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Lemony Snicket, photo: Meredith Heuer

Daniel Handler is the author of the novels We Are PiratesThe Basic Eight, Watch Your Mouth, Adverbs, and Why We Broke Up, a 2012 Michael L. Printz Honor Book. As Lemony Snicket, he is responsible for many books for children, including the thirteen-volume sequence A Series of Unfortunate Events and the four-book series All the Wrong Questions. He is married to the illustrator Lisa Brown, and lives with her and their son in San Francisco. His most recent novel is All the Dirty Parts. You can catch him at Wordstock, or at the pre-festival variety show on Nov. 10th.

What books are on your nightstand? 

Our Dead World by Liliana Colanzi, translated by Jessica Sequeira,  Something Sinister by Hayan Charara,  and Theft by Finding, David Sedaris's diaries.

What authors, films, music, illustrators inspire you? 

Lately?  Novels by Junichiro Tanizaki, poems by Morgan Parker, Duke Ellington's Latin American Suite, rewatching Twin Peaks with my wife, and the odd tones of Beaks Plinth.

What’s the most exciting part of the work you do?

All of it is exciting. Right now I am on the road talking about my new books, and occasionally jotting some notes in the very beginning phases of thinking about a new novel.  I am meeting people who are saying interesting things about my work, and I am staring into space where the beginning of a story is maybe, maybe appearing.

What are you looking forward to at Wordstock 2017?

I'm hoping to catch Kaveh Akbar — his poetry is very exciting to me.  But I like the serendipity of a festival.  You wander around and before you know it you are hearing words you never thought you would encounter.

Liz Crain by Malte Jager

Liz Crain is the co-author of the Toro Bravo cookbook and author of Food Lover’s Guide to Portland and Grow Your Own: Understanding, Cultivating, and Enjoying Cannabis. She is a cofounder of the annual Portland Fermentation Festival. Her most recent work is Hello! My Name is Tasty.  Catch her at Wordstock at A Literary Dinner Party.

What books are on your nightstand?

Fasting and Feasting: The Life of Visionary Food Writer Patience Gray by Adam Federman which will be published this fall. The book's publisher, Chelsea Green, sent me a copy and I've been really enjoying getting to know more about this rest-in-peace British food and travel writer born in 1917. Patience is known among other things for her love of foraging, her fierce independence and for living the last 30 years of her life in a remote area of southern Italy with her Belgian sculptor husband, Norman Mommans. They had no electricity, modern plumbing or even a telephone.

I'm about to start the debut novel Marlena by Julie Buntin. My friend Jess and I just started a book club of two. I've never been in a book club because I find the larger groups with several members challenging and just not for me. She and I are going to take turns choosing a book by a woman writer every month and then when we meet up to discuss the book at the end of the month we'll meet somewhere for  food and drink that the narrative somehow inspires. I also always have a bunch of cookbooks and magazines that I subscribe to around that I'm reading — Food & Wine, The Believer (it's back!), The Sun, and Koreatown: A Cookbook.

 What's the most exciting part of what you do?

 All of my writing projects are passion projects so choosing what's next is always a rush. I had three books come out over the course of three months this summer so I was pretty dang busy. Too busy to give much thought to what next. Now that those launches have all passed and those books are out in the world I'm getting energized about what next. The ideas sticking at the moment are a cookbook on pressure cooking, a hard cider book, a cookbook for Shalom Y'all and finishing (finally!) my novel.

 What are you looking forward to at Wordstock (at the Festival, pop-ups, and/or Lit Crawl events)?

I'm really looking forward to the Literary Dinner Party panel that I'm on, of course, but also to hanging out with my boss and dear friend Rhonda Hughes and talking with folks and selling books at the Hawthorne Books table. I've worked there as an editor and publicity director since 2009. I always really enjoy visiting with friends at various publishing houses that I love, particularly Sasquatch Books, Tin House and Catapult/Counterpoint/Soft Skull. Julie Buntin, the author of Marlena, is going to be at Wordstock this year. I really hope I get to attend the panel that's she's doing with my friend Rachel Khong who edited Toro Bravo and also has a debut novel out that I loved — Goodbye, Vitamin.

Will you give us some  food/restaurant recommendations in Portland?

I actually wrote about that last year for Wordstock. One spot that I love that got cut off from that list is Maurice.  Oh and I'll also add that the previous location of Pollo Bravo is now Shalom Y'all which I also highly recommend. 

Elly Blue photo by Amanda Lucier

Elly Blue is a writer and bicycle activist. Her previous books include Everyday Bicycling, Bikenomics, Pedal Zombies, and more. She tours annually with the Dinner and Bikes program that she co-founded, and is co-producer and director of Groundswell, a series of movies about people using bicycling to make their communities better. She is co-owner and marketing director at Microcosm Publishing. Catch her pop-up talk with Cynthia Marts at Wordstock.

What books are on your nightstand?

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben -- the coolest, kookiest, most wonderfully sensitive book about nature and empathy; How to Relax by Thich Nhat Hanh, because I often struggle with this basic life skill; my journal; oh, and Dog Boy by Eva Hornung, which I just bought from Fred Nemo at Black Hat Books. He recommended it to me on the condition that I not read the blurbs before finishing the book, and taped over them to make sure I wasn't tempted.

What authors inspire you?

Rebecca Solnit has a voice and scope that is aspirational for me as a nonfiction writer. As for fiction, the most recent novel I loved was Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie -- it reads like having a deep conversation with a brilliant friend about race, class, countries, and of course hair... but every time you come up for air you realize she's casually doing these incredible literary feats on every page.

What’s the most exciting part of the work you do?

In my publishing work, it's helping authors find their voices and connect with readers. As a writer and editor, producing feminist bicycle science fiction anthologies like Biketopia is especially satisfying. So much of our experience of the world is stories, whether it's the ones we're told on the news or those we tell each other on social media. Science fiction is so powerful because it lets us really push the limits of our imagination in ways that can liberate us from some of the thinking traps in everyday life. If we can imagine a world where we're more free, then it's easier to find the choices and paths that make us actually more free.

What are you looking forward to at Wordstock 2017?

I'll be spending most of my time behind the Microcosm table in the exhibit area, talking about books with people who love books, and that's one of my favorite things to do.

Any tips for biking to Wordstock and/or around Portland?

Yes! I find driving and parking downtown super stressful, but biking is relatively easy.  If you don't have a bicycle, the orange Biketown ones can get you there from anywhere central.  My main advice for biking downtown is to take the lane—that means, ride right in the middle of the rightmost lane that doesn't have train tracks in it. Since the lights are timed to encourage everyone to go about 10 miles per hour, you'll be going pretty much the same speed as car traffic and there's no reason to put yourself in the car door zone off to the right.

12-year-old Sunny is taunted by classmates for looking different (her pale skin, yellow hair, and hazel eyes mixed with West African features cause her to stand out) and for being from a different place (New York-born to Nigerian parents, her family has moved back to West Africa… but neither country feels completely like home). In Akata Witch, Sunny discovered that she was one of the Leopard People -- those with magical abilities -- who live among regular folk. She and three friends used their powers to catch a ruthless serial killer who planned to awaken a monster fromAkata Warrior the spirit world.

Now she is back, in a sequel filled with African magic that I have long been waiting for: Akata Warrior. Sunny is stronger, a year older, and many years more fierce. She has been hard at work studying with her demanding mentor, Sugar Cream, and working to unlock the secrets that lie within her powerful Nsibidi, or spell book. But time waits for no one, and Sunny must travel through worlds both visible and invisible to find the mysterious town of Osisi -- where she will meet her destiny and fight a looming and apocalyptic battle to save humanity. Maybe it is the way Nnedi Okofore weaves Nigerian folktales into her magic, or how that magic is so seamlessly drawn into modern-day Nigeria -- but you’ll believe this original fantasy world really could exist.


 

I fell in love with Katherine Roy’s first book, Neighborhood Sharks, because it was as informative as it was beautiful -- exploring the lives of great whites that live in the waters of California’s Farallon Islands, its cover blooming with the (watercolor) blood of a seaHow To Be An Elephant lion that met an unfortunate fate.

In her latest book, How to Be An Elephant, the author looks across the globe -- to the extraordinary lives of African Elephants and the unique skills a baby elephant learns as he grows into a majestic adult. Illustrated in lush grays, blues and blush tones, we follow a baby elephant from his birth beneath a star-filled savanna sky and into the welcoming trunks of his mother and aunts. Readers will find out just how a baby elephant takes his first steps, “sees” his world by following his nose, playfully explores, and stays in touch with family members miles away by feeling vibrations through the delicate, padded soles of his feet. This richly-illustrated, scientifically accurate book is a sweet exploration of family, community, and love as one elephant herd marches its way across the savanna.

Drawing on the latest scientific research and her own trip to Kenya, Katherine Roy has done another extraordinary job of bringing a unique animal -- and its pivotal place in our ecosystem -- to life for young readers.

Now that we're leaning into fall, we at the library are anticipating Wordstock: Portland’s Book Festival presented by Bank of America on November 11. What are we looking forward to the most in this confection of literary culture?

  1. Librarians love book people — not sure if that’s out there? The idea of being surrounded by thousands of people who revere reading — well, that’s just our happy place. Then plop the whole festival down in the middle of the Portland Art Museum, a place we don’t get to nearly enough, and there just aren't enough superlatives to describe this bookish perfection.
  2. Nancy Pearl, our guru of all things readers’ advisory (a fancy way of saying "talking to people about books") will be in attendance, plugging her first novel. She’s so famous in library world, there’s even an action figure of her. We hesitate to guess how many Nancy Pearl action figures live on library desks around the country — we suggest the numbers are brobdingnagian. (Oh, we like words, too.)
  3. A lot of us bike to work and have been following Elly Blue since her early days at bikeportland.org. We love what she has to say about feminism and riding, and the positive economics of biking.
  4. A few of us are moderating panels, and youth librarian Tasha says, “I am super stoked about attempting to wrestle my inner fangirl to the ground while moderating a panel of some of my favorite illustrators and authors in an attempt to not have my interaction with the panelists devolve into a repeated refrain of "I love your work, I just love your work, like, I love your work so much. So much."
  5. Everybody has 5 bucks to spend on books; but what books should you buy? With so many inspiring authors, and a bounty of small press booths, it's a difficult decision. Meet up with one of our My Librarian team and get some one-on-one advice about where to spend your Wordstock dollars — we love the effervescent exchange of good reads with book lovers (not sure if we made that clear before?).

Readers, writers and book lovers! Mark your calendars for several of Portland's biggest book events:

Literary Arts' Wordstock: Portland's Book Festival Presented by Bank of America happens on November 11, when a literary who's who of authors will descend on us. Browse books by the authors, and visit Multnomah County Library's booth, where we can give you one-on-one advice about spending your $5.00 book coupon (included in the price of admission) on a title you'll love.

Portland Arts & Lectures author series features such luminaries as George Saunders, Jesmyn Ward and Viet Thanh Nguyen. You can also look forward to Everybody Reads in the new year, when we'll be discussing Mohsin Hamid's Exit West in preparation for the author's visit on April 5th, made possible by Literary Arts. Copies of the book will be made available in February, thanks to the support of The Library Foundation.

But let's face it - Portland's literary landscape is a field of dreams. Search the events calendar for the library’s author talks, book discussions and conversations featuring local writers. If you're a self-published writer yourself and would like library patrons to be able to read your work, check out the Library Writers Project

Happy reading!

 

Literary Arts author list image

Libby is a new way to read and listen to books from Overdrive, and it's available now. 

Getting startedLibby logo

  1. Go to the app store on your Android or iOS device and search for "Libby, by Overdrive Labs". Or, visit the Libby site and be directed from there;
  2. Once you've installed the app, sign in with your library card;
  3. Search, borrow, read and listen, all from within the app.
  4. Here's a handy how-to guide for Libby.

You can click on "Library" or "Shelf" to move back and forth between the collection and your check outs. Click on a title in the Libby catalog, and you'll be able to read a sample so you can decide if you want to borrow the book.

Logging in

Libby lets you to connect to OverDrive with one easy login. You can also add a library card from another library or from a family member so you can have your loans and holds all in one place.

Prefer reading on a Kindle?

You can set Libby up to default to Kindle for e-books and you can download with few clicks.

Downloading

To download books to your device, tap on the cloud icon after you've checked out, and your e-book or downloadable audiobook will be downloaded. When the download is finished, you will see a check. You don't have to figure out which format you should get—the app knows.

New features

Libby has some great features: you can download titles for offline reading or stream them to save space. Libby will bookmark your place, even if you pick up another device to resume reading. You can choose settings for reading at night, and customize your font -- there's even a font to help readers with dyslexia.  If you're happy with the OverDrive App, don't worry. You can continue to use it, or you can install both apps on your device and see which works better.

 

 

 

Read an Ebook Day

Did an e-book save you from boredom at the DMV? Were you snowed in last winter and e-books allowed you to curl up with a good read anyway? Forgot your vacation book on the plane, but were able to get an e-book right away on your phone? 

Share your love for e-books on Read an eBook Day, a celebration of the wonders of reading anytime, anywhere. Celebrate by checking out an e-book from our OverDrive collection. Might we suggest an old favorite or maybe a great book you may have missed from the past few years?

And then share what you love about e-books on social media on September 18 using the hashtag #ebooklove
 

For those of us who love classic literature, Multnomah County Library is a great resource. There are ongoing Classics Pageturners book discussion groups at Hillsdale Library and Hollywood Library, plus a Quarterly Classics group at Capitol Hill Library.  Copies of the books will be available two months in advance of the discussions.  Please call the branch to confirm.  Following that are a series of lists of Western and non-Western literature from every era.

Here are the Classics book group schedules:

Hillsdale Library Classics Pageturners,

Second Saturdays, 3-5 pm

 

September 9, 2017, Sonnets by William Shakespeare. (This is a different edition than the group will read)

 

October 14, 2017, The Nice and the Good, by Iris Murdoch

 

November 11, 2017, It Can't Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis

 

December 9, 2017, Billy Budd and Other Stories, by Herman Melville

 

January 13, 2018, Canterbury Tales, by GeoffreyChaucer

 

February 10, 2017, Cousin Bette, by Honore de Balzac

 

March 10, 2018, The Persians, by Aeschylus

 

April 14, 2018, The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli

 

May 12, 2018, The Early History of Rome, books I-V, by Livy

 

June 9, 2018, The Trial, by Franz Kafka

Hollywood Library Classics Pageturners,

Third Sundays, 2-4 pm

 

September 17, 2017,  Ficciones, by Jorge Luis Borges

 

October 15, 2017, Iphigenia in Aulis and The Trojan Women, by Euripides. (These are different editions than the group will read)

 

November 19, 2017, The Vicar of Wakefield, by Oliver Goldsmith

 

December 17, 2017, The Captain's Daughter and Other Stories, by Alexander Pushkin

 

January 21, 2018, The Heart of the Matter, by Graham Greene

 

February 18, 2018, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, by Matsuo Basho

 

March 18, 2018, The Idiot, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

 

April 15, 2018, The Consolation of Philosophy, by Boethius

 

May 20, 2018, The Analects, by Confucius. (This is a different edition and translation than the group will read)

 

June 17, 2018, The Mill on the Floss, by George Eliot. (This is a different edition than the group will read)

Capitol Hill Library Quarterly Classics

Second Wednesdays, 1:30 pm, October 2017, January, April & July 2018

 

October 11, 2017, One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 

January 10, 2018, Razor's Edge, by Somerset Maugham

 

April 11, 2018, The Golden Notebook, by Doris Lessing

 

July 11, 2018, Native Son, by Richard Wright

 

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