Hello, and welcome the first book newsletter of summer. The days are getting hotter and shorter, and when we asked around about how this works, we were told it is akin to squeezing a grapefruit. So, there you go. 

In the store, we've got copies of Ibram X. Kendi's Stamped From the Beginning: The Definite History of Racist Ideas in America. Stock has been tricky to come by for his books these last few weeks, so please ping us on FB or give us a call if you'd like a copy.  We also have a wide selection of other related titles, and since we are currently in a *SOFT OPEN* state, you should come peruse the titles. 

*SOFT OPEN* means 1) Appointments are preferred, but 2) we won't turn you away if you show up, but 3) you do need to wear a mask, and 4) used book turn-ins are limited to two bags per household. 

Meanwhile, we have Wes Moore's Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City. While the title sounds like it could be about any number of locations during the last few months, Five Days is about life in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray, back in 2015. Moore (with assistance from Erica L. Green) charts the week through the experience of seven individuals, and this approach renders a powerful and moving portrait of how violence and injustice impact all parts of a city. 

And to shift from the macro to the micro for a moment, we'd like to direct your attention to Casper Ter Kuile's The Power of Ritual. Much like Tara Isabella Burton's Strange Rites (which we mentioned last week), Kuile's The Power of Ritual explores the importance of community and our efforts to find meaning and value in our lives. 

Human folk aren't big fans of change, but at the same time, we're kinda eager for something new and exciting all the time. Kuile argues that rushing around and making all those noises is inhibiting us from building sacred spaces and sacred relationships. As a professor of the mysteries once said, "We live profane lives, yet constantly yearn for something sacred." Well, you gotta cultivate some connection to yourself, to others, to the natural world, and to the hints of the transcendent that persist in making themselves felt. Slow down. Take a deep breath. Rinse and repeat. 

On a more fanciful note, Katherine Addison mixes up Victorian London with fantastic creatures, fictional characters, and historical baddies. The Angel of Crows seems like it might be a Sherlock Holmes pastiche, but the Watson character is named "Dr. Doyle," Doyle turns into a werecreature at inopportune times. And Sherlock? Well, Sherlock is an Angel. Doyle and Sherlock team up to fight an all-too-real monster that is haunting Whitechapel, and you can imagine who that might be. Everything else about this book, however, is not as it seems . . . 

And speaking of alternate English timelines, H. G. Parry is back with A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians. We've got zombie curses in Jamaica, the Knights Templar routing out illegal magicians in France, and in England, newly appointed prime minister William Pitt is struggling to prevent a class divide from growing even wider. It's full of marvelous historical flourishes while still being a remarkably sparkly thing all its own. 

Oh, heck, let's roll back one more century. S. J. Parris's Execution is the latest in her historical thrillers starring the 16th century's most unlikely spy: Giordano Bruno. [Though, to be fair, he was accused of spying for Queen Elizabeth during his lifetime.] In Execution, Bruno is tasked with infiltrating a group who is plotting against Queen Elizabeth. These pesky Catholics want to install Mary—Elizabeth's cousin—on the throne of England, and it's up to Bruno to flush out these conspirators before they can strike. 

Meanwhile, Ottesa Moshfegh upends the mystery genre with Death in Her Hands. Meet Vesta Gul. Her husband has died, and she has retreated from society to a cabin by the lake with only her dog Charlie as her companion. While out walking the woods, she finds a note that says: "Her name was Magda. Nobody will ever know who killed her. It wasn't me. Here is her dead body." But . . . there's no body. 

Vesta, because she has time on her hands, imagines who Magda might have been and what her life might have been like. And soon, well, let's just say trouble happens when you put yourself in the hands of an unreliable narrator. Death in Her Hands isn't conventional, by any stretch, but we suspect we have a few devoted readers who might dig this one. 

And speaking of books certain people will like, Nick Martell's debut novel, The Kingdom of Lies, is a tightly wound fantasy novel where the cost of magic is your memories. Want to light the fire and smoke some marshmallows? Well, fine, as long as you don't mind giving up memories of Gurgle, your pet hamster. Add to this a whole web of political machinations, and you've got a fantastic start to an engaging series. 

And speaking of exciting fantasy series, have you heard the one about the warrior, the assassin, and the princess? No? Well, it's called We Ride the Storm, and it's by Devin Madson. This one starts simple, but gets deviously complicated as the narrative unfolds. Plan accordingly. 

In the Now in Paperback Department, we have Ryan J. Stradal's The Lager Queen of Minnesota, a family drama that involves disgruntled sisters, beer, and pure spring water. It's a celebration of quirky characters, stick-to-their-grits entrepreneurs, and how damnably annoying family can be. 

And speaking of stories about the importance of familial bonds, Christy Lefteri's The Beekeeper of Aleppo is out in paperback too. When war ravages Aleppo, Nuri and Afra must flee their homes in Syria. They have to journey through Turkey and Greece in order to have a chance at reaching sanctuary in Britain. However, Afra has lost her sight, leaving Nuri to guide them both through a dangerous landscape. 

And finally, Martin Clark's The Substitution Order is out in paperback. We said nice things about when it came out in hardback. "While slinging subs and hanging out with a rescue puppy and an annoying computer whiz, our disgraced barrister is approached by a sinister cabal that wants him to do illegal things. Ponzy-style things. Malpracticey-style things. The system grinds you down sort of things. Naturally, our legal mind is sharper than that, and he sets out to not only fight these crooks but clear his own name!"

What? So we did a cut-and-paste from a year-old newsletter. And yeah, it probably took us longer to find the original than to just write something new, but it's warm in here, okay? Our brains might be melting a little bit. 

Oooh. We finally received half of our giant Ravensburger puzzle order the other day. Lots of marvelous pictures and intricate designs to choose from. Keep an eye on our FB feed for pictures. Or, you know, come down and see the selection for yourself!

And with that, we are out this week. Take care of your breathing tubes. Enjoy the glorious colors of the setting sun. You have one or two seconds less evening to do so. Make bird noises when you see squirrels and rabbits. And be kind to one another. This year isn't done with us. 

Overheard At The Store »»

COLBY: . . . 

HODGE: It'll buff out. 

COLBY: . . . 

HODGE: And that? That was always like that. 

COLBY: . . . 

HODGE: Oh, Sera and Rollo are embroidering a Game of Thrones banner to cover that. 

COLBY: . . . 

HODGE: That wasn't us. 

COLBY: . . .

HODGE: But, yes, of course, we'll get it cleaned up. Right away. 

COLBY: . . . 

HODGE: Podge? . . . No . . . why do you ask? 

COLBY: Where's Podge? 

HODGE: Oh . . . 

COLBY: Did he do all of this? Is that why he's hiding? 

HODGE: He's not . . . hiding. Not exactly. 

COLBY: Well, what exactly is he doing? 

HODGE: Well . . . right now? I, uh, I hope he's not still in . . . you know . . . flight. 

COLBY: Flight? 

HODGE: He can be very aerodynamic. 

COLBY: <sigh> How far? 

HODGE: How far what?

COLBY: You strapped him to a rocket, didn't you? That's what all this is. You turned the bookstore into Cape Canaveral. 

HODGE: Well, to be fair, we didn't actively plan it that way. 

COLBY: No, of course, you didn't. Who does? 

HODGE: Well, uh, NASA? 

COLBY: So, how far did you launch your buddy? 

HODGE: I'm not sure. We're still waiting to hear from the corvid network. 

COLBY: The crows? 

HODGE: They have the best network for this sort of thing. 


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A Good Book · 1014 Main Street · Sumner, WA 98390 · USA

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