The Best Thing I Read This Year

From memoir to nonfiction to poetry, Portland’s literary community weighs in on the best books of 2013.

My pick—Antidote by Corey Van Landingham—is unabashedly biased. Van Landingham was my student at Lewis & Clark College, and, for me, part of the thrill of reading this book comes from my   More
Tuesday, December 24, 2013 WW Culture Staff

JD Chandler, Hidden History of Portland, Oregon

Localizing Howard Zinn.

JD Chandler’s Hidden History of Portland, Oregon (History Press, 190 pages, $19.99) isn’t the usual cult Portland chronicle of Shanghai Tunnels or tittered-about former brothels. Rather, it�   More
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 MATTHEW KORFHAGE

Mark Russell, God Is Disappointed in You

The gooder news Bible.

In 1966, someone had the radical idea of publishing the Bible in the everyday American language. The translation technique was called “dynamic equivalence,” which holds that good translation   More
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 MARTIN CIZMAR

The Best of McSweeney’s

Eggers’ omelette.

My first encounter with McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern was at Reading Frenzy bookstore in the summer of 1999. The literary journal looked like nothing else. The cover of Issue 3 was filigreed w   More
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 MATTHEW KORFHAGE

Winemakers of the Willamette Valley

More boxed than bottled.

In conversation with Oregon oenophiles, California is a curse word. John Vincent and Vivian Perry capitalize on this fiery state pride with Winemakers of the Willamette Valley: Pioneering Vintners   More
Wednesday, November 13, 2013 ENID SPITZ

Jesmyn Ward, Men We Reaped

A rotten story, told brilliantly.

From the beginning of Men We Reaped (Bloomsbury, 272 pages, $26), Jesmyn Ward makes clear her memoir isn’t going to be an easy ride. By telling her story, she hopes, “I’ll understand why my    More
Wednesday, October 9, 2013 REBECCA JACOBSON

A. Scott Berg, Wilson

Wilson: the last openly racist U.S. president.

Woodrow Wilson’s rise to president of the U.S. was as meteoric and improbable as Barack Obama’s a century later. Within a decade of becoming president of Princeton University, Wilson “left   More
Wednesday, October 2, 2013 MATT BUCKINGHAM

Robert Boswell, Tumbledown

Robert Boswell: 103.

Tumbledown (Graywolf, 429 pages, $26) is a book about shallow love, lust and sex in a mental institution. The plot is a complicated web of love triangles, and by the end you’ll know exactly—   More
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 RICHARD GRUNERT

Danny Bland, In Case We Die

Chokin’ on the ashes of her enemy…

If you were to ask Danny Bland what being a junkie musician in early ’90s Seattle was all about, you’d probably get an earful. Having logged time as the bassist of Cat Butt and the Dwarves,    More
Wednesday, September 4, 2013 PETE COTTELL

Rob Sheffield, Turn Around Bright Eyes

Sing us a song/You’re the writer man!

Karaoke ruined Rob Sheffield’s life, and it’s the best thing that could’ve happened to him.  In 2000, the lanky Rolling Stone writer was a 33-year-old widower living, ominously enough,    More
Wednesday, August 14, 2013 MATTHEW SINGER


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