Store Publications


Review of Books | Summer 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.


 

Red or Dead (Hardcover)

$30.00
ISBN-13: 9781612193687
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Melville House, 5/2014
The most interesting novel I’ve read in years isn’t just about soccer, though it is a portrayal of the legendary Liverpool Football Club manager Bill Shankly. It’s a portrait of an obsessive personality, a man so dedicated to his work that it consumed his attention. It is a patient novel, thick with repetition and the rhythms of incantation. The prose style matches perfectly the character it is fitted to, and it is the character of Bill Shankly that I love most of all. Red or Dead is an elegy for a man whose greatest concern was “to make the people happy.” I doubt we’ll see another character, or another novel, quite like this one again. --Jacob

$10.95
ISBN-13: 9780811222945
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 5/2014
New Directions bestows upon us the perfect introduction to the brilliantly fragmented and violently bizarre world of the Irish author Keith Ridgway. This small collection of stories is filled with tales of revenge, love, absence, devotion, and madness from the perspectives of people all on the verge of some type of personal collapse. Throughout all of this uncertainty and doubt, it is Ridgway’s tight prose (reminiscent of minimalist masters such as Beckett and Redonnet) that weaves together the loose narratives existing between these stories as well as the last few threads that remain available in these characters’ lives. --Davor

The Orenda: A novel (Hardcover)

$26.95
ISBN-13: 9780385350730
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf, 5/2014
In his newest novel, Joseph Boyden shapes a mosaic of culture, identity, and self in the mid-1600s as the aboriginal people and Europeans first come into contact. Through the tripartite narrative of the Wendat warrior Bird, the Jesuit missionary Christophe, and Bird’s adopted daughter, Snow Falls, Boyden skillfully negotiates a complicated and violent history. To read a book like The Orenda takes a relationship of trust between author and reader, and Boyden is able to take readers to the darkest, most hurtful places in our history, our societies, ourselves, carrying them safely to the other side. This story will change you. -Justus

$29.95
ISBN-13: 9781594203367
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press HC, The, 6/2014
One day's stream of mental and spiritual consciousness -- the entire unfiltered perverse-to-prayerful gamut that most every human psyche ranges over most every day -- serves as the frame to a masterpiece, and the fulcrum of THE salient censorship battle in the history of American letters. This thrilling narrative, simultaneously magisterial and avuncular, tells the story of a courageous group of world literati who wager their fortunes, homes, health and reputations to ensure the unhindered publication of Ulysses, and of the well-intentioned moral and legal guardians who oppose them. Satisfying literary history that revitalizes one's faith in books and bookselling. --Jesse

Wonderland (Hardcover)

$22.00
ISBN-13: 9780544074811
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Houghton Mifflin, 5/2014
Anna believes in second chances, or at least hopes like hell that they exist. Seven years after a legendary debut on the music scene and a slow, painful slide from her tenuous grasp on fame, she’s attempting a self-financed comeback. Haunted by her vagabond childhood, her ruined artist father, and her failed romances, Anna thinks she is finally ready to have her voice heard again. D’Erasmo captures her internal struggles through lyrically fractured flashbacks and narrative. This book broke my heart and had me longing for more of Anna’s musical soul. --Brandi

My Real Children (Hardcover)

$25.99
ISBN-13: 9780765332653
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books, 5/2014
As the nurses note, Patricia gets “very confused.” Her childhood memories are intact, but after Oxford things start to get jumbled. Had she been married before or not? Did she have four children or just three? All the memories seem real, but how can they be? Had she lived two lives? Have you ever wondered whether a choice you made in the past was the right one, or whether there exists another version of yourself that made a different choice? Walton deftly ponders this topic in her dazzling new novel, imagining a life with two paths and causing us all to wonder…what if? --Casey S.

Take This Man (Hardcover)

$26.00
ISBN-13: 9781439170878
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster, 6/2014
The art of storytelling is perhaps the only real gift Brando Skyhorse received from his mother. In Take This Man, Skyhorse skillfully weaves a heartbreaking tale of a gritty upbringing by a verbally abusive mother. Ashamed of her own Mexican heritage and desperately lonely, Skyhorse’s mother invents a life of lies and men, marriages and sex work. The twisted tales leave Skyhorse questioning his reality and searching for his father and ultimately for himself. He brings his award-winning writing style to bear the raw telling of his own stranger-than-fiction childhood. --Seth

$26.00
ISBN-13: 9780374117313
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 6/2014
This astounding memoir reads like an epic film—and yet, no movie could translate the tactile richness of Venegas’s sentences, or the layered resonances of her story’s structure. A sober tribute to a man of careening energies, Bulletproof Vest holds horror in one hand and pride in the other as it deftly parses the complexities of familial relations. And what a family! Jose Venegas was a vivid, volatile presence who lived outside the law but was still bound to his own inscrutable code of vengeance and love. Like life, this beautiful reckoning is not for the faint of spirit. –John

$28.00
ISBN-13: 9780805098488
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Times Books, 5/2014
I’ll never forget watching Argentina play Greece in the opening round of World Cup ’94. The beneficent fervor of the fans was unlike anything I’d experienced. (Also, inexplicably, the B-52’s sang “Love Shack” at midfield before kick-off.) I relived this surreal scene while reading George Vecsey’s joyful Eight World Cups. As the long-standing soccer correspondent for The New York Times, Vecsey records the unique essence of the past eight incarnations of this monthlong, global tournament. Well written and well informed, Vecsey’s book does not bog down in explication, and it is pleasantly peppered with personal anecdotes of time spent in each host country. A brisk, colorful (and timely) celebration of the largest sporting event in the world! --John

$24.95
ISBN-13: 9780385537056
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday, 5/2014
“I have a good poker face because I am half dead inside.” And so begins a fascinating account of the modern world of tournament poker. Back in 2011, Grantland Quarterly sprung for the author’s $10,000 entry to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. With his prodigious writing skills turned toward nonfiction, Whitehead takes us from his home games in Brooklyn, to seedy afternoon tournaments in Atlantic City, and finally to the craziness that is the Vegas Texas Hold ’Em scene. Dive into the Republic of Anhedonia, but keep your eye on the Methy Mike on your left. –Jamie

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9781571313140
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Milkweed Editions, 4/2014
At twenty-five, in search of a dream wild and remote, Rafael de Grenade finds her way to work as a ranch hand at Stilwater Station, an enormous and isolated cattle ranching operation in the Australian Outback. Hoping to find herself in the borderless and dangerous land, she ultimately discovers she can’t fully belong to this rugged world. This memoir gives an intimate account of a world where civility neither blunts nor erases the effects of survival and exposure. There is no sweetness or mercy in the wild, only that which you make yourself. --Justus

The Last Illusion (Hardcover)

$26.00
ISBN-13: 9781620403044
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury USA, 6/2014
What happens to a child when raised as a bird? Based on an Iranian myth, The Last Illusion is about a boy named Zal, who is rescued from his crazed mother after years of being caged and forced to eat insects. After a period of rehabilitation Zal tries to live out his life, looking for answers and fulfillment. The Last Illusion is captivating for its bizarre plot involving magic, 9/11, and the confused heart of a bird-child, but its transformative effect comes from diving deep into the idea of human conditioning, which may be the greatest illusion of all. --Keith

$27.99
ISBN-13: 9780062267405
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco Press, 5/2014
This bookstore was in its infancy when an unusual first novel by a fellow who’d been known in these parts as a newspaper art critic—and then a newspaper headline writer -- took off, finding readers largely by word of mouth. Its sales would help float the little boat this store was then. The story of Another Roadside Attraction is but one of many of wonder spun by the most colorful metaphor maker and asserter of allegories this corner of the continent has seen. Tom Robbins takes readers from 1930s small-town North Carolina to military school in Virginia, to all kinds of memorable places and people encountered in over eighty years of a life even more richly imagined and lived than written—which makes it something special beyond mere words, indeed. It’s the sweetest, tastiest piece of autobiographical writing ever to come from these parts, out of an oven or otherwise. Laughter, yes, and a reflective thoughtfulness that will endear this enduring writer evermore. Long live! --Rick S.

$26.95
ISBN-13: 9781594205712
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press HC, The, 6/2014
Celeste Ng’s debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, begins with the disappearance of Lydia, the favored middle child of a family so disconnected that every person seems to be living in isolation from the others. The racism that this interracial family deals with seems to be the source, but a shifting understanding of differences (and community) is on the horizon. Insightful and beautifully written, this novel will raise many questions and invite rereading, discussion, and contemplation. How much has the landscape of race and the interracial changed? The answer is far from simple. --Karen

$26.95
ISBN-13: 9781781682685
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Verso, 5/2014
Informed in a letter that his dead father, a member of the Indian police during colonial times, participated in improper treatment of civilians under his control, Bart Moore-Gilbert is both devastated and determined to find out the whole story. His search takes him across much of India, back into past records and archives, and into the present-day state of affairs. India as it is becomes more vivid and clear to author and reader for troubled aspects of its colonized past and its complicated, independent present. --Rick S.

$28.95
ISBN-13: 9780307377210
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon, 3/2014
In a testament to journalism, adventure and ingenuity, Robert H. Patton writes an evocative and thrilling account of America’s first war correspondents. From the 1850s to the cusp of World War I, The New York Herald, Tribune and Times sent men—often eager and young and without promise of safeguard—abroad to the most tumultuous regions, hoping to the break the story first. With suspense and eye for detail, Patton illuminates the competitive drama within American journalism and narrates the panorama of a culturally divided Europe on the eve of world wars. A must-read for fans of history and reporting. --Amanda

$19.99
ISBN-13: 9781596436640
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: First Second, 8/2014
In How the World Was we are taken back to a simpler time in Southern California, before there was a second world war, social security, or city smog. French cartoonist Emmanuel Guibert tells the story of his dear American friend Alan in this “Graphic-Remembrance” about childhood. Fall away from the crowded superhighways and technological saturation of the present into a near past of antiquated living. How the World Was speaks to a deep longing for an early twentieth-century lifestyle, and it serves as an important visual and written document of a time that is slowly fading from our nation’s memory. --Keith

The Confabulist (Hardcover)

$27.95
ISBN-13: 9781594631962
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Hardcover, 5/2014
The man who killed Houdini has a story to tell if he can only keep his memory and the magic straight. Martin Strauss, now hazy with dementia, reconstructs the gritty WWI aftermath that saw people gravitate toward the escapist comfort of spiritualists and magicians. But the line between show and scam muddles, and the younger Strauss stumbles into the mistresses and political upheaval that, unlike cuffs and locks, Houdini cannot escape. Rasputin lurks in the shadows. Arthur Conan Doyle appears. While both Houdini and Strauss try keeping their betrayals hidden from ones they love, ultimately memory may be the greatest illusion. --Amanda

$14.95
ISBN-13: 9781770893511
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: House of Anansi Press, 6/2014
Dr. Sarah Boston is both a surgical veterinary oncologist and a cancer survivor. Her thoroughly original memoir about navigating the Canadian and U.S. health care systems while caring for animals in her veterinary practice leaves her (and also readers) wondering why in many cases her nonhuman patients receive more compassionate, thorough, and immediate care than she and her fellow humans do. A candid, empathetic, and very funny writer, she shares many moving stories of pets and their families, encouraging pet owners to consider treatments that can prolong the time pets and their families have together. --Karen

The Sea Inside (Hardcover)

$27.99
ISBN-13: 9781612193595
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Melville House, 4/2014
Like the ocean itself, Philip Hoare’s The Sea Inside is at once wonderfully strange and soothingly familiar. His prose, like his travels, ranges far and wide, touching on historical and scientific topics specifically related to each shore he visits, as well as his own experiences. On the Isle of Wight, he re-creates the daily life of Alfred, Lord Tennyson; later, he stunningly recounts the experience of swimming with more than two hundred dolphins off the coast of New Zealand. Part memoir, part cultural dissection, The Sea Inside is completely captivating. -Hilary

$24.95
ISBN-13: 9780385352093
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf, 5/2014
Peter Heller deftly avoids the second-book slump with The Painter, which follows his much-lauded debut novel, The Dog Stars. Though the two stories seem to have little in common, Heller’s excellent use of language and careful building of suspense will have readers harking back to their favorite aspects of his first book. Moreover, Heller once again demonstrates that he is not afraid to lay bare his characters’ griefs and healing processes, so that by the end of the book readers will feel as though they, too, have been scrubbed raw and then soothed by his words. An excellent read. –Hilary

My Salinger Year (Hardcover)

$25.95
ISBN-13: 9780307958006
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf, 6/2014
In 1996 New York, a young Ms. Rakoff lands a job at the literary agency that represents the famously reclusive author J. D. Salinger. Witty, poised, buoyed by enthusiasm and wry humor, she navigates her way through this technologically outdated workplace, answering earnest Salinger fan letters on a Selectric typewriter. Led by an eccentric, enigmatic boss, she learns the vagaries of the publishing world (where she hopes eventually to have her own work accepted). This wonderful, spellbinding memoir is rich with the revelations and disillusionments of love, low-rent housing, creativity, and self-discovery in the city of literary dreams. --Erica

$24.00
ISBN-13: 9780374280475
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 5/2014
In a world filled with hyperconnectivity thanks to social media and smart phones, we should never really feel alone. We do, though. That feeling of isolation from others and ourselves is captured in these short stories. Galchen’s tales, filled with lost protagonists being battered about by the strange fates of the modern world, manage to convey the collective loss of self that all of our scientific and social innovations have heaped upon our society. If there isn’t an email, tweet, or status update chronicling our thoughts, feelings, and actions, then how do we actually know what we thought or did? --Brandi

$22.95
ISBN-13: 9780871402837
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 7/2014
Much like the giant squid itself, Frank’s essay has many arms -- or, in this case, tentacles. Frank’s book is idiosyncratic, digressive, autobiographic, yet as single-minded as Ahab chasing Moby Dick. Its aquatic subject is both a mythic and very real cephalopod surrounded by wonder and mystery. This book will wrap its tentacles around you and suck you in and devour you. It is a valentine to the cephalopod of cephalopods. --Greg

$26.95
ISBN-13: 9780670025879
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking Adult, 5/2014
A primal love story told with humor and grace in the voice of Jack McNulty. Jack falls for the beautiful, enigmatic, and ebullient Mai Kirwan, who later becomes his wife. Jack characterizes the relationship with his wife as being defined by “murderous” drink. The story alternates between the past and the present as Jack pieces together his relationship both to Mai and to Ireland, which he spends many years away from in Africa. Barry has a rare archaeologist-like gift of uncovering and revealing his characters. A writer of unmatched beauty. --Greg

$26.00
ISBN-13: 9780547712123
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Houghton Mifflin, 5/2014
Two years after Sam Lattimore’s wife, Elizabeth, was shot and killed by the bellman in their residential hotel, Sam is still in the full embrace of his grief. Norman reveals the particulars of the murder in pieces throughout the novel. Sam is haunted, literally, and fears losing touch with the powerful love he has for his late wife. Sam sells his story to a filmmaker, who infiltrates Sam’s life in search of authenticity. Norman creates a tension between the life that was lived and the voyeuristic intrusion of the filmmaker. --Greg

Em and the Big Hoom (Paperback)

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9780143124764
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books, 6/2014
In a one-bedroom flat in Bombay lives a family of four—mother, father, son, and daughter. Part cultural history, part family history, part tragedy, part comedy, Em and the Big Hoom vividly brings to life a family managing the best it can with a manic depressive mother. Em is the center of their world. She is enchanting, crazy, and embarrassing, and she loves them. The Big Hoom tries to hold the family together despite trips to the hospital and suicide attempts. The book is filled with tenderness and humor, and leaves you thankful for your own crazy family.--Alicia

Absolutely Almost (Hardcover)

$16.99
ISBN-13: 9780399164057
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Philomel, 6/2014
All his life Albie has been told he is “almost” ready. “Almost” good enough. He’s never been the tallest kid or the smartest. Albie has a long list of things he isn’t very good at. But starting a new school and a new grade gives him a chance to be better than “almost.” He gets a new babysitter named Calista who helps him realize all of the things he is good at, and how to take pride in himself. Albie is smart and charming and reminds readers of any age that “fitting in” isn’t always the most important thing. --Alicia

The Glass Sentence (Hardcover)

$17.99
ISBN-13: 9780670785025
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking Juvenile, 6/2014
In the hundred years since the Great Disruption, when the continents were thrown into different time periods, cartologers have learned much about the world. Thirteen-year-old Sophia Tims’s parents, renowned cartologers, went missing when she was just a child, and Sophia has been raised by her uncle Shadrack. As Shadrack begins to teach Sophia the art of map reading, he is kidnapped. Can Sophia use her training to find both her uncle and her parents? This wholly original book will mesmerize readers with its fantastic, detailed world and beguiling characters, both good and evil. --Holly

Rules of Summer (Hardcover)

$18.99
ISBN-13: 9780545639125
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Arthur A. Levine Books, 4/2014
Rule #1: “Never leave a red sock on the clothesline,” or else an oversized, seething, red rabbit will find you! Rules of Summer reads as a list of guidelines paired with massive oil paintings by the amazing Shaun Tan. Are these rules a reminder to the story’s character, or a warning to fellow summer explorers? Whatever meaning you find, you’re sure to be shocked by the dichotomy of picture and word as your brain fumbles to piece together what is before your eyes. Bold as it is beautiful, Tan’s interpretive style sets all onlookers free to relive childhood summers. --Keith

The One Safe Place (Hardcover)

$15.95
ISBN-13: 9781616203290
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 4/2014
The protagonist of this tale, Devin, is an Oliver Twist plucked out of Victorian England and set down in a dystopian future where global warming has finally become a reality of constant heat and dehydrated lands. When his grandfather passes away, their small Shangri La of a farm, sheltered in a hidden valley, becomes too much to handle and he sets off to find help. Devin’s searches lead him to a creepily quaint orphanage that turns out to be a terrifying prison for the children sheltered there, where his unique gift of synesthesia might just make him a hero for his fellow youths. --Brandi

We Were Liars (Hardcover)

$17.99
ISBN-13: 9780385741262
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Delacorte Press, 5/2014
The Sinclair family is perfect. They’re rich, they’re beautiful, and they spend summers on their own private island. Cadence is the eldest grandchild, the heiress to the Sinclair ideal. But in the summer of Cadence’s fifteenth year, a mysterious accident leaves Cadence with debilitating migraines and no memory of what transpired. When she returns to the island two year later, Cadence is determined to find out the truth, no matter what it might reveal about her seemingly perfect family. With engaging prose and a subtle hand, E. Lockhart has crafted a riveting and intense mystery that proves that every family has their secrets. --Casey S.

$17.00
ISBN-13: 9780316230537
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 7/2014
Uh-oh and oh-no! Make a mistake and it’s okay! Children’s book author Todd Parr brings a simple lesson to life in this vibrantly illustrated and thoughtfully written book. Both children and adults can learn the value of blunders, slip-ups, and bloopers from these cheerful drawings. As the author says, “That’s how we learn.” And you won’t be making a mistake by adding this charming book to your child’s library! --Seth