Each week, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association (PNBA) releases a list of the region’s most popular books based on sales at local independent bookstores, and each week, that list looks a lot like the national version tracked by Indiebound. But despite these similarities, the PNBA denotes the books on the regional list that aren’t being read elsewhere — it’s a fun, highly specific glimpse into the books the Pacific Northwest is reading (and the rest of the country is ignoring). Here are some selections from this deep-cut reading list, pulled from PNBA’s list of bestselling books for the week ending Sept. 8.

Unsurprisingly, many of our dissenting picks have Northwest ties. Among them: perennial bestseller “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” (No. 12 on the trade paperback fiction list, doubtless buoyed along by the Richard Linklater adaptation); Susanna Ryan’s impossibly charmingly illustrated flâneur’s guide to the city, “Seattle Walk Report: An Illustrated Walking Tour through 23 Seattle Neighborhoods” (No. 12 on the hardcover nonfiction list); and Melinda Gates’ philanthropy-focused “The Moment of Lift” (No. 11 on the hardcover nonfiction list).


Here’s where it gets fun. Our Northwest-only picks include some weirdly specific vintage kid lit. Early-, middle- and young-adult readers in the Northwest are revisiting “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (originally published in 1964, No. 7 on the early and middle-readers bestseller list) and the John Updike of my elementary-school years, Jerry Spinelli, whose beautiful meditation on being a teenage girl who doesn’t fit in, 2000’s “Stargirl,” is No. 5 on the young-adult list.

The timing here may seem odd, but in my experience covering publishing, I’ve observed that kids books often have a surprisingly long shelf life. It’s occasionally shocking to consider the longevity of many a still-in-print Newbery award winner. (Any other children of the ’90s recall pressing on through the ineffable — to us — mid-century details in the immortal oeuvre of Judy Blume?)

As always, I feel obligated to remind you that adults also read in these categories; just this week I rode the bus beside a grown man reading “Sideways Stories from Wayside School” in tiny secretive text on an e-reader, and a friend reported doing the same with “There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom.” So if the next sleeper-hit kids’ author on the bestseller list is Louis Sachar, I wouldn’t blame it on children.

Another, more contemporary YA pick on this list is “On a Sunbeam,” from San Diego author Tillie Walden (No. 10 on the young-adult list). Walden’s 2017 book “Spinning” depicted her experiences in the world of competitive figure skating as a teen on the verge of coming out. It won her a Will Eisner Comic Industry Award at age 22, and remains one of the best — and most gorgeously illustrated — graphic novels I’ve ever read. “Sunbeam” is a sweeping story set in outer space, an exciting progression in an already comically promising career. Maybe we’ll still be reading Walden 50 years from now.



Current bestsellers from the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association

Hardcover fiction

1. A Better Man, Louise Penny

2. Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens

3. The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead

4. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, Ocean Vuong

5. Circe, Madeline Miller

6. The Secrets We Kept, Lara Prescott

7. Inland, Téa Obreht

8. City of Girls, Elizabeth Gilbert

9. This Tender Land, William Kent Krueger

10. The Bitterroots, C.J. Box, Minotaur

11. Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, Olga Tokarczuk

12. Chances Are … , Richard Russo

13. The Beekeeper of Aleppo, Christy Lefteri

14. The Long Call, Ann Cleeves

15. The Girl Who Lived Twice, David Lagercrantz

Hardcover nonfiction

1. Educated, Tara Westover

2. Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead, Jim Mattis, Bing West

3. How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems, Randall Munroe

4. How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi

5. Becoming, Michelle Obama

6. Trick Mirror, Jia Tolentino

7. The Pioneers, David McCullough

8. The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben

9. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, Lori Gottlieb

10. The Second Mountain, David Brooks

11. The Moment of Lift, Melinda Gates

12. Seattle Walk Report: An Illustrated Walking Tour through 23 Seattle Neighborhoods, Susanna Ryan, Seattle Walk Report

13. Three Women, Lisa Taddeo

14. The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, Mark Manson

15. How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, Jenny Odell

Paperback fiction

1. The Overstory, Richard Powers

2. There There, Tommy Orange

3. A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles

4. The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Heather Morris

5. Washington Black, Esi Edugyan

6. The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein

7. My Sister, the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite

8. Beloved, Toni Morrison

9. The Witch Elm, Tana French

10. Once Upon a River, Diane Setterfield

11. Virgil Wander, Leif Enger

12. Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple

13. The Feral Detective, Jonathan Lethem

14. Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng

15. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, Gail Honeyman

Paperback Nonfiction

1. Born a Crime, Trevor Noah

2. Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari

3. White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo

4. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, Yuval Noah Harari

5. Calypso, David Sedaris

6. The Spy and the Traitor, Ben Macintyre

7. Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann

8. The Soul of an Octopus, Sy Montgomery

9. How to Change Your Mind, Michael Pollan

10. You Are a Badass, Jen Sincero

11. Dopesick, Beth Macy

12. Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer

13. They Called Us Enemy, George Takei, et al.

14. Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road, Kate Harris

15. The Mueller Report, The Washington Post

Early & middle readers

1. Best Friends, Shannon Hale, LeUyen Pham (illustrator)

2. A Wolf Called Wander, Rosanne Parry, Monica Armino (illustrator)

3. Refugee, Alan Gratz

4. The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Kelly Barnhill

5. Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson’s Journal, Jeff Kinney

6. The Only Road, Alexandra Diaz

7. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl

8. Fish in a Tree, Lynda Mullaly Hunt

9. Real Friends, Shannon Hale

10. The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise, Dan Gemeinhart

Young adult

1. Pumpkinheads, Rainbow Rowell, Faith Erin Hicks (Illus.)

2. Wilder Girls, Rory Power

3. Far from the Tree, Robin Benway

4. The Hazel Wood, Melissa Albert

5. Stargirl, Jerry Spinelli

6. Dry, Neal Shusterman, Jarrod Shusterman

7. Darius the Great Is Not Okay, Adib Khorram

8. The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas

9. Turtles All the Way Down, John Green

10. On a Sunbeam, Tillie Walden