Remember, we're reading tomorrow!

Or today, if you're reading this via early-morning email.  We're reading Sunday, April 30 from 3-5 at Mother Foucault's Bookshop. 

Bring a book of your own or browse from the shop's own heady selection of titles.  A floor-sitting cushion will also help, if you don't snag one of the shop's comfy chairs. 

We'll offer delicious, hearty breakfast cookies from Seastar Bakery for a donation (which goes to a charitable cause.)  Herbal tea and light, ambient tunes on vinyl.  And two uninterrupted hours to read whatever the heck you want.

We can't wait to see you there!

Mother Foucault's is at 523 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97214.  Google MapsTrimet Trip Planner.

Portland Monthly wants you to read in silence

Guys, it's cold out there.  Now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays is over, it's time to curl up with a good book and maybe a fireplace and maybe a cat/dog/iguana and maybe a comforting beverage of your choice.  We think so, and so does Portland Monthly.  They were kind enough to include us in their excellent list of "13 Secrets of Winter Relaxation Every Portlander Must Know."

The idea verges on radical: gather adults at a bar, mix cocktails, hit “play” on Brian Eno or Philip Glass, and ask people to read. Quietly. For two hours. That’s the boiled-down directive of Portland’s Silent Reading Party, a monthly-ish attempt to reclaim time for literary serenity. The perusing usually goes down on Sunday afternoons at Beech Street Parlor, a Northeast house-turned-bar with Victorian-style couches and flocked wallpaper. The tunes are lyric-free and the cocktails bookishly named (like an orange gin-spiked “All Quiet on the Western Front”). Dog-ear the next date: 3–5 p.m. Sunday, January 29, at Beech Street.

Thanks to Portland Monthly for pointing more people our way!  We're hoping that 2017 will be the Year of Silent Reading (among other things.) 

Like the magazine says, our next Silent Reading Party is Sunday January 29 from 3-5 pm.  It will be a special partnership with Multnomah County Library's "Everybody Reads" program, with a limited number of free copies of this year's book, Evicted, available for giveaway.  Grab a copy to get started on it, or bring your own book and read your way into the new year!

Silent Reading Party this weekend!

If you haven't been keeping track, this weekend is a literary extrapalooza in Portland.  Wordstock, our annual festival of books, reading, and All Things Fabulous, is happening all day Saturday November 5.  The night before, Portland pregames with Lit Crawl, an evening of bookish (and booze-ish) hijinks.

Here's where you can find Silent Reading Party this wild and wonderful weekend.

Friday, November 4: Join us from 6 - 6:45 pm at Cassidy's Restaurant, which PDX Eater calls "a sanctuary of serenity and righteous bar food."  We'll take a brief respite from the hootin'-and-hollerin' literary crowd, enjoy a daiquiri and a bowl of mac and cheese, and read, read, read.  How many pages can you read in forty-five minutes? Let's find out.   1331 SW Washington St, 6-6:45 Fri Nov 4.

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Saturday, November 5: Join us from 9 am - 6 pm at Wordstock in the Portland Art Museum.  We'll be tabling in the Kridel Grand Ballroom, along with the illustrious Book Riot.  Drop by to say hello, get dates and locations for Silent Reading Parties in January and February, get a book-and-booze pairing, and more.  Tickets to Wordstock are $15 in advance or $18 day-of.  1219 SW Park Ave, 9-6 Sat Nov 5.

We can't wait to see you there!!

Silent Reading Party dates for October and November!

We've got two new Silent Reading Parties on the books!

Join us for a spooky Halloween-themed Silent Reading Party on Sunday, October 23 from 3-5 pm at Beech Street Parlor.  Read a spooky book, wear a spooky costume!  We'll play spooky tunes and provide some seasonal treats.  If you want help getting into the spirit, sign up for Karen's free scary-story-a-day service for the month of October. 

AND...

Mark your calendar for the evening of Friday, November 4 for a special Silent Reading Party with Lit Crawl! 

We'll be gearing up for Portland's annual literary blowout event, Wordstock--where we'll have a table all day November 5.  Exact time and location are still TBD for the November 4 Silent Reading Party, but we'll post as soon as we know them.  If you want to come see us at our Wordstock table--or join in the rest of the bookish fun--you can buy tickets here.  The Silent Reading Party event will be free (except for your beverage of choice.)

Fall is our favorite reading season!  We're excited to kick it off!!

Readers, show us your ink!

Multnomah County Library is firing up the book-recommending engine again this week, and this time we'll be pairing books with tattoos.

How does this work, you ask?  Send in a pic of your tat (or just describe it, I guess) and we'll use it to suggest a book for you to read. MCL tried this out on Twitter a while back and it took off, so we're cracking our knuckles and adjusting our cat-eye spectacles in anticipation of a great time.

We'll be suggesting books on Thursday August 11 from 5-7, over at the MCL Facebook page.  See you (and your ink) there!

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Get in summer reading shape with Ron Charles

We here at SRPP are taking a little break over the holiday weekend (check out our Instagram for live action shots of what we're reading and where we're reading it.) 

In the meantime, here's everyone's favorite smart-and-dorky book critic, Ron Charles, with his tips for getting into summer reading shape.  (If this tickles you as much as it does us, check out his YouTube channel.  We <3 Ron Charles.)

Have a safe and happy fourth, and see you at the next SRP!

Dads recommend last-minute reads for dads (and everyone else)

Our next Silent Reading Party is Sunday, June 19th-- Father's Day!

Growing up, we at SRP were parented by serious readers on both sides-- we both had dads who could often be found occupying the coziest chair in the basement, covered in cats, cheaters perched hazardously on the bridges of their noses, stacks of dogeared paperbacks occupying their laps. There's something special about sharing a love of reading with your dad; I (Amanda) have mine to thank for my love of John Kennedy Toole and Charles Portis-- masters of the charming knucklehead protagonist. Karen inherited from her dad a weakness for mass-market mysteries, golf memoirs (!), and Sue Townsend's Adrian Mole books.

In honor of Father's Day, we asked some of our favorite dads what they've been reading lately-- and got a surprisingly rich and far-ranging set of picks in response. So this year, before you crank up the grill and turn on the White Sox-Indians game (or before you join us at Beech Street Parlor for Silent Reading Party!), check out these dad-approved book recommendations.

Martin:  Last book I read/loved; The Liminal War by Ayize Jama-Everett.  So I was already invested in this one because this novel is a sequel to another great story from 2012 called The Liminal People.  Think superheroes with cultural and ethnic significance.  This book is a thriller that happens to have the expansiveness of a science-fiction/fantasy world.  However, this is not one I would read to my kids just yet.  We're currently “family reading” the entire Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series in nightly installments.  Nothing like dry British humor/weirdness to pull a family together!

LoganThe Habit of Rivers by Ted Leeson.  Okay, it's another book about fly fishing, but Leeson’s take on Oregon rivers, water in general, fish and thinking about the natural systems is not sappy, with enough creative insight and humor to make it an enjoyable, leisurely read.

Ben:  I'd love to stay local and make a recommend for Arthur Bradford's book Turtleface and Beyond: Stories. There's not a better book that I can think of that deals with the tender and awkward caring for small animals, which I suppose is what fatherhood is all about. 

Craig:  For myself, I have found that since becomes a dad time for reading is scarce. But when I am able to make it through a book, it’s usually breezy nonfiction, informative but able to move at a good clip. The two most recent ones I remember reading are At Home: A Short History of Private Life, by Bill Bryson, and So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, by Jon Ronson. At Home... is a brief history of western civilization framed as a trip as a trip through a traditional, if particularly well-appointed, single-family house. It touches on some big historical ideas, but manages to encapsulate a lot of information in a succinct and digestible package. So You’ve… is a pop-anthropology case study analysis of people whose lives have been trampled by the culture of casual outrage nourished by social media, and an examination of why that might have happened, and whether it will keep happening.  So we’re representing the two dadly tropes of the History Channel-watching homebody, and the progress-loathing technophobe, both quite true to form. Take your pick.

Jon:  I recently read TransAtlantic by Colum McCann (I also read The Dancer but didn’t like it as much.)  It revolves around strong female characters connected through history, and I loved the expanse of the story across generations and continents.  I’m not Irish but this would be even more interesting to those with an Ireland connection.  Also The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  An easy fun read that is also a bit romantic candy (but a little too “woowoo love” at times).  And a real difficult read as a father of a young child: Ian McEwan's The Child in Time.

Scott:  I’ll pick up the thread with Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly EverythingAlso The Demon in the Freezer by Richard PrestonAnd How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention and Discovery, by Kevin Ashton. 

Daniel: Rock-a-Bye Romp, by Linda Ashman.  It's short.  And it rhymes.

 

5 books for dads...and everyone else.

Here's the tough thing about recommending books "for dads."  Unlike third-grade teachers, jockeys, emergency-room nurses, and giant Pacific octopus researchers, dads don't necessarily have a common set of interests.  There are as many different kinds of dads as there are, well, people.  So while your dad may be into Tom Clancy and fly fishing, someone else's may be all about hula-hooping and Eileen Myles.  And both of those are just swell by us.

We here at Silent Reading Party don't dig stereotypes.  We read widely and weirdly, and we like to encourage others to do so too.  Reading a book is the cheapest, fastest way we can think of to blow the doors off your mind and experience the world in a new way.  (Especially if it's a library book.)

So here's our most-eclectic-EVER list of "Books for Dads," just in time for Father's Day...on Pride weekend...with Juneteenth right around the corner.  Some of these are our favorite books, others are books we want to read as soon as we get our grubby little hands on them.  We hope you like them, and maybe you know a dad who might like them too. 

See you Thursday for our next round of book recommendations with Multnomah County Library...and see you Sunday at Beech Street Parlor for our next Silent Reading Party!!!

 

Norwood by Charles Portis
A deadpan-funny, picaresque novel about the hapless Norwood Pratt falling in with grifters, little people, college-educated chickens, and Grady Fring the Kredit King, all while trying to track down the man who owes him seventy bucks.  Portis also wrote True Grit, and if you haven't read it or just think of it as "that John Wayne western about outlaws and...roosters?" now's the time to pick it up.  It's amaaaaaaaaazing.

China Mountain Zhang by Maureen McHugh
Literary science fiction that spans a slightly dystopic future from Baffin Island to Mars.  The through-line is chaos theory and the butterfly effect, connecting a cast of characters from an extra-planetary beekeeper to a competitive body-kite pilot.  In the future, like today, most people are ordinary and just trying to get by.  But somehow McHugh makes it all so incredibly interesting.

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
What it says on the tin.  Solnit wrote the title essay in this short book after enduring (yet another) conversation in which a man assumed he knew more than she did.  In fact, he interrupted what she was saying to tell her that she should read a very important book about early photographer Eadweard Muybridge, without realizing that Solnit actually wrote that book.  You can read the title essay online, but the collection comes with extras and is handy for whacking mansplainers.
 

The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter by Kia Corthron
Two white brothers from Alabama cross paths with two black brothers from Maryland in Corthron's first novel, set during the years from 1941 to the present.  It all plays out on America's complicated chessboard of racism, civil rights, labor, war, disability, and sexual identity.  It's nearly 800 pages and according to The New York Times, "it makes you give a damn."

 

Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro
Take Atwood's dystopian feminist novel The Handmaid's Tale and mash it up with two parts Tarantino's grindhouse revenge flick Death Proof, one part current-day National Football League, and a dash of Imperator Furiosa.  You've got Bitch Planet, a no-holds-barred graphic novel chock full of adult themes and images, delivered through an anti-racist, feminist lens.  In other words, our new favorite read.

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match...

Just a reminder that we're recommending books again next Thursday June 16, with Multnomah County Library.  Drop by their Facebook page any time that day (exact event link will be posted soon) and tell us three books you loved.  We'll suggest a new read for you.

For instance, if you loved Hugh Howey's Wool, Ernest Cline's Ready Player One, and Garth Nix's Sabriel, we might recommend...Manuel Gonzalez's The Regional Office is Under Attack!

Or maybe you liked Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Isabel Allende's The Japanese Lover, and Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose.  We loved those books too!  And we might recommend that you try...Louise Erdrich's newest title, LaRose.

Save the date: Thursday, June 16, 5-7 pm.  You can drop off your request any time that day, and we'll do all our responses in a blitz that evening.  With plenty of chocolate to keep us going. 

And if you bring a book that we recommended to the next Silent Reading Party on Sunday June 19, 3-5 pm, we'll have a special prize for you!

 

We're recommending books again!

We're doing another book recommending party with Multnomah County Library!

Next Thursday, June 16, from 5-7 pm, we'll be answering your call for what to read next, over at Multnomah County Library's Facebook page.  (The exact link will go up that morning.)  Tell us three books you liked and we'll put them through our super-scientific algorithm* to recommend a title that combines elements of all three to entrance and intrigue you. 

For instance, if you liked Kafka's The Castle, Isabel Allende's Maya's Notebook, and Chang-Rae Lee's On Such a Full Sea, we might recommend...Yuri Herrera's Signs Preceding the End of the World.

You can leave us your book request any time next Thursday and we'll do a whirlwind response blitz that evening between 5 and 7.  You don't even have to be a Portlander--it's the Internet, after all.  It's free to play and we love a challenge.  Consider that a friendly, enthusiastic gauntlet thrown down.  Stump us!

And if you bring a copy of the book we recommended to the next Silent Reading Party on Sunday June 19, we'll have a special prize for you!

* Not actually a super-scientific algorithm.  Not actually an algorithm at all.  More of a fast-paced conversation among booknerds around a table scattered with M&Ms, pizza boxes, and well-thumbed issues of Booklist magazine.

 

Action shots from our latest Silent Reading Party

In case you missed our last Silent Reading Party, here are some action shots of all the lovely people who came to read!  We had a wonderful time and we hope everyone else did too.  We'll do it again in June, date TBD--but subscribe and we'll notify you as soon as we get it on the books!