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Booknotes - Fall 2019

Booknotes - Fall 2019

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.

Playlist Tags: The Elliott Bay Book Company bookstore-created topic: best of 2019

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The Proudest Blue

A Story of Hijab and Family

By Ibtihaj Muhammad
Narrated by: Ibtihaj Muhammad
Length: 7 minutes

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
A powerful, vibrantly illustrated story about the first day of school--and two sisters on one's first day of hijab--by Olympic medalist and social justice activist Ibtihaj Muhammad.

With her new backpack and light-up shoes, Faizah knows the first day of school is going to be special. It's the start of a... Read more »

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Pet

By Akwaeke Emezi
Narrated by: Christopher Myers
Length: 5 hours 32 minutes

National Book Award Finalist

Stonewall Book Award Winner

"[A] beautiful, genre-expanding debut...Pet is a nesting doll of creative possibilities." (The New York Times)

The award-winning, genre-defying novel by the New York Times best-selling author of The Death of Vivek Oji that explores themes of identity and justice and asks: How do you share the... Read more »

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The World Doesn't Require You

Stories

By Rion Amilcar Scott
Narrated by: JD Jackson
Length: 11 hours 59 minutes

The World Doesn't Require You announces the arrival of a generational talent, as Rion Amilcar Scott shatters rigid genre lines to explore larger themes of religion, violence, and love—all told with sly humor and a dash of magical realism.

Established by the leaders of the country's only successful slave revolt in the mid-nineteenth century,... Read more »

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The Water Dancer (Oprah's Book Club)

A Novel

By Ta-Nehisi Coates
Narrated by: Joe Morton
Length: 14 hours 14 minutes

The Water Dancer (Oprah's Book Club)

“Ta-Nehisi Coates understands something big and he understands it better than anyone else right now. The Water Dancer led me on a journey up and down the landscape of American slavery with a narrative that feels like The Book of Exodus meets, well, Ta-Nehisi Coates. Over 400 pages I have cried, I have laughed, I have been educated, and I have been enlightened. Coates writes with an honesty that can only come from a sublime, even spiritual, understanding of the souls of the white man and the black man in America. Written with poignancy and humanity, The Water Dancer left me stunned but clear-headed, like I had just been woken up from a deep, dream-filled sleep.”

Norris Rettiger image Norris Rettiger, Lemuria Bookstore
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The Topeka School

A Novel

By Ben Lerner
Narrated by: Nancy Linari, Peter Berkrot & Tristan Wright
Length: 10 hours 34 minutes

The Topeka School

“If you've read Lerner's cultishly celebrated first two novels, Leaving the Atocha Station and 10:04, you'll find both familiar and unfamiliar things in his third one. Familiar is the character Adam Gordon, who shares a name with the impishly semiautobiographical hero of Atocha Station and many characteristics with 10:04's unnamed writer narrator too. But The Topeka School is a different beast, expanding into a more traditional form by including Adam's parents, two New York psychologists transplanted into red-state Kansas, as narrators too. And while there are fascinating aspects of Adam's story as a high school debating champ wrestling with teenage prairie masculinity, it's with his parents, full of the knowledge and lingo of psychiatric analysis but still unable to escape the flawed dramas of human relations, that this speech-drunk (and speech-skeptical) story really takes flight.”

Phinney Books image Tom Nissley, Phinney Books
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The Women of the Copper Country

By Mary Doria Russell
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
Length: 12 hours 27 minutes

From the bestselling and award-winning author of The Sparrow comes “historical fiction that feels uncomfortably relevant today” (Kirkus Reviews) about “America’s Joan of Arc”—the courageous woman who started a rebellion by leading a strike against the largest copper mining company in the world.

In July 1913, twenty-five-year-old Annie Clements... Read more »

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Red at the Bone

A Novel

By Jacqueline Woodson
Narrated by: Jacqueline Woodson, Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Peter Francis James, Shayna Small & Bahni Turpin
Length: 3 hours 52 minutes

Red at the Bone

“Although you can read Jacqueline Woodson’s newest novel over the course of one evening, there is nothing breezy about the richness of its story, nothing short about the depth of its characters, nothing quick about the way this book stays with you after you finish reading. Told through five distinct voices, Red at the Bone tracks an African-American family through time and place as an unexpected pregnancy upends and reshapes family and class expectations as well as individual trajectories. Ultimately, the novel is about legacy in every sense of the word. And since Woodson’s writing packs the emotional punch of an epic in a novella number of pages, the legacy of her book is to be read over and over and over again.”

Kelly Brown image Kelly Brown, Magic City Books
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Out of Darkness, Shining Light

A Novel

By Petina Gappah
Narrated by: Nyasha Hatendi & Sibongile Mlambo
Length: 10 hours 6 minutes

“Engrossing, beautiful, and deeply imaginative” (Yaa Gyasi, author of Homegoing), this epic novel about the explorer David Livingstone and the extraordinary group of Africans who carry his body across impossible terrain “illuminates the agonies of colonialism and blind loyalty” (O, The Oprah Magazine).

This is how we carried out of Africa the... Read more »

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Inland

A Novel

By Téa Obreht 
Narrated by: Anna Chlumsky, Edoardo Ballerini & Euan Morton
Length: 13 hours 7 minutes

Inland

“Inland is a beautifully narrated by voices that are rarely heard in a story of the American west. Lurie, an immigrant from the middle east, and Nora, a pioneer wife struggling to survive, are both haunted by ghosts of their past. The dry arid desert provides a perfect backdrop for the events, relationships and challenges these two characters face. Obrect writes with dialogue present and past creating an almost dreamlike atmosphere in some places of the novel and nightmarish realism in others. This novel lays bare the struggles, relationships, personalities and conflicts that provided the foundation of the wild untamed west. This novel was epic, expansive, and completely nourishing of spirit.”

Avid Bookshop image Ellen, Avid Bookshop
Audiobook details

Hollow Kingdom

By Kira Jane Buxton
Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
Length: 10 hours 10 minutes

Hollow Kingdom

“You wouldn't think a foul-mouthed, wise-cracking crow named S. T. (short for Shit Turd) would be a great companion at the end of the world, but honestly? I couldn't imagine another living being to spend the apocalypse with. Buxton amazingly captures the natural world as the humans have devolved into zombie-like creatures, and given us the narrator we deserve. On top of that, Robert Petkoff is the absolute perfect reader to take us on this journey. Side-splittingly hilarious as well as a thoughtful warning against technology, this unique book is one readers (or listeners!) won't be able to put down. ”

Watermark Books image Melissa, Watermark Books
Audiobook details

Gideon the Ninth

Locked Tomb: Book #1

By Tamsyn Muir
Narrated by: Moira Quirk
Length: 16 hours 49 minutes

Gideon the Ninth

“This is everything I wanted in a book and more. Gideon is likable but flawed, Harrow is horrible and unforgettable, and the prose occasionally turns hauntingly beautiful. The narration helps make a complex world become real and the characters friends you may or may not want to invite over to dinner. It depends on whether your folks are there.”

Page 158 Books image Jenny, Page 158 Books
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Frankissstein

A Love Story

By Jeanette Winterson
Narrated by: John Sackville & Perdita Weeks
Length: 7 hours 10 minutes

Since her astonishing debut at twenty-five with Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Jeanette Winterson has achieved worldwide critical and commercial success as “one of the most daring and inventive writers of our time” (Elle). Her new novel, Frankissstein, is an audacious love story that weaves together disparate lives into an exploration of...

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Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

A Novel

By Olga Tokarczuk
Narrated by: Beata Pozniak
Length: 11 hours 39 minutes

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

“Janina is an eccentric middle-aged woman who translates William Blake, studies astrology, and is acutely attuned to the wilderness around her in rural Poland. When hunters and poachers begin to be gruesomely murdered, Janina informs the police that the animals are responsible. As the bodies mount, so does her involvement with the mystery, although her status as a crank and possible madwoman ensures that she’s ignored. This is an extraordinary and disturbing tale — a mystery that becomes more complex as the story continues, accompanied by Janina’s often witty observations on man, nature, justice, and identity. The ending of this hard-to-categorize novel, a finalist for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize, will knock the breath out of you. Don’t miss this excellent translated work from an award-winning writer!”

The River's End Bookstore image Cindy Pauldine, The River's End Bookstore
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Doxology

A Novel

By Nell Zink
Narrated by: Eileen Stevens
Length: 12 hours 31 minutes

A Recommended Book of 2019 from Vulture and Esquire

Pam, Daniel, and Joe might be the worst punk band on the Lower East Side. Struggling to scrape together enough cash and musical talent to make it, they are waylaid by surprising arrivals—a daughter for Pam and Daniel, a solo hit single for Joe. As the ‘90s wane, the three friends share in one...

Read more »

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Celestial Bodies

By Jokha Alharthi
Narrated by: Laurence Bouvard
Length: 8 hours 3 minutes

Celestial Bodies

“In this gripping family saga, author Jokha Alharthi—the first female Omani writer to be translated into English—involves you deeply in the personal drama of her characters and in the extended family system, which includes former servants and masters, while also somehow telling the modern history of the country of Oman. I was immediately enthralled by the power and clarity of Alharthi’s book, which won the 2019 Man Booker International Prize and is the first book written in Arabic to win it. Don’t miss the opportunity to let this important new book sweep you away!”

Skylight Books image Arlo Klahr, Skylight Books
Audiobook details

Berta Isla

A novel

By Javier Marías
Narrated by: Frankie Corzo & Bruce Mann
Length: 18 hours 29 minutes

From the award-winning, internationally best-selling Spanish writer, author of The Infatuations, comes a gripping new novel of intrigue and missed chances--at once a spy story and a profound examination of a marriage founded on secrets and lies.

When Berta Isla was a schoolgirl, she decided she would marry Tomás Nevinson--the dashing... Read more »

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The Ungrateful Refugee

What Immigrants Never Tell You

By Dina Nayeri
Narrated by: Dina Nayeri
Length: 10 hours 33 minutes

The Ungrateful Refugee

“At a time when some people aim to terrify us with stories about the intentions of those who seek our help, this book brings a timely voice to illustrate what drives people to endure monumental hardships in order to have a chance to reach safety. An engrossing and powerful book that reveals an infrequently heard perspective on the concept of charity, giving, and receiving, The Ungrateful Refugee makes us look at ourselves and our actions as well as those who receive our acts of ‘kindness.’”

Becky Garcia image Becky Garcia, Malvern Books
Audiobook details

The Undying

Pain, Vulnerability, Mortality, Medicine, Art, Dreams, Data, Exhaustion, Cancer, and Care

By Anne Boyer
Narrated by: Amy Finegan
Length: 5 hours 4 minutes

Award-winning poet and essayist Anne Boyer delivers a one-of-a-kind meditation on illness in the age of data?sharing her true story of coping with cancer, both the illness and the industry, in The Undying. A week after her forty-first birthday, the acclaimed poet Anne Boyer was diagnosed with highly aggressive triple-negative breast cancer. For... Read more »

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Trick Mirror

Reflections on Self-Delusion

By Jia Tolentino
Narrated by: Jia Tolentino
Length: 9 hours 45 minutes

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “From The New Yorker’s beloved cultural critic comes a bold, unflinching collection of essays about self-deception, examining everything from scammer culture to reality television.”—Esquire
 
Book Club Pick for Now Read This, from PBS NewsHour and The New York Times • “A whip-smart, challenging book.”—Zadie Smith • “Jia...
Read more »

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A Pilgrimage to Eternity

From Canterbury to Rome in Search of a Faith

By Timothy Egan
Narrated by: Timothy Egan
Length: 12 hours 41 minutes

From "the world's greatest tour guide," a deeply-researched, captivating journey through the rich history of Christianity and the winding paths of the French and Italian countryside that will feed mind, body, and soul (New York Times).

"What a wondrous work! This beautifully written and totally clear-eyed account of his pilgrimage will have you...
Read more »

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