Broadway Books - Independently owned and supporting the NE Portland community since 1992.

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That more than almost anything else we love helping you choose just the right gift? So don't hesitate to ask for ideas if you're stuck.

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Broadway Books
A Great Little Store with Great Big Service
January 2014 Newsletter

It's hard to believe it's now 2014 - but here we find ourselves knee-deep in January already! We are still reeling from the best holiday season we've ever had, thanks to our supporters, both new and long-standing. It was quite a December.We loved seeing you all in the store.

We're now looking forward to a busy 2014, with many readings and other events both in and out of the store on our schedule. Also, we have some surprises in store and a few tricks up our sleeves!

Roberta Dyer and Sally McPherson
Broadway Books, 1714 NE Broadway, Portland, OR 97232
(503) 284-1726
October Readings

Thursday, January 23rd, 7 pm: Our William Stafford Memorial Celebration 

We will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of William Stafford's birth by hosting a reading and discussion. Novelist and poet Joanna Rose will lead a group of writers, each of whom will read a Stafford poem and then a paragraph from their own work that they feel has been informed by the poem in some way.


Scheduled readers are all members of a prose critique group. They are Stevan Allred, Kate Gray, Jackie Shannon Hollis, Yuvi Zalkow and Cecily Patterson.


As always with our annual Stafford celebrations, audience members are invited to share their favorite Stafford poem, a thought, or a memory about William Stafford.


Tuesday, January 28th, 7 pm: Patrick Holland, The Mary Smokes Boys

Broadway Books is thrilled to be hosting the U.S. launch party for Australian author Patrick Holland, for his novel The Mary Smokes Boys. The novel is a heart-rending and suspenseful story of horse thieves and broken promises, of love and tragedy, of the fragility and grace of small town life and how one fateful moment can forever alter the course of our lives. think Out Stealing Horses, by Per Petterson.  


 Barry Lopez calls this book a gem: "The writing is absolutely terrific and the characters distinct and deftly revealed. And the story is a heart wrecker."


Patrick Holland's first collection The Source of the Sound won the Scott Prize. His novel The Long Road of the Junkmailer won the Queensland Premier's Award for Best Emerging Author and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book, South East Asia/South Pacific Region. The Mary Smokes Boys is published by one of our favorite publishers, Portland-based Hawthorne Books.

Broadway Books Bestsellers
Every January, many of our customers want to know which books were the big sellers at our store the previous year. Kate has made a beautiful window display at the store highlighting the top sellers from the past year. Here is a list of the top twenty with links to each of them:
  1. Wild, Cheryl Strayed 
  2. Tiny Beautiful Things, Cheryl Strayed 
  3. The Orchardist, Amanda Coplin 
  4. Back in the Garden with Dulcy, Ted Mahar  
  5. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt 
  6. Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walter 
  7. Where'd You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple 
  8. Maddie on Things, Theron Humphrey 
  9. Mink River, Brian Doyle 
  10. Soup Night, Maggie Stuckey
  11. Dear Life, Alice Munro 
  12. Julia Child Rules, Karen Karbo 
  13. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce 
  14. The Orphan Master's Son, Adam Johnson 
  15. Quiet, Susan Cain 
  16. Dog Songs, Mary Oliver 
  17. The Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown 
  18. Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, David Sedaris 
  19. Sea of Hooks, Lindsay Hill 
  20. Must-See Birds of the Pacific Northwest, Sarah Swanson and Max Smith
Who's Reading What?

This month we're featuring Sally McPherson, who has been a Book Broad for about eight years and before that worked at the Cannon Beach Book Company and spent a couple decades working for Prentice Hall Higher Education Division. Previously, she wrote about plywood and about the law. Really. And she got paid for it. At the plywood place she worked with Gary ("The Far Side") Larson's mom. Here are some of the books Sally's been reading lately:


The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is one of the best novels I've read in the past several years. Despite reading it during the holiday sales season, when I have the attention span of a gnat, I couldn't stop reading this book, which accounts for the saggy eyes you might have seen on me for several days in a row. Now I'm keen to read her first novel, The Secret History.


I'm currently listening to the audio version of  The Boys in the Boat and absolutely loving it. It tells the story of the University of Washington men's rowing team, a working-class group of guys who knocked off the usual elite programs and represented the U.S. at the  Berlin Olympics. And on the topic of audio books, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is probably the best I've heard.


The Fiddler in the Subway is a fascinating and entertaining collection of columns from Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes for his columns. The book offers short pieces and long pieces, ones that will make you laugh and ones that will make you cry, on such topics as pre-school entertainer The Great Zucchini, Garry Trudeau, the Hardy Boys, and what happened when world-renown virtuoso Joshua Bell played  his violin in a Washington D.C. subway, essentially incognito. Fascinating stuff.


A book that can be both read and enjoyed visually is Humans of New York, by Brandon Stanton, based on his blog and Tumblr feed of the same name. Not only does Stanton capture the essence of ordinary New Yorkers in photos, but he also takes the time to interact with them, and listen to their stories. A great book to dip in and out of.


Bill Bryson's books are irresistible to me. With his latest, One Summer: America, 1927, I'm following my usual pattern of buying it the day it comes out and then waiting months to read it so there isn't so much time until his next one comes out. [By the way, if you haven't read his two books on language. The Mother Tongue and Made in America, I highly recommend both of them. Typical Bryson: funny and informative.]


Ack, I'm running out of room! Quickly, before I get the hook:  The Faraway Nearby, by Rebecca Solnit (and her two city books: Infinite City about San Francisco and Unfathomable City about New Orleans). Once Upon a Lie, the new mystery from Maggie Barbieri. And books on my to-read stack: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, The Tenth of December by George Saunders, Wilson by A. Scott Berg, and The Unwinding by George Packer. The stack is actually much taller - practically deadly - because my ambition always outreaches my ability and time available. 

For Lovers of Beautiful Children's Books
~ A Special Offer ~
All of us here at Broadway Books love exquisitely written and illustrated children's books, and one of our all-time favorites is Allen Say's Caldecott Medal winner, Grandfather's Journey. It's the story of Mr. Say's grandfather's immigration from Japan to America, told in sparse but poetic language, and illustrated with full-page watercolors that are gobsmackingly beautiful in their simplicity and range.

Our favorite illustration from this book is the one that is also on the cover. it's a painting of Mr. Say's grandfather as a very young man, standing on the deck of the ship that carried him to his new home. Perhaps you know it? It's the cover image shown on the left.

We are proud to announce that Mr. Say has made available to us a few signed and numbered prints of this painting for sale in the store. There are only a few of these prints left, and we are very pleased to be able to offer them to our customers. The price for each print is $250, unframed.

If you are interested, please come in the store and have a look at the framed copy we have just put up. It's so gorgeous! We think it would make the perfect gift for someone very, very special. Perhaps you.    
The Graphic Canon
Seven Stories Press has recently published an ambitious series of books: A three-volume set of the world's greatest literature as comics and visuals. The Graphic Canon is edited by Russ Kick, with the literature visualized by such well-known graphic artists as Will Eisner, Robert Crumb, Gareth Hinds, and Ted Rall.

The books cover works by Shakespeare, Cervantes, Mary Wollstonecraft, Walt Whitman, Jonathan Swift, Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, Homer, Lao Tzu, Kate Chopin, Flannery O'Connor, Vladimir Nabokov, Haruki Murakami, and many many more, spanning the ages.

Some are portrayed in depth; others present just a snippet of the work. But it's an altogether fascinating and unusual view of the Classics.  
New in Hardcover
This new novel from Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees) follows thirty-five years in the lives of Hetty 'Handful' Grimke, a Charleston slave, and Sarah, the daughter of the wealthy Grimke family, who is given ownership of Hetty on her eleventh birthday, despite not wanting to participate in slave ownership. Sarah is based in part on the real life of Sarah Moore Grimke, American abolitionist writer, and suffragist. "A moving portrait of two women inextricably linked by the horrors of slavery."

This novel, set in a vividly imagined and shocking future America, allows Lee to explore his long-standing interests in identity, culture, work, love, hope and betrayal. The story follows the efforts of Fan, a female fish-tank diver, who leaves her home in the B-Mor settlement (once known as Baltimore) in a search for her lover who has mysteriously disappeared, taking her into the dangerous, anarchic Open Counties. The book is a harrowing and masterful depiction of class stratification and social disintegration
Following up on his bestselling memoir, A Long Way Gone, the harrowing account of Sierra Leone's civil war and the fate of child soldiers, Beah's debut novel focuses on the aftermath of the war: What happens when those who have committed atrocities or have been the victims of them return to what is left of their homes? Radiance of Tomorrow is a powerful novel about preserving what means the most to us, even in uncertain times.
Born Igor Shteyngart in Leningrad during the twilight of the Soviet Union, Gary Shteyngart grew up with a persistent sense of yearning. At age five, Igor wrote his first novel, Lenin and His Magical Goose, and his grandmother paid him a slice of cheese for every page. After his family moved to America in the late '70s, Shteyngart disappointed his parents by not becoming a lawyer or at least a "conscientious toiler" on Wall Street. Little Failure, or "Failurchka," is the term his mother -- mostly lovingly -- applied to her son. He did, however, become a successful novelist (Super Sad True Love Story, Absurdistan, and Russian Debutante's Handbook

This memoir has been described as "An intoxicating brew of keen-edged satire, social prophecy, linguistic exuberance, and emotional wallop" and as combining "the tenderness of the Chekhovian tradition with the hormonal high jinks of a Judd Apatow movie." The book is both laugh-out-loud funny and achingly tender.
The Trip to Echo Spring examines the link between creativity and alcohol through the work and lives of six extraordinary men: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, John Berryman, John Cheever, and Raymond Carver. An exploration of alcoholism in six 20th-century American writers, the book "dazzles in both the scope of its ambition and the depths it reaches in analyzing its subjects," presenting the sobering realities about the downside to those seemingly romantic, drunken nights.

Wisely, she doesn't choose to present a one-size-fits-all conclusion about the bond between the writing and drinking. "Olivia Laing emerges as a kind of British Susan Orlean, combining nonfiction narrative, travel writing, literary criticism and a touch of memoir in a personable style" -- "A provocative, evocative blend of memoir, literary history, and lyrical travel writing."
 Is your book club looking for ideas for new books? We're always glad to brainstorm with you. And we're happy to let you know if books are readily available, and when they'll be out in paperback.
Contact Information
Roberta Dyer or Sally McPherson
Broadway Books
(503) 284-1726