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June 15, 2017

The premise is strictly film noir: Returning from a road trip to Seattle, a high school valedictorian from Oregon — an all-American kid, first-chair trumpet player, a bit tightly wound but, you know, going places — suddenly breaks down in rural Washington, his ’93 Buick reduced to a hunk of immobile metal.

Now, instead of making it home to a graduation party where he plans on losing his virginity with his longtime girlfriend, Lance Hendricks is stranded in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by a small-town cast of drinkers, dreamers and deadbeats.

March 17, 2016

She advocated for reproductive rights; she performed abortions as a doctor; she fell in love with women; she fought for a living wage — and she was born in 1872. 

Marie Equi, a Portland doctor who upended society’s expectations of a turn-of-the-century woman, is the topic of a March 18 talk by San Francisco author Michael Helquist. He wrote her biography, which was published last year through Oregon State University Press.

March 3, 2016

The third annual Wordcrafters Conference returns to Eugene this week.

Wordcrafters aims to provide “writers and readers opportunities to strengthen their craft, deepen their connection with literature and share their knowledge with each other and with future generations.” 

The conference features two days of workshops and on Friday, March 4, bestselling author of Two If by Sea, Jacquelyn Mitchard, speaks at 7 pm in the UO Baker Center downtown, 975 High Street; FREE, wordcraftersineugene.org.

December 17, 2015

The Ghosts Who Travel with Me is a necessary read for all wanderlusting folks of the world. Author Allison Green recounts her story of exploring Brautigan’s route through Idaho from his novel Trout Fishing in America. On her own literary pilgrimage, Green grapples with her deep relation to Brautigan’s writing as a woman, a lesbian and a feminist. She tells of the discoveries in her own life that this literary filter provides her in a voice both poignant and clever. 

December 17, 2015

As a person, Felicia Day has a kind of lovable oddness that translates perfectly onto the page, as exemplified in her memoir, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost). Known best for her appearances in Joss Whedon productions as well as her web series The Guild, Day has written a memoir that is humorous, self-deprecating and strikingly inspirational. The book describes her wayward childhood as a homeschooled oddball who educated herself mostly through reading whatever she could find.

December 17, 2015

A consistent rallying cry among graphic novel enthusiasts is that, with so few new comics aimed at young readers, the art form might not last. 

Happily, a talented team of numerous, all-female funnybook creators is doing its level best to address the problem with the charmingly upbeat Lumberjanes to the Max Edition Vol. 1 (BOOM! Box, $39.99)

October 22, 2015

Bob Suren’s new book, Crate Digger: An Obsession with Punk Records — out now from Portland publishing house Microcosm Publishing —  tells the story of the author’s love affair with punk music. The journey takes Suren from band member to record storeowner, fanzine editor, radio show host and record label founder. 

“For many years I was self-employed,” Suren tells EW, “but for many years punk rock was my boss.”

September 17, 2015

Portland author Patrick deWitt is a pig for romance. 

“I’m an old softy, you know,” deWitt tells EW, “a fool for love and all that; a pig for it.” 

August 6, 2015

Entering into the gloriously tattered tradition of strung-out criminal lit ranging from Hubert Selby’s Last Exit to Brooklyn to Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son, Seattle rocker turned author Danny Bland has written a novel that reads like a beastly scream into the dark mythology of ‘90s Seattle — a gilded wasteland where junkies reared on Iggy and Sabbath turned filthy power chords into gold and cosmonauts of the apocalypse pimped hip to the culture vultures.

June 4, 2015

Jon Krakauer doesn’t start Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town (Doubleday, $28.95) with one of the worst scenes in the book; he eases into it with the police pulling up to tell a young woman named Allison Huguet that her rapist has confessed. 

Only a couple pages later does Krakauer tell of the assault and of Beth Huguet’s horror when her daughter calls her at 4 am gasping with panicked sounds into the phone before screaming, “He’s chasing me! Help me! Save me! Mom!” 

April 30, 2015

When we heard Christian Appy talk about his new book at a Morse Center event on the UO campus last month, we knew American Reckoning was a must read for more understanding of the “Vietnam War and Our National Identity,” as he subtitles it. Appy is a professor of history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the author of two previous books on the Vietnam War.

November 20, 2014

Years before Opportunity Village came to life at the north end of Garfield Street, the idea of a transitional tiny house community was percolating in Andrew Heben’s head. While writing his senior thesis at the University of Cincinnati on the value of tent cities, Heben lived for a month at Camp Take Notice, a forested tent camp in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in which residents were involved in a complex process of self-governance.

September 25, 2014

Four historical narratives, Russian fatalism and strong ties to his family’s pioneering and Native American heritage drive Howard W. Robertson’s newest work, Peculiar Pioneer. He and several other local writers will be reading from their recent work Sunday, Sept. 28, at the inaugural Lane Writer’s Reading Series event.

July 23, 2014

On a summer day, standing with your toes in the sun-warmed sand of an Oregon beach, you’d be hard pressed to look out across the expanse of the Pacific Ocean and feel anything resembling danger. But out in that ocean, where the water turns from glassy green to dark blue, lurks something powerful — and if you listen maybe you can hear it in the roar of the waves. 

May 22, 2014

In a scene about two-thirds of the way through his debut memoir The Wax Bullet War (Ooligan Press. 2014. $16.95), Sean Davis finds himself standing — hungover and “clouded with drugs”— on a stage at Walker Middle School in Salem, Oregon. Davis, who only months before had been critically injured by an IED attack in Iraq, an attack that also claimed the life of his closest friend, is at the school to share some of his experiences, as well as to generate support for the troops who are still deployed. 

April 17, 2014

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp. Fast-forward to 2014, when President Barack Obama signed a Farm Bill into law that relaxed some of the restrictions on growing the crop most likely to have been found on a Deadhead. Michelle Obama won’t be growing hemp in her White House Garden any time soon, but the bill allows research institutions and state departments of agriculture to grow hemp in states where pro-hemp legislation has already been enacted. Oregon is one of those states. 

April 17, 2014

“I couldn’t believe how stupid I was,” writes comedian Moshe Kasher in his new memoir Kasher in the Rye: The True Tale of a White Boy from Oakland Who Became a Drug Addict, Criminal, Mental Patient, and Then Turned 16 (allusions to the Salinger teen-angst classic fully intended). Kasher brings his act to WOW Hall April 17.

“It seemed like, in the face of the most obvious answers in the world,” he continues, “I always chose the dumbest thing to do. It was like I wasn’t in control of my own brain.” 

April 17, 2014

Everyone’s heard of drinking games; they’re old news, man. In this hiptastic new time, with dispensary lines around the corner and even squares lighting up, weed steps closer and closer to social acceptability with each passing year. 

April 10, 2014

In Eugene, we’re used to weird. In some neighborhoods, shooting a politically charged, hardcore punk music video in public would solicit no more than a passing glance. Doing it uninvited in a local church, as Russian feminist performance art collective Pussy Riot did in 2012, might be a trespass leading to a hand-slap, but not much more than a nuisance or prank.

January 2, 2014

There’s a lot of B.S. in Morrissey’s Autobiography (Penguin/Putnam, $30): It’s self-absorbed, self-aggrandizing, self-mythologizing, full of melodramatic humor and humorous melodrama. If The Queen is “the royal we,” then Morrissey is “the royal me.” If this surprises you, I respond: “I see you’re unfamiliar with Morrissey.”  

October 17, 2013

Journalist Robert K. Elder has authored one of those cool, catch-all books about the movies that should appeal to film fans of every stripe and persuasion. The Best Films You’ve Never Seen compiles interviews with directors defending their favorite overlooked or critically dismissed films. Elder, editor-in-chief for Chicago Sun-Times Media Local, calls such films “outcast classics.”

September 19, 2013

The first person who waxed eloquent over Oregon author Brian Doyle’s Mink River (Oregon State University Press, $18.95) was a sportswriter for the Salt Lake Tribune. The second was a lovely woman I met at recent Planned Parenthood fundraiser who had read it with her book club. Doyle’s lovely Pacific Northwest tale with drops of magical realism appeals to people from all walks of life. The author of this novel, which The Oregonian called “shimmering” when it came out in 2010, will be at the downtown Eugene Public Library 2 pm Sunday, Sept.

August 8, 2013

I was definitely a complete nerd. I sat at the lunch table alone and got picked last for P.E., but books saved my life,” says Cidney Swanson, local novelist for young adult audiences and traveling speaker/educator. Swanson will host “Character Building: The Viscera of Young Adult Fiction,” Friday, Aug. 9 as part of Wordcrafters in Eugene’s ongoing program to teach the essentials of fiction writing.

July 25, 2013

Living in seemingly effortless harmony, a Marin County, Calif., couple and their three children are in for a rude awakening. Is an untold truth a lie? Mermaid Drowning (Autumn Moon Books, 355 pages. $14.99) is the story of a secret that shouldn’t matter — but does.

Equally sentimental and riveting, the appropriately titled novel, which could easily be the love child of Danielle Steel and Stieg Larsson, is in fact penned by Eugene husband-and-wife author team Terry and Tiffany Jacobs.