Edmonds Booktalk: This month, escape into other people’s stories

If some days it feels as if our own life is just too much, why not escape into someone else’s life?  For your consideration this month, I present a list of other people’s stories. Some will be better, some worse. Some interesting. Some inspiring. Some educational. Some make us grateful for what we have [or what we did not have to endure!] Some make us wistful. Some make us laugh out loud. Some just make us feel good. And all worthy in their own way.

Here’s my list, clumped together loosely by subject matter:

People with Local Ties.
“Fulfilling a Promise: A Memoir.” by Chamroeun Pen.  The youngest son of an impoverished rice-farming family in Cambodia, Pen shares his extraordinary story as part of a promise he made with the US Embassy in 2008. With this book, he wants to encourage youth, not just in Cambodia, but also around the world, to never give up in the pursuit of an education. Local author. In paperback. [There is a lovely video on our facebook page.]
“Rough House: A Memoir” by Tina Ontiveros. A story of growing up in turmoil, she traces her childhood through the working class towns and forests of Washington and Oregon, she explores themes of love and loss, parents and children, and her own journey to a different kind of adulthood.
“One Life” by Megan Rapinoe.  The Olympic gold medalist, two-time Women’s World Cup champion, and OL Reign star, has become a galvanizing force for social change; here, she urges all of us to take up the mantle, with actions big and small, to continue the fight for justice and equality. Coming November 10, 2020.
“The Fixed Stars” by Molly Wizenberg. At age thirty-six, while serving on a jury, the author and restaurateur found herself drawn to a female attorney she hardly knew. Married to a man for nearly a decade and mother to a toddler, Wizenberg tried to return to her life as she knew it, but something inside her had changed irrevocably. Instead, she would discover that the trajectory of our lives is rarely as smooth or as logical as we’d like to believe.

People Whose Names We Know.
“What Can I Do?: My Path from Climate Despair to Action” by Jane Fonda. A call to action from one of the most inspiring activists of our time, urging us to wake up to the looming disaster of climate change and equipping us with the tools we need to join her in protest.
“Untamed” by Glennon Doyle. In her most revealing and powerful memoir yet, the activist, speaker, bestselling author, and “patron saint of female empowerment” (People) explores the joy and peace we discover when we stop striving to meet others’ expectations and start trusting the voice deep within us. Great interview on npr.
“Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life” by Jane Sherron de Hart. In this comprehensive, revelatory biography–15 years of interviews and research in the making–historian de Hart explores the central experiences that crucially shaped Ginsburg’s passion for justice, her advocacy for gender equality, and her meticulous jurisprudence. Now in paperback.
“The Daughters of Yalta: The Churchills, Roosevelts, and Harrimans: A Story of Love and War” by Catherine Grace Katz. The untold story of the three intelligent and glamorous young women who accompanied their famous fathers to the Yalta Conference in February 1945, and of the conference’s fateful reverberations in the waning days of World War II.
“The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X” by Les Payne, Tamara Payne. An epic biography of Malcolm X finally emerges, drawing on hundreds of hours of the author’s interviews, rewriting much of the known narrative.
“Greenlights” by Matthew McConaughey. An unconventional memoir filled with raucous stories, outlaw wisdom, and lessons learned the hard way about living with greater satisfaction.
“This Time Next Year We’ll Be Laughing” by Jacqueline Winspear. Her memoir tackles such difficult, poignant, and fascinating family memories as her paternal grandfather’s shellshock, her mother’s evacuation from London during the Blitz; her parents’ years living with Romani Gypsies. Chosen for Indie Next.
“Edison” by Edmund Morris. From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author comes a revelatory new biography of Thomas Alva Edison, the most prolific genius in American history. Now in paperback.
“A Promised Land: The Presidential Memoirs, Volume 1” by Barack Obama. All the information here.  And pre-order the book here.  Coming November 17, 2020.

Food-Adjacent People.
“The Man Who Ate Too Much: The Life of James Beard” by John Birdsall. The definitive biography of America’s best-known and least-understood food personality, and the modern culinary landscape he shaped.
“Rebel Chef: In Search of What Matters” by Dominique Crenn and Emma Brockes. Highly celebrated as the first female chef in the United States to receive three Michelin stars, Crenn focuses on cuisine as a craft and the community as an inspiration.  At once a tale of personal discovery and a tribute to unrelenting determination, this is the story of one woman making a place for herself in the kitchen, and in the world.
“Dirt: Adventures in Lyon as a Chef in Training, Father, and Sleuth Looking for the Secret of French Cooking” by Bill Buford. A hilariously self-deprecating, highly obsessive account of the author’s adventures, in the world of French haute cuisine, for anyone who’s ever found joy in cooking and eating food with their family. Staff recommended.
“Eat a Peach: A Memoir” by David Chang. The chef behind Momofuku and star of Netflix’s Ugly Delicious shares an intimate account of the making of a chef, the story of the modern restaurant world that he helped shape, and how he discovered that success can be much harder to understand than failure. Chosen for IndieNextInterview on npr.

Musical People.
“Me: Elton John Official Autobiography” by Elton John. In his first and only official autobiography, the music icon reveals the truth about his extraordinary life, from his rollercoaster lifestyle to becoming a living legend.
“More Myself: A Journey” by Alicia Keys. With the raw honesty that epitomizes her artistry, this work is at once a riveting account and a clarion call to readers to define themselves in a world that rarely encourages a true and unique identity.
“Let Love Rule” by Lenny Kravitz and David Ritz. Kravitz looks back at his life with candor, self-scrutiny, and humor. “My life is all about opposites. Black and white. Jewish and Christian. The Jackson 5 and Led Zeppelin. I accepted my Gemini soul. I owned it. I adored it. Yins and yangs mingled in various parts of my heart and mind, giving me balance and fueling my curiosity and comfort.”
“How to Write One Song: Loving the Things We Create and How They Love Us Back” by Jeff Tweedy.  Perfect for gifting during the holidays and beyond, a thoughtful, counterintuitive book about creativity from the celebrated songwriter, leader of the band Wilco, inspiring others by taking the reader through the process of writing one song.
“Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics” by Dolly Parton. For the first time ever the singer-songwriter brings you behind the lyrics of 175 of her songs to reveal the personal stories and memories that have inspired 60 years of songwriting. Coming November 17, 2020.
Also new this fall: “She Come by It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Song” by Sarah Smarsh. Explores how the music of Dolly Parton and other prominent women country artists has both reflected and validated the harsh realities of rural working-class American women.

Humorous People.
“Wow, No Thank You: Essays” by Samantha Irby. A rip-roaring, edgy and unabashedly raunchy new collection of hilarious essays.   Great self-deprecating interview on NPR.
“Didn’t See That Coming: Putting Life Back Together When Your World Falls Apart” by Rachel Hollis. The author, teacher, and self-help leader offers her followers and new readers alike a short guide to seizing difficult moments for the learning experiences they are and finding value in them.
“Is This Anything?” by Jerry Seinfeld. For his first book in 25 years Seinfeld has selected his favorite material, organized by decade. On “60 Minutes,” Seinfeld speaks about a host of topics, including his new book and what kind of comedy life in a pandemic has inspired. The interview here.

Graphic Works by and About Amazing People.
“March 1, 2, 3.” A graphic novel trilogy based on the life of civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis. His commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper’s farm to the halls of Congress. To share his remarkable story with new generations, Lewis presents his graphic novel trilogy, in collaboration with co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell . Available as individual volumes and as a boxed set of the trilogy.
“Solutions and Other Problems” by Allie Brosh. This follow-up to “Hyperbole and a Half” includes humorous stories from her childhood; the adventures of her very bad animals; merciless dissection of her own character flaws; incisive essays on grief, loneliness, and powerlessness; reflections on the absurdity of modern life. Wow.
“They Called Us Enemy” by George Takei. The new Expanded Edition and Winner of the 2020 Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Work has 16 pages of bonus content from George Takei and his co-creators: a new afterword plus a behind-the-scenes tour of the process of researching, writing, drawing, featuring historical documents, scripts, sketches, and photos. Staff recommended.
“Barely Functional Adult: It’ll All Make Sense Eventually” by Meichi Ng. Hilarious, relatable, and heart-wrenchingly honest, this will have you laughing and crying in the same breath, while taking solace in the fact that we’re anything but alone in this world.  Coming November 24, 2020.

People Writing for Young Readers.
“The Truths We Hold: An American Journey” by Kamala Harris. In this young readers’ edition of her memoir, we learn about the impact that her family and community had on her life, and see what led her to discover her own sense of self and purpose.
“The Radium Girls: The Scary But True Story of the Poison That Made People Glow in the Dark” by Kate Moore. This enthralling and accessible edition includes all-new material, including a glossary, timeline, and dozens of bonus photos, for kids 9 to 12. In paperback.
“Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg” by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik. This entertaining and insightful young readers’ edition mixes pop culture, humor, and expert analysis to deliver a remarkable account of the life of the indomitable Supreme Court Justice.

Ready or not: The 2020 Holiday Season’s Best Books of the Independent Northwest! Visit the catalog, get great ideas, and start your shopping. Here.


Edmonds Bookshop Book Club.

For the foreseeable future we are going virtual with Edmonds Bookshop Book Club via Zoom.

By all accounts, the Zoom book clubs are going quite well, join us this month!

In November we will be discussing “Subduction” by Kristen Millares Young.

Wednesday morning Nov. 18, 2020: 9 – 10 a.m.

“Fleeing the shattered remains of her marriage and a betrayal by her sister, Latina anthropologist Claudia retreats from Seattle to Neah Bay, a Native American whaling village on the jagged Pacific coast. Claudia yearns to lose herself to the songs of the tribe and the secrets of her guide, a spirited hoarder named Maggie. But when Maggie’s prodigal son returns seeking answers to his father’s murder, Claudia discovers in him the abandon she craves.”

Young earned her MFA from the University of Washington. Staff recommended.

Send us an email here to register your email for Book Club and we will send you an invitation with a Zoom Meeting link as each book club meeting is scheduled. [More specific, expansive information on our website, here.]

Nov. 27 – Dec. 6, 2020. First Dibs around downtown Edmonds!
Check our website and all around town for details as we get closer. There will be special offers in your favorite shops – discounts or gifts-with-purchase or… who knows! We are spreading out the celebration so we can stay socially distanced and still enjoy the festivity!

Recent book releases of note:
“Whale Day: And Other Poems” by Billy Collins. His thirteenth collection contains more than fifty new poems that showcase the playfulness, wit, and wisdom that have made him one of our most celebrated and widely read poets.
“Invisible Girl” by Lisa Jewel . Chosen for IndieNext.
“This Just Speaks to Me: Words to Live by Every Day” by Hoda Kotb. In this all-new collection of beloved quotes, Hoda offers inspiration, wisdom, and hope 365 days a year.
“Goodnight Beautiful” by Aimee Molly. Chosen for IndieNext.
“Once and Future Witches” by Alix Harrow. Chosen for IndieNext.
“Make Me Rain: Poems and Prose” by Nikki Giovanni. Chosen for IndieNext.
“Cook with Me: 150 Recipes for the Home Cook” by Alex Guarnaschelli.  The Food Network and Iron Chef notable presents hearty recipes for the entire family.
“Midwinter Murder: Fireside Tales from the Queen of Mystery’ by Agatha Christie.  An all-new collection of winter-themed stories from the Queen of Mystery, just in time for the holidays–including the original version of “Christmas Adventure,” never before released in the United States! In paperback.
“The Sentinel” by Lee Child and Andrew Child.  Jack Reacher is back! The “utterly addictive” (The New York Times) series continues as the acclaimed bestselling author teams up with his brother, Andrew Child, fellow thriller writer extraordinaire.
As always, Reacher has no particular place to go, and all kinds of time to get there…
Read a sneak-peek excerpt here!
“Memorial” by Bryan Washington.  Chosen for IndieNext. Recommended on npr.
“The Cold Millions” by Jess Walter. Staff recommended. Two reviews on npr: one, two.

Some more books of note being released in November:
“The Best of Me” by David Sedaris. A gift edition of David Sedaris’s best stories, spanning his entire career. Hand-picked by David himself, these are stories that will make you laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time. We have a few limited-edition signed copies! Call us to reserve one [425-775-2789]. And because half the fun is listening to him, there is also the audio version available from our partners at LibroFM.  November 3, 2020.
“To Be a Man: Stories” by Nicole Krauss. In this dazzling collection of short fiction, the National Book Award Finalist and bestselling author of “The History of Love” — explores what it means to be in a couple, and to be a man and a woman in that perplexing relationship and beyond. November 3, 2020.
“Instant Karma” by Marissa Meyer.  In this young adult contemporary romance, a girl is suddenly gifted with the ability to cast instant karma on those around her – both good and bad. November 3, 2020.
“Olive, Again” by Elizabeth Strout. In paperback. Staff recommended. November 3, 2020.
“Moonflower Murders” by Anthony Horowitz. Featuring his famous literary detective Atticus Pund and Susan Ryeland, hero of the worldwide bestseller “Magpie Murders,” a brilliantly complex literary thriller with echoes of Agatha Christie. November 10, 2020.
“Dearly: New Poems” by Margaret Atwood. In her first collection of poetry in over a decade, Atwood addresses themes such as love, loss, the passage of time, the nature of nature and – zombies. Her new poetry is introspective and personal in tone, but wide-ranging in topic. November 10, 2020.
“The Kingdom” by Jo Nesbo. A tense and atmospheric standalone thriller. Two brothers. One small town. A lifetime of dark secrets. November 10, 2020.
“The Ickabog” by JK Rowling. A warm, fast-paced, funny fairy tale of a fearsome monster, thrilling adventure, and hope against all odds. November 10, 2020.
“The Law of Innocence: A Lincoln Lawyer Novel” by Michael Connelly.  Defense attorney Mickey Haller is pulled over by police, who find the body of a client in the trunk of his Lincoln. Haller is charged with murder and can’t make the exorbitant $5 million bail slapped on him by a vindictive judge. November 10, 2020.
“Rhythm of War: Stormlight Archive #4” by Brandon Sanderson. November 17, 2020.
“Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-Up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House” by Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz. The knockdown, drag-out, untold story of the other scandal that rocked Nixon’s White House, and reset the rules for crooked presidents to come—with new reporting that expands on Rachel Maddow’s Peabody Award-nominated podcast. November 17, 2020.
“Ready Player Two” by Ernest Cline. If, like many of us, you started hoping for a sequel the minute you put down Cline’s “Ready Player One” in 2011, you’ll be thrilled! The new one picks up the story of Wade Watts, the winner of OASIS founder James Halliday’s fiendishly clever contest. Now Watts discovers another “Easter egg” from Halliday, a new puzzle and a new quest that might change the world — if Watts is up to the challenge. November 24, 2020.

We will keep posting our latest favorite reads, along with links to all kinds of book-related interesting things! In all the places: on our website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

You may pre-order any forthcoming title by visiting our website.  [www.edmondsbookshop.com]

Stay safe. Do your best to stay sane. And as always: 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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