Fall Booknotes from Our Staff: Children’s and Young Adult

by Maurice Sendak (HarperCollins)

Bumble-Ardy, written and illustrated by beloved artist Maurice Sendak, brings us a loveable pig, Bumble, with a birthday to celebrate! Originally created by Sendak and Jim Henson as an animated segment for Sesame Street in the early 1970s, Bumble-Ardy is Sendak’s first written and illustrated book in thirty years. The magic artistry of Sendak’s fantastical characters has a vintage yet timeless feel, and the story of Bumble’s adventures unfolds in clever rhyme. And here’s a secret: Bumble’s birthday is the same as Mr. Sendak’s! Bumble-Ardy is sure to join the bookshelf as a new family favorite. –Seth

My Woodland Wish
by Caspar Babypants
illus. by Kate Endle (Sasquatch)

Dynamic duo Kate Endle and Caspar Babypants team up to tell this sweet tale that’s as much fun for parents as it is for the wee-ones. With her inimitable cut-paper style, Endle’s images evoke the serene wonder of nature, while Babypants’s words will lull and charm even the most savage beast. What would it be like, this book asks, to communicate with animals? Endle has created many beautiful board books, as well as illustrated such titles as Where’s the Party, but this is her first collaboration with Caspar Babypants, who is known for his “kindie rock” albums that bring rock to the masses of kids! –Leighanne

Caspar and Kate join us for a very special Children’s Storytime on Saturday, October 8th at 11:30 a.m. They will read from their new book and entertain us with songs inspired by the story. More info can be found here. Please join us! 

by Brian Selznick (Scholastic)

In his gorgeous new book for young readers, Brian Selznick explores the lives of two deaf children growing up fifty years apart. He has perfected his mixed media method of storytelling, in which his illustrations play as pivotal a role as his warm, rich writing. First, we meet a girl who, in spite of her handicap, is pushing at the boundaries of her life. Then we leap in time to 1977 where a young boy who has just lost his mother loses his hearing as well. In alternating chapters of pictures and prose, these two incredible children fight against what is expected of them and search instead for what they need. –Leighanne

Booknotes, the newsletter of The Elliott Bay Book Company, is written entirely by bookstore staff. It represents a sampling of recently published books that we have enjoyed reading. We appreciate every opportunity to assist in finding books to meet your interests.

Fall Booknotes from Our Staff

Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane
by Andrew Graham-Dixon (Norton)

Graham-Dixon captures Caravaggio in this way: “Caravaggio lived his life as if there were only Carnival and Lent with nothing in between.” Graham-Dixon brings this dichotomy to life as he deftly captures Caravaggio’s infamous exploits, gleaning truth from contemporary biographies, court records, and perceptive critique of Caravaggio’s oeuvre. Caravaggio provides a thorough examination of one of art’s true geniuses. –Alex

What It Is Like To Go To War
by Karl Marlantes (Atlantic Monthly Press)

The author of the modern classic Vietnam war novel Matterhorn has now written a nonfiction book that he calls his “song.” It is written for civilians, soldiers, and policy makers, and the result is a veteran’s searing philosophical and psychological meditation about being a warrior. He loved war and he hated it. For Marlantes, fighting in battle was the crack cocaine of all highs. Yet, reflecting back on it now he feels sadness. His meditation is an important one that fills the gap between the silence of our warriors and our society. –Carl

The Swerve
by Stephen Greenblatt (Norton)

Swerve tells the tale of how Lucretius’s poem “On The Nature of Things” was returned to the world to the benefit of the burgeoning Renaissance. Greenblatt leads the reader through the life of Poggio Bracciolini, humanist, book-hunter, ex-Papal secretary, and discoverer of an ancient poem that would change the world. Greenblatt stops along the way to explain the history of books, their preservation, and the humanist spirit which spurred on the quest for these ancient tomes. Greenblatt sets out to write an accessible history for the curious, and succeeds. –Alex

Booknotes, the newsletter of The Elliott Bay Book Company, is written entirely by bookstore staff. It represents a sampling of recently published books that we have enjoyed reading. We appreciate every opportunity to assist in finding books to meet your interests.

Fall Booknotes from Our Staff: Fantasy & Science Fiction

The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern (Doubleday)

The best stories transport us to worlds that seem richer and more vibrant than our own. Realms so extraordinary that you feel bereft upon turning the final page and are forced to return to boring old reality. Between the covers of Morgenstern’s enchanting debut lies one of the most remarkable places you’ll ever encounter, a tantalizing playground of the mind that manifests true wonders of the imagination. A world where anything is possible, but everything comes at a price. Readers who enjoy the uncommon alchemy that blends atmospheric prose with an amazing story will delight in the transcendence to be discovered here. –Jamil

Erin Morgenstern reads from her much-acclaimed debut novel on Monday, September 19th at 7:00 pm in the bookstore. If you can’t make it to the reading call us at (206) 624-6600 to reserve an autographed copy.

Fantastic Women
edited by Rob Spillman (Tin House Books)

Fairytales and folklore are alive and well in the contemporary world. The grandchildren of tradition come to us with a female voice, and they bear mischievous weapons. From shape-shifting to human-filled stews, the tales herein are hallucinatory and relevant progressions of the mythic journey. At times, they are somber and reflective while at other times they unfold fast and funny. A few skirt the erotic and some sit haunting in their austerity. Selkies, mermaids, and miniature universes mix with the modern and mundane. And amongst these beautiful yarns, for authenticity’s sake, there’s even the requisite “little cottage in the wilds.” –Shannon

Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline (Crown)

The phrase, “grabs you from the first page,” may be one of the most overused lines in the book review world, and it’s almost never true. This story is one of the few that actually grabs you from page-one and refuses to let go. Wade Watts has spent a considerable amount of his life jacked into the OASIS (a computer generated utopia that most of humanity uses to escape from an increasingly desolate world), engaged in a 1980s-themed hunt set up by the original creator of OASIS. Success could change Watts’s life forever, while failure could result in the collapse of an already teetering society. –Rich

Booknotes, the newsletter of The Elliott Bay Book Company, is written entirely by bookstore staff. It represents a sampling of recently published books that we have enjoyed reading. We appreciate every opportunity to assist in finding books to meet your interests.

Fall Booknotes from Our Staff

The Absent Sea
by Carlos Franz (McPherson)

Previously unknown in the US, Carlos Franz is Chile’s most celebrated novelist. The Absent Sea is the story of Laura Larcos, a brilliant and idealistic judge posted to the remote desert city of Pampa Hundida just before the military coup that toppled the Allende regime. Within weeks the town is occupied by the military, which established concentration camps for dissidents, forcing Laura to eventually flee to Germany. After a twenty-year absence, Laura returns, and is forced to confront the real-life consequences of justice and complicity, remembrance and reconciliation, and the overriding question of what the individual is capable of when faced with a criminally brutalizing society. This book will leave you disturbed and elevated long after your first reading. –Peter

The Buddha In the Attic
by Julie Otsuka (Knopf)

Julie Otsuka’s much awaited second novel is a spare, poetic work told from the points of view of a wave of female immigrants. The author takes a risk, perhaps inspired by her real life subjects, that more than pays off. We meet these women in their homes before they cross the ocean as Japanese picture brides, get to know them as individuals and as a group, and ride their wave of experiences until they are evacuated and incarcerated as World War II era, West Coast, Japanese Americans. Lifted into the realm of art by powerful, incantatory prose, this novel is both inspired and unforgettable. –Karen

The Emperor of Lies
by Steve Sem-Sandberg, trans. by Sarah Death (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux)

Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski has been called many things over the years: a savior, an opportunist, a monster. Every act and speech that Rumkowski made as the chairman of the Lódz Ghetto, the second largest Jewish ghetto of the Holocaust, has been heatedly debated. In his stirring new novel, Steve Sem-Sandberg has, through exhaustive research, shed further light on the Lódz Ghetto and the complicated sixty-three-year-old businessman and orphanage director who became the leader of a people fated to die at the hands of the Nazis. Already a sensation overseas, The Emperor of Lies is a once in a generation literary event. –Casey S.

Booknotes, the newsletter of The Elliott Bay Book Company, is written entirely by bookstore staff. It represents a sampling of recently published books that we have enjoyed reading. We appreciate every opportunity to assist in finding books to meet your interests.

Dave’s Pick: The Devil All the Time

I knew I would like The Devil All the Time but sort of feel bashful to admit to it…especially since I loved it. Grotesque from its outset, Donald Ray Pollock’s novel follow-up to his hit short story collection Knockemstiff weaves tormented lives in backwater Ohio like barbed wire and burning fuse.

The story opens with a chilling vision of a man and his son paying daily sacrifice in blood for the sake of the dying wife, the beloved mother. There’s little else to be done but watch idly by as a brutal disease has its way with her.

Much like its visceral ache of a prologue, the novel observes a similar trend in all its characters’ lives, as the brutal disease of human weakness and selfish ambition proves able to turn monsters out of men. Yet out of its erratic, pot-banging cast comes a deeper redemption than its snake oil preacher could hock on his own. It’s a grittier peace, a sort of blessed unrest that puts Pollock’s characters in the way of their own demons, to either cope or collapse under the strain.

The surprise is sympathy. Even the cruel, the mean, the depraved, the wanton and corrupt are given an earnest voice, each one warm as whiskey and sharp as the smell of a carcass on the highway, so the reader can’t help but ride along the hot open road till the novel opens the passenger door and kicks you on your keister.

I haven’t had this many jitters over a book in a long time. Suspense twists through and through, and the narrator never flags in his laid-back drawl. If you liked No Country for Old Men (Cormac McCarthy), or if you found yourself (like me) aghast and entranced by Under the Banner of Heaven (Jon Krakauer), The Devil All the Time is your perfect summer read.


Authors of September

September is here, and with it comes magical new releases from seasoned fiction writers, celebrated memoirists, and debut novelists with a few tricks up their sleeves.

Join us on September 7th as local authors Rikki Ducornet and David Guterson read and discuss the responses to September 11th, 2001 included in Granta 116: Ten Years Later; Seattle author and social worker Wendy Lustbader discusses her new book Life Gets Better: The Unexpected Pleasures of Getting Old on September 10th; Little Children author Tom Perrotta reads from his new novel The Leftovers on September 12th; a day later on September 13th Alexandra Fuller joins us with her new memoir Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness; celebrated poet Jane Hirshfield reads from her newest collection Come, Thief on September 14th; Seattle writer and actress Suzanne Morrison discusses her new book Yoga Bitch: One Woman’s Quest to Conquer Skepticism, Cynicism, and Cigarettes on the Path to Enlightenment on September 17th; a few days later on September 19th Erin Morgenstern reads from her highly-anticipated debut novel The Night Circus; on September 24th join former Stranger staff writer and columnist Clark Humphrey on a walking tour of Capitol Hill with Walking Seattle: 35 Tours of the Jet City’s Parks, Landmarks, Neighborhoods and Scenic Views; and on September 29th Amor Towles reads from his captivating debut novel, Rules of Civility.

Those are just a few of the authors coming through the bookstore this month. Click here to view a full list of our event descriptions.

We look forward to seeing you!