Edmonds Booktalk: Long story short, take a second look at collections

elaineBy Elaine Mattson

Apparently short stories are the new big thing! Either anthologies, a collection of stories by different authors, or books that are collections of the same author’s stories. This is not actually new thing. (One of my favorite books remains “Cowboys Are My Weakness” by Pam Houston from 2005.) But for some reason, publishers are more willing to release a collection these day.

Theories abound. Short attention span. Small hunks of time, with mobile devices giving people access to small hunks of stories – perfect lengths for bus rides or waiting for a flight. A great way to discover new authors or to be able to read complete stories in one sitting. All great reasons. And for those of you who say, “Oh, I don’t read short stories…” take a chance – you will be pleasantly surprised at the great new format laid wide open for your enjoyment.

There are collections every year, “The Best American Short Stories,” is one. The editor differs year-to-year, so the choice of stories varies dramatically. Which in itself is fascinating. If you like the stories this year’s editor chose, will you like his writing? Or, if you love this year’s editor’s writing, will you like his choices? This adds so many more titles to your reading list!

Here are a few of the brand new, (and recommended by Bookshop staff!) short story collections:

“We Live in Water” by Jess Walter. Fascinating article about how he chose the stories to include in this new collection.

“Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories” by Karen Russell.

“What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank : Stories” by Nathan Englander.

“Revenge : Eleven Dark Tales” by Yoko Ogawa.

“Tenth of December: Stories” by George Saunders.

“Dear Life: Stories” by Alice Munro.

March events at the Edmonds Bookshop
March 7 and 20. Our March Book Club title is “The Swerve: How the World Became Modern” by Stephen Greenblatt,
winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction  and winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Non-Fiction. One of the world’s most celebrated scholars, Stephen Greenblatt has crafted both an innovative work of history and a thrilling story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it. Find more details on our Book Club page.

Stephen Greenblatt, author of “The Swerve” appears March 4, 7:30 p.m. at Benaroya Hall. Last time we checked there were still tickets available: www.lectures.org.

March 21, 5- 8pm. Third Thursday ArtWalk. We welcome, as our Third Thursday Artists, Meadowdale High School Poets: an evening to benefit “Unmasked Magazine.” Check our Events page for further details.

Recent book releases of note:
“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.

“The House Girl: A Novel” by Tara Conklin. The Seattle author’s debut novel intertwines the story of a runaway slave with that of a young lawyer in 21st-century Manhattan. Chosen for the lead review for February IndieBound.And a great review in The Seattle Times.

“We Live in Water” by Jess Walter. Darkly funny, sneakily sad, these stories, mainly set in Spokane, are very, very good. Article about this new collection here. And a rave review in The Seattle Times. Chosen for March IndieBound.

“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. Great review in The Seattle Times.

“Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories” by Karen Russell. A magical new collection of stories that showcases Karen Russell’s gifts at their inimitable best.

For teen readers:

“Scarlet : Lunar Chronicles #2” by Marissa Meyer. Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in this second thrilling installment of the bestselling series from a local author.

“The Stonecutter” by Camilla Läckberg; Steven T. Murray. Now in paperback. Chosen for IndieBound.

“How Literature Saved My Life” by David Shields. In this wonderfully intelligent, stunningly honest and painfully funny book, acclaimed writer David Shields uses himself as a representative for all readers and writers who seek to find salvation in literature. New review [2/10/13] in The Seattle Times.

“The Alpine Xanadu: An Emma Lord Mystery” by Mary Daheim.

“The Dinner” by Herman Koch. It’s a summer’s evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner… This chilling novel starts out as a witty look at contemporary manners before turning into a take-no-prisoners psychological thriller.

“With or Without You : A Memoir” by Domenica Ruta. Chosen for March IndieBound.

“The Storyteller” by Jodi Picoult. Some stories live forever . . . In this searingly honest novel, Picoult gracefully explores the lengths we will go in order to protect our families and to keep the past from dictating the future.

“Benediction” by Kent Haruf. In Holt, the fictional Colorado town where all of Haruf’s novels are set, longtime resident Dad Lewis is dying of cancer. Happily married (he calls his wife “his luck”), Dad spends his last weeks thinking over his life, particularly an incident that ended badly with a clerk in his store, and his relationship with his estranged son. A quiet—though never once boring—book. Chosen as lead review for March IndieBound.

“Bad Blood : A Kate Shugak Novel” by Dana Stabenow. The bestselling author’s latest finds Kate Shugak entangled in a bitter tribal rivalry and murder.

And coming later in March:
“Some Like It Hot: A Cat DeLuca Mystery” by K J Larsen. The latest from local authors! When an old friend buys a trench coat and opens his own detective agency, PI Cat DeLuca sees a train wreck. March 5.
“The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection : No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency #13” by Alexander McCall Smith. In paperback! March 5
“Drift : The Unmooring of American Military Power” by Rachel Maddow. In paperback. March 5
“The Obituary Writer” by Ann Hood. Chosen for IndieBound. March 5
“The Orchardist” by Amanda Coplin. The staff favorite in paperback! March 5
“A Dying Fall : A Ruth Galloway Mystery” by Elly Griffiths. Ruth Galloway is shocked when she learns that her old university friend Dan Golding has died tragically in a house fire. But the death takes on a sinister cast when Ruth receives a letter from Dan written just before he died. March 5
“Ghana Must Go: A Novel” by Taiye Selasi. Debut novel. Chosen for IndieBound. March 5
“Let’s Pretend This Never Happened : A Mostly True Memoir” by Jenny Lawson. A staff favorite now in paperback! March 5
“How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia : A Novel” by Mohsin Hamid. Chosen for IndieBound.March 5
“What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank: Stories” by Nathan Englander. Chosen for IndieBound. March 5
“A Tale for the Time Being : A Novel” by Ruth Ozecki. March 12
“Visitants” by Dave Eggers. Eggers’ travel essays over a fifteen year period, both published and not, documenting his adventures from Cuba to China including the Saudi Arabia where he set his last novel “A Hologram for the King.” March 12
“Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?” by Jeannette Winterson. Now in paperback. Chosen for IndieBound. March 12
“All Woman and Springtime” by Brandon W. Jones. In paperback. Chosen for IndieBound. March 12
“Clockwork Princess: Infernal Devices Book 3” by Cassandra Clare. Danger closes in around the Shadowhunters in the final installment of the bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy. March 19
“The Burgess Boys: A Novel” by Elizabeth Strout. The Pulitzer Prize–winning author returns with a stunning novel as powerful and moving as any work in contemporary literature. March 26
“Leaving Everything Most Loved: A Maisie Dobbs Novel” by Jacqueline Winspear. The death of an Indian immigrant leads Maisie Dobbs into a dangerous yet fascinating world and takes her in an unexpected direction in this latest chapter of the bestselling series. March 26
“The Golden Egg : A Commissario Guido Brunetti Novel” by Donna Leon. March 26

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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