because You Might Not Remember, from Finishing Line Press. His poems have appeared in anthologies and magazines such as Alaska Quarterly Review, The Iowa Review, Ploughshares, Poetry Northwest, Cloudbank, and Hubbub. Don has received numerous fellowships and poetry awards and has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He is a board member of Friends of William Stafford.

    About his newly published collection, author Naomi Shihab Nye had this to say: "Don Colburn's richly rooted, well-hewn poems are intensely pleasurable to read and absorb. The wide span of their attention has room for human foibles and flaws as well as fun."

    Oz Hopkins Koglin was born in North Carolina, the great graddaughter of slaves, and grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, where she was a community organizer and was selected as a Danforth Foundation Metropolitan Fellow.  Her reporting career began in 1960 at The St. Louis Argus, one of the oldest African-American publications in the country. Oz is a graduate of Reed College. She was a journalist for The Oregonian for thirty years --  the first female African-American reporter to work for the newspaper full-time -- writing for many years on issues of health, medical research, and science.

    Much of her writing is inspired by issues of civil rights, racism, and inequality, growing up during the time when America was experiencing the end of the Jim Crow era and the civil rights movement was in full swing.

    Her poem have appeared in The Oregonian, Hubbub, VoiceCatcher, and Poetry Southwest. In celebration of Oregon's Sesquicentennial, Poetry Northwest and the Oregon State Library named her first chapbook, Gardens for Everyone, one of 150 outstanding Oregon poetry books. "Each poem in Gardens for Everyone is a gem," says Vern Rutsala, "with many making a u-turn at the end that gives the reader a sudden new insight into the subject."

    Please come join us for an evening with two wonderful local poets!

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    John Keeble to Read Tonight

    John Keeble is the author of four novels and the nonfiction book Out of the Channel: The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in Prince William Sound. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pulitzer nomination for his Village Voice piece "Black Spring in Valdez," and an Emmy nomination for To Write and Keep Kind, a documentary film on the life of Raymond Carver. His short stories, interviews, and essays on political and ecological topics have appeared in a variety of anthologies and periodicals, including Outside, Left Bank, Story, and Prairie Schooner.

    John's novel Yellowfish was reissued in a new edition by the University of Washington Press in 2008, and his novel Broken Ground has just been reissued as well. Tonight he joins us at Broadway Books to read from Broken Ground.

    Set in the high desert of eastern Oregon in the 1980s, the novel uses the construction of a "prison for profit," in which alien captives are incarcerated in secret, as the basis for a story with deep political, mystical, and -- for its time -- prescient implications: the impingement of American imperalism on its own native territory.  Lynn Sharon Schwartz called the book "a social fable for our time," and Barry Lopez described it as "deftly evoked" and "consistently engaging."

    Educated at the University of Redlands, University of Iowa, and Brown University, John has taught at Grinnell College and Eastern Washington University, where he founded the Master of Fine Arts Program and is now Professor Emeritus. He has been a Distinguished Visiting Writer at Boise State University and on three occasions held the Coal Royalty Trust Chair in Creative Writing at the University of Alabama. He now works with long-distance Master of Fine Arts students as an associate faculty member at the University of Alaska-Anchorage.

    He was born in Winnipeg, Canada, and raised in Saskatchewan and California. For thirty years he has lived with his family in rural Eastern Washington, where he and his wife raise hay, free range chickens, and organic grass fed beef cattle.

    John read at Broadway Books when Yellowfish was reissued, and we're thrilled to welcome him back to the store. We hope you can join us tonight at 7 pm!

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    Gemma Whelan to Read from Debut Novel

    Gemma Whelan, an Irish-born theatre director and educator now living in Portland, has recently published her debut novel, Fiona: Stolen Child. In the novel, Fiona Clarke, an Irish writer living in New York, has been running from her past since she left rural Cregora, Ireland, for boarding school. That past finds her, many years later, when her thinly veiled autobiographical novel is optioned for a movie. Working as the film’s consultant, Fiona unearths deep secrets, relives childhood trauma, and connects with an estranged family thrust back into her life. As her history opens upon her, Fiona must stop running and confront her secret shame: her long-held sense of responsibility over the death of her little sister.

    After moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, Whelan directed more than sixty stage productions and was founding artistic director of GemArt and Wilde Irish Productions. She is also an award-winning screenwriter and film director.  In an interview, Whelan noted that screen writing is more controlled, that in writing her novel she had to learn to let go and trust the process, letting her characters become who they are. She graduated from Trinity College (Dublin) in English and French and has graduate degrees from UC-Berkeley in Theatre and from San Francisco State University in Cinema. She moved to Portland in 2008.

    Whelan has taught at numerous colleges and conservatories, including UC Berkeley, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, and Mills College -- all in the Bay Area -- and at Pacific University, Portland Actors Conservatory, and PSU in Oregon. She has also taught theatre and film in Singapore and lead theatre tours to Ireland and England.

    Gemma Whelan will read from her debut novel Tuesday, March 8th, at 7 pm at Broadway Books. We hope you can join us! The event is free and open to the public.

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    Warren Cassell, Passionate Reader and Bookseller

    It is with great sadness that we tell you of the passing of Warren Cassell, longtime bookseller, who worked at Broadway Books for several years. Regular customers will remember Warren, with his distinctive white beard. Warren was a voracious reader and a passionate book recommender. Many a customer has engaged Warren in long discussions of recently published books -- he was never shy with his opinions.

    Before moving to Portland in 2002, Warren owned Just Books in Greenwich, Connecticut, for many many years. Although the bookstore had only 600 square feet, Warren and his store loomed large in the bookselling world, and he hosted several well-known authors at off-site events.

    After "retiring" and moving to Portland with his wife Melisa, Warren worked part-time at Broadway Books. More recently he had become involved with Operation Paperback, a group dedicated to providing gently used paperbacks to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, to VA hospitals, and to families with members serving overseas.

    Here is a link to a wonderful article in the Greenwich paper about Warren.

    PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

    Nominees for the 2011 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction have just been announced:

    • Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad
    • Deborah Eisenberg, The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg
    • Jaimy Gordon, Lord of Misrule
    • Eric Puchner, Model Home
    • Brad Watson, Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives
    This year's judges are Laura Furman, William Kittredge, and Helena Maria Viramontes, who read approximately 320 novels and short story collections to determine the finalists. The winner, "first among equals," will be announced on March 15, and all will be feted in an award ceremony on May 7. You can read more about each of the finalists and their books by clicking here.

    The PEN/Faulkner Award was established in 1980 by National Book Award winner Mary Lee Settle and was first awarded in 1981. Her goal was to create a national prize honoring literary fiction of excellence, juried by writers for writers, free of commercial concerns. The prize was named for William Faulkner, who used his Nobel Prize funds to establish an award for younger writers, and PEN, the international writers' organization. The award honors the best published works of fiction by American writers in a calendar year. Three judges, all writers, select five books from among the more than 300 works submitted (there are no submission fees). Last year's winner was Sherman Alexie, for War Dances. The finalists were Barbara Kingsolver (The Lacuna), Lorraine M. Lopez (Homicide Survivors Picnic and Other Stories), Lorrie Moore (A Gate at the Stairs), and Colson Whitehead (Sag Harbor).