Edmonds Booktalk: Holiday shopping, with your safety in mind

Everything is still way harder than we wish it were. But it there is hope on the not too distant horizon, so let’s continue taking care of each other and staying safe out there. At Edmonds Bookshop we are doing our part to keep everyone healthy while still enjoying the holidays. We require shoppers to wear masks and hand sanitize when entering. We are limiting the number of shoppers in the store at one time to enable social distancing, we appreciate your patience if you have to wait, and once you are in, please be considerate of those waiting their turn. We continue to offer complimentary local delivery and domestic media rate shipping, curbside pickup and gift wrapping.

To help a bit more, we are offering appointment shopping for customers desiring a less hectic shopping experience. Appointments are available weekday mornings at 9 and 9:30 a.m., for 30 minutes each, and we will be limiting it to three appointments per time slot. Link to our scheduling app here, or call us to make an appointment: 425-775-2789.

Most importantly, we have so many great books in the store for you to choose from. View our recorded Facebook Live presentation in which we recommend some of our favorite books of the year. And the complete list from all of us is here:

Staff recommendations for you and for your holiday gift giving:

Mary Kay recommends:

  • “The Cold Millions” by Jess Walter. Historical fiction set in Spokane around 1910 with a big cast of colorful characters.
  • “A Promised Land” by Barack Obama. Volume one of his autobiography gives us an inside view of governing and raising a family in the White House.
  • “Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook” by Ina Garten. Somehow, months before anything happened, she knew we would be in need of delicious, hearty meals to make staying home delightful.
  • “Sweety” by Andrea Zuil. A children’s picture book featuring a quirky naked mole rat. We are encouraged to embrace our inner oddball.
  • “America the Beautiful: A Story in Photographs” from National Geographic. A coffee table book of photographs from all 50 states and the territories shows the natural beauty of our country.

Michelle recommends:

  • “In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from Over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs” by Grace Bonney. I like and recommend this non-fiction paperback book for two reasons: I encourage any efforts to distinguish women in their life’s necessary work; and personally, as a fellow creative, I find much needed inspiration whenever I pick it up and open to any page.
  • “The Reign of Wolf 21: The Saga of Yellowstone’s Legendary Druid Pack” by Rick McIntyre. Who doesn’t enjoy an old-fashioned love story? This wolf-biography reads like fiction in tracking the life of Wolf 21 and his equal partner Wolf 42 (did you know alpha pairs mate for life?)  Learn all about the reintroduction program in Yellowstone that brought this keystone species back into our culture.
  • “You Matter” by Christian Robinson. Fun and colorful, this children’s picture book provides a simple and universal message, for children and adults alike. (I’ve met the illustrator/author, and he’s so genuine and creative.
  • “A Whale of the Wild” by Rosanne Parry. From the author of “A Wolf Called Wander” (also a favorite) this young reader book has lovely illustrations and a story to match. Follow Vega the lead orca as she learns to be part of a strong killer whale pod in this tail/tale.

Susan recommends:

  • “Magic Lessons” by Alice Hoffman. The prequel to her earlier best sellers unveils the story of Maria Owens, accused of witchcraft in Salem, and matriarch of a line of the amazing Owens women and men featured in “Practical Magic” and “The Rules of Magic.”
  • “House in the Cerulean Sea” by S. Klune. A zany and heartfelt book that explores what it is to be different.

Elaine recommends:

  • “All the Devils are Here” by Louise Penny. A great addition to the series [in Paris!], as well as a fine stand-alone. You will absolutely want to start at the beginning… you’ve been warned.
  • “The Order” by Daniel Silva. He keeps delivering smart thrillers, mixing history and fiction, suspense and international intrigue. The new book delves into the deep mysteries of the Catholic Church and The Vatican. A shadowy Catholic society with ties to the European far right, the Order is plotting to seize control of the papacy…. so good!
  • “House Lessons: Renovating a Life” by Erica Bauermeister. A memoir in essays, around renovating a house in Port Townsend, and her family’s comings and goings at the time. Such lovely writing and great stories about the hazards of extreme remodeling.
  • “Wanderers” by Chuck Wendig. A story about a mysterious pandemic may not be everyone’s cup of tea this year, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not to mention a couple of great twists!
  • “Broken Earth Trilogy” by K. Jemisin: “The Fifth Season” “The Obelisk Gate” “The Stone Sky,” the best science fiction I’ve read in ages.
  • “A Pilgrimage to Eternity: From Canterbury to Rome in Search of a Faith” by Timothy Egan. In his uniquely engrossing writing style, he weaves together the very personal story of his pilgrimage; the story of his Irish Catholic family and its relationship with the church; as well as stories about the history of the Christian faith that tie in with the cathedrals and towns along the Via Francigena. The fact that this is his most personal book to date makes it even more compelling. What a great read!

Pat recommends:

  • “The River” by Peter Heller. Two college students on a wilderness canoe trip hear a man and a woman in a heated, violent argument. In addition to an encroaching wildfire, they later see the man paddling downriver but the woman is nowhere to be seen…
  • “Virgil Wander” by Leif Enger. This follows the quirky yet lovable inhabitants of the small, hard luck town of Greenstone, Minnesota. Virgil survives a near fatal car accident with some temporary loss of memory and language. With humor, romanticism and charm Virgil begins to see his town and its inhabitants through different eyes.
  • “Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir” by Ruth Reichl. A behind the scenes glimpse of Ruth’s ten years as Editor in Chief of Gourmet magazine from 1999 to 2009.

Jane recommends:

  • “The Exiles” by Christina Baker Kline. Historical fiction following the lives of an Australian girl and a young woman who is transported from England as a convict to the Australian colonies in 1840 after wrongly being accused of theft.
  • “The Jane Austen Society” by Natalie Jenner. The plot is full of upstairs-downstairs pride and prejudices, downtrodden characters with complicated pasts, and dastardly cads thwarting everyone’s plans, mirroring the grand Miss Austen’s own novels. A perfect gift for BBC and Austen enthusiasts, alike!
  • “Miss Benson’s Beetle” by Rachel Joyce. This fun tale splices The Durrells in Corfu with Thelma and Louise. Unexpected humor, intrigue and murders abound in this utterly delightful novel by the author of “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand” and “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.”
  • “Girls Who Build: Inspiring Curiosity and Confidence to Make Anything Possible” by Katie Hughes. What better gift to give than the gift of inspiration? Girls of all ages and backgrounds share their passion for building, inventing and using tools. Lots of how-tos included, along with instructions for thirteen building projects.

David recommends:

  • “The Best of Me” by David Sedaris. This book gathers in one volume all the funny and moving and memorable accounts published over the last many years, including beloved holiday favorites.
  • “Looking to Get Lost: Adventures in Music and Writing” by Peter Guralnick. A memorable collection of new and favorite essays by the esteemed American music historian. Great new interview on npr, here.
  • In this time of greatly increased home cooking there are really too many tempting cookbooks. Among my favorites this year are “Ottolenghi Flavor,” Melissa Clark’s “Dinner,” “The Flavor Equation” by Nik Sharmaand “Local Dirt” by Andrea Bemis.

Link to shop the entire list on our blog right here.

And then continue your shopping with the The 2020 Holiday Season’s Best Books of the Independent Northwest catalog. 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!
We take December off as usual….

In January 2021 we will be discussing “Deep River” by Karl Marlantes.

Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021: 9 – 10 a.m.

From the bestselling author of “Matterhorn,” comes a rich family saga about Finnish immigrants who settle and tame the Pacific Northwest, set against the early labor movements, World War I, and the upheaval of early twentieth-century America. 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.]

Recent book releases of note:

“Memorial” by Bryan Washington. Chosen for IndieNext. Recommended on npr.
“The Cold Millions” by Jess Walter. Staff recommended. Two reviews on npr: one, two.
“The Best of Me” by David Sedaris. A gift edition of David Sedaris’s best stories, hand-picked by David himself. And because half the fun is listening to him, there is also the audio version available from our partners at LibroFM. Staff recommended.
“To Be a Man: Stories” by Nicole Krauss. A dazzling collection of short fiction from the National Book Award Finalist.
“Olive, Again” by Elizabeth Strout. In paperback. Staff recommended.
“Moonflower Murders” by Anthony Horowitz. A brilliantly complex literary thriller with echoes of Agatha Christie.
“One Life” by Megan Rapinoe.
“A Promised Land: The Presidential Memoirs, Volume 1” by Barack Obama. All the information here.  Staff recommended.
“Dearly: New Poems” by Margaret Atwood. Her first collection of poetry in over a decade.
“A Wealth of Pigeons: A Cartoon Collection” by Steve Martin. Chosen for IndieNext.
“Before the Coffee Gets Cold: A Novel” by Toshikazu Kawaguchi. Chosen for IndieNext.
“The Kingdom” by Jo Nesbo. A tense and atmospheric standalone thriller. Two brothers. One small town. A lifetime of dark secrets.
“The Ickabog” by JK Rowling. A warm, fast-paced, funny fairy tale of a fearsome monster, thrilling adventure, and hope against all odds.
“The Law of Innocence: A Lincoln Lawyer Novel” by Michael Connelly.
“Rhythm of War: Stormlight Archive #4” by Brandon Sanderson.
“Ready Player Two” by Ernest Cline. The long-awaited sequel.

Some books of note being released in December:

“Perestroika in Paris” by Jane Smiley. This beguiling new novel is itself an adventure that celebrates curiosity, ingenuity, and the desire of all creatures for true love and freedom. A lovely new review in The Seattle Times, here.December 1, 2020.

“Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America” by Ijeoma Oluo.  Her ability to clearly and directly address the country’s most intractable and thorny issues of racism and misogyny have garnered the author a legion of fans across the country and around the world. New review in The Seattle Times. December 1, 2020.

“Shed No Tears: A Novel” by Caz Frear. Chosen for IndieNext. December 1. 2020.

“Lazarus” by Lars Kepler.  The latest installment in the Joona Linna series sees the Swedish detective on the trail of the worst serial killer he’s seen yet.

“Long Bright River” by Liz Moore. A gripping suspense novel that is also a moving story of sisters, addiction, and the formidable ties that persist between place, family, and fate. Chosen for IndieNext. In paper. December 1, 2020.

“Dead Astronauts” by Jeff VanderMeer.  A City with no name of its own where, in the shadow of the all-powerful Company, lives human and otherwise converge in terrifying and miraculous ways.  Chosen for IndieNext. In paper. December 1, 2020

“Growth: From Microorganisms to Megacities” by Vaclav Smil. A systematic investigation of growth in nature and society from tiny organisms to the trajectories of empires and civilizations. In paper. December 8, 2020.

“Anyone” by Charles Soule. Chosen for IndieNext. In paper. December 8, 2020.

“The House in the Cerulean Sea” by TJ Klune. Staff recommended. Coming in paper December 29, 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.
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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