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Booknotes - Spring 2018

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.

The Journey of Little Charlie

By Christopher Paul Curtis
Narrated by Michael Crouch & Christopher Paul Curtis /  5 hours 17 minutes

Newbery Medalist Christopher Paul Curtis brings his trademark humor and heart to the story of a boy struggling to do right in the face of history's cruelest evils.

Twelve-year-old Charlie is down on his luck: His dad just died, the share crops are dry, and Cap'n Buck--the most fearsome man in Possum Moan, South Carolina--has come to collect a... Read More »

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$21.60

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Islandborn

By Junot Díaz
Narrated by Junot Díaz /  19 minutes

From New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Díaz comes a debut picture book about the magic of memory and the infinite power of the imagination.

Every kid in Lola's school was from somewhere else.
Hers was a school of faraway places.

So when Lola's teacher asks the students to draw a picture of where their families... Read More »

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$6.00

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The Hazel Wood

A Novel
By Melissa Albert
Narrated by Rebecca Soler /  10 hours 30 minutes

The Hazel Wood

“What happens when fairy tales mix with reality? What happens when those fairy tales aren't all happy endings? Alice experiences this first hand in the novel, The Hazel Wood, by Melissa Albert. I listed through Libro.fm as Rebecca Soler narrated the tale of Alice, a teenager, constantly on the move with her mother, Ella, as bad luck always seems to find them. Ella is striving to turn their straw house into a brick one, when something terrible happens and mother and daughter are separated. Alice discovers her own dark and magical past on the journey to the Hazel Wood to save her mother, but what she becomes isn't the good kind of fairy tale. Soler's narration was over dramatic for my taste. Albert's use of words was beautiful and descriptive and didn't need the at times sinister twist Soler's point of view put on it. Focusing on Albert's writing made me enjoy the story more. I loved how Albert put words together. Some of the things she described in NYC were so spot on I laughed out loud. I couldn't put this book down (or should I say turn off?). The book was a little farfetched, but what would you expect from a fairy tale? Albert had me hooked. I give it a comb, a bone and a feather from the Hinterland a.k.a. 9 out of 10.”

M. Judson Booksellers & Storytellers image Kelly, M. Judson Booksellers & Storytellers
Price:

$31.04

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America Is Not the Heart

A Novel
By Elaine Castillo
Narrated by Donnabella Mortel /  16 hours 24 minutes

"A saga rich with origin myths, national and personal . . . Castillo is part of a younger generation of American writers instilling literature with a layered sense of identity." --Vogue

How many lives fit in a lifetime?


When Hero De Vera arrives in America--haunted by the political upheaval in the Philippines and disowned by her parents--she's... Read More »

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$30.00

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Freshwater

By Akwaeke Emezi
Narrated by Akwaeke Emezi /  6 hours 42 minutes

An extraordinary debut novel, Freshwater explores the surreal experience of having a fractured self. It centers around a young Nigerian woman, Ada, who develops separate selves within her as a result of being born "with one foot on the other side." Unsettling, heartwrenching, dark, and powerful, Freshwater is a sharp evocation of a rare way of... Read More »

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$28.74

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Red Clocks

A Novel
By Leni Zumas
Narrated by Karissa Vacker /  9 hours 5 minutes

Red Clocks

“I never understood what it meant for someone's writing to be 'lyrical' until I picked up Red Clocks. With beautiful prose, Leni Zumas tells the story of a young girl seeking an abortion in a world where abortion is illegal and dangerous; a woman on the quest to have children when in-vitro fertilization is illegal and folks aren't allowed to adopt without a partner; a woman in a dead-end marriage desperate to escape from her husband and children; and a woman considered a witch by most who provides homeopathic reproductive healthcare, including illegal abortions. Zumas beautifully weaves these stories together and gives each individual a strong and unique voice, while also maintaining suspended disbelief. These characters felt real and this world felt possible. I suspect this will be one of the best books published in 2018.”

BookPeople image Hanna Foster, BookPeople
Price:

$29.88

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The Largesse of the Sea Maiden

Stories
By Denis Johnson
Narrated by Nick Offerman, Michael Shannon, Dermot Mulroney & Will Patton /  5 hours 16 minutes

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden

“Denis Johnson is one of those writers whose work you read, no matter the topic or reviews. Even in his strangest stories, he manages to conjure just the right turns of phrase to put the reader within his wacky world. I was so excited to get my hands on his posthumously published collection of short stories, which reminds me of his breakout collection, Jesus' Son. The stories are wry, expertly written, and laced with similarly hazy, under-the-influence characters. It was bittersweet to read his final published works, but he certainly didn't let us down.”

Trident Booksellers and Cafe image Courtney Flynn, Trident Booksellers and Cafe
Price:

$18.00

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Frankenstein in Baghdad

A Novel
By Ahmed Saadawi
Narrated by Edoardo Ballerini & Kaleo Griffith /  8 hours 1 minute

*Man Booker International Prize finalist*

“Brave and ingenious.” —The New York Times

“Gripping, darkly humorous . . . profound.” —Phil Klay, bestselling author and National Book Award winner for Redeployment


“Extraordinary . . . A devastating but essential read.” —Kevin Powers, bestselling author and National Book Award finalist for The Yellow... Read More »

Price:

$21.00

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Tangerine

By Christine Mangan
Narrated by Barrie Kreinik & Erin Mallon /  9 hours 28 minutes

Tangerine

“Tangerine is one of the best debut novels I've read in a long time. Thanks to her exquisite writing, Christine Mangan manages to create a lush, vivid picture of Tangier in the 1950s and bring to life a complicated and very dark friendship between two young women. Lucy and Alice are former college roommates whose relationship has long since gone sour. When they reunite in Tangier, Mangan milks the delicious tension for all it's worth and brings their story to a shocking conclusion. This book is an absolute stunner!”

RoscoeBooks image Erika VanDam, RoscoeBooks
Price:

$28.74

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An American Marriage

A Novel
By Tayari Jones
Narrated by Sean Crisden & Eisa Davis /  8 hours 59 minutes

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve... Read More »

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$34.49

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Sadness Is a White Bird

A Novel
By Moriel Rothman-Zecher
Narrated by Neil Shah /  7 hours 53 minutes

The story begins in an Israeli military jail, where—four days after his nineteenth birthday—Jonathan stares up at the fluorescent lights of his cell, and recalls the series of events that led him there. Two years earlier: Moving back to Israel after several years in Pennsylvania, Jonathan is ready to fight to preserve and defend the Jewish... Read More »

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$34.49

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The Female Persuasion

A Novel
By Meg Wolitzer
Narrated by Rebecca Lowman /  14 hours 48 minutes

The Female Persuasion

“I never could have anticipated this book, and now I can't imagine a world without it, especially at this moment in American history. The Female Persuasion follows the ambitious but shy Greer Kadetsky, her boyfriend, her best friend, and the feminist icon who launches her into the world. Through these vivid, complex, and lovable characters, Wolitzer explores both the principle and reality of feminism, as well as the desire to become our fullest selves and the twists and turns that journey can take. My heart raced while reading this book, and I never wanted it to end. The Female Persuasion is powerful, generous, smart, and deeply kind; I can't wait for the world to meet it.”

Underground Books image Megan Bell, Underground Books
Price:

$30.00

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The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore

By Kim Fu
Narrated by Tavia Gilbert, Soneela Nankani, Sophie Amoss, Nicol Zanzarella, Emily Woo Zeller & various narrators /  8 hours 49 minutes

From the award-winning author of For Today I Am a Boy, a gripping and deeply felt novel about a group of young girls at a remote camp-and the night that changes everything and will shape their lives for decades to comeA group of young girls descends on Camp Forevermore, a sleepaway camp in the Pacific Northwest, where their days are filled with... Read More »

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$19.95

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The House of Broken Angels

By Luis Alberto Urrea
Narrated by Luis Alberto Urrea /  9 hours 46 minutes

The quintessential story of what it means to be the first generation to live two lives across one border, The House of Broken Angels is Pulitzer Prize finalist Luis Alberto Urrea's unforgettable portrait of the De La Cruz family as they celebrate the lives of two of their most beloved members over the course of one raucous and bittersweet... Read More »

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$29.88

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The Great Alone

A Novel
By Kristin Hannah
Narrated by Julia Whelan /  15 hours 1 minute

The Great Alone

“Kristin Hannah's The Great Alone is a powerful, compelling story of survival - survival of the natural elements and of the human spirit. It's 1974, and 13-year-old Leni Allbright lives with her devoted mother, Cora, and abusive father, Ernt, who was a prisoner of war during Vietnam. America is changing after the war, and Ernt thinks their best chance at a fresh start is to move off the grid, to America's last frontier - Alaska. Grizzlies, wolves, and dropping temperatures are Leni's worries outside of her family's cabin, but as Ernt's battle with his demons rages on, it's no safer inside. The result is a beautifully descriptive, heart-wrenching adventure.”

Hillary Taylor image Hillary Taylor, Lemuria Bookstore
Price:

$37.94

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The Road to Unfreedom

Russia, Europe, America
By Timothy Snyder
Narrated by Timothy Snyder /  10 hours 9 minutes

The Road to Unfreedom

“Perhaps you read Snyder's bracing pamphlet, On Tyranny (or the Facebook post it was based on)—from its title, I had imagined this new, much larger book as an expansion of those ideas, but, while it's written in the same level-headed-but-urgent tone (which Snyder's voice for the audiobook perfectly represents), it's doing something related but different, focusing less on tyranny in the abstract than on the very specific case of Putin's Russia. And while there are many excellent books on that subject, what's most impressive, enlightening, and disturbing is the way he systematically traces the intellectual structure of Putin's regime and his foreign interventions, introducing concepts like "eternity politics" and "implausible deniability" that give some order to the disorder we're living through.”

Phinney Books image Tom Nissley, Phinney Books
Price:

$24.00

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The Emissary

By Yoko Tawada & Margaret Mitsutani
Narrated by Julian Cihi /  4 hours 8 minutes

Yoko Tawada's new novel is a breathtakingly light-hearted meditation on mortality and fully displays what Rivka Galchen has called her "brilliant, shimmering, magnificent strangeness"

Japan, after suffering from a massive irreparable disaster, cuts itself off from the world. Children are so weak they can barely stand or walk: the only people with... Read More »

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$18.00

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Jagannath

By Karin Tidbeck
Narrated by Kirsten Potter /  4 hours 9 minutes

A child is born in a tin can. A switchboard operator finds himself in hell. Three corpulent women float somewhere beyond time. Welcome to the weird world of Karin Tidbeck, the visionary Swedish author of literary sci-fi, speculative fiction, and mind-bending fantasy who has captivated readers around the world. Originally published by the tiny... Read More »

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$14.94

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Feel Free

Essays
By Zadie Smith
Narrated by Nikki Amuka-Bird /  13 hours 52 minutes

From Zadie Smith, one of the most beloved authors of her generation, a new collection of essays

Since she burst spectacularly into view with her debut novel almost two decades ago, Zadie Smith has established herself not just as one of the world's preeminent fiction writers, but also a brilliant and singular essayist. She contributes regularly to... Read More »

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$27.00

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The Line Becomes a River

Dispatches from the Border
By Francisco Cantú
Narrated by Francisco Cantú /  6 hours 29 minutes

The Line Becomes a River

“The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantu is part memoir of a border patrolman, part history of the US-Mexican border and part reflections on what it means to be human. Cantu gives us a real behind the scenes look at the dichotomy of border crossings: vicious drug dealers contrast sharply with desperate individuals who fork over life savings to escape persecution or be reunited with family. Cantu takes the job to gain practical knowledge after completing college but the grind and lack of humanity he witnesses takes a toll. After leaving border patrol, Cantu becomes embroiled in a personal border case and sheds even more insights on the plight of individuals trying to immigrate to the United States. Timely and thoughtful!”

Wellesley Books image Phyllis, Wellesley Books
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$21.00

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