Edmonds Booktalk: Best books for holiday giving

The festivities have begun! Shop for your people, or yourself. We have all kinds of great suggestions.

Here are our staff favorites for the year, which also of course would make great gifts! Alphabetically by title:
The complete list is here on our blog, with complete staff reviews and more information about the books, and yes! you can order them right there!

  • “Bird Day” by Mark Hauber, illustrated by Tony Angell. Recommended by Michelle.
  • “The Captive” by Fiona King Foster. Recommended by Pat.
  • “Cheap Land Colorado” by Ted Conover. I appreciate Ted’s immersion into a world that can easily be dismissed, judged and forgotten. He brings the human side to folks who, like all of us, need to find their own path. Recommended by Michelle.
  • “Cold People” by Tom Rob Smith. Recommended by Pat.
  • “The Comfort of Crows” by Margaret Renkl. Recommended by Eleanor.
  • “The Covenant of Water” by Abraham Verghese. Susan chose this as one of her favorites for the year. She did not want to leave the characters! Also highly recommended by Pat.
  • “The Crow Valley Karaoke Championships” by Ali Bryan. Hilarious! In an irreverent delightful way. One seems to come across these characters [even Marcel] somewhere along life’s road. Yay oh Canada! Recommended by Michelle.
  • “Dark Angel: A Letty Davenport Novel #2” by John Sandford. Book #1: “The Investigator” is now in paper. Great new series from a favorite author! Recommended by Elaine.
  • “Dark Ride” by Lou Berney. A mystery writer new to David. He is reading, and highly recommending, all available books by Berney.
  • “Democracy Awakening: Notes on the State of America” by Heather Cox Richardson. David’s favorite non-fiction of the year.
  • “Demon Copperhead” by Barbara Kingsolver. Following closely the template of David Copperfield the author brings to life the world of Appalachia with all its wants and its comforts. One of Mary Kay’s favorites.
  • “Father and Son” by Jonathan Raban. Raban alternates between the story of his father’s life and his experience of surviving a stroke. Beautifully written with humor and compassions. Recommended by Susan. A lovely review in The Seattle Times here.
  • “A Fine Line: Searching for Balance in the Mountains” by Graham Zimmerman. David’s favorite memoir of the year, by an Edmonds-raised kid! Mary Kay also chose this book for one of her best of the year.
  • “Goodnight Irene” by Luis Alberto Urrea. Inspired by the author’s mother’s own experience in WWII. Tale of women’s heroic frontline service with Red Cross [the donut dollies!]. Highly recommended by Susan.
  • “The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store” by James McBride.  David’s favorite literary novel. Susan also chose this as one of her favorites of the year.
  • “Holly” by Stephen King. Highly recommended by Elaine.
  • “House of Sky and Breath: Crescent City #2” by Sarah J. Maas.  Another great page-turner! More intrigue. More secrets. More developing powers. More strange and surprising allies. More sexy stuff!  Recommended by Elaine.
    AND…. “House of Flame and Shadow: Crescent City #3 by Sarah J. Maas is coming January 30, 2024. Pre-Order here!
  • “An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us” by Ed Yong.  The world as other animals perceive it through their senses. It enriches our understanding and appreciation of this world we live in. Recommended by Susan.
  • “Inside the Wolf” by Amy Rowland. A subtle book about returning home to histories, memories and myth. Rachel’s story will resonate with anyone who grew up in a small town. Recommended by Michelle.
  • “The Invisible Life of Addie Larue” by V. E. Schwab. Recommended by Pat. And Michelle.
  • “The Last Remains” by Elly Griffiths. Possibly [probably!] the last in the Ruth Galloway series… satisfying wrap-ups for all of our characters. Really love this series!
  • “Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus. Recommended by Pat.
  • “A Living Remedy: A Memoir” by Nicole Chung. Her second memoir. This one is focusing on her parents aging, getting sick … a searing memoir of family, class and grief–a daughter’s search to understand the lives her adoptive parents led, the life she forged as an adult, and the lives she’s lost. Her first memoir: “All You Can Ever Know” is also recommended! Recommended by Elaine.
  • “The Ministry for the Future” by Kim Stanley Robinson. Science fiction about climate change… Positive approach with very innovative solutions. Highly recommended by Susan.
  • “North” by Bad Kessler. Recently recommended by Pat. Michelle also highly recommends.
  • “Ozark Dogs” by Eli Cranor.  His first book “Don’t Know Tough” won the Edgar Award for best first novel. Elaine recommends both.
  • “The Pear Tree:  elegy for a farm” by Bethany Reid. A brand new poetry collection from one of our favorite very local poets! Bonus: the beautiful cover art is a painting by our very own Michelle Bear! We will be hosting a book launch event on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024, 6-7 p.m. We do have a few copies available now – it does make a really lovely holiday gift! More information about our event is here. Recommended by Michelle.
  • “The Quiet Tenant” by Clemence Michallon. A pulse pounding psychological thriller about a serial killer narrated by those closest to him: his 13-year-old daughter, his girlfriend and the one victim he has spared. Recommend by Michelle.
  • “Tom Lake” by Ann Patchett. A mom slowly tells her grown daughters about her early adulthood. Stuck together on the family cherry orchard during Covid their affection for each other comes through clearly. Recommended by Mary Kay.
  • “The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder” by David Grann. Recommended by Pat.
  • “Wayward Pines Trilogy” by Blake Crouch. All 3! Great big original twist and then they keep coming. Really well done. You will absolutely want to read all 3! Recommended by Elaine.
  • “Zero Days” by Ruth Ware. More great twists – Ruth Ware is one of the best at the twists! – there is also an amazing sister relationship in this book! Recommended by Elaine.

We have a very special opportunity for fans of Ivan Doig! We have been gifted with a limited number of books from his personal collection – all autographed by Ivan Doig. All hardcovers. And some first editions. More information here.

Edmonds Bookshop Events.

Monday Dec. 18 – Friday Dec. 22. We are hosting a Holiday Book Drive for Page Ahead!

Page Ahead is one of our favorite local non-profit organizations! You may buy books to donate all week.

On Thursday, Dec. 21 during Art Walk Edmonds, from 5-8 p.m., for books purchased to donate, there will be a special discount offered! Check back for more information, here.

From Page Ahead: Here are the book types we are most in need of [our readers love books with diverse characters]:

  • Soft cover books for ages 3-9
  • Non-fiction books for ages 3- 9
  • Books in other languages (especially Spanish) ages 0-9

Dec. 21, 2023. Third Thursday Art Walk: Wreath Walk Finale! 5-8 p.m.

Meet wreath artist Beth Henkes! And view her beautiful, and completely Northwesty wreath!

She will also be bringing some of her small art creations with her — perfect timing for last minute gifting ideas! [She told us she will be bringing some Harry Potter themed tiny art with her! We can’t wait to see what that might be!]

More information about the event, and Beth, is here!

Plan ahead: Thursday Jan. 4, 6-7 p.m. What a great way to start out the New Year: A book launch for Bethany Reid’s new collection of poetry!
“The Pear Tree: elegy for a farm” is officially being published Jan. 1, 2024.

We will have a great evening of celebration. More details to be announced.

And… We have a few copies of this beautiful new book available now! In case you can’t wait!

A little more information is here, and check back — details will be posted as all the plans get confirmed!

Plan ahead: Edmonds Bookshop Book Club: [no meeting in December! Way too much fun festive shopping going on!]
Jan. 11. Thursday evening 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Jan. 17. Wednesday morning 9-10 a.m.

Our book for January 2024: “The Lincoln Highway” by Amor Towles.

The bestselling author of “A Gentleman in Moscow” and “Rules of Civility” and master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction returns with a stylish and propulsive novel set in 1950s America.

So much more information about the book is here.

More information about the book club is here.

Recent book releases of note:

“The Liberators: A Novel” by E. J. Koh.  “E. J. Koh tells an epic saga with poetic grace: four generations deal with the legacy of Japanese and American colonization in South Korea, divisions within Korea itself, and with various loves and betrayals along the way.”

“The Future: A Novel” by Naomi Alderman. “Gripping speculative fiction/CliFi. Naomi Alderman has a knack for crafting a future with enough detail to make it feel breathtakingly possible, but not overdrawn. When I finished, I wanted more time with these people and in this world.”—Liz Whitelam, Whitelam Books, Reading, MA
Really fun teaser blurb from the author herself, here!  [I didn’t know she was Bristish! Cannot wait to read this!]

“The Vulnerables: A Novel” by Sigrid Nunez. “This book was my cure! All of my thoughts, feelings, and experiences living in our complex current moment in time turned into a beautiful novel. Elegant prose. Wise delivery. Cozy feelings. Sigrid Nunez is a must read!”

“Again and Again: A Novel” by Jonathan Evison. Moira: “The Bainbridge-based author of “Lawn Boy” and “The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving,” among others, returns with a story of a curmudgeonly man living out his last days in a nursing home — and insisting that he has lived multiple lives, in which he has spent a thousand years trying to find love.

“We Are the Light: A Novel” by Matthew Quick.  Staff recommended! Now in paperback!

“Resurrection Walk” by Michael Connelly. The defense attorney is back! Haller enlists his half brother, retired LAPD Detective Harry Bosch, as investigator. Reviewing the case, Bosch sees something that doesn’t add up.

“Class: A Memoir of Motherhood, Hunger, and Higher Education” by Stephanie Land. Whether you first learned of Stephanie Land’s story by reading her memoir “Maid” or by watching the Netflix adaptation by the same name, you—like me—were probably left asking what happened next. Our question will be answered with “Class” an account of Land’s experience attending college as a low-income single mother.

For Young Adult readers.  “Check & Mate” by Ali Hazelwood. In this clever and swoonworthy YA debut from the bestselling author of “The Love Hypothesis,” life’s moving pieces bring rival chess players together in a match for the heart.

“Murtagh” by Christopher Paolini. Part of The Inheritance Cycle.  The master storyteller returns to the World of Eragon in this stunning epic fantasy set a year after the events of the Inheritance Cycle. Join Dragon Rider—and fan favorite—Murtagh and his dragon as they confront a perilous new enemy!

“So Late in the Day: Stories of Women and Men” by Claire Keegan. Celebrated for her powerful short fiction, she now gifts us three exquisite stories together forming a brilliant examination of gender dynamics and an arc from Keegan’s earliest to her most recent work.

“Day: A Novel” by Michael Cunningham. A “quietly stunning” (Ocean Vuong) exploration of love and loss, the struggles and limitations of family life–and how we all must learn to live together and apart–from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Hours.”

“The Narrow Road Between Desires” by Patrick Rothfuss. This return to the Kingkiller Chronicle universe explores a previously unseen part of Temerant, and shows a side of Bast we’ve only glimpsed before. Learn more about Bast as he goes against his better judgement and follows his heart’s desire. November

“Unnatural Death” by Patricia Cornwell. In this thrilling new installment in the Scarpetta series, she is in a Northern Virginia wildness inspecting the remains of two campers. When she finds them, they’re savaged beyond recognition. Nearby, a larger-than-life footprint.

Books coming in December:

“The Mystery Guest: A Maid Novel” by Nita Prose. When an acclaimed author dies at the Regency Grand Hotel, it’s up to a fastidious maid to uncover the truth, no matter how dirty. Nov. 28, 2023

“Frozen River” by Ariel Lawhon. A gripping historical mystery inspired by the life and diary of Martha Ballard, a renowned 18th-century midwife who defied the legal system and wrote herself into American history. Martha is brilliant and strong in a period when women were lucky to read. Throw in a murder mystery with vivid characters? A NPR book of the year. December book recommended by The New York Times. Dec. 5, 2023.

“All the Little Bird-Hearts: A Novel” by Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow. Longlisted for the 2023 Booker Prize, this poetic and often funny debut — “a motherhood story unlike any other” (Booklist) —  by an author with autism is written from the point of view of an autistic woman as she and her headstrong adolescent daughter are befriended by a glamorous, charismatic couple with dark ulterior motives. Dec. 5, 2023.

“The Other Mothers” by Katherine Faulkner. The author of the “twisty, fast-paced” (The Sunday Times, London) “Greenwich Park” returns with a fresh and deftly paced thriller about murder, class, and motherhood in an exclusive London community.
When a young nanny is found dead in mysterious circumstances, new mom, Tash, is intrigued. She has been searching for a story to launch her career as a freelance journalist. But she has also been searching for something else–new friends to help her navigate motherhood. Dec. 5, 2023.

“Flores and Miss Paula: A Novel” by Melissa Rivero. A wry, tender novel about a Peruvian immigrant mother and a millennial daughter who have one final chance to find common ground. December book recommended by The New York Times. Dec. 5, 2023.

“Oath and Hon.or: A Memoir and a Warning” by Liz Cheney.
“In the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump and many around him, including certain other elected Republican officials, intentionally breached their oath to the Constitution: they ignored the rulings of dozens of courts, plotted to overturn a lawful election, and provoked a violent attack on our Capitol. Liz Cheney, one of the few Republican officials to take a stand against these efforts, witnessed the attack first-hand, and then helped lead the Congressional Select Committee investigation into how it happened. In Oath and Honor, she tells the story of this perilous moment in our history, those who helped Trump spread the stolen election lie, those whose actions preserved our constitutional framework, and the risks we still face.”  December book recommended by The New York Times. Dec. 5, 2023

“Everywhere an Oink Oink: An Embittered, Dyspeptic, and Accurate Report of Forty Years in Hollywood” by David Mamet. Award-winning playwright, screenwriter, and director David Mamet shares scandalous and laugh-out-loud tales from his four decades in Hollywood where he worked with some of the biggest names in movies. December book recommended by The New York Times. Dec. 5, 2023.

“Heartstopper #5: A Graphic Novel” by Alice Oseman. Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love. The bestselling LGBTQ+ graphic novel about life, love, and everything that happens in between: this is the fifth volume of the much-loved HEARTSTOPPER series, featuring gorgeous two-color artwork. *Now an acclaimed live-action Netflix series!* Dec. 19, 2023.

Some great blog posts/lists:

The New York Times recommends 8 new books coming in December 2023. Our blog here.

The Washington Post chooses noteworthy books for November + December. Our blog here.

The Washington Post chooses 10 best books for 2023! Here.

Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association [PNBA] bestseller list. Local best sellers, updated weekly. We do our best to have all of these books in stock.

Author, journalist, whiskey-sipper, and friend of the Bookshop Neal Thompson writes a fantastic blog/newsletter called Blood and Whiskey! It’s all about crime fiction and true crime: roundups, reviews, author interviews. Plus cocktails and playlists! Check it out here.

National bestselling authors. and friends of the Bookshop Marie Bostwick, Rachel Lindenand Katherine Reay host “The 10 Minute Book Talk” and gather with author friends weekly to chat about new and wonderful books! For 10 short and sweet minutes. Link to the free YouTube Channel is here!

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, and Instagram.

You may pre-order any forthcoming title by visiting our website.

Stay safe. Enjoy the little things. 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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