Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Little Something for Everyone This Week

Looking for great evening activities this week? Look no further than Broadway Books, as we've got three wonderful readings lined up for you this week: Kelly Rodgers will be here to talk about Portland's food cart revolution and the book Cartopia on Tuesday;  Jim Shepard will read from his newest collection of stories, You Think That's Bad on Wednesday; and Molly Gloss and Bette Husted will be here Thursday night as part of our monthly Comma reading series. All events start at 7 pm and are free.

Kelly Rodgers and Kelley Roy, and their aptly named Roy Rodgers Press, are the creators of Cartopia: Portland's Food Cart Revolution. Through stories and photography, the book documents Portland's independent culture, artisan economy, and "foodie" scene that created the food cart revolution. As the authors explore the factors that have placed Portland in the street food spotlight, they also document the personality and character of the Portland carts, and, by extension, of Portland itself. With photography by Andrew Burdick, Cartopia is a visual feast and a celebration of food, architecture, creative entrepreneurship, and civic spirit.

The two Kell(e)ys have been collaborating on projects since they met in 2001. Since moving to Portland in 1995, Kelly without the "e" has worked in a variety of areas to support the development of a sustainable city, including neighborhood planning, green infrastructure, community design, renewable energy, and sustainable transportation. She is the principal of Confluence Planning. Her passion is working to create cities where people know their neighbors, where resources are used efficiently, where people don’t have to get in the car to meet their basic needs, and where it’s possible to work collaboratively on creative energy, food, and housing solutions. Kelley with the "e" is the Director of ADX, a membership-based art and design facility in the heart of Portland’s Central Eastside. Her passion is all things Portland, and she provides business and marketing consulting services for Portland artists and designers who want to make a living doing what they love.

I think I'm going to dedicate my summer to exploring in greater depth the Portland food cart culture - what a yummy way to spend the summer!

Jim Shepard is the author of six novels and four story collections. His previous collection, Like You'd Understand Anyway, won the 2008 Story Prize and was nominated for a National Book Award. His stories are published regularly in such publications as The New Yorker, The Atlantic, McSweeney's, Tin House, and Zoetrope: All-Story, among others. In his newest collection, You Think That's Bad, Shepard offers us an even more wildly diverse collection of astonishingly observant stories. Like an expert curator, he populates the vastness of human experience—from its bizarre fringes and lonely, breathtaking pinnacles to the hopelessly mediocre and desperately below average—with brilliant scientists, reluctant soldiers, workaholic artists, female explorers, depraved murderers, and deluded losers, all wholly convincing and utterly fascinating.

One reviewer described Shepard as a writer who "thinks big and writes short," whose short stories "do the work of entire novels in capturing different places and times." And the author Richard Ford says that "His instinct around a sentence is virtuosic and masterful." In an article about writing, Shepard wrote, "We need to do everything we can, when writing, to stay in touch with pleasure. With fun. With the passionate engagement that we all manage, as children. Not only because that will keep us going but also because it will generate the freedom and the energy that allow us to exhilarate ourselves, and so exhilarate others." He lives in Willamstown, Massachusetts, where he teaches at Williams College and in the Warren Wilson MFA program.

On Thursday it's time once again for our monthly reading series Comma, hosted by Kirsten Rian. This month we are honored to welcome Oregon authors Molly Gloss (Portland) and Bette Lynch Husted (Pendleton). Gloss, a fourth-generation Oregonian, is the author of five novels, the most recent being The Hearts of Horses. Her writing has won numerous awards, locally and nationally. She says her life of writing began with motherhood: "I might have become a writer eventually without first having become a mother, but it's hard for me to imagine it."
Husted's stories, essays, and poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Northern Lights, Northwest Review, Fourth Genre, and Best Essays NW. She is the author of a collection of memoir essays (Above the Clearwater: Living on Stolen Land) published in 2004 and a full-length collection of poems (At This Distance) published in 2010. In an interview, Husted said personal essays and poems aren't as different as they might seem: "Of course, poetry is more condensed -- like freeze-dried backpacking food, I used to tell students, a poem offers the crystallized essence, and the reader's mind adds the water."

Each of the writers at the Comma event will read from current work and engage in dialogue with each other and with the audience about their writing.

Pick one or two or come to all three -- it's a great week of literary entertainment at Broadway Books!

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