Spring Booknotes 2016

 

BOOKNOTES, the literary 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're excited to share with you.

 

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Tuesday Nights in 1980 Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781501121043
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery/Scout Press - April 5th, 2016

A synesthetic art critic rises to prominence by capturing paintings’ je-ne-sais-quoi in terms of sound, aura, and taste. A young painter escapes war in his native Argentina to bring his unusual portraits to New York. A wide-eyed farm girl leaves home for the gritty promise of urban life, destined to become a muse. The web between these characters slowly tangles as 1980 progresses in all its dark glamour. Molly Prentiss captures raw ambition, startled joy, and aching tragedy equally well, producing a thought-provoking, originally textured novel that transports and awes. Tuesday Nights in 1980 is lovely—and unlovely—enough to be a painting. I couldn't tear my eyes away. -Richael


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While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man's Descent Into Madness Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780670015719
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking - February 2nd, 2016

In the summer of 2009, newly engaged Teresa Butz and Jennifer Hopper fell victim to a violent crime, leaving one of them scarred and the other dead. Their assailant was twenty-three-year-old Isaiah Kalebu, a man with a history of mental illness and escalating unpredictable, violent behavior. Framed against the decline of the Duwamish River, Sanders follows up on his original Pulitzer Prize winning news coverage and shows the preventable nature of the crime and its roots in the nation's failing mental health system. Gripping, beautiful, and tragic, While the City Slept will continue to inhabit your thoughts long after setting it down. -Alex


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Are We There Yet?: A Story Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316199995
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - April 12th, 2016

Get ready for a wild ride! This topsy-turvy adventure from the acclaimed and wildly talented author and illustrator of 2014's The Adventures of Beekle explores the power of imagination and stretches the boundaries of space-time. Much like its overarching theme, Are We There Yet? is a reading experience that's much less about the destination than the journey itself. Complete with dinosaurs, pirates, jousting, ancient Egypt, and a pre-Blade Runner neon future, it is a journey worth appreciating. As should be expected from Santat, the art here truly stands out, both beautiful and wondrous, a soft world of waking dreams. -Sam


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A Life Apart Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780393352108
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 14th, 2016

Mukherjee's The Lives of Others was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2014, and now American readers finally have the opportunity to experience his incredible debut novel, originally published in India in 2008. Orphaned at twenty-one, Ritwik leaves his childhood home in Calcutta for England to attend university. The sudden fact of foreignness leaves Ritwik isolated and grasping at connection while parsing through painful memories from his past. To provide solace from his loneliness, Ritwik works on a novel featuring an Englishwoman living in Calcutta, establishing a narrative mirror through which Mukherjee explores themes of otherness, the immigrant experience, and how we all—in our own ways—strive to create a meaningful life on the margins. -Kim


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13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl: Fiction Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780143128489
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - February 23rd, 2016

Awad proves herself a master of multiple voices in this wonderful debut in which Lizzie navigates her sense of self and her body in thirteen fragmented, deep-dwelling takes. From fat teen years through a slender but ultimately unhappy phase as an adult, friends and lovers in Lizzie's life observe her as she is able to remake her sense of self and try to find happiness. Awad cuts into the truth of growing up feeling unsure, unattractive, and unappreciated in a society with a slim view on what it means to be a woman. -Bryce


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Fellside Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780316300285
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orbit - April 5th, 2016

M. R. Carey, a writer for both DC and Marvel Comics, exploits his gift for the supernatural to deliver Fellside—a mystery novel that travels earthly realms and beyond to solve a murder. Jess Moulson wakes up to the brutality of corrupt prison life, having been convicted of murdering her ten-year-old neighbor by arson. Tormented by guilt, she wastes away on hunger strike until she’s pulled from the brink by an apparition seeking justice. Jess navigates the perilous world of prison drug muling by day, while at night she traverses the landscape of others’ dreams with her ghostly guide in search of truth. This inventive whodunit keeps you guessing until the end. -Seth


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Jane Steele Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780399169496
Availability: Out of Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - March 22nd, 2016

Lovers of Jane Eyre who've despaired at her lack of serial killing: despair no more! Jane Steele was orphaned at the age of eight and committed her first (deserving!) murder days later. She faces many classic tropes of Victorian literature including a terrifying boarding school, living on the the streets of London, and becoming a governess. Like in any good Victorian novel, you'll wonder at the affairs of the heart and the affairs of her mother's estate. Jane is a classic antihero, and you'll understand (and perhaps cheer on) her darkest deeds and feel for her at her lowest points. -Bryce


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Lovecraft Country Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062292063
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper - February 16th, 2016

This book might at first glance seem to be a tongue-in-cheek send-up of the weird and sinister pulp fiction genre, but it is a brilliantly crafted novel of subtleties and complexities. While there is a pervasive sense of doom snaking through the novel, Ruff has created a much deeper story of the horror of racial prejudice. His askew view of 1950s America includes a creature in the woods, a haunted house, and warring magical lodges who all revolve around the family of Atticus Turner, an African American man who returns to his childhood home to find his father missing and a deep mystery surrounding his birthright. -Holly


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Sleeping Giants Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781101886694
Availability: Out of Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Del Rey Books - April 26th, 2016

When Rose was a little girl, she stumbled upon an unexplainable artifact previously buried for millennia in the earth. After the U.S. Government spends years studying the artifact with no result, Rose is tasked by the NSA and a shady unnamed man with seemingly limitless power and resources to discover its origin and purpose. As Rose and her team’s study of the strange object deepens, they quickly realize that no human being could create such a thing. Told in interviews and journal entries, Neuvel’s debut is an absorbing page-turner that sets the stage for a thrilling series. -Casey


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Sudden Death Cover Image
By Alvaro Enrigue, Natasha Wimmer (Translator)
$27.00
ISBN: 9781594633461
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - February 9th, 2016

Centered around a tennis match between sixteenth-century Italian painter Caravaggio and the Spanish poet Francisco de Quevedo and played using a ball made from the hair of Anne Boleyn, Alvaro Enrigue's Sudden Death is modern and experimental without being joyless or impenetrable. It’s rich with a history both real and imagined. Translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer, Sudden Death calls into question our idea of what a novel can or should be while deftly exploring a back and forth between violence and sex and their eventual role in the arts, from the past to our present. -Eric


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The Nest Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062414212
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco Press - March 22nd, 2016

This is a fantastic story about family love and how dysfunctional and conniving it can get, especially when money comes into play. The Plumb family brings it all out. You have an older, very degenerate brother; a drunken, not too committed mother; a passed father; and all those younger siblings slathering for their take of those hundreds of thousands of dollars that are the Nest. Never mind the daughters trying to “find their way” or how Leo, the decadent eldest, keeps dithering, This had me going from head to tail, and I couldn't put it down until the final blow! And neither will you. -Allen


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The Passenger Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9781451686630
Availability: Out of Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - March 1st, 2016

Tanya Dubois's husband lies in a heap at the foot of the stairs—dead. Her first reaction is to run. It was an accident, or so she says. Who is Tanya? She isn't who she says she is, and her identity is fluid. "Tanya" goes on the lam, changing her name and hair color at the drop of a hat. She is a woman with a past that is chasing her. This is a tense thriller full of surprises, so jump into the "passenger" seat and go for a hell of a ride. It makes one question the idea of identity and just what that is. One is forced to conclude that it isn't fixed. -Greg


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The Portable Veblen Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781594206856
Availability: Out of Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Press - January 19th, 2016

What is a Veblen? She is a quirky young woman, living in the leafy environs of Palo Alto, named for her hero, the anti-consumerist Thorstein Veblen. Her fiance Paul, an ambitious doctor, has invented an ingenious medical device. As the wedding approaches, family personalities and neuroses emerge, among them an astoundingly domineering mother and decidedly unenlightened hippie parents. As his invention gets tested, Paul grapples with the cut-throat pharmaceutical industry, and Veblen's equilibrium is eventually restored by a communicative squirrel! Wildly original prose, delicious skewering of the military–industrial complex, and a charmingly philosophical protagonist make this wise, witty novel an absolute pleasure. -Erica


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The Queen of the Night Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780618663026
Availability: Out of Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin - February 2nd, 2016

I can’t get over this novel. Alexander Chee’s masterpiece has crawled into my mind and is living there, like a beautiful parasite—or, in the language of this novel, like a kept woman. Set in Paris in the 1800s, when opera was king and scandal was queen, the story follows a young woman who keeps so many secrets from so many people that you almost can’t believe you get to learn them all. The novel, like an opera, swings from tragedy to victory and back again, and the prose is beautiful enough to be the decadent decoration on the theater. A truly stunning book. -Hilary


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The Year of the Runaways Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781101946107
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - March 29th, 2016

Short-listed for the 2015 Man Booker Prize, Sahota’s first novel lets his raw talent shine through in this poignant story of three young men from different castes who emigrate from India to northern England. As they search for a better life, their shared experiences, ranging from violent and sometimes-funny to heart-wrenching and sickening, unite them in ways not possible back home. Sahota doesn’t shy away from the small, realistic details that give portions of the book a documentary-like feel, but ultimately the novel is confident in its grittiness, important in its historical insight, and hopeful in its undercurrent. -Joann


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The Regional Office Is Under Attack! Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781594632419
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - April 12th, 2016

When people need help of an extraordinary, possibly otherworldly, and impossibly expensive nature, The Regional Office is the place to go. The Regional Office helps in any way it can, at any time. Except today. Today, the regional office is under attack. The leader of the attack? A seventeen-year-old self-proclaimed supergirl named Rose who’s been put in charge of a group of highly trained, grunting mercenaries and is just realizing management isn’t really her thing. Trained as an assassin, she’s just following orders until she encounters the Regional Office’s most devoted defender, Sarah. Fast-paced, hilarious, and entirely unexpected, this story’s not to be missed! -Justus


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Youngblood Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781501105746
Availability: Out of Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atria Books - February 2nd, 2016

Gallagher's novel takes place as the U.S. is preparing to withdraw from Iraq. Lieutenant Jack Porter’s first-person account captures the uneasy peace of the occupation—using the word peace loosely. Gallagher conveys the futility of the whole blood-soaked mess that is the US invasion of Iraq. No matter the "good intentions," most actions fall into grey areas and a moral ambiguity, but what is one to do? It is war. This is a complex and disturbing novel. It is both humane and terrible, never losing sight of the human costs of a misguided mission. -Greg


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What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781594634635
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - March 8th, 2016

Helen Oyeyemi is a great writer and storyteller, and her prowess and command of the art truly shine in What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours. Folk and fairy tales stylistically and thematically influence this collection of nine short stories, though each story feels new and unexpected. Locks and keys, whether literal or figurative, play an important role in each story and act as a link from one narrative to the next. Oyeyemi’s story structure, her beautiful sentences, and her complicated and complex characters, who are never one single thing and are constantly evolving, are among the finest in literature today. -Justus


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All Tomorrow's Parties: A Memoir Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780802124838
Availability: Out of Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - April 5th, 2016

Long esteemed for his role as editor of Tin House, Rob Spillman deserves to draw attention now for his own writing. This lucid, lively memoir tells the story of a childhood spent in West Berlin when it was still West Berlin, amidst the Communist East. His return to Berlin in his mid-twenties took him back to a city undergoing immense transformation. The Berlin Wall had literally come down, a dazzlingly different city was beginning to emerge. Rob Spillman details all of this in vivid, luminous prose. In telling the story of a city and country’s change, he beautifully chronicles a life changing with it. -Rick


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The Poet, the Lion, Talking Pictures, El Farolito, a Wedding in St. Roch, the Big Box Store, the Warp in the Mirror, Spring, Midnights, Fire & All Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781556594854
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Copper Canyon Press - January 5th, 2016

Her trowel-sharp intellect, her mineral-rich voice. C. D. Wright tilled visionary soil. When she unexpectedly passed away on January 12, 2016, the poetry world lost, as one poet put it, “our David Bowie.” In the class of her character, the courage of her convictions, the originality of her vision, and the ceaseless evolution of her artistry, the comparison is apt. This new collection of "prosemetrics"—intertwined personal essays, statements on art and politics, and much more — is yet another of her potent antidotes to the hyperbolic mediocrity masquerading as contemporary arts culture. She will be irreplaced. -John


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Sewing Happiness: A Year of Simple Projects for Living Well Cover Image
$22.95
ISBN: 9781570619953
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sasquatch Books - April 19th, 2016

This is not a sewing book. It’s a visit with your best friend/mother/favorite yoga instructor who happens to sew. Ishida’s voice as she takes the reader through her own journey of body issues, health, and high-stress career is so unpretentious, so candid, that you feel immediately inspired to pick up needle and thread. The sewing projects themselves are perfect for the beginner (or, as in Ishida’s case, the lapsed sewist). Season by season the projects will have you sewing items for kids, home, and yourself, while gaining along the way a sense of accomplishment and, yes, even happiness. -Holly


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The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780062432971
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco Press - March 15th, 2016

This collection of Annie Dillard's most treasured essays, and a few newer pieces, is a journey into one of the most inventive minds of our time. Her gorgeous, contemplative nature writing; her wry, insightful encounters with humanity; her fiercely original, honest descriptions of the beauties and struggles of being alive are breathtaking. Whether writing about Tinker Creek, or Disneyland, or Outer Mongolia, her prismatic prose is sometimes opaque and challenging, sometimes clear as a bell. She follows her own advice, given in an essay on writing: “you were made and set here to give voice to this, your own astonishment.” -Erica


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The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World's Most Precious Manuscripts Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781476777405
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 19th, 2016

This story's about Timbuktu’s Abdel Kader Haidara and how he was able to collect and preserve the treasures his father entrusted to him—ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts that had fallen into obscurity that included literature, science, and faith that the West didn't believe even existed. When Timbuktu was then hijacked by Tuareg clans and Al Qaeda militants from northwest Africa, Haidara and hundreds of ordinary Malians kept their love for their art and literature intact and safe from those that wished to suppress them. This is an extremely relevant and arresting detail of a world we should respect and care more about. -Allen


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All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781476716565
Availability: Out of Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - March 1st, 2016

More than half of adult women today live singly. Fifty years ago, this would have been inconceivable. Rebecca Traister examines the expanding social, economic, and sexual freedoms of women in the twenty-first century by uncovering the work of enterprising women who, for centuries, have paved the way for contemporary singlehood that is both common and celebrated. There's rich history here, and All The Single Ladies is thorough and engrossing, containing fascinating research and first-hand accounts from today’s women. For fans of Broad City, anyone who’s ever put fries before guys, and those who believe a woman’s place is in the House and in the Senate. -Richael


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Why Save the Bankers?: And Other Essays on Our Economic and Political Crisis Cover Image
By Thomas Piketty, Seth Ackerman (Translator)
$26.00
ISBN: 9780544663329
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Houghton Mifflin - April 5th, 2016

When I first saw the title of Piketty's book, a line from Shakespeare came to mind, with a slight change of word: "the first thing we do, let's kill all the [bankers]." Piketty, the author of the massive tome Capital in the Twenty-First Century, has put together a collection of his monthly column from the French newspaper Liberation, beginning in 2008 and running up to 2015. In the broadest sense, they are Eurocentric, but as we all know the crisis was (is) international. Aimed at the general reader, Piketty's essays are incisive and insightful, exposing what should be self-evident—but apparently is not to all—that capitalism needs meaningful regulation. -Greg


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Seven Brief Lessons on Physics Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780399184413
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - March 1st, 2016

It’s always the little science books that have the most to say, isn’t it? Einstein’s Relativity, Feynman’s The Meaning of it All, E.O. Wilson’s The Meaning of Human Existence—they’re all short and sweet, and pack a punch aided by their brevity. Carlo Rovelli continues in that tradition with these seven beautiful, short essays, translated from the original Italian, about the most important concepts in modern physics. His grasp on the subject matter is so irrefutable, and his explanations so simple and clear, that anyone can walk away from this book feeling a little bit more enlightened. -Hilary


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Naked Money: A Revealing Look at What It Is and Why It Matters Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780393069020
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 4th, 2016

This is a wholly absorbing inquiry into a deceptively simple question: what is money? Charles Wheelan delves into affairs of currency past and present with spirit and vigor, illuminating the Byzantine workings of monetary systems and banking with admirable clarity and occasional snark. One might not expect the workings of legal tender to be quite so colorful, but Wheelan’s narrative, which spans money matters domestic and international and examines both the Great Depression and the financial crisis of 2008, proves that the world of cash is anything but dry. Spoiler alert: the IRS no longer accepts livestock as a valid form of tax payment. -Julia


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The Fight for Fifteen: The Right Wage for a Working America Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781620971130
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Press - April 12th, 2016

In The Fight for Fifteen, union organizer David Rolf compiles a compelling history of this recent breath of life from an (only mostly) dead American labor movement, weaving personal narrative and politics into an engrossing story. Most impressive here is the breadth of the history he recounts. While the book focuses around the chapters detailing the fight for a livable wage in SeaTac and Seattle, there is also considerable work done to frame this moment within the historical context of the political battles of the last forty years, viz., the consolidation of neoliberal hegemony. An excellent introduction to recent labor history and especially pertinent to us locally. -Sam


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The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded Cover Image
By Jim Ottaviani, Leland Purvis (Illustrator)
$24.95
ISBN: 9781419718939
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Abrams Comicarts - March 22nd, 2016

Alan Turing’s life was fascinating and devastating in equal measure. The man himself was a legendary genius, mathematician, inventor, and codebreaker of the first order, and was instrumental in the Allied victory of World War II. Despite his accomplishments, he was arrested by the British government because of his homosexuality and subjected to horrifying “treatments” intended to “cure” him. In this new graphic novel version of the heartbreaking story of his life, we can see his kindness and humanity, his stutter, his shyness, his brilliance, and, following that, the atrocity of his treatment at the hands of the country he helped save from wartime devastation. An impossibly sad and important story. -Hilary


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The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781250039576
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - March 1st, 2016

Olivia Laing spent a lonely year in New York, and used that time as the backdrop for this fascinating examination of what it means to be lonely. She explores the work of four artists (Hopper, Warhol, Darger, Wojnarowicz) and gives thorough biographies on each man that emphasize how they each examined isolation through art. This book is a highly intelligent, well researched reminder that time, healing, and being alone often go hand in hand. I could have used it during my first few months in Seattle when I experienced the infamous, though perhaps nonexistent, Seattle Freeze. -Bryce


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The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trial Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977368
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - April 5th, 2016

There is nothing that can be said about Maggie Nelson's work without somehow cheapening it. She is a writer and critic whose importance is beyond description. Following news that the case surrounding her aunt's unsolved murder has been reopened after thirty five years and an arrest is imminent, The Red Parts details Nelson's experience with the eventual trail and how her family deals with this new reality. As poetic as Bluets and as intimate as last year's The Argonauts, The Red Parts is a genre-defying exploration of family, grief, our strange obsession with violence, and the ultimate banality of evil. A powerful and intimate book. -Eric


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Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780393242799
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 7th, 2016

As the Pacific Northwest braces itself for the massive earthquake predicted last year in The New Yorker, Olson's exploration of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens provides a timely and sobering look at the effects of a large seismic event on our region. Yet, Eruption is far more than a sensationalist tale of massive natural disaster. Olson delves deeply into the history of the Mount St. Helens region: its critical roles in the nineteenth-century timber industry, the twentieth-century conservationist movement, and our twenty-first-century understanding of seismology. Eruption deftly demonstrates how various social factors have shaped the land and how, ultimately, this volatile land has shaped us. -Kim


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Kill 'em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780812993509
Availability: Out of Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Spiegel & Grau - April 5th, 2016

What do you see when you pick up any musician's biography? The same tired chronology of naysayers defied and obstacles overcome—heavy on the latter if they're black. When you finish, maybe you're happy for them. You pick up their Greatest Hits CD. But James Brown's story is a tragedy. Author James McBride delves further into Brown's life, demonstrating how America produced and ultimately destroyed one of its greatest black icons, the Godfather of Soul. His is the story of numerous black musicians who have supplied the backbone of American music only to be chewed up and spit out when they're no longer needed. -Brendan


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Pax Cover Image
By Sara Pennypacker, Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062377012
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen - February 2nd, 2016

Peter, having lost his mother as a child and his father more recently to war, is now without his best friend, a fox named Pax. Pennypacker’s heartwarmingly honest novel of the unbreakable bond between child and pet follows Peter on his daring 200-mile journey to reunite with Pax. Peter faces obstacles both physical and human, and he is forced to put his trust in someone who has little faith left of her own. Talented award-winner Klassen beautifully illustrates Peter’s quest to reunite with his friend as he endures all the pain and love required to rediscover himself along the way. -Carlos


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Symptoms of Being Human Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062382863
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen - February 2nd, 2016

After being the target of bullies for being different, Riley Cavanaugh struggles with the safest option, transferring schools, even though the thought leaves Riley gripped with severe anxiety. Riley believes blending in like every other high school kid is the only way to stay safe. But presenting as neither boy nor girl erodes Riley’s own sense of self until Riley’s therapist recommends writing a blog. Skeptical at first, Riley is surprised when writing does help. More surprising for Riley is how many people write back, launching Riley into a journey of self-discovery. This is one of the best coming-of-age stories I have read. -Justus


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The Night Gardener Cover Image
By Terry Fan, Eric Fan, Terry Fan (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781481439787
Availability: Out of Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - February 16th, 2016

Not much happens on Grimloch Lane, a rather glum street in a rather glum town. That is, until the town's residents wake one morning to find a tree whose branches have been clipped into the shape of a large owl. As the lively topiary proliferates night after night, the landscape—and the mood—of the town changes. One boy, an orphan named William, is more curious than most about the animals in the shrubbery. After he discovers the Night Gardener and learns his trade, William does his part to contribute to the joy and success of Grimloch Lane. Beautifully and quietly illustrated, this story is enchanting. -Richael


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Unicorn vs. Goblins (Phoebe and Her Unicorn Series Book 3): Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781449476281
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Andrews McMeel Publishing - February 23rd, 2016

Phoebe and her unicorn, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, are back for more adventures in this charming third collection by writer and cartoonist Dana Simpson. In Unicorn vs. Goblins, Phoebe and Marigold make new friends at Wolfgang Music Camp, visit with Marigold's not-so-heavenly-nostriled sister, navigate Phoebe's sudden (and brief) popularity at the start of a new school year, and rescue Phoebe's "frenemy" Dakota from a group of goblins after her magic hair. This delightful, humorous collection is a fun reminder of the magic of friendship, even if you do not have a sparkly unicorn for a best friend. -Alex


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The Wild Robot Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316381994
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - April 5th, 2016

Peter Brown’s Roz is an outsider in a strange land, but, with the help of her robot brain, she learns the language of her new, wild neighbors and seeks to help them despite their reluctance to befriend the metal monster. After falling, quite literally, into the role of motherhood, Roz is forced to do whatever it takes to protect her new home. Brown, of the brilliantly written and illustrated Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, shows us the importance of acceptance and the beauty of community in defining one’s own role, values to which this former Peace Corps Volunteer can totally groove. -Carlos