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Now that 2019 has officially gotten underway—well, okay, mostly underway . . . How about we say  "we’re not stressing about holiday shopping any more . . .”? Yes, let’s go with that. 

*Ahem* Now that we’re not shopping for holiday stress any more and we’ve moved on to Business Owners’ Yearly Hell, how about we start off with some calming books. Books that are akin to being covered in puppies. Or being nuzzled by dolphins. Or huffing into a paper bag (for those that either have allergies or aren’t so keen on getting in water deeper than three feet). Books that bring about tranquility and peacefulness and . . . 
 


Hang on. What does Sarah Knight say in her introduction to her new book, Calm the F*ck Down . . . let’s see . . . Yes: “anxiety-reducing, problem-solving goodness.” Yes. More of that, please. 

Actually, this is a book is for us. Sorry. Wrong pile. Okay, okay. NOW we’ll start the newsletter. 

Hello, welcome to A Good Book’s Bookish Newsletter, where we talk about books—books we like, books we ordered and now can’t find in the store, books that turned out to be way cooler than their descriptions, and books that make us feel bad for not having more time to read. It’s all books, all the time. Except when Rich and Ken are talking about superheroes, and then it is something else. But the rest of the time? It’s all about books. 
 


Like Nick Petrie’s Tear it Down, the fourth Peter Ash book. Hang on, you say. Fourth book? you say. Why are we starting there? Well, dear reader, you’re not. You’re starting on The Drifter, Petrie’s first book in the series, which is out in that handy mass market paperback form factor. We’ll be snapping up this hardback, because we dig Petrie, and we’ve been quietly standing back by the thrillers for awhile now, slipping copies of the first three books into people’s hands. And you know what? They keep coming back. Which is good for us and them, because what else are they going to read while they’re waiting for the next Jack Reacher book? 

That’s right. Peter Ash novels.

We’re so glad you followed us on that one. This next one will be a bit easier. 
 

Because, when you’re leaving Ellensburg, and you’re having that conversation in the front seat about how “yes, there are more wineries in Yakima,” but you don’t know if you can go that far without a bathroom break, and you’re supposed to be in Spokane at dinner time, and here it is 2pm already, and “OMG! We have to go through Kennewick before we can loop back up to I-90,” that’s when you need to know very specific details about your options at the next exit off I-82. 

Et voila. Mark Watson is here for you. And you know what? It even works behind hills, in dales, and other places where there is no cellphone service, because, you know, paper books. 
 

Meanwhile, you know what else is a win? Anytime you—as a parent—survive the day and don’t get eaten by bears. Thankfully, we have Hillary Frank’s Weird Parenting Wins: Bathtub Dining, Family Screams, and Other Hacks from the Parenting Trenches. Ms. Frank has been podcasting and blogging about the weird sh*t parents do to stay sane for several years now, and Weird Parenting Wins collects the best and most outlandish of the hacks she’s learned. 

Feels like we should swing into a cookbook or something, shouldn’t we? Well, what have we got? Let’s see . . . a stack of paperbacks with shirtless dudes on the cover . . . a new Pete the Cat book. Oh, here hold this. 
 


That? Oh, that’s a bunch of stories about monsters and hot rods. It's a themed anthology. Clever. Great list of writers in it. You can—oh, you want to take it over there and look it over while I dig for a cookbook. Fine. Fine. Knock yourself out. Try the Landsdale or the Hodge, if you’re just perusing. Maybe even Lisa Morton’s story. 

Let’s see. Keep digging. What’s this? 
 

A lightly historical dime-novel style rendering of Teddy Roosevelt’s life before he became president? Mmm. Like proto-Doc Savage style dime-novel pulp? Mmmm. All right. All right. We’ll set that over there for now. Ah, here we go! Cauliflower cooking!
 


Oh, sorry. Cali’flour. Like those places that call themselves Donutz Shax, so they can put a (tm) after the name. Anyway, the cauliflower craze was started by Amy Lacey, who was looking for alternatives after being diagnosed with lupus. Somehow she landed on cauliflower as the go-to replacement ingredient, and she founded Cali’flour Foods, which grew into a sprawling multi-million dollar industry with celebrity endorsements and all that. In fact, Clean Eating Magazine rated Cali’flour Foods as the “Coolest New Find of 2017,” which is either the best award ever or a sure sign that we’re just trying to figure out ways to transform a single ingredient into every aspect of a full-course meal. Good for us, right? Industrial little experimenters and all. 

However, if you are looking for a low-carb lupus-friendly alternative to just about everything on the menu, there is an option for you. Cali’flour. Check it out. Report back. We want to know. 
 


And speaking of things you should investigate and report back to us about is You Know You Want This, Kristen Roupenian’s debut collection of very sharp-toothed stories. Now, we were thinking of mentioning Leila Slimani’s Adèle because there’s a hefty buzz (read lots of books flying through the warehouse), but we’re a little unsure if we should be pushing a dark tale about a woman with a serious sex addiction and a one-note personality (okay, okay, that’s not entirely fair, but let’s just point out that the original French title of this book is Dans le Jardin de l’Ogre; yeah, we’ll let you parse that).
 


Anyway, Roupenian’s collection is being called “equal parts dark, uncomfortable, and funny,” and “unsettling, memorable, and—maybe perversely—very, very fun” (though we think Kirkus Reviews is being a bit coy there), and “unrelenting and utterly bananas.” So, there you go. You know you want it.

(We had to. Come on. You would have been disappointed if we hadn’t. Still true, though.)

Those are some of the interesting books this week. Next week our Write Time evening is returning (Tuesday night! Come down and write!), as well as our book club (on Thursday), which will be a lovely time to come show off your Hodge & Podge book journal that you got for Christmas. We can even do that cross-reference thing, as well as the stamps! It’ll be fun. 
 



Meanwhile, Out Near the Highway »»

PODGE: [unintelligible]

HODGE: [unintelligible]

SFX: Traffic noises

PODGE: [unintelligible]

HODGE: [unintelligible]

PODGE: [unintelligible]

HODGE: [unintelligible]

PODGE: I SAID IT’S VERY COLD AND MY LITTLE OTTER PAWS ARE FREEZING!

HODGE: WELL, YOU DON’T HAVE TO SHOUT ABOUT IT. 

PODGE: I DO, BECAUSE—

SFX: Train approaching.

HODGE: [unintelligible]

PODGE: [unintelligible]

HODGE: [unintelligible]

SFX: More train noises. Loud horn. Shakes the buildings. Rattles the streets. 

HODGE: [!!!!]

PODGE: [unintelligible]

SFX: Train passing

HODGE: [unintelligible]

PODGE: [unintelligible]

HODGE: [unintelligible]

SFX: Traffic noises resume

HODGE: [unintelligible]

PODGE: I CAN’T UNDULATE WHEN MY UNDULATOR IS FROZEN!

HODGE: [unintelligible]

PODGE: NO! I’M DONE UNDULATING! I’M GOING HOME!

HODGE: [unintelligible]

HODGE: [unintelligible]

SFX: Traffic noises. 

HODGE: [unintelligible, but clearly plaintive]

HODGE: [unintelligible, and definitely miserable]

SFX: Traffic noises. 

HODGE: [unintelligible, and so very morose]

MAN IN CAR: Hey, get off the road!

HODGE: PODGE!

PODGE: [amplified] Hello, cranky man in the old van. Yes, you with the smoking tailpipe. I am talking to you. Have you been to your bookstore lately? 

HODGE: WHAT ARE YOU DOING? 

PODGE: [amplified] I’m adapting to my environment, Hodge. Here. Put this one. You are shivering so badly you might be sliding out of phase. 

HODGE: [unintelligible]

PODGE: Yes, hello! Yes, I am talking to you in the blue car. I see you with your phone. You should go to the bookstore or I will tell a local law enforcement officer that I saw you texting while driving. 

HODGE: [unintelligible]

PODGE: I borrowed this megaphone from the nice people at the car lot over there. Hey, you in the truck! You look like you could use an audio book. How about getting one at the bookstore? 


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