Books we are talking about

Chris Schluep on August 27, 2019
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Summer is drawing to an end, which means that we are reading for the biggest book season of all: Fall. There is some talk of fall books in this post, but we have also been discussing all of the recent movies and television shows that have had books as a precursor. Some of those movies and television shows are referenced here, and there's even a trailer at the end. Here are some of the books we are talking about.



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The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood’s new novel The Testaments will publish on September 10th. It’s a long-awaited sequel to her 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale, which is widely considered a classic (we put it on our Amazon editors’ list of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime). The streaming success of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale has put the book on even more radars, making this already-major literary event even more major. Last week, our own Erin Kodicek re-read The Handmaid’s Tale in preparation for reading Atwood’s new book. She has been gushing about it ever since. Not every novel written 35 years ago still holds together—but Erin says, "It really does!"



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The Secrets We Kept: A novel by Lara Prescott

Another book Erin has been talking about is The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott. This is a true-life tale about female spies during the Cold War and their efforts to smuggle Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago out of Russia in order to publish it worldwide. Erin describes The Secrets We Kept as “a real crowd pleaser.” It is Lara Prescott’s debut, and it goes on sale next week (September 3rd). 



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Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel by Maria Semple

The movie version of Where’d You Go, Bernadette? has recently hit the big screen, which sent the book onto the Amazon Charts list for Most Sold Fiction (#12). This is the story of a Seattle woman with a precocious daughter and a Microsoft-employed husband, who doesn't really like where she lives (Seattle) or what she's doing (trying to navigate through life)—only to figure it all out in the end, sort of. It's inspirational and very funny. And Semple, who moved to Seattle from Los Angeles, drops some great zingers about her adopted city. Here’s some relatively recent Seattle-area coverage of Maria Semple and her book. And to be fair, I’ve heard many native Seattleites complain about Seattle drivers as well.



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The Art of Racing in the Rain Tie-in: A Novel by Garth Stein

Another book set in Seattle recently arrived on the big screen. The Art of Racing in the Rain celebrates its third week in theaters, and Garth Stein’s novel marks its third week on the Amazon Charts Most Sold Fiction list. His novel is narrated by Enzo, a golden retriever that knows more about being a human than most humans. It has been fun for us to see local authors like Garth Stein and Maria Semple get discovered all over again through their movie successes.


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Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

Finally, the release this summer of HBO's True Justice has helped to drive up sales of Bryan Stevenson's book Just Mercy. Stevenson is a remarkably inspirational figure. As founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, he has argued multiple cases in front of the Supreme Court—but the book Just Mercy is focused primarily on an early case he represented in Alabama in the 1980s, the case of Walter McMillan. McMillan is black and had been accused of killing a white woman in Monroeville, Alabama. The evidence seemed ginned up, and the life sentence he received from the jury seemed unjust. But when the judge, Robert E. Lee Key, ignored the life sentence and sentenced McMillan to death instead... well, you can see why this book is so compelling.

You can see a trailer for the documentary here:

 



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