Thursday, September 11, 2014

Book Beginning: Food Lover's Guide to Portland, 2nd Edition, by Liz Crain


THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book  Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING



MY BOOK BEGINNING



I moved to Portland in 2002 with a small amount of money and a big appetite.

– from the author's Introduction to Food Lover's Guide to Portland, 2nd Edition, by Liz Crain.

Before researching and writing this book, I knew that Portland was blessed by bread – I just didn't know how blessed.

– from the first chapter, Bakeries.

Food Lover's Guide to Portland is the indispensable guide the producers and purveyors who make Portland such a foodie Mecca. Crain's updated directory of bakeries, cheese makers and mongers, chocolatiers, ethnic markets, brewers, coffee roasters, distillers, cooking classes, farmers markets, and much, much more is a must have for locals and visitors alike. The new edition features over 20 new full-length listings, 150 new businesses, and special sections on Portland's food carts and Hispanic markets.

You can order directly from Hawthorne Books, where regular shipping is free, or from Powell's Books, where they may have signed editions available.

Here is my review of the original edition of Food Lover's Guide to Portland, and my original author interview of Liz Crain.


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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Author Interview: Susan Winkler


Susan Winkler had the enviable job of writing, and updating, The Paris Shopping Companion: A Personal Guide to Shopping in Paris for Every Pocketbook. How great would that be?

Now, expanding on her Francophile sensibilities and drawing on a little family history, Susan has written a captivating novel about love and art and Paris and Nazis.  With war-torn lovers, a family saga plot, and a stolen Matisse, Portrait of a Woman in White is a terrific historical novel.  Each copy should come with a "Perfect for Book Club" sticker on the cover!


The is a busy week for Susan, with the official launch of Portrait today, at Powell's City of Books in Portland (see details below).  But Susan was gracious enough to answer some questions for Rose City Reader.

What is your background? How did it lead you to write Portrait of a Woman in White?

I fell in love with France when I saw the movie Gigi as a young girl. I studied french literature in college and in grad school, and in Paris, then worked as a journalist in New York and for The Oregonian. I was very fortunate to be asked to write a guidebook to Paris (The Paris Shopping Companion) which required regular updates that allowed me to travel to and explore my favorite city ever since.

Years before writing this novel, I had read a groundbreaking expose about how the Nazi's looted art from French collections during WW2 (The Lost Museum by Hector Feliciano) and I wanted to illustrate that history as fiction . . . the story of a single made-up family and what could have happened to them. But I was busy with the Paris guidebooks. One day I heard a moving memoir told by an old woman about having to leave her first young love in Europe when her family escaped to America during WW2. These threads of tales I found intriguing wove together to become my story.

What did you learn from writing your book – either about the subject of the book or the writing process – that most surprised you?

I had never written fiction, and I knew that I would have to come up with characters, dialogue and a lot more plot. So I started by reading all I could about Nazis and their art looting, figuring I would need very bit of that information to carry my story. What I didn't realize was that my fictional family would develop lives and relationships of their own and become even more interesting than those notorious Nazis. The fictional characters turned out to be the "real" characters who drive the book.

Who are your three (or four or five) favorite authors? Is your own writing influenced by who you read? What are you reading now?

Most fiction I read is set in Europe, and I always look for something that will teach me about good writing. Currently I'm reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, a great sensually descriptive book. I just read Kate Atkinson's Life After Life, which has a special writerly interest in the way it plays with plot. I loved The Goldfinch (Donna Tartt), mostly because of a character, and everything by Eric Maria Remarque, the German WW1 writer because he has a way with dialogue. The Great Gatsby, while set in America, is a fave because of point-of-view and simply great writing.

What kind of books do you like to read? Do you have a favorite genre? And guilty pleasures?

I don't read much genre fiction. I download "samples"of new books on my kindle to read for style, and keep up with short stories in The New Yorker.

What is the most valuable advice you’ve been given as an author?

By far the most valuable advice was given to me at a New Year's Day party shortly after I got my first book contract (for The Paris Shopping Companion). It was simple: Get a daily writing schedule on your calendar a month in advance, and keep to it. That solves half the problem. It's been my New Year's resolution ever since.

What is the best thing about being a writer?

Once you are far enough into your work, it can provide endless fascination. You are trying to solve a huge puzzle: to create an entire intricate world that works in the end, like the mechanism of an old clock.

What do you do to promote your books? Do you use social networking sites or other internet resources?

I have a publicist, Mary Bisbee-Beek, who works wonders. The book has a new Facebook page, and a presence on twitter and pinterest.

Do you have any events coming up to promote Portrait of a Woman in White?

I have a book talk at Powell's Books on Burnside, in Portland tonight, September 10, at 7:30 pm. This is the official book launch and author reading for Portrait of a Woman in White. The event is sponsored by Alliance Française de Portland.

Other events are in the works, including:

  • Book talk at Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA on Saturday, September 13, at 4:00 pm
  • Reading at Beach Books in Seaside, OR on Thursday, October 30, at 11:30 am

What’s next? Are you working on your next book?

Yes, I'm thinking about it. Hmmmm . . . it will take place in France . . .


THANKS SUSAN! PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN IN WHITE IS AVAILABLE AT POWELL'S, ON KINDLE, AND FROM OTHER BOOKSELLERS, OR ASK YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE TO ORDER IT!


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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Portrait of a Woman in White by Susan Winkler




. . . Göring turned back with a swirl of his cape and fixed his piercing blue eyes on Claude. He said, in perfect French, "Normally, I look for Renaissance painters and the Dutch school, but here in Paris I find I'm attracted to French art, especially the romantiques – the nudes."

-- Portrait of a Woman in White by Susan Winkler, published by She Writes Press, available in paperback and a Kindle edition.

Young lovers are torn apart when Lili Rosenswig flees Paris with her family as the Nazis invade and her husband-to-be stays to defend his country.  When the Nazis loot a Matisse portrait of Lili's mother, art, love, and war are entwined in an enthralling new historical novel.

PORTLAND BOOK EVENT:  Tomorrow, September 10, 2014 at 7:30 PM at Powell's City of Books on Burnside

This is the official book launch and an author reading for Portrait of a Woman in White. The event is sponsored by Alliance Française de Portland. You can pre-order a signed edition on the Powell's website.



Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.


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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Mailbox Monday: Summer Finds


Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday! MM was created by Marcia, who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring event. Mailbox Monday has now returned to its permanent home where you can link to your MM post.

Summer always brings a mixed bag of books. Between garage sales, passing Little Free Libraries while out enjoying the nice weather, socializing with book-loving friends, and my family cleaning house in a burst of back-to-school energy, all kinds of books come into my house in the summer.

These came last week:



The Illustrated Rhododendron: Their Classification Portrayed Through the Artwork of Curtis's Botanical Magazine by Pat Halliday. I found this gorgeous, pristine, coffee table book at an estate sale for only $1! Thereby appealing to the book-, botanical print-, and bargain-lover in me all at the same time.



Just This, tanka by Margaret Chula, from Mountains and Rivers Press. My friend Kirsten Rian gave this to me. It is the latest poetry collection from one of the foremost practitioners of Japanese poetic forms. If it weren't for Kirsten, who among other roles is the Poetry Editor for The Oregonian, I wouldn't read new poetry.



An Expensive Place to Die by Len Deighton. All that art and poetry is fine, but a good, Cold War spy novel always finds a place on my TBR shelf!



An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin. I really enjoyed Shopgirl, so was pleased to find this in one of the half-dozen Little Free Libraries that dot my neighborhood.


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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Book Beginning: Portrait of a Woman in White by Susan Winkler



THANKS FOR JOINING ME ON FRIDAYS FOR BOOK BEGINNING FUN!

Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book  Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNING



MY BOOK BEGINNING



Tomorrow was to have been her wedding day.
They allowed themselves just a few hours before nightfall to pack – a single suitcase for each of them, and only what they could easily carry.

-- Portrait of a Woman in White by Susan Winkler, published by She Writes Press.

When Nazis invade Paris in 1940, lovers are torn apart and a Matisse portrait goes missing. This enthralling story of love, war, and art should be at the top of your Must Read list!

PORTLAND BOOK EVENT:  Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 7:30 PM at Powell's City of Books on Burnside

This is the official book launch and author reading for Portrait of a Woman in White. You can pre-order a signed edition on the Powell's website. The event is sponsored by Alliance Française de Portland.


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