Store Publications


Review of Books | Fall 2014

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.


 

$39.95
ISBN-13: 9780393021240
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company, 9/2014
Tennessee Williams was a great experimental playwright who achieved tremendous commercial success on Broadway. Many of the characters he created are iconic: Amanda, Laura, Blanche, Stanley, Maggie, Big Daddy, and Brick. John Lahr deftly examines Williams’s life in relationship to his plays, and one comes away with a greater appreciation of Williams’s genius. Williams is the great American playwright, and arguably the great American writer—an honor traditionally reserved for novelists, but I would make a case for him. -Greg

$22.95
ISBN-13: 9781612194158
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Melville House, 8/2014
While wistfully celebrating the beauty and fluid grace of the game, knowledgeable lifelong fan Almond compellingly details the crises facing football: that it destroys players, corrupts communities and educational institutions, and represents a morally dubious use of resources. The evidence is preponderant and growing. The book also asks us implicitly, as fans, to consider our addiction to the kind of spectacle that differs only by degree from that used to placate the Roman mob of two thousand years ago, and whether we frankly prefer to accept destruction and suffering for the sake of our own amusement. A book to be read NOW: fall 2014. -Jesse

$24.95
ISBN-13: 9780393240238
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company, 9/2014
When the average citizen pictures a mortician, the image that comes to mind is not a red-lipsticked young woman decked out in brightly colored dresses. Caitlin Doughty is the exception to the rule. While in her early twenties, Doughty worked at a crematorium in San Francisco for a few years, spending her days with the dead and getting her pretty dresses covered in a fine ash made up of, well, people. In this hilarious and eye-opening memoir, Doughty describes life behind the scenes of America’s death business. I promise, you won’t think about funerals the same way after reading this wonderful book. -Hilary

$28.95
ISBN-13: 9780385535373
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday, 8/2014
This book should come with a barrel of buttered popcorn and a row of plush chairs—it is that reminiscent of an epic summer blockbuster. In the Kingdom of Ice re-creates the heroic and tragic history of the USS Jeannette’s quest to sail to the North Pole late in the nineteenth century. A nonstop nonfiction adventure story, complete with a cast of eccentric and charismatic characters (such as James Gordon Bennett—proprietor of the New York Herald, who was known to race his horse-drawn carriage around the moonlit streets of Manhattan in the nude), this is an expertly charted, thrilling ride. -John

Worn Stories (Hardcover)

$24.95
ISBN-13: 9781616892760
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Princeton Architectural Press, 9/2014
Have you ever wondered at the secret life of clothes at Goodwill or Value Village? What is the story behind that blue and black dinner jacket or the velvet and tulle wedding dress? Closets everywhere hold items of attire we love (or hate) that hold very special meaning. Worn Stories is a collection of narratives about those venerable and ungodly pieces of clothing told by artists, writers, musicians, and others including Maira Kalman, John Hodgman, and Piper Kerman. Celebrate the life story of our garments by looking through someone else’s closet. -Holly

$24.00
ISBN-13: 9781555976897
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Graywolf Press, 9/2014
On Immunity offers a perspective on vaccination and the culture of fear and reluctance surrounding it. But even more so, it is a work of art in that it is captivating, revealing, and transformative. Biss is a masterful essayist able to infuse imagination and creativity with the scope and thinking of a scholar. She uses metaphors from literature and popular culture, enlightens us about the secret histories of disease and public health, teaches us about biological processes, and all the while keeps her narrative personal and succinct. This is a remarkable work, told with immense heart. It should not go unread. -Keith

$28.95
ISBN-13: 9780670026067
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking Adult, 10/2014
Reading Lolita in Tehran is a moving look at the liberating power of literature for those under the thumb of a repressive regime. In this brilliant follow-up, Nafisi, now a U.S. citizen, tells of a conversation with a young Iranian man in Seattle who insists that Americans take the importance of literature for granted. With this in mind, Nafisi turns her focus to three classic novels, Huckleberry Finn, Babbitt, and The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, to illustrate the lasting influence of the American literary canon. A passionate testament to fiction’s capacity to open our hearts and minds, wherever it is we dwell. -Laurie

Into the Go-Slow (Paperback)

$16.95
ISBN-13: 9781558618640
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Feminist Press, 9/2014
Angie, the youngest of three daughters in an African American family, tries to come to terms with the mysterious death of her eldest sister, Ella, in Bridget Davis’ novel, Into the Go-Slow. Filled with historical details about the Black Power movement in the 1970s and of turbulent Lagos in the 1980s, this novel examines the awakening of two very different sisters. Though Ella had always been the trailblazer, Angie eventually finds the courage to travel far outside her comfort zone to investigate the mystery of her sister’s life and to find love. -Karen

$28.00
ISBN-13: 9780812994520
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Spiegel & Grau, 10/2014
This utterly compelling book makes an alarming and eloquent case against this country’s drive to try, imprison, and execute a disproportionate number of people of certain races and classes. Bryan Stevenson is a lawyer like few others, tirelessly working and arguing cases wherever he must (five times before the Supreme Court). He has written a book about a man improperly convicted and sentenced to death—giving readers a sense of Walter McMillian’s humanity, which news accounts don’t—and he does so as a true wake-up call for us all. -Rick S.

$27.00
ISBN-13: 9780374254841
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 8/2014
Journalist and cultural critic Peter Schneider’s fascinating new book on Berlin examines the ways in which this iconic city continues to remake itself post World War II, after reunification, and as the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall approaches. Berlin’s culture of remembrance of the victims of the Nazis and the Stasi, its student movements and protests, vibrant art scene and new multicultural realities are all part of the story, as is the gentrification of formerly shabby Eastern districts like the Prenzlauer Berg, once the home of artists and contrarians. -Karen

$27.95
ISBN-13: 9780807000403
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Beacon Press, 9/2014
The United States has long had a national narrative of its founding, a story told by European settlers to other settlers that helped displace and disempower the indigenous peoples of this land. In An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz dismantles the lens through which the history of this country has been told. The result is an engrossing and intense history of settler colonialism and genocide. Dunbar-Ortiz gives a voice to indigenous peoples who have been systematically and consistently silenced for too long. This book shakes my world in the best way possible, and the United States has needed this history for a long time. -Justus

I Am China (Hardcover)

$26.95
ISBN-13: 9780385538718
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Nan A. Talese, 9/2014
One of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists in 2013, Xiaolu Guo tells the story of star-crossed lovers who remain close for twenty years despite changes of an epic nature in China. One is a now-exiled punk musician, the other a young woman who is finding her way, even as her beloved seems intent on losing his. A third party to the story is a young English woman who is translating the writings each leaves or sends the other. The translation and publishing aspects of this heartbreaking novel lend it even more dimension and resonance. -Rick S.

$24.00
ISBN-13: 9781566893688
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press, 9/2014
A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing is a remarkable story, one that lingers on long after the book has been read. On a technical level, the writing and voice are utterly unique. McBride writes with an immediacy that jolts readers into the world and into the mind of the characters. While the narrator, a young woman whose life is full of trauma, negotiates her difficult and often insensate experiences, readers find themselves intimately entangled with her thoughts, revelations, and vulnerability. And yet there is brightness in this story, a strength and joy found in even the darkest moments. -Justus

$24.95
ISBN-13: 9780385353304
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf, 9/2014
It is the “end of the world as we know it” when a flu pandemic wipes out most of the population. Our story begins in Toronto at a performance of a production of King Lear in which a famous film actor dies on stage—within hours of his death, the world is transformed. Mandel moves into the future fifteen years to a troupe of actors and musicians called the Traveling Symphony who wander the abandoned landscape performing in small enclaves of the upper Midwest. It is a harrowingly beautiful tale of what civilization was, what remains, and what might be. -Greg

$25.00
ISBN-13: 9781593765422
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Soft Skull Press, 9/2014
Gutsy, raucous, gritty. Kim Addonizio’s stories are like sandpaper, but in the best way. Her characters stumble through small towns drenched in bad luck, places where innocence is long gone and escape is all that remains worth fighting for. Here struggle the strange but recognizable: ex-wives, neglected children, the Seven Dwarves in a trailer home awaiting female redemption, a hag seducing a prince with pizza. When the surreal enters a story, it is only to bring the rough-and-tumble world into a brighter, harsher light. This collection will not comfort, but it will provoke with fierce relentlessness. -Amanda

Broken Monsters (Hardcover)

$26.00
ISBN-13: 9780316216821
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mulholland Books, 9/2014
A deranged serial killer is stalking the crumbling streets of Detroit, turning his victims into grotesque works of art, and that isn’t even the most terrifying thing going on in Lauren Beukes’s newest thriller. Irresponsible media, trickle-
nowhere economics, and—most horrifying of all—teenagers being teenagers are what turns this creepy, possibly supernatural crime story into a troubling, and compelling, snapshot of our world at this moment in time. -Rich

$20.00
ISBN-13: 9781937894306
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atavist Books, 8/2014
A God in Every Stone is a sweeping epic that transports you from Darius’s Persia to pre–Great War Turkey and yet again to British-controlled India. The lush settings and the poignant historical context are beyond absorbing. At its core, this novel is a book about loyalties: loyalty to friends versus loyalty to country and loyalty to king versus loyalty to blood. As the characters survive the uncontainable upheaval of a world war, they continue their search for freedom, each other, and a mythical golden circlet lost to the ages. Shamsie has written the perfect soul-stirring escape novel that has easily earned its place among my favorite novels. -Brandi

Wittgenstein Jr (Hardcover)

$23.95
ISBN-13: 9781612193762
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Melville House, 9/2014
Peters and his fellow students dub their new lecturer “Wittgenstein.” Many of the young man’s remarks echo those of the philosopher, whose work on logic and language shaped the development of twentieth-century thought. The success of Iyer’s novel depends on one’s awareness of such intentional echoes, just as it depends on one’s awareness of yet another kind of intentional echo on the author’s part. Because the narrator does not comment on either his lecturer’s remarks or his classmates’ responses, as the novel progresses it becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate the students’ alcohol-fueled jokes from their teacher’s solemn insights. The result is an altogether disquieting representation of self-absorbed youth in contemporary Britain. -Graham

Wolf in White Van (Hardcover)

$24.00
ISBN-13: 9780374292089
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9/2014
Sean Phillips has always lived inside his imagination, creating tales to not only entertain himself, but also to explain away the anxieties of adolescence. After a disfiguring incident in his seventeenth year leaves him near death and permanently scarred, Sean conceives Trace Italian, a play-by-mail role-playing game that guides players through an elaborate apocalypse. Trace Italian gives Sean purpose where before there was darkness and uncertainty and, for better or worse, connects him to a world outside himself. Darnielle’s debut is much like the songs he pens for the Mountain Goats: beautiful, sometimes unsettling and intense, but ultimately transcendent. -Casey S.

$25.95
ISBN-13: 9780385539128
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Nan A. Talese, 9/2014
Fans of Margaret Atwood will find within this new collection of stories the expert craftsmanship, evocative characters, and wonderfully creative storylines that make Atwood’s writing a favorite. The overarching theme of the collection is reflection, with most of Atwood’s characters entering into the last stages of their lives and looking back on the former loves and bygone decades that have shaped their present. A sense of clarity, peace, and acceptance moves quietly throughout all of the pieces, leading the reader to reflect on his or her own actions. Once again, Atwood has rendered a stunning and affecting work that readers will not want to miss. -Hilary

Nora Webster (Hardcover)

$27.00
ISBN-13: 9781439138335
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner Book Company, 10/2014
Nora Webster lives in a small Irish village. Just forty years old, she has lost her husband and, with her children, is navigating through the grief and fear of life unexpectedly, profoundly changed. Tóibín’s novel is an elegant, quietly moving character study of a woman who faces loss, returns to work, tends to her vulnerable younger sons, and is buffeted by the awkward interactions of village life. Her fierce, singular personality, in this distinctively Irish setting, is wonderfully vivid and riveting, and the hard-won solace she finds, through a rediscovery of music, is a gorgeously described reawakening. -Erica D.

10:04: A Novel (Hardcover)

$25.00
ISBN-13: 9780865478107
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Faber & Faber, 9/2014
How do we imagine the future? 10:04, the breathtaking new novel from Ben Lerner, is a moving, deeply thoughtful examination of possibility. The narrator finds sudden literary success, only to learn he suffers from a potentially fatal heart condition; he struggles with anxiety over his mortality while facing the prospect of fatherhood in a New York City besieged by climate change and growing political unrest. It is the smartest, most compelling novel of the year. And the pleasures of Lerner’s writing are only amplified by rereading. If you read 10:04 once, you will want to read it again, and you’ll want to read Lerner’s previous work, too, and you will definitely want to watch Back to the Future. (And you should). -Jacob

The Dog (Hardcover)

$25.95
ISBN-13: 9780307378231
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon, 9/2014
The Dog is the most unabashedly modern novel I have ever read, in setting (Dubai: a city of impossible constructions, a place of infinite possibilities and innovation) and in the actions of the main character (who is addicted to information, Internet surfing, and the endless torture of digital footprints). In the future, when people wonder what it felt like to be human in the early part of the twenty-first century, The Dog will be an exemplary piece of fiction to give them uncensored insights into how our world was changing, and how we coped and struggled at its mercy. -Keith

$27.95
ISBN-13: 9781594205194
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press HC, The, 7/2014
Nelle Harper Lee is one of the most beloved and most mysterious American authors. She never published another book after her debut novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, became an overnight sensation. She detested the press and what she perceived as its willingness to print speculations and gossip as fact. Nelle, as her friends and family call her, also befriended Marja Mills, a former Chicago Tribune writer, against all odds. She and her older sister, Alice, opened up their home, their hearts, and their lives to Mills and allowed her the privileged access necessary to pen this breathtaking narrative biography. -Brandi

$25.00
ISBN-13: 9781616954550
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Soho Press, 10/2014
Complex and expertly crafted characters fill the pages of this disturbing and absolutely gripping tale of love, obsession, and harbored demons. Last Winter We Parted unveils a dark, imaginative world made real by a deeply flawed protagonist whose search for truth brings him dangerously close to his most sinister self. The shifting narrative perspective strengthens the grip this story has on its readers. Start reading and you’ll quickly understand why Fuminori Nakamura is an award-winning author! -Seth

$16.95
ISBN-13: 9781570619762
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sasquatch Books, 8/2014
In 2009 Turner wrote Notes from a 12 Man, a history of the ups and downs of the Seattle Seahawks. Little did Turner know (or any Seahawks fan, but we hoped!) that a mere five years later he would have the honor of publishing a book about the greatest season in franchise history. Using the journal he kept during the season, Turner chronicles every game: his thoughts before, during, and after every win—and after a few losses. With humor, and an abiding love for the team, Turner captures the sheer joy of the Seahawks Super Season. A must-read for those who bleed Action Green! -Casey S.

$24.00
ISBN-13: 9781571313461
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Milkweed Editions, 10/2014
It may or may not exist, the cave in China’s Tiantai Mountains where ancient poet Cold Mountain wrote and then vanished. Twelve hundred years later his life is all but myth or forgotten, but his poetry—uncharacteristically colloquial and eccentric—found its way in the 1970s to James Lenfestey, an adman and journalist. Lenfestey attributed his improved health to the mysterious poet, and in 2006 embarked on a journey to Asia to find the cave of his muse and lifeline. The travelogue, interspersed with Cold Mountain’s poems and Lenfestey’s own, describes the cities and monasteries Lenfestey visits as he seeks not just a cave but what it represents: solitude, gratitude, enlightenment. -Amanda

$29.95
ISBN-13: 9780871404855
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 10/2014
Goodman’s book is an endlessly fascinating cultural history of the Victorian era. She covers all aspects of Victorian life: sleeping arrangements, grooming, “the privy,” meals, schooling, work, sex, and the list goes on. Goodman does this with good humor and with an acute enthusiast’s eye for detail. This book is a window into the sociological underpinnings of the Victorian age, written in an utterly charming fashion. A book to be savored. -Greg

Jackaby (Hardcover)

$16.95
ISBN-13: 9781616203535
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 9/2014
Abigail Rook “borrows” her tuition money and runs off to join an archaeological dig in Europe. The excavation is a complete failure, and instead of humbly heading home, she sets off for America, where, desperately seeking employment and housing, she comes into the employ of R. F. Jackaby. Jackaby is a detective and a seer who sees beyond our realm into the supernatural. Despite Abigail’s initial skepticism, she quickly becomes embroiled in his current case investigating a series of gruesome murders. Jackaby is a lovely blend of mystery, fantasy, and historical fiction. A must-read for all ages. -Brandi

$17.99
ISBN-13: 9781481418232
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9/2014
Rethinking Normal isn’t just a story about transitioning from one gender to another. It’s a profound story about transitioning from a young, suicidal boy to a triumphant, strong young woman. Katie Rain Hill brings a refreshing young voice to this timely topic, sharing with great honesty and advocating for others in the process. We can all learn from Hill’s willingness to confront “normal” and find one’s true self. -Seth

$17.99
ISBN-13: 9781596438668
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: First Second, 9/2014
Julia decides to open her doors to all lost creatures needing a home, and before long, cats and trolls and goblins and all kinds of creatures are finding her doorstep. But each one needs toast or tea or towels, and none of them are very tidy (and one of them got ahold of the record player and will not turn it down)! Julia becomes very irritated with the creatures and realizes there is only one thing to do! From the stellar creator of Zita the Spacegirl, this is a fanciful story about friendship and chores, to be read aloud. -Holly

Half a World Away (Hardcover)

$16.99
ISBN-13: 9781442412750
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 9/2014
Jaden doesn’t feel connected to anyone: his biological mother in Romania, his American parents, or the baby his parents are about to adopt in Kazakhstan. Things appear to get worse when Jaden senses that his family wants to replace him with the new child, a baby who won’t be fraught with as many problems. Yet, on their journey to find this new baby, Jaden begins to discover new things about himself and how he connects to the world and maybe, just maybe, what it means to love someone. Kadohata is able to pull you into Jaden’s world, without sugarcoating the issues. -Tracy

Six Feet Over It (Hardcover)

$17.99
ISBN-13: 9780449818718
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers, 8/2014
For the past few years Leigh has helped support her family, and as long as she works at the graveyard, her younger sister Kia can keep her normal life. Leigh’s decision, however, is not as simple as it seems on the surface. Not only did her dad uproot the family after he bought the cemetery, but Leigh’s best friend died unexpectedly over the summer, and Dario, the new worker (and Leigh’s crush), is employed illegally. This book is a coming-of-age story that deals with greater issues of loss, opportunity, immigration, and what it means to find yourself buried beneath trauma. -Justus

Brown Girl Dreaming (Hardcover)

$16.99
ISBN-13: 9780399252518
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Nancy Paulsen Books, 8/2014
Award-winning children’s book author Jacqueline Woodson’s new memoir in poetry creates a loving portrait of growing up in the 1960s and ’70s in African American communities in Greenville, North Carolina, and in Brooklyn, New York. One of four children, Woodson grew up listening to the books her older sister read to her and began telling and then writing stories of her own. Shaped by the Civil Rights and Women’s Movements and by the contrast between Southern and Northern, Jehovah’s Witness, and more secular ways of living, she writes movingly about what it’s like to experience injustice and to see change on the horizon. -Karen