Friday, September 10, 2010

Lucy's Review Fall 2010

First, Events!

Robert Michael Pyle
Thursday September 30th
7:00 at Lucy's Books

Celebrate the release of Mariposa Road: The
First Butterfly Big Year

Part road-trip tale, part travelogue of lost and found
landscapes, all good-natured natural history, Mariposa Road
tracks Bob Pyle's journey across the United States as he races
against the calendar in his search for as many of the 800
American butterflies as he can find.
Like Pyle's classic Chasing Monarchs, Mariposa Road
recounts his adventures, high and low, in tracking down
butterflies in his own low-tech, individual way. Accompanied by
Marsha, his cottonwood-limb butterfly net; Powdermilk, his 1982
Honda Civic with 345,000 miles on the odometer; and the small
Leitz binoculars he has carried for more than thirty years, Bob
ventured out in a series of remarkable trips from his Northwest
Robert Michael Pyle is the author of fourteen books,
including Sky Time in Gray's River, Chasing Monarchs,
Where Bigfoot Walks, and Wintergreen, which won the John
Burroughs Medal. A Yale-trained ecologist and a Guggenheim
fellow, he is a full-time writer living in southwestern Washington.

Clarence B. Parker
Book Signing
Wednesday September 15th
1-3 pm at Lucy's Books

Shades of Glass is Mr. Parker's first novel, and tells the
story of the journey of returning Vietnam veterans in 1970 in the
Pacific Northwest. The publisher calls it an explosive and
resounding mystery.
Clarence B. Parker is a native Astorian, now living in
Arizona. He graduated from Oregon State University and served
in the United States Air Force.

Fishes & Dishes Cookbook Celebration
Reading & Signing
Friday October 8th, 7:00 pm
at Lucy's Books

Sisters Kiyo and Tomi Marsh were fishing in the Bering Sea on
Tomi's 78-foot commercial fishing boat, the Savage, when they
dreamed up an idea of publishing a cookbook combining seafood
recipes and personal stories from other fisherwomen they had
met and worked with in Alaska.
Tomi, who lives in Ketchikan where the Savage is based,
owns and skippers the vessel. Her sister, Kiyo, who now lives in
Seattle, ran the deck and galley. Between fishing openings, they
both turned out creative, mouth-watering dishes taking advantage
of the bounty of seafood available to them. Laura Cooper of
Seattle, a friend and former fisherwoman, brought her own
illustrations and a philosophy that stresses the importance of
seafood sustainability to the project.
What began as a joke about "cooking in the ditch"—the
trough of the wave—became The Fishes & Dishes Cookbook:
Seafood Recipes and Salty Stories from Alaska's
Commercial Fisherwomen
In addition to sharing 80 mouth-watering recipes, the book
describes the adventurous lives of women who work in America's
most dangerous industry. They relate many funny and harrowing
stories, from the travails of running their own boats, to the
danger of working on deck in the Bering Sea. These women have
been involved in most of the Alaskan fisheries, from the king
crab fisheries of TV's "Deadliest Catch" fame, to long-lining
black cod and halibut in the Gulf of Alaska, to tendering salmon
in Southeast Alaska.

Celebrate the Spirit of the River

A festive evening of music, dance, photography, spoken word, and fine art!
Saturday, October 9th
7 pm Silent Art Auction with refreshments ~
Masonic Lodge, 1577 Franklin Ave.
8 pm Program
Clatsop Community College Performing Arts Center
16th and Franklin, Astoria

This year's special guest, award winning writer William Layman, is the author of River of Memory: The Everlasting Columbia, and Native River: The Columbia Remembered. Says Layman, "Whatever gratitude I feel at given moment has its source in the water that sustains my life. I will always be grateful to the rivers that carry such a miraculous life-giving substance to us." Layman's books will be available for purchase and he will be happy to sign them after the program.
Also embracing the spirit of the river are
performers from both the WA and OR sides of the Columbia Estuary.
This 4th annual event benefits Columbia Riverkeeper and the work to keep our beautiful river LNG free!!
Put it on your calendar and see you there!

A Meandering Literary Path... by Laura

If you follow Lucy's on Facebook or have spoken to me personally in the last several months, you have heard of Jean Hanff Korelitz. I seem to yammer on about her latest novel Admission, and the others I've sought out (two of which are out of print mysteries), at the drop of a hat. Her writing is sublime - intellectually sharp, observant, stylish, sardonic, yet without the depressing tendency of being overly ironic and devoid of basic humanity. Her stories are New England stories, after my own heart. Admission's protagonist is a Princeton admissions officer, struggling with her present and her past. The bonus is Korelitz's impeccable description of the college admissions process (parents and students - be entertained while learning how to apply for college!) from a true insider point of view. The White Rose was an equally fine New York City love story, with some unusual elements.
Alafair Burke is my other recent everything-I-can-get-my-hands-on author. A lawyer herself, she's written one series about a Portland assistant district attorney and another about a New York City detective. Both are vastly readable, smart, and fun, with the added bonus of the familiar neighborhood feel of the Portland (Samantha Kincaid) series.
Oh Serena... Oh Ron Rash. Where to start: This novel was painful, difficult, and mildly stomach-turning (as all novels with psychopaths as protagonist tend to be). And yet, it was brilliant. At once a classic tragedy (complete with a spot-on, hilarious chorus of a timber crew) and a lesson on Depression era environmental pillaging, it's a story of unchecked logging in the Great Smoky Mountains by ruthless and greedy lumber barons. As Serena made my stomach turn and my blood boil, I also learned a great deal about the politics surrounding the battle between lumber interests and the philanthropists and politicians who would create the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Thank you Tony, for the must-read recommendation!
Jon Krakauer is at his investigative best in his latest book Where Men Win Glory. He tells the story, in excruciating detail, of Pat Tillman's death by friendly fire in Afghanistan, and the subsequent cover-up of its circumstances by the federal government. But what is astonishing and uplifting are the many, many pages Krakauer devotes to telling Tillman's life story. This extraordinary man's biography is one not to miss. Tillman was a far cry from any expected stereotype of a professional football player turned soldier.
Meanwhile, the beloved, much worshipped (by some of us) Anthony Bourdain has grown up. Medium Raw is the wonderful and vastly matured follow-up to Kitchen Confidential. Don't worry, he still curses and screams about everyone from Alice Waters to Food Network executives, but his perspective has changed in twenty years, and getting off drugs and becoming a father has done remarkable things for this remarkable food icon.
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a remarkable person. And not just because she had the unique experience of being a brain scientist who consciously observed the inner workings of her own brain while having a stroke. I think she was probably quite remarkable before that. I've read lots of medical and science memoirs and novels, and I've never experienced physiology described so spiritually as in My Stroke of Insight. During her stroke Taylor completely lost the ability to process any future or past. No memories, no anticipation. What she realized was left was only the present moment; she observed that she experienced nirvana and I guarantee you will love reading about her experience. The book also provides much useful and practical information regarding strokes.
Jeannette Walls' (The Glass Castle) Half Broke Horses was one of my favorite books this year. Walls essentially channels her grandmother by writing her life story from the first person, in what she calls a "true life novel." Lily Casey Smith's life spanned much of the 20th century, from all over the southwest to Chicago and back again, and what a life it was. Her independence was astonishing for the time, and her determination and at times hilarious level of self-confidence is something to which our 21st century daughters should aspire.
Free-Range Kids wins my most entertaining parenting book award. Lenore Skenazy is hilarious! Though the ideas in this fast-paced book are serious and worthy of your deepest consideration, Skenazy's presentation is readable, self-deprecating, and down-to-earth. She addresses the issue of our 21st century obsession with children's safety through the myths and misconceptions by which many parents operate. She debunks many myths, for example the one about the hazards of poisoned Halloween candy (there has never been a case of this documented), and she lobbies hard for giving children a good measure of freedom and independence. I loved it!
Hopefully the extremely well reviewed film version of Winter's Bone will eventually show up in my little burg on the edge of the universe, but until then I'm satisfied with having read Daniel Woodrell's beautiful novel. It's reminiscent of the rural classic The Beans of Egypt, Maine, though I think Woodrell does a better job giving the reader even glimmers of hope for the life of his protagonist, the shimmering, outrageously determined teenager Ree Dolly. (Cormac McCarthy as well could take a lesson from Woodrell on hope!) I highly recommend this dark, disquieting, blunt story of a life of poverty in the Ozarks.
Brian Turner (Here, Bullet) has a new poetry collection, Phantom Noise. Turner is a truly gifted and eloquent poet who addresses war from the soldier's perspective. He served in Bosnia and Iraq and has much to say about war and its aftermath.
Newport native Tim Sproul's collection, How to Leave Your Hometown for Good is a gem. Well crafted, accessible, elegant, and true, my favorite was "Fisherman Grocery Shopping." Sproul lives in the Portland area; don't miss a chance to hear him read if you can.
I'm not so great at calming down and reading enlightening books, which probably implies I am just the type of person who could benefit from contemplating what's inside them. I did succeed this summer with a lovely small book by John Tarrant, Bring Me the Rhinoceros: And Other Zen Koans That Will Save Your Life.
What a pleasure! Tarrant has the gift of bringing some pretty esoteric ideas down to earth for someone like me, and I loved it. He lovingly chooses a group of koans to share and then guides readers in applying them to aspects of their own lives. He emphasizes happiness, which is lovely.

Paperback Release Extravaganza!
There are so many I'm just going to list them. All are out between now and January. I'll put an asterisk by the winter releases, so as not to overly excite anyone! I'm sure I have missed many!
Half the Sky, Kristof and WuDunn
Her Fearful Symmetry, Audrey Niffenegger
War Dances, Sherman Alexie
A Short History of Women, Kate Walbert
Lit, Mary Karr
Swimming, Nicola Keegan
Under the Dome, Stephen King
The Vintage Caper, Peter Mayle
Where Men Win Glory, Jon Krakauer
The Lacuna, Barbara Kingsolver
Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel
The Collector, Jack Nisbet
A Gate at the Stairs, Lorrie Moore
Chronic City, Jonathan Lethem
The Big Burn, Timothy Egan
Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer
The Case for God, Karen Armstrong
The Immortals, Amit Chaudhuri
Stones Into Schools, Greg Mortensen
Half Broke Horses, Jeannette Walls
The Unnamed, Joshua Ferris
Juliet, Naked, Nick Hornby
Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell
Cockroach, Rawi Hage
Too Much Happiness, Alice Munro
Glover's Mistake, Nick Laird
Committed, Elizabeth Gilbert -
Nurture Shock, Po Bronson
Spark, John Ratey
Born to Run, Christopher MacDougall
The Help, Kathryn Stockett
Nothing Was the Same, Kay Redfield Jameson

Ms. Ani's Reviews
Aside from counting the days until she can drive, Ani has spent lots of her summer reading books. I can't remember the last set of reviews that did not include the author Meg Cabot, indicative of Cabot's across-the-ages appeal. I rue the day that Ani will not write these any more. I keep thinking that day is near but my begging won out once again. ~Mom
House Rules, by Jodi Picoult, is a book that you won't be able to put down until you've finished it. It is about a boy with Asperger's Syndrome, which is a form of autism. Jacob is obsessed with forensic science, which has to do with crime scene investigation. He often shows up to crime scenes and tries to help the detectives. When his social skills tutor shows up dead, her boyfriend is the first suspect. After further investigation, Jacob is arrested and forced to stand trial.
House Rules is very suspenseful, with lots of surprises. Anybody from middle school students to adults would enjoy this book. It is written so that each chapter is in the point of view of a different character, which makes it really fun to read. I promise that if you pick this book up, you will spend all of your free time reading. I know I did.
Pants on Fire, by Meg Cabot, was a really fun read. It is a good book for teenagers to read just for fun in their spare time. Katie has told a few too many lies in the past few years. She lives in a small east coast town where quahogs are the specialty. There are quahogs as in the clam, the Quahogs are the high school football team, and there is a contest for Quahog Princess. Although Katie dislikes football, she is dating the star of the football team. Although she hates quahogs (the clams), she is running for Quahog Princess. She has told so many lies that some time or another they will all have to be revealed. Meg Cabot is one of my favorite writers - her books are laugh-out-loud funny, while still full of unexpected turns.
Ed.: My friend Tony loves Ken Wells' Meely Labauve, so I convinced Ani to read this Louisiana coming of age story. If how late her light is on is any indication, it's good:
Meely Labauve is an interesting book to read. It is written in the way that the main character talks, so there are lots of misspellings and strange grammar (otherwise known as Cajun patois). Once you get used to it, it's actually really fun to read. Meely is a fifteen-year-old boy growing up on a bayou in Louisiana. His dad hunts gators, and is often gone for days at a time. His dad also drinks a lot, and he has had a lot of close calls with the law.
A fight at school balloons into an incident where Meely, his dad, and his friend Chilly have to take off in their truck, hoping to escape from the police. This book is full of unexpected surprises, many of which will make you mad. Once you get into it, you won't want to put it down.

Speaking of Tony - I've been bugging him endlessly for a Top 5 reading list, because he IS such a favorite literati of mine. He finally obliged, though he wouldn't commit to this list being an absolute - the top Top 5 was pretty hard to contemplate. Here, very succinctly, are five Tony says everyone should read. (And for those who know Tony, we do what he says.)
The Brothers Karamazov: Dostoevsky's novel covers the complete range of human emotions better than any novel ever written.
Don Quixote: de Cervantes created literature's best-known character. It's funny, poignant, and highly readable.
Blood Meridian: Cormac McCarthy has written the great American novel.
Zorba the Greek: Kazantzakis' message: Live your life. Love your life. A truly unforgettable character, Zorba is the great free spirit of modern literature.
Lonesome Dove: It's purely American. McMurtry's gives us old time fun and Western adventure.

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