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2/18/2021: New Staff Book Recommendations!

Here is the list of the books we recommend on our Zoom/Facebook Live event February 18, 2021!

We have included abbreviated recommendations here. For the entire recommendations, out loud, please take a look/listen at our Facebook Live event!

Visit our facebook page here to view the recording of our live event. [*tip: fast forward to about the 6:10 mark... until then we were just talking amongst ourselves and waiting for everyone to join... ;]

So many great books!


“Getting to the Water’s Edge on Whidbey & Camano Islands, 3rd edition” by Sound Water Stewards.

Staff recommended: To make sure everyone knows where all the public access points to the water are, this latest edition details 69 public beaches on Whidbey and Camano Islands — and also includes wildlfe and geology of the area.  ~Mary Kay

A lovely review in the Everett Hearld, here. And the Sound Water Stewards website is here.

Call us [425.775.2789] or email us here to order a copy of this amazing local book.

Get Ready!: How to Prepare for and Stay Safe after a Pacific Northwest Earthquake Cover Image
ISBN: 9781632173041
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Sasquatch Books - January 12th, 2021

Staff recommended: From a local author, this is geared toward getting ready for "The Big One" [which we are continually told is overdue!]
The author tells us we need to be prepared to take care of our households for up to 3 weeks...
Her book gives us an easy-to-follow, and not terrifyling, outlne with specific tasks to accomplish -- only one thing a month, so as not to overwhelm... and within a year you will be totally prepared.
~Mary Kay

Braiding Sweetgrass Cover Image
ISBN: 9781571313560
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Milkweed Editions - September 1st, 2014

Staff recommended: It's fantastic! The author is a plant biologist and a Native American.
She understands the world both as a scientist and as a human believing that the Earth gves us gifts that we must reciprocate.
It will change your thinking about the world. And it is beautifully written.
~Mary Kay

Robin Wall Kimmerer will be appearing at Town Hall Seattle as part of the Women You Need to Know 2021 series from Seattle Arts + Lectures. Live in person! as as well as online!
Wednesday, April 21, 2021 7:30 pm PST.

All the information here.

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants Cover Image
ISBN: 9781571311771
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Milkweed Editions - October 13th, 2020

Also available in this beautiful anniversary edition.

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984856029
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - January 12th, 2021

Staff recommended: In his new book, the acclaimed author and University professor distills the lessons he imparts to his writing students at Syracuse University, using seven Russian short stories.
He teaches his students to read with attention paid to how to write, which also informs most of us how to read in ways we never have before.  ~Mary Kay

Milk Blood Heat Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802158154
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - February 2nd, 2021

Staff recommended: I am a huge fan of short stories, and believe it takes a great talent to write well-crafted ones.
This debut short story collection is set in Florida. Most of the stories read like mysteries, with the script getting flipped with a twist at the end. Most stories also feature young people struggling with family issues and tragedies. They are all told beautifully and poignantly. This is a collection of powerful stories.

Ariadne: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250773586
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - May 4th, 2021

Staff recommended:
This powerful debut novel successfully joins the relatively new and welcome list of books presenting a different spin on the familiar stories and mythologies -- retold from the women's perspective. The female voice coming to the fore is welcome and feels like a necessary way to shift the paradigm. ~Michelle

A few more titles that Michelle has enjoyed in this genre [with links to more information:]

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Circe by Madeline Miller
The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735225312
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - March 24th, 2020

Staff recommended: In the 1930s she tried to join the foreign service... but she was relegated to a secretarial role. Because she was a woman.
She was in France when WWII began and was able to join the British Secret Service. She ended up staying  in France for 9 months as a spy -- and was never caught! She almost single-handedly organized the French resistance, and eventually escaped capture by walking across the Pyranees on her prosthetic leg! in the middle of winter. Seems like the stuff of fiction, but it all actually happened! ~Susan

Related titles that Susan recommends [with links to more information]-- historical fiction set during WWII, based on real women -- fascinating -- these authors have done their homework!
Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict
Love and Ruin by Paula McLain

The Hidden Girl and Other Stories Cover Image
By Ken Liu
ISBN: 9781982134044
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Gallery / Saga Press - January 26th, 2021

Staff recommended: I am really not a short story reader, but I loved this book. Great way to start reading science fiction. I found all of the stories very satisfying. ~Susan

The House in the Cerulean Sea Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250217318
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tor Books - December 29th, 2020

Staff recommended: Our hero, Linus is a rule-following, by the book caseworker in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth.
He lives a structured, pretty boring life with a cranky neighbor and a cat that doesn't seem to like him much.
Then one day he receives an assignment from Extremely Upper Management [all capitals] and his life is completely disrupted.
Such a lovely and sweet book. All about accepting yourself and others for who and what they really are, and not relying on preconceived notions. And realizing what makes a family. Completely teared up at the end. Really loved it. ~Elaine

Eight Perfect Murders: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062838193
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - January 26th, 2021

Staff recommended: The FBI needs the help of a mystery bookstore owner. Someone may be using a blog post he wrote years ago as a blue print to commit perfect murders. Many spoilers about some classic mystery novels... includng Agatha Christie's The ABC Murders; Patricia Highsmith's Stranger on a Train; and Ira Levin's Deathtrap -- really fun revisiting them! and deciding which ones we need to read again! Some really great twists -- one of the best one comes early and I will not give it away. Bonus for those of us that like this kind of stuff -- there is some fun behind-the-scenes book store/publishing info. Really enjoyed it! ~Elaine

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385348713
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Crown - February 25th, 2020

Staff recommended: This covers the first 12 months of Churchiill's reign as prime minister, at the beginning of WWII.
It is an intimate look at how he holds his country together while empowering the citizens to be fearless in spite of what appears to be an impending German invasion.
The way Larson weaves together excerpts from diaries and declassified files, among other sources, and brings them all together into an incredibly well written and well told story, just further proves what an amazing author he is.
Enjoyed it very much.

One by One Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501188817
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Gallery/Scout Press - September 8th, 2020

Staff recommended: A mystery thriller. Coworkers on a company retreat in a rustic ski chalet. Very early on an avalanche happens and they are stranded. They soon realize everyone has secrets.
And then... one by one... people begin to die.
Good twist at the end. Real page turner
. ~Pat

Elaine recommends many of Ruth Ware's titles, too! Check the shelf for tags...

The Butchers' Blessing Cover Image
ISBN: 9781947793781
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tin House Books - November 10th, 2020

Staff recommended: From an Irish writer, this is more a novel than a straight-forward mystery. There is a crime, so technically, a mystery... it is also so much about contemporary Ireland: cattle farming; how farmers and their families are dealing with current situations; mental health challenges in such a stark environment.
The book is not at all as bleak as it is inspriing particulary around its description of landscape and dialog. A rewarding book.

Blacktop Wasteland: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250252685
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - July 14th, 2020

Staff recommended: Our main character is someone who has both succeeded and failed at life's challenges. Currently, he is doing fine in car repair. He also has a background as quite a successful criminal.
And then he gets sucked back in.
In an attemept to save his family, and perhaps to fight one last battle.
A very well told and atmospheric story of the contemporary south.
Also a cracking mystery.

Margaret's Unicorn Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984896537
Availability: Backordered
Published: Schwartz & Wade - September 15th, 2020

Staff recommended: beginning with Jane, our part-time Children book specialist! And seconded by Mary Kay:
Margaret's family moves to the country. She is not at all sure about the move. During her first foray into the yard/forest she sees... are those unicorns flying off?
She finds a baby unicorn left behind.
Her grandmother-- not at all surprised --helps her take care of it. And she totally knows how!
Quite a wonderful story -- mostly a very real story -- with a lovely magical element...
And the wonderful illustrations assist in capturing the magic of childhood.

Hamnet Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525657606
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - July 21st, 2020

Staff recommended:
This is a lovely look into William Shakespeare's family life, with a very woman-centered spin, including all of the details of how to keep a household running. A beautifully written story of the time and a beautiful love story as well.

Michelle also recommends it: beautiful and poetic. I loved the nature part of it!

Things You Would Know if You Grew Up Around Here Cover Image
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9781635574432
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - May 19th, 2020

Staff recommendation:
Very poetic. Pre-apocalyptic set in Texas. She feels alone but she is a great part of her community. There is a catastrophe coming and Boyd has a special ability -- she can sense when other people have tragedy in their life. People and creatures come to her for solace. She grapples with how overwhelming that is, while looking for her best friend amidst the flood.
Very well written, totally got swept up in the story.

The Radiant Lives of Animals Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807047927
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Beacon Press - October 13th, 2020

Staff recommendation:
The author, a poet and essayist, was in a tragic accident that damaged her body and brain.
In this book, she shares how she looks to the land in an effort to reconnect and heal.
The stories connect her and all the animlals around her -- horses, a fox family, and hummingbirds that she welcomes into her home.
A very beautiful book.

Deacon King Kong: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735216730
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - February 2nd, 2021

Staff recommendation: Set in New York in the '60s; the projects in Brooklyn; drugs started coming into/destroying the community.
One would think that the book would be heavy and depressing but it is also funny and full of compassion and warmth.

The Plover: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250062451
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador - March 31st, 2015

Staff recommended: A middle aged man fed up with life, takes to his boat to get away from everyone.
All kinds of strange and wonderful characters end up joining him. A lot about being human, and loving your neighbors. Really heartfelt.
One of my faovite books of all time.

Klara and the Sun: A novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593318171
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - March 2nd, 2021

Maybe staff recommended:
I am half-way through. He builds the story so slowly and beautifully, and lets you look at the world in a totally different way.  I cannot wait to see how it ends. Stay tuned! ~Susan

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781635574043
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - March 3rd, 2020

Staff recommendation:
Sarah J. Maas has had great success with her young adult series.
This is the first book in a planned trilogy for an adult audience.
Half-Fae, half-human Bryce has a pretty great life until her best friend is brutally murdered. She vows revenge. Will what's left of her friends, her family, acknowledged and otherwise -- many layers of secrets -- and even some foes be any help or just a hindrance?
Really interesting world, and great characters, with the added bonus of some fun spicy will-they/won't-they suspense amongst the magic and the danger.

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781635577020
Availability: Backordered
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - March 2nd, 2021


The Remains of the Day (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679731726
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - September 12th, 1990

Staff recommendation:
A butler is looking back at his life in service.
He begins to wonder if everything was as perfect as he thought it was.
A lot of light moments about a butler's life.
Really enjoyed it.

Susan also recommends: Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize for Literature, so you know he's a great writer!

No One Is Talking About This: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593189580
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - February 16th, 2021

Staff recommended:
I am a huge fan of her memoir "Priestdaddy" -- her sense of self-deprecating humor and twisted look at the life she grew up in... made it a compelling read. [more about "Prisestdaddy" here.]
She is also apparently a social media maven.

Her new book is a novel. [ish]
All of her twisted ironice sarcastic funny puns and wordplay are intact. This is at once a love letter to the endless scroll and a profound, modern meditation on love, language, and human connection from a singular voice in American literature.
The 2nd half of the novel switches to a very personal story -- told in the same kind of language -- but some things are nearly inexpressible in any kind of language -- it becomes quite moving.
Highly recommend the LibroFM version, here. 

Obit Cover Image
ISBN: 9781556595745
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Copper Canyon Press - April 7th, 2020

Staff recommendation: A beautiful book of poetry from Copper Canyon Press.
Shortly after her father had a stroke, her mother passed a way... She put together an entire book written in the style of obituaries.