Sunday, July 27, 2014

Book Recommendations (& First Lines)

The Wallace Books Staff Recommends shelf may be tucked away, but we think it is worth wandering back to explore. We recently expanded the section to include a second shelf of some of our favorite titles. Our small staff has diverse reading interests and there is truly something there for everyone.

Recommended Books
It is a difficult task to define why we love each of these titles, especially without revealing too much of what makes them special. I think it is safe to say that they are books that have stayed with us in our minds since we first discovered them. Speaking just for myself, the few titles I've put on this shelf are books that I know I will return to and find something new upon giving them a second or third (or fourth or fifth or umpteenth) read.

First lines often have a way of drawing us in and giving us a sense of the story and the mood and music of the author's language. So, in the interest of introducing a selection from the Wallace Books Staff Recommendations shelf, we thought it would be nice to highlight first lines from a few of our favorites. Here they are, alphabetically by author:

"Papa is in his easy chair, reading the Sunday sports page."
     -- The Brothers K by David James Duncan

"How is it possible to bring order out of memory?"
     -- West with the Night by Beryl Markham

"When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night he'd reached out to touch the child sleeping beside him."
     -- The Road by Cormac McCarthy

"In the town there were two mutes and they were always together."
     -- The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

"I wanted to find my own way, so this morning I persuaded my father to let me travel alone from his apartment in Kobe to my grandfather's beach house in Tarumi."
     -- The Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama

"If I could tell you only one thing about my life it would be this: when I was seven years old the mailman ran over my head."
     -- The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall

You can find the Staff Recommendations shelf in the alcove with poetry and plays just to the left of the entrance to our kids room.

50% off Erdich!
We also have a great deal on books by one of our favorite authors. We are currently offering 50% off all Louise Erdich in stock. This offer is good through the end of July, and maybe even into August. Her books will be in a box right in your line of sight as you enter our front door.  Erdich has many good first lines but one of her best comes from her novel Tracks:
"We started dying before the snow, and like the snow, we continued to fall."

What books do you recommend to friends? What are your favorite first lines?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Chocolate Challenge Blog Tour

We're having fun for Friday Reads, thanks to Rena Marthaler and her Chocolate Blog Tour. Check out her blog post here! This is a blog tour where we bring you book and chocolate recommendations. I've selected some easy summer reading that we can happily recommend to the young and the old alike. And of course, the cocoa goodness is all involved while you wile away the summer with good reading and good eating!
Without further ado . . .

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Rose City Heist, by Matt Love

Matt Love hopes the Portland Mercury and the Willamette Week will pan his book.

Available at Wallace Books
He told me so as he dropped off copies of Rose City Heist, his newest book to come out of Nestucca Spit Press. This is the true crime story of the biggest jewel theft in Portland, and how Matt Love and his friend were the chief suspects for the Portland City Police and the FBI. It is about backyard pool parties and undulating substitute teachers, Colombian, sword-wielding Oliver Twists—and yes, even gravy plays a role.

Friday, June 13, 2014

3 Books We Guarantee Are Great For Father's Day

Of course, you know you're dad best. But we'd just like to give three simple suggestions.

As a disclaimer, all three books are nonfiction books that read like novels. This is because we think dads know best what they want to read as a novel, and we're not going to tell you what you should get him to read.

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?