Events, Readers

A Map of #PDXBookFest 2020

We might be staying home, but we can always travel… in books!

The festival is so full of great events that you might want to use some of your saved vacation days. These novels (and a few bonus nonfiction trips) take us on a literary journey across the country and back, around the world, and to worlds beyond…

Northward from Portland…

Explore our hometown of Portland, Oregon with Renée Watson in Ways to Make Sunshine before heading north to Spokane (and back in time) with Jess Walter in The Cold Millions. Keep going from Seattle to the Far North with Vanessa Veselka in The Great Offshore Grounds, and check in with Jon Mooallem and This Is Chance! once you land in Alaska. Head to Hawaii with Kawai Strong Washburn in Sharks in the Time of Saviors, and Sloane Leong’s A Map to the Sun stops in Oahu.

California on to Texas…

Explore the Golden State in Lysley Tenorio’s The Son of Good Fortune, including a trip to Hollywood with Charles Yu’s Interior Chinatown and a visit to a Southern California high school with David Yoon in Super Fake Love Song . Stop in the Central California Valley with Chelsea Bieker in Godshot before heading to Arizona for spring training in The Cactus League by Emily Nemens, and on to Oklahoma and Texas with the women of Kelli Jo Ford’s Crooked Hallelujah. Head to Texas for All the Things We Never Knew with Liara Tamani and This Is My America with Kim Johnson. Stay in Texas for a minute to say hi to Bryan Washington and Memorial, before heading home to Louisiana with Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half.

on up the Eastern seaboard…

It wouldn’t be a contemporary literary festival without spending at least a little time in New York City. Raven Leilani’s Luster and Rebeccca Dinerstein Knight’s Hex jump between Manhattan, New Jersey, and Brooklyn. Hope on Amtrak and head to West Philadelphia with Christine Kendall and The True Definition of Neva Beane. And stop by a Midwest high school in Leah Johnson’s debut novel You Should See Me a Crown .

to Florida and onward …

Spend some time in the country unto itself that is Florida with one of the state’s foremost fictional chroniclers, Carl Hiaasen and Squeeze Me, who is in conversation with another Florida scribe, Karen Russell, whose new book Sleep Donation takes place in truly another world altogether. Head north and into the Deep South with Boys of Alabama by Genevieve Hudson, before striking back out for the West with C Pam Zhang in How Much of These Hills Is Gold. Keep criss-crossing the country with Danielle Evans and The Office of Historical Corrections, Ayad Akhtar’s Homeland Elegies, and Julia Alvarez’s Afterlife.

international journeys …

Or, maybe you want to grab your passport. In Paying the Land, Joe Sacco travels North to spend time with the Dene in the Mackenzie River Valley. Or go south to the Venezuela/Colombia border with Phil Klay in Missionaries. Delve into the corruption and racism of U.S. immigration law in stories of fleeing Mexico: Land of the Cranes by Aida Salazar, and Illegal by Francisco X. Stork. Head overseas to Paris with John Freeman’s The Park, or to Kolkata with Megha Majumdar in A Burning. Let the Olympic medalist ShibSibs, Maia and Alex Shibutani, introduce explore Toyko in The Mystery of the Masked Medalist. Run away to Rome to escape your problems in How it All Blew Up by Arvin Ahmadi. Or maybe, like in Adib Khorram’s Darius the Great Deserves Better, the trip is over and it’s time to head home.

beyond our world…

Explore alternative histories with Justina Ireland in Deathless Divide; tap into the spiritual world with Aiden Thomas in Cemetery Boys. Go back in time to 1940s San Francisco in Displacement by Kiku Hughes, and forward to a post-quake Cascadia with Jonathan Hill in Odessa. Join powerhouse YA authors Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore for a big of magic in Miss Meteor, and meet sister sirens in our own Portland, Oregon in A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow. It might be time to enroll in the Avengers Institute with Kamala Khan and her friends in Preeti Chhibber’s Avengers Assembly #1: Orientation.

mythology and dystopia.

Leave this world altogether (sounds appealing these days) in the magical worlds of Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education and Veronica Roth’s Chosen Ones. Contemporary Nigeria provides the setting for  Nnedi Okorafor in Ikenga, and Narnia meets traditional Indigenous stories of the sky and constellations in The Barren Grounds by David A. Robertson.The familiar dystopias of Jonathan Lethem’s The Arrest, Leave the World Behind with Rumaan Alam, and Lydia Millet’s The Children’s Bible could be just the escape you need.

Before you go anywhere, head to PDXBookFest.org and register, and join us for more than two weeks and over fifty FREE events at this year’s Portland Book Festival. And show us where Portland Book Festival takes you this year with #PDXBookFest.

ALL BOOKS PURCHASED THROUGH FESTIVAL EVENTS, FROM ANNIE BLOOM’S BOOKSBROADWAY BOOKSGREEN BEAN BOOKS, OR POWELL’S BOOKS SUPPORT THE AUTHORS AND PUBLISHERS WHO SHARE THEIR WORK AT THE FESTIVAL AND THE BOOKSELLERS WHO HAVE WORKED HARD TO KEEP THEIR BUSINESSES OPEN DURING THESE DIFFICULT TIMES. BY PURCHASING BOOKS FROM THESE BOOKSTORES YOU ARE SUPPORTING THE SUSTAINABILITY OF THE FESTIVAL.

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