January 2017 Newsletter
Welcome to the new year! To be sure, 2016 ended on a bit of a roller coaster note, with an abundance of sad news but much joy as well -- including two new grandbabies born to two of our "BookBroads"! On a sad note, we lost our dear friend and employee, Kate Bennison, and learned that the prolific and much-loved author and another dear friend Brian Doyle has brain cancer. Many of you have asked us for updates about Brian; the best place to get updates is on the GoFundMe page established for Brian and his family.

We're not sure what all the coming year will entail, but we are sure it will involve lots of deliciously entertaining and discussion-provoking new books, as well as many entertaining events at Broadway Books, starting with the events we'll be hosting in January. We look forward to the return in February of our Comma reading series, hosted by Kirsten Rian, which takes place on the third Thursday each month. Also, we're thrilled to announce that we will be hosting Jacqueline Winspear again when she comes to Broadway Books on Wednesday, March 29th, to read from her latest Maisie Dobbs book, In This Grave Hour. Tickets to this event will go on sale in February; look for details in next month's newsletter!

This year Broadway Books will also celebrate its 25th anniversary -- thanks to your generous support and love! We will be announcing details about our celebration (which will officially take place in May) later this spring.

We will be holding a special book-giveaway on Inauguration Day (Friday, January 20th). You can read about the details below.

We wish for each of you many blessings in the coming year, and lots of wonderful new books to read.

Kim Bissell and Sally McPherson
Co-Bookbroads
Broadway Books
Open every day of the week:
Monday-Saturday: 10 am to 7 pm; Sunday 10 am to 5 pm
January Events
Tuesday, January 17th, 7 pm: Brooke Barker
Local writer and illustrator, Brooke Barker will share from her delightful little book Sad Animal Facts, a quirky compendium of the Animal Kingdom's more unfortunate truths, with more than 150 hand-drawn illustrations. Did you ever wonder what a mayfly thinks of its one-day lifespan? (They're curious what a sunset is.) Or how a jellyfish feels about not having a heart? (Sorry, but they're not sorry.) This melancholy menagerie pairs the more unsavory facts of animal life with their hilarious thoughts and reactions. Brooke Barker is an illustrator and advertising copy writer based in Portland. She will personalize books for you this evening with the critter of your choice (within her repertoire), talk about how she created the book, and conduct a little sad animal trivia -- with prizes!
Friday, January 20th, Inauguration Day Book Giveaway
On this day the store will distribute free copies of We Should All Be Feminists, one per customer who wants one, while supplies last. This brief book/essay is based on the TEDx talk given by author Chimamande Ngozi Adichie (author of several books, including the novels Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun) and is published by Anchor Books/Random House.

We want to kick off the new year by celebrating the power of women to do great things. As the owners of a bookstore founded by women, and still women-owned after almost 25 years, we appreciate strong women, and we rejoice in the men who respectfully support and stand alongside them.

Adichie's essay encourages us all to embrace the importance of feminism, which she defines as believing in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. Yes, men and women are biologically different, she says, but socializing them differently only exaggerates those difference and doesn't allow them to develop their true selves.

As the mother of two daughters and the co-owner of the store, Kim Bissell is thrilled to share Adichie's message of strength and inclusion. "We believe that all our voices matter and hope to inspire our children to reach for their goals based on their desires and abilities and not their gender."

We chose Inauguration Day for this giveaway because when we inaugurate a new president and bring in a new administration it's a time of new beginnings and new challenges, a chance to reflect on where we are as a country, where we want to go, and how we want to get there. We found the words of this international voice to be particularly inspiring and wanted to share them with our customers. We encourage you to come early to get a copy!

Tuesday, January 24th, 7 pm: Naked Against the Rain
We celebrate the re-release from Pharos Editions of Naked Against the Rain: The People of the Lower Columbia River, 1770-1830 by Rick Rubin. Rene Denfeld, who wrote the introduction for the new edition, and Chinook Elder Sam Robinson will read from Rubin's work and sing native songs in celebration. Mr. Rubin -- writer by trade, historian at heart, and lifelong Portlander -- combined years of research with his journalist's eye for detail and poet's ear to create one of the most compelling and readable histories of the Native American people of the lower Columbia River. He died in 2014. 

Rene Denfeld is an author, journalist, and death-penalty investigator who works with men and women facing execution. She has written for The New York Times, The Oregonian, and The Philadelphia Inquirer and is the author of one novel and four books of nonfiction. All God's Children was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award for General Nonfiction in 2007. Her debut novel, The Enchanted, has garnered numerous accolades, including the French Prix Award, and was named a finalist for the Flaherty First Novel Prize and the #1 Northwest book of the year by The Oregonian. Sam Robinson is the Vice-Chairman of the Chinook Nation and speaks and performs about the Chinook Nation throughout the Pacific Northwest.
2016 Broadway Books Bestsellers
 
Every January, it's always a joy to share our list of bestsellers from the previous year -- so here they are! We are particularly excited that thirteen of the books on the list are written by Northwest-based authors. The list is almost evenly divided between nonfiction (16) and fiction (14).

Our current window display at the store highlighs the top sellers from the past year -- come check it out! Here is a list of the top thirty, with links to each: 
 
1. Brave Enough, Cheryl Strayed
2. Tiny Beautiful Things, Cheryl Strayed
3. My Brilliant Friend, Elena Ferrante
4. A Man Called Ove, Fredrik, Backman
5. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany
6. Wild, Cheryl Strayed
7. Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
8. Upstream, Mary Oliver
9. The Sympathizer, Viet Thanh Nguyen
10. Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance
11. The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
12. The Gift of Caring, Marcy Cottrell Houle and Elizabeth Eckstrom
13. Sad Animal Facts, Brooke Barker
14. Late in the Day, Ursula K. Le Guin
15. Commonwealth, Ann Patchett
16. A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara
17. Martin Marten, Brian Doyle
18. When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi
19. The Sellout, Paul Beatty
20. Journey to Munich, Jacqueline Winspear
21. All the Things We Never Knew, Sheila Hamilton
22. Tough Girl, Carolyn Wood
23. The Story of a New Name, Elena Ferrante
24. City of Weird, edited by Gigi Little
25. Columbia Gorge Getaways, Laura O. Foster
26. The Sound of Gravel, Ruth Wariner
28. Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen
29. Chicago, Brian Doyle
30. Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson
PNBA 2017 Book Awards

The Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association is a nonprofit trade association that supports independent bookselling, literacy, and free speech in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. Each year
since 1965, the Pacific Northwest Book Awards have celebrated exceptional books written by northwest authors. Here are the winners of the 2017 PNBA awards, selected by a volunteer committee of independent booksellers from more than 300 nominated titles published in 2016. 
  • Barkskins, Annie Proulx (Carnation, Washington)

 

Kate Bennison
As many of you know, in November we lost our dear friend and long-time employee Kate Bennison. Kate was an avid reader who shopped at the store for years before becoming an official "BookBroad." Besides being an enthusiastic recommender of books with a hardcore commitment to customer service, Kate was our greeting card buyer for many years and also created some of our most original and gorgeous window displays. One of Kate's greatest passions was pressing books into people's hands, saying "you must read this." We invite you to browse Kate's shelf of recommended books at the store. It's hard to limit it to just one shelf, because Kate had so many favorites, but with her counsel we've done our best.


New in Hardcover
Idaho by Emily Ruskovich
Idaho is a stunning debut novel about love and forgiveness from an O. Henry Prize-winning author. In the rugged landscape of northern Idaho and with her husband's memory fading, Ann attempts to piece together the truth of what happened to Wade's first wife, Jenny, and to their daughters. In a story written in exquisite prose and told from multiple perspectives including Ann, Wade, and Jenny (now in prison) we gradually learn of the mysterious and shocking act that fractured Wade and Jenny's lives, of the love and compassion that brought Ann and Wade together, and of the memories that reverberate through the lives of every character in Idaho.
Freebird, by Jon Raymond 
Did you consume too many heavy tomes over the holidays? Perhaps it's time for a palate-cleanser. If so, we recommend Portlander Jon Raymond's new novel Freebird. This book is a family story, a thriller, and a page-turner with deft character development. Three generations of the Singer family move through the travails of adolescence, aging, and mid-life angst in Los Angeles, asking some very big questions about morality along the way. But Raymond has fun, too, playing with workplace jargon and skewering municipal government and high-tech demigods; he even dares to have a character criticize Portland!

When Raymond was a guest on OPB's "Think Out Loud" in early January he confessed that he had drawn inspiration for Freebird from Portland city bureaucracy. Raymond is an Oregon Book Award winner for his earlier short story collection, Livability; the movies "Wendy and Lucy" and "Old Joy" were based on those stories. He also wrote the screenplay for "Meek's Cutoff" and co-edits the journal Tin House.
History of Wolves, by Emily Fridlund
Emily Fridlund's first novel History of Wolves is almost a coming-of-age story and almost a thriller, but Fridlund refuses to abide by the conventions of either genre. Teenage Linda, oddly brought up in rural Minnesota, witnesses events she is too young to understand, let alone prevent; tragedy and a trial ensue. "Lake Woebegone Confidential" would be a good subtitle for this book; while Lutheran and Catholic churches host dueling nativity scenes, the North Country folk run around treating each other badly. But there is no whimsy here. The New York Times says Fridlund has "a moody, slate-gray sense of place"; we say Fridlund has almost preternatural powers of observation and description. Let's face it, neither the kids nor the adults here are much above average.
The Midnight Cool, by Lydia Peelle
Lydia Peelle's debut novel The Midnight Cool brings us the story of Billy and Charles, two mule traders no better than they should be, in the American South on the brink of World War I. Con men themselves, they are hoodwinked into buying a murderous mare. Their romantic choices turn out badly, and then of course there is that war waiting for them and their animals. Peelle's style is beautiful and without gimmickry. The New York Times says, "It's the animals that give the work its heartbeat." The many fans of Patrick DeWitt's The Sisters Brothers will find great pleasure here, as will those who thought the mules were the best part of Rinker Buck's The Oregon Trail. Peelle's previous book is the short story collection, Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing. 
Selection Day, by Aravind Adiga
Booker Prize winner Aravind Adiga is back on our shelves with Selection Day, a story of cricket, India, and fathers and sons. Manjunath and Radha are two brothers from Mumbai's slums. Their father has been grooming them to be cricket stars and tries to control every aspect of their lives: no shaving, no Chinese food, as these might interfere with their cricket-playing prowess. Adiga uses the story to explore present-day India, as his award-winning White Tiger did for an earlier time. The New York Times calls him "not merely a confident storyteller but also a thinker, a wily entertainer, a thorn in the side of orthodoxy and cant." While cricket fans will enjoy Selection Day, even those happily ignorant of what Adiga calls the "deep and intrinsic silliness of cricket" will find it a gripping and frequently funny novel.
Books for Living, by Will Schwalbe
If the new year makes you inclined to improve your life rather than escape it, consider Books for Living by Will Schwalbe. It's not a plan to change your bottom line, or the shape of your bottom, but rather a warm-hearted exploration of how reading helps you be kinder and more connected to others. "Fiction doesn't exist to change us for the better, but I believe it almost always does," writes Schwalbe. No snob, he draws lessons from Marie Kondo as well as Frans Kafka, from The Girl on the Train as well as Giovanni's Room. As in his previous book The End of Your Life Book Club, Schwalbe's tone is friendly and conversational, never pedantic. And next to reading a good book, what's more fun than talking about one?
Birds Art Life, by Kyo Maclear
Kyo Maclear takes a different route to a more satisfying life in her new memoir Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation. In mid-life, the Canadian children's author found herself "with a broken part." Never much drawn to the natural world, she was surprised to find a kind of salvation in urban birdwatching. Gradually she again finds pleasure in writing and in her family. Julia Cameron (The Artist's Way) praises her prose as being as "intricate and delicate as birdsong." Maclear has this advice for us: "If you listen to birds, every day will have a song in it." 
The Lost City of the Monkey God, by Douglas Preston
Okay, it's 2017, we're all going through whatever we're going through, so how about a good (yet true) escapist read? In The Lost City of the Monkey God, Douglas Preston, who usually writes thrillers with Lincoln Child, has given us a true-adventure tale that combines the spirit of Robert Louis Stevenson with the technology of NASA. For centuries, stories have emerged alleging a hidden city in Honduras. In 1940, an explorer surfaced bearing artifacts that supported the tale, but he committed suicide before revealing the location of the site. Now we have this (true!) tale combining adventure with anthropology, praised by authors from James Patterson to Stacy Schiff. Jaguars, poisonous snakes, drug dealers --  what more could RLS ask for? 
Storm in a Teacup, by Helen Czerski
Physicist Helen Czerski seeks to demystify the universe in her debut book Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life, by linking ordinary objects and occurrences, like your toaster, popcorn popping, coffee stains, and fridge magnets, to big ideas like climate change, the energy crisis, and innovative medical testing. Along the way, she offers answers to vexing questions: How does water travel from the roots of a redwood tree to its crown? How do ducks keep their feet warm when walking on ice? Why does milk, when added to tea, look like billowing storm clouds? This book provides the tools to alter the way we see everything around us. You may never look at your toaster the same way. Dr. Czerski will be speaking in Portland on February 7th at the Clinton Theater as part of the Science on Tap series.
New in Paperback






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