Friday, May 23, 2014

Someone New Coming Into Town? Top 3 Required Reading

I'm not sure about the rest of you, but I can count on two hands the amount of people I know moving into Portland this summer.

In other words, the migration continues steady.

Of course, if you can, like me, remember when downtown smelled of hops, the buses used push-tape, and the Spring Water corridor at Oaks Bottom was just an old railroad line—you might feel entitled to lift your nose. And so you should. But a good question to ask (while lifting your head up high in a good Oregon snub) is: what makes us natives act like jerks?

One answer could be that in the wave of "newbies" the identity of being a Portlander, even being an Oregonian, is changing, and in our puritanical way we have anxiety to make sure the inherent values of Oregon stay the same.

For this, we need to help educate our new citizens on what it is to be an Oregonian, so they can be proud of our heritage, and so they can adapt.

So, I have some books for you to give to the new PDX'er in your life.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

T-Minus 2 Days Until Mother's Day ~ Crunch Time! Some Nationals and some Locals

No pressure now. No ticking clock. There are a lot of new books out in hard cover and paperback. There's still plenty of time to stop in at your local bookstore to get your mother that Mother's Day book (and a card. We also have some cards).

Friday, May 9, 2014

Friday Reads: "The Silent Wife" is "Gone Girl" Meets Realism

In the summer of 2012 the craze was for Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, just last month released in paperback, with a movie following hard on its heels.

And rightly so: a very fun thriller. It's opening paragraph alone, philandering husband Nick Dunne musing about the qualities of his wife's head, sets the tone for a taut thriller—half mystery, half suspense—that I think many of us were captivated by.
Harrison's psychological thriller, more real than "Gone Girl"

There were, however, a contingent of intelligent readers who disliked it on the merit that the characters were almost caricatures of psychology: "Gone Girl" might express a dark undercurrent of anxiety among the American married couple, but it does so with thick brushstrokes: we are as much liable to laugh nervously in the height of our thrill, because so much of what drives Flynn's thriller is darkly comic.

For these readers, and for readers who enjoy a more subtle thriller, the book for you is "The Silent Wife" by A.S.A. Harrison, a book that went largely unnoticed when it was released last June, but works at portrait painting compared to Flynn's Pollack-esque splashings.

T-Minus 3 Days! Mother's Day MYSTERIES

[For the 4th day post, click here]
[For the 5th day post, click here]

You know what's best for ma.

For instance, my mother prefers her mysteries to include a British lord (preferably monocled, preferably played by Edward Petherbridge in the Masterpiece Mystery! adaptation), and an independent intelligent woman who will solve or help solve the crimes. For her, I'd pick The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, or Louise Penny, P.D. James, Elizabeth George or (if she hadn't already read all of them), Dorothy Sayers.

But that isn't to say your mom is my mom (unless you're my sister: and if you are I say "I want my bicycle back"). Instead, I'm going to offer up some new titles of the mystery genre. Something might spark.

After all, Mother's Day is now just 3 DAYS AWAY.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

T-Minus Four Days to Mother's Day—#4 for the Mom who likes Downton Abbey

[Check out #5 on our Mother's Day countdown, here.]

This is for the mom who enjoys history, Downton Abbey, aristocracy, and Jane Austen. Preferably she never refers to Prince Charles as "Chuck," and she's received post cards of the baby Prince William, which she has placed on her refrigerator, next to her own children. She thinks Prince Albert of Belgium is "hubba-hubba" hot, and she would be right (although she would phrase it more delicately).

These are some of the books she's going to like.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

T-Minus Five to Find the Perfect Mother's Day Book ~ #5

In this post, I'll be counting down the days before May 11th, each day offering up a book idea for your mother, that I promise you she'll love. Let's get started, shall we?

Have I mentioned Back In The Garden With Dulcy?

Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday Reads: Donna Tartt's "The Goldfinch"

As I've been reading Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch, this year's winner of the Pulitzer Prize, I cannot help but think about preservation in the face of decay. Certainly the theme is there in this coming-of-age tale of 13-year-old Theodore Decker, whose world is (literally) blown to pieces when a bomb explodes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Theo crawls out of the museum rubble, carrying a priceless painting of Carel Fabritius' "The Goldfinch," and the novel takes off from there. Theo, still dealing with the psychological and physical aftershocks, is moved from world to world—from Park Avenue high society, to West Village antique shops, to the desolate & foreclosed subdivisions outside Las Vegas.