The neighborhood bookstore for Phinney Ridge and Greenwood
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Happy New Year! It's been quiet on the newsletter front since early December, but bustling in the store (stores!), and now we're back to more leisurely January bookselling. I don't know if you got down to visit our pop-up at Madison Books—I only made it there a few times myself, but I saw Phinney people every time I did, and of course met many new folks from our new neighborhood—but James (and Lewis and Jeff) were quite busy there, and had a very warm welcome. The shop is all packed away now, while the construction folks continue their work, and our current plan is to open for good in late February or early March. We will of course pass on more specific details when we have them!

James tweeted out the Madison Books top 10 bestsellers for their two weeks in business, with, of course, Michelle Obama's Becoming at the top. Our list was quite similar: we shared Becoming, Educated, Milkman, There There, and A Gentleman in Moscow, while his featured two that hardly hit our radar: Anne Youngson's Meet Me at the Museum (a favorite recommendation of James's) and Seth's Christmas Ghost Stories series, which I didn't even know about! (That's going to be one of the fun parts of having two stories: discovering new stuff right within our own walls.) And on our side, happy (but not surprised) to report that The Women in Black, our own favorite recommendation, flew out of here all through December and was #3 for us for those two weeks before Christmas. And #10 on our list? The Lines That Make Us, by our Metro-bus-driving friend Nathan Vass. We ran out of Nathan's book during December, but on his way to work the other day he delivered another batch. Come give it a look.

And now we have the refreshing pleasure of looking forward to a new year's worth of new releases. I'll have a spring new-releases newsletter for you in a few weeks, but this week I wanted to note that a few books we love are new in paperback right now. Two were on my 2018 top 12 list: The Largesse of the Sea Maiden, Denis Johnson's final short story collection, and Aminatta Forna's Happiness, which I've been recommending quite a bit lately, and which I think could be a big hit in paperback (at least for us!). And there's a new edition of an older book that Liz loves (and I've always wanted to read): McGlue, by Ottessa Moshfegh. She's gotten a lot of attention (deservedly) for her more recent novels, but this is her first one, a tiny and strange little book set in the 19th century, that Liz says is better than any of the others. Come take a look!

Thanks—Tom, Laura, Kim, Liz, Haley, Anika, Doree, Nancy, and James
The Common Wind
New Book of the Week
The Common Wind: Afro-American Currents in the Age of the Haitian Revolution
by Julius S. Scott
This innovative book of history comes with a history of its own: as a legendary PhD thesis shared for three decades among scholars but never published for a wider audience until now. Its innovation? Piecing together the vibrant lines of communication that existed among slaves and free blacks in the 18th-century Caribbean, not from the communication (mostly verbal) itself, but from the records of those who were threatened by it: the letters of planters and colonial governors, newspaper reports, and court records. Scott's story is not flashily told, and often, necessarily, has to stick to generalities, but once it reaches the twin revolutions of the age, the French and the Haitian, it catches fire with the excitement of discovery and till-now-unspoken knowledge, just as it did for those looking for freedom at the time. —Tom
Old Book of the Week
Infrastructure: A Guide to the Industrial Landscape
by Brian Hayes
"What's that thing?" Brian Hayes's daughter used to ask from the back seat. You might have asked the same, when seeing some strange man-made object sticking out of the ground or on the side of a building, something obviously built for function not for beauty, but whose function is obscure. Hayes wrote a book answering that question over and over, and it's one of my favorite one-of-a-kind obsessive encyclopedias, full of photographs of mud pumps, electrical insulators, and overflow inlets and—even better—explanations of how and why they work. Presenting these elements as if they were beautiful birds in a Peterson field guide, he encourages you to question where the true beauty of our landscape lies. —Tom
Kids' Book of the Week
by Ian Boothby and Nina Matsumoto
An enthusiastic customer tipped us off to this graphic novel, nearly a year after it came out. All we needed to hear, really, was "two cats in a robotic dog suit," but "narrated by a sentient litter box"? That sealed the deal. And the book itself lived up to every hope raised by those oddball ideas: funny, action-packed, and not a little heartfelt. We would be delighted if Boothby and Matsumoto created many more adventures for robot dog Sparks and August and Charlie, the two intrepid cats at the controls inside. (Ages 7 to 10) —Tom
Big Bang
Link of the Week
"To Jonathan—Six Figures in Your Future!"
If, like me, you enjoy publishing gossip, underdog literary schemers, forgotten novelists rediscovered, and Jonathan Lethem, then you'll likely enjoy Lethem's New Yorker piece on his late friend David Bowman, adapted from his introduction to Bowman's long-unpublished novel, Big Bang, which finally comes out next week.
Link of the Week
The 1959 Project
I can't really find a book-related justification for this link (except that I hope she turns it into a book some day), but if, like me, you like one-a-day-for-a-year glimpses into artists' lives and, like me, think that the late-'50s New York jazz scene ranks alongside late-1840s Concord, Mass., as one of the great American creative hubs, then you'll want to follow Natalie Weiner's 1959 Project, a day-by-day appreciation of a wonder year of jazz.
Cover Quiz 126
Cover Crop Quiz #126
A book from 1972 that looks back to the '50s.
Last Week's Answer
For those of a certain generation (some of whom confessed having read the book and seen the movie, multiple times), an easy one: Erich Segal's 1970 novel, Love Story. Getting this one right means never having to say you're sorry, I guess. (Sorry.)
New to Our 100 Club

by Tara Westover
(46 weeks to reach 100)
New to Our 100 Club

The War That Saved My Life
by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
(136 weeks to reach 100)

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.)

How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas
New in the Store

Lake City by Thomas Kohnstamm
Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin
The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh
Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss
Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom
The Truths We Hold by Kamala Harris
The Sopranos Sessions by Matt Zoller Seitz and Alan Sepinwall
The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington by Brad Meltzer
Ganges: The Many Pasts of an Indian River by Sudipta Sen

Kids and Teens:
My Heart by Corinna Luyken
Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen McManus
Click by Kayla Miller
Cheerful Chick by Martha Brockenbrough and Brian Won

Happiness by Aminatta Forna
The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson
McGlue by Ottessa Moshfegh
Macbeth by Jo Nesbo
The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers
This Week in Lord Byron's Diaries

January 9, 1821
(age 32)
"The lapse of ages changes all things—time—language—the earth—the bounds of the sea—the stars of the sky, and every thing 'about, around, and underneath' man, except man himself, who has always been and always will be, an unlucky rascal. The infinite variety of lives conduct but to death, and the infinity of wishes lead but to disappointment. All the discoveries which have yet been made have multiplied little but existence."
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