Selected New Books From Oregon Authors
by Molly Templeton
In The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death: Reflections on Revenge, Germophobia and Laser Hair Removal (Villard, $20), self-deprecating humor essayist (and Eugenean) Laurie Notaro takes on just what her subtitle promises — as well as the quirks of house-selling and the irresistible urge to spy on one’s neighbors while on vacation.
Springfield’s Elizabeth Lyon, the author of an impressive list of writing guides, offers vital advice on style, character, structure and more in Manuscript Makeover: Revision Techniques No Fiction Writer Can Afford to Ignore (Perigree, $14.95).
Corvallis teacher John Addiego’s debut novel, The Islands of Divine Music (Unbridled Books, $24.95), follows the Verbicaro family from Italy to San Francisco to the Yucatan, its perspective skipping through family members over the course of a century.
With Barbara Scott, her neighbor on Portland’s Sauvie Island, Eileen O’Keeffe McVicker recounts her childhood on a ranch in Oregon’s desert in the coming-of-age memoir Child of Steens Mountain (OSU Press, $16.95).
Portlander Willy Vlautin, who does double creative duty as the singer-songwriter of the band Richmond Fontaine, follows up his 2007 debut The Motel Life with Northline (Harper Perennial, $14.95), the story of a young woman making a new life for herself in Reno. The book provides its own soundtrack: a CD of songs by Vlautin and his bandmate Paul Brainard.
Former Oregonian staff writer Nena Baker explores The Body Toxic: How the Hazardous Chemistry of Everyday Things Threatens Our Health and Well-Being (North Point Press, $24), finding dangerous chemicals in ordinary things from water bottles to dental floss to microwave popcorn.
In the oversized, unusually designed Caught Falling: The Confluence of Contact Improvisation, Nancy Stark Smith, and Other Moving Ideas (Contact Editions, $33), David Koteen and Nancy Stark Smith offer interviews, photography, “talk bubbles,” anecdotes and more in their exploration of the “art-sport” of contact improvisation.