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The neighborhood bookstore for Phinney Ridge and Greenwood
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I mentioned this in last week's newsletter, but I may have, as my newspaper friends say, buried the lede: not only are we celebrating our fifth birthday on Saturday (with cake!), but EVERYTHING AT THE STORE WILL BE 20% OFF, ALL DAY LONG. Come by (before or after the Solstice Parade—you don't even have to wash the paint off first), get some cake, say hi, and stock up on your reading for summer!

Not that I have anything against cake, or discounts, but my favorite birthday tradition of ours is the counting up of the bestsellers. Rather than make a list at the end of the calendar year, we do our counting on our anniversary, so each year's Phinney Books bestseller list runs from June of the previous year to June of this year. And as much as I feel like I have every bit of store data lodged in my head, there are always surprises when I tally the numbers. No surprise, though, for the #1 book for Phinney year five: even though it didn't come out until November, we sold almost twice as many copies of Michelle Obama's Becoming as any other book. Number 2 was not really a surprise to us, but it sure was a delight: Madeleine St. John's The Women in Black, the 25-year-old Australian novel Liz plucked from obscurity and led us all, and many of our customers, to fall in love with. We're still waiting for the rest of the U.S. to catch on!

You can see our top ten to the right, and our full top 100 on our site. I'm always pleased to see local authors throughout the list, including Robin DiAngelo at #7 and Kazu Kibuishi at #10, as well as Ijeoma Oluo's So You Want to Talk About Race (last year's #4) at #11, friends and neighbors Beth Jusino (at #32 for Walking to the End of the World) and Bonnie Rough (#69 for Beyond Birds and Bees), our local bus driver Nathan Vass (#70 for The Lines That Make Us), Frida Clements (#42 for The Snuggle Is Real), Nancy Pearl (#64), Lyanda Lynn Haupt (#57), and David B. Williams, in the top 100 for the third straight year for Seattle Walks. What other books have stayed bestsellers for three years? Quite a few: A Gentleman in Moscow, Timothy Snyder's On Tyranny, Joan London's The Golden Age, Kelly Barnhill's The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing, Neal Gaiman's Norse Mythology, and Dav Pilkey's Dog Man. And three books have made our top 100 for the last four years: Rachel Cusk's Outline, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley's The War That Saved My Life, and Viet Thanh Nguyen's The Sympathizer. I could nerd out on our numbers for quite a while more, but I'll leave it at that. Hope to see you Saturday!

 
Thanks—Tom, Laura, Kim, Liz, Haley, Anika, Doree, and Nancy
Tonight: Ridge Readers Discuss The Immortalists
Tonight at the store at 7:30 pm, our Ridge Readers book club meets to discuss Chloe Benjamin's novel, The Immortalists. Next month's discussion, on July 17: Stephen Greenblatt's Tyrant.
Landmarks
Old Book of the Week
Landmarks
by Robert Macfarlane
I will, at some point, shut up about Robert Macfarlane, but while it's fresh in my mind I wanted to recommend an earlier book of his that I've just gotten to know. I like books about nature, but I really like books about books about nature, and that, in part, is what Landmarks is. The other part of the book has gotten the most attention: a glossary of terms for the natural and human landscape that he's gathered from across the British Isles. But it's the rest of the book that drew me in: eleven essays on nature writing that are, mostly, appreciations of his favorite writers—Nan Shepherd, Roger Deakin, Barry Lopez, and more—every one of which will make you want to track down their books and read them next. —Tom
More Old Books of the Week
Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: Over Thirty Years of Conversations with Robert Irwin
and True to Life: Twenty-Five Years of Conversations with David Hockney
by Lawrence Weschler
Lawrence Weschler's great and unique talent—and it's great and unique enough that it makes him one of my favorite writers—is as a conduit for the obsessive ideas of others, from cartoonist Ben Katchor to musicologist Nicolas Slonimsky to museum curator/parodist David Wilson to, in his upcoming biography, Oliver Sacks. And these two volumes show him off at his best, capturing decades of conversations with two committed and restless visual artists and beautifully reproducing much of the art they discuss. Their art and their personalities—Irwin's conceptual light constructions and his laid-back loner intensity vs. Hockney's painterly compositions and collages and his sociable experimenting—could hardly be more different, but Weschler is at ease with them both (and they clearly with him). I've rarely found books that capture artists' articulation of their work so well or, even more impressively, the transformations of their thinking and style over time. These are books to live with. —Tom
The Volunteer
Links of the Week
Scibona and Liu
I enjoyed two profiles of writers this week. One, in the Paris Review, was by the writer himself: the novelist Salvatore Scibona's elegant essay on learning to let go, as a writer and a pianist. (One favorite line: "Something had been given to me for free (that’s all grace is) and I had insisted on paying for it, with work.") And the other, in the new New Yorker, is of the Chinese science fiction writer Cixin Liu, whose trilogy, beginning with The Three-Body Problem, has entranced readers (me included) across the world and made him a major figure in China, where the headlong rush into the future during his lifetime has clearly influenced his stories.
Cover Quiz 149
Cover Crop Quiz #149
In honor of our fifth birthday, a book that was a bestseller for us in our first year.
Last Week's Answer
Perhaps you, as many did, recognized the topknot of the Cowardly Lion from the original cover of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.



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.)


Reckoning: The Epic Battle Against Sexual Abuse and Harassment by Linda Hirshman
Ghosts of Gold Mountain: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad by Gordon H. Chang
New in the Store


Fiction:
Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
The Porpoise by Mark Haddon
The Capital by Robert Menasse
The Travelers by Regina Porter
Travelers by Helon Habila


Nonfiction:
A Primer for Forgetting: Getting Past the Past by Lewis Hyde
Reckoning: The Epic Battle Against Sexual Abuse and Harassment by Linda Hirshman
Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of Natural Life by Darcey Steinke
Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life by Louise Aronson
Easy Weekend Getaways from Seattle by Anna Katz


Kids and Teens:
Max Attacks by Kathi Appelt and Penelope Dullaghan
Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay
How to Light Your Dragon by Fred Benaglia and Didier Levy
All of Us with Wings by Michelle Ruiz Keil


Paperback:
French Exit by Patrick DeWitt
Upstate by James Wood
Safe Houses by Dan Fesperman
Days of Awe by A.M. Homes
The House of Government by Yuri Slezkine
This Week in Victor Serge's Notebooks: 1936-1947


June 18, 1943
(age 52)
"Film in Technicolor: Superman, athlete in tights with an S on his chest (the dullest imaginable vision of the Superman), in daily life he is a nice young man in tortoiseshell glasses (a nearsighted Superman, that's not bad at all) who works for an average American newspaper in an average American city. The plot: a ridiculous and fanatical scientist puts the planet in peril through his experiments with gravitational pull. Superman controls electricity by flexing his biceps, flies to the stars and blows them to pieces with a head butt. Then he gets back into his sport coat, his felt hat, and kisses the secretary... Mixture of great imagination and unspeakable stupidity. S is the average and myopic American. Quite a fall from Nietzsche's Übermensch, who, even though he didn't catapult meteors into space, prefigured many things."
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