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What experienced bookseller hasn’t heard this one: “I can’t remember the author or the title, but the cover is blue!” We rarely astonish our customers (or ourselves) by solving a mystery this difficult, but this week was our moment in the sun. The customer was looking for a book by a Black LGBTQ author who wrote something about the ocean. Yikes! We were stumped but determined and after much hair pulling and research-- bingo! The book is Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals, by Alexis Pauline Gumbs. It was as unlikely a title we could have imagined, but it so happened that we actually had it in the store. (It looks like an amazing read BTW) So, the next time you are trying to remember a title or author, give us a try. We live for this - but (hint, hint), it’s okay if you give us a few more clues.

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May We Recommend...
Boy Soldier, by Norman Okello and Theo Hollander
This book possesses personal significance for me. For several years I assisted with various projects at the National Memory and Peace Documentation Centre in Kitgum, Uganda. This facility was created to document the events and personal stories of the Lord’s Resistance Army and Joseph Kony’s war of terror on the citizens of northern Uganda. I was fortunate to be the first copy editor of Norman Okello’s incredible story as told to his biographer, Theo Hollander, Director of the NMPDC. Norman's journey as an abducted boy soldier is a brutal and unflinching tale. His ability to overcome incredible adversity and stigmatism will stay with you long after you turn the last page. I urge you to read this riveting memoir. ~ Jane
Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Noemi is a beautiful and dazzling socialite in 1950’s Mexico City, with a fierce independent spirit. She toys with young men’s affections, frustrating her industrialist father who has ambitions for a suitable marriage for her. But when they receive a desperate letter from her beloved and recently married older cousin, Noemi is sent to investigate. She finds that her cousin has become very ill, living with a dashing but mysterious husband and his sinister family, in a dark and deteriorating mansion. Noemi soon realizes that something is deeply wrong. The tension mounts and escape becomes more and more uncertain in this perfectly creepy Gothic thriller! ~ Jane
Hitting a Straight Lick With a Crooked Stick, by Zora Neale Hurston
Recently I’ve been loving short stories and essays, and I’ve also been meaning to read something by Zora Neale Hurston. So it felt like fate when this new paperback edition of her short stories arrived in the store! The collection brings together the complete list of short stories by this iconic Harlem Renaissance writer. Hurston’s tales revolve around the Black experience, exploring family, community, hopes and dreams as well as nature. Equally humorous and tragic, Hurston’s beautifully illuminated and satirical writing is a testament to American culture and life. This collection also includes an introduction giving helpful and interesting historical context to these stories. Not only is the cover art gorgeous, but this book was also a joy to read!   ~ Cappy  
The Odyssey, by Homer, translated by Emily Wilson
The ancient and enduring tale of the quest to find home—what a story! Wilson’s 2018 translation offers fresh perspectives on a text I’d last read several translations ago, in college. Her thorough and engaging introduction illuminates societal contexts such as slave-owning and the role of women, as well as giving backgrounds on pivotal characters, plot lines, translation history, the author himself, and Wilson’s own philosophy regarding translation. An invaluable glossary and chapter notes help bring the story alive. As a bonus, the book serves as a touchstone for fine recent novels revolving around Greek myth and epic, including Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls and Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles and Circe. ~ John
The Self-Driven Child, by William Stixrud, PhD,
and Ned Johnson
Although I selected this title from the perspective of an educator, I highly recommend it as a pragmatic guide for raising successful humans. The case studies outlined within these pages validate my own dedication and experience with helping students build autonomy, including seizing opportunities to engage with analytical problem-solving, and promoting curiosity in which to effectively navigate their world. If you only have time to read one book on parenting and education, this is the one. ~ Laura Kay
The Magical Language of Others, by E.J. Koh
After her parents move back to Korea during her teenage years, Eun Ji stays in California with her brother, never opening the letters her mother sends. This memoir explores Koh’s complicated longing for her mother, her Korean identity and family history, and the mode of language as the often tenuous and futile way we try to connect with those we love most. Koh, first a poet, is subtle and skillful as a memoirist. She lets readers see her intimate world by including a few photocopies of her mother’s letters. This book touches pain with a compassionate hand, transforming it into love. ~ Carrie
Silence is My Mother Tongue, by Sulaiman Addonia
This novel slowly won my heart. I stayed with it because its premise captivated my attention: within a refugee camp in Sudan, Saba adjusts to camp life with her brother and mother after escaping the Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict. Although I was especially intrigued by “the need for confinement within a confined camp, for exile within exile,” I was also touched by how tenderly Saba cares for her brother (who cannot speak), navigates her own desires to become a doctor, and finally walks inevitably into womanhood. ~ Carrie
Milkman, by Anna Burns
Hilarious and often frightening. In Northern Ireland, nothing is safe and you can’t hide, though you can try to live. Names are dangerous. Suspicion is constant. The novel is told from the point of view of “middle sister,” whose life is utterly disrupted by the appearance of The Milkman, who insinuates himself into her life, bringing danger she has spent her life trying to avoid. The language and cadence in this one need to be experienced! ~ McNevin
Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro
Nobel Prize winner Ishiguro ponders the consequence of both human invention and obsolescence in his latest book. Klara is an Artificial Friend, whose job is to help a human teen, Josie, successfully transverse the road from childhood to young adult, ready to enter the world. Klara, though clearly not human, is bright, observant, and eager to do what she can. But there are ominous elements. The brilliant father, displaced by AI at his job. A gifted neighbor boy whose mother has "sabotaged" his progress by not allowing him to be genetically "lifted" at a certain age, a procedure that has imperiled the health of Josie. An artist who is charged with making an artificial Josie, to replace her if she were to die young. Though Klara's observations always carry a flat affect, her steadfastness is appreciated by the imperfect humans who daily rely on her. ~ Victoria
The Glass Hotel, by Emily St. John Mandel
A moody, dreamy, and devastating mystery. Mandel takes on the careless selfishness of the era that gave us Ponzi schemes, deadly designer drugs, and trophy companions of powerful men, all caught in bargains they didn't understand. Starting at an exclusive hotel off the coast of Vancouver Island, and swinging through Toronto, NYC/Connecticut, and finally out to sea, the story follows the life of a girl named Vincent and her half-brother Paul, who get caught up in the greed and devastation, and experience the longing and self doubt that comes when disaster hits. ~ Victoria
The Wizard Knight, by Gene Wolfe
I reread paragraphs in this, and chapters, immediately after finishing them for their sheer beauty and surprise. But how to explain this one? It feels like living inside Myth. The story is told in the form of an endless letter to the main character's brother, after the hero - Sir Able - has disappeared from our world. A line of dialogue or description can change one's entire sense of what is transpiring. Heroism can suddenly appear a monstrous as he describes what happened. He'll come to major events and say, "I don't want to talk about that." Mysteries transform into still other mysteries, and into dazzling revelations, with masterful finesse. And brief recognitions can reframe the book's universe. ~ McNevin
The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically, by Peter Singer
Singer, an author on practical ethical concerns for nearly 50 years, has often focused on the problem of extreme poverty in developing countries, and the suffering experienced by animals in the production of meat and cosmetics. Those concerns remain significant in this book as well, but Singer also wrestles with recent issues like global warming. His main objective is to help us decide how best to use our valuable time and money to prevent and alleviate suffering. The book helpfully combines solid moral philosophy with careful empirical studies of the relative effectiveness of different charities and government policies. This book is likely to bother you, in a good way. ~ David
Hot Stew, by Fiona Mozley
Mozley’s sophomore novel after Elmet (2017), proceeds to parse the relationships between inheritance and wealth, gentrification and squalor, and men and women. Agatha is a millionairess with loads of London properties inherited from her father. Her current focus is on the redevelopment of a dilapidated Soho building populated by a colorful clan of prostitutes, sex traffickers and small-time gangsters. Rumors of eviction grow and the residents do not plan to go quietly. What could have become a biting contemporary satire is a well-told, gently humorous tale of avarice, entitlement, and strength amidst one of London’s most historic districts. ~ Susan
The Darkest Evening, by Ann Cleeves
Driving home on a snowy night, Detective Vera Stanhope encounters a car that has skidded off the road, and stops to help. There is no driver, but a cry from the back seat reveals a toddler in a car seat. She is near Brockburn, the stately home of her late father’s estranged family. Not wanting to open old wounds, but feeling she has no choice, she presents herself and the child. It is not until the next morning that the body of a young woman, presumably the child’s mother, is found in the snow nearby. Vera is in her element and her team is hot on the heels of a killer. With homage to Robert Frost, she has stopped by woods on a snowy evening, has miles to go before she sleeps, and promises to keep! This is Ann Cleeves at her very best. ~ Susan
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Eagle Harbor Book Groups
You are welcome!
All Store Book Group titles are discounted 15% up until the date of discussion

Reader's Circle Book Group
March 2, 7:00 pm
by Oscar Wilde

Speculative Fiction Book Group
March 2, 7:00 pm
by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes

Mystery Book Group
March 23, 7:00 pm
by John LeCarre'

Our popular in-store book groups are now meeting virtually by zoom!
Contact us for the meeting links.
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Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
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