Edmonds Booktalk: Poetry bestsellers in honor of National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, and 2021 marks the 25th annual celebration of poets and poetry.

Visit the poets.org site for ways to find and connect with poets and poems. You can sign up to get a poem-a-day in your inbox! There are poems for kids and teens; ways for kids to interact directly with award-winning poets as part of Dear Poet; many poets reading their own work. So much poetry!

More poetry-related headlines to hit you with!

  • At age 80, Sylvia Byrne Pollack of Seattle published her first book of poetry! “Risking It,” was released by Red Mountain Press on March 26, 2021. A great article in The Seattle Times here.
  • There is a brand new Washington State poet laureate:  Huge congratulations to Bellingham resident Rena Priest, whose debut poetry collection “Patriarchy Blues” won an American Book Award in 2018. Priest, a member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation, is the first Indigenous poet to hold the position. The article in The Seattle Times is here.
  • A few of the recent books winning awards for poetry:
    • “Here is the Sweet Hand: Poems” by Francine J. Harris. The 2020 National Book Critics Circle Award Winner for Poetry.
    • “DMZ Colony” by Don Mee Choi. 2020 National Book Award for Poetry.
    • “The Tradition” by Jericho Brown.  2020 Pulitzer Prize winner. A collection of masterful lyrics that combine delicacy with historical urgency in their loving evocation of bodies vulnerable to hostility and violence. From [local] Copper Canyon Press

A selection of the Edmonds Bookshop poetry bestsellers over the past year [alphabetical by author]:

  • “Dearly: Poems” by Margaret Atwood
  • “What Kind of Woman” by Kate Baer
  • “Whale Day: And Other Poems” by Billy Collins
  • “Postcolonial Love Poem: Poems” by Natalie Diaz
  • “The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country” by Amanda Gorman. Just published March 30, 2021. Already on our bestseller list!
  • “Hold Fast” by local author, Holly J. Hughes
  • Multiple titles from Rupi Kapur: “Home Body;” “Sun and Her Flowers;” “Milk and Honey.”
  • “Lost Words” and “Lost Spells.” Both by Robert MacFarlane and illustrator Jackie Morris.
  • Multiple titles from Mary Oliver:  “Devotions;” “Thousand Mornings;” “Dog Songs;” “Felicity.”
  • “Fine Canopy” by Alison Swan
  • “David Whyte: Essentials”  by David Whyte
  • “Loveliness of this World” by local author, John L. Wright
  • And a couple of poetry books for kids made the list, fantastic!
    • “Frogs Wore Red Suspenders” by Jack Prelutsky
    • “A Child’s Garden of Verses” by Robert Louis Stevenson. A beautifully illustrated edition of a true class

Edmonds Bookshop Book Club.

We are still doing Zoom meetings for Edmonds Bookshop Book Club.

By all accounts, it’s going pretty well — join us.

Zoom meeting, Wednesday morning April 21, 2021: 9 – 10 a.m..
April Book Club  “A Pilgrimage to Eternity: From Canterbury to Rome in Search of a Faith” by Timothy Egan

Moved by his mother’s death and his Irish Catholic family’s complicated history with the church, Timothy Egan decided to follow in the footsteps of centuries of seekers to force a reckoning with his own beliefs. He embarked on a thousand-mile pilgrimage through the theological cradle of Christianity to explore the religion in the world that it created.

Staff recommended by all of us!

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 and the books for the next few months all on our website, here.]

Thursday, April 22, 2021 – 6-7 p.m.
Our annual poetry reading is virtual this year. Master of ceremonies and Rose Alley Press publisher himself, David Horowitz will bring local poets and meet us here on Facebook Live April 22 at 6 p.m.. Check our event page for information about the featured poets here.

Thursday, April 29, 2021 – 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Huge congratulations to our friend Nicki Chen on the publication of her second novel. We are thrilled to be hosting the virtual launch of “When in Vanuatu.”

All kinds of information about the book and the event is here on our website.

And join us here for FacebookLive on April 29.

Recent book releases of note:

“The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah.
“Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019,” edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain.
“Deacon King Kong” by James McBride. Now in paperback
“House Lessons: Renovating a Life” by Erica Bauermeister. Now in paperback. Staff recommended.  Upcoming book club choice: July 2021. [More info here.]
“How to Avoid a Climate Disaster” by Bill Gates.
“No One Is Talking About This: A Novel” by Patricia Lockwood.
“Becoming” by Michelle Obama.  Finally in paperback!
“Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family” by Robert Kolker. Now in paperback.
“We Begin at the End: A Novel” by Chris Whitaker. Right. Wrong. Life is lived somewhere in between. Chosen for IndieNext. Staff recommended.
“Klara and the Sun: A Novel” by Kazuo Ishiguro. Chosen for IndieNext. Staff recommended. Great review on npr.
“The Soul of a Woman” by Isabel Allende. A passionate and inspiring meditation on what it means to be a woman.
“Dusk, Night, Dawn: On Revival and Courage” by Anne Lamott. An inspiring guide to restoring hope and joy in our lives.
“House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1)” by Sarah J Maas. Staff recommended. Now in paperback.
“Transient Desires: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery #30” by Donna Leon.
“The Rose Code: A Novel” by Kate Quinn. Staff enthusiastically recommended. In paperback. Chosen for IndieNext.
“Eat Better, Feel Better” by Giada De Laurentiis. An inside look at Giada’s approach to healthy, balanced living.
“How Beautiful We Were” by Imbolo Mbue. A sweeping, wrenching story about the collision of a small African village and an American oil company.
“The Consequences of Fear (Maisie Dobbs #16)” by Jacqueline Winspear.

Some books of note being released in April:

“My Broken Language” by Quiara Alegría Hudes. The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright tells her own coming-of-age tale in this memoir about growing up in a West Philly barrio.  April 6, 2021.

“Broken (in the Best Possible Way)” by Jenny Lawson. The staff favorite author brings readers along on her mental and physical health journey, offering heartbreaking and hilarious anecdotes along the way. April 6, 2021.

“Caul Baby” by Morgan Jerkins. A debut novel, for fans of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jacqueline Woodson, that brings to life one powerful and enigmatic family in a tale rife with secrets, betrayal, intrigue, and magic. April 6, 2021.

“Mother May I” by Joshilyn Jackson. An addictive novel of domestic suspense in which a mother must decide how far she is willing to go to protect her child and the life she loves. April 6, 2021.

“Good Company” by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. A warm, incisive new novel about the enduring bonds of marriage and friendship from the author of the bestseller The Nest.” April 6, 2021.

“The Hard Crowd: Essays 2000-2020” by Rachel Kushner. A career-spanning collection of spectacular essays about politics and culture. April 6, 2021.

“Northern Spy”  by Flynn Berry. The acclaimed author returns with her most thrilling novel to date: the story of two sisters who become entangled with the IRA. April 6, 2021.

“Gold Diggers” by Sanjena Sathian. “Gold Diggers takes a wincingly hilarious coming-of-age story, laces it with magical realism and a trace of satire, and creates a world that’s both achingly familiar and marvelously inventive…This is a dizzyingly original, fiercely funny, deeply wise novel about the seductive powers–and dangers–of borrowed ambition.” —Celeste Ng, author of “Little Fires Everywhere.” April 6, 2021

“The Drowning Kind” by Jennifer McMahon. Be careful what you wish for. When social worker Jax receives nine missed calls from her older sister, Lexie, she assumes that it’s just another one of her sister’s episodes. April 6, 2021.

“Broken Horses: A Memoir” by Brandi Carlile.  Carlile will be doing a virtual book tour in conversation with many interesting people! Check her schedule here. April 6, 2021

“Peaces” by Helen Oyeyemi. The prize-winning author returns with a vivid and inventive new novel about a couple forever changed by an unusual train voyage. April 6, 2021

“Hummingbird Salamander” by Jeff Vandermeer. From the author of “Annihilation,” a brilliant speculative thriller of dark conspiracy, endangered species, and the end of all things. April 6, 2021.

“First Person Singular: Stories” by Haruki Murakami.  April 6, 2021

“The God Equation” by Michio Kaku. The renowned theoretical physicist and bestselling author tells the story of the greatest quest in all of science. April 6, 2021.

“Simon the Fiddler: A Novel” by Paulette Jiles. Staff recommended. Now in paperback. April 6, 2021.

“A Long Petal of the Sea: A Novel” by Isabel Allende. Staff recommended. In paperback. April 6, 2021.

“The Souvenir Museum” by Elizabeth McCracken . Her latest collection of short stories, with settings ranging from a Scottish island to a Texas water park.  April 13, 2021.

“What Comes After” by Joanne Tompkins. After the shocking death of two teenage boys tears apart a community in the Pacific Northwest, a mysterious pregnant girl emerges out of the woods and into the lives of those same boys’ families–a moving and hopeful novel about forgiveness and human connection. April 13, 2021.

“When the Stars Go Dark” by Paula McLain. From the author of “The Paris Wife” comes an atmospheric novel of intertwined destinies and heart-wrenching suspense: A detective hiding away from the world. A series of disappearances that reach into her past. Can solving them help her heal? April 13, 2021.

“The Good Sister” by Sally Hepworth. From the outside, everyone might think Fern and Rose are as close as twin sisters can be: Rose is the responsible one and Fern is the quirky one.  A knock-out of a novel about the lies that bind two sisters. April 13, 2021.

“Ocean Prey” by John Sandford. Fan-favorite heroes Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers join forces on a deadly maritime case. April 13, 2021.

“Heart of Fire: An Immigrant Daughter’s Story” by Mazie K. Hirono. The intimate and inspiring life story of Mazie Hirono, the first Asian-American woman and the only immigrant serving in the U.S. Senate. April 20, 2021.

“I Am a Girl from Africa” by Elizabeth Nyamayaro. The inspiring true journey of a girl from Africa whose near-death experience sparked a dream that changed the world. April 20, 2021.

“The Man Who Lived Underground” by Richard Wright. A major literary event: an explosive, previously unpublished novel from the 1940s by the legendary author. April 20, 2021.

“Mirrorland” by Carole Johnstone. A thrilling work of psychological suspense about twin sisters, the man they both love, and the dark childhood they can’t leave behind. April 20, 2021.

“World Travel: An Irreverent Guide” by Anthony Bourdain. A guide to some of the world’s most fascinating places, as seen and experienced by writer, television host, and relentlessly curious traveler. April 20, 2021

“Hour of the Witch” by Chris Bohjalian. A young Puritan woman–faithful, resourceful, but afraid of the demons that dog her soul–plots her escape from a violent marriage in this riveting and propulsive novel of historical suspense. April 20, 2021

“Getaway: Food & Drink to Transport You” by Renee Erickson. The beloved Seattle chef and restaurateur invites you on a culinary journey via her favorite places in the world—Rome, Paris, Normandy, Baja California, London, and, of course, Seattle.  April 27, 2021.

“The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War” by Malcom Gladwell.  How the stories of a Dutch genius and his homemade computer, a band of brothers in central Alabama, a British psychopath, and pyromaniacal chemists at Harvard intersect to bring about one of the greatest moral challenges in modern American history. April 27, 2021.

“What Happened To You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing” by Dr. Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey. April 27, 2021.

“Whereabouts” by Jhumpa Lahiri. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s first novel in nearly a decade is also her first written in Italian (the language in which she now exclusively writes) and translated into English. April 27, 2021.

“The Haunting of Alma Fielding: A True Ghost Story” by Kate Summerscale. The Edgar Award-winning author follows a ghost hunter in 1938 London in a case that illuminates changing social attitudes toward psychoanalysis, sexuality, and the supernatural. April 27, 2021.

We will keep posting our 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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