DECEMBER READING GROUP: MY STROKE OF INSIGHT

| 1 comments | Wednesday, November 18, 2009
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The second Sunday of each month, Northtown Books hosts its own book group. Next month's selection is My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D. Taylor writes about her experience of a stroke from the perspective of an expert.

Our next meeting will be December 13th at 5:30 here at the bookstore. Books are available behind the counter for a 10% discount.

Here's a TED talk by Jill Bolte Taylor:



JOHN ROSS

| 0 comments | Tuesday, November 10, 2009
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John Ross will read, sign and discuss his new book El Monstruo: Dread and Redemption in Mexico City Friday, November 13 at 7 pm, kicking off his book tour in his old stomping grounds here in Humboldt County.

Ross—poet, journalist, and globetrotting troublemaker—has lived in what the Aztec-Mexicas described as "the umbilicus of the universe" since the great Mexico City earthquake of 1985 crushed out as many as 30,000 lives. Over the years, he has watched the city—El Monstruo—pick itself up, bury its dead, and come battling back. But he is filled with a gnawing unease that Mexico City's days as the most gargantuan, chaotic, crime-ridden, toxically contaminated urban stain in the Western world is doomed, that the monster he has grown to know and love through a quarter of a century of reporting on its foibles and tragedies and festering blight will be globalized into one more McCity.

Covering 4,000,000,000 years of history from the primal broth that first spewed out the monster to the Aztec-Mexica oblivion through centuries of rapine and revolution all the way to the Great Swine Flu Panic of 2009, El Monstruois a phantasmagoric retelling of the story of Mexico City, with which Ross's own history has become hopelessly entwined.

In the tradition of Suketu Mehta's Maximum City, Roberto BolaƱo's The Savage Detectives and Joseph Mitchell's Up At The Old Hotel, Ross's El Monstruo is a unique exploration of the mother of all mega-cities. Never before has anyone told from ground level the gritty, vibrant histories of this left city of 23 million faceless, fearless souls, listened to the stories of those who have not been crushed by the Monster, deconstructed the Monstruo's very monstrousness and lived to tell its secrets.

John Ross is the author of the acclaimed memoir Murdered by Capitalism, which was praised by Thomas Pynchon and chosen as a San Francisco Chronicle Book of the Year. Based in Mexico City for the last two decades, Ross's reporting has appeared in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, The Nation, Texas Observer, and Counterpunch, to name a few. He is the winner of an Upton Sinclair Award and an American Book Award. His books include Rebellion from the Roots, The Annexation of Mexico and the novel Tonatiuh's People.

To read an excerpt from the book, go here.

For John's most recent dispatch from Mexico in Counterpunch, go here.

John will also be presenting a book he co-edited and wrote the introduction for, IraqiGirl: Diary of a Teenage Girl in Iraq, the story of a teenager who was fifteen years old when she began blogging from her home city of Mosul, Iraq, in July 2004.



THE CRYING TREE

| 0 comments | Wednesday, November 4, 2009
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Saturday, November 7th at 6 pm Naseem Rakha will sign her novel The Crying Tree at Northtown Books.

Naseem is an award-winning journalist whose stories have been heard on NPR’s All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Marketplace Radio, Christian Science Monitor, and Living on Earth.

Here's what the author herself says about the book:

The murder of a child dredges up the most painful emotions. There is no justicein it, no justification, and no way to find solace. Remorse and vengeance become inseparable from the souls of the people left behind. Yet, somehow there are inspirational stories of those who have come to forgiveness.

I found this baffling situation as a reporter covering an execution for public radio and then later in interviews with the parents of murder victims. I wanted to understand how an individual can move from one place to another – hate to forgiveness, despondency to hope – what that road looks like, and what toll it must exact.

The Crying Tree is that story, told through the lives of two main characters: Irene Stanley, the mother of slain 15-year-old Steven Joseph Stanley, and Tab Mason, the stoic and determined superintendent of the Oregon State Penitentiary who is preparing to execute the boy’s murderer.

Here's an interview with Naseem:


 

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