Well, she tried to retire, but we couldn't let her go! Relieved of her duties as our long-time events manager, and the beloved voice and face of the bookstore, Victoria is now free to read the her heart's content. Her passion for non-fiction and social justice issues (and birds!) is more relevant than ever, and her recommendations will continue to be featured in the store.
Luminous but steeped in hardship, dismal weather, and a world that is savage to women, Groff tells a vital story of Marie de France, a 17-year-old illegitimate sister of King Henry II of England, sent to an impoverished abbey to be its prioress. Marie is a prickly heroine, which she herself will admit. Yet the power she unleashes, though unorthodox and defiance of the church, makes an astonishing read.
Ford is a graceful, empathetic storyteller, and he is at his best here. This tale is loosely based on a real Chinese woman who came to the US in the mid 1800s, and was briefly popular on stage, where audiences cheered her on as an exotic novelty. It was not a happy life. Across generations and genes, her descendants share her and each other’s traumas, until one woman in our not-too-distant future has the opportunity to confront and reclaim their stories. Using a creative blend of both historical and science fiction, Ford once again pulls us in, and leaves us cheering and wiser at the end. ~Victoria
This illuminating journey across intertwining generations of Americans begins on a train, a potent symbol of our country’s promise and expansion, as well as our flaws. Crisscrossing time and place, Evison nimbly weaves the story of five families as they rumble through history, always with the hope of reaching the American dream. From two Irish children who are orphaned not long after their arrival in the 1850s, to a high school basketball star in 2019 – whose single mom lives to give him the tools and foundation for an education and better life than her own – these stories resonate with the obstacles and triumphs that our beautiful, if imperfect, country offers. All aboard!
Poignant, dream-like, and devastatingly honest. At first glance, El Akkad’s (American War) book appears ripped from headlines about the migrant crisis around the world. But the author brilliantly describes the crisis through the eyes of two children, one the sole survivor of an overfilled boat of refugees that sinks off an island, and the other a 15-year-old girl there who decides to hide and help him. The shared days these two spend, as well as their backstories, compel us to witness the humanity behind the news stories.
What happens when a community is lacerated by poison from the local chemical plant, one that had promised prosperity and a bright future to their town? Fast forward 17 years, when the company shows up again, this time to reclaim the abandoned plant and reopen. Three smart, insightful, and delightful high school senior sisters, triplets shaped from birth by the tragedy, tell the heroic story of what ensues when they decide to carry their mother's long-thwarted fight for justice forward. You will fall in love with One, Two, and Three! Also, a great read for teens moving to the adult fiction shelves.
Another look at the Greatest Generation, from the author of The Boys in the Boat. This time Brown tells the heart-rending and heroic story of American men of Japanese descent who served in World War II. Coming from families of farmers, small businessmen, women, and community leaders, these young men had their life turned upside-down after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Many were sent to detention camps with their parents, and others were left in limbo in the only communities they had ever called home. When they were finally allowed to serve in the US military, they were among the bravest and most accomplished soldiers. Brown does a remarkable job in capturing these people and their times -- all with resonance for our own. ~ Victoria
Nobel Prize winner Ishiguro ponders the consequence of both human invention and obsolescence in his latest book. Klara is an Artificial Friend, whose job is to help a human teen, Josie, successfully transverse the road from childhood to young adult, ready to enter the world. Klara, though clearly not human, is bright, observant, and eager to do what she can. But there are ominous elements. The brilliant father, displaced by AI at his job. A gifted neighbor boy whose mother has "sabotaged" his progress by not allowing him to be genetically "lifted" at a certain age, a procedure that has imperiled the health of Josie. An artist who is charged with making an artificial Josie, to replace her if she were to die young. Though Klara's observations always carry a flat affect, her steadfastness is appreciated by the imperfect humans who daily rely on her. ~ Victoria
Evison delivers with every novel, and this complicated and compelling story about loss and recovery is no exception. At the center is a motherless eight-year-old, Bella, who clutches the hand of, and holds up, her widowed father, an Iraq vet with PTSD. Made wise beyond her years, but still utterly a child, Bella brings her father in from the volatile wilderness of the PNW’s beautiful but haunting North Cascades. Book groups will love this! So much to discuss!
You may have read the New York Times 1619 Project, marking the 400th anniversary of the arrival of African slaves on this continent. You may have followed the controversy when it was added to school curriculums, leading Donald Trump to call for a commision on "patriotic education." Spun from this project, created by Nikole Hannah-Jones, this instructional, devastating, and ultimately moving read has essays from a broad range of writers, and topics, on our country's origin story. It should make you ache for all the time wasted as a nation, believing a story crafted of half truths and lies, with disregard for so many of our fellow humans. But The 1619 Project also abrings together strength, achievement, and dreams, providing a blueprint for progress and giving us all hope for our future. ~ Victoria
Vegan, or plant-based, meals are growing in popularity as we consider ways to eat healthier and more environmentally friendly food. From celebrities to your daughter or son, it has become accepted as delicious and satisfying. It's not just frozen bean burgers! Provecho, by Mexican American chef Edgar Castrejón, is one of the latest mouth-watering vegan cookbooks. It offers 100 Mexican recipes that will tickle even the most obdurate hold out! Try the taquitos de camote (sweet potatoes). Yum! ~ Victoria
Paula Becker knows grief. In this short, spare, kind book, admired Seattle writer and historian Becker generously pours wisdom from her own experience into our empty cup. It is gentle, focused, and accepting of the wide and varied needs and emotions of anyone going through loss. Don’t be put off that it looks like a small “gift book.” There are few sentences on most pages, but a person experiencing grief can often only take small sips at a time. Take this offered hand. Breathe. ~Victoria
Thor Hanson hits the sweet spot for many of us slightly nerdy, but literate, science lovers. In this book on how climate change is effecting the biology of the plants and animals in our midst, he sits us right down for an intriguing conversation. Hanson details real time stories of lizards that grow larger toe pads to accommodate the increase in ferocious hurricanes, or the upslope migration of everthing from moths to tree seedlings in Peru. We see the results of climate change in our lives, but Hanson brings it in closer by examining how nature is creatively responding to these changes at a minute level. He doesn't overlook the grave consequences the world faces, but he reminds us of how life on our planet has faced enormous challenges throughout its history. We shouldn't stop worrying, but by understanding these challenges and responses better, perhaps we can worry smarter. ~ Victoria
Two time Pulitzer-Prize winner Colson Whitehead has delivered another grand story, this time an atmospheric crime tale that takes his readers to Harlem in the early 1960s. It’s quite a romp, with a strong cast of characters, including the protagonist Ray Carney, a furniture salesman who sells fenced goods as a sideline. It also focuses an absorbing lens on the life of Black Americans at a time of rapid changes throughout the neighborhood blocks, the city, and the whole country. What can’t Whitehead do? His stories cover much ground, and are always rewarding reads. Grab this! ~ Victoria
Why did I pick up Cascadia Revealed? Maybe it was because I was watching Stranger Things and channeling my inner nerd, but more likely I was in my annual dumbstruck-at-nature phase as our soggy Spring unfurled, and sound and flower and awakening smells exploded each time I walked out the door. Daniel Mathews' guide to plants, animals, and geology of the PNW mountains provides a great armchair education, and a list of wondrous natural habitats to explore this summer (and in each season). Plan on toting this volume along to figure out what you are seeing in your back yard!
Passion. History. Recipes. All in a great summer read! Susan Wiggs’ second novel in the Bella Vista Chronicles is escapism at its best: good old-fashioned storytelling with great characters, fun food ideas, and sizzle on the side. All of this with a serious storyline about the Danish resistance in WWII that merges beautifully with modern romance. Just don’t let honey drip on the pages of this enjoyable read! ~
A moody, dreamy, and devastating mystery. Mandel takes on the careless selfishness of the era that gave us Ponzi schemes, deadly designer drugs, and trophy companions of powerful men, all caught in bargains they didn't understand. Starting at an exclusive hotel off the coast of Vancouver Island, and swinging through Toronto, NYC/Connecticut, and finally out to sea, the story follows the life of a girl named Vincent and her half-brother Paul, who get caught up in the greed and devastation, and experience the longing and self doubt that comes when disaster hits. ~ Victoria
I am a huge fan of dietician Michelle Babb's always calm and sensible books on food as a happy, nourishing, healing part of our life. She breaks down the damage done by diets, fads, and low self-esteem, and instead instills a healthy relationship with our bodies and food. Becoming more mindful and listening to what our bodies say, feel, and enjoy, while serving foods that are fresh, non-processed, and without extra sugars and chemicals, will bring a more natural, healthful life. She includes some wonderful recipes, too! ~ Victoria
Caste is an essential read, a lucid, no-holds-barred examination of race and our nation's history, and the rigid caste system that has been such a destructive force to individuals, communities, and our democracy. Most people think of caste as a foreign system found in places like India. But Wilkerson, through her research, insight, and immersion in this story, argues that caste is "a fixed and embedded value" that rests on the assumption of supremacy of one group over "inferior" others. Caste is the bones in our culture, she writes, and race is the skin. She also explores what a world without caste could be. Please take this book home and begin the work with us!
This is just the kind of book I love: a literate and scientific look at natural history — in this case the little-studied Blakiston’s Fish Owl of far Eastern Russia, the world’s largest owl. It also offers a thrilling dollop of arm-chair travel to a rugged, nearly forgotten corner of the world, filled with suspicion, ingenuity, and strong, loyal friendships made over bottles of vodka and cups of tea. Drop in as we watch an American doctoral candidate work with Russian ornithologists and fieldworkers with little formal education (but great skills). Their goal? To create a conservation plan for the Blakiston’s future, while also protecting habitat and the wild salmon that make up most of its diet.
This eloquent and spare novel about boys unjustly incarcerated and criminally mistreated in a reform school in the early 1960s (based on a real life institution) will break your heart. The cruelty and sadism inflicted on the children, particularly the black inmates, is out of a horror tale. And yet the humanity of the young people is even more heart wrenching, as it does not earn them any reprieve. An important book when considering our country’s troubled history on race and incarceration.
Jemisin, one of today's hottest sci fi/fantasy writers, has launched a riveting new series with themes plucked from today's headlines. New York City is about to be "born," coming alive after years of growth, energy, the fertile mixing of cultures and peoples. Five New Yorkers are called to be avatars, representing the soul of their respective boroughs, and joining a primary avatar for the city as a whole. Each avatar is strong, feisty, often humorous, full of love for their borough ... and sometimes suspicious of the others. But there is an Enemy who waits for this moment, intent on both stopping it and destroying humankind. The Enemy employs Proud Boys, cops, the influence of H.P. Lovecraft, mysterious nonprofits, and glowing tendrils and tentacles that take over unseeing New Yorkers. Put on your seatbelt for a wild ride down the streets and roadways of our country's most iconic city.
Your summer read is right here! Set on Bainbridge Island, this bright, funny book evokes P. G. Wodehouse. Mr. Widdecombe, from the Bay Area, arrives on the Island to his new home, with his wife, adult son, and an armful of helpers and friends. He'd much rather be in France, for the annual trip with "the guys." His wife is determined to make a social hit and cure his "depression" at the same time. As in any screwball comedy, the characters are oblivious to the general havoc their behavior causes others. But you will still love them anyway!
Emmaline uses her sense of smell the way most people use their vision - to help puzzle things out, to understand the weather, or animals, or even people. That made sense when, as a child, she lived with her father on a remote island with no other people. But when tragedy struck and she left the island, her reliance on smell made her an outsider. So did her lack of knowledge about who she was, where was her mother, and why she had been living off the grid. Bauermeister follows that trail in this fascinating novel of loss and love, scents and sense, and identity
One of few pleasures of the 2020 pandemic was the opportunity to try a vegetable garden, a staple in my parents' and grandparents' yards growing up. After years of urban living, I lacked a green thumb. But following the simple and cheerful guidelines of the enthusiastic Bartholomew, I finally nailed it -- with carrots, peppers, kale, Brussel sprouts and more! An A+ road map for beginning and reluctant gardeners.
I like Mike! Jonathan Evison's 2018 release is a winning take on a modern Everyman — young, underemployed, uncertain, and on the wrong end of the stick on a wickedly recognizable Bainbridge Island. Mike, who mows lawns and dreams of topiary, will charm. His story will discomfort you, but it is well worth the read!
Horace Hopper, the half Paiute, half Irish protagonist of this novel, is never quite sure where he belongs. His parents abandon him to his unwelcoming grandmother, who in turn sends him out to live with an elderly ranching couple, who dearly love him and want to leave the ranch to him. But Horace feels the need to prove his worth, believing boxing can deliver the recognition he craves. And so he sets off down a grueling road. Vlautin has delivered a heartbreaking, tough, true tale of the West, and his characters resonate long after you put the book down.
Adults might call this book charming, but young readers will be thrilled by a world where kids are essentially on their own. Elizabeth, a brainy orphan who lives with rotten relatives, finds herself unceremoniously whisked away alone to a grand and mysterious hotel one Christmas. There, along with her new friend Freddy (also sent there by his family), she snoops, gets into trouble, and solves puzzles. And along the way, she begins to feel a sense of belonging - as well as adventure. Can't wait for the next in this trilogy!
This novel ranges from the feverish tropics to the bone-chilling cold of the Arctic and beyond in a long, lovely, mad journey toward freedom. But, it also asks significantly, what is freedom? Wash is an 11-year-old slave on Barbados when he is plucked from the violent fields to be the manservant of the master's brother. "Titch" is a scientist, adventurer, and man of goodwill, who is also naive to the crushing oppression, terror, and dehumanization that have been Wash's life. Edugyan's writing is beautiful, haunting, and mesmerizing. Pick this up now!
Thor Hanson once again hits the sweet spot in bringing nature right into our hands. This time he gives us the fascinating story of bees, perfect for any one who loves honey, pollination, or simply the planet's most successful vegetarian. And not just honey or bumble bees! Hanson's research considers the more than 20,000 bee species, and brings us the historical, cultural, and biological importance of the buzzing creatures that literally help make our world work. Extra important as we worry about the crash of some of these industrious workers!
This reverent, close-up look at trees around the world is at once a gorgeous gem for your coffee table, and a fascinating and informative field guide to trees and their hold on human life and imagination. Jonathan Drori looks at the trees outside our windows, as well as many farther afield.
This novel tells the haunting tale of Nadia and Saeed, who begin a relationship during a civil war in an unnamed country. Life is ominous: neighborhoods reduced to rubble, abandoned offices calmly looted by employees, windows covered by bookshelves to forestall bullets. The couple exit their land via a mysterious door to other countries. But reinventing oneself in exile is harrowing even in the best of times. Both promise and despair crackle through Hamid’s spare prose in this rich dystopian story for our times.
A breathtaking look at grief, as President Abraham Lincoln loses his young son while in the White House. The moving, sometimes humorous voices in this book paint loss in so many rich hues. I also highly recommend this as an audiobook.
Ona Judge was born a slave at Mount Vernon in 1773, property of Martha Washington. At age 16 she was taken from her mother to accompany the Washingtons to New York, and later to Philadelphia. Six years later, she slipped out of the Executive Mansion one evening and disappeared into the free black community. George Washington pursued her for over a decade, to no avail. This compelling must-read intimately traces the lives and thinking of both blacks and whites in the early days of our nation, and casts a sharp eye on the behavior of our first First Family. Bravo, Ona Judge!
A lyrical tale crossing centuries, set in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Ivey introduces us to Sophie and her husband, Col. Allen Forrester, part of the early wave of explorers and settlers of European descent in the west, whose unique and loving partnership defies the expectations of the times. Their stories, retrieved from boxes in an attic a century later, are intertwined with the correspondence of the couple's great nephew and a young museum exhibits curator in the Alaskan town near where much of story takes place. Enchanting!
This contemplative book that examines the relationship between art and war is like a meandering conversation, but one that is passionate and full of epiphanies both dark and hopeful. Sentilles explores her belief that stories and art can be powerful responses to violence and war. She looks humankind clearly in the eye and asks us not to stand idle.
How did this author get into my head? Semple’s newest is the luminously hilarious tale of Eleanor Flood, wife, mother, and the artist behind a hip children’s cartoon series now out of production. The book spans the course of one day—through the filter of her entire life. Eleanor is in the clutch of neurotic worries about her erratic, cranky brain, her aging body, her precocious son, and her surprisingly absent husband. Guilt, longing, and regret roil in her stomach throughout the day—as does happiness, joy, revelation and—dare we say?—resolution.
I couldn’t put down this tightly wired tale of a plane crash, two survivors, and the searing take the media can put on a story. Scott Burroughs, a painter, is offered a ride to NYC from Martha’s Vineyard on a media mogul’s jet. A former competitive swimmer, Burroughs makes it to Long Island carrying the young son of the family. At first considered a hero, he is besieged by the media, the rich, and the FBI as each tries to figure out what happened. Hawley rivets readers with the backstory of all the passengers, keeping the cause of the crash just out of sight until the end. Fascinating!
A real-life Lassie-come-home story with a twist! Toutonghi deftly tells the tale of Gonker, a loveable golden retriever who disappeared on the Appalachian Trail in October 1998. His family conducted a massive search, while Gonker’s human “grandmother” Virginia set up a pre-social media command center at home to spread the word, garnering world attention. Virginia and Gonker form the heart of the story, showing both human resilience in the face of cruelty, and the deep, imponderable bond between humans and canines.
This is one of those rare novels whose Young Adult designation belies its appeal across generations. Starr Carter moves in two worlds - her home in a poor black neighborhood, and the privileged suburban school she attends. She loves both, but feels weary of living with two versions of herself. Then her unarmed childhood friend, sitting in a car with Starr, is shot by a cop. Thomas spins a powerful story of love, bravery, and the often-jarring bifurcation that black Americans experience every day.
One visionary German naturalist traveled the world in the early 1800s, and single-handedly reshaped our relationship to the natural world, influencing science and even today’s environmental movement. This fabulous read takes you on Alexander von Humboldt’s journey, sharing meals with Goethe or slogging through the perilous jungles of South America, with jaguars, snakes, strange blossoms, and fantastic fruit. Wonderful armchair travel, and delightful true story-telling!
I like a good bowl of soup. Even better when I make it myself, using stock that warmed and filled my kitchen with aromas for hours (days!) beforehand. But there were always some that stumped me, especially a good vegan broth. Clean Soups to the rescue! This lovely small volume, complete with sumptuous photos of splendid meals, has filled my soup cup completely. These recipes are not complicated, are full of flavor, and offer nutritious, healthy soups that deliver on their promise.
A new edition of the 1983 classic, still going strong! This magical mystery tour of riparian habitats and hearts beating fast and slow stands up to the test of time. We follow fishing prodigy Gus Orviston as he seeks to move beyond his crazy combustible family by fleeing to a river on the Oregon Coast and living a perfect life of fishing, eating, surviving. Gus doesn’t reckon on the warp to his woof caused by a dead fisherman, and a fisherwoman named Eddy. A breathtaking glimpse of thinkers and mystics from an incredible slice of human geology, this book is just plain fun, funny, and worth your time.
Another Erik Larson triumph, this book tells the story of the last voyage of the Lusitania, one of the great transatlantic “greyhounds” of the Cunard line, thought to be too fast for German submarines as WWI dawned. The riveting route Larson traces takes an old story and makes it immediate, filled with new knowledge, and incredibly vivid. His rich mining of information about the ship, the crew and passengers, the submarine hunting them, and the politics of the day muster both poignancy and outrage. Once again, Larson rewards us with top-notch historical writing.
Full disclosure: Heather Vogel Frederick spent a weekend at Eagle Harbor Books researching bookstore life for this engaging story of a 12-year-old and her friends, who solve the mystery of a missing book and an undelivered letter. But more than simply pride in our small part, we absolutely love Absolutely Truly! A bit of Harriet the Spy, a dash of the kids in Hoot— Frederick has delivered a great story for middle readers! Ages 8-12. ~ Victoria
#Ruth! Who could not love this bio of an awesome Supreme? Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life as a lawyer (and teacher), culminating in her appointment to the Supreme Court, is told in a hip-hop meld of scrapbook and good reporting. Her steady and ultimately remarkable story is well told here, ably aided by the tributes in cartoon, tattoos, Halloween costumes, and genuine affection from across generations
Bainbridge writer Dylan Tomine gets his hands dirty, but his mind cleared and life focused in this impassioned yet charming memoir about a year teaching his two young children to live close to the glorious riches of our delicate planet. Tomine’s family of four experience wisdom, heartache, and great joy as they plant, forage, and play in their garden, in the woods, and on the beaches and waters of Puget Sound. His deft writing makes even chapters on firewood poetic! Tomine’s generous love and respect for the natural world, whether out on his boat fishing or at home making mouth-watering meals, exemplifies a deep understanding of what stewardship of our planet should be, and has me wistful for a do-over of my own kids’ younger days! ~ Victoria
Garth Stein brings us another winner! It’s a haunting Pacific Northwest ghost story of a family and the majestic trees and forests that brought them riches, tragedy, and finally redemption. The complicated and starcrossed love stories that span generations form a brilliant tale of compassion and hope. From the teenaged Trevor’s exploration of his family’s old mansion built with tree trunks and timber money, to the soaring vistas from the tops the magnificent forest cathedrals venerated by his great uncle, I fell into this story whole-heartedly.
This novel is nothing less than a stubborn, joyful, life-saving journey from the author of the fabulous Mink River. (The protagonist here, Declan, was glimpsed in that novel.) I did not want to leave this book at the last page. Magical realism with characters that sing to your heart! ~ Victoria
What a joy to dive once more into the Montana of yore with Ivan Doig! We again meet Morrie Morgan as he takes on the big guns of Anaconda Copper in Butte, along with a wonderful cast of salty and delightful characters. It’s hard to find a wordsmith who delves into the history of the American West with such sweet prose and storytelling. I love to read Doig out loud just to capture the full impact of his deliciously evocative descriptions and character studies. Sweet Thunder booms with triumph! ~ Victoria
ans of Jamie Ford’s Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet can come gladly to this latest novel. Once again set in Seattle, it explores both the rich and sometimes tangled history of the Chinese American community, and the effects of the Depression on the still young city. I recognized many stories from my father’s own tales of growing up here in
those times: The wonder of the movie theaters, the unrest on the streets, the discrimination toward Americans of Asian descent, and the fragility of families during those difficult
days. Despite the sadness, there are also the moments of joy and wonder. A great read! ~ Victoria
Egan has done it again: taken a time and place in history and unlocked new insights and revelations from material we thought we already knew. He takes us to those early, hurly burly days in Seattle when Edward Curtis, a hard-strapped young man, follows his dream to become a prominent and brilliant photographer. Through Egan’s lucid, beautiful prose, we watch as Curtis hits the pinnacle, sought by presidents and millionaires, and as he takes off on a project that will ultimately consume and destroy him—photographing and describing in writing and early recording the languages, cultures, and customs of Native Americans across the continent. And yet this project will leave a vast legacy that has enriched both Native Americans and our current nation to this day. Bravo to Egan for bringing this story into the light! ~ Victoria
I love nature, particularly birds. But this treasure by Thor Hanson goes way beyond field guide descriptions of one of nature’s most perfect inventions. He wonderfully describes our love affair with feathers—from religious symbol to pragmatic and fantastic attire to the inspiration feathers give us in everything from art to science. ~ Victoria
This is a a beautiful, magical story that had me from the first crook of its finger. All the secrets and sadness spilled off the page, and left me breathless, but happy at a tale well-told. ~ Victoria
This finely etched and sometimes tart novel about a group of four New York friends is for all those moms who decided to stay at home when their children came along. The main characters face midlife somewhat lost and somewhat flawed, yet admirable. Wolitzer has a keen ear for the inner dialogue of graduate degree mothers on break from their careers. Where was she eavesdropping? You will smile at those very recognizable "mother moments."