There it is, down there in the lower right corner of this year’s Summer Book Bingo card: “Recommended by a local bookseller.” Always happy to talk to local book experts, I went straight to the source to get some help with this category. And they delivered! Note that many of these recommendations will fit into other categories as well.
Recommendations from Chris Jarmick
Jarmick insists you read “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson; expects another thrilling cerebral page-turner from “Silent Patient” author Alex Michaelides available on June 15, “The Maidens”; is looking forward to “Big Vape: The Incendiary Rise of Juul” by Jamie Ducharme (June 8) that is getting great reviews; and recommends John Green’s latest — nonfiction this time — “The Anthropocene Reviewed,” a witty collection of minireviews by the celebrated YA author.
Brick & Mortar Books, Redmond
Recommendations from Tina Ullom and Marissa Gunning
“The Thursday Murder Club” by Richard Osman: With a quirky cast of residents from a retirement community, this book is utterly delightful from the first page to the last, with loads of laughs and a mystery that continues to surprise all the way till the end. — T.U.
“The Only Good Indians” by Stephen Graham Jones: For fans of horror, this book captures the creeping dread and mania of a slasher while giving good reasons for readers to get attached to the characters — including the monster. — M.G.
Eagle Harbor Book Co., Bainbridge Island
Recommendations from Megan Gleason
“Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body” by Rebekah Taussig. Taussig tells the story of her life as a woman with a disability with a witty candor that will make you laugh and cry and laugh again.
“The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies” by Jason Fagone. This masterfully written book is one of those satisfying reads that leaves you wondering just how many other unsung heroes are out there, waiting for their stories to be told.
Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle
Recommendation from Tracy Taylor
“Mike Nichols: A Life” by Mark Harris. I’ve seen his films but I didn’t know about the troubled and extraordinary life of Nichols. Reading and (re)watching Nichols’ films, I discovered the gifted and hilarious Elaine May along the way — what a gift. This is a perfect summer read with its own built-in viewing list.
Island Books, Mercer Island
Recommendations from Nancy Shawn and Caitlin Baker
“The Gold Diggers” by Sanjena Sathian. It’s quirky and smart and riveting! — N.S.
“Nives” by Sacha Naspini, translated from the Italian by Clarissa Botsford. Funny! Chickens! Scandals! One of my favorite books of 2021. — C.B.
Recommendation from Tylicia Messiah
“Bloodchild and Other Stories” by Octavia Butler. This woman of color, who spent the last years of her life living in Seattle, is hands down my favorite author. Her novels are inspiring and perspective-altering. “Bloodchild” is a series of short stories, each with an afterword expressing what inspired the writing, and including other great books to read. This is a great read for adults who are used to watching television for entertainment and would like to spice things up with a good read instead. It reminded me of the Netflix series, “Black Mirror.”
Liberty Bay Books, Poulsbo
Recommendation from Suzanne Selfors
“Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit” by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. This local author is a favorite in our store and her new book is gorgeous, uplifting and just what our souls needed after such a long, dark year.
Magnolia’s Bookstore, Seattle
Recommendations from Georgiana Blomberg
“A Theater For Dreamers” by Polly Samson. Just quoting from the back cover: gorgeous, glimmering summer read, “silver-spangled seas, scrumptious food and bohemian bed-hopping.” Set on the Greek Island of Hydra in the ’70s, based loosely on a real artist community there. So well written, immersive and fascinating.
“Simon the Fiddler” by Paulette Jiles. She is the most brilliant, insightful, gifted writer. I wouldn’t have thought I’d be so enraptured by the story of a young musician conscripted into the Confederate army at the end of the Civil War, but indeed I was!
The Neverending Bookshop, Edmonds
Recommendations from Annie Carl
“Dealing with Dragons” by Patricia C. Wrede (and all subsequent “Enchanted Forest Chronicles” books), “The Chronicles of Prydain” by Lloyd Alexander, and the “Old Kingdom” series by Garth Nix (with a forthcoming title in November!)
For me, summer is all about rereading and fantasy. It has been since I was a kid. I have no idea why I got into my head that summer was for this kind of reading. Probably because I was at the library at least once or twice a week discovering new books. Or the summer I was 14 and found my parents’ stash of science fiction and fantasy books in the basement. I still have my dad’s copy of “The Last Unicorn” (Peter S. Beagle) from 1969.
Page 2 Books, Burien
Recommendation from Jenny Cole
I just finished reading “Hairpin Bridge” by local author Taylor Adams. I have always enjoyed action-packed, edge-of-your-seat movies and reading his books are like that type of movie in print form.
Paper Boat Booksellers, West Seattle
Recommendations from Eric Judy and Desirae Wilkerson
“The Gentleman Bastards” series by Scott Lynch. This is epic fantasy at its best. It’s smart and fast-paced, centering on the lives of a couple of thieves who run elaborate cons and tangle with rival gangs and mean wizards. — E.J.
“Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory” by Caitlin Doughty. I learned through reading this that there’s nothing to fear about death. — D.W.
Phinney Books, Seattle
Recommendations from Liz Goodwin and Tom Nissley
“Where Stands a Winged Sentry” by Margaret Kennedy. This diary kept by a British novelist during the summer of 1940 after Dunkirk — the quiet before the storm of the Blitz — has eerie echoes of the year we just endured, and that dread that arises when nothing too extraordinary is happening except “History with a capital H.” — L.G.
“The Ice Palace” by Tarjei Vesaas. This little Norwegian novel from 1963 is the most breathtakingly beautiful thing I’ve read in years, the story of two girls in a small town in the depths of winter, told with few words but overflowing with emotion. — T.N.
Queen Anne Book Co., Seattle
Recommendation from Wendee Wieking
“We Begin at the End” by Chris Whitaker. Is it a murder, a mystery, a thriller, a great American classic, a tale of redemption? Yes! To each of these, but most emphatically, it’s a true love story. Hauntingly powerful. Absolutely un-put-down-able. A blow to the heart, and purely uplifting.
Secret Garden Books, Seattle
Recommendations from Kevin Roberts and Becky Merilatt
“A Little Devil in America” by Hanif Abdurraqib. There just aren’t many writers who can do what Abdurraqib does. — K.R.
“A Master of Djinn” by P. Djèlí Clark. Steampunk police procedural fantasy adventure — what more could you ask for? — B.M.
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.