Edmonds Booktalk: Ring in the new year with a good book — or several

Elaine Mattson
Elaine Mattson

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2014!

We start with a moment of quiet reflection for a few of the famous, prolific authors we lost in the past year…

Elmore Leonard, 87, whose stylish crime novels were fodder for several movies; best-selling author Tom Clancy, 66, who penned high-tech, Cold War thrillers; Doris Lessing, 94, a Nobel Prize winner; Seamus Heaney, 74, the Irish poet and Nobel Prize winner.

And, since the cycle of life continues, we also welcomed a wide range of brand-new authors, and their first novels in 2013. A brief list of some of our favorites, in alphabetic order:

“The Age of Miracles” by Karen Thompson Walker. Staff favorite.
“A Constellation of Vital Phenomena” by Anthony Marra.
“The Expats” by Chris Pavone. Edgar® Award Winner and staff favorite.
“Ghostman” by Roger Hobbs. Edgar® Award Winner and staff favorite.
“The Golem and the Jinni” by Helene Wecker. Staff favorite.
“The House Girl: A Novel” by Tara Conklin. Seattle author.
“The Last Policeman: A Novel” by Ben H. Winters. Edgar® Award Winner and staff favorite.
“The Luminaries” by Eleanor Catton. Winner of the Man Booker Prize.
“The Orchardist” by Amanda Coplin. Staff favorite.

How many of these names will we recognize in 10 years? Or 20? I know! Deep thoughts for so early in the year! So pick your favorite cliché: “Dream big!” “No guts, no glory!” “What have you got to lose?” “All they can say is no!” And be inspired! Choose one new thing that you are going to make an honest attempt at accomplishing this year – doesn’t have to be writing an entire novel! — And don’t take “no” for an answer!


And now back to our regularly scheduled book column…

January 2 & 15, 2014. Our January Book Club title is “The Moonstone” by Wilkie Collins. Intrigue, investigations, thievery, drugs and murder all make an appearance in Collins’s classic who-done-it. Published in serial form in 1868, it was inspired in part by a spectacular murder case widely reported in the early 1860s.

T.S. Eliot described this novel as ‘the first and greatest of English detective novels.’

Find more details about this title and the list of our first books for the new year, on our Book Club page.

Recent book releases of note:
“Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades, Updated 6th Edition: The Complete Guide to Organic Gardening” by Steve Solomon. Now in a special updated 6th edition this complete guide to organic vegetable gardening addresses issues of soil, seeds, compost, and watering. Steve Solomon was one of the early proponents of organic gardening, and the first to codify and refine the best practices of small-plot vegetable gardening in the Pacific Northwest. He lays out the principles, but advocates that readers think for themselves and grow their gardens as they see fit.

Perennials“Perennials for the Pacific Northwest: 500 Best Plants for Flower Gardens” by Marty Wingate. This is the A-List of flowering plants recommended for Pacific Northwest gardens–updated to include the current crop of available perennials–in a lavishly photographed and definitive guide, which will aide in selecting the best perennials to build a successful garden.

“The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking” by Olivia Laing. Chosen for IndieBound.

“Brown Dog” by Jim Harrison. Selected as one of PW’s Best Books of 2013, this is 500 pages of preposterously fun shenanigans of Brown Dog, one of literature’s great characters. An essential collection from an American legend. Chosen for December IndieBound. New [12/22/13] review in The Seattle Times.

“Command Authority: A Jack Ryan Novel” by Tom Clancy. Maybe the last Jack Ryan novel….RIP Mr. Clancy. There’s a new strong man in Russia but his rise to power is based on a dark secret hidden decades in the past. The solution to that mystery lies with a most unexpected source, President Jack Ryan.

And a great list of new paperbacks!
“The Golem and the Jinni” by Helene Wecker. PNBA award winner and chosen for IndieBound.
“The Wave: by Sonali Deraniyagala. In 2004, at a beach resort on the coast of Sri Lanka, Sonali Deraniyagala and her family—parents, husband, sons—were swept away by a tsunami. Only Sonali survived to tell their tale. This is her account of the nearly incomprehensible event and its aftermath.
“Trains and Lovers: A Novel” by Alexander McCall Smith. As they journey by rail from Edinburgh to London, four strangers pass the time by sharing tales of trains that have changed their lives.
Three Times LuckyFor ages 10 and up “Three Times Lucky” by Sheila Turnage. A Southern debut with the kind of characters you meet once in a lifetime. A staff favorite!
“A Conspiracy of Faith: A Department Q Novel” by Jussi Adler-Olsen. The bestselling author returns with another shocking cold case in his exhilarating Department Q series set in Denmark.
“A Tale for the Time Being: A Novel” by Ruth Ozeki. A brilliant, unforgettable novel shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
“Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2013” by Carol J. Loomis. As Buffett’s wealth and reputation grew over time, Loomis used her unique insight to chronicle his work for Fortune magazine.
“Manuscript Found in Accra” by Paulo Coelho.

And books of note coming soon:
Invention of Wings“The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd. Chosen for the lead review in January IndieBound, and chosen for Oprah’s Book Club! Jan. 7
“Tenth of December: Stories” by George Saunders. Staff favorite, now in paperback. Chosen for IndieBound. Jan. 7
“The Bird Skinner” by Alice Greenway. Chosen for IndieBound. Jan. 7
“Stringer: A Reporter’s Journey in the Congo” by Anjan Sundaram. Chosen for IndieBound. Jan. 7
“On Such a Full Sea: A Novel” by Chang-rae Lee. The award-winning author’s new novel about the immigrant experience in a future long-declining America. Appearing in Seattle January 15, 2014. Details here. Jan. 7
“Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy” by David Sheff. Addiction is a preventable, treatable disease, not a moral failing. David Sheff spent time with scores of scientists, doctors, counselors, and addicts and their families, and explored the latest research in psychology, neuroscience, and medicine. Now in paperback. Jan. 7. And don’t miss his memoir, “Beautiful Boy,” the story about his son’s addiction and steps toward recovery, which led him to further investigate and eventually write this new book.
“My Beloved World” by Sonia Sotomayor. The first Hispanic, and third woman, appointed to the United States Supreme Court, has become an instant American icon. Now, with a candor and intimacy never undertaken by a sitting Justice, she recounts her life from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench, a journey that offers an inspiring testament to her own extraordinary determination and the power of believing in oneself. Now in paperback. Jan. 7
“The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg. Award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. In paperback. January 7, 2014.
“Life After Life: A Novel” by Kate Atkinson. Staff favorite now in paperback! Chosen for IndieBound. Jan. 7
“The Edge of Nowhere” by Elizabeth George. The first young adult book by a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author! Now in paperback. Get ready for book No. 2 coming in March! Jan. 7
“Radiance of Tomorrow: A Novel” by Ishmael Beah. A haunting, beautiful first novel by the bestselling author of “A Long Way Gone”, about postwar life in Sierra Leone. Chosen for IndieBound. Jan. 7
Hollow City“Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs. “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” (see the review here by our Recommended Reads columnist Wendy Kendall) was the surprise best seller of 2011—an unprecedented mix of YA fantasy and vintage photography that enthralled readers and critics alike. This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Jan 14
“Vampires in the Lemon Grove And Other Stories” by Karen Russell. Chosen for IndieBound. Now in paperback. Jan. 14
“Love Water Memory” by Jennie Shortridge. Chosen for IndieBound. Jan. 14
“Under the Wide and Starry Sky: A Novel” by Nancy Horan. From the bestselling author of “Loving Frank,” comes the much-anticipated second novel, which tells the improbable love story of Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson and his tempestuous American wife, Fanny. Jan. 21

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

– By Elaine Mattson

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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