Edmonds Booktalk: How do you define summer reading? There’s a book for that

Summer reading time! We will begin with staff-recommended summer reads, and then add links to a few fantastic lists to keep you in books clear into fall.

You may define “summer reading” any way you wish:

  • A fun/light read. Doesn’t matter if you are interrupted by other fun… it’s easy to pick up where you left off.
  • OR… A compulsive page-turner. Can’t/don’t want to stop reading – and, the best part — you don’t have to!
  • OR… A book that needs some quality, uninterrupted reading time: perhaps a thicker/longer book…  if you are lucky enough to spend hours in a row reading [briefly interrupted by keeping hydrated, and perhaps a dip in the water…] ahhh… anybody else’s description of heaven?

With all that in mind, we begin….

Elaine recommends:

“We Begin at the End” by Chris Whitaker. The best book I’ve read so far this year. Set in a small town on the California coast, this is part mystery, part redemption tale. The small town has secrets, the families all have secrets. All of the characters are so well-drawn and multi-dimensional. As in real-life, no one is all good or all evil… quite well done! And to quote someone else who read and loved this [hi Mom!] “Oh, it just breaks your heart!” So you have been warned: hankies needed at the end.

“The Rose Code” by Kate Quinn. My favorite WWII stories all seem to involve Bletchley Park. And this is a terrific one to add to the list. Three young women from very different backgrounds find themselves at BP [as those in the know call it!] Real people and events are woven in – hello Prince Phillip! – And if you’ve read Erik Larson’s latest “The Splendid and the Vile” you will recognize the direct hit on a night club – including some of the gruesome details… The young women, their relationships with each other, their friends, lovers, and families – all so well done. Ten years later, can they put aside what destroyed their friendship to save one of their own…? Mysteries and great twists are revealed as the stories, past and present, are told. Loved it!

“The Book of Accidents” by Chuck Wendig. Really great meld of thriller/sci-fi/horror. Lots of familiar tropes from all of the genres masterfully combined in new and unexpected ways. A misfit teenager with ‘special’ gifts [of course] moves back to the small town where his parents grew up [of course]. Into the actual house that his dad grew up in, where Bad Things happened [of course]. Many family secrets [of course]. Kept me turning pages late into the night [of course! Hah!]. So good! Coming July 20, 2021.

David recommends:

“Falling” by T J Newman. This debut novel is an airplane thriller written by a former flight attendant and bookseller. As Don Winslow said, “Stunning and relentless. This is Jaws at 35,000 feet.” The pilot’s family is held hostage, his choice is between crashing the plane and seeing them killed. Coming July 6, 2021.

“The House of Ashes” by Stuart Neville. A woman recovering from trauma, and over-protected by her husband, is living in a house with a dark past. Very Irish. For fans of Gillian Flynn and Tana French, a chilling story of a Northern Irish murder sixty years buried. Coming September 7, 2021.

Mary Kay recommends:

“Hamnet” by Maggie O’Farrell. Immerse yourself in household life of the 16th century. I stayed up late to finish this book — reading through tears. I read many passages out loud to myself, delighting in the words. Now in paperback.

Seed to Dust: Life, Nature, and a Country Garden” by Marc Hamer. Philosophical musings on life and nature by a man who takes care of the gardens on an estate owned by an elderly woman he refers to as Lady Cashmere. Formerly homeless, he expresses great love for the peace he has found working in nature and coming home to a cozy cottage and a loving family.

Pat recommends:

“Hamnet” by Maggie O’Farrell. Ditto what Mary Kay said! I also highly recommend it!

“Icebound: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World” by Andrea Pitzer. Gripping tale of Dutch polar explorer William Barents and his 3 harrowing arctic expeditions in the 1590’s. On his third expedition, beyond the Arctic Circle, further north than any European had travelled; his ship is frozen in place.  The crew must survive for over a year while they wait for the pack ice to thaw.  They must survive hungry polar bears, very little food and endless winter if they are to make it back home.

Michelle recommends:

“Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship ” by Catherine Raven.  I really liked the authors’ steps into (and back out of) being vulnerable to other people.  Her friendship with this fox was so honest. Coming July 6, 2021.

“Ariadne: A Novel” by Jennifer Saint. Satisfying the need for more Greek/Roman transformational myths from much-needed other viewpoints, Jennifer Saint delivers tales of Ariadne and her sister Phaedra’s life on Crete and beyond. Less heroic yarn and more character inquisitiveness — a refreshing addition.

Susan recommends:

“Great Circle” by Maggie Shipstead . Epic and emotional tale of Marian a daredevil female aviator that almost circumnavigates the globe north to south but is lost before she is able to complete the circle. A century later, a young Hollywood star is caste to play Marian’s life story and redefines her own life.  Also touted as the “perfect summer novel” by the Washington Post.

“The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” by V.E. Schwab. In the vein of “The Time Traveler’s Wife” and “Life After Life,” this is the bestselling author’s genre-defying tour de force. France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever–and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world. But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

“The House in the Cerulean Sea” By TJ Klune. A zany and heartfelt book that explores what it is to be different. Elaine recommends it too: Such a lovely and sweet book. Accepting yourself and others for whom and what they and you are. Not relying on preconceived notions. And realizing what makes a family. Completely teared up at the end [happy tears!]. Really loved it. Now in paperback.

Link to our blog here, to buy or pre-order any of our recommended books!

There are always links to great lists on the home page of our web site.  Here are a few of the current ones:

Seattle Arts + Lectures Summer Book Bingo! Every summer, SAL partners with The Seattle Public Library to create a Summer Book Bingo card as part of our free summer reading program. Adults and kids play along from May – September to be entered in a chance to win fabulous prizes.
Here is a link to their website with all the info you will need, as well as Book BINGO cards for adults and kids, to download. We have BINGO cards in the store as well; pick one up next time you are in!

And a few more links to help you get started with your BINGO list:

Edmonds Bookshop Events

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, June 16, 2021 – 9-10 a.m.

Zoom Book Club! “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek” by Kim Michele Richardson.

The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything–everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt’s Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome’s got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter.

Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek” is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere–even back home.
Staff recommended.
More information on our website here.

Thursday, June 17, 2021 – 6-7 p.m.

Join us to welcome author Peter Wayne Moe and his new book, “Touching This Leviathan” on FacebookLive.

“Touching This Leviathan” asks how we might come to know the unknowable–in this case, whales, animals so large yet so elusive, revealing just a sliver of back, a glimpse of a fluke, or a split-second breach before diving away.

Whale books often sit within disciplinary silos. “Touching This Leviathan” starts a conversation among them. Drawing on biology, theology, natural history, literature, and writing studies, he offers a deep dive into the alluring and impalpable mysteries of Earth’s largest mammal.

Entertaining, thought-provoking, and swimming with intelligence and wit, “Touching This Leviathan” is creative nonfiction that gestures toward science and literary criticism as it invites readers into the belly of the whale.

Peter will be joined in conversation by Jeffrey Overstreet, a Writer-in-Residence and an assistant professor of English and writing at Seattle Pacific University (where he also earned his MFA in creative writing). He teaches courses on writing fiction, poetry, and memoir; academic writing and research; and film studies.

Saturday, June 19, 2021 – 10:30am.
Peter Wayne Moe
will also join us live and in person on our sidewalk, Saturday, June 19, 2021 at 10:30am! It’s true: Live and In Person!

Recent book releases of note:

“Project Hail Mary: A Novel” by Andy Weir. Another interstellar adventure, with an astronaut who’s the sole survivor of a last-chance mission. Can he remember what he was sent to do in time to do it?

“Great Circle” by Maggie Shipstead. Spanning Prohibition-era Montana, the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, New Zealand, wartime London, and modern-day Los Angeles, this tells the unforgettable story of a daredevil female aviator determined to chart her own course in life, at any cost. Chosen as lead title for May IndieNext.  Staff recommended.

“Second Place” by Rachel Cusk. The acclaimed British author of the “Outline” trilogy sets her latest novel in a remote coastal region, where a woman has invited a famed artist to visit her.

“Secrets of Happiness: A Novel” by Joan Silber. “No one is better than Joan Silber at revealing the hidden links that connect people. The small, human details in Secrets of Happiness feel at first like ripples in a pond, but they prove in the end to be mighty waves in an ocean the size of the world.”—James Crossley, Madison Books, Seattle, WA. Chosen for IndieBound. Great review in The Seattle Times.

“Ariadne: A Novel” by Jennifer Saint. “Satisfying the need for more Greek/Roman transformational myths from much-needed other viewpoints, Jennifer Saint delivers tales of Ariadne and her sister Phaedra’s life on Crete and beyond. Less heroic yarn and more character inquisitiveness — a refreshing addition.” —Michelle Bear, Edmonds Bookshop, Edmonds, WA. [Hey! We know her!!] Chosen for IndieBound.

“Olympus, Texas: A Novel” by Stacey Swann. A bighearted debut with technicolor characters, plenty of Texas swagger, and a powder keg of a plot in which marriages struggle, rivalries flare, and secrets explode, all with a clever wink toward classical mythology . Chosen for IndieBound.

“Hour of the Witch: A Novel” 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.

“One by One: A Novel” by Ruth Ware. In paperback. Chosen for IndieBound. Staff recommended.

“The Silent Patient: A Novel” by Alex Michaelides. “…an outstanding thriller with a shocking twist that will have you rethinking every riveting scene in this brilliant debut.”  Finally in paperback! Chosen for IndieBound.

“Utopia Avenue: A Novel” by David MitchellChosen for IndieBound. Now in paperback.

“Finding the Mother Tree” by Suzanne Simard. From the world’s leading forest ecologist who forever changed how people view trees and their connections to one another and to other living things in the forest–a moving, deeply personal journey of discovery.   Heard on npr Weekend Edition Saturday, May 1.

“Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II” by Daniel James Brown.  [yes! Finally another book from the author of

“Boys in the Boat.”] A gripping World War II saga of patriotism, highlighting the contributions and sacrifices that Japanese immigrants and their American-born children made for the sake of the nation.

“People We Meet on Vacation: A Novel” by Emily Henry.  Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love. A sparkling new novel that will leave you with the warm, hazy afterglow usually reserved for the best vacations. Chosen for IndieBound. In paperback.

“Where the Grass Is Green and the Girls Are Pretty” by Lauren Weisberger.  From the bestselling author of “The Devil Wears Prada” comes a highly entertaining, sharply observed novel about sisters, their perfect lives… and their perfect lies.

“While Justice Sleeps“ by Stacey Abrams. A gripping complexly plotted thriller set within the halls of the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Squeeze Me” by Carl Hiaasen. In paperback.

“Goblin: A Novel in Six Novellas” by Josh Malerman.  These six novellas tell the story of a place where the rain is always falling, nighttime is always near, and your darkest fears and desires await.

“Malorie: The Sequel to Bird Box” by Josh Malerman. Now in paperback.

“The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires” by Grady Hendrix. Staff recommended. Now in paperback.

Some books of note being released in June:

“On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. Now in paperback. Chosen for IndieBound. June 1, 2021.

“Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir” by Natasha Trethewey. Now in paperback. Chosen for IndieBound. June 1, 2021

“Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life” by Christie Tate. In paperback. Chosen for IndieBound.  June 1, 2021.

“Somebody’s Daughter: A Memoir” by Ashley C. Ford. The journalist and host of the “Chronicles of Now” podcast, makes her much-buzzed book debut with an intensely personal story: her relationship with her incarcerated father.  Amazing review in The Seattle Times.  And on NPR.  June 1, 2021.

“We Are Inevitable” by Gayle Forman. “No one writes about love like Gayle Forman. Lose yourself in her passionate mash note to rock music, indie bookstores and best of all, the miracles that can happen when you take chances on other people.” —E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars.  June 1, 2021.

“Golden Girl” by Elin Hilderbrand. In this satisfying page-turner from “the queen of beach reads” (New York Magazine), a Nantucket novelist has one final summer to protect her secrets while her loved ones on earth learn to live without their golden girl. June 1, 2021.

“The Heartbeat of Trees: Embracing Our Ancient Bond with Forests and Nature” by Peter Wohlleben.
The newest title from the author of “The Hidden Life of Trees.” June 1, 2021.

For Young Adult Readers “Instructions for Dancing” by Nicola Yoon. The bestselling author of “Everything, Everything” and “The Sun Is Also a Star” is back with her eagerly anticipated third novel. With all the heart and hope of her last two books, this is an utterly unique romance.  June 1, 2021.

“Double Blind” by Edward St. Aubyn. In the semi-autobiographical Patrick Melrose novels, St. Aubyn turned hisharrowing childhood, drug-addled young adulthood, and hard-won recovery into one of most dazzling literary achievements of the past 30 years. His new novel promises to bring St. Aubyn’s expansive intellect and acerbic wit to bear on a more universal set of issues, including mankind’s relationship to nature and the mechanics of biological inheritance. I can’t wait to go along for the ride. —David Adams, Publishers Weekly reviews editor. June 1, 2021.

“Malibu Rising” by Taylor Jenkins Reid. From the bestselling author of “Daisy Jones & The Six” . . . Four famous siblings throw an epic party to celebrate the end of the summer. But over the course of twenty-four hours, their lives will change forever. Chosen for IndieBound. June 1, 2021.

“The Other Black Girl” by Zakiya Dalila Harris. “…an even edgier “The Devil Wears Prada.” Harris’s debut is set in the New York City offices of the publishing industry. Who among us can resist that juicy morsel? While you may be able to leave your house come June 1, you might not want to until you’ve read the last page of this timely, insightful social critique.” —Stacey Gill, PW marketing manager. Chosen for IndieBoundThe full review at Publishers Weekly. June 1, 2021.

“One Last Stop” by Casey McQuiston. Chosen for IndieBound. Paperback. June 1, 2021.

“The Chosen and the Beautiful” by Nghi Vo. Chosen for IndieBound.  June 1, 2021

“Legends of the North Cascades” by Jonathan Evison. Staff favorite and local author. We have a few signed copies available! Chosen for IndieBound. June 8, 2021.

“Rabbits” by Terry Miles. Chosen for IndieBound.  June 8, 2021

“The Disappearing Act” by Catherine Steadman. A British actress discovers the dark side of Hollywood when she is the only witness to the sudden disappearance of a woman she meets at an audition in this psychological thriller from the bestselling author of “Something in the Water.”  June 8, 2021.

“The Hidden Palace: A Novel of the Golem and the Jinni” by Helene Wecker. In this enthralling historical epic, set in New York City and the Middle East in the years leading to World War I—the long-awaited follow-up to the acclaimed bestseller “The Golem and the Jinni”—the author revisits her beloved characters as they confront unexpected new challenges in a rapidly changing human world. June 8, 2021.

“The Bench” by Meghan the Duchess of Sussex.  This beautifully captures the special relationship between father and son, as seen through a mother’s eyes. In a statement released by Penguin Random House, Meghan said that the text for “The Bench” started as a poem she wrote for Prince Harry on Father’s Day, the month after their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, was born.  The book’s storytelling and illustration give us snapshots of shared moments that evoke a deep sense of warmth, connection, and compassion. June 8, 2021.

“The Outlier: The Unfinished Presidency of Jimmy Carter” by Kai Bird. Drawing on interviews with Carter and members of his administration and recently declassified documents, Bird delivers a profound, clear-eyed evaluation of a leader whose legacy has been deeply misunderstood. This is the definitive account of an enigmatic presidency—both as it really happened and as it is remembered in the American consciousness. June 15, 2021.

“The Damage” by Caitlin Wahrer. “Pulled me in from the first page… put this one high on your summer list.”—Stephen King. When a small-town family is pushed to the brink, how far will they go to protect one of their own? An edgy, propulsive read about what we will do in the name of love and blood. June 15, 2021.

“The Maidens” by Alex  Michaelides. From the bestselling author of ”The Silent Patient” comes a spellbinding tale of psychological suspense, weaving together Greek mythology, murder, and obsession.  A great review at Publishers Weekly, here. Bonus content: PW talks with Alex Michaelides, here. Staff recommended. June 15, 2021.

“Widespread Panic” by James Ellroy. From The Modern Master of Noir comes a novel about the malevolent monarch of the 1950s Hollywood underground–a tale of pervasive paranoia teeming with communist conspiracies, FBI finks, celebrity smut films, and strange. June 15, 2021.

“Bath Haus” by P. J. Vernon. A young gay man in a perfect marriage will do anything to keep a dangerous indiscretion from his loving husband. June 15, 2021.

“What’s Done in Darkness” by Laura McHugh. Abducted as a teenager, a woman must now confront her past and untangle the truth of what really happened to her in this dark thriller from the author of “The Wolf Wants In.” Staff recommended author. June 22, 2021.

“Filthy Animals” by Brandon Taylor. Taylor’s linked stories train a keen eye on academic ambition, the slippery nature of lust, and how small misunderstandings can lead to fraught personal fallouts. In these marvelous stories, Taylor demonstrates a seemingly inexhaustible ability to render feelings precisely: “The calm that comes with the edge of pleasure after pain has given way to something sweeter.” —Seth Satterlee, PW reviews editor. June 22, 2021.

“Lie Beside Me” by Gytha Lodge.  Detective Chief Inspector Jonah Sheens is on the trail in this explosive crime novel from the acclaimed author of “She Lies in Wait.”  In paperback. June 22, 2021.

“Songs in Ursa Major” by Emma Brodie. A scintillating debut from a major new voice in fiction, this is a love story set in 1969, alive with music, sex, and the trappings of fame. June 22, 2021.

“The Nature of Middle-earth” by J.R.R. Tolkien. Between the publication of “The Lord of the Rings” in 1954-55 and the author’s death in 1973, Tolkien wrote extensively about his imaginary land of Middle-earth. Many of those essays are published here for the first time.  June 24, 2021.

“Survive the Night” by Riley Sager. It’s November 1991. George H. W. Bush is in the White House, Nirvana’s in the tape deck, and movie-obsessed college student Charlie Jordan is in a car with a man who might be a serial killer. June 29, 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!

— 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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