Edmonds Booktalk: A bevy of new books to read this fall

By Elaine Mattson

Now that we have, at long last, had a bit of summer, I must admit that I am getting ready for fall. The top is back up on the Jeep, and it is starting to become noticeably darker, noticeably earlier. One of the best parts of fall is all the great books that come out the last few months of the year. Many of my favorite authors have been busy and we are the beneficiaries of all of their hard work. Love that! Following is a brief list of some that I am most looking forward to reading.


Alexandra Fuller, author of “Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight,” has a brand new book — the further adventures of her mother, Nicola Fuller of Central Africa (as she liked to introduce herself!). “Cocktail Hour under the Tree of Forgetfulness.”

Erik Larson, “In the Garden of Beasts.” Hitler’s Germany at the beginning of WWII, the new U.S. ambassador to Germany and his daughter, who thinks all those boys in their fancy uniforms are just fascinating… all kinds of trouble ensues!

Susan Orlean, who wrote “The Orchid Thief” ages ago, has a new one: “Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend.” ‘He believed the dog was immortal…’ is how Orlean begins her moving story of Rin Tin Tin’s journey from orphaned puppy [awww!] to movie star and international icon. Chosen for IndieBound.


“Shockwave” is the new Virgil Flowers novel from John Sandford. Another tough-guy-cop, from the author of the “Prey” series. With Lucas all settled down with a wife and kids, he needed a hero that was still single. And more of Virgil’s trouble seems to come from women than from the bad guys. Bad for Virgil, great for us!

Michael Ondaatje, author of “The English Patient,” kept us waiting eight years for his new one: “The Cat’s Table.” In 1953, an 11-year-old boy’s life is permanently upended when he leaves Colombo, Ceylon, to begin a new life in London with his mother. His 21 unsupervised days aboard the ocean liner Oronsay prove momentous as significant events during the crossing profoundly impact the boy’s future while immensely expanding his world. Chosen for IndieBound.

Alice Hoffman is a real favorite, since there is usually a magical element of some kind involved. Her new one “The Dovekeepers,” sounds amazing: a novel based on true events in ancient Israel. Over five years in the writing, this is her most ambitious and mesmerizing novel, a tour de force of imagination and research. Chosen for IndieBound.

David Guterson — yes, the author of “Snow Falling on Cedars,” has a new one coming mid-October — “Ed King.” How would a modern man go about killing his father and marrying his mother, just like Sophocles’ Oedipus? Guterson’s vivid re-creation begins with randy young father Warren, who launches his career as a serial philanderer by sleeping with Diane, his family’s under-age British nanny. It continues with Diane’s inopportune pregnancy and callous abandonment of newborn Ed, who is quickly adopted by a nice Jewish couple.

A new Stephen King, “11/22/63” involves time-travel and a man sent back to stop the tragic events that play out on that date… and of course, since it is Stephen King, you know there is going to be something more going on!

Books for little kids.

“The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse” from author and illustrator, Eric Carle. Fun stuff on the Penguin website from Eric Carle.

“If You Give a Dog a Donut” by Laura Numeroff. We’ve seen what happens with Mouse and a cookie, and Moose and a muffin… !

One of our favorite local authors, Bonny Becker, has a new Bear and Mouse book. “The Sniffles for Bear.” Tragedy has struck — at least in the opinion of Bear, who languishes with a cold and who “was quite sure no one had ever been as sick as he was.” Awesome.

Books for young adults.

James Dasher’s final book in the “Mazerunner” trilogy: “The Death Cure,” coming in mid-October. Thomas knows that Wicked can’t be trusted, but they say the time for lies is over, that they’ve collected all they can from the Trials and now must rely on the Gladers. But Thomas has remembered far more than they think. And he knows that he can’t believe a word of what Wicked says…

Maggie Stiefvater, of “Shiver” trilogy fame, has a brand new stand-alone novel: “The Scorpio Races.”  With her trademark lyricism, Maggie Stiefvater turns to a new world, where a pair are swept up in a daring, dangerous race across a cliff — with more than just their lives at stake should they lose. Coming mid-October.

October Events at the Edmonds Bookshop.
Our Book Club book for Oct. 19. “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese. A review from John Irving: That Abraham Verghese is a doctor and a writer is already established; the miracle of this novel is how organically the two are entwined. The medical detail is stunning, but it never overwhelms the humane and narrative aspects of this moving and ambitious novel. This is a first-person narration where the first-person voice appears to disappear, but never entirely. And what terrific characters — even the most minor players are given a full history. There is also a sense of great foreboding; by the midpoint of the story, one dreads what will further befall these characters.

Third Thursday Art Walk. Oct. 20. 5-8 p.m. Join us for light snacks and beverages, and discover with us, the beauty of Nancy Medwell photography. She has a lovely book, “Eternal Moments.” For a sneak preview visit her website.

Recent paperback releases:
“At Home: A Short History of Private Life” by Bill Bryson. Chosen for IndieBound.

“Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration” by Isabel Wilkerson.

“Mary Ann in Autumn: A Tales of the City Novel” by Armistead Maupin. Chosen for IndieBound.

“Bird Cloud : A Memoir of Place” by Annie Proulx. Chosen for IndieBound.

“Freedom: A Novel” by Jonathan Franzen.

“Washington: A Life” by Ron Chernow. The Pulitzer Prize winner now in paperback.

“The Turquoise Ledge: A Memoir by Leslie Marmon Silko. Chosen for IndieBound.

“Dead or Alive” by Tom Clancy. In paperback.

“The Witch of Hebron: A World Made by Hand Novel” by James Howard Kunstler.

Recent hardcover releases:
For ages 9-12:  “The Heroes of Olympus, Book Two: The Son of Neptune” by Rick Riordan.

For ages 9-12: “Liesl & Po” by Lauren Oliver. A wonderfully imaginative, startlingly moving and at times wickedly funny fantasy. With nods to Dahl, Dickens, and the Grimms, the author has made something truly original.

“The Night Strangers” by Chris Bohjalian. This ventures into Stephen King territory with its story of a pilot haunted by the ghosts of passengers he couldn’t save after he crash-landed a passenger jet into Lake Champlain. Review in the Seattle Times.

“The Great Leader : A Faux Mystery” by Jim Harrison. A review in the New York Times.

“If Jack’s in Love” by Stephen Wetta. Chosen for IndieBound.

“The Visible Man: A Novel” by Chuck Klosterman.

Coming later in October:

“Snuff: A Novel of Discworld” by Terry Pratchett. Oct. 11

“The Marriage Plot: A Novel” by Jeffrey Eugenides. Oct. 11

“The Dark at the End: A Repairman Jack Novel” by F. Paul Wilson. Oct. 11

“A Lily of the Field” by John Lawton. In paperback. Chosen for IndieBound. Oct. 11

“Damned” by Chuck Palahniuk. Oct. 18

“Seizure: A Virals Novel” by Kathy Reichs. October 18, 2011. The second novel in the “Virals” trilogy. Ever since Tory Brennan and her friends rescued Cooper, a kidnapped wolf pup with a rare strain of canine parvovirus, they’ve turned from regular kids into a crime-solving pack! “Beautiful Chaos (Beautiful Creatures, Book 3)” by Kami Garcia. Oct. 18

“The Night Eternal” by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. October 25, 2011.The stunning conclusion of the New York Times bestselling vampire saga begins where “The Strain” and “The Fall” left off: with the last remnants of humankind enslaved by the vampire masters in a world forever shrouded by nuclear winter. Still, a small band of the living fights on in the shadows.

“The Litigators” by John Grisham. Oct. 25

“1Q84” by Haruki Murakami. Oct. 25

“Destined (House of Night)” by P. C. Cast. The latest in this popular YA series. Oct. 25

“The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: Fourteen Amazing Authors Tell the Tales With an Introduction by Lemony Snicket” by Chris Van Allsburg. This inspired collection of short stories features many remarkable, best-selling authors in the worlds of both adult and children’s literature. Oct. 25

As always, check our website for all the latest in book news!

Happy reading!

Edmonds native Elaine Mattson has worked at The Edmonds Bookshop off and on since she was 12 years old, and has also worked at a book wholesaler, a book publisher, and for the book publishing division of a large local software company (yes, that one). “I was raised a book lover [thanks, Mom!],” Mattson says. “We got book lights by our beds as soon as we were old enough to read. And then I probably got in trouble for reading too late the very next night. And I still read too late!”

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