Monday, November 24, 2014

What a Book! I Remember You

Sunrise was at 7:28, sunset was at 4:24.  What a rainy day it was.  Water rushing down both sides of Rainier at 6:15 am, four feet out from the curbs on both sides, water streaming down all the streets and parking lots to add to the depths, the drains completely overwhelmed, more water going over the drains than into them. All I could think of was “rain gardens, rain gardens, rain gardens”! Exhilarating! 

Well, it's a good thing the ferry just stops on the other side.  I was reading I Remember You, by Cathleen Davitt Bell, and completely missed ALL the tells that I needed to get off the ferry: the warnings to get to your car, "walk on passengers must disembark", the bumps as we docked, the bridge coming down, the silence as I suddenly realized that I was the only one left except for the ferry folk coming to make sure no one's sleeping in a booth.  It is a REALLY good book!

I Remember You is a YA book about a couple of seventeen years-old.  They are both pretty sure they know how the rest of their lives will play out:  He will play hockey and then join the marines, she will go to college and become a lawyer.  But when they first meet, Lucas tells Juliet that he remembers her. He remembers their first kiss, the smell of her hair, how her college years will go.  Juliet is more than a little worried that Lucas could be crazy or psychic but he says it's not that: he's already lived this life with her and everything is a memory of their past and their lives together.

When it comes to trying to explain why she is so attracted to Lucas, as different from each other as they are, she can't tell anyone the truth, it's just too weird and unwieldy a story, all this talk of her future and his past, his breaking up with her (and his explanation about why and when he’ll do that), the reasons why he might be remembering his life with her…All she can do is love him. And she does, and we do - he's the perfect book crush.  He is sweet and caring, passes the hockey puck to everyone, is a true team player and thinks the world of Juliet.

I Remember You is so romantic, so well-told; I loved this book and its odd and quirky characters.  Juliet and Rosemary have a great friendship, (almost) always telling each other the truth, supporting each other without question.  Rosemary has "relationship issues" with boys, Lucas is loving and sweet, Dex is easy and bright, Jason is a little off and scary.   It is really a Young Adult novel:  There is sex, deception, a lot of drinking, also a lot of redemption, support, openness, and some really great adult characters.  And what a good premise!  Remembering your girlfriend before you even meet her!  There were a few moments where I thought, WHAT? but they passed and worked out.  As far as I know….

What a book, what a good time I had reading it! I hope you do, too.  I Remember You will be available February, 2015, from Knopf.  $17.99.  Give Eagle Harbor a call at 206-842-5332 if you need a copy and don’t have a local bookstore.  We will be so happy to help you out! 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Spool of Blue Thread

Sunrise was at 7:24, sunrise will be at 4:27.  Huh.  All the same numbers in those times.  It is rainy and blustery out there, Pooh.  Gray skies and very few leaves left on our old maple tree.

Oh, it's been so long since I last sat down to write about books (and the weather outside our windows).  I've been reading so much and in such small slivers of time (thank god for ferry time) that finding other time to sit and read is hard to do.

However!  The books I've been reading have been AMAZING!  Lots of YA, of course, and science fiction, mysteries, and I've been adding in a lot more books written for adults.  I haven't made "grown-up" books a priority in the past since I've been a children's book buyer and seller for most of my bookselling life.  But now, I am the "Adult Book Buyer" and, well, you can see what I need to do.  I've been collecting some of the best books our reps have recommended and have a nice stack to occupy my time during these long Pacific Northwest nights.

I just finished Anne Tyler’s new book, A Spool of Blue Thread, a story of family and home and what makes both: classic Anne Tyler. Abby and Red live and raise their family in a house built by hand by Red’s dad, a beautiful place with a wide porch, surrounded by poplars up on a small hill. 
The women (ditzy Abby, practical sisters Jeannie and Amanda, calm and inexplicable Nora, strong-willed Linnie Mae) and their men (quiet and hardworking Red, secretive Denny, steady Stem and bowled-over Junior) pull us back and forth in time from a cabin in Spruce Pine, Virginia, to the well-sanded, varnished, porch swing attached to the high-ceilinged Baltimore house the Whitshanks have lived in for three generations.

A Spool of Blue Thread is the story of a family but only as Anne Tyler can tell it:  humorous, sharp, with a sly insight into marriage and relationships. It is filled with hope and love and flawed people and I think you’re really going to like it, too.
Reading her books are like seeing a porch light in a storm: warm and familiar, never knowing quite what you’ll get when the door is opened, but looking forward to the visit.

(A Spool of Blue Thread will be available in February, 2015, and is published by Knopf.  $25.95.  Please read responsibly and support your local, independently owned bookstore.  If you don’t have one, call Eagle Harbor Books and you can use ours.)