Edmonds Booktalk: Barack Obama’s favorite books, plus upcoming events

Happy New Year!

I am so happy to be able to start the year with some light: Barack Obama shared some of the books, movies and music he found most inspiring or thought-provoking in 2018, including works that he “just plain loved,” compiling them into a year-end list. (Look who uses Twitter for good!]

His favorite book of the year was “Becoming” by Michelle Obama. (Guessing he may have been in trouble if that were not his answer… but we are completely ok with it!)

The rest of his list is so interesting! Some titles are brand new, some are older, some fiction and some nonfiction. Many titles intersect with our staff favorites and/or other great lists from the year. And as usual, if we don’t have it in the store today, we are happy to order it in, which usually takes just a few days.

Part of his list:

  • “Becoming” by Michelle Obama
  • “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones
  • “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • “Educated” by Tara Westover
  • “Factfulness” by Hans Rosling
  • “Long Walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela
  • “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe
  • “Warlight” by Michael Ondaatje
  • “Arthur Ashe: A Life” by Raymond Arsenault
  • “Asymmetry” by Lisa Halliday
  • “Feel Free” by Zadie Smith
  • “Florida” by Lauren Groff
  • “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom” by David W. Blight
  • “The Largesse of the Sea Maiden” by Denis Johnson
  • “There There” by Tommy Orange
  • “Washington Black” by Esi Edugyan

The rest of his book list, and his lists of movies and music are on his Facebook page. (Yes! You can be friends with our former president!)

Here is some of what’s happening this month at Edmonds Bookshop:

January events at Edmonds Bookshop

Saturday, January 5, 2019. Noon to 1 p.m.
Welcome Nick Baker and his new book “Bad Behavior Blues”

Angry words screamed or shouted at someone can be harmful and cause damage to a person just as much as if they’d been punched in the face. But words can also be soothing, especially when sung aloud with music.Join Nick and learn how singing and music are a healing force in the world.

Especially good for grades 3 and 4, but completely relatable for all ages.

Baker lives in Edmonds, where he participates in community service work at the local senior center. He also visits schools and shares his music and books with students. To hear Nick’s music, please visit his website www.nickbakermusic.com.

Saturday, January 12, 2019. 12:00pm to 1:00pm
We welcome poet Benjamin Schmittand his new collection, “Soundtrack to a Fleeting Masculinity”

Schmitt is the Best Book Award- and Pushcart- nominated author of three books. His poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in the Antioch Review, Hobart, Worcester Review, Columbia Review, Roanoke Review, and many others.

He currently lives in Seattle with his wife and daughter and teaches workshops for adults and children.

January 2018 Book Club Book

January 16, 2019. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.

In this gorgeous, page-turning saga, four generations of a poor Korean immigrant family fight to control their destiny in 20th-century Japan, exiled from a home they never knew.

“Pachinko” was the 7th pick by Now Read This: A Book Club from PBS NEWSHOUR and the New York Times. Visit the website for all kinds of fascinating background and behind-the -scenes information from the author.

Thursday, January 17, 2019. 5-8 p.m.

Third Thursday Art Walk:

We are thrilled to welcome back author Tracy Weber with her new book, the sixth in the Downward Dog Mystery series, “Murder Likes It Hot”

When an employee is found dead at the local homeless shelter for youth, yoga instructor Kate Davidson sets aside her fertility and financial woes to support and defend the teenagers.

Published in paperback, January 8, 2019.

This is a fantastic “cozy mystery” series, with a fun/great focus on animal rescue and yoga, as well as her protagonist’s desire to remedy social ills, starting with urban homelessness as her cause in the first book. And of course, there is a potential romance… fun!

Visit her website for all kinds of information about her books, and her yoga! http://tracyweberauthor.com/

Saturday, January 19, 2019. Noon to 1 p.m.
We are excited to welcome author/adventurer/photographer Paul Souders with his book, “Arctic Solitaire: A Boat, a Bay and the Quest for the Perfect Bear.”

A hilarious and evocative misadventure, this book shares Souders’exploits across three summers, thousands of  miles of a vast inland sea, and the unpredictable Arctic wilderness—and also offers an insightful look at what compels a person to embark on adventure. The accompanying images of the landscape, people, and wildlife of the remote Hudson Bay region are, in a word, stunning.

See more about Mr. Soudersand his photography and adventures at his website, http://photoboy.com/

For more information about these events and even more events scheduled so far in 2019, visit our fantastic new Events calendar: https://edmondsbookshop.indielite.org/event,

Recent book releases of note:

“Killing Commendatore: A Novel” by Haruki Murakami.
“Bridge of Clay” by Markus Zusak.
“The Witch Elm: A Novel” by Tana French.
“Unsheltered: A Novel” by Barbara Kingsolver.Staff recommended.
“Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life” by Jane Sherron de Hart.
“The Library Book” by Susan Orlean.
“The Reckoning” by John Grisham.
“The Feral Detective: A Novel” by Jonathan Lethem.
“Nine Perfect Strangers” by Liane Moriarty.
“Look Alive Twenty-Five: A Stephanie Plum Novel” by Janet Evanovich.
“Becoming” by Michelle Obama.
“Kingdom of the Blind: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel” by Louise Penny.
“Milkman” by Anna Burns. The winner of this year’s Man Booker Prize.
“The Point of It All: A Lifetime of Great Loves and Endeavors” by Charles Krauthammer.
“Gnomon” by Nick Harkaway.
“The Wolves of Winter” by Tyrell Johnson. This post-apocalyptic debut novel is a captivating tale of humanity pushed beyond its breaking point. In paperback.

For teen readers  “This Is Not a Love Letter” by Kim Purcell. Jessie’s boyfriend Chris, one of the only black kids in a depressed paper mill town, is popular and heading to college on a full baseball scholarship. Then he vanishes. As Jessie searches for answers, she must face her fears, her guilt, and a past more complicated than she would like to admit. In paperback.

Books of note being released in January:

“Murder Likes It Hot: Downward Dog Mystery #6” by Tracy Weber.
When an employee is found dead at the local homeless shelter for youth, yoga instructor Kate Davidson sets aside her fertility and financial woes to support and defend the teenagers. In paperback. January 8th, 2019. Author appearance scheduled for Thursday January 17, 2019, 5pm.

“The Winter of the Witch: Winternight Trilogy #3” by Katherine Arden.
Vasya and Morozko return in this stunning conclusion to the bestselling trilogy, battling enemies mortal and magical to save both Russias, the seen and the unseen. January 8, 2019.

“The Water Cure” by Sophie Mackintosh. Longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” meets “The Virgin Suicides” in this dystopic feminist revenge fantasy about three sisters on an isolated island, raised to fear men. January 8, 2019

“Sugar Run” by Mesha Maren. Set within the charged insularity of rural West Virginia, this is a searing and gritty debut about making a break for another life. January 8, 2019

“It Devours!: A Welcome to Night Vale Novel” by Joseph Fink. A page-turning mystery exploring faith and science from the creators of the podcast of the same name. In paperback. January 8, 2019.

“Anatomy of a Miracle: A Novel” by Jonathan Miles. A profound new novel about a paralyzed young man’s unexplainable recovery–a stunning exploration of faith, science, mystery, and the meaning of life. In paperback. January 8, 2019.

“Force of Nature” by Jane Harper. Five women go on a hike. Only four return. The bestselling author of “The Dry,” asks: How well do you really know the people you work with? Now in paper. January 8, 2019

“Eternal Life” by Dara Horn. What would it really mean to live forever? When her children develop technologies that could change her fate, Rachel must find a way out. In paperback. January 8, 2019.

“The Largesse of the Sea Maiden: Stories” by Denis Johnson. In paperback. January 8, 2019.

“Tangerine” by Christine Mangan. A sharp dagger of a debut novel. In paperback. January 8, 2019

“Two Girls Down” by Louisa Luna. An addictive, cinematic, and binge-worthy  narrative. In paperback. January 8, 2019

“No Exit: A Novel” by Taylor Adams. A brilliant, edgy thriller about four strangers, a blizzard, a kidnapped child, and a determined young woman desperate to unmask and outwit a vicious psychopath. January 15, 2019. The author will be making an appearance here at Edmonds Bookshop, Saturday, February 23, 2019 – Noon to 1 p.m.

“The Dreamers” by Karen Thompson Walker. An ordinary town is transformed by a mysterious illness that triggers perpetual sleep in this mesmerizing novel from the bestselling author of “The Age of Miracles.” Staff recommended. January 15, 2019

“Tear It Down: Peter Ash Novel #4” by Nick Petrie. In the new edge-of-your-seat adventure, Peter Ash pursues one case–and stumbles into another–in the City of the Blues. Staff recommended series. January 15, 2019.

“Love and Ruin” by Paula McLain. The story of Martha Gellhorn–a fiercely independent, ambitious woman ahead of her time, who would become one of the greatest war correspondents of the twentieth century. In paperback.  January 15, 2019.

“Learning to See: A Novel of Dorothea Lange, the Woman Who Revealed the Real America” by Elise Hooper. At a time when women were supposed to keep the home fires burning, Dorothea Lange, creator of the most iconic photographs of the 20th century, dares to be different. Now, in this riveting new novel by the author of “The Other Alcott,” we see the world through her eyes… January 22, 2019. We will welcome back Elise Hooper and her brand new novel for our Third Thursday Art Walk, Thursday, February 21, 2019 – 5-8 p.m.

“Golden State” by Ben Winters. From the award-winning author comes a mind-bending novel set in a world governed by absolute truth, where lies are as dangerous as murder. Staff favorite authorJanuary 22, 2019.

As always, check our website for all the latest in book news.

Happy reading!

Elaine Mattson

— 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!”

7 Replies to “Edmonds Booktalk: Barack Obama’s favorite books, plus upcoming events”

  1. Obama doesn’t tweet about open air slave trading that’s going on in Libya (caused by him):

    … or the biggest weapon sales in world history, used to fight proxy wars in Yemen and elsewhere (brokered by him):

    … or illegally sending weapons to Muslim extremists to create instability that would topple a democracy so that a natural gas pipeline for Saudi Arabia can be installed:
    (Benghazi scandal is real, and is really about illegal weapons dealing, assasination, and human rights violations)

    Jimmy Dore breaks it down for non-believers:

    What books are Dick Cheney reading?


    1. Perhaps you could suggest some? I’m wondering why some of the whodunnits listed won’t please conservatives – or what makes a conservative detective story or sci-fi book?


  2. I assume EDMONDS Bookstore welcomes both liberals and conservative but I am hard pressed to recall a gushing recitation of another presidents book list. Since I shop at the bookstore I will await a list of conservative recommendations from the anbsuthor on the right. Can we please enjoy a balance? Thank you.


  3. Excellent write up! There are more than enough wonderful books listed in the piece to satisfy both conservatives and liberals alike.


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