The neighborhood bookstore for Phinney Ridge and Greenwood
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We have more booksellers now than ever, and therefore more top 10 lists! This is the time of year when we, like just about everyone who writes about books, choose our favorites for the year (still with a month left, I know). (The New York Times top 10, still the most influential of all the lists, will be announced tomorrow morning.) There are so many good books published each year (and, in our cases, we read so many books published in other years) that it can be hard to have any sort of consensus on the "best books" of the year, and that only becomes more evident the more lists we have. Among the 73 books on our seven lists (yes, a couple of us squeezed some extra books in), only three were chosen by more than one of us. Maybe that means there are a lot of good books, maybe that means we try to read different books during the year, maybe that means we're bad at convincing each other to read our favorites!

What are the three we shared? Only one was actually published this year: Aminatta Forna's novel Happiness, which both James and I put on our lists (and which one well-read customer has declared is her favorite novel ever!). It's not a book that's gotten much notice, but it's really good, in a not-terribly-flashy way, and I suspect it might find a lot more readers (at least around here) when it comes out in paperback in January. The second of the three is a kids' book from 1969 that Liz read and loved this year, which convinced Nancy to read it too: Penelope Farmer's time-travel tale Charlotte Sometimes. And the third? No real surprise here: it's Madeleine St. John's The Women in Black, which is on three of our lists and could easily have been on mine too, if I hadn't (by necessity) limited mine to 2018 books. Even though it was published first in 1993, I think it's safe to say it's been our book of the year (further confirmed by its speedy induction in our 100 Club below).

And meanwhile, with everything going on in December, we're still making time to host another monthly installment of the Process Reading Series. This month, on Tuesday, December 11, at 7 pm, we're welcoming two local memoir and essay writers: Sarah Cannon, who has written for Salon and the New York Times and whose new memoir, The Shame of Losing, was just published by Red Hen Press, and our neighbor Natalie Singer, whose "self-interrogation," California Calling, came out from Portland's Hawthorne Books in March (and which made Nancy's 2018 top 10 list below!). Come join us for good talk about writing, memoir, and, of course, process.
Thanks—Tom, Laura, Kim, Liz, Haley, Anika, Doree, Nancy, and James
Madison Books Pop-up Plans: On Track for Dec. 10!
Last week, we said we were hoping to open a Madison Books pop-up shop in our unfinished new space in Madison Park, and this week we can report that, as the many moving parts continue to fall into place, the plans are looking good! We expect to be open for business beginning on Monday, December 10, so if you're in the neighborhood over there (or are up for making a field trip and want to see the space while it still has plywood walls and an unfinished ceiling), please come by: 4118 E. Madison St., two doors down from Madison Kitchen and two blocks from Lake Washington!
Kim's 2018 Top 11
As mentioned a couple of weeks back, Kim was the one among us to catch on to Sigrid Nunez's The Friend long before it won this year's National Book Award for fiction. She's also been the in-house champion of the new novels Convenience Store Woman and Freshwater, but her 100%-lady 2018 list is heavy with 2017 releases she judiciously made time for this year, including Priestdaddy, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Arbitrary Stupid Goal, and Improvement.
Liz's 2018 Top 10
After her Russophile (or Russophobe?) year of reading in 2017, Liz stuck more closely to the NATO countries for her all-fiction top 10 this year, with the exception of Keith Gessen's Russian-American tale, A Terrible Country. She has a knack of convincing everyone on both sides of the counter to follow her enthusiasms, and she's gathered quite a few readers for two ambitious historical novels set in English villages, Ulverton and The Gallows Pole. But most of all we have to note the two books she's getting everybody to read this year: her predicted Booker-winner, Milkman, and our whole store's current evangelical obsession, The Women in Black.
Tom's 2018 Top 12
Like last year, I read so many good books this year that I had to limit my top 10 list only to books that came out this year (leaving out such old-but-new-to-me favorites like Gorilla, My Love, The Big Con, and, of course, The Women in Black), and even then I couldn't pare down further than 12. My list includes thought-provoking reporting by Timothy Snyder and C.J. Chivers, powerful, artful memoirs by Terese Marie Mailhot and Kiese Laymon, superb story collections by Helen DeWitt and Denis Johnson, and the most thoroughly enjoyable book of my year, Jonathan Abrams's oral history of The Wire, but I most want to highlight two wonderful novels that have gotten almost no attention on year-end lists: Chris Offutt's masterful bit of Kentucky noir, Country Dark, and Zachary Lazar's subtle, ambivalent novel of witness, Vengeance. Check them both out! 
Haley's 2018 Top 10
Haley's lists are always the most reliably eclectic among ours, and this year her favorites range from classics discovered (The Curve of Time and A Wizard of Earthsea) to Ruth Goodman's entertainingly authentic recreation of Victorian life, Gary Krist's history of the improbable rise of early Los Angeles, and Nora Krug's graphic memoir of German family history. And all year, she's said how much she enjoyed Thomas Page McBee's memoir of exploring his masculinity as a trans man training for a boxing match in Madison Square Garden, and we've all joined her in our appreciation of Jane Mount's lovely book of bookish miscellany, Bibliophile.
Nancy's 2018 Top 10
Nancy's top 10 includes poetry (Melissa Stein's Terrible Blooms), memoir (Natalie Singer's California Calling—see above!), a lesser-known Canadian novel recommended by friends (Elizabeth Hay's Late Nights on Air), and a handful of books for kids, including the Jillian Tamaki's gorgeous picture book, They Say Blue, and Jarrett Krosoczka's graphic memoir of the loves and losses of his childhood, Hey, Kiddo, as well as two of the store's most popular books all year long, Naomi Alderman's disconcertingly imagined tale of a shift in power between the sexes and Tara Westover's memoir of her extremely unlikely self-education.
Anika's 2018 Top 10
Like Nancy, Anika only joined us in the fall, but she has of course been reading all year, and her 2018 favorites include young-adult novels by Becky Albertalli and Corey Ann Haydu, poems by Ada Limón, the first book in Patrick Rothfuss's still-unfinished fantasy trilogy, a long-hidden novel by the crime master Patricia Highsmith, recent novels by Laurie Frankel and Celeste Ng, and Maggie O'Farrell's one-of-a-kind memoir of her near-death encounters, with which Anika made her newsletter-review debut a couple of weeks back.
James's 2018 Top 10
It's quite possible that James reads more books every year than the rest of us combined, so it's not surprising that he not only submitted a top 10, but also a list of runners-up solely from NYRB Classics, and an extra list of 10 more, just in case we needed them. But full credit for (unlike me) having the discipline to limit himself to a top 10 , and the books on his all-fiction list include both fantastic elements (e.g. the titular man with a seagull on his head) and the details of history (such as Mathias Énard's novel of Michelangelo in Constantinople, which just came out this week); some, like Wayétu Moore's She Would Be King, combine the two. His favorite book of the year, though? Richard Powers's The Overstory, the favorite of many this year.
Cover Quiz 123
Cover Crop Quiz #123
Perhaps another tough one, but, according to LitHub's diverting survey of each year's bestselling book for the last 100 years, this was the U.S.'s bestselling novel in both 1931 and 1932.
Last Week's Answer
As expected, even with a big hint about the B and the C, very few folks came up with this one: Ezra Pound's The ABC of Reading, with the classic New Directions cover designed by Alvin Lustig.
New to Our 100 Club

The Women in Black
by Madeleine St. John
(32 weeks to reach 100, although Liz points out that we were out of stock for most of that time!)

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

Dear Zealots: Letters from a Divided Land by Amos Oz
They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45 by Milton Mayer
New in the Store

Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny
How Long 'Til Black Future Month by N.K. Jemisin
Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants by Mathias Énard
Love in the New Millennium by Can Xue

Where We Go from Here by Bernie Sanders
Meateater Fish and Game Cookbook by Steven Rinella
A Writer of Our Time: The Life and Writings of John Berger by John Berger

Kids and Teens:
Runebreaker (Runebinder #2) by Alex P. Kahler
Happy Veggies by Mayumi Oda

Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump by David Neiwert
The Origins of Creativity by Edward O. Wilson
Ramp Hollow: The Ordeal of Appalachia by Steven Stoll
The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey
The Collector of Lives: Giorgio Vasari and the Invention of Art by Ingrid Rowland and Noah Charney
This Week in Henry David Thoreau's Journals

Saturday, January 18, 1932
(age 48)
"I cannot but see still in my mind's eye those little striped breams poised in Walden's glaucous water [a species he'd just seen there for the first time]. They balance all the rest of the world in my estimation at present.... How wild it makes the pond and the township to find a new fish in it! America renews her youth here.... The bream, appreciated, floats in the pond as the centre of the system, another image of God. Its life no man can explain more than he can his own. I want you to perceive the mystery of the bream.... It is if a poet or an anchorite had moved into the town, whom I can see from time to time and think of yet oftener."
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