Spring! Into Terror!

It’s that time of year again. Our rain and snow have been viciously dried up and our precious blanket of comforting grey clouds has been mercilessly burned away by a fiery ball of gas that hangs ominously in the vastness of space.

Soon the wind will come, blowing the alluring smell of flowered fields (in which to frolic and be attacked by insects). Or the sound of the constantly pounding surf may be heard, calling us all to light-drenched beaches only to eventually be forced to dig relentless sand out of our various crevasses.


But we need not heed those calls.


Go back inside, pull your shades down tight, and prepare to nourish your cells with a little Vitamin Dread.


Black Moon

Kenneth Calhoun

The entire world has begun to suffer from insomnia. Within days, the structures that govern our world fall to pieces as madness, anger, and delusion consume the world and the few remaining people who can still sleep cower in fear of those who cannot.

This is a fantastic, disturbing-as-hell novel that keeps you up late reading it and then makes you worry that you’ve stayed up too late reading it and now you won’t be able to fall asleep and what happens if suddenly you can’t ever fall asleep again and you turn into a murderous rage-monster who will stop at nothing for a just a few seconds of peaceful sleep!!

But that certainly isn’t going to happen now so you might as well read a few more paragraphs and then…..



Tim Lebbon

Amazing things are happening at Coldbrook, a top secret laboratory buried deep in the Appalachian Mountains  A doorway to another world — a parallel Earth — has been opened and a team of scientists are eager to be the first ones through to explore this strange, new world. But then something on the other side decides to come through first….

This is top-notch zombie storytelling at its finest. Sympathetic, believable characters. Horrifying, blood-thirsty zombies that are actually called zombies and not “walkers” or “roamers” or anything like that. A neat sci-fi twist with a plot that jumps between a post-apocalyptic wasteland of a world and a currently-apocalyptic soon-to-be-wasteland of a world, this is a fantastic addition to the growing horde of undead literature.


Lovecraft’s Monsters

Edited by Ellen Datlow


Nobody did monsters like Lovecraft. Werewolves, vampires, and even my beloved zombies, have got nothing on the shambling, tentacled masses of terror that lurk in the spaces between realities. Lovecraft knew what scared you and wasn’t afraid to hit you full in the face with it.

And neither are the authors in this collection. Neil Gaiman, Thomas Ligotti, and Joe R. Lansdale are just a few of the authors in this anthology of crawling, creeping creatures that only consider humanity to be, at best, a light snack.


Bunnies and Kitties

Cate Holly


I’m serious. You shouldn’t spend all day cooped up in the dark reading scary stories. You have to pace yourself and the best way to do this is to step outside every few minutes and look at awesomely adorable pictures of kittens and bunnies frolicking and being super-cute.

Once you’ve recharged and read a few silly captions and laughed at nuzzling bundles of fur you can go back inside and subject yourself to some more….



Joe Simon and Jack Kirby


In the age before the Comics Code Authority, comics were a lurid place filled with rotting corpses and unsettling monsters. It was awesome.

Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, who had already made a name for themselves with superheroes and crime stories, teamed up to write some of the most sophisticated and harrowing tales of terror to ever grace a funny-book stand. This collection of short, sharp stories represent some of the best horror comic writing ever and should be on the shelves of every dusty, grime-laden crypt in the underworld.




Holiday Recommendations from Our Staff – Artists and Creators

Tim Walker: Story Teller 
By Tim Walker
This is for anyone who enjoys fairy tales, fashion, or photography. Wildly imaginative, this collection is both whimsical and thought-provoking. The first time I flipped through this book I was absolutely smitten!! A perfect gift! –Justus 



Rip the Page

By Karen Benke 
Rip the page & start writing. Tell a stroy from an unexpected point of view, build a weird cairn, build a fortune, shift your shape. Written for young people but also inspiring for teachers and other grown-ups. – Karen



Building Stories 

By Chris Ware 
This box of treasures—fourteen differently bound books and ephemera—is a masterpiece. Chris Ware, known for his meticulous illustration and ingenious style of narration, surpasses even himself here. The visual narrative is brilliant. He particularly shines in the pieces that evoke the old-timey style of the Sunday funny papers, utilizing the large format beautifully. The story revolves around an unnamed woman focusing on her life after art school, and midlife after the birth of her daughter. This is what a graphic novel should be, the perfect melding of the written word and pictures. It’s destined to become a classic. –Pamela


The Innocence of Objects 
By Orhan Pamuk

Along with his new novel Silent House (Knopf), this Fall brings another unusual and exquisite Orhan Pamuk creation. The Museum of Innocence in Istanbul gives physical form to Pamuk’s novel of the same name, arranging the story’s objects in ornate displays that correspond to each chapter. With color photographs on every page, The Innocence of Objects captures the atmosphere of the museum and explores the patient decades of its construction. Pamuk shows us that the best museums are not grand, expensive monuments. They are as small and modest as homes, displaying the rich beauty and depth of individual lives. –Casey O.

What Are You Looking At?
By Will Gompertz

The particular gift of this book is Gompertz’s ability to write specifically and insightfully about artworks in precise, accessible language. It moves along briskly (managing to be educational without leading us to snore-land) while still looking closely at specific works, giving detailed analysis of techniques and innovations. Gompertz has written an engaging introduction to thinking about and looking at modern art. Like taking your own private tour through a vast contemporary museum, guided by a vivacious expert. –John

By Alexander Kluge  and Gerhard Richter
Translated by Martin Chalmers
German filmmaker, novelist, and cultural critic Alexander Kluge collaborates with visual artist Gerhard Richter in December, a collection of 39 short texts, each accompanied by a photograph. Although the texts and photographs follow the days of the month in the Gregorian calendar, and may be thought of as traditional Kalendergeschichten, this is to miss a larger and more important point. The sequence forms a sustained meditation on human history in its many dimensions. Readers of Borges, Calvino, and Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams will find much to engage their attention. –Graham

Skulls: An Exploration of Alan Dudley’s Curious Collection
By Simon Winchster
Photography by Nick Mann
This is one of the coolest books I’ve seen this year! Slightly creepy? Maybe. Incredibly fascinating and informative? Absolutely!! Skulls presents an intimate look at Alan Dudley’s skull collection, a collection one judge described as an “academic zeal” turned “unlawful obsession.” Part biography, part scientific examination, Winchester explores both the collector and the collected while providing insight into humanity’s cultural and artistic interest in skulls. This is one of the few places you’ll have the opportunity to see this aspect of life (or death) in such crisp detail. This is passion, art, and science at their best! –Justus


Mars Attacks
By Topps Company
Death rays, flying saucers, brain eating alien menaces from outer space, these are the reason for the season. Gaze in wonder at all 55 of the original Mars Attacks trading cards, as well as bonus cards from the 1994 sequel, in this 50th anniversary collection of the Topps company’s greatest creation. So sit back, pour some eggnog, and marvel at the tremendous destructive powers of our future Martian overlords. – Rich

Mythology: The Complete Guide to Our Imagined Worlds
By Christopher Dell 
Myths are more than entertainment; they speak to a deeper truth we can’t help but feel when we read the stories. From polytheistic pantheons to singular images like honey and gold, this compendium offers a thorough overview of myths across cultures and time. In examining our relationships with mythology, the author identifies the patterns and themes found within these foundational stories. With text presented alongside 410 illustrations, 356 of which are in color, this compendium is a beautiful addition to any personal library and is time well spent for anyone interested in how we explain the world around us. –Justus


stick manStick Man’s Really Bad Day 
By Steve Mockus
We all take Stick Man for granted. He gets crushed by boulders, drowned, electrified, mangled by machinery, the list never ends, all in an effort to save us from danger. But do we ever think about what a day in his hazardous life is like? No.
Luckily, this book is here to fix that. Marvel at the daily activities of the man who puts his life on the line everyday to make sure we stay nice and dry and safe. – Rich

Habitually Chic: Creativity at Work 
By Heather Clawson

Habitually Chic is Heather Clawson’s wildly popular blog about the finer things in life. In Creativity at Work she has narrowed her focus to the studios, workshops, offices, and creative sanctuaries of top designers, artists, editors, architects, and other inspiring people. I find the book even better than her blog. Give a book of inspiration to the artist in your life! – Leah


Star Wars Origami
By Christopher Alexander

Who loves Star Wars? Who loves origami If you know anyone who loves either–or both–this amazing activity book will make a wonderful holiday gift! The projects are detailed and intricate and will provide hours of paper folding fun for your Jedi origami enthusiast. –David 



Inside the Painter’s Studio
By Joe Fig

Artist Joe Figg interviews 24 contemporary American painters about studio practices. An excellent gift for all artists as well as anyone interested in creative processes.


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: 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.

Booknotes from Our Staff

The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge (Delacorte)

The city of Lovecraft is a rational place, where science and reason are the law of the land, and religion and spirituality are the damned works of heretics. During the day all is well, but at night ghouls stalk the sewers while shapeless monsters writhe inside the stolen skin of unfortunate travelers. And that’s nothing compared to what goes on outside the city’s walls.

It is into this dark countryside that sixteen-year-old Aoife Grayson must venture after she receives a mysterious plea for help from her brother, who may be homicidally insane. Burdened with a haunted past and a blood disease that could drive her mad, Aoife may find that those few people who are trying to help her are more dangerous than those trying to kill her. –Rich


BOOKNOTES, the book review of THE ELLIOTT BAY BOOK COMPANY, is written entirely by bookstore staff. It represents a sampling of recently published and forthcoming books that we have enjoyed reading. We appreciate every opportunity to assist in finding books to meet your interests.

Holiday Recommendations from Our Staff


It’s been awhile since Charles Burns’ last comic. As it turns out it was well worth the wait. The story moves back and forth from a surreal creepy post-apocalyptic world to the less uncommon world of teenage angst. Mysterious allusions to Tin Tin also help blur the line between dram and reality. This is the first in a series and it’s sure to draw in fans of Burns and newcomers alike. –Pamela


Koko Be Good by Jen Wang
A fantastic debut graphic novel about three young souls about to embark upon their life journeys. With illustrations that seem to come alive from the pages, this is a great, light and fun read. –Jamaal


This slip-cased two-volume set features Lynd Ward’s stunning, Depression-era woodcut novels: wordless booklength stories told in bold, haunting black-and-white imagery. Each image is a visual tone poem in its own right, but in novel form they burst forth into morality plays, meditations, protests, and sagas. Edited and with an introduction by Art Spiegelman, who pays personal homage to the man considered to be the preeminent graphic novelist, these wordless novels showcase an unparalleled artist, craftsman, and storyteller. All the images reproduced are taken from prints pulled from the original woodblocks. This is a truly amazing collection. –Laurie


Four Color Fear edited by Greg Sadowski

Before the internet, before video games, even before good ol’ rock n roll the responsibility to rot the minds of America’s youth fell squarely on the shoulders of comic books. Though EC comics was the most notorious of the horror comic publishers in the 1950’s many smaller publications, collected here for the first time, also did their part to help corrupt society and end civilization as we knew it. –Rich

Holiday Recommendations from Our Staff

Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg

My artistic endeavors always felt more oops than Ah-ha! so I put away my crayons long ago. Beautiful Oops is the perfect message to my inner child; so now my missed stitches in my knitting are “pattern improvisation” and the fuzzy black-and-whites I have taken recently on my ancient 35mm camera are “my artistic interpretation!”

Children and adults release your artist within! Celebrate the Oops! –Holly


Star Wars: Millennium Falcon – A 3-D Owner’s Guide by Ryder Windham

Where does Han Solo sleep? When Chewbacca needs to wash his hair, where does he head to? Is there a bathroom? All of these thrilling questions and more are finally answered in this deck by deck tour of the most famous space ship in sci-fi history. –Rich


A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond and Peggy Fortnum

Paddington Bear has been charming readers since 1958 with his well-intentioned and impeccably mannered way of getting into whole heaps of trouble. In 2008 Michael Bond marked the 50th anniversary of the classic by releasing a brand new hardcover with illustrations by the original artist Peggy Fortnum. Containing all of the original stories, this is a fantastic introduction to the marmalade sandwich and cocoa loving bear. All that’s left to say is, “Pleas look after this bear. Thank you.” –Casey S.