Friday, April 4, 2014

Indie Book Buzz: Hawthorne Books

It's the return of the Indie Book Buzz here at TNBBC. Over the next few months or so, we will be inviting members of the small press publishing houses to share which of their upcoming releases they are most excited about!

This week's picks comes from Liz Crain, 
editor and publicity director at Hawthorne Books

I LOVED YOU MORE, Tom Spanbauer
(Released April 1, 2014) 

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Tom Spanbauer’s first novel in seven years is a rich and expansive tale of love, sex, and heartbreak covering twenty-five years.  At the heart of the book is a love triangle: two men, one woman, all of them writers.  The first chapters are set in the mid–eighties in New York City.  At Columbia, Ben forms a bond with his macho friend, Hank.  Their bond is deep and ostensibly formed around their love of writing.  But they soon find out their love is more than literary.  As C.S Lewis says, friendship is homosexual.  Hank is straight, though, on the Kinsey scale a zero, which means no men.  Ben is a five, which means an occasional woman.  But both are artists, and this affection between them is a force. How do you measure love?

Set against a world of writers and artists, New York’s Lower East Side in the wild eighties, the drab confining Idaho of Ben’s youth, Portland in his middle age, and the many places in between, the complex world disclosed in I Loved You More, written in the poisoned, lyrical voice of Ben, is the author’s most complex and wise novel to date.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: If you have a heart and are human there are miles and miles of emotional terrain for you to travel and connect with in this passionate, searching novel about intimate relationships and the complicated lives of writers set primarily in New York City in the eighties and Portland in the late nineties. I don’t know how much polyamory is a part of the fabric of modern relationship culture in other cities but here in Portland, Oregon – where Hawthorne Books is based and a good deal of Tom Spanbauer’s novel is set – polyamory, as well as other less traditional and less socially acceptable ways of navigating and understanding intimate relationships be they gay, straight or anything in-between is strong and has been gaining ground in recent years. Spanbauer’s I Loved You More moves about some of these less socially acceptable and less-easy-to-define sorts of relationships and sets its course on a long and winding years-spanning road of a non-traditional love triangle between two men and one women. I Loved You More is for anyone with a heart -- particularly those who have or want big, big love in all its messy, heartbreaking, beautiful glory.

THE END OF EVE, Ariel Gore
(Released March 2014) 

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: At age 39, Ariel Gore has everything she's always wanted: a successful writing career, a long-term partnership, a beautiful if tiny home, a daughter in college and a son in preschool. But life's happy endings don't always last. If it's not one thing, after all, it's your mother.
Knock knock.
Her name is Eve. Her epic temper tantrums have already gotten her banned from three cab companies in Portland. And she's here to announce that she's dying. "Pitifully, Ariel," she sighs. "You're all I have." Ariel doesn't want to take care of her crazy dying mother, but she knows she will. 

Darkly humorous and intimately human,The End of Eve reads like Terms of Endearment meets Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. Amidst the chaos of clowns and hospice workers, pie and too much whiskey, Ariel’s own 10-year relationship begins to unravel, forcing her to reconsider the meaning of family and everything she’s ever been taught to call “love.”

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: I’ve been a fan of Ariel Gore’s ever since she started the smart, alternative, zine-like Hip Mama Magazine in the early nineties. Since then Gore has gone on to write several nonfiction books including Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness and Atlas of the Human Heart: A Memoir. The End of Eve is one of Gore’s most dig deep and personal books and I know I’m not alone in wanting to get as close to Gore as humanly possible. When she was in Portland recently – where Hawthorne Books is based – for The End of Eve book launch all of us at Hawthorne were struck yet again by the black humor of the memoir. It taps into that old adage – if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry. Well, you’ll cry a little bit too I’m guessing while reading The End of Eve but let’s just say that there’s a whole lot of funny in all that death and dying too. It’s ok, laugh. We want you to. It’s good for you.


Liz Crain is editor and publicity director at Hawthorne Books where she’s worked since 2009. She is also a fiction writer as well as the author of Food Lover’s Guide to Portland which has a second edition coming out from Hawthorne this September 2014 as well as Toro Bravo: Stories. Recipes. No Bull published by McSweeney's in 2013. A longtime writer on Pacific Northwest food and drink, her writing has appeared in Cooking Light, Budget Travel, VIA Magazine, The Sun Magazine, The Progressive, The Guardian and The Oregonian. Crain is also as well as co-organizer of the annual Portland Fermentation Festival.

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