Edmonds Booktalk: Lists and lists of books for holiday gift-giving

Ready or not, it is December! We have almost made it through another crazy year… this is where the fun part of crazy begins for us… We have books. We have great recommendations. And: We wrap the books you are gifting for free. [We will wrap books that you are gifting to yourself, too. We love that.]

In case you are in need of some more inspiration, here are a couple of lists…. [Links to more lists follow these new lists… we have so many great lists.]

Bestsellers at Edmonds Bookshop Jan. 1 – Nov. 30, 2021. It comes as no surprise that the vast majority of these titles are staff favorites, and some have been, or will be, our Bookclub choices:

  • “The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country” by Amanda Gorman. Staff recommended.
  • “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse” by Charlie Mackesy.
  • “Hamnet” by Maggie O’Farrell. [August 2021 Bookclub choice] Staff recommended.
  • “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig. Staff recommended.
  • “A Woman of No Importance” by Sonia Purnell. [November 2021 Bookclub choice] Staff recommended.
  • “The House in the Cerulean Sea” by TJ Klune. [March 2022 Bookclub choice] Staff recommended.
  • “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer. [January 2022 Bookclub choice] Staff recommended.
  • “Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II” by Daniel James Brown. Staff recommended.
  • “Getting to the Water’s Edge on Whidbey and Camano Island” by The Sound Water Stewards.
  • “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens. Staff recommended.
  • “The Madness of Crowds” by Louise Penny. Staff recommended.
  • “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson.
  • “Deacon King Kong” by James McBride. [October 2021 Bookclub choice] Staff recommended.
  • “Book Woman of Troublesome Creek” by Kim Michele Richardson. [June 2021 Bookclub choice] Staff recommended.
  • “Homewaters: A Human and Natural History of Puget Sound” by David Williams. Staff recommended.

And a few more very recent releases that might make the cut by the end of December:

  • “State of Terror” by Hilary Clinton and Louise Penny.
  • “Lincoln Highway” by Amor Towles. Staff recommended.
  • “Finding the Mother Tree” by Suzanne Simard.
  • “Cloud Cuckoo Land” by Anthony Doerr. Staff recommended.

Top 3 kids books:

  • Young reader “Dog Man #10: Mothering Heights” by Dav Pilkey.
  • Picture book for little kids “Itty-Bitty Kitty-Corn” by Shannon Hale.
  • Young reader “Esperanza Rising” by Pam Munoz Ryan.

And we couldn’t resist a bonus list: our favorite books of the year!

  • Michelle: “North” by Brad Kessler.
  • Susan: “The House in the Cerulean Sea” by TJ Klune.
  • Mary Kay: “The Beatryce Prophecy” by Kate diCamillo.
  • David: “The Loneliest Americans” by Jay Caspian Kang.
  • Pat: “Project Hail Mary” by Andy Weir.
  • Elaine: “We Begin at the End” by Chris Whitaker.
  • Eleanor: “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman.

OK, full disclosure: Most of us couldn’t pick just one! The full list of our favorites on our website, here.

More great sources for gifting ideas:

Give Books. The 2021 holiday season’s best of the independent Northwest catalog is here. We have copies in the store for you to peruse at your leisure, and you can shop directly from the catalog on our website, right here.

Our list of staff recommendations for holiday gifting is here.

Show your love for The Edmonds Bookshop lover in your life! Choose a v-neck tee, a classic long-sleeve tee, or a pullover hoodie. Multiple colors available in each style. Order here.

Edmonds Bookshop Book Club.

No meeting in December, as usual.

We will start out 2022 still doing Zoom meetings for Edmonds Bookshop Book Club.

Zoom meeting Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022 – 9-10 a.m.: ” Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants ” by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

“As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In this book, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on “a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise” (Elizabeth Gilbert)
Staff recommended!

More information about the book and the club is here.

Send us an email here to register your email for book club membership. We will send you an invitation with a Zoom Meeting link as each book club meeting is scheduled. Once you accept the invitation it will show up in your calendar.

Recent book releases of note:

“Renegades: Born in the USA” by Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen.

For ages 4-plus: “Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem” by Amanda Gorman. A lyrical picture book debut from the presidential inaugural poet.

“Cloud Cuckoo Land: A Novel” by Anthony Doerr.
“A Carnival of Snackery: Diaries 2003–2020” by David Sedaris.
“The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times” by Jane Goodall.
“State of Terror” by Louise Penny and Hillary Clinton. “…a novel of unsurpassed thrills and incomparable insider expertise.”
“Our Country Friends” by Gary Shteyngart. Great review in The Washington Post here.
“Still Life” by Sarah Winman.
“Five Tuesdays in Winter: Stories” by Lily King.
“The Sentence” by Louise Erdrich.
“Will” by Will Smith.
“Never” by Ken Follett.

For Young Readers [ages 10-plus]  “Out of My Heart” by Sharon M. Draper.
“The Joy and Light Bus Company: No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency #22” by Alexander McCall Smith.
“Termination Shock: A Novel” by Neal Stephenson.
“You Feel It Just Below the Ribs: A Novel” by Jeffrey Cranor, Janina Matthewson. A haunting, provocative novel, this is a fictional autobiography in an alternate twentieth century that chronicles one woman’s unusual life, including the price she pays to survive and the cost her choices hold for the society she is trying to save. In paper. November 16, 2021.

“The Butchers’ Blessing” by Ruth Gilligan. Now in paper. Staff recommended. November 16, 2021.

“The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story” by Nikole Hannah-Jones; edited by Caitlin Roper, Ilena Silverman and Jake Silverstein.
For Young Readers [ages 7 – 10] “The 1619 Project: Born on the Water” by Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renee Watson. A lyrical picture book chronicling the consequences of slavery and the history of Black resistance in the United States, with powerful verse and striking illustrations. November 16, 2021.

“Lord of the Rings Illustrated” by J R R Tolkien. The grand masterwork in a new hardcover illustrated with the art created by Tolkien as he himself envisioned Middle-earth. November 16, 2021

“Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone” by Diana Gabaldon. The bestselling author returns with the newest novel in the epic Outlander series. Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall were torn apart by the Jacobite Rising in 1746, and it took them twenty years to find each other again. Now the American Revolution threatens to do the same. But this time Jamie and Clare have more at stake than ever before. November 23, 2021.

“These Precious Days: Essays” by Ann Patchett. The beloved bestselling author reflects on home, family, friendships and writing in this deeply personal collection of essays. Patchett dazzles with her honesty, insight, and adroitness.  November 23, 2021.

For  ages 2 +  “Amos McGee Misses the Bus” by Philip Stead, illustrated by Erin Stead. Some of our favorites are back! The gang from Caldecott Medal-winner “A Sick Day for Amos McGee” returns in this new heartwarming story. Staff recommended. November 23, 2021.

Some books of note being released in December [starting 11/30/21!]:

“Wish You Were Here” by Jodi Picoult.  In the Galápagos Islands, where Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection was formed, Diana finds herself examining her relationships, her choices, and herself–and wondering if when she goes home, she too will have evolved into someone completely different.
We will have a few [very few!] signed first editions… available on a first-come first-served basis.
Is there someone on your gift list that would love this?
  Order one here, or call us: 425.775.2789 and we will be happy to hold one for you. November 30, 2021.

“All About Me!: My Remarkable Life in Show Business” by Mel Brooks. The legendary comedian, actor, film producer and director offers insight into the inspiration for his ideas and the many close friendships and collaborations behind his success. November 30, 2021.

“Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience” by Brené Brown. In her new book, Brown takes us on a journey through 85 of the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human. November 30, 2021

“Moonflower Murders” by Anthony Horowitz. Now in paperback. November 30, 2021

“Dava Shastri’s Last Day” by Kirthana Ramisetti. A thought-provoking and entertaining debut novel about of a multicultural family, a dying billionaire matriarch leaks news of her death early so she can examine her legacy—a decision that horrifies her children and inadvertently exposes secrets she has spent a lifetime keeping. November 30, 2021.

“Beasts of a Little Land: A Novel” by Juhea Kim. A spectacular debut filled with great characters and heart. An epic story of love, war, and redemption set against the backdrop of the Korean independence movement, following the intertwined fates of a young girl sold to a courtesan school and the penniless son of a hunter. November 30, 2021.

“Autopsy: A Scarpetta Novel” by Patricia Cornwell. In this relaunch of the electrifying, thriller series, chief medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta hunts those responsible for two wildly divergent and chilling murders. November 30, 2021.

“The Postmistress of Paris: A Novel” by Meg Waite Clayton. Set in the dark early days of the German occupation in France—a young American heiress helps artists hunted by the Nazis escape from war-torn Europe. November 30, 2021.

“Sex Cult Nun: Breaking Away from the Children of God, a Wild, Radical Religious Cult” by Faith Jones. In a story of liberation and self-empowerment, the author shares her hauntingly intimate coming-of-age narrative of growing up in and escaping from the Children of God, an oppressive, extremist religious cult. November 30, 2021.

“Tell Me How to Be” by Neel Patel. A darkly funny and heartbreaking debut novel about an Indian-American family confronting the secrets between them. December 7, 2021.

“The Ballerinas: A Novel” by Rachel Kapelke-Dale. Female friendship and betrayal set against the intriguing milieu of ballet — where ambition is set against a ticking clock. A captivating, voice-driven debut novel about a trio of ballerinas who meet as students at the Paris Opera Ballet School.  December 7, 2021.

“A History of Wild Places: A Novel” by Shea Ernshaw. This twisty thriller follows three residents of a secluded, seemingly peaceful commune as they investigate the disappearances of two outsiders. It is a richly atmospheric adult debut.  December 7, 2021.

“The Churchill Sisters: The Extraordinary Lives of Winston and Clementine’s Daughters” by Dr. Rachel Trethewey. Bright, attractive and well-connected, in any other family the Churchill girls would have shone. But they were not in another family, they were Churchills, and neither they nor anyone else could ever forget it. December 7, 2021.

“The Cat Who Saved Books: A Novel” by Sosuke Natsukawa, Louise Heal Kawai. An enthralling tale of books, first love, fantasy, and an unusual friendship with a talking cat; this is a story for those for whom books are so much more than words on paper. December 7, 2021.

“No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality” by Michael J Fox. Now in paperback. December 7, 2021.

“Bright Burning Things” by Lisa Harding. A rising international literary star makes her American debut with this visceral, tender, and brave portrait of addiction, recovery, and motherhood. December 7, 2021.

“Call Us What We Carry: Poems” by Amanda Gorman. The presidential inaugural poet–and unforgettable new voice in American poetry–presents a collection of poems that includes the stirring poem read at the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States. December 7, 2021.

“Garbo” by Robert Gottlieb. The award-winning master critic takes a singular and multifaceted look at the life of silver screen legend Greta Garbo, and the culture that worshiped her.  December 7, 2021.

“52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen” by Faith Kramer, Clara Rice. Recipe pairings in a mix-and-match friendly format, incorporating easy substitutes throughout the cookbook to make Shabbat accessible for all lifestyles. December 14, 2021.

“Creative Types: and Other Stories” by Tom Bissell. A new collection of stories that range from laugh-out-loud funny to disturbingly dark–unflinching portraits of women and men struggling to bridge the gap between art and life. December 14, 2021.

“The Fortune Men: A Novel” by Nadifa Mohamed. Based on a true event, this novel is “about the full life of Mahmood Mattan, the last man executed in Cardiff, Wales for a crime he was exonerated for forty years later and is brought alive with subtle artistry and heartbreaking humanity.” Booker Prize Finalist. December 14, 2021.

“Twenty Years Later: A Riveting New Thriller” by Charlie Donlea. In the gripping, fast-paced new thriller from the bestselling author, a TV news host sets out to uncover the truth behind a gruesome tale of sex, betrayal, and murder twenty years after the investigation was abandoned in the wake of 9/11. December 28, 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!



  1. “the Boy, the Mole, and the Fox….a must have for the soul, the inner child, the grown-up’s inner child, anyone who draws or appreciates skillful drawing and the ability to tell a story in a few words. I have this little book, and it is surely one of my treasures given to me by my good friend Vivienne.
    It is an epitome of kindness. and just plain delightful to open and journey with the Boy, the Mole and the Fox as they wander and wonder about life.

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