Edmonds Booktalk: Highly recommended memoirs

I have been on a memoir kick the last couple of months. Completely unintentionally, they all ended up being by women.  All quite different, from completely different points of view, different times of life, all quite good, and all highly recommended. Alphabetically by author:

  • “All You Can Ever Know” by Nicole Chung.  A young woman of Korean ancestry and adopted by white parents, decides to look for her birth parents when she is pregnant with her first child. The journey is bumpy, surprising, and not at all the ‘happy ever after’ she pictured growing up in her very white small Oregon town. Moving. And I want to know more of the story – what has happened since then?
  • “Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country” by Pam Houston.  The memoir of her ranch in the Colorado Rockies. The animals that she shares it with, the people in her small town, the people she entrusts the ranch too when she has to be out earning a living. (spoiler: not all are good choices!) I love her writing and marvel at the two seasons on the ranch: fire and snow!
  • “Old in Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over” by Nell Painter. An older black woman, already hugely successful in her first two fields– history professor and published author, shares her  fascinating perspective on (and her struggles with) starting over in a brand new field. Told in chapters by subject rather than completely chronologically. A very interesting way to present her new life.
  • “Save Me the Plums” by Ruth Reichl. A fun quick read about her time as editor at Gourmet magazine. A great peak behind the scenes at running a magazine. Interesting personalities and fancy parties are just the tip of the iceberg.
  • “Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History” by Katy Tur. Even though we know how it turns out, being reminded of the insanity as it happened brings it all back. And it really is unbelievable. Compelling look behind the scenes.
  • “Educated” by Tara Westover.  This memoir more than lives up to all the great things you’ve heard about it. Beautifully written, you come away from it amazed that she survived to adulthood, let alone became a highly functional member of society.

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

June 2019 Book Club Book.
June 19, 2019

“Manhattan Beach: A Novel by Jennifer Egan.
“A magnificent achievement, at once a suspenseful noir intrigue and a transporting work of lyrical beauty and emotional heft”— The Boston Globe

Manhattan Beach takes us into a world populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers, and union men in a dazzling, propulsive exploration of a transformative moment in the lives and identities of women and men, of America and the world.

June 29, 2019. Saturday.  12:00pm to 1:00pm.

We welcome Richard Taylor Jr. and his book, “The Other Side: Freedom From Depression & Suicide”

In his newest book, Richard Taylor Jr. guides us through some of the practices that helped him pursue his freedom from depression and thoughts of suicide. Richard helps the reader dissect the feelings and emotions that are harbored from the pains of life and provides a simplistic approach to conquering them. Understanding that we don’t have to continue to relinquish our power to issues that have held our lives hostage for far too long, Richard translates these small practices into a big purpose that will impact and inspire readers of all ages to learn to live a fruitful life … on the other side.

Visit his website for information about all of his talents: www.richardtaylorjr.com.

Recent book releases of note:
“Exhalation: Stories” by Ted Chiang. This highly anticipated second collection from Chiang includes nine stories, two of which have never appeared in print.

“Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng. In paperback.

“Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis” by Jared Diamond.

“The Flight Portfolio” by Julie Orringer.

“The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West” by David McCullough.

“Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee” by Casey Cep.

“There There” by Tommy Orange. Staff recommended. In paperback.

“The Paris Diversion” by Chris Pavone.

“Spinning Silver” by Naomi Novik. Staff recommended. In paperback.

“Disappearing Earth” by Julia Phillips.  Debut novel.

“Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man” by Lynn Vincent, Sara Vladic. In paperback.

“Once More We Saw Stars: A Memoir” by Jayson Greene.

“Orange World and Other Stories” by Karen Russell. From the Pulitzer Finalist comes a stunning new collection of short fiction.

“The Scent Keeper” by Erica Bauermeister. The bestselling local author of staff favorite

“The School of Essential Ingredients,” presents a moving and evocative coming-of-age novel.

Books of note being released in June:

“City of Girls” by Elizabeth Gilbert.  A delicious novel of glamour, sex, and adventure, about a young woman discovering that you don’t have to be a good girl to be a good person.  June 4, 2019.

“This Storm” by James Ellroy. A massive novel of World War II Los Angeles. June 4, 2019.

“On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” by Ocean Vuong. The poet’s debut novel is a shattering portrait of a family, a first love, and the redemptive power of storytelling.  June 4, 2019.

“Ohio” by Stephen Markley. Staff recommended. In paperback. June 4, 2019.

“Fall; Or, Dodge in Hell” by Neal Stephenson.“Fall is at once science fiction and fantasy, with quantum computing enabling what amounts to magic, and while Stephenson spins out a pleasingly plausible vision of our near future, he carves out his most comfortable position in the uncertain nexus where that future becomes past and we rewrite our own apocrypha. Vintage Stephenson, which is to say it’s like nothing he’s ever written.”—Wired.  June 4, 2019

“Murder in Bel-Air (Aimée Leduc Investigation #19)” by Cara Black. The last person seen talking to a dead woman was Aimée’s mother–who has vanished. June 4, 2019.

“The Great Believers” by Rebecca Makkai. In paperback. June 4, 2019

“The Fruit of the Drunken Tree” by Ingrid Rojas Contreras. In paperback. June 4, 2019.

“The Outsider” by Stephen King. Staff recommended. In paperback. Soon to be an HBO limited series starring Ben Mendelsohn!

“Calypso” by David Sedaris. Now in paperback. June 4, 2019.

“Recursion” by Blake Crouch. The new novel from staff favorite author of “Dark Matter” is a relentless thriller about time, identity, and memory.  June 11, 2019.

“The Reckoning” by John Grisham. In paperback. June 18, 2019.

“Big Sky” by Kate Atkinson. Jackson Brodie is back! The brooding Yorkshire private investigator — hero of Case Histories, etc. — reappears, after a nine-year absence, in a story set in a quiet seaside town. June 25, 2019.

“Time’s Convert” by Deborah Harkness. In paperback. June 25, 2019.

“Kingdom of the Blind: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel” by Louise Penny. In paperback. June 25, 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!”

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