Hello and welcome to the last bookstore newsletter of this year. Boxes continue to trickle in on their own schedule, and we continue to burn Candles of Eternal Hopefulness that they will all find their way to us eventually. By that light, we're going to close out this year by looking back on some of our favorites. 

Let's start with Natalie Haynes's A Thousand Ships. It came out in January, which was, like, a thousand years ago, and launched a year of literary feminist retellings of the old stories. Sure, the battle for Troy was fought by the menfolk, but the womenfolk were not idly standing around. Their story is much deeper and richer. 

We liked to give William W. Johnstone a lot of grief for writing while dead, but being dead has certainly infused Johnstone with a sense of humor about his craft. Of all the Johnstone books published in 2021 (and there were many), we're kinda partial to Hell for Breakfast as a title. Though, to be fair, Biscuits and Gravy is a strong contender, even though it won't be out for another week or two. The tagline for the fourth Dewey "Mac" Mackenzie book is "Hot Biscuits. Cold Graves." Because that's what is on the chuckwagon menu this time around. 

Seriously. Who steps up and says, "Hey, Mac, can I get some biscuits, and, uh, maybe get the grave on the side?" 

Anyway, keep on writing, Mr. Johnstone. We're happy to shelve 'em and sell 'em. 

We were delighted by David Slayton's White Trash Warlock when it came out late last year, and we were doubly-delighted when the sequel dropped a few months ago. Trailer Park Trickster continues to make urban fantasy fun again. 

And speaking of dark alleys and dark magics, Guillermo del Toro's Nightmare Alley hits the theaters this week. It's based on a book, by the way. Written by William Lindsay Gresham, Nightmare Alley is a wicked tale of carny life and noir desperation—the American dream turned into a psychological nightmare. It's one of those dead-eyed classics that are the soil in which all sorts of supernatural flowers have taken root. 

And speaking of secrets and lies and cold-blooded murder, how about curling up with Lucy Foley's The Guest List? It's a fabulous wedding, attended by fabulous people, at a fabulous remote location. And everything is going to be just so fab . . . well, someone turns up dead and the finger-pointing begins. Oh, you don't have to scrape more than a fingernail's worth of frosting off this cake to find all sorts of rot. 

Oh, and Chris Whitaker's We Begin at the End. This book. What a read. We all loved it. You will too. It's like To Kill a Mockingbird meets Little Wolves meets Mystic River. Okay, probably too many comps, but whatever. Trust us. This one is amazing. 

As is S. A. Cosby's Razorblade Tears. Vengeance powers many a story, but this is one of those books where you're not sure you want to be along for the ride. Once you start, you have no choice but ride it to the end . . . 

Pretty books were very . . . pretty, and there are many to chose from (so very, very many), but we're going to note the Inspired Traveler's Guide series. Kind of genius to marry travel guides with writers and artists and other visionaries. 

However, you definitely do not want to check into The Sun Down Motel. Trust Simone St. James on this. Bad stuff happens at the Sun Down. 

And there were many books about libraries and words and libraries of words, and while the obvious choice would be Matt Haig's The Midnight Library (not because it came out this year—which it didn't—but because everyone read it this year), we're going to mention John Koenig's The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. But only briefly. Because we have one copy left. And there will be no wrestling in the aisles for it. 

Instead, how about James Nestor's Breath, which is absolutely marvelous. It's about breathing: why we do it, how we should do it, what it means to do it well, and who could benefit from doing more of it. Take some time for yourself. Read a book about doing nothing but breathing. You'll be surprised at what happens. 

For more ideas about great holiday gifts, you should go check out our archive of lists from this newsletter. You can find them at or via the handy link at the top of this newsletter. 

We'll be at the store every day until Zero Hour. Come and see us. We have lots of lovely suggestions and a few surprises. In the meantime, remember to smile to one another. Practice kindness and attentiveness to the moments. Pet a squirrel, if you have the chance. Wear a hat. It looks like that sort of weather. 

Overheard At The Store »»

NADIA: How is the restock going? 

HODGE: Fine. Fine. 

PODGE: It's good. All good. 

NADIA: Uh huh. 

HODGE: Those shelves are good. 

PODGE: And those too. Very well stocked. 

NADIA: What about thrillers? And science fiction? 

HODGE: What about them? 

NADIA: Well, I was just back there. 

PODGE: You were?

HODGE: Gracious! 

NADIA: Yes . . . I was. 

HODGE: And you weren't . . . ? 

PODGE: It didn't . . . ? 

NADIA: What is going on with you two? 

HODGE: We can't go back there. 

PODGE: No, no, no no no no. 

NADIA: Why not? 

HODGE: Because—

PODGE: There's a—

HODGE: A big—

PODGE: Very scary—

NADIA: What? Oh, you mean Tiny? 

PODGE: Tiny? 

HODGE: Tiny? 

NADIA: The standee. Under the stairs. 

HODGE: It . . . it's a what? 

PODGE: It has a name?

NADIA: It's a giant poster.  

PODGE: That's not what I would call it. 

HODGE: Yeah, I think it has a different name. Something fancy. In Latin. 

PODGE: Terribilimus worstibus. 

HODGE: Exactly. 

NADIA: No, it's a picture. On cardboard. You stand it up and it—look, it's just a picture.

HODGE: Easy for you to say. You're almost as tall as it is. 

PODGE: It's easy to not be frightened when you're tall. 

NADIA: Relax. You two are so jumpy. You aren't frightened by the moose, are you?

HODGE: What? No. That's absurd. 

NADIA: Why? The moose scares me. 

PODGE: He kinda scares me a little bit too, Hodge. 

HODGE: He's just a moose. He won't eat you. Besides, he likes books. 

NADIA: Well, Tiny likes books too. 

HODGE: He does? 

NADIA: He does. 

PODGE: Well, okay . . . I guess. 

HODGE: Yeah, okay. As long as he likes books. 

NADIA: Good. Now, how about restocking the thrillers? 

PODGE: Yes, but . . . 

NADIA: What? 

PODGE: What about the ghost? 

NADIA: <sigh> It's always something with you two, isn't it?  


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

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