Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tomorrow

Sorry for the short notice. I just happened upon these and thought I'd share:

During Talk of the Nation on NPR, Neal Conan will explore the decline of reading in America. After attending Wordstock, I was astonished by the number of folks enthralled in all forms of reading and writing. Not surprisingly, the literary community in Portland does not reflect the nation's overall status. The program airs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on OPB (91.5 in Portland), but if you miss it live, check it out online.

At 7:30 tomorrow evening, author Molly Gloss will be reading at Annie Bloom's Books. Her book, Hearts of Horses, was released this fall and follows three previous award-winning books. See you there.

New Release Spotlight: Her Last Death

Her Last Death: A Memoir by Susanna Sonnenberg

After learning of her mother’s fatal car accident, Susanna Sonnenberg decides she will not go to the hospital to say goodbye and watch her die. “I am afraid my mother will die. I am afraid she won’t.” Her reaction seems atypical, and throughout her memoir, Her Last Death, Sonnenberg describes a childhood that would solicit such a response.


The story begins in a New York townhouse with her mother, father, and younger sister. After only a few years, Sonnenberg’s parents divorce and she and her sister live with their mother, Daphne. Daphne buys Penthouse magazine for eight-year-old Sonnenberg, gives her a gram of coke for her sixteenth birthday, has sex with several of Sonnenberg’s ex-boyfriends, and tells unending lies to feed her addiction to painkillers and cocaine.

Throughout the book and Sonnenberg’s life, the dysfunction remains. The reader meets a calloused Sonnenberg as she relates an extraordinary childhood and her struggle to find normalcy. Her tone allows an honest and intimate portrait while keeping the reader at a distance. Similar to diaries I kept as an elementary student, it is an observation of events and relationships without much personal reflection. Unfortunately, Sonnenberg never allows the reader to connect with her struggle and pain as Daphne repeatedly fails her. The frankness with which she relays the story leaves it flat.


The account offers the reader, and perhaps more importantly, Sonnenberg, justification for leaving her mother to die. However, her mother’s physical death merely punctuates the finality of a terminally ill mother-daughter relationship.

Review by Adriel Gorsuch, Indigo Editing, LLC

ISBN: 978-0-7432-9108-8
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Pub. Date: January 2008
Hardcover $24.00

Best Recommended List

I thought this was an interesting list worth sharing. The new list will update monthly in 2008.

From today's Shelf Awareness e-mail:


NBCC Creates 'Best Recommended List'

The National Book Critics Circle is creating a monthly Best Recommended List based on a poll of its 800 members and the finalists and winners of its books prizes about which books they have read that they love. The aim is to come up with a list that reflects not which books have sold best but which books have been read and enjoyed most.

To start the list, NBCC polled members about the books published in 2007 that they read and loved. Monthly lists start in January. For more information about the voters and titles, see NBCC's Critical Mass blog. Winners are:

Fiction

1. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (Riverhead)
2. Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson (FSG)
3. The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon (HarperCollins)
4. Exit Ghost by Philip Roth (Houghton Mifflin)
5. Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson (Graywolf)

Nonfiction

1. Brother, I'm Dying by Edwidge Danticat (Knopf)
2. The World Without Us by Alan Weisman (St. Martin's)
3. The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein (Metropolitan)
4. Schulz and the Peanuts by David Michaelis (HarperCollins)
5. Legacy of Ashes by Tim Weiner (Doubleday)

Poetry

1. Time and Materials: Poems 1997-2005 by Robert Hass (Ecco)
1. Collected Poems: 1956-1998 by Zbigniew Herbert (Ecco)
1. Gulf Music by Robert Pinsky (FSG)
4. Next Life by Rae Armantrout (Wesleyan)
5. Elegy by Mary Jo Bang (Graywolf)

Contest Wow

This sounds like an amazing short story contest. Entries must be received by December 21, 2007.

Odds and Ends Wednesday

Following up on my post from November 17 about Amazon (the bookstore, not the .com): the only feminist bookstore in Texas, BookWoman, is in danger of closing. Read more about what's happening and how to help here.

More info on the Grace Paley event I originally posted about on September 19:
An Interest in Life: GRACE PALEY

Grace Paley, one of this country's most honored and best loved writers, died on August 22, 2007. Her commitment to antimilitarism, environmentalism, feminism and antiracism was inseparable from her stories, essays, and poems.

CELEBRATE GRACE PALEY'S LIFE AND WORK
Tuesday, December 11 @ 7:00 p.m.
Broadway Books 1714 NE Broadway 503.284.1726

Grace visited and taught in Oregon, and had many friends, students, and colleagues who will tell stories about her and read from her work: Ursula K. LeGuin, Elisabeth Linder, Judith Arcana, Elinor Langer, Marjorie Sandor, Judith Barrington, Miriam Budner, and others. The evening will also include some chances for audience participation, and cake.

Commemorating Grace's membership in the War Resisters League for nearly fifty years, 10% of Broadway Books’ sales at the event will be donated to the Portland chapter’s Military and Draft Counseling Project.

Budner will be discussing Paley's fiction with her biographer, Arcana, on KBOO radio (90.7 FM) December 4 at 10:00 a.m.

And regarding my post from way back in September, on the 6th, to be exact: The Portland Writers Room, now officially named Writers' Dojo, is really up and running, complete with its own Web site.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Portland Literary Events

Monday, November 26
Walking the Gobi
Where: Powell’s on Hawthorne, 3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
When: 7:30 pm
Cost: Free

Monday, November 26
Fifty Places to Go Birding Before You Die
Where: Powell’s City of Books on Burnside, 1005 W Burnside
When: 7:30 pm
Cost: Free

Tuesday, November 27
The Hearts of Horses
Where: Broadway Books, 1714 NE Broadway
When: 7:00 pm
Cost: Free

Tuesday, November 27
Voice Catcher
Where: Powell's City of Books on Burnside, 1005 W Burnside
When: 7:30 pm
Cost: Free

Wednesday, November 28
Children’s Hanukkah
Where: Annie Blooms’ Books, 7834 SW Capitol Hwy
When: 3:30 pm
Cost: Free

Thursday, November 29
Tales from the Oregon Ducks Sideline
Where: Twenty-Third Avenue Books, 1015 NW 23rd Ave
When: 7:00 pm
Cost: Free


Thursday, November 29
The First Oregonians
Where: Powell’s City of Books on Burnside, 1005 W Burnside
When: 7:30 pm
Cost: Free

Friday, November 30
Plastic Cameras: Toying with Creativity
Where: Powell’s City of Books on Burnside, 1005 W Burnside
When: 7:30 pm
Cost: Free

This week the Portland Fiction Project begins a new theme with 'plane' inspired stories. Check out
www.portlandfiction.net for all your daily fiction needs.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

New Release Spotlight: The Name of This Book is Secret


The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch

WARNING: DO NOT READ BEYOND THIS PAGE

So begins The Name of This Book is Secret. “Good,” the narrator continues once you’ve turned the page. “Now I know I can trust you. You’re curious. You’re brave. And you’re not afraid to lead a life of crime.”

The narrator goes on to tell us about secrets and how powerful a force they are and hints at the big one that may be hiding in the book. After we’re warned (in a tongue-in-cheek manner) not to continue reading, that what we will discover may be too frightening to bear, we’re introduced to Cass, the eleven-year-old heroine of the story.

When she one day discovers in her grandfathers’ antique store a box of small vials called the Symphony of Smells that once belonged to a missing magician, her curiosity is piqued. At school she meets Max-Ernest (his parents couldn’t agree on a name), a talkative perpetual bad-joke teller, and they soon become “collaborators” in the mystery.

Venturing to the magician’s house, they encounter an oddly-perfect looking couple in search of the magician’s notebook. After evading them (and snagging the notebook themselves) Cass and Max-Ernest soon find themselves on a dangerous journey involving kidnappings, an ancient cult, and a dangerous secret.

The journey is a fun and exciting one and there are lots of twists and surprises along the way. Original and clever, the story moves along quickly; the frenetic pace ensures that there’s rarely a dull moment. The quirky, memorable characters and amusing narrator interjections will certainly keep you entertained.

Although probably meant for the tweener/young adult set, The Name of This Book is Secret could really be enjoyed by anyone.


Review by Tim Josephs, Indigo Editing, LLC

ISBN: 0-316-11366-2
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pub. Date: October 2007
Hardcover, $17.99

Monday, November 19, 2007

Amazon Kindle

Engadget's posting what's happening and being said live from the launch.

So, what do all you book people think? I'll write more later, but for now, while I'm sure others have commented on this already, isn't Kindle kind of an odd choice of name? Makes me think of fire, which is a rather anti-book thing…

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Portland Literary Events

Monday, November 19
Starbucked
Where: Powell's on Hawthorne, 3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd..
When: 7:30 pm
Cost: Free

Monday, November 19
Earth Under Fire
Where: Powell's City of Books on Burnside, 1005 W Burnside
When: 7:30 pm
Cost: Free

Tuesday, November 20
Have You Seen the Horizon Lately?
Where: Powell’s City of Books on Burnside, 1005 W Burnside
When: 7:30 pm
Cost: Free

Tuesday, November 21
Diane Ackerman
Where: Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway
When: 7:30 pm
Cost: $10-$26


This week the Portland Fiction Project continues its "Journey to a New World" theme with "Columbus" inspired stories. Check out http://www.portlandfiction.net/ for some delicious cranberry sauce-coated fiction.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

No, Not That Amazon

If you're looking for a place with as much literary soul as Portland, Oregon, you must check out Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. Maybe I'll delight you with a list of reasons why another time, but for now, I'll point you to one Twin Cities resource because it was recently profiled: Amazon Bookstore, the oldest indie feminist bookstore in North America.

Striking Writers—Some More Thoughts

Ali McCart introduced on this blog the topic of the Hollywood writers' strike a couple weeks ago, when it started. Let's keep this important bit of news going with some more resources to check out.

A large part of what the writers are striking about involves the Internet, so what better way to recap than by a video they created. For a less polished but still interesting look, here's a video some of those from The Office made from the picket line. The ridiculousness of the networks' position, an example of support from cast and crew—it's all there.

But will the networks be smart enough to change the "Internet pie" while the writers are busy negotiating for what currently exists? Check out this article in Forbes. Keep reading about the importance of this fight at another Forbes article.

Last in this post but not in importance, stay up to date with news directly from the writers at their United Hollywood blog. They even suggest ways we can do something in support. (And I love the third point under the Pencils2MediaMoguls post on November 16.)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Where Did the Funny Go?

I write a lot. In fact, I’ve been writing a new short story every week for nearly a year and a half. I’m not crazy (well…no, not really), and I’m not trying to boast (although it is rather impressive), but it’s because I write for the Portland Fiction Project. In case you haven’t heard of us (and where ya been?) we’re a group that’s constantly creating original short fiction and posting it everyday on our website www.portlandfiction.net. Check it out if you want to be thoroughly entertained.

Anyway, my point is I write a lot and it’s mostly humorous stuff. I always lean towards humor; my first instinct is to look for a laugh. When one week the editor of the PFP gave us the suggestion word “death,” my first thought was, “Okay, how do I make death funny?” I try to keep things light and witty and I think most people prefer to read something amusing, I know I do.

So my question is, where did the funny go? I read a lot of short fiction too and I’ve noticed a real dearth of humor. Why is that? Is the world in such a mess that everyone’s too depressed to be funny? Has global warming and Bush and Britney sucked everything good and fun from our lives? I certainly hope not because it seems like now more than ever we could really use a good laugh.


(Shameless plug time)

So my little diatribe has got you wondering about literature that will tickle your funny bone? Well, look no further than A Camouflaged Fragrance of Decency, a book of humorous short fiction by yours truly. Check out www.timjosephs.com for more information. And remember, there's no better Christmas gift than the gift of laughter.


Do you have a funny story? Well, Indigo would love to read it. Right now we're accepting submissions for the winter edition of the Ink-Filled Page. Check out our home page for more information.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

New Release Spotlight: Walking the Gobi

Walking the Gobi by Helen Thayer

Crossing sixteen hundred miles of nearly uninhabited desert in 126-degree temperatures, all on foot, seems impossible—or at least unbearable—on its own. But author Helen Thayer and her husband, Bill, tackled the journey anyway, all for the sake of an adventurer’s childhood dream. Thayer first fathomed crossing Mongolia’s Gobi Desert when she was thirteen. Political situations closed the desert to foreigners for years, but she maintained her goal for half a century. At age sixty-three, despite a recent injury that left her limping, she began her journey.

Before the start of their first week in the desert, they experienced a sandstorm that left them huddled behind their camels in instant darkness as the sand blasts blocked out the seething sun. Over the next months, they battled scorpions and snakes, not to mention wild Bactrian camels intent on stampeding them and wolves intent on devouring the pack camels. They watched the desert swallow their precious water supply after a camel’s temper tantrum smashed their tank, and they endured the ensuing muscle cramps and delusions as their bodies stood at the brink of expiration. Helen and Bill hid from smugglers crossing the Mongolian-Chinese border and were even jailed for allegedly smuggling as they inadvertently crossed the border themselves.

Amid all these trials, Helen Thayer shows not only her sense of courage and adventure, but also her talent as a writer and, through her words, her love of the desert and the culture therein: “At night, electric blue flashes sparked when we moved our hands rapidly through the air.” She and Bill encounter ovoos, pyramids of rocks adorned with offerings to ward off storms and bad luck. When they meet the few nomadic people who inhabit the desert, they are quickly invited inside to be treated to salty tea, goat’s milk, and mutton. In the utterly desolate regions, Thayer finds “a mosaic of browns, tans, and blacks merged to form abstract patterns across the scorched earth.” By the end of their journey, eighty-one days total, Thayer and her husband are reluctant to leave the land that challenged them and thrilled them so. “Over the roar of the plane, Bill and I held hands and mouthed the same words to each other: ‘We’ll be back.’”

Thayer deserves applause not only for her incredible life as an adventurer, but also for her mastery of language that brings us on the journey with her. Through her words, the scenery takes our breath away and the dangers leave our hearts pounding. And even as the vast emptiness of the desert seems to suspend time and leaves our heroes stumbling across innumerable dunes, Thayer’s writing pace turns this eighty-one day excursion into a journey readers can experience in just a few hours—preferably in the comfort of shelter, food, and water.

Review by Ali McCart, Indigo Editing, LLC

ISBN: 978-1-59485-064-6
Publisher: The Mountaineers Books
Pub. Date: September 2007
Hardcover, $23.95

Monday, November 12, 2007

Portland Literary Events

Monday, November 12
David Halberstam: The Coldest Winter film screening
Where: Bagdad Theater, 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
When: 7:00 pm
Cost: $9

Monday, November 12
Women Behind Bars
Where: Powell's Books on Hawthorne, 3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
When: 7:30
Cost: Free

Tuesday, November 13
Poe Ballantine presents 501 Minutes to Christ
Where: Annie Bloom’s Books
When: 7:30 pm
Cost: Free

Wednesday, November 14
Local/NW Sci-Fi Authorfest
Where: Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing, 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd, Beaverton
When: 7:00 pm
Cost: Free

Thursday, November 15
Oregon Writers Colony Workshop: Kay Kenyon discusses dialogue and writing
Where: Chantiques, 3384 S.E. Milwaukie Ave.
When: 6:00 pm
Cost: $20, register http://www.oregonwriterscolony.org/

Thursday, November 15
Flying Close to the Sun
Where: Powell's Books on Hawthorne, 3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd
When: 7:30
Cost: Free

Friday, November 16
Made Love, Got War
When: Powell's City of Books on Burnside, 1005 W Burnside
When: 7:30
Cost: Free

Friday, November 17
Meet the Oregon Book Award finalists
Where: Ace Hotel, The Cleaners, 403 S.W. 10th Ave
When: 5:30
Cost: Free

Saturday, November 18
Audubon Society of Portland Wild Arts Festival: More than 100 artists and authors
Where: Montgomery Park, 2701 N.W. Vaughn St.
When: 10 am
Cost: $5 general, 16 and under free; for complete schedule: http://www.audubonportland.org/

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

New Release Spotlight: Getting Rid of Matthew

When Helen confides in her best friend that her boss, a married man, has propositioned her, Rachel tells her to end the relationship immediately; Helen protests that he really likes her. “‘Oh, for fuck’s sake. Of course he likes you, you’re twenty years younger than him and about to fall over into his bed just because he’s asked you to. Plus, you do his typing and make cups of tea. You’re a middle-aged man’s fantasy. What’s not to like?’”

Likewise, on the surface, what’s not to like about Jane Fallon’s debut novel, Getting Rid of Matthew? She doesn’t refrain from lacing the book with her infectious British humor, and the plot is fun: Helen is about to dump Matthew when he shows up on her doorstep with some clothes, a pair of skis, a guitar, a shoe-shine kit, and model cars, having without warning left his second wife. Obsessed with the fact that her once simple affair has actually destroyed a family, Helen feels a compulsion to see what Matthew’s wife, Sophie, is like. She bungles her stakeout, and the two end up meeting—with Helen posing as Eleanor—and over time, becoming friends. Suddenly Helen is juggling two identities among people who are just barely staying outside each other’s circles while trying to convince Sophie to take Matthew back.

Unfortunately the story, which also involves catty coworkers, Matthew’s estranged handsome son from his first marriage, and some side business about doing publicity for D-list celebrities, is more so-so sitcom than good book. That’s not to say Fallon doesn’t write well—she does, with dead-on dialogue and even some moments of real insight, as when Helen and Matthew sit down to eat one of their first meals in their apartment and Helen dreads a whole future of such stilted evenings. “‘Do you want another glass?’, ‘I don’t know, do you?’, ‘Well, I will if you will.’ Her parents used to waste whole evenings that way. Politeness, that great substitute for passion”. But outside of that great idea of a mistress covertly trying to reunite a husband and wife, the situations and characters are clich├ęd, making it difficult for the reader to stay invested. At almost 350 pages, Getting Rid of Matthew is about one hundred pages too long.

Review by Kristin Thiel, Indigo Editing, LLC

ISBN: 978-1-4013-0320-4, 1-4013-0320-X
Publisher: Hyperion
Pub. Date: August 2007
Hardcover, $23.95

Monday, November 05, 2007

Writers as Strikers

I used to think of strikes in the Norma Rae-industrial sense. It's interesting to note that writers strike too--and encouraging, considering writers tend to be the least appreciated professionals in most productions. Kudos to the striking writers who fight for fair pay!

Hollywood Writers Go On Strike After Talks Fail

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Noisy pickets appeared outside the "Today" show set on Monday as a strike by film and television writers got under way.


Writers' demands for a bigger slice of DVD profits and revenue from the distribution of films and TV shows over the Internet has been a key issue.


The strike is the first walkout by writers since 1988. That work stoppage lasted 22 weeks and cost the industry more than $500 million.


A giant, inflated rat was displayed Monday morning near the NBC studios as about 40 people in Rockefeller Center shouted, "No contract, no shows!"


Read the rest of the article here.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Come Hear the Voice of Portland Women Writers


***Kristin Thiel, one of Indigo's own editors has been featured in an upcoming anthology of Portland women's writing, VoiceCatcher. Congratulations to Kristin!***

The second edition of VoiceCatcher, an anthology of Portland Women's Writing, will be available online and in local bookstores (Powell's, et al) on November 5th. VoiceCatcher presents prose and poetry by award-winning and emerging women writers. VoiceCatcher grew out of a community of women writers and is an offering to the wider community of readers. For more information, email us at editors@pdxwomenwriters.com.

Reading Events

November 7th
7pm @ In Other Words Bookstore
(8 NE Killingsworth St)

November 27th
7:30 pm @ the Downtown Powell’s City of Books
(1005 W Burnside)

Each reading will highlight the work of 6 contributing authors – please come join us in celebrating these local artists!


More readings will come! Kristin's reading is yet unscheduled, but we'll post it as soon as we know the details so you join us in applauding her talent.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Call for Submissions--fiction, nonfiction, artwork

The Autumn 2007 issue if the Ink-Filled Page is now available for free download at http://www.indigoediting.com/ under the Ink-Filled Page tab. Thanks to all our talented contributors!

It's also time to submit your talent for the Winter 2007 issue!


Literary Submissions:

Fiction submissions can be short stories or novel excerpts, and the nonfiction section is open to personal narratives and essays. While all genres are welcome, special interests include travel, multicultural themes, feminism, and magical realism.

Limit submissions to 5,000 words, one submission per candidate. Authors who submit more than one piece will not be considered. All submissions must be in Times New Roman, 12-point font, and double-spaced. Name, contact information, title, and word count should be at the top of the first page.


Artwork submissions:

Artwork submissions are open to all mediums, but pieces must be submitted electronically. Winning pieces are selected based on composition and originality. We are looking for pieces that highlight the human experience—show us the good or the bad, be surreal or real, but make sure that whatever you submit connects us, human to human.

Limit three submissions per candidate. Artists who submit more than three pieces will not be considered. Submit digital artwork at 300 dpi or higher.

Selected authors and artists earn publication and will receive a complimentary copy of the annual anthology. Authors will also receive professional editing services on the selected story. All work must be original and unpublished. By submitting your work to the Ink-Filled Page, you are offering first online and North American print publication rights. Rights revert to authors and artists after publication.

E-mail all submissions to inkfilledpage@indigoediting.com with a 100-word bio and "Fiction Submission," "Nonfiction Submission," or "Artwork Submission" in the subject bar by Friday, November 30.

View the most recent issue of the Ink-Filled Page at http://www.indigoediting.com/ under the Ink-Filled Page tab.