Friday, March 21, 2014

5 Suggestions for Your Spring Break

HERE IT IS, SPRING BREAK! Time to relax for a spell. The kids are off school, the air is starting to warm up, and if you listen very closely, you'll begin to hear the eggs cracking in the nest. Time to clean out your garage. Time to take that cruise. Time to get that garden started. And after all that, you'll probably want a book to read. 

Might we make a few suggestions?

1. "Contemporary Commercial Women's Fiction" $3/book!

In order to expand our "staff recommends" section (you should totally check it out), we're cutting back on our Contemporary Commercial Women's Fiction, otherwise known as "chick lit" or "guilty pleasures" -- and right before that cruise you're about to take! 

In a box in the front room we have the shopaholics, the devils wearing prada, the sisterhoods, the Mr. Bigs, and all the delightful Sex and the City spin-offs for you, and only for $3! 


2. Back in the Garden With Dulcy

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The best columns of Dulcy Mahar, collected and bound into an absolutely lovely book, was the breakaway bestseller last Christmas. And with good reason: Dulcy's humor, thoughtfulness, and her passion for gardening are all seen in her "best of" columns collected by her husband, Ted. 

It is springtime (or did you notice?), and I don't know about you, but Jessica and I have a sheet-mulched front yard, a mud pit where our back deck used to be (and where a patio must be laid down), seedlings growing in the sunlight of the patio door, and some money stashed away to begin to buy all the plants we want to attract birds, bees, and keep the aphids away. It's going to be a rocking fun Spring for gardening: but it will also be difficult. 

That's why Back in the Garden With Dulcy is such a comfort: with precise and beautiful prose Dulcy helps us under the joys and frustrations it is to be a gardener. 

This is also a perfect mother's day present!

3. Horror!
Photo: Book signing (or actual story signing).
PDX Horror Writer Charles Muir signing copies

For some, reading means is a good mystery. For others, it's all about the Contemporary Commercial Women's Fiction (see above). Yet for even more, it is the horror. Not the harlequin horror (although we won't frown or essayist Natalie Storey will tell us why not to frown), but the good, Lovecraftian, Poe-esque, Stephen King-ly horror, of the uncanny, the bizarre, the things-that-goes-bump-in-the-night.

And since the World Horror Convention will be held in Portland this May, we wanted to make you horror readers aware of the talents of local horror authors, whose stories we have just in time for Spring Break. Check out our front desk for modern horror stories (which includes Charles Austin Muir wonderfully uncanny story "Thanatos Park" which you can read an excerpt of here) or dare to poke your head into our "horror closet" where you will find all the classics -- and even some new ones. 

4. Divergent, et al.

Tonight the film adaptation of Veronica Roth's Divergent is released, and it is scheduled to be as big (if not bigger) than The Hunger Games. But Divergent is not the only series that involves young adults in a life-or-death situation: there are so many other wonderful series that you should look into for your child for Spring Break. The Maze Runner, The Mysterious Benedict Society, and of course Wildwood Imperium (the 3rd book in the Wildwood Trilogy) are just a sample adventure titles your kids will devour. For those kids who like their books to have a little reality, might we suggest some of the titles below?

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The beauty of the local press
5. William Stafford poems from Tavern Books
For those who want to get some poetry into their blood while they lay on their hammock, you should know that Portland has some great local presses. My personal favorite, Tavern Books, has some marvelous titles that you should check out here, including Greta Wrolstad, Albert Goldbarth, and Charles Simic. But of course the pick of the litter, at least for Oregon, is their collection of William Stafford poems. 

In the continuing celebration of this marvelous poet, please stop by the front desk and pick up one of these beautiful editions out from Tavern Books, and support our local presses!

If you've had your fill of William Stafford for the year, no worries! We also have (close by), poetry from local poets Mary Szybist, PaulAnn Peterson, Matthew Dickman, and J. Kirk Maynard (otherwise known as me). 

Not enough? Well, I'll leave you with this last picture of our used fiction desk: all the best books of the last three years we can get our hands on. All hard covers on this table are of books that have not yet been released in paperback yet, but that we have used, for you! Come by and browse away, and find for yourself that perfect Spring Break read!

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USED hardcovers of books not yet released in paperback!

~ James, March 2014

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