Book Clubs & Choice Reads

At Seaport Books we believe everyone is entitled to their own likes and dislikes when it comes to authors. In other words, we don’t judge a reader by her/his cover. Here are a few of the diverse titles and genres picked by our team. We’ve also included local book club choices, WWU’s academic year picks, AND titles suggested by our beloved customers. Happy Reading!

downloadBOOK CLUB PICKS – The ‘Fourth Monday Morning Group’, (meets 9:30 AM at Seaport Books) has selected When Books Went to War by Molly Guptill Manning. The ‘Second Thursday Evening Group’, (meets 6:00 PM at Seaport Books) has selected Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner and Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher by Timothy Egan. Both groups welcome new members!

EXCELLENT SUMMER READS – My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith; Don’t Make Me Pull Over by Richard Ratay; Education of a Wandering Man by Louie L’Amour; Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks; The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild; The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce; Wanderlusting by Gary McWilliams.

Check out our display of books that inform about the environment. We have added Drawdown by Paul Hawken and The Garden Awakening by Mary Reynolds.


Author Louise Penny is coming to the Mt Baker Theater in Bellingham on Friday August 30. “An Evening with Louise Penny” begins at 7 pm. Tickets may be purchased through the Mt Baker Theater website or by calling 360-734-6080.

The Daughter’s Walk by Jane Kirkpatrick, (2011). This remarkable story set in 1898 Spokane really happened. A mother and daughter walked from Spokane to New York City in the hope of claiming a $10,000 prize to save their farm. This outstanding historical novel is now on our shelves.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Seattle author and documentary film producer Garth Stein, is now a movie starring Kevin Costner. The film is due to be released this August.

OUR SPECIAL CATCH: Alaska’s Inside Passage by Dale Pihlman, published in 2018 in a limited edition, should be in every boat, RV, and duffle bag headed north. Pihlman has written a comprehensive and enjoyable look at the nature, history, native cultures, and the industries of Southeastern Alaska. Pihlman’s firsthand view over the decades is part memoir, part guide, and 100% delightful, with 388 pages and 500 color images. His skillful writing brings it all to life in a most approachable fashion. Pihlman lives in Ketchikan but has promised to include us in a book tour when he heads our way. We have his lovely book for sale at $39.95. Give it a look.


The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sandker. The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelly Estes. Reading Seattle: The City in ProseThree Sides WaterClara and Merritt all authored by Peter Donahue. The Broken Earth Series (fantasy) by N. K. Jemison, So You Want to Talk about Race? by Ijeoma Oluo (Seattle author), Inevitable: The 12 Technological Forces by Kevin Kelly.

Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Topography by David Williams. An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski, Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf,  Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Hadish, We Never Asked for Wings by Vaness Diffenbaugh, A Friend Like Henry by Nuala Gardner, Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt.

The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg, Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion by Karen White, Quicksand: What it Means to be a Human Being by Henning Mankell, The Kiss Quotient by Helen Huang.

Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman, The Canoe and the Saddle by Theodore Winthrop, The American Indians by Edward Curtis, The Known World by Edward Jones.

Boo Walker has written thrillers and suspense novels, but with Red Mountain he takes readers to an Eastern Washington community that hits all the nails squarely on the head. He should know, since he lives there! A highly recommended read.

Clover, A Literary Rag – a biannual publication that features poetry, short creative-nonfiction, and short stories.  About half of the content comes from the Northwest and the rest from a host of writers in the States and around the world.


download“Maybe insanity will not change to wisdom and a focus on the common good anytime soon, but I can bring less hate to the pot of stone soup, the common well, less of my unbaked cake batter. More rosemary, more carrots.” What’s not to love about Anne Lamott? In Almost Everything – Notes on Hope, the bestselling author shares more of her musings on life, love, grief and the wisdom within us. From the children in her writing class to the aging of friends, Lamott brings her nuggets of discovery up to the surface to share with us. Everyone, every situation can be a teacher. The devastating fires in California. A friend’s suicide. Political chaos. The sharp criticism of parents still ringing in our ears. Life is not easy and, in fact, can feel overwhelmingly difficult and harsh. Arriving at the core of our starry selves, however, we find the truth needed to carry on. Empathy, acceptance, grace. Thank you, Anne, for providing a contemporary, gentle reminder that love is always the answer.    Suggested by Jane.

content (1)Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean by Jonathan White

Now a resident of the San Juan Islands, Jonathan White has given us an awe-inspiring non-fiction literary classic. Tides is a blending of science, history, and storytelling. He captures the spirit of the ocean and its tides by sailing, surfing, diving, and meticulous study, throughout his life. Every boater, every person who lives near saltwater, every person who ever stood on an ocean beach will love this masterful work. It is simply unparalleled. We are very proud to call Jonathan White a local author.

contentThe Music Shop by Rachel Joyce.

Not only for music lovers, but all music lovers will find a place in their heart and memory for this music shop. Rachel Joyce brings each character to life – they are simply unforgettable. Frank has the uncanny ability to prescribe just the music you need. This story is contemporary, funny, and tender. You just might recognize Frank’s neighborhood and wish to move there. I know I did. The Music Shop is a lovely story. Rachel Joyce also wrote The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.    Suggested by Marion.

images (1)Seaport Books is pleased to introduce you to By the Shore: Explore the Pacific Northwest Coast Like a Local by author Nancy Blakey. Just published by Sasquatch Press this book is a keeper. It is a guide book, a cookbook, a camping manual, chock full of excellent ideas. What a good housewarming or Christmas gift it will make. Warning: You better buy two so you can keep one! This book is not a picture of nature. It is a gentle guide into experiencing all of the wonders of our beautiful Salish Sea.

The Wood for the TreesThe Wood for the Trees: The Long View of Nature from a Small Wood by Richard Fortey

Journey to Oxfordshire, England and explore the wonders of wooded Chiltren Hills. Magical, inspiring, surprising and educational – Fortey takes you month by month through the trails and timbers of his four acres of forest. I love how the author traces the grand history of the land alongside the minute details of resident beetles, ferns, moths and fungi. Don’t let the fact that Fortey is an award winning scientist and retired senior paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in London scare you. He writes with a soft sense of humor and a humble respect for nature and all its gifts. Speaking of gifts, the beautifully embossed cover makes this a perfect gift choice that friends will love to display. Suggested by Jane.

51YCzUi5OJL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

This is an exceptionally GOOD STORY – from beginning to the very end. The book is well written with superb character development and poignant insight into human nature. To me, it was delicious! It spans 30 years in the Metropol Hotel after the Bolshevik revolution; with spy vs. spy, irresistible friendships, wisdom, romance and humor.                                  Suggested by Marion. 


51511615Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

This is the story of racism in America especially as it effects the court system. Picoult exposes many shades of racism though her characters in this novel. The main character, a 44 year old Labor and Delivery nurse, is charged with murdering the newborn son of a neo-Nazi couple. It is a courtroom drama unlike any I have ever experienced through reading. This book will fire an excellent discussion at book clubs across the country if given a chance. And isn’t this the reason we read literature — to experience life that is beyond us? The title is taken from Martin Luther King Junior’s quote: “If I cannot do great things, I can do small great things.” It is being made into a movie with Julia Roberts, but then what isn’t?  Suggested by Janna.


The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World. Through the loving efforts of author Douglas Abrams who acts as co-author, guide and interviewer, we get up close and personal with Archbishop Tutu and the Dalai Lama as they meet and spend a week together. Knowing that this may very well be their last time together (the trip had to be postponed several times due to ill health), their conversations feel even more a privilege to share in. Just how do these two icons find peace in an increasingly troubled world? What message of hope can they give to us? The answers will inspire and delight and expand your heart. Yes. These are incredibly brave, intelligent and respected leaders but they are also human beings with flaws and needs. Their candor and humor will bring tears to your eyes and laughter to your soul. A truly enriching treasure of a read.                                 Suggested by Jane.

ob hpWestern Washington University has selected Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements as the Western Reads book for the 2018-2019 academic year. The book is a compilation of short stories written by a diverse group of activists, artists, poets, and organizers involved in building movements for social change. Edited by Walidah Imarisha and Adrienne Maree Brown. Read more about the current book choice. Or click here to read about their  2017-18 book selectionTulalip, From My Heart: An Autobiographical Account of a Reservation Community by Harriette Shelton Dover.

octopusThe Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

“Here is an animal that has venom like a snake, a beak like a parrot, and ink like an old-fashioned pen. It can weigh as much as a man and stretch as long as a car, yet can pour its baggy, boneless body through an opening the size of an orange.” Treat yourself to this best seller and fall in love, as the author did, with one of the planet’s most amazing creatures. You may not have 3 hearts as the octopus does, but yours will certainly be expanded by meeting Athena, Kali and Octavia. I love this book! Makes a perfect gift, too.  Suggested by Jane.  Read how a book reviewer discovered our store and fell in love with this book!

bookMr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. Everything it says on the back cover is true! Robin Sloan has written a fascinating, warm, intelligent, suspenseful, fun story.  I sincerely hope you finish this book well after midnight on some weeknight and say the same. Suggested by Janna.


book coverGoing to Pieces – The Dismantling of the United States of America by Elaine Devery Willman. Any bookstore worth its salt is going to offer titles that stimulate conversation even when the topic is a controversial one. And here’s a book that has been stirring up heated debates since its debut. Originally written as a documentary companion to the author’s tribal land road trip in 2005; the content wasn’t made available to the general public until 2011.  If you are a landowner, live near a casino, rent on tribal land or are curious as to what all the fuss is about; Willman presents a view that you may want to explore. Given recent hearings and headlines, the issue isn’t going away anytime soon.

dogsTherapy Dogs and The Stories They Tell by Diana Lee. A certified counselor and NW resident, Ms. Lee shares heartwarming and often surprising stories surrounding therapy dogs and their ability to aid in her work with clients. For the past fourteen years, the author has created a private practice using Brussels Griffons as therapy dogs. The emotional effect these dogs have on her clients will bring you laughter as well as tears. The stories demonstrate how dogs can bring us joy and help us to move forward in our lives. I invite you to read this delightful book.    Suggested by Joanna.

erik larsonDevil in the White City by Erik Larson. This Seattle master of historic nonfiction can do no wrong in my eyes. I love all his work but my being a native Chicagoan gives this 2003 entry a slight edge. Larson paints history with such an entertaining brush the reader is truly along for the ride. This time it’s dual portraits of a city preparing for the 1893 World’s Fair with its feats of architectural wonders alongside the methodical plotting and doings of the country’s first serial killer. Talk about a dynamic combination. Best enjoyed with deep dish Chicago style pizza stuffed with broccoli, walnuts and cheese.

Coming Relatively Soon To A Theater Near You: It appears the movie version will make it to the big screen after all. The rights were purchased by Leonardo DiCaprio in 2010 and production finally starts this year. Martin Scorsese to direct. Fingers crossed that they don’t dim the lights by playing up the gore factor.  Suggested by Jane.


july 25 2010At the age of 82, Arnold Ebneter set an aviation world record when he flew across the country in a plane he designed and built himself. Tomorrow marks the 7th Anniversary of that flight. In The Propeller Under The Bed, author, aviator and engineer, Eileen Bjorkman, shares the story of her father’s dream and what it was like for her growing up in a flying family. Thanks to our friend Jeromie from Seattle for recommending this read. A passionate pilot himself who flies out of the same air field in Snohomish, Jeromie reports that Arnold is a great guy to chat with and is still teaching people to fly. The book is on our shelves now. Here’s to dreams coming true at any age!

51V7cwOLvwL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_We love it when Seaport fans suggest books for us to carry like this “what if” from Portland authors Hays and McFall. Bonnie and Clyde: Resurrection Road has been getting great reviews since its debut. It’s a wild ride of historic facts, fantasy and fun. Suggested by Pete from Shreveport, LA – just a few stops away from the Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum. Thanks, Pete!