Edmonds Booktalk: Give the gift of reading with these book suggestions

Elaine Mattson
Elaine Mattson

Welcome to December! Is anyone ready?

I’ve been checking my lists…

…of the books I have read so far this year. I have some great recommendations, for you, or as a gift perhaps… perhaps?

Alphabetical by author:

Chelsea Cain: “One Kick: A Kick Lannigan Thriller.” First in a new series. Dark and twisty. Our protagonist is emotionally damaged from childhood events. She has armed herself physically and mentally and thinks she is ready to take on anything. Then she meets enigmatic John Bishop, who wants her to help him rescue missing kids. Complications ensue.

Girl giftsR. Carey: “The Girl with All the Gifts.” Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.
A post-apocalyptic novel that is set mid-apocalypse. The survivors are still figuring it out. Great twist that I haven’t read anywhere else. Love when that happens.

barbarianWilliam Finnegan: “Barbarian Days: A Surfing LIfe.” An autobiography from the acclaimed New Yorker writer. Focusing on events around his surfing, this is a deeply rendered self-portrait of a beautiful addiction, a morally dangerous pastime, a way of life…

Robert Galbraith: The Cormoran Strike novels. [We all know that he is J. K. Rowling, right?] Great new series, that takes the ‘usual’ [a down-on-his-luck private eye and his lovely new assistant, who together tackle tough murder mysteries] and completely elevates it – the writing is fantastic, the backstories and the interpersonal relationships are well-drawn and promise all kinds of great story lines to come! “The Cuckoo’s Calling;” “The Silkworm;” “Career of Evil.”

Elly Griffiths: The Ruth Galloway series. Ruth is an archaeologist. She lives happily alone in a bleak, remote area near Norfolk, on a barren coast of England. Then she gets entangled in a current murder investigation. And meets the married Detective Chief Inspector Nelson. And, yes, complications do ensue. Great personal stories woven through the series. And not too many grisly details since she prefers old bones. First in the series is: “The Crossing Places.”

M. Hulse: “Black River.” A fantastic first novel. When Wes Carver returns to Black River, he carries two things in the cab of his truck: his wife’s ashes and a letter from the prison parole board. The convict, who held him hostage during a riot, twenty years ago, is being considered for release. Set in small town Montana, with spare prose and stunning detail, the author drops us deep into the heart and darkness of an American town.

mercedesStephen King: The Bill Hodges Trilogy. 1: “Mr. Mercedes”: In a high-suspense race against time, three of the most unlikely heroes Stephen King has ever created try to stop a lone killer from blowing up thousands. He won the 2015 Edgar Award for best novel for this one! 2: “Finders Keepers”: A masterful, intensely suspenseful novel about a reader whose obsession with a reclusive writer goes far too far—a book about the power of storytelling, starring the same trio of unlikely and winning heroes introduced in Mr. Mercedes. 3: “End of Watch,” is coming June 7, 2016. For those of you who don’t read Mr. King because of the ‘horror’ or ‘supernatural’ bent in a lot of his books – these are straight-ahead murder mysteries, with your run-of-the-mill, all-too-human, serial killers and psychos. With his amazing writing.

Kelly Link: “Get in Trouble: Stories.” The nine exquisite stories in this collection show the author in full command of her formidable powers. The stories feature darkness; mysterious, never-quite-glimpsed visitors; hurricanes, astronauts, evil twins, bootleggers, Ouija boards, iguanas, The Wizard of Oz, superheroes, the Pyramids . . . As fantastical as these stories can be, they are always grounded by sly humor and an innate generosity of feeling for the frailty—and the hidden strengths—of human beings.

slow regardPatrick Rothfuss: “The Kingkiller Chronicle Day One: The Name of the Wind.” A masterpiece that transports readers into the body and mind of a wizard. It is a high-action novel written with a poet’s hand, a powerful coming-of-age story of a magically gifted young man, told through his eyes: to read this book is to be the hero.
“The Wise Man’s Fear: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day Two”
“The Slow Regard of Silent Things: A Novel of the Kingkiller Chronicle.”
I cannot recommend these books enough, and while we are not so patiently waiting for Day Three, the latest book, now in paperback, is such a lovely side trip that I have forgiven him. For the moment.

Wolf wilderKatherine Rundell : “Wolf Wilder.” A girl and the wolves who love her embark on a rescue mission through Russian wilderness in this lyrical tale for middle grade readers. Feo’s life is extraordinary. Her mother trains domesticated wolves to be able to fend for themselves in the snowy wilderness of Russia, and Feo is following in her footsteps to become a wolf wilder. Not everyone is enamored with the wolves, or with the fact that Feo and her mother are turning them wild. And when her mother is taken captive, Feo must travel through the cold, harsh woods to save her—and learn from her wolves how to survive.

Stop in and any of us can help choose a book or two for you, or as a gift for someone on your list. It’s what we love to do – finding just the right book for just that person.

January 2016 Book Club Book.

Jan. 7 & 20, 2016. “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. From the award-winning author of “Half of a Yellow Sun,” comes a powerful, tender story of race and identity.

Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.

We have chosen the books for the first half of 2016! They are listed on our Book Club page.

Recent book releases of note:

“The Japanese Lover” by Isabel Allende. An exquisitely crafted love story and multi-generational epic encompassing WWII-era Poland and the United States and present-day San Francisco.
“Diary of a Wimpy Kid #10: Old School” by Jeff Kinney. In the latest installment of the phenomenally bestselling series, Greg starts a new school year and faces a challenge he never could’ve imagined.
“Avenue of Mysteries” by John Irving. The bestselling author returns to the themes that established him as one of our most admired and beloved authors in this absorbing novel of fate and memory.
“The Crossing: A Harry Bosch Novel” by Michael Connelly. Harry Bosch crosses the line to team up with Lincoln Lawyer Mickey Haller in the new thriller from the bestselling author.
“The White Road: Journey into an Obsession” by Edmund de Waal. Part memoir, part history, part detective story, this new book chronicles a global obsession with alchemy, art, wealth, craft and purity. The author gives us a singular understanding of “the spectrum of porcelain” and the mapping of desire.
“The Promise: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel” by Robert Crais. Elvis Cole and Joe Pike are joined by “Suspect” heroes Scott James and his K-9 partner, Maggie, in the new masterpiece of suspense from the bestselling author.

Books of note coming soon:

“Blood, Salt, Water: An Alex Morrow Novel” by Denise Mina. Detective Alex Morrow discovers that the darkest secrets never stay buried as she investigates the criminal underbelly of a seemingly tranquil seaside town in Scotland.
For teen readers “Forbidden” by Eve Bunting. In early-nineteenth century Scotland, sixteen-year-old orphan, Josie, is sent to live with an aunt and uncle on the rocky, stormy northwest coast. Everything and everyone in her new surroundings, is sinister, threatening, and mysterious. She’s told that a young man she’s attracted to is forbidden to her, but not why. Spirited, curious, and determined, Josie sets out to learn the village’s secrets and discovers evil…
“House of the Rising Sun” by James Lee Burke. In this stunning follow-up to “Wayfaring Stranger,” former Texas Ranger Holland sets off to look for his estranged son, a U.S. Army captain, in a journey spanning two years. In 1916, after a botched Ranger operation in Mexico, Hackberry has in his possession an artifact rumored to be the Holy Grail, incurring the wrath of a vicious arms dealer who wants the artifact for himself. Bloodshed and treachery follow as Hackberry searches for his son while staying ahead of Beckman.
“Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades, 35th Anniversary Edition: The Complete Guide to Organic Gardening” by Steve Solomon and Marina McShane. Completely revised from cover to cover, this is the 35th anniversary edition of the bible to organic vegetable gardening in the Pacific Northwest. Now in its seventh edition, the book has been thoroughly updated and includes a new formula for complete organic fertilizer and how to tweak it for a variety of different soil conditions.
“The Relic Master: A Novel” by Christopher Buckley. From the bestselling author, called “one of the funniest writers in the English language” by Tom Wolfe, comes a compelling and hilarious adventure featuring a sixteenth-century relic hunter and his best friend, who conspire to forge the Shroud of Turin. December 8, 2015.
For ages 9 -12 “I Funny TV: A Middle School Story” by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein. Jamie Grimm has finally accomplished his dream of proving himself the Planet’s Funniest Kid Comic, and the sky’s the limit from there. Enter a couple of TV executives with a huge plan for Jamie: a new show about Jamie and his oddball friends! But when Jamie struggles to learn the acting ropes, will it be an early curtain call for the biggest show of the decade? December 14, 2015.

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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