Thursday, April 12, 2012

NW Authors on Shortlist for Major Prize

Two northwest authors of bestselling novels have made the shortlist for the 2012 IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award: Karl Marlantes (who grew up in Seaside and now lives in Western Washington) for his Vietnam-era novel Matterhorn and Willy Vlautin (who lives just outside of Portland) for his Oregon-Book-Award-winning novel at the racetrack, Lean on Pete.

Karl and Willy join Jennifer Egan (for A Visit from the Goon Squad) to represent the US. A total of ten books are on the shortlist, representing a variety of countries, including Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Israel, Sierra Leone, and Scotland. Titles were nominated by public libraries in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, The Netherlands, and the United States. The five-member international judging panel will select one winner, who will be announced in June

The award is the world’s most valuable annual literary award for a single work of fiction published in English. Previous winners include Colum McCann, Michael Thomas, and Per Petterson. Congratulations to all of the shortlisted authors, but especially to Karl and Willy! Here's a little video clip of Willy talking about his book.

Gift Idea for the Teachers in Your Life

Usually in the spring/summer months we see an uptick in our sales of Broadway Books Gift Certificates (which never expire, by the way, and can be purchased in the store or online), as many of our thoughtful and generous customers buy end-of-the-year gifts for their children's schoolteachers. And really, who wouldn't want to get a gift certificate for a wonderful book-browsing-and-shopping experience??

This year we have a recommendation for a terrific little book into which you can slide those gift certificates that you pass along to the educators in your life: What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World, by Taylor Mali.

My sister, who teaches at a middle school in Walla Walla, turned me on to Mr. Mali several years ago. He is a poet and former teacher who is a huge advocate for teachers and for the nobility of teaching. Through his New Teacher Project, he has a goal of creating 1,000 new teachers through “poetry, persuasion, and perseverance.” Mali is formerly the president of Poetry Slam, Inc., the non-profit organization that oversees all poetry slams in North America, and is the author of two books of poetry and four spoken word CDs. In 2001 he received a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant to develop Teacher! Teacher!  --  a one-man show about poetry, teaching, and math which won the jury prize for best solo performance at the 2001Comedy Arts Festival.

In his new book, Mali pays tribute to the joys of teaching -- with a sharp, funny perceptive looks at life in the classroom -- and explains why teachers are so vital to our society. The poem that made him famous, "What Teachers Make," is a passionate and unforgettable response to an arrogant young lawyer at a New Year's Eve party who insulted Mali and the entire teaching profession. The poem, which leads off this book, went viral in its various YouTube iterations. I've pasted one version below -- I dare you to watch it and not get goosebumps; I do every time.

This sweet little book is delightfully packaged and, at only $19.95, will make a wonderful vessel for your thoughtful gift certificates. It will be welcomed and treasured by every teacher and everybody who has ever loved or learned from one.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Let's All Have Some Pie

"You will find my story is a lot like pie, a strawberry-rhubarb pie. It's bitter. It's messy. It's got some sweetness, too. Sometimes the ingredients get added in the wrong order, but it has substance, it will warm your insides, and even though it isn't perfect, it still turns out okay in the end."

These words are from the prologue of Beth Howard's memoir Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie. Howard joins us Monday (4/9) at 7 pm with Kim Carlson, editorial director of Culinate, in a conversation about grief and the healing power of pie.

Howard was married to her husband Marcus for seven and a half years, during which time they lived in Germany and Mexico and Portland. But because of his work they spent much of their time apart. She asked for a divorce in a cry for attention -- spend more time with me, in an equal partnership, and less time with your job -- and seven hours before he was to sign the divorce papers he died of a ruptured aorta. His heart broke. And so did hers.

In an effort to heal her heart, Howard packed up the RV he left behind and hit the highways, using pie as a way to connect to people and find purpose in life. Eventually she returned to her Iowa roots and moved into the American Gothic House made famous by Grant Wood's painting, where she now lives and sells pies at the Pitchfork Pie Stand and teaches others how to bake pie.

Her mother's banana cream pie led her father to propose to her mother. Her own heaping-with-fruit apple pie prompted Marcus to propose to her. Pie led to her creation and to her happiness, and it helped her heal from her grief. This open and moving memoir is about the journey of healing and recovery, about the role of fate and second chances, and about the strength found in community. And in pie. Learn more about Howard's book in this interview from The Oregonian and in this article about her story in the Portland Tribune.

We hope you can join us Monday night at 7 when we will learn about Beth Howard's journey and enjoy ourselves a little pie as well.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Broadway Books Celebrates 20 Fabulous Years

We think surviving twenty years as a small independent bookseller is a big deal. And we owe a lot to all of you for helping us to ride the waves that have carried us up and down over the years. We promised you a big celebration, and we’re going to deliver: a party, lots of prizes, and specials all year long -- and of course there will be cake. Here are some of the highlights:
Party Day

·         On Sunday, May 6th, we’ll party in the store from noon until 7pm, and we’ll have cake and bubbly.

·         From noon to 4 pm we’ll have a photobooth. Yes, you heard us right. A photobooth so you can have your photo taken holding one of your favorite books – and you can take the photo strip with you!

·         The first ten customers to spend $50 or more on that day will win a free Broadway Books Twentieth Anniversary Book Bag.

·         On party day, we’ll be gathering email addresses from all of our customers who are willing to give them to us. From those names, we’ll draw one person’s name who will win a Nook Simple Touch eReader.

·         But here’s the real kicker: On that day and that day only, you can get double value for one full pink card. So, if you have a completed pink card that’s worth, say, $15, on that Sunday you can cash your card in for $30 toward the purchase of anything in the store. Word to the wise: make sure you fill up a pink card between now and May 6th! [One per customer, and the card must be cashed in all at once – no store credits will be issued.]

Celebrate All Year

·         Our good friend Brian Doyle has written a beautiful piece about the store that has been made even more beautiful by the wonderful folks at Letterary Press, who have turned it into a gorgeous broadside. If you’ve seen their greeting cards (and we just got in a new supply), you know what great work they do. Thanks to the donated efforts of Brian and Marty at Letterary Press, these broadsides are available free to customers upon request until the supply runs out.

·         From now through the end of May 2012, if you “like” us on Facebook and wish us a happy anniversary on FB (or just the wishing part, if you already “like” us), you will be entered into a drawing to win a Nook Simple Touch eReader.

·         From June 2012 through May 2013, we’re going to give away five $20 Broadway Books Gift Certificates each month. Here’s how you get entered in those drawings: starting in June 2012, each time you cash in a completed pink card, write your name and phone number on the back. Each month we’ll draw five winners from those pink cards.

·         From June 2012 through May 2013, we’ll highlight one book each month on the home page of our website. For one week each month that book will be available for 20% off (no additional discounts or pink cards can be applied). Check our website each month to see what that month’s book is! Some will be new hot reads and some will be staff favorites, new or old.