Fall Booknotes 2022

 

Handpicked new releases, brought to you by the staff of Elliott Bay.

 

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Lavender House: A Novel By Lev AC Rosen Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250834225
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Published: Forge Books - October 18th, 2022

Lev AC Rosen's Lavender House is a locked-room cozy mystery with noir vibes (phew–so many descriptors!) set in and around 1950s San Francisco and featuring an all-gay ensemble cast. Yes, it’s a whodunit, but it’s also a story of queer love and found family, of carving out a space for yourself when society views your very existence as a crime. This is not the twistiest of tales and die-hard mystery fans may guess the ending, but it’s perfect for readers, who, like myself, enjoy the journey as much as the destination. -Rania


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The Marriage Portrait: A novel By Maggie O'Farrell Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593320624
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - September 6th, 2022

Maggie O’Farrell creates historical fiction so absolutely vivid and three-dimensional that I struggle to believe she didn’t witness it firsthand. To read her work is to be utterly transported, immersed in the sights, smells, language, and customs of another time and place, and to know intimately the rhythms of daily life there. On top of her prodigious gift for historical worldbuilding, O’Farrell is an incredible writer. Every sentence is exquisite–a jewel flawlessly cut and polished by a master artisan. Her latest novel, The Marriage Portrait, is a masterpiece, and I loved every moment I spent reading it. -Rania


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Legends & Lattes: A Novel of High Fantasy and Low Stakes By Travis Baldree Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250886088
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Published: Tor Books - November 8th, 2022

It’s back! After teasing us all earlier this year with a brief release, I am beyond stoked to once again be able to recommend this absolutely charming slice-of-life fantasy. This is perfect for stressful times when high-stakes adventure books that put their characters through the wringer are too overwhelming. Baldree’s world doesn’t try to reinvent the fantasy genre–expect orcs, dwarves, elves, and humans in this cozy little tale that feels like snuggling with a loved one (human, dog, cat, giant plushie) and a steaming mug in front of a fire on a cold night. There’s also a dash of cinnamon-y romance!-Chester


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Demon Copperhead: A Novel By Barbara Kingsolver Cover Image
$32.50
ISBN: 9780063251922
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Published: Harper - October 18th, 2022

Under the influence of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield, Kingsolver nails her latest book. Completing my library of everything she’s ever written, this one is just as beautiful as the rest. I love the complexity and nuances she brings to her characters, and the places she expertly visualizes. She creates a world that you’ll want to visit if only to understand it. This novel is a coming-of-age tale of the struggle of a lost boy just trying to figure out the harsh environment in which he lives. Kingsolver always deepens my desire to write, but I know I’ll never be as good as her so I’ll leave it to the legend. -Stephanie


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If I Survive You By Jonathan Escoffery Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780374605988
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: MCD - September 6th, 2022

A young family flees a Jamaica riven by political violence, and the Miami they arrive in is not a welcoming place. Haunted by the loss of his homeland and harrowed by every manner of travail in making a home in the US, it’s the family’s younger son who occupies this novel’s considerable heart and soul. This is a book of who figures out a way to make it (and what it means to “make it”), and who does not. Jonathan Escoffery’s debut is as electrifying as it gets with vivid language giving the reader a strong sense of place. With Jamaica as far away from Miami as Seattle is, you feel like you’re there while reading this immersive whirlwind.-Rick


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The House in the Orchard By Elizabeth Brooks Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781953534392
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tin House Books - September 27th, 2022

Two distinct narratives can be found in this epistolary work of historical fiction. First, war-widow Peggy, in 1945, who inherited Orchard House from her late husband’s Aunt Maude. Her father-in-law, Frank, is adamant that she sell the estate, but provides no explanation as to why. A mystery indeed!  Second, a diary written by the teenage Maude in 1876. Poor Maude; resistant to assimilating into high society London, orphaned, and shipped off to live at Orchard House against her will. A tantalizing tale to be sure, entertaining with a twist that left me questioning the truth. -Maggie


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Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm: A Novel By Laura Warrell Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593316443
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon - September 27th, 2022

Jazz trumpeter Circus Palmer is a smooth-talking music man living by old-school love ‘em and leave ‘em rules in contemporary times. In this emotionally resonant novel, Circus does the dodge as women from his complicated life, especially his teenage daughter Koko, try to make sense of him, which leads to reflection upon themselves as well. Laura Warrell's debut novel shows a masterful hand, parsing out the different women beautifully, with a special nod to how Koko is portrayed. And the music, the music. -Rick


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Our Missing Hearts: A Novel By Celeste Ng Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780593492543
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Published: Penguin Press - October 4th, 2022

The setting: a world practically identical to ours. The events of this book could happen now, and in many ways, are happening now. This is not a future dystopia, nor a warning of some impending doom, but a very real transposition of the world and society we all live in and choose to ignore. With her new novel, Celeste Ng engages not with the possibility of our society taking a turn for the worse, but rather the ever-present willingness of people to look the other way as long as it's not them who’s being oppressed. -Elijah


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Illuminations: Stories By Alan Moore Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781635578805
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Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - October 11th, 2022

In this collection of short stories, arranged chronologically, Alan Moore navigates us through a whirlwind of distant worlds and places not too far from home. The simple joy of being caught off guard by an author’s imagination is at the heart of this collection. Moore is inviting us into a maze of worlds he’s created. Sailing swiftly between gritty noir, head-scratching sci-fi, and reimagined mythos, this is a book for both new and longtime readers of Moore. -Elijah


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Poster Girl By Veronica Roth Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780358164098
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Published: William Morrow - October 18th, 2022

Looking for your next dystopian novel? Well, look no further: this is the book, and it’s set in the PNW! Poster Girl is a cross between Black Mirror and The Giver, and the plot will keep you guessing. It is a harrowing and terrifying glimpse of what governments could do with technology. Sonya is known as the poster girl of an old regime that forced its citizens to wear “Insights” (technology inserted in a person's eye to keep tabs on them at all times). After ten years in prison, Sonya is given a new chance at life, but she soon discovers the truth is not what it seems and the past is full of secrets.-Kate


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The Book of Goose: A Novel By Yiyun Li Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780374606343
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 20th, 2022

Agnès is at work on a book, a project motivated by the recent death of her childhood friend, Fabienne. “Nothing is more inexplicable than friendship in childhood,” Agnès asserts.Much of this novel, written in the first person, depicts Agnès reflecting upon the actions of her younger self and those of her friend. Li, however, does not expect readers to accept these reflections without criticism, instead questioning the ability of one person to tell an objective story of a complicated life. In doing so, we learn something about the stories we tell each other and ourselves as well as the ways such stories can be interpreted. -Graham


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A Minor Chorus: A Novel By Billy-Ray Belcourt Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781324021421
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - October 4th, 2022

Way up in northern Alberta, Canada, Driftpile Cree Nation writer Billy-Ray Belcourt has been putting out books of poetry and non-fiction prose that have been fearlessly  written. There’s no holding back with his debut novel, either. It’s the story of a young, queer Indigenous doctoral student who decides he should quit school to write a novel. You may think you know where this is going, but you don’t. Part of Belcourt’s genius is to make the seemingly obvious not so , at least not in the way you  think.  This book thinks big; it’s audacious, with a chorus of characters vast in range.-Rick


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Shrines of Gaiety: A Novel By Kate Atkinson Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780385547970
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday - September 27th, 2022

Kate Atkinson’s new novel skillfully and playfully reimagines real-life characters from a 1926 London still reeling from World War I. The nightlife scene is exciting, decadent, and experimental, and the powerful Nellie Coker is the undisputed queen of her empire of clubs. This whirlwind of a story follows the exploits of her six eccentric children, the corrupt underworld criminals, the floundering police in pursuit, and the country folk drawn to a risky new life. With its deliciously witty dialogue and marvelously compelling plot-twists , readers will be hooked until all secrets are revealed.-Erica


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Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands By Kate Beaton Cover Image
$39.95
ISBN: 9781770462892
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Drawn and Quarterly - September 13th, 2022

When cartoonist Kate Beaton was 22 years old, she took a job in the oil fields of Northern Alberta to pay off her student loans. Once there, she found a well-paying job, but also a culture where women (outnumbered by men 50:1) were constantly subjected to sexual harassment, workers were completely cut off from their families and homes, and both the land and the people working on it were exploited. I was absolutely bowled over by this book. With beautiful artwork and nuanced storytelling, Ducks is a stunning depiction of loneliness, labor, and a forgotten corner of human existence. -Laura


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I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki: the South Korean hit therapy memoir recommended by BTS’s RM By Baek Sehee, Anton Hur (Translated by) Cover Image
By Baek Sehee, Anton Hur (Translated by)
$24.00
ISBN: 9781635579383
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Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - November 1st, 2022

Each spring in grade school, we had to observe the Stations of the Cross. Painful scenes from the last few days of Jesus' life, as it was written in the gospels, were interspersed with soft-spoken lessons to extract from his suffering. I Want to Die took me right back to that church pew. Baek's conversations with her therapist and subsequent reflections echo the relaxed ebb and flow of my thoughts during those days: "Am I a good person? Does anyone else feel this way?" Her intimate confessions reveal the fundamental self-doubt we all experience and serves as a reminder: YOU MATTER.-Brendan


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Victory Is Assured: Uncollected Writings of Stanley Crouch By Stanley Crouch, Glenn Mott (Editor), Jelani Cobb (Introduction by), Wynton Marsalis (Afterword by) Cover Image
By Stanley Crouch, Glenn Mott (Editor), Jelani Cobb (Introduction by), Wynton Marsalis (Afterword by)
$32.50
ISBN: 9781324090908
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Liveright - September 13th, 2022

Seeing Gone With the Wind as a boy, Stanley Crouch recalls Scarlett O'Hara slapping a slave for perceived foolishness, to which Crouch’s grandmother yelled aloud in the rowdy theater, "Hit her back!" Silence ensued. Crouch's writing inspires the same reaction; he crystallizes that fierce pride and proves himself a peerless interpreter of American culture. No one better articulated the role that Black artists—and jazz as Black expression—played in modern American mythmaking. As he writes of Duke Ellington, in a sublime epistle that doubles as self-portrait: "the blue truth of the multitudes was his to tell." -Brendan


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Stay True: A Memoir By Hua Hsu Cover Image
By Hua Hsu
$26.00
ISBN: 9780385547772
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday - September 27th, 2022

New Yorker staff writer Hua Hsu has written  a coming-into-adulthood memoir that is rare and distinct–a feat not easy to accomplish. As the son of Taiwanese immigrants, Hsu grew up with the pressure of fulfilling family expectations. And yet…he meets Ken in college, and they bond over cigarettes, car rides, and comparing class notes, each helping the other to figure out the life they want to live. Until Ken is killed in a carjacking, and suddenly everything changes.  In this memoir, Hsu, with the benefit of hindsight, explores all the unimaginable ways that this tragedy was formative for him. -Rick


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How We Live Is How We Die By Pema Chodron Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781611809244
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Published: Shambhala - October 4th, 2022

This book is a revelation; its simple sentences, tossed gently, hit with the weight of truth. Chödrön takes us through the Tibetan Bardos of living and dying and with compassion uncovers the ways in which we become trapped in our own suffering by clinging to pleasure and avoiding pain. Chödrön hopes to assure us that the more fully we embrace the notion of our own death, the more fully we can live. Thankfully, the courage to face our mortality can be built by entering each day, each hour, each moment with awareness, and by celebrating life as a precious, fleeting thing with a beginning, a middle, and an inevitable end. -Lara


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This Is What It Sounds Like: What the Music You Love Says About You By Susan Rogers, Ogi Ogas Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9780393541250
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 20th, 2022

This fascinating book will make you think about why you like the music you do. Music producer and neuroscientist Susan Rogers breaks down the seven dimensions of musical listening to authenticity, realism, novelty, lyrics, melody, rhythm, and timbre. The author explores how a song’s melody might have more impact than the lyrics, why listeners yearn to hear lyrics they can relate to, and the communal reasons why making music with others is so important. Don’t worry, the book comes with a playlist to help demonstrate each of these principles. You’ll learn as much about music as you will about yourself.-Holly


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Northwest Know-How: Haunts By Bess Lovejoy, Anarachel Humphrey (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Bess Lovejoy, Anarachel Humphrey (Illustrator)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781632174093
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sasquatch Books - September 13th, 2022

Ghosts are commonplace in nearly every territory, but here in the Northwest, perhaps due to the prevalence of many injury-prone industries, our hauntings have an unusual intensity. Maybe it’s just all the water. Lovejoy keeps the focus off the truly dark (such as serial killers) and looks at ghost sightings in rural and urban Washington and Oregon. The chilling vignettes highlight tourist hot-spots, cemeteries, and ghost towns, as well as uniquely Northwest curiosities. This isn’t just a collection of quirky tales; there are also resources listed on where to find paranormal groups, ghost tours, and experiences. -Holly


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Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus By David Quammen Cover Image
$29.99
ISBN: 9781982164362
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Published: Simon & Schuster - October 4th, 2022

Breathless is not a book about heroic health care or essential workers of the COVID-19 pandemic. It's not about the gravity of human suffering or political malevolence witnessed since 2020. It is about the emergence and science of the virus that led to the pandemic, however. Citing interviews with scores of scientists across the globe, Quammen tracks its history and how for decades scientists were warning of the potential of a highly malleable new virus. He also discusses the possible origins of the virus (and dismisses many theories as incorrect) and why many believe that COVID-19  will be with us for a very long time. -Holly


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Strangers to Ourselves: Unsettled Minds and the Stories That Make Us By Rachel Aviv Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780374600846
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 13th, 2022

With six sensitive portraits of mental illness that span geography, generations, and privilege, Aviv explores how the narrow medical and societal view of what qualifies as sick and what is considered well falls short of our complex human need for narrative, community, and context. Aviv unravels some of the tangled interplay of "symptom" and "self", as well as the restriction and expansion that the stories we are given about our own fragility, violence, or potential can offer. This book summoned a lot of big feelings: unthinkable loss and, even more devastatingly, unquenchable hope.-Lara


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Bad Vibes Only: (and Other Things I Bring to the Table) By Nora McInerny Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781982186715
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Published: Atria/One Signal Publishers - October 11th, 2022

I needed a good laugh, and McInerny provided that in spades. I was actually laughing out loud and constantly startling my cat (I have the scratches to prove it) while reading. Incredibly relatable, poignant at times, and a quick read, if you are familiar with McInerny, you won’t be disappointed by this memoir. If you aren’t familiar with her, you should be! She is as witty as she is honest and as vulnerable as she is real. McInerny brings a never-sugarcoated lightheartedness to the table that I think everyone could use right now. A true gem. I always root for female comedians' successes and she really captures life right now when she says “that we are all—at best—slightly unhinged.” -Stephanie


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I'm a Unicorn By Helen Yoon, Helen Yoon (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Helen Yoon, Helen Yoon (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781536219760
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick - September 20th, 2022

Helen Yoon captures the apprehension that comes with being unique in this utterly charming illustrated tale. Our narrator has one horn, which, as we all know, is the number one sign of being a unicorn. However, they lack certain other unicorn qualities (smelling of peaches, crying lollipop tears, and pooping rainbows, to name a  few), which makes them start to doubt, until an actual unicorn provides a perspective check. Silly rainbow poop aside, this affirming book offers a genuine celebration of identity and self-confidence.-Holly


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The Three Billy Goats Gruff By Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9781338673845
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Published: Orchard Books - October 18th, 2022

The troll in this version of The Three Billy Goats Gruff is more unseemly than in previous retellings, snacking on old boots and belly button goop before accosting the goats who try to cross his bridge. The troll has some culinary cred, entertaining himself by imagining the tasty concoctions of goat flambé or goat escargot that he’ll enjoy. As only Mac Barnett could do, this classic fairytale is here retold with tongue fully in cheek and matched only by the deft hand of Jon Klassen’s earth-toned illustrations. Readers of this book will find a delightful introduction with a non-traditional twist.-Holly


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A Scatter of Light By Malinda Lo Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780525555285
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Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - October 4th, 2022

From the award-winning author of Last Night at the Telegraph Club, Malinda Lo’s latest novel  tells a heartfelt story about queer youth. In the months following the legalization of same-sex marriage in California, main character Aria discovers herself in a life post high school and the social traumas she experienced during those years. This book tackles the beauty and complexity of finding first love while also piecing through the hardships of loss. All of this is expressed through an artistic lens that gives the reader an opportunity to better understand themselves in turn. -Grace


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The Stars Did Wander Darkling By Colin Meloy Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780063015517
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - September 13th, 2022

Something strange is going on in Seaham, Oregon. The adults are acting odd, and thirteen-year-old Archie and his friends are convinced it's related to the caves that were uncovered by the construction up at the old Langdon place. For kids who have outgrown Goosebumps, but are still too young for Stephen King, Colin Meloy has written a truly creepy coming-of-age story about four kids determined to save their small town from sinister forces. On par with Coraline and It, Meloy deftly captures the point of view of children forced to confront evil when the grown ups fail to take them seriously.-Keenan


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The Greatest in the World! (Tater Tales #1) By Ben Clanton, Ben Clanton (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Ben Clanton, Ben Clanton (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9781534493186
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Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - November 8th, 2022

Sibling rivals Rot and Snot are at it again! This time they are in competition to determine who is the Greatest in the World! Along with their small fry sister, Tot, they cook up three unique tasks to determine which mutant potato will earn the title of the Greatest! The tubular tasks will test their strength, their fortitude, and their ability to be the most ridiculous Taters throughout the land. This book, perfect for ages emerging, is fantastically illustrated, entertaining, and positively bursting with SPUDtacular puns. -Maggie


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Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist for Justice By Tommie Smith, Derrick Barnes, Dawud Anyabwile Cover Image
$22.95
ISBN: 9781324003908
Availability: Ships in 2-10 Days
Published: Norton Young Readers - September 27th, 2022

Tommie Smith set a world record in the 1968 Olympics and was awarded the gold medal. While receiving his medal, Smith, along with bronze medalist and teammate John Carlos, raised his fist to protest the racial injustice in America. This book looks not only at Smith’s life before and after the Olympics, but also puts in context the inequalities and cruelties of the time. While there is difficult language for younger readers, this is an excellent tool for starting a conversation about prejudice and the work that still needs to be done, and the graphic novel format makes this thorny historical event more approachable. -Holly