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If someone makes a movie about the Standing Rock Lakota fighting back against Big Oil, that filmmaker might find the soundtrack at 7:30 pm Friday, Dec. 16, when the Riverside Chamber Symphony premieres Water is Life at Springfield’s Wildish Theater. When he began writing the 10-minute one-movement orchestral work, the composer, UO grad student Justin Ralls, couldn’t have known about the impending protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

SPREADING KINDNESS

It’s easier to share with Lane County neighbors in need of food thanks to Capella Market’s new cashier station signage. Cappella staffers Reisa and Rhonda worked with FOOD for Lane County to put eye-catching signage next to the cashiers, so that customers can donate in $1, $5 or $10 increments when they check out.

Perhaps you’re not the best person to ask, being a cis white man, but as a queer woman of color, the election had an extremely detrimental effect on my relationships with my white partners. I love and care for them, but looking at those results has me wondering why the fuck they didn’t do better in reaching out to their shitty relatives? I’m sick of living at the whim of white America. I’m aware this is the blame stage of processing, but it’s left me unable to orgasm with my white partners.

There came a moment early in Kenneth Lonergan’s new film when I knew I was in trouble, emotionally speaking: Led by the doctor into a viewing of his brother’s corpse on the hospital table, Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) stands stiffly at the threshold of the room, incapable of approaching, his body coiled, his hands flexing and fidgeting before he slides them uncertainly into the pockets of his jeans.

Whether it’s escapism through fiction or a dive into a nonfiction tome because you want to learn more about the world, the digital age hasn’t stopped us from reading and loving books. Whether we’re on a plane reading history on a Kindle or dropping ketchup on the paper pages of a novel we can’t put down, even to eat, at the kitchen table, books let us live more lives than just our own. Books provide us with a mimesis — a representation of reality — a lifetime in 250 pages. Every year Eugene Weekly staff and writers read the books that we love, or hate, and present them to you in our Winter Reading issue in hopes you curl up, read us, then read some more books.

Winter Reading 2016 - Fiction Reviews

Winter Reading 2016 - Nonfiction Reviews

Winter Reading 2016 - Even More Reviews

Winter Reading 2016 - Top Ten Lists

Read Local: A Roundup

Misfit. A Q&A with Lidia Yuknavitch

Read Electronically with the Eugene Public Library

After 21 years in business at its 2585 Willamette Street location, Tsunami Books is hoping it can hang on for another 20. But it’s going to take a bit of a Hail Mary, Tsunami proprietor Scott Landfield says. 

A 700-strong pool of part-time city employees are earning wages that barely pass federal poverty line standards. A Jan. 18 city work session has been called to address this ongoing issue. 

People filled chairs, lined walls and sat on the floor for the duration of the special meeting of the city of Eugene Human Rights Commission (HRC) on Monday, Dec. 5. Professors, public school teachers, community members and activists were vocal in their concerns for undocumented people in their communities, classrooms and schools.

The future of the Elliott State Forest still hangs in the balance and local environmental groups are dubious about a proposal to be discussed at an upcoming meeting of Oregon’s State Land Board.

Lidia Yuknavitch is a beast of an author. Her writing is raw, uncensored and has a strength that can only come from living one hell of a life (check out her Ted Talk “The Beauty of Being a Misfit”). Yuknavitch — a University of Oregon graduate and current literature workshop teacher in Portland — has gone from being a professional swimmer to a mother whose daughter died, and from a dazed lover of substances to a best-selling novelist. Her craft has always been constant in her life: She must write. 

The Eugene Public Library says when it comes to reading, it’s going to stay out of the fray over print ebook versus audio. “In practice, most people enjoy books in each of these ways at different times,” the library’s director, Connie Bennett, says, adding: “At Eugene Public Library, we believe in freedom of format!”

When it comes to “buy local,” that suggestion can apply to your reading as well. Throughout the year, local authors drop off their books at EW or send links to their e-published work. We can’t read them all, but somebody should. So we offer you our annual self-published roundup.

fiction

Willful Disregard: A Novel About Love by Lena Andersson, translated Sarah Death. Other Press, $15.95.

essays

 

If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: The Graduation speeches and Other Words to Live By by Kurt Vonnegut. Seven Stories Press, $23.95.

nonfiction

 

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West. Hachette Books, $29.95.

Tsunami Books 

 

Favorites

2585 Willamette Street

541-345-8986

tsunamibooks.org

 

Scott Landfield’s staff pick: 

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen. Simon and Schuster, $32.50.

 

Store Favorites:  

Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig. Riverhead Books, $28.95.

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem. Random House, $18.

• It’s time to celebrate the victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe after the Department of the Army announced Dec. 4 that it will not approve an easement that would allow the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. Congratulations to Native Americans, allies, veterans (particularly Native veterans), who impressively gathered to stand up to the pipelines. As they, and we, celebrate this win in the fight for clean water and indigenous rights, celebrants are rightfully also cautious.

•  Paul and Lisa Tostberg, owners of Corvallis’ Coffee Culture, have launched their roasting business as a standalone retail-wholesale brand in the greater Pacific Northwest, Holderness Coffee Roasters. The Tostberg’s have been in the industry since 1993, according to a press release, when they had a drive-thru coffee kiosk that also developed film. The Tostbergs say, “We had no way of knowing that coffee would be a successful enterprise, so we developed film as well!

• Oakridge area residents against the proposed Old Hazeldell gravel quarry at TV Butte on the edge of the town will hold a rally on Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza, noon Tuesday, Dec 13, before packing into Harris Hall, where the Lane County Commissioners will be reading and discussing the proposal, rally organizers say. For the quarry proposal to move forward, the commissioners must decide to rezone the property from forestland to rock and gravel.

So the holidays are upon us — and it is likely we will be spending time with people who understand the world very differently than we do, as evidenced in the divisions of the recent election. As The Beatles famously sang at the end of their Magical Mystery Tour album: “All you need is love!” 

A native of Clearwater, Florida, Sam Krop got her start in social and environmental activism as a student at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. “I was working with Food Not Bombs,” she says. “The city had made it illegal to share food with more than 25 people. They were trying to suppress the homeless population. Lots of people got arrested, but in the end, the law was overturned.

Wild Child is a band with an intimate toe-tapping twist that could give any indie-folk lover a music boner. Their sound swings between a bottle of wine on a rainy day and a hipster hootenanny.

For 20 years, Xasthur’s Scott Conner didn’t tour. He didn’t do interviews. He recorded solo. He posed with nooses, called himself “Malefic,” recorded songs with names like “Slaughtered Useless Beings In A Nihilistic Dream,” recorded vocals in a coffin and became one of the most famous figures in American black metal — a mostly Scandinavian phenomenon when Conner started Xasthur in 1995.

A classic Broadway musical in every sense of the phrase, including its most ambivalent and queasy connotations, Annie Get Your Gun is a textbook example of American stage artistry at its mid-20th-century apotheosis: With music and lyrics by Irving Berlin, the show oozes a charm and confidence completely devoid of cynicism, which is not to say the static stereotypes it trots out (racial, sexual, socioeconomic) are lacking in self-criticism, or even their own undoing.