We have Rose, our unreliable narrator—and who doesn’t love an unreliable narrator—and Odalie. Both are typists for the New York Police Department in the 1920s and both are keeping secrets. Surely one of these fine ladies must be genuine...
I never planned to Like the Grateful Dead.
Shaped by easy punchlines, alarmist tales of parking lot antics via local news outlets and teenage stubbornness, I used to think of the Dead and their followers as a sea of tie dyed drifters. However, both times and I have changed.
Luckily, no miracles are required to get your Dead fix at Multnomah County Library. A library card is the only ticket required. Hoopla, available with a Library card has 120+ streaming Dead albums including numerous live shows. Looking for the complete studio recordings? The extensive collections The Golden Road and Beyond Description have you covered in two box sets. Additional live sets and exhaustive books are also available. Check them out here.
If that’s not enough, the Grateful Dead Archive at The University of Santa Cruz has what you need. This growing archive is “a socially constructed collection comprised of over 45,000 digitized items drawn from the UCSC Library’s extensive Grateful Dead Archive (GDA) and from digital content submitted by the community and global network of Grateful Dead fans”.
Is there tie dye tinged light at the end of this tunnel? Perhaps, but I’ll pass for now...
Wanting to add to your cocktail expertise? Or maybe you are interested in the history of spirited beverages? Perhaps you just wonder what your literary hero drank? If you said yes to any of these questions then I have the list for you. My coworker Jeanne has been studying cocktail and spirited beverage history for awhile now, and she gathered together this list of wonderful books for you.
Lately I’ve been obsessed with Coco Chanel. This is thanks in part to my own couturier aspirations (Is there life beyond pajamas?) and to a new novel I recently read by C.W. Gortner, a writer of historical fiction who has conceptualized the lives of many historical figures including Catherine de Medici, Elizabeth the First and Isabella of Castille. In Mademoiselle Chanel, Gortner sets his sights on Gabrielle Chanel, the self-taught seamstress from a small town in France who became a cultural icon.
Coco’s life was not without controversy. During World War II and the Nazi occupation of Paris, Chanel closed her shops. She moved into the Ritz Hotel, began a romantic liaison with a German officer and became involved in military intelligence. After the war she spent nine years in Switzerland, hoping to escape the memory of her wartime activities. She returned to France in 1953, re-entered the fashion world, and continued to work on her collections until her death in 1971.
As a designer Coco Chanel left behind a lasting legacy. She had the courage to challenge the fashion rules of the day and create clothes for women to live in. Her fluid jersey garments and famed tweed suits combine style with practicality and freedom of movement. Her little black dress was simple yet fashionable and her signature scent Number Five was designed to embody the liberated woman.
Chanel the company still maintains a boutique in Paris at 31 rue Cambon, the same building acquired by Coco in 1918. Despite her checkered wartime history Coco Chanel’s accomplishments and ambitions are unparalleled. She went from poor orphan to global icon and along the way changed the way women saw themselves and lived. She is considered by many to be the most important fashion designer of the twentieth century. And by the way, Chanel is also known for her pajama designs. They are elegant, sophisticated, and very chic. Much like Coco herself.
Two excellent novels published in 2014 are set in 17th century Amsterdam. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton follows the first months of Nella Oortman's marriage to Johannes Brandt, a wealthy merchant who is rarely around. He pays scant attention to her when she arrives at his home in Amsterdam after a very brief marriage ceremony months earlier in her own town. Weeks after her arrival, Nella is still waiting for Johannes to come to the marriage bed. Roaming around a big house with two servants and her dour sister-in-law and only rarely seeing her husband is not how she thought marriage would be. In order to make up for his inattention, Johannes purchases a wildly expensive dollhouse, or cabinet, for Nella to furnish that is an exact miniature replica of their home. When the furniture and dolls begin arriving from the miniaturist, Nella becomes intrigued (and slightly concerned). The miniaturist sends objects that Nella has not requested and seems to know things that only someone living in the merchant's house would know!
For more books - both fiction and non-fiction - about the Netherlands, check out this list.
Each year at Multnomah County Library, staff members volunteer to participate in a “best books of the year” forum where they inform staff and patrons about their favorite works within a particular genre. For 2014, I was privileged to be one of the reviewers for science fiction. Many years ago I read a great deal of SF, but graduate school and professional obligations kept me from reading as much as I wanted until very recently, so for me, it was a real treat to reacquaint myself with what was new in the genre.
I also discovered that finding a science fiction book not part of a series is nearly impossible. I can understand the reasons for this. First,
So, overall, I’ve been very happy to reacquaint myself with a genre that meant a lot to me for a long time. I’ve already volunteered to read for the 2015 “best books” forum, so my exploration shall continue. I’m sure I will continue to be surprised.
Reading a mystery by Kate Atkinson is like following that advice in reverse. First, she dumps the pieces of her stories in a big, dramatic heap: murders, kidnappings, mistaken identity, loyalty, country music, lost dogs, little sisters, misunderstood characters. Then, slowly, she turns over the pieces one by one and fits them together until the whole picture begins to emerge. Private detective Jackson Brody is a major piece in that picture. However, until the frame is in place and the picture is clear and bright, the reader isn’t quite sure. Brody seems to be the hero, but….sometimes he seems to be the problem too.
Then she gives the reader side pieces that begin to put together the frame. Here is a train wreck that brings several characters of the story together; here is a dog that Brody rescues and then finds his owner was a mafia thug; here is a retired police detective who spontaneously steals a child and doesn’t know what to do with her. Closer and closer we get, piece by piece the picture becomes sharper, the colors fit together- and out pops the picture- in a way that could never be seen at the beginning.
One more thing about putting a puzzle together with my great grandpa is this: My great grandma always snuck a few pieces out and hid them in her apron pocket. Kate Atkinson does that too. The pieces that are missing belong to Jackson Brody’s own personal puzzle. When will she put them in place? I can’t wait for her next book- maybe it will be the one that finally puts the whole puzzle of his past together.
The setting is the worst neighborhood in London: St. Giles and the orphanage that Temperance Dews runs with her brother. Lord Caire needs a guide to help him solve a mystery in the neighborhood. Temperance needs money and a sponsor for the orphanage. A deal between the two is struck. Inquiring minds want to know can Lord Caire and Temperance forgo the attraction that is brewing? You’ll have to read it and find out!
I made a list called Good Reads in Historical romance with Wicked Intentions the first in the Maiden Lane series and historical romance titles that cover 1714-1901. Hope you find the list swoon worthy.
Sharon Harmon is the director of the Oregon Humane Society. An integral part of her work is to advance animal welfare through leadership, education, advocacy and project development. While not working or enjoying the company of her pets, she reads. Here are some of her favorites:
As the seasons change, so do the books that occupy a portion of my coffee table. Although most of its surface is covered by a large and eternally bored cat who delights in shoving things over the edge to get my attention, these volumes survive his commentary on my literary choices.
I was fascinated with Dan Pallotta's TEDtalk on the restraints put on nonprofits so I picked up his book Uncharitable. Nonprofits are often judged by the balance of expense spent on administration and fundraising whereas similar expenses in for-profit businesses are viewed as smart investments. Thought-provoking -- I momentarily envisioned changing my title to Chief Executive Overhead but decided to stay employed...
Adam Braun’s book, The Promise of a Pencil tells the tale of his entrepreneurial approach to founding an organization dedicated to building schools, and along the way, the human potential of communities in some of the most impoverished places in the world. He suggests eliminating the term 'nonprofit' and substituting 'for-purpose', because any charity worth supporting always has a purpose and can't bleed red ink endlessly to achieve it.
Rounding out the business books is Steven M.R. Covey's The Speed of Trust. In these days of multipage contracts attached to almost every deal, this is a refreshing reminder that exhaustion at the end of a negotiation likely stems from starting from a position of distrust. I think if this book could required reading there would be a lot less need for legal counsel. Not that I have anything against attorneys; I would just rather spay a bunch of cats than pay for an 18 page contract review.
When not at my desk, you are likely to find me in my four season garden, watching birds, hiking, fishing and this time of year, mushroom hunting.
Looking for mushrooms is both meditative and an endurance exercise. The steep, remote portions of the Cascades are full of edible funghi. That means that at the end of the day you have some outstanding ingredients for dinner and you've gotten a workout while focusing on a small plot of ground at your feet. Chances are you will see something new every time you go, perhaps a new flower or a millipede or a cast-off feather. David Aurora’s Mushrooms Demystified is a constant companion on these foraging forays into the wild lands. Better safe than waiting for a liver transplant.
While Tyler the cat rules the coffee table, my German Shepherds Sunny and Mac are my constant companions, whether attending endless meetings at work, running amok while mushroom hunting or guarding the house from unknown things that go bump, or not, in the night. Did I fall in love with the breed watching Rin Tin Tin reruns on TV? Maybe it happened after reading local writer Susan Orlean's Rin Tin Tin: The life and the legend. It's a great story about a great dog(s) and the bond between people and the canine heroes in our world.
This last book is one where I have the first copy I read but have given away many others. Cheryl Strayed's Wild: From lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail speaks to me on so many levels. She is one tough woman and I loved following her personal journey while visiting many of the places I've been or would like to visit. Oregonians writing about place while showing reverence for the wild lands will always have a place in my heart, and my coffee table, if the cat agrees.
My Librarian and our featured guest readers are made possible by a grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to The Library Foundation, a local non-profit dedicated to our library's leadership, innovation, and reach through private support.
I’m a flighty and unfaithful reader. I can’t resist the call of a buzzy debut novel or the allure of reading a book set in a country I’m unfamiliar with. This means that all too often, it takes me years to get around to reading award winning books that I know I’ll probably like. When it comes to reading, I nearly always prefer to roll the dice than spend my time on a sure thing.
In contrast, J. Maarten Troost writes books that are anything but quiet. He’s fiercely smart and just as fiercely funny. In describing his adventures overseas, Troost offers a perfect balance of earnest curiosity, historical context, and sardonic wit. Whether living as a slacker on an atoll in the South Pacific or traipsing through China, I’ll follow him anywhere. I’ll even tag along through his new found sobriety because, while I did have my doubts, it turns out he’s still funny off the kava.
If you’re looking for quiet reflection and history, try Gail Tsukiyama. Start with The Samurai’s Garden, or jump in anywhere. Feeling more boisterous? Check out The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost. Or maybe you feel like rolling the dice on something unknown? In that case, just ask me.
I thought about making preserved lemons for years before I actually did it. You have to pack them into jars, then let them sit and ferment for weeks before you can cook with them. Who plans like that?
I do, now. Once I made them, using Eugenia Bone’s recipe from the book Well Preserved, I found that I can’t live without them, especially after I discovered this kale Caesar salad. Sadly, I do think you have to make your own. I bought a couple of different brands from my favorite Middle Eastern market, and the purchased ones tasted like a cleaning product.
You can find a recipe for the lemons here , but do take a look at the book. Bone has ideas for lots of very special things to preserve in small batches, perfect for a novice or an experienced canner, including some things that would make nice holiday gifts.
Terminal City! Vansterdam! Saltwater City! No Fun City! Hollywood North!
Aka... Vancouver, British Columbia! I had the privilege to visit this fair metropolis a couple months ago, and it was a ball. It’s similar to Portland in a lot of ways (there’s a Vancouver bar called Portland Craft, “inspired by the Portland food scene”) and different in a lot of ways, too (Vancouver has roughly the same population as Portland, but it’s about three times as dense). I discovered, among many other things, that Vancouverites like to light off fireworks on Halloween, and that combining a video arcade with a retro-XXX peep show is apparently something that can happen and then exist for 40+ years.
Before I went on my trip, I did what I always do whenever starting something new: I check out every single library item that exists on the subject. Here’s my list of some of the best books to learn about that city and its citizens. Did I miss anything? Let me know!
Racing through a dark and stormy night with her daughter and bloodied husband, Hannah Wilde has strong opinions on that question. Their neverending search for refuge is fueled by more than the will to survive. Armed with a stack of diaries passed down through four generations and a few questionable allies, she must put an end to a century long pursuit or forever rest in peace.
The String Diaries is a page turning, horror tinged thriller. It’s the intriguing tale of one man’s unsettling obsession with the unattainable.
Check it out!
Genealogists will often go pretty far out of their way to track down obituaries and funeral notices. And with good reason! An average, non-fancy funeral notice often reveals the names of family members, the place of burial or interment, the deceased’s home address, and other details crucial to family history research. But they can be a challenge to find.
Despite its name, the Oregonian is a local paper and it focuses on readers in the Portland area. So for the most part, it does not include obituaries for Oregonians from other parts of our very large state.
Whose obituaries can you expect to find in the Oregonian?
However, these notices often have the feel of straight news, rather than obituary. For example, the day after former Oregon senator and long-time Eugenian Wayne Morse died in 1974, the Oregonian ran a full-page-width headline at the very tippy-top of page one (at left).
Are you ready to start searching for an obituary or death notice in the Oregonian?
If you think your ancestor's obituary or death/funeral notice is likely to be in the Oregonian, you can get started by searching for their name in the library's Historical Oregonian (1861-1987). (To use this resource from outside the library, you'll need to log in with your library card number and password.)
If this resource is new to you, take a look at my tips for searching, or ask the librarian on duty the next time you're in the library in person. Remember, if you don't find an obituary, death notice, or funeral notice that you think really ought to have been in the Oregonian, librarians can always help you think of other ways to search. Get in touch with a librarian for personalized help with your research!
When should you look somewhere other than the Oregonian?
Are you looking for an obituary for a Portland resident, but can’t find it in the Oregonian? Portland has had many other daily and weekly newspapers that ran obituaries over the years. Central Library has long archives of many of these papers for your researching pleasure! If you want to begin your research on your own, take a look at Research with historical Portland newspapers, beyond the Oregonian. If you’d like a hand getting started, ask the librarian on duty in Central Library’s Periodicals room (on the second floor), or contact us to get personalized help from a librarian by phone or email.
If you've done all that great newspaper research but you're not finding an obituary for a Portland ancestor, you might want to try another tack. Take a look at my post Can't find that Portland obituary? Try the Ledger Index instead -- it talks about using an early and surprisingly detailed death index to learn details about a deceased person when there isn't an obituary available.
Did the person you’re researching reside in St. Johns or Gresham? Try looking for a funeral notice or obituary in their local paper. The St. Johns Review had really lovely, robust obituaries in its early years, and most issues of the Review from 1904-1922 are fully searchable in the University of Oregon Libraries’ wonderful Historic Oregon Newspapers database. Multnomah County's own Gresham Library has an archive of the Gresham Outlook going back to 1911; librarians there can help you search, or you can get help from a librarian by phone or email.
If the deceased person you’re looking for lived outside the Portland area (even if they died in Portland or in Multnomah County), look for an obituary or death notice in their hometown paper.
If you’re not sure what the name of that newspaper was, or even if there was a newspaper in print at the time, the next step is to ask the public library in the town where the deceased person resided. Oregon public libraries of all sizes are listed in the Oregon Library Directory. If you need to find a public library in a town outside Oregon, ask us for help the next time you’re at the library, or ask a librarian by phone or email!
Do you want to learn more about family history research with obituaries? My colleague Kate S. walks you through some of the basics in her post on Obituaries 101.
Or, call or email a librarian to get personalized help with your obituaries-related questions. If you’d rather have face-to-face help, ask the librarian on duty the next time you visit the library. We're always happy to help!
So, about 30 years ago, part of the southern coast disappeared behind a barrier of unknown origin. A series of expeditions has been mounted to try to understand Area X, as it’s called, but they’ve been less than successful - one ended in mass killing, while the members of another returned as blank shells of their former selves who soon died of cancer. The area seems to be purifying itself of any human influence - all chemical and environmental pollution is gone and the natural world has begun to flourish, along with some unusual new, um… additions.
This is the story of the twelfth expedition, composed of four women known only by their functions: the psychologist, the anthropologist, the surveyor and the biologist (a steely introvert who’s our main character). This perplexing and beautiful novel takes a science fiction premise, a dose of spy fiction, a bit of creepy horror, and infuses it all with a naturalist’s sensibility. It’s SF glimpsed through the field glasses of Muir or Darwin, full of evocative descriptions of birds and trees, water and wind - far removed from the cold vacuum of space opera or the brutalist cityscapes beloved of the cyberpunks and dystopians. If you like genre-bending, unusual fiction that’s very well-written, give this a try. And for more so-called “New Weird” authors and influences, try this list.
Needless to say, this experience did not turn me into much of a hiker or backpacker!
That being said, I love the idea of long-distance walking and I enjoy reading about other people’s adventures! Wild, Cheryl Strayed’s wildly successful account of her 1,100-mile trek on the Pacific Crest Trail, is coming to the big screen this week. If either the book or the film inspire you to take off on an adventure of your own, we can help you plan and enjoy your armchair backpacking and your actual backpacking.
Craigslist is a popular online tool for job searching. Because it’s open to anyone, be careful to avoid scams!
Here’s how to search, but keep in mind that services like this change all the time, so it might look different when you try these steps.
Start at Craigslist.
Choose Portland for Portland and the Portland metro area (Beaverton, Gresham, Troutdale, etcetera. Vancouver, WA is listed in a separate category.)
Click post to classifieds.
Choose type of posting, category, and location.
You have to fill out these fields to continue:
Email: CL mail relay is a way to send and receive emails without you or the sender giving out your email address. Learn more here.
Posting title: The title should describe what you’re selling.
Postal code: Your zip code
Posting body: Describe what you are selling. Do not include your phone number.
Show on maps
Check this and complete the information you want to share in order to show up in Craigslist’s map based search. You can enter your street and cross street, or just the city and state.
Click to continue.
You can add images to your post. Click edit images, then Add images and choose a photo from your files. The photo has to have been saved on your computer.
Once your photo is uploaded, click done with images to go back to your post.
Need help? Try this.
On the next page, you can choose to edit anything that needs to be changed, or click the publish button to publish.
Your post is not published yet.
Open the email you get from Craigslist and click the publish link.
If you notice that something is wrong with your ad, you can choose the edit link.
Verify your email address.
Keep this email so that you can edit or delete your ad later.
It will take about 15 minutes for your post to appear on Craigslist.
- America's Obituaries and Death Notices: Includes obituaries and death notices from a selection of newspapers from across the United States. It’s most useful for more recent obituaries and death notices, though some sources go back to the late 1980s, beyond what a web-based search can do.
- The Oregonian Historical (1861-1987) and The Oregonian (1987-present): Both sources have local obituaries and death notices that combine to cover the time period 1861 to today.
- Historic Oregon Newspapers: Digital scans of newspapers from around Oregon from as early as 1840 through 1922. Many of these newspapers are from small towns and new titles are being added every year.
- Chronicling America: An archive of selected newspapers from many states, covering the years 1836-1922. Check out our blog post about this great resource, Chronicling America: Newspapers from 1836-1922.
- New York Times Historical (1851-2009) and New York Times (1980-present): These two resources cover the dates 1851 to the present and are good sources for obituaries of people of national and international prominence.
- Los Angeles Times: Full text of the Los Angeles Times newspaper from 1985 to today’s newspaper.
- NewsBank America's News: Like Newspaper Source, this contains selected newspapers from across the country. A good source for regional and small newspapers, though we may only have access to a limited date range.
- Newspaper Source: Like NewsBank, this contains a range of newspapers from across the country as well as a handful of international sources. This is a good source for regional and small newspapers, though we may only have access to a limited date range.
We love to help with your genealogy, house history, missing person, and all other types of research. If you get stuck or just want some help getting started, please contact us! Come to any branch in person or Ask the Librarian!
Take Sherlock Holmes, for instance. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle felt the detective kept him from doing better things. 'What better things can there be?' his readers cried.
Henning Mankell gave his long suffering detective Kurt Wallander a fairy tale ending, with a dog, a house by the beach and his grandson to play with. And then -- Alzheimers. Nice... However, pressure from his readers prompted him to write An Event in Autumn which takes us into new territory. It is based on Mankell's short story, Händelse om hösten. It contains a very sad sentence: ‘There are no more stories about Kurt Wallander’
Agatha Christie finished her detective Her Poirot by having him kill a physcho killer, then himself. No resurrection there. Poirot passes away from complications of a heart condition at the end of Curtain: Poirot's Last Case.
As for Andrea Camilleri, creator of the popular Italian detective Montalbano a series of 17 books, several collections of short stories and a multi -episode TV series, he says this about his brawny, intuitive hero, "I finished him off five years ago. That's to say, the final novel in the series of Montalbano is already written and deposited at the publishing house...in that last book he’s really finished.”
As an enthusiastic reader of all these detectives, I hate to think that they are really 'finished'. Maybe they are just hiding on a shelf somewhere waiting to be ressurected in a new writer's imagination.