Her patch of turf at the bookstore is directly off the front desk so Victoria can hover, hover, hover over everything that’s happening; liaising with authors in her capacity as our Events Manager, engaging in every in and off-site store activity, and discharging her informal bookstore hostess duties. She survived Columbia graduate school and living on the east coast for 30 years nicely, and returned home 10 years ago. She’s also our e-book and audiobook expert, and is passionate about non-fiction and social justice issues. Just don’t even try to keep her attention with any of that, however, if she hears anyone in the store mention the word “bird” in a sentence.
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.
The superlative pictures alone make this book a must-have for any serious admirer of avian life. But dig into the inspiring essays, and you’ll be hooked. I loved the delicious bits from Barbara Kingsolver, who came reluctantly to a love of birds, and from John Fitzpatrick, executive director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, on how birds can save the world.
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
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! ~
Carol Cassella has done it again! I could not put down this taut medical mystery with bittersweet love stories at the core. When a Jane Doe hit-and-run victim, found by the side of the road on the Olympic Peninsula, is flown to a Seattle hospital after suffering a stroke in surgery, ICU physician Charlotte tries to figure out what went wrong, and why no one has come forward to claim the gravely injured woman. Her efforts are twinned with the back story, having a twist, on how the woman ended up there. The resolution, both sad and hopeful, felt just right. Bravo!
Recently I was gently encouraged to improve my diet and exercise regimen, and this book was one of several recommended. Hands-down it has provided the easiest to understand information and the most delicious recipes! In a family that includes carnivores, vegetarians, and one mom (me!) trying to satisfy all palates without going under, this has become my go-to resource
Take curiosity and joy—and science!—to heart as a parent. You’ll definitely be at your best as a mom or dad if you relax, release your inner nerd, and follow the hands-on approach of Emmy Award-winner Brunelle. Power knocked out? Make a battery for a small light or clock with lemons, pennies, nails, and some copper wire! Camping? Starting a fire is a scientific event! And when your cuddly little bear begins to hit puberty? There’s a recipe for homemade deodorant! Brunelle’s many laugh-out-loud moments, and Aha! ideas, will get you through the toughest situations with aplomb
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
Three characters, connected by happenstance, form the backbone of this simple but rich story. Filtered through the tough lens of modern America’s most stubborn problems—hanging onto the bottom rungs of the economic ladder, staying atop of health care bills, and fighting the familial crises that can tatter the lives of decent folks living on the edge—Vlautin shows how they try to cope with their stark and sometimes desperate situations. Beneath the grit are strength and beauty and kindness.
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
“In giant schools, their brilliant lights / Illuminate the darkest nights.” And so does this fabulous book of poetry from the incomparable Jack Prelutsky. Carin Berger provides the amusing illustrations for this book, which also includes delightful poems about creatures including Jollyfish, Sobcats, and Braindeer. Ages 4-8. ~ 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."
I’m a sucker for cookbooks, and own too many. But there are a handful I pull from the shelf regularly for inspiration and recipes. This book, brimming with the flavors of Southeast Asia, clearly is in that category. Arokiasamy wins me over with her simple goal: Let’s make American tables more tasty and healthy through the use of spices! This book is well written and informative, and the recipes are generally accessible; one of my favorites is the Stir-Fried Chicken with Cashews, page 124. (Editor’s note: The Thai Shrimp and Pineapple Curry, page 157, is heavenly!) ~ Victoria