An Interview with Laurie R. King!

Our bookseller Brandi Bailey (BB) recently interviewed Laurie R. King (LK), author of the Mary Russell mysteries, for our blog.

laurie
Laurie R. King

BB: First, thank you so very much for agreeing to my interviewing you! It’s the 20th anniversary of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, the novel that introduced the world to the delightful and whip-smart Mary Russell. Congratulations! I’d like to know how this makes you feel.

LK: Twenty years is forever—and yet, but the snap of a finger. Twenty years ago I had two books published (together, they brought in enough to install central heating in the house!) and a tentative idea that I might be able to talk my publisher into a few more. So to not only have survived as a writer for two decades, but to have a thriving community of readers eager for more, is a thrill.


BB: After 20 years and 12 novels, are you at all tired of her?

LK: No, she amuses me no end, and I never seem to run out of ways for her to insult and get the better of Sherlock Holmes. Although whenever I end up writing about her for more than a year or two in a row, I end up doing terrible things to her, so perhaps alternating worlds is better for us all…


 

…I end up doing terrible things to her…

 


 

BB: As a Russell fan, I know from the painful interim between installments that you often break up your writing from series to series and with stand-alone novels interspersed. Do you find this helps you from tiring of certain characters? Or does it cause any confusion with your story lines?

LK: As a reader, this is always a problem, isn’t it? You want to love all a writer’s children equally, but you can’t help having favorites. But the truth of it is, as a writer there are some stories you just can’t tell inside certain fictional worlds, some kinds of energies that can’t be contained within an established series.


 

…some kinds of energies that can’t be contained within an established series.


 

As a writer, as a person, I need to push myself—I have to stretch the bounds of comfort. If I wrote nothing but Russells, the characters (those that survived!) would go stale, and people would stop buying the books.

The trick is, to convince people that The Other Books are good too. Because the publishing world doesn’t really like it if every other book languishes on the shelves when readers pass it by because it’s Not A Russell.


 

If I wrote nothing but Russells, the characters (those that survived!) would go stale, and people would stop buying the books.


 

I do love the other new series, Harris Stuyvesant and Bennett Grey. Writing them lets me use muscles I can’t use in the Russells. I suppose it’s just a matter of building an audience for them, too.


 

BB: Speaking of your multiple series, do you have a favorite?

LK: Not really. I’d love to be able to write four books a year, so I could produce a Russell, a Stuyvesant & Grey, a Martinelli, and another in the Folly/Keeping Watch cycle. Oh, and maybe the occasional standalone…


 

BB: Along those same lines, do you enjoy writing the modern Kate Martinelli’s or your historical fiction more?

LK: I do seem drawn to the past, don’t I? Even many of the contemporary novels have sections set elsewhen. Which may be the reason that the Martinelli idea I’m playing with rests on events from a previous era.


Do you get to indulge in travel “research”?

 


 

BB: When it comes to your historical novels, they are often set in far-flung and exotic locales. Do you get to indulge in travel “research”? What other research goes into them?

LK: Absolutely, I always go where I’m writing—the next Russell, for example, is set in Japan, and I couldn’t write it until I’d been there. Of course, I do a lot of book-research too, since it’s rare you can go to a place and see anything but the faintest trace of the Twenties. But for stories set in other places, I need to breathe the air and listen to the sounds.


I do a lot of book-research too, since it’s rare you can go to a place and see anything but the faintest trace of the Twenties.

 


 

BB: I’m curious, does it affect your approach having the Mary Russell series presented as her memoirs? Does this change from your approach when you’re writing plainly fictitious characters like in The Bones of Paris?

LK: Oh yes, particularly as the series gets longer and there’s more detail to keep track of. In fact, we’ve (“we” being Team LRK) just published The Mary Russell Companion, an ebook, which is quite solemn about treating the books as Russell’s Memoirs rather than King’s novels. As to why King has her name on them, well, you’ll have to read the Companion to find out.


 

I’m free to murder off whomever I wish.


 

With a series like Stuyvesant & Grey, with Touchstone and now Bones of Paris, there is a lot less baggage to carry around, and I’m free to murder off whomever I wish. Unlike Russell, who really is fairly essential to the series. (Although that Holmes fellow, well, it wouldn’t be the first time an author murdered him.)


 

BB: Mary Russell works side by side with the famous Sherlock Holmes, who is rather big right now, and you clearly know and love the Conan Doyle canon. Harris Stuyvesant in Touchstone & The Bones of Paris is plaininly reminiscent of some of Dashiell Hammett’s line of brusque, American detectives. As a clear mystery lover yourself, who is your favorite classic detective writer? Do you read and love any modern mystery authors?

LK: Oh sure, I read widely, from cozy to thriller. SJ Rozan and Lyndsay Faye do detectives Hammett would feel right at home with—as, indeed, he would with Harris Stuyvesant.

BB: Can you give us a clue as to what’s next for Russell and Holmes?


LK: In addition to The Mary Russell Companion (out now as an ebook), which is bursting with Things To Know about Mary Russell (some of which might be categorized as fiction…) and the new, 20th anniversary edition of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, next February comes Dreaming Spies, which is set partly in Japan and partly in Oxford.

And as for Holmes without Russell, In the Company of Sherlock Holmes (with Les Klinger) is a fabulous collection of stories “inspired by Holmes” in December.

I hope people enjoy all of them.

We certainly do!

Books to Start an Argument

Books are an incredibly personal thing. Taste is highly subjective when it comes to what moves us, what stirs up long-dormant emotions, and what inspires outright loathing.

It is for all those reasons that choosing the next title for a book group/club can seem incredibly daunting to many people.

Some clubs have thematic guidelines (e.g. mystery, women authors, prize winners, Queen Oprah’s picks) that help them hone in on the next read, but not every group is that easy to choose for.

When I get asked in the store for book group recommendations, after honing in some of the favorite past book selections, I always aim to provide something discussion worthy. That is the point of a book group after all, an excuse to get together, imbibe your preferred liquid poison, and discuss books.

If you’re struggling to come up with your next book group choice, or if you just want something really interesting to bring up at the office, I’ve compiled some of my top recommendations for getting a lively (though hopefully non-violent) discussion going.

Front Cover

My Uncle Oswald

by Roald Dahl

Did you know that your favorite author of beloved children’s tales like

      

and many more is the author of amazing adult fiction that contains enough smut to put some of the best erotica to shame? I simply love seeing people discover a different side to an author they thought they knew so well and to read the magic he weaved with words take place through an adult topic and with adult eyes. The discussions that follow will be hysterical, nostalgic and a little bit steamy.

If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler

by Italo Calvino

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The Italians are weird. Wonderfully weird. When I first read this book it was as part of a book group and I hated it. Then something magical happened, as we sat around discussing why we all thought the book was odd, confusing, overrated I realized that our criticisms were morphing into praise. The second-person point of view went from being a nuisance to being novel. The alternating jumps between incomplete short stories to a narrative being addressed directly to you, The Reader, went from being uncomfortable to truly unique. The twist was pure genius and we all had a favorite chapter. Any book that I hate and then love so hard I recommend it to everyone and has inspired me to read all the Italian books I can get my hands on will surely be a hit at your next book group.

Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity 

by Emily Matchar

Half my friends still hate this book with a zealous passion. The other half, a half that includes me, find it eye-opening and useful in compiling our thoughts and feelings about the continuing evolution of our generation which is enamored with heritage and the past while having our lives integrated with technology our grandparents could never have imagined. It’s an important book for the conversation on modern feminism. It’s a book that will start many important, possibly hostile conversations.

Seductress: Women Who Ravished the World and Their Lost Art of Love

by Elizabeth Prioleau

This and her newest, Swoon: Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them, are both well-researched but not at all dry examinations of gender and attraction. They work to debunk the Hollywood myths that surround beauty and desirability. I often choose one of these for people who have mixed-gender book groups because I know the discussions they inspire between men and women can lead to some amazing moments of honesty.

 

Hawthorn & Child

by Keith Ridgway

You’ll spend the first half of this novel trying to figure out if you’re reading a ghost story or detective noir. Then you’ll spend the second half marvelling at the sneaky way Keith Ridgway has developed such intriguing characters and woven such a suspenseful plot. When you’re turned the last page you’ll either being irate or enamored forever. This isn’t a crime novel. This book has no ending. This book is about capturing a snapshot of lives as they happen. I wish I could be a fly on the wall when you start discussing your frustrations and then move on to what Ridgway has managed to tell you about yourself through it all.

The Casual Vacancy

by J. K. Rowling

Much like Dahl, I think this or The Cuckoo’s Calling will make excellent discussion books purely for dissecting an author outside of their better known domain of children’s fiction. Rowling’s voice is incredibly distinct. The Casual Vacancy offers up even more discussion with its beautiful and in depth dissection of social issues in England, that are eerily reminiscent to our American ones, and of familial relationships.

Short story collections

Whether it’s Lorrie Moore

George Saunders

Karen Russell

Sarah Hall

James Joyce

Manuel Gonzales

…or any of the other superb short story collections available by a whole slew of talented writers you will have discussion for days. Every single person will prefer a different story. Everyone will have discovered a different overarching theme. And every reader will have disliked one particular story more than any of the others. Short story collections are also easier for many people to digest and fit into their busy schedules making these ideal for the less voracious readers in your group.

 

Any other books you’d suggest people read to start an argument great discussion?

 

Brandi 

Pack Your Bags: We’re Going to Canada

photo 1 (1)

 

 

 

 Villages
[pages 132 & 133 in Kus #16: Villages,

available now in our Zines section]

 Oh Canada, exotic neighbor to the north, land of mounties, maple leaves, and strange but delicious potato chips (seriously, what are you magical All-Dressed chips?!).

All joking aside, Canada is more than just poutine (eat it), five-pin bowling (play it), and hockey-fiends (run!); Canada is a country as vast and diverse as the United States and, if the rumors are to be believed, a much friendlier disposition.

One of our favourite authors, Kate Beaton, helps illustrate this point:

While we’re talking about Kate Beaton, you need to read her book. You won’t be able to stop laughing. And she’s Canadian.

Hark! A Vagrant

David Rakoff was Canadian, too.

Fraud: Essays

You can read his books and listen to this This American Life episode about the Canadians among us. Because Canadians are among us. They blend well, but they’re here. One of our favourite booksellers hails from the great white north (it’s Justus, you can tell because she’s the nice one).

With much more pronounced British and French influences than our country has maintained, Canada is not only a fun, fairly easy to access, vacation destination but also the setting to several excellent books. Whether you’re looking for historical fiction, young adult adventure, or puzzling detective mysteries, the big red maple leaf has something you’re sure to read again and again.

And our Canadian bookseller would probably speak sternly to us if we failed to mention her favourite book first:

The Orenda: A novel

The Orenda

by Joseph Boyden

Quite simply, you need to read this book.

You need to read this book.

Set in the mid-1600s, The Orenda tells the story of a time wrought with cultural clashes, conflicting identities, and struggles to determine place in a quickly changing world. Boyden is a rare writer at his peak: his visceral sense of character and place leave you breathless, and his ability to navigate the historical novel’s complicated and rich history is impressive. This could very well be the best book you read, ever.

 

The Boundless

The Boundless

by Kenneth Oppel

This book is pure adventure. A fantastical train is setting off on its maiden voyage across Canada in the mid-1800s and it must survive sabotage. That is if it survives the perils of the Swamp Witch, the muskeg, and the sasquatch. This book has a hint of The Night Circus but for kids. Trust me when I say that you don’t need to be a kid to enjoy this tale.

 

Trauma Farm: A Rebel History of Rural Life

Trauma Farm: A Rebel History of Rural Life

by Brian Brett

One of the best parts about reading Trauma Farm is knowing how close Saltspring Island is to Seattle — a relatively quick trip compared to other places in our neighbour’s vast northern wilds. This is a stunning narrative told over the course of a day but also over the entire history of agriculture. If you want a work that grounds you in this world, broadens your awareness, and allows your soul to grow, this is it.

 

Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables series

by L.M. Montgomery

Classics. If you remember the tales of spunky, carrot-haired Anne Shirley (breaking her slate over Gilbert Blythe’s head!) and the other inhabitants of Avonlea from your childhood, read them again. If you’ve never delved deeper than the film versions, pick up these books now!

Bones of the Lost: A Temperance Brennan Novel

Temperance Brennan series

by Kathy Reichs

Unlike the television series, Bones, these mysteries set in the southeastern United States and in Quebec. They follow the crime-solving exploits of forensic anthropologist Temperance “Tempe” Brennan. Start of with Déjà Dead.

 

Other notable suggestions:

Three Day Road

Three Day Road

by Joseph Boyden

The Blind Assassin

The Blind Assassin

by Margaret Atwood

Begin with the End in Mind

Begin with the End in Mind

by Emma Healey

Still Life: The First Chief Inspector Gamache Novel

Inspector Gamache series

by Louise Penny

City of Glass: Douglas Coupland's Vancouver

City of Glass

by Douglas Coupland

Except the Dying

Murdoch Mysteries series

by Maureen Jennings

And now you should be ready for the Great White North.

Don’t forget to stop by our Travel Section in the mezzanine for more fantastic recommendations, whether you’re traveling by armchair or truly transporting yourself over that border.

Brandi

Pack Your Bags: We’re Going to France!

I suffer from chronic wanderlust. Unfortunately my passport sports a sad (small) number of stamps. The best balm for unrequited travel love is reading about your preferred destinations! Our Travel section is highlighting France for the month, and in that spirit, I thought I’d start a new series here spotlighting some great reading lists for different foreign locales! Let’s commence with the Cité d’Amour: Paris!

Metronome: A History of Paris from the Underground Up

by Lorant Deutsch

A look at the history of Paris from pre-Roman times through present day oriented by the stops of the French Metro. Did I mention the author is a well-loved French comedian? Yeah this is the best way to suck up Parisian history.

Les Petits Macarons: Colorful French Confections to Make at Home

by Kathryn Gordon and Anne E. McBride

Vacations are half sightseeing and half gorging yourself on er… sampling the local cuisine. I’m still trying to master making these traditional French delicacies at home, and this is the best cookbook I’ve ever found for them!

The French Cat

by Rachael Hale

Even if you’re not a cat person, which I absolutely am, you can’t help but fall in love with the dreamy light, French locales, and hopelessly French swagger of these felines. The story of Hale’s relocation to France is also told alongside these lovely photographs.

Entre Nous: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl

by Debra Ollivier

There are countless books focusing on the inherent chicness of French women and the ways we clumsy and brash Americans can emulate their style. I prefer this one because it illuminates the fact that there is not a cookie cutter type of French woman.

Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong: Why We Love France but Not the French

by Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow

Why do we dream about kissing our true love atop the Eiffel Tower or shopping on the Left Bank after spending a morning exploring the Louvre but continue to malign the snotty, spineless Frenchman in our comedy? Read this insightful cultural study and find out!

Stuff Parisians Like: Discovering the Quoi in the Je Ne Sais Quoi

by Olivier Magny

This tongue-in-cheek guide is spot on. Equal parts laugh-out-loud and envy-inducing.

How the French Invented Love: Nine Hundred Years of Passion and Romance

by Marilyn Yalom

I picked this book up earlier this year and couldn’t put it down. Fascinating study on why we associate the ultimate wooing with the French.

A few other notable titles:

Brandi

Wending My Way through Women’s Studies

When you start to read on any one topic with a certain focus or goal, you’re bound to get off-track, and most of that (at least in my case) can be attributed to the number of references to other work I’ve stumbled upon as I make my way through the Women’s Studies section here.

 

Whether due to many of the extensive bibliographies at the back, casual references to other books throughout the works I read, or whole sections on authorial influences, while reading my way through our Women’s Studies section, I found myself straying from my designated path into everything from pop culture to ethnicity studies, history to art criticism, philosophy to nature essays.

 

Really, I was running all over the bookstore (and the wonderful Seattle Public Library system) in an attempt to satiate my reading needs.

 

So, did I make it through every book on the shelves here?

 

Not quite, but I certainly came out better than I thought, and now my brain snacking on all sort of knowledge, new thoughts, challenging ideas, and informed perspectives. Here are a few of my favourites in our Women’s Studies section I think are particularly noteworthy:

Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics by Bell Hooks

No list I could create on this topic would be complete without at least one of Bell Hooks’ books. This is the book I want to put into a person’s hand when they don’t feel they have a clear picture of what feminism is or can be, or feel a little lost. This one is a classic must-read for, well, everybody.

…Maybe I should start walking around with an extra copy in my bag…

Woman: An Intimate Geography by Natalie Angier

Having an idea about how cultural perception and gender stereotypes have shaped our approach to history, science, and our bodies is one thing, but having a writer like Natalie Angier actually show you how this has happened (and continues to happen!) is completely different…and for me, much more meaningful. I honestly expected to leave this book with a sense of outrage at how much these biases have shaped the world we’ve created, but Angier writes with a straightforward approach that offers suggestions for improvement and enlightenment.

Don’t Call Me Inspirational: A Disabled Feminist Talks Back by Harilyn Rousso

When I finished this book, I felt chastised and entertained, and I left it a far more thoughtful person. This book reads as an open letter to the world–to you, to me, to all of us–and Rousso wastes no time in setting us straight and laying down a few essential ground rules. I adore this book because of the honesty with which Rousso writes offers both humour and critical insight as she forces you to reconsider feminism and disability politics.

Shout Out: Women of Color Respond to Violence

I’m not certain where to start with this book. I know it’s going to stay with me long after many of the other books I read from the Women’s Studies section have started to fade from my mind. A collection of essays, poetry, creative non-fiction, and experimental form, this book is complex, powerful. I recommend picking up a copy and allowing yourself time to read it.

The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women: A Portable Mentor

This book came as a bit of a surprise to me, as I wasn’t expecting it to reach me like it did. I may have judged this book at a glance (I know better! Or I should!), because I went into it thinking it would be a surface read: quick, fun, and easy. Instead, it resonated with me and slowed me down in a way that had me reconsider my own creative outlets and allowances. It’s honestly a book I wish I had known about while I was in grad school!

 

And, because I strayed from my Women’s Studies path, here are a few of the other unexpected gems I read along the way:

Stigmata: Escaping Texts by Helene Cixous

Until I started to read through the Women’s Studies section, I’d never heard of Helene Cixous…but suddenly she was everywhere I read. Naturally, I had to follow this trail through to its natural end and read as many Cixous texts as I could get into my hands. This is not light reading, but delectably heady philosophy. I highly recommend her.

She Matters: A Life in Friendships by Susanna Sonneberg

A memoir through female friendships… I think any woman who has had or has female friends in her life will find in this book memories quite intimate. I particularly enjoyed reading this book for the bonds of friendship Sonneberg has struggled to repair, maintain, or regain as time passes, and for the intimacy she brings in writing this book.

Hild by Nicola Griffith
This book came into my life at just the right time (while I was working my way through the Women’s Studies section). A much-needed work of fiction, I devoured this with a greed I reserve for my absolute favourite stories. Meticulously researched, Hild is lush with historic medieval detail and bold characterization. Griffith writes the story of Hild, and in doing so, fills in the spaces of history with luminescence.

My Ideal Bookshelf

We have a book in our store you may have seen; it’s called My Ideal Bookshelf by Jane Mount (Illustrator) and Thessaly La Force (Editor).

My Ideal Bookshelf

The book is built on the idea that the books we hold dearest, as well as those we choose to read, reflect who we are as people, how we see ourselves, and what values we appreciate. Inside the book are first-person narratives discussing the books on an “ideal bookshelf” from a wide range of people: writers, actors, musicians, chefs, and others.

ideal shelf

Picking it up, even for a moment, will have you wondering what books are on your ideal bookshelf and why, which is exactly what happened to me when I first stumbled upon this incredible collection. Like many bookfiends, I have more books than I can count in my house (though I try to keep track of them with LibraryThing), and while I’d be loathe to part with any that have made their way onto my shelves, I do have clear favorites–the ones I have read over and over again, and will continue to pick up whenever I need what I find within those pages.

Under HeavenUnder Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay
I don’t know why it took me so long to fall in love with this author’s stories! Perhaps it was due to starting with the Fionavar Tapestry when I was not quite in the mood, but whatever the cause it took me a long time to come around to reading his work. Of course, now that I have I am absolutely addicted. I have read every book of his and adored each and every one, but first among them (for me, anyway) is Under Heaven. Under Heaven, in particular, thrills me because of his focus on how a single act from a person of power changes the entire structure of a country and the life of one man who had not been anyone of note. This book is on my ideal shelf because it represents to me the reason I love the fantasy tradition. Kay writes with a creative blend of history and fantasy, and his characters are among the best developed and multi-faceted I have encountered.

On a related but somewhat side-note: with River of Stars, a novel based in the same world three centuries later, coming out in April, I am beside myself with anticipation!

TerritoryTerritory by Emma Bull
This book is unique in the mix because I return to it on a particular day once a year. The story itself is wonderful: a western with fantasy elements, characters who live on in your mind long after you’ve set the book down, and a world you want to continue beyond those last few words. It’s a book I thought my grandfather would have loved. He and I had a long tradition of sharing books with each other, and this is the book I didn’t get to share with him before he passed away. Territory represents to me a love of shared reading, in addition to being an engaging, unique story.

On the BeachOn the Beach by Nevil Shute
I received this book as a gift from my father, who isn’t the biggest fan of reading fiction. When he went to a number of bookstores to find a copy for me, though, I knew it had to be pretty special. He warned me, as he handed it over, that I would find it a little hard to take. I think what he meant to say should have involved the words “trauma” and “haunt,” I guess “a little hard to take” kind of says the same thing. On the Beach devastated me. Before this book entered my life, I hadn’t discovered a book that tore me down and asked me to question all I valued. It’s the first time I remember putting myself into apocalyptic scenarios and seeing what part of my humanity would emerge. I still come back to this one every once in awhile. There’s elements of this quiet, bleak yet beautiful portrait of humanity that speaks to me and likely always will.

The Last UnicornLast, but most dear to me, is Peter S. Beagle’s  The Last Unicorn. I will never tire of reading this story; it’s one I first read it as a child and have since returned to countless times. At moments this book almost feels too intimate, as though it reveals too much of me…and this, I believe, is what it takes for a book to be on my ideal shelf. Whether I found myself in the story, or let the story shape so much of me that I have trouble telling myself apart from it, this book will always be an integral part of my sense of self.

I think it’s easier to explain why these books are on their shelves than what they say about me or what values I have (though I do see ties to family and imagination easily enough!)


So, what books are on your ideal bookshelf? Are these the books that changed your life? Made you who you are today? Or are these books old friends whose conversations you need to hear?

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Holiday Recommendations from Our Staff – Children’s & Young Adult

I’m Bored
By Michael Ian Black 
Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi 
Funny! So, so, so, so funny!
I said “I’m bored” so often as a kid. SO often. My mother should have handed me a potato. Or a flamingo. –dave 

 

 
I Need My Monster 
By Amanda Noll 
Illustrated by Howard McWilliam 
When a boy’s monster goes on a fishing vacation, he’s left without a monster under his bed. The boy does what any child would do and starts to interview replacement monsters…but will any monster fit his needs? So much fun! –Justus 

 
A Hole Is to Dig 
By Ruth Krauss 
Holidays are to stay home from work. Families are to give your extra hugs to. Gifts are for making everybody feel good. Books are for making feelings inside you. A Classic is when you, your mom, and your grandpa all love it.
This book is like a hug… You’re never too young or old to give or get one! –Jamil 

 

Bear Has a Story to Tell 
By Philip C. Stead 
Illustrated by Erin Stead
Winter is coming and the animals are all getting ready. Beat wants to share his story, but they are all too busy and soon Bear must sleep, too. However, everyone is soon eager to hear the story as soon as winter passes.
A beautiful, simple story about friendship and storytelling. I love this bear! –Tracy
Little Owl Lost 
By Chris Haughton
So there’s this little owl, and this little owl is a wee bit clumsy and falls out of his nest and gets lost. A squirrel sees the whole thing and does his very best to help the owl find his mommy. The squirrel, is, as befits his name, a wee bit squirrely and has a little trouble with the whole endeavour. The first book by Oh No, George author Chris Haughton is an adorable and silly tale for little humans or little animals everywhere. –Casey S. 

 
This Moose Belongs to Me 
By Oliver Jeffers 
In this utterly charming new book by Oliver Jeffers we meet Wilfred, a young boy who meets a moose. He names the moose Marcel and begins following his new friend to teach him the rules of being a good pet. Marcel leads Wilfred into the wild, but imagine the boy’s reaction when he learns the moose may not be his pet after all. This is an amusing, fun, and beautifully illustrated adventure. –David 

 

 

Cheerful 
By Palmer Brown
It’s finally back in print! Cheerful is a little church mouse who lives in the city with his parents, his brother Solemnity,and his sisters Faith and Hope. While his siblings are happy frolicking in the big city, Cheerful’s dream is to live in the country. This is the enchanting story of Cheerful’s journey to his place in the countryside. –Leah

 

People
By Blexbolex 
Looking for the perfect gift for your friend’s young child? Here you go! This book  contains beautiful illustrations of people doing ordinary things. It is fascinating! It is also fun. Pick it up and take a look! –Jillian

 

 

Pirates at the Plate 

By AAron Frisch

Illustrated by Mark Summers 

Any fan of baseball, pirates, or cowboys is sure to love this imaginative new picture book. What happens when the likes of Captain Hook, Blackbeard, and Long John Silver play baseball against Hopalong Cassidy, Wild Bill Hickok, and the Cisco Kid? Find out as this unusual showdown takes place in the ball yard. And don’t miss tomorrow’s game between the Vikings and the Tigers! –David

 

This Is Not My Hat 
By Jon Klassen 
We’ve all been there. We’re out and about in the world, we see a hat that we really like, and for just a moment we think about taking it. Then we see that maybe the owner of the hat is rather…gigantic, and we chicken out. But little fish doesn’t. He sees a hat, he just takes it and swims away. He doesn’t worry about consequences. I, for one, can’t see a flaw in little fish’s plans. – Rich 

 

Andrew Henry’s Meadow 
By Doris Burn
Andrew Henry loves building contraptions and inventing is his passion, but his messy creations exasperate his family. Andrew decides that the only solution is to find a place where he can build a house of his own. One by one his friends find him and he puts his talents to good use by building custom “homes” for each of his friends.
Originally published in 1965 and newly brought back into print by San Juan Publishing (hurray!) – this book is a celebration of the joy of imagination and will inspire some first-rate fort building! Kudos to one time Waldron Island resident for writing and illustrating such an enduring classic! –Laurie 

 

Safari
By Dan Kainen 
Have you ever been captivasted by the powerful movement of a wild cheetah? Ever wish you could slow it down and see every detail? Now you can with amazing new Photicular technology from Dan Kainen. ON the heels of his Scanimation hit Gallop, Kainene brings us Safari–a breathtaking moving gallery of Africa’s most stunning species. The physical act of turning pages sets a lion charging or a cheetah running. And when you’ve satisfied your curiousity with pictures, Safari includes informative essays on what you’ve witnessed. Enjoy!! –Seth

 

The Boxcar Children
By Gertrude Chandler Warner
Absolutely one of my favourite books from childhood! I loved the way the four siblings moved into the abandoned boxcar and outfitted themselves with all the comforts of home–cups & bowls, hammer & nails; even a dog! The original silhouette art is included in this special edition and truly adds to this cherished book! –Holly 

 

I Have a Dream
By Martin Luther King Jr.
Illustrated by Kadir Nelson
The grandly inspiring words of one of the greatest Americans–gorgeously illustrated to deliver the freeing, soaring impact of Martin Luther King’s vision.
This is a book for all time–and for the entire family. –Peter

 

The Little Island
By Margaret Wise Brown 
The seasons change on this little island and with them so does the island. Flowers bloom, lobsters shed their shells, pears fall from the tree, and snow falls. One summer a curious kitten visits and discovers that even a tiny little island cut off from the land is part of this big world. –Pamela 

 

Rookie Yearbook One

Edited by Tavi Gevinson 
Need a book for a teenaged girl? Look no further! Rookie Yearbook One is a comprehensive guide to the fashion world, music, women’s topics, the strange, and the super-rad. It contains interesting interviews (e.g., Joss Whedon, John Waters), handy DIYs, and does not, in anyway, shortchange the reader. Intelligently written and playfullly designed, it is the obvious choice this Christmas season. –Jillian

 

birdingA Kid’s Guide to Birding
By Lorenzo Rohani
Photos by Michael Rohani
In this terrific introduction to the birding way of life, a Seattle area father and son team introduce all the basics of good birding, from proper etiquette (don’t get too close, don’t try to touch), to identification techniques (plumage, camouflage, beaks), and tips on how to build feeders and attract birds to your own backyard. Birding is inexpensive, it can be shared with people of all ages, and it can be done anywhere. Filled with practical advice and spectacular photographs of avian beauties, this gem of a book squawks to be shared with loved ones—young and old alike! –Holly 

 

The Impossible Rescue 
By Martin W. Sandler
This truly amazing story is ideal for those who prefer their adventure tales pulled from history. Whaling was once a vital industry, but it was also rife with peril, and in September of 1897, eight whaling vessels became trapped in the ice of Point Barrow, Alaska. With more than 250 lives at stake, President McKinley ordered a rescue, and the cutter ship Bear left Seattle. This rescue would be accomplished by intrepid individuals without helicopters, GPS, or cell phones. Recounted from the diaries, letters, and historic photographs of those involved, this is a story of the impossible made possible. –Holly 

 

Moominvalley Turns Jungle 
By Tove Jansson
No they are not hippopotamuses!
The Moomins have enchanted children and grownups around the world since 1945. Until now, they have only been available in large, expensive hardbacks. No they have released on of the best stories in an affordable, kid-proof version. A highly-recommended stocking stuffer. –Leah

The Hobbit
By J.R.R. Tolkien 
Just in time for the holidays and the December 14th release of the first installment of Peter Jackson’s trilogy of films comes this delightful and inexpensive hardcover version of the timeless tale of Bilbo Baggins and his fantastic adventures in Middle Earth. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of the book that would launch the career of the father of modern fantasy literature. Tolkien’s epic story of Bilbo, Gandalf, the dwarves, a dragon named Smaug, and all the rest will live on in the hearts and minds of generations of readers, and now filmgoers. This is the perfect gift for the Tolkien or avid fantasy reader in your life. Plus, it fits in your pocket! –Casey S.

 

Every Day 
By David Levithan 
For A, life has never been straightforward, but how could it be when he’s never had a body to call his own? Every day he wakes up in a different body, and after sixteen years he’s learned to live as normally as he can, never trying to change the life he’s borrowing. And that’s fine until Rhiannon walks into his life, and he falls in love. Now A is kidnapping the bodies he wakes up in, dragging them any distance across the country to spend just a few more moments with the girl who stole his heart. –Justus