Edmonds Booktalk: Suggestions for your ‘post-apocalyptic’ reading pleasure

elaineBy Elaine Mattson

Reviewing my list of what I’ve read the past 12 months or so, I was amused to find that I have read an abundance of novels set in a near future that does not bode well for humans. Called “dystopian” and/or “post-apocalyptic,” you will no doubt recognize some of the titles: the teen series “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins [the movie of book 2, “Catching Fire” is currently in post-production with a release date set for November 2013] and “The Maze Runner” by James Dashner [first movie currently in pre-production].

Another equally good teen series is “Matched” by Ally Condie. The rights to all three books in that trilogy have been optioned for movies, which doesn’t guarantee anything, but …. Lest you think only authors of teen titles have delved into this genre, the past couple of years have brought a lovely list of titles that will satisfy all of your build-a-bunker-and-stock-up inclinations:

“World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War” by Max Brooks. [movie starring Brad Pitt in theaters June 21, 2013! Trailer scheduled to appear during “the Big Game” guessing that we will see it on TV once or twice!]

“Zone One” by Colson Whitehead. New York City after a pandemic has devastated the planet.
“Warm Bodies” by Isaac Marion. Movie opened nationwide February 1, 2013.

“Robopocalypse” by Daniel H. Wilson. Movie rights have been sold and industry rumors say that Steven Spielberg is currently working on the script himself, with production to possibly begin in 2014.

Two from Justin Cronin: “The Passage” and its sequel, “The Twelve.” The movie rights to the first book have sold and it is listed as ‘in development’ so we’ll see what that means.

“The Age of Miracles” by Karen Thompson Walker, brand new in paperback, is a novel of family drama with the background setting of the world slowing on its axis… does that make things easier to deal with or…?
Dog Stars

“The Dog Stars” by Peter Heller. Unique narrative style and interesting protagonists make this a great read.

And in a little twist, this is just slightly “pre-apocalyptic.” “The Last Policeman” by Ben Winters. What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die soon, anyway? Detective Hank Palace has faced this question ever since asteroid 2011GV1 hovered into view. No hope. Just six precious months until impact. He’s investigating a death by hanging in a city that sees a dozen suicides every week—except this one feels suspicious, and he’s the only one who cares.

Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

February Events at the Edmonds Bookshop.

Feb. 7 & 20. Our February Book Club title is “Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern.
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. And behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. This title is a staff favorite, the conversation will be fun!
Find more details on our Book Club page.

deadlyFeb. 21. 5-8 p.m. Third Thursday ArtWalk. We welcome, as our Third Thursday Artist: author, Neil Low! This local author [and Seattle police captain!] brings with him his brand new novel: “Deadly Attraction.” This is the fifth in the hard-boiled series featuring master sleuths Vera Deward and Alan Stewart. Set in corrupt, World War II-era Seattle, these books are often inspired by real-life crimes. Visit his website for all kinds of additional information about this multi-talented policeman, writer, and tour guide!

Recent book releases of note:
“Truth Like the Sun” by Jim Lynch. The staff favorite from a local author, finally in paperback!
“1356: A Novel” by Bernard Cornwell. September 1356. All over France, towns are closing their gates. Crops are burning, and through-out the countryside people are on the alert for danger.
Chosen for IndieBound.

“The Lost Art of Mixing” by Erica Bauermeister. This new novel from Seattle author Bauermeister is a sequel to her bestseller, and staff favorite, “The School of Essential Ingredients.” Chosen for February IndieBound. New review [1/18/13] in The Seattle Times.

“The Lifeboat” by Charlotte Rogan. In paperback. Chosen for IndieBound.

“The River Swimmer: Novellas” by Jim Harrison. Chosen for IndieBound.

“Tenth of December: Stories” by George Saunders. A “recommended” tag in the Bookshop. Chosen for IndieBound.

For middle grade readers.
“Navigating Early” by Clare Vanderpool
At the end of World War II, Jack Baker, a landlocked Kansas boy, is suddenly uprooted after his mother’s death and placed in a boy’s boarding school in Maine…

“The Age of Miracles” by Karen Thompson Walker. In paperback. “Recommended” tag in the Bookshop and chosen for IndieBound.

“My Beloved World” by Sonia Sotomayor. The Supreme Court Justice candidly and intimately recounts her journey from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench.

“The Last Runaway” by Tracy Chevalier. The New York Times-bestselling author of “Girl With a Pearl Earring” makes her first fictional foray into the American past, bringing to life the Underground Railroad and illuminating the principles, passions and realities that fueled this extraordinary freedom movement.

“Speaking from Among the Bones: A Flavia de Luce Novel” by Alan Bradley.

And coming in February:
“The Lost Saints of Tennessee” by Amy Franklin-Willis. In paperback. Chosen for IndieBound. Feb. 5.

“No One is Here Except All of Us” by Ramona Ausubel. In paperback. Chosen for IndieBound. Feb. 5.

“A Natural History of Dragons” by Marie Brennan. This book has been getting a ton of anticipatory attention, and rightly so. Complete with gorgeous illustrations, this novel takes the form of protagonist Isabella’s memoir of her youthful adventures, in a world where fantastical creatures roam. A rich and absorbing tale of discovery. One of Publisher’s Weekly Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2013.  Feb. 5.

“Schroder” by Amity Gaige. A lyrical and deeply affecting novel recounting the seven days a father spends on the road with his daughter after kidnapping her during a parental visit. Feb. 5.

“Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients” by Ben Goldacre. A journalist and physician focuses his ire on the pharmaceutical industry’s deceptive practices from the research laboratory to the doctor’s office. One of Publisher’s Weekly Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2013.  Feb. 5.

“How Literature Saved My Life” by David Shields. This is for those who love books a little more intensely than normal readers. Shields analyzes the practices of reading and writing in a blend of criticism and autobiography, that promises to be formally inventive. One of Publisher’s Weekly Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2013. Feb 5.

“Ghostman” by Roger Hobbs. Five years after a failed heist, the protagonist, identified only by the alias “Jack Delton,” is leading an anonymous existence, but not enough of one to prevent his former boss from summoning him at a moment’s notice. Chosen for February IndieBound. One of Publisher’s Weekly Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2013. February 12, 2013

For teen readers:
“Maggot Moon” by Sally Gardner, illustrated by Julian Crouch. Gardner’s story of a boy taking a stand against a totalitarian government was one of the much-discussed titles at last year’s Bologna Book Fair. While dystopian YA novels are a dime a dozen these days, Gardner’s (alternate) historical setting and dyslexic narrator set this book apart. One of Publisher’s Weekly Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2013. Feb. 12.

“Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked” by James Lasdun. Terrifyingly stalked electronically by a former student, Lasdun turns to literature and his father’s experiences with anti-Semitism to see past the attacks and into the heart of his tormentor. One of Publisher’s Weekly Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2013. Feb. 12.

“A Week in Winter” by Maeve Binchy. In the beloved Irish author’s final novel, sharing a week in a small town on the west coast of Ireland, with an unlikely cast of characters is pure joy, full of Maeve’s trademark warmth and humor. Once again, she embraces us with her grand storytelling. Feb. 14.

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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