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Authors, readers, critics, media — and booksellers.

 

Fred Armisen: What I’m Giving

At Powell's, we feel the holidays are the perfect time to share our love of books with those close to us. For this special blog series, we reached out to authors featured in our Holiday Gift Guide to learn about their own experiences with book giving during this bountiful time of year.

Today's featured giver is Fred Armisen, author of The Portlandia Cookbook.

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What books are you giving to friends and family this holiday season and why?
Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes across America by John Waters and Yes Please by Amy Poehler. Two very funny books by two of my favorite people in the world.

Have you ever bought a book that you intended to give as a gift but ended up keeping for yourself?
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions by Mark Lewisohn.


Mary Oliver: What I’m Giving

At Powell's, we feel the holidays are the perfect time to share our love of books with those close to us. For this special blog series, we reached out to authors featured in our Holiday Gift Guide to learn about their own experiences with book giving during this bountiful time of year.

Today's featured giver is Mary Oliver, author of Blue Horses: Poems.

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What books are you giving to friends and family this holiday season and why?
Any volume of the Sufi poet Rumi translated by Coleman Barks. Additionally, The Gift by Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky.

Is there a book you find yourself gifting year after year?
Perhaps not gifting every year, but I read every year Emerson: The Mind on Fire by Robert Richardson.


Cary Elwes: What I’m Giving

At Powell's, we feel the holidays are the perfect time to share our love of books with those close to us. For this special blog series, we reached out to authors featured in our Holiday Gift Guide to learn about their own experiences with book giving during this bountiful time of year.

Today's featured giver is Cary Elwes, author of As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride.

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What book are you giving to friends and family this holiday season?
Brando's Smile by Susan L. Mizruchi.

Have you ever bought a book that you intended to give as a gift but ended up keeping for yourself?
Never. The best gifts are the ones you want for yourself.


Edward O. Wilson: What I’m Giving

At Powell's, we feel the holidays are the perfect time to share our love of books with those close to us. For this special blog series, we reached out to authors featured in our Holiday Gift Guide to learn about their own experiences with book giving during this bountiful time of year.

Today's featured giver is Edward O. Wilson, author of The Meaning of Human Existence.

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What book are you giving to friends and family this holiday season and why?
J. Craig Venter's Life at the Speed of Light. The ultimate discipline of the biological sciences will be synthetic biology, the radical modification and creation of new forms of life. This book is by one of the pioneers of the field and is clearly and cogently written.

What's the best book you've received as a gift?
As an 18-year-old sophomore at the University of Alabama, it was Ernst Mayr's Systematics and the Origin of Species from the Viewpoint of a Zoologist, in which I learned about evolution.


Neil Patrick Harris: What I’m Giving

At Powell's, we feel the holidays are the perfect time to share our love of books with those close to us. For this special blog series, we reached out to authors featured in our Holiday Gift Guide to learn about their own experiences with book giving during this bountiful time of year.

Today's featured giver is Neil Patrick Harris, author of Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography.

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Do you have a favorite children's book to give budding readers?
I love Roald Dahl. His books are so quirky and odd — and great bait to get kids interested in reading. They all have odd, dark elements yet are filled with humor and humanity. One of my favorites is Danny the Champion of the World — a beautifully written story of a boy and his father, and their adventures hunting quail. I'd love to make it into a movie someday.

Have you ever bought a book that you intended to give as a gift but ended up keeping for yourself?
Indeed! And often! It's one of my favorite pastimes: shopping for others and buying for myself. Most recently: ...


Eleanor Catton: What I’m Giving

At Powell's, we feel the holidays are the perfect time to share our love of books with those close to us. For this special blog series, we reached out to authors featured in our Holiday Gift Guide to learn about their own experiences with book giving during this bountiful time of year.

Today's featured giver is Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries.

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What books are you giving to friends and family this holiday season and why?
I'm giving poetry to my partner, who is a poet himself and so very difficult to buy for, as his tastes are much more diverse and informed than mine. I know that the presses he most admires are New Directions, The Cultural Society, Flood Editions, Talisman House, and the recently formed Verge Books — I'll do some research first and find what's new and forthcoming on their lists.

Is there a book you find yourself gifting year after year?
I've given The Gift by Lewis Hyde to a great many people. For obvious reasons, it's a book that's best given away.

Continue »


The Collected Poems of James Laughlin

Fall has brought us a true gift in the publication of the massive The Collected Poems of James Laughlin, published by New Directions in an exceptionally beautiful hardcover edition. The book includes an inexhaustible number of poems, in a lovely 1,214(!) page tome.

Laughlin is best known as the founder of New Directions Publishing, the U.S. publisher that championed, and has continued to champion, the work of people as diverse as Ezra Pound and Denise Levertov, Hermann Hesse and Henry Miller, William Carlos Williams and Roberto Bolaño, and Muriel Rukeyser and Clarice Lispector. There's a story about the origins of this dedication to such a broad and defining list, one that would go on to help shape Modernism in our time. It goes like this: when Laughlin was a young man, he took a leave from his studies at Harvard and went to study with Pound in Italy. In the end, Pound told Laughlin he couldn't write, so he should go home and use his money (Laughlin's family was quite wealthy) and publish those who could. Namely, as it turned ...


Our Favorite New Favorites of 2014

Every week, we gather together a small pile of newly released titles that we agree should be on everyone's radar. We deem these titles our New Favorites (check out our recent picks here). Now that the year is winding down, we thought we'd take a look back at some of the standouts, in case you missed them the first time around. Thus we present to you our shamelessly superlative Favorite New Favorites of 2014!


Mixtape and Mashup — A Brief Guide to Books Born from Other Works of Art

Fade in on the Mission Dolores, the fictional gravesite of Carlotta Valdes in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo.

One block away, two writers with their first jobs teaching creative writing (okay, it was us!) decide to collaborate on a book of short stories that respond to classic and cult movies. We try — and fail — to watch every film in The Criterion Collection over the course of a single year. What begins as the kind of writing exercise we might assign to our students — write something connected with an unforgettable moment in a film you love — first becomes a bundle of pages, then a manuscript. The process is addictive, dislodging stories and what ifs. Working together on this project breaks the loneliness that cannot be avoided in the artistic process. The movies themselves become our muses, speaking through us as much as we speak through them.

We love the way that images, dreams, stories, and cultural history weave together when we go to the movies. Everyone has a secret life in the movies. We turned our personal moviegoing experiences into a book centering on our lives as the ...


Powell’s Q&A: Ron Rash

Describe your latest book/project/work.
Something Rich and Strange is a collection of selected stories, including three stories previously unpublished in book form.

Introduce one other author you think people should read, and suggest a good book with which to start.
Donald Harington is as underrated as any America writer I know of, and I'd suggest starting with his novel With.

Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
"My mother is a fish." – Faulkner

How did the last good book you read end up in your hands, and why did you read it?
I was on a panel with Richard Flanagan. I've always admired his work and after our event I had him sign his new novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North. It's the best novel by a living writer I've read in the last decade.

Have you ever made a literary pilgrimage?
Yeats' castle in Ireland.


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