Book picks from the author of ‘Growing Up Gorilla’

Clare Hodgson Meeker’s new nonfiction picture book, Growing Up Gorilla: How a Zoo Baby Brought Her Family Together, is a  heartwarming true story about a baby gorilla at the Woodland Park Zoo. When a mother gorilla walks away from her newborn, the staff at the zoo finds innovative ways for mother and baby (Yola) to build a relationship. It’s a charmer of a book, with fun facts and solid research behind it. We asked Clare, a Washington author, to share some books starring animals — and, delightfully, some of her selections are for adults, and some for kids. Here are Clare’s recommendations: Continue reading “Book picks from the author of ‘Growing Up Gorilla’”

Nightstand Reads with author Sara Donati

Where the Light Enters is the latest from Sara Donati, a bestselling author known for her riveting and well-researched historical novels. We asked her to share her own reading list with us:

I read a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction out of personal interest and professional necessity. My novels are deeply researched, so I spend a lot of time reading medical texts and government reports written before 1890.  But I also read contemporary and historical fiction of all stripes, from noir crime to romance to short story collections. Ancient Rome, modern-day Detroit, Victorian England, WWII China are all welcome.

If I continue thinking about a book long after I’ve finished it, I consider it time well spent. Here are some of my recent discoveries.

Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger
by Rebecca Traister
There is a lot to be angry about. Traister’s book came out just after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified, and it reminded me that women’s anger, once focused, is hugely powerful. It has launched movements and revolutions that have changed the world for the better. Continue reading “Nightstand Reads with author Sara Donati”

Naomi Shihab Nye shares her Nightstand Reads

Internationally beloved poet Naomi Shihab Nye, who is coming to Seattle September 19 for a SAL event, shares a mix of her recent favorites in fiction, memoir, nonfiction and poetry.

Nye is the author and/or editor of more than 30 volumes, including  19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (a finalist for the National Book Award), A Maze Me: Poems for Girls, and You & Yours. Her latest book for adults, The Tiny Journalist, is a collection inspired by seven-year-old Janna Tamimi, the “Youngest Journalist in Palestine,” who captured videos of anti-occupation protests with her mother’s smartphone.

Thanks to Naomi Shihab Nye for sharing her recommendations! Continue reading “Naomi Shihab Nye shares her Nightstand Reads”

Bestselling Fiction in the Pacific Northwest

Comparing what’s popular and in-demand in the Northwest with national bestsellers can be an interesting look into local readers’ preferences. Each week, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association shares the bestselling titles from independent bookstores in our area. Compare that list with the national bestseller lists from New York Times, Publishers Weekly and USA Today and you’ll see  some overlap — and quite a bit of difference.

Here are the top 15 hardcover fiction titles in the Pacific Northwest from last week:

1.  Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (a Peak Pick)
2.  The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (a Peak Pick)
3.  City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert (a Peak Pick)
4.  Circe by Madeline Miller (a former Peak Pick)
5.  On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (a Peak Pick)
6.  Normal People by Sally Rooney (a Peak Pick)
7.  The New Girl by Daniel Silva
8.  Deep River by Karl Marlantes (Seattle author!)
9.  Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
10. Exhalation Ted Chiang (Seattle author! And a Peak Pick)
11. Knife by Jo Nesbø
12. The Guest Book by Sarah Blake
13. Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett
14. Big Sky by Kate Atkinson (a Peak Pick)
15. The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister (Seattle author!
And a Peak Pick) Continue reading “Bestselling Fiction in the Pacific Northwest”

Get Out of the Lake!

The lake is where you want to be on a beautiful August day, unless you’re a character in a mystery novel. I’m here to tell you that, in my experience as an avid mystery reader, an idyllic remote lake can often double as the scene of a crime. Which is why these mysteries are wonderful choices for atmospheric lakeside (or backyard or park) reads.

Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman: Baltimore in the 1960s is the setting for this noir-inspired stand-alone novel from Lippman. Maddie Schwartz leaves her husband and son and pursues her dream of being a journalist. She’s obsessed with two murders and her involvement by happenstance in the first one helps her land a job at a reporter. The second murder is the LADY IN THE LAKE, a tale that has all sorts of urban lore around the case. Lippman, in my opinion, is one of the finest crime fiction writers today and I eagerly anticipate each new book from her, and this one delivered. Booklist said in a review: “This is a superb character study, a terrific newspaper novel, and a fascinating look at urban life and racial discrimination in the ’60s.” This is a Peak Pick, too! Take it to the lake, but don’t stay in the water too long … Continue reading “Get Out of the Lake!”