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 



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


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 


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 

Spring Booknotes from our Staff – Fiction

By Blood
by Ellen Ullman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

In 1970s San Francisco, a neurotic middle-aged professor rents a small office as he awaits investigation for improper behavior. Discovering he can hear conversations from the psychiatrist’s office next door, he becomes obsessed with one particular patient, a young lesbian, adopted, and anguished about finding her real mother. He decides to become involved researching her possible history, falsifying papers, perpetuating the belief that she was born a Jew and relinquished at the end of the war by a woman now living in Israel. Intense and compelling, this psychological drama, haunted by stories of the Holocaust, is as atmospheric as the foggy, eccentric city in which it is set. –Erica


Drifting House
by Krys Lee (Viking)

Postwar era Koreans and Korean Americans, living in the old country and the new, reinvent themselves in surprising ways in the face of loss, catastrophe, love, and changing families in Krys Lee’s debut short story collection, Drifting House. Alternately spooky, touching, realistic, and fantastical, Lee’s work invites readers to re-examine preconceptions of home, affection, return, and belonging, reflecting on the reach of mothers and motherland as family members move on, die, and are reborn. –Karen


The Loss Library and Other Unfinished Stories
by Ivan Vladislavic
illus. by Sunandini Banerjee (Seagull Books)

From its base in Calcutta, India, Seagull Books has been winning increased notice for its beautiful books and commitment to literary excellence. The publication of South African writer Ivan Vladislavic’s new book stands out for reasons above and beyond; these linked pieces ruminate on stories and books, primarily on pieces not written–abandoned, set aside, let go. How the loss of these unwritten worlds is to be comprehended is made manifest in exquisite form here, with both Vladislavic’s elegiac writing and brilliant collages by designer Sunandini Banerjee. A book for those who love books–real, physical books–and where they take us. –Rick


The Mirage
by Matt Ruff (HarperCollins)

Imagine that the United States is not a superpower but an antagonistic rogue state. Seattle author Matt Ruff takes you on an intense and brilliantly plotted journey into this new reality, a fun-house mirror world in which the United Arab States wield the political and military might, and the US is an occupied terror state responsible for the destruction of the Tigris and Euphrates World Trade Towers on 11/9/2001. A war on terror rages, and Christianity, not Islam is the religion shrouded in suspicion. Ruff has forged a mind-bending portrait of a world gripped by fear where nothing is as it seems. –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.

Dethawing with The Flame Alphabet

Having emerged from another dim December winter, now is a great time to peruse what’s new in the world of literature. More daylight means more reading light, after all, and while I’m told the weather is getting better, a couch and some coffee plus a couple of books still sounds just fine to me.


The Flame Alphabet
By Ben Marcus

With his mesmerizing new novel, The Flame Alphabet, Ben Marcus envisions a world in which the speech of children literally kills their parents.

Language itself becomes a tool for excruciating destruction and malice in this stunning, horrific and yet funny novel – funny like the serrated edge of a knife. Fast-paced and quick-witted, Ben Marcus is a true mastermind. Not to be missed.



The Fallback Plan
By Leigh Stein

Leigh Stein paints an uncomfortably accurate portrait of twenty-somethings adrift in the twenty-first century with The Fallback Plan.

A subtle depiction of the rather anxious, very unglamorous fate that awaits recent college graduate Esther Kohler. Stein has created a moving, hilarious, and honest character who will resonate with anyone who has ever wondered what the hell they’re going to do with a degree in Drama. A great read. – Casey O.


By Alan Bennett

Celebrated English novelist Alan Bennett peers into the uncomfortable space between people’s public appearance and their private desires with Smut.

Official charade, superficial appearances, gossip, and secrets. Alan Bennett delivers it all in this funny, surprising, and slightly peculiar duo of stories. And smutty? Yes. – Karen



By Marie Lu

Marie Lu imagines a dystopian American future in which the nation has split into two separate countries with her debut YA novel, Legend.

In a distant future, the United States has collapsed into two separate lands – the Republic, a country of order and class, and the colonies, a land in perpetual war with its neighbor. Day and June both live in the Republic but lead very different lives. June is a prodigy brought up to take her place among the nation’s elite. Day, a child of the slums, was destined to die before his wits led him to the top of the Republic’s most wanted criminal list. When an act of murder throws their worlds together, Day and June discover that the Republic may not be all that it seems. – Casey S.

Fall Booknotes from Our Staff – Young Adult

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick
by Chris Van Allsburg (Houghton Mifflin)

Nobody who’s ever perused the pages of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick could ever forget them. So when I heard there was a compilation of stories based on these puzzling images, I was delighted. Within these pages we meet a boy on a quest to understand and manipulate time, witness a pair of nasty twins receive a most imaginative comeuppance, and double-take as a baby girl with an oatmeal-smeared chin floats into the air. But instead of explaining away one mystery, these amazing stories take the reader further down a spiraling rabbit-hole of possibility. Which was exactly what Harris Burdick had in mind. –Leighanne

The Apothecary
by Maile Meloy
illus. by Ian Schoenherr (Putnam)

In 1952 America, Cold War politics are prevalent, and fourteen-year-old Janie reluctantly moves to London with her blacklisted parents. Her new life soon becomes interesting when her schoolmate’s father, the local apothecary (or pharmacist, as we’d call him), is kidnapped and Soviet spies seem to be coveting his sacred book of medicines, The Pharmacopoeia. With her fearless friend Benjamin, they conspire to save the book and his father, and prevent an impending Russian nuclear experiment! An enthralling mix of history, fantasy, alchemy, and adventure, a dash of teen romance, and a splash of political intrigue, this to-be-continued story grabs you the minute you meet its plucky young heroine. –Erica

by Marie Lu (Putnam)

In a distant future, the United States has collapsed into two separate lands: the Republic, a country of order and class, and the Colonies, a land in perpetual war with its neighbor. Day and June both live in the Republic but lead very different lives. June is a prodigy brought up to take her place among the nation’s elite. Day, a child of slums, was destined to die before his wits and cunning led him to the top of the Republic’s most-wanted criminal list. When an act of murder throws their worlds together, Day and June both discover that the Republic may not be all that it seems. Fans of The Hunger Games will love the first book of this trilogy. –Casey S.

Legend will be published Tuesday, November 29th. Pre-order your copy today. 

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.

Ernest Cline at Elliott Bay on Tuesday, Oct. 11th at 7 pm

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 one of the original OASIS programmers. Success could change Watts’s life forever, while failure could result in the collapse of an already teetering society. –Rich

  • Hammer Pants
  • The McDLT
  • Mr. Wizard
  • You Can’t Do That on Television
  • Mike Tyson’s Punchout

If any of those things mean anything to you, then you will most likely enjoy this book. Clive has created a masterful homage to classic 80’s adventures such as The Goonies and Wargames. This novel may take place in the future, but its heart is firmly rooted in the past. This book is totally awesome to the max. –Jamil

With Ready Player One, Cline has created the virtual reality world that we’ve always been promised. He has also given us a brilliantly plotted love letter to the 80’s, a stirring look at what our media-obsessed, economically depressed society could become, and an engaging edge-of-your-seat adventure novel. I wanted to read it all the way through in one sitting, but work got in the way. This is THE GEEK NOVEL for the 21st century. Unlike the arcade games that are talked about in the book, thankfully I can read it again without inserting another quarter. –Casey S.

Ernest Cline will read from Ready Player One on Tuesday, October 11th at 7 pm. If you can’t make it to the reading but would like an autographed copy of the book, please call us at (206) 624-6600 or stop in and purchase one today.

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.

If it’s Going to be Another Five Years, What Do I Read in the Meantime?

Whew! You’ve finished A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin and you’re emotionally drained and maybe a little sated—at least for a few days, maybe even a few weeks. Inevitably though, you want more. More heartbreak, more swordplay, more sinister dealings and shady bedfellows. What do you do now? After-all, it may be a while before the sixth book. It may not be five years, but after reveling in Martin’s worlds for a little while, you realize that you can’t wait that long. You’re already having trouble waiting until Sunday evening for the new episode of True Blood, how on earth are you going to wait however long it’s going to be for Winds of Winter. Withdrawal is a sure bet I’m sorry to say. Science fiction & fantasy can be just as addictive as any other opiate, so what to do? And surely you’re not going to flood Mr. Martin’s blog (or Not A blog as the case may be) begging for advanced pages of the new book. And you’re not going to criticize or berate him for delays because they inevitably happen with large fantasy series such as this. Where does that leave you then? Well, it leaves you with a dragon-sized hole to fill in your reading life. I’m here to help. I’m offering this 10-step program to help you get through these tough times. You can do this without Ice and Fire—at least until your next fix.

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Book 1 of the Gentleman Bastard’s Sequence) by Scott Lynch

An orphan’s life is harsh—and often short—in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains–a man who is neither blind nor a priest. A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected “family” of orphans–a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting.

In this stunning debut, author Scott Lynch delivers the wonderfully thrilling tale of an audacious criminal and his band of confidence tricksters. Set in a fantastic city pulsing with the lives of decadent nobles and daring thieves, here is a story of adventure, loyalty, and survival that is one part Robin Hood, one part Ocean’s Eleven, and entirely enthralling.

The adventures continues in Red Seas Under Red Skies. Be forewarned, the third book in this seven book series, The Republic of Thieves, has been delayed several times.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Book 1 of The Inheritance Trilogy) by N.K. Jemisin

Locus Award Winner for Best First Novel

Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle with cousins she never knew she had. As she fights for her life, she draws ever closer to the secrets of her mother’s death and her family’s bloody history.

The series continues with The Broken Kingdoms.

The Name of the Wind (Day One of the Kingkiller Chronicles) by Patrick Rothfuss

The riveting first-person narrative of a young man who grows to be the most notorious magician his world has ever seen. From his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime- ridden city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that transports readers into the body and mind of a wizard. It is a high-action novel written with a poet’s hand, a powerful coming-of-age story of a magically gifted young man, told through his eyes: to read this book is to be the hero.

The chronicles continue with The Wise Man’s Fear (Day Two). This is yet another series in which delays have frustrated readers, but most think it worth the wait.

Acacia: The War with the Mein (Book 1 of the Acacia Trilogy) by David Anthony Durham

Born into generations of prosperity, the four royal children of the Akaran dynasty know little of the world outside their opulent island paradise. But when an assassin strikes at the heart of their power, their lives are changed forever. Forced to flee to distant corners and separated against their will, the children must navigate a web of hidden allegiances, ancient magic, foreign invaders, and illicit trade that will challenge their very notion of who they are. As they come to understand their true purpose in life, the fate of the world lies in their hands.

The trilogy continues with The Other Lands and The Sacred Band (Coming in October).

The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett

As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night.

The series continues with The Desert Spear.

Continue reading