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The neighborhood bookstore for Phinney Ridge and Greenwood
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How are things going down in Madison Park? We're still on track to open the door of Madison Books next Monday: computers set up, books and bookmarks ordered, phone line about to be installed, logo designed (see my sister Elinor's work in process on the right). We still need a ceiling, I'm told, but there are a few days yet for that to happen! We'll have lots of books for sale, and gift certificates, and we're looking forward to talking books and Madison Park and anything you like. I hope to spend a few hours down there next week, but mainly it'll be your chance to say hello to James and welcome him (and the books) to the neighborhood. We'll be open 10-7 every day (12-5 on Sundays), up through Christmas Eve. See you at 4118 E. Madison St.!

Meanwhile, with plenty of bookselling going on at Phinney too, and therefore not as much of our reading getting done right now as we might like, it's an appropriate time to return to our annual tradition: after honoring the books we loved the most this year last week, this week we celebrate the ones we didn't read, but still hope to get to, or at least regret most having let pass by. You can see lists from Kim, James, Liz, and me below—we each handle them differently. Kim actually reads most of hers in the following year (this year, two on her 2017 unread list, Priestdaddy and My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, ended up on her 2018 top 10), while, as hopeful as I might be when I choose my ten, I know in my heart of reading hearts that I'm likely to only catch up with one or two next year (this year, I managed just one). Oh well: regrets and forever-unfulfilled desires are part of a reading life too.

As I mentioned last week, the New York Times revealed its 2018 top 10 list on Thursday, and I was up early for it, so we have a good stock of just about everything (e.g., Educated, Washington Black, Small Fry, etc.) on the list. This week, the Times's daily critics also announced their individual top 10s, which makes for some more idiosyncratic choices. Among those critics, I often agree with Dwight Garner's taste, but we're all mad at him today after he gave our beloved Milkman a rather unconvincing (we think!) pan. So to counterbalance, and to celebrate the Booker winner's U.S. publication week, below we're reprinting Liz's original rave for the book, from back before it won the Booker. (You might also be interested in the recent profile of Burns, and the effect of the surprising prize, in the Times—where you can also watch a local choir she recently joined serenade her with Billy Bragg's "The Milkman of Human Kindness.") 

 
Thanks—Tom, Laura, Kim, Liz, Haley, Anika, Doree, Nancy, and James
The Process Reading Series: Sarah Cannon, Natalie Singer
A reminder that next Tuesday at 7 pm, The Process Reading Series returns, featuring two local memoir and essay writers, Sarah Cannon, author of The Shame of Losing, and Natalie Singer, author of California Calling. Come join us for readings and shop-talk about writing, publishing, and the whole process!
New Book of the Week (Again)
Milkman
by Anna Burns
I usually watch the Booker Prize unfold with nothing at stake. But this year I picked up Milkman: within ten pages I was in love, and when I saw it on the shortlist, I finally understood how my husband feels when his team makes the Final Four. I say “in love” because Milkman is told in a singular voice—a smart, funny middle-aged “middle sister” looking back on a few months during her eighteenth year. She has a large vocabulary (sometimes invented) and deploys it off-kilteredly (but not confoundingly). And while she eschews proper nouns, the other characters—“wee sisters,” “maybe boyfriend,” “real milkman,” etc.—are fully realized individuals too. The political situation however—also unnamed but obviously the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the 1970’s—is rendered eerily generic. It could be any situation in which violent tribalism reigns and one’s ability to see beyond the accepted wisdom is the only—but risky—way to escape. I just hope I can remain philosophical if the Booker judges make a mistake and pass over Milkman. “It is better to have loved and lost...” blah, blah, blah. —Liz
Kim's Unread List
Kim is the undisputed champion of the unread list, because she actually uses her list as a reading guide for the next year: this year she read seven out of last year's ten. (She clarifies: 7.3—she's in the middle of Pachinko.) This year, she hopes to—and likely will—get to story collections by Lucia Berlin and Jamel Brinkley, Nick Drnaso's acclaimed graphic novel, Sabrina, and more.
James's Unread List
James is a testament to the truism that the more books you read, the more books you want to read. As he said when he submitted his list, "The list of my favorite books of the year is always long, but the list of books I wish I'd read is orders of magnitude longer. Add at least one, maybe two zeroes to the number of titles on this list." The ten he narrowed it down to include two novels from Nigeria, one from Angola, and, most ambitiously, the 2,016-page collected letters of the brilliant friends Guy Davenport and Hugh Kenner.
Liz's Unread List
I admire and envy Liz's reading obsessions, and her dives into the classics, neglected and otherwise, and if her 2018 unread list is any guide to her plans for 2019, it looks like Mother Russia might be back on the agenda, along with healthy doses of more mid-century England, and few wild cards, including Michael W. Twitty's award-winning Cooking Gene.
Tom's Unread List
My list of 2018 hopes and near-misses includes novels that spent much of the year near the top of my to-read stack (Warlight and Kudos), ones recommended by customers (Eager and The Field of Blood), and just-released items that I might actually get to once things quiet down a bit in the store (Common Wind and Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants).
Link of the Week
The Millions Year in Reading
One of the December pleasures we most look forward to has begun: the Millions' Year in Reading series, with writers surveying their own 2018 reading, starting with folks like Ada Limon, Elizabeth McCracken, and Ling Ma, with new entries posted every day in what has become a reader's ideal advent calendar.
Cover Quiz 124
Cover Crop Quiz #124
No hint this time.
Last Week's Answer
A few folks, understandably, guessed other agricultural classic from the time (The Grapes of Wrath, Giants in the Earth), but the bestselling novel in the U.S. in 1931 and 1932 was Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth.
Becoming
New to Our 100 Club

Becoming
by Michelle Obama
(3 weeks (!!) to reach 100)
New to Our 100 Club

Dog Man
by Dav Pilkey
(118 weeks to reach 100)



Phinney Books
7405 Greenwood Ave. N
Seattle, WA 98103
206.297.2665
www.phinneybooks.com
info@phinneybooks.com
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New on Our Resist List
(See this week's full list.
20% of sales go to the ACLU.)


The Common Wind: Afro-American Currents in the Age of the Haitian Revolution by Julius S. Scott
Feminasty: The Complicated Woman's Guide to Surviving the Patriarchy Without Drinking Herself to Death by Erin Gibson
New in the Store


Fiction:
Milkman by Anna Burns
Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
North of Dawn by Nuruddin Farah
Bryant & Hall: Hall of Mirrors by Christopher Fowler


Nonfiction:
Babel: Around the World in Twenty Languages by Gaston Dorren
The Point of It All: A Lifetime of Great Loves and Endeavors by Charles Krauthammer
The Club: How the English Premier League Became the Wildest, Richest, Most Disruptive Force in Sports by Joshua Robinson
Never Grow Up by Jackie Chan


Kids and Teens:
Queen of Air and Darkness (Dark Artifices #3) by Cassandra Clare
I Love You, Little Pookie by Sandra Boynton
Owls Are Good at Keeping Secrets: An Unusual Alphabet by Sara O'Leary
Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton


Paperback:
The Boat People by Sharon Bala
Gnomon by Nick Harkaway
The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve by Stephen Greenblatt
The Doomsday Machine by Daniel Ellsberg
This Month in Duncan Hannah's 20th Century Boy


December 1972
(age 20)
"It's back to Minneapolis for Christmas. Dad and I go skiing. Sitting in the chairlift, Dad is worried because I don't know about economics or electricity or insurance or nuthin'. So I tell him that he don't know what I know, and if I'm gonna make it as an artist, I gotta be really good. And maybe the fun is in getting there. I'm not worried about money, I'll figure something out on the way. Then he gives me a lecture on Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, a book he swears by. Ask strangers questions, win them over. Makes me ride the chairlift with strangers to practice the Dale Carnegie technique. Pretending to be fascinated by utter bores is my idea of hell."
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