Edmonds Booktalk: Time to break out fall book awards, favorite authors

Elaine Mattson
Elaine Mattson

Welcome to Fall! I realize it gets darker and wetter, but really, all that means is more time inside to read! And this time of year often brings fantastic new books from authors we already love, and others that may soon make our short lists.

A great place to start is Mary Ann Gwinn’s column “Fall books: 37 new titles to add to your reading list.”

And soon, there will be a couple of new literary awards announced:

  • The 2014 Washington State Book Awards finalists have been announced, and the winners will be announced Oct. 10. See the list of finalists here 
  • The Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2014 shortlist has been revealed, and the winner will be announced Oct. 14. [It is British, you know!] See more info, and the long list, at the website.

You have time to read a few of the shortlisted titles – then you can see if you agree with the judges!

First Novel Report for September:
“Invisible Beasts” by Sharona Muir. (published 7/15/2014). My first reaction: Not actually a novel!! So, then I looked a bit closer. Some of the tag lines said things like, “Tales of…” and “Stories from…” These are much more accurate. This is a collection of short essays, or tales, many of which have been previously published. It is a lovely collection of tales, but really, there is no actual story. So. Not a novel. That being said. The writing is lovely. And I did enjoy many of the tales. My favorite was her chapter about the invisible dog she found [or that found her!]: head on her knee and big tail wrapped around them both sitting in front of the fire… ahhhhhh! Cute! Verdict: if you are interested in beasts of any kind, imaginary or not, her writing is lovely and the chapters make it an easy book to pick up and read a few chapters at a time.

MartianBonus First Novel Report! “The Martian” by Andy Weir (published 2/11/2014). This was a completely fantastic, page-turning read! An astronaut is abandoned on Mars, because his crew thinks he is dead. Can he figure out how to survive? Can he figure out how to let anyone know that he is still alive?? The author is a self-proclaimed space-nerd, so the science is fantastic. A lot of the novel is in the form of a log, and our hero has a lovely twisted sense of humor. I thoroughly enjoyed it all! Verdict: yes, yes! Read it!

October Events at The Edmonds Bookshop.

HomeOct. 2 & 15, 2014. Our October Book Club title is “Tell the Wolves I’m Home” by Carol Rifka Brunt. This striking literary debut unfolds a moving story of love, grief, and renewal as two lonely people become the unlikeliest of friends and find that sometimes you don’t know you’ve lost someone until you’ve found them. An emotionally charged coming-of-age novel, this is a tender story of love lost and found, an unforgettable portrait of the way compassion can make us whole again.
Find more details about this title and the list of our book choices for the rest of the year, on our Book Club page.

BumpingOct. 16, 2014. Third Thursday Art Walk, 5-8 p.m. We will welcome poet Dr. John L. Wright and celebrate the publication of his brand new book of poetry, “Bumping Against the Glass.” He will read at 7pm, come early to mix & mingle! Light snacks and beverages will be served.

A Woodway resident, [and an Edmonds Bookshop regular!] John L. Wright is a retired physician who wrote his first poem in 1988 at the age of 58. His poems have appeared in eleven anthologies including, Floating Bridge Pontoon Four, Eight, Ten and Review #5. He has published three previous collections: Through an Old Wooden Bowl in 1999 (The Swedish Medical Center Foundation); As Though Praying: Poems from Decatur Island in 2003 and The Beginning of Love in 2005, both self-published by Bluestone Press. John and his wife, Lanita, have lived on two wooded acres in Woodway since 1964; here they have raised two sons, five dogs and too many cats to count; here, too, while gardening or landscaping many of his poems have had their beginning.

AnniesOct. 18, 2014. Saturday at Noon. We are looking forward to welcoming Wally Carlson and his new novel, “Annie’s Third Wind.” New in paperback this summer, this novel is rich in description and dialogue, Annie draws us into life in the Northwest–its character, its beauty, and its spirit.

Wally Carlson and his family live on Kitsap Peninsula off Puget Sound, where he divides his time between remodeling and restoring homes and writing.

Recent book releases of note:
“Personal: A Jack Reacher Novel” by Lee Child.
“The Secret Place” by Tana French. A powerful, haunting exploration of friendship and loyalty, and a gripping addition to the Dublin Murder Squad series.
“The Bone Clocks” by David Mitchell. Channeling multiple lives and chance encounters Mitchell’s ambitious new novel is called “a thing of beauty” by Publisher’s Weekly. Chosen for September IndieBound.
“Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good: The New Mitford Novel” by Jan Karon. Father Tim Kavanagh returns from Ireland to tiny Mitford, N.C., where everyone has gotten older, but not automatically wiser.
Edge of Eternity: Book Three of The Century Trilogy” by Ken Follett. This finale covers one of the most tumultuous eras of all: the 1960s through the 1980s, encompassing civil rights, assassinations, Vietnam, the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, presidential impeachment, revolution—and rock and roll.
“A Sudden Light: A Novel” by Garth Stein. The bestselling [and staff favorite! yay!!] author presents a long-awaited new novel in which a boy trying to save his parents’ marriage uncovers a vast legacy of family secrets. Chosen for IndieBound.

Books of note coming soon:
“Lila” by Marilynne Robinson. This third of three novels set in the fictional plains town of Gilead, Iowa, follows “Gilead” and “Home;” it’s called a “masterpiece of prose” by Publishers Weekly. Chosen for IndieBound. Oct. 7, 2014.
“Some Luck” by Jane Smiley. Smiley’s new novel follows an Iowa family, from the years after WWI through the early 1950s, from the family farm outward into the increasingly complicated world. Said to be the first in what may be a trilogy. Oct. 7, 2014.
“Deadline: A Virgil Flowers Novel” by John Sandford. Oct. 7, 2014.
“The Fall: A father’s memoir in 424 steps” by Diogo Mainardi and Margaret Jull Costa. Chosen for IndieBound. Oct. 7, 2014.
“Someone: A Novel” by Alice McDermott. In paperback. Oct. 7, 2014.
“This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage” by Ann Patchett. In paperback. Oct. 7, 2014.
“Dept. of Speculation” by Jenny Offill. In paperback. Oct. 7, 2014.
“Little Failure: A Memoir” by Gary Shteyngart. In paperback. Oct. 7, 2014.
“Leaving Time” by Jodi Picoult. A daughter refuses to believe that her naturalist mother, who studied grief among elephants, abandoned her more than a decade before. Helped by a disgraced psychic and a cynical private detective, she searches for the truth. Oct. 14, 2014.
“Sam and Dave Dig a Hole” by Mac Barnett, illus. by Jon Klassen. Barnett and Klassen’s previous collaboration, “Extra Yarn,” received a Caldecott Honor. Now, they’re back with a droll picture book about two boys on the hunt for something “spectacular” while digging in their yard. Oct. 14, 2014.
“Gray Mountain: A Novel” by John Grisham. The Great Recession of 2008 left many young professionals out of work. Samantha Kofer was a third year associate at New York City’s largest law firm. Two weeks after Lehman Brothers collapsed, she lost her job, her security, and her future. A week later she was working as an unpaid intern in a legal aid clinic deep in small town Appalachia. There, for the first time in her career, she was confronted with real clients with real problems. She also stumbled across secrets that should have remained buried deep in the mountains forever. Oct. 21, 2014.
“The Peripheral” by William Gibson. The brainy, highly imaginative speculative fiction writer publishes a novel set in “multiple futures” in America. Oct. 28, 2014.
“Falling from Horses” by Molly Gloss. The lyrical Portland writer returns with the story of a ranch hand who moves to Hollywood in 1938, hoping to become a stunt rider and to put a family tragedy behind him. Oct. 28, 2014.
“The Slow Regard of Silent Things: A Kingkiller Chronicle Novella” by Patrick Rothfuss. This book brings us into the world of one of The Kingkiller Chronicle’s most enigmatic characters. A brief, bittersweet glimpse of Auri’s life, and a small adventure all her own, at once joyous and haunting, this story offers a chance to see the world through Auri’s eyes. And it gives the reader a chance to learn things that only Auri knows….Full of secrets and mysteries; this is the story of a broken girl trying to live in a broken world. Oct. 28, 2014.

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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