Anne Z.'s blog

Review: The Nineties by Chuck Klostermann

Review by Tony Hoffart

When I started reading The Nineties, a simple white book with a ridiculous looking clear corded telephone on the cover, I was struck with how well researched it was.  It felt like a history book and so I was surprised to find out that it was firmly embedded in our social sciences section.  I then spent the rest of the book trying to understand why this was a Social Science genre instead of History.  

The Nineties starts out explaining the standard complaints an older generation has towards the younger.  In one of its many very concise and pithy statements it explains how the older generation inevitably sees the younger as “soft” and that this is a good thing.  That if younger generations weren’t being viewed this way, it was because progress had stalled and life had become measurably harder for everyone.  This is a book about Generation X.  The smallest of the modern generations, the generation that was entering into adulthood in the nineties.  It is about that generation and attempts to understand it objectively.  The nineties also examines how that decade impacts the two decades we’ve had since.  

Review: Booth by Karen Joy Fowler

Review by Amy Stoothoff

A few years ago, I enjoyed reading Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. So when Booth came out, I immediately picked it up.

It explores a complex family of Shakespearean actors in 19th century America. The family supported abolition, animal rights to the point of violence, intellectualism, and weLord Byron and the promise adventure. They run off and end up in rural Bel Air, Maryland. Junius left a pregnant Mary Ann while he went on tour for nine months out of the year. Nearly all of his life he’ll spend on tour. Alcoholism derails Junius’ career at various points in his life. His passion onstage was an asset but proved to be a liability throughout his life. Drunken brawls occur often so his friends and even his son act as almost his guardians.

Review: Spring Meditation by Kevin Miller

Review by Sue Domis

Kevin Miller is a Tacoma Wa., poet. He taught in Washing State public schools for 39 years. He has appeared in numerous poetry publications.  Spring Meditation is his sixth volume  of poetry. He was a Fulbright Exchange teacher in Denmark.  Miller is well known among the Yakima area poets and has many close friends in Yakima.

Miller was scheduled to give a reading at Inklings Bookshop in 2020 just as the pandemic lockdown happened. So, a lot of us missed out on knowing about the collection, Vanish, published by Aegus Press.  Vanish is a poetry collection of poems covering subjects like family, marriage, children.and our past. The poems are about our personal history, and what has vanished.

Now, two years later,  Miller's latest collection, Spring Meditations, has been published.  Miller will have an overdue poetry reading at Inklings Bookshop on  Saturday, May 21, at 1:00.  He'll be reading from  Spring Meditation, which is a collection of baseball poems.  MoonPath Press approached Miller with the suggestion that they publish a poetry volume of his baseball poems that were part of his previous collections.

If you enjoy fine poetry, and, or, if you like baseball, then you will enjoy Miller's latest book.  Miller's poems are about his life as a young catcher on school teams and  on local baseball leagues.There are poems about playing with his father, other family members, and playing with his friends. There are poems about famous players from the past.  The Mariners and their players are mentioned in a few of the poems.  I think there is much for fans to enjoy.  I was asked personally, which was my favorite poem in the book.  I'm not sure, can I pick ten?

 Come to enjoy a special afternoon at Inklings on  Saturday, May 21, at 1:00 for Kevin Miller's reading.

Winter Bestsellers at Inklings

Wondering what to read next? Go through our Bestseller list for these last few months and see if anything catches our eye!
Here are our 10 Bestsellers this past winter, 8 from in-store sales, and 2 from online sales:

- The Luke McCain Mysteries by Rod Phillips  (Latah Books, $16.75 and $17.75) 
This series has been a Bestseller at Inklings since the day the first book was released. Everyone that has read it only had great things to say about it. To use my own past words: "If you haven't gotten to it yet, the Luke McCain Mystery series is set in the Cascade Mountains and you will recognize many of its settings. The first book, Cascade Killer, has sold over 1000 copies just here at Inklings. This mystery series is entertaining, fast paced, and therefore a delight to read."

- Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience by Brene Brown (Random House, $30)

Prolific author Brene Brown is once again a bestseller at Inklings. Atlas of the Heart is not like her other books, it is heavy, big, full of images and diagrams, and it will look lovely on just about anyone's coffee table. It reads like a dictionary on human emotions and experiences, a whole 87 of them! Atlas of the Heart is also a five-part HBO Max docuseries. 

Review: The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill

By Luanne Clark

Kelly Barnhill is an award-winning author of children’s chapter books. In 2017 she won the prestigious Newbery Award with The Girl Who Drank the Moon. She’s back with a new book, The Ogress and the Orphans. It looks to be an instant children’s fantasy classic. And it’s one that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

The Ogress and the Orphans would make a great bedtime story for 6-9 year olds. It’s got dragons and villagers and bad guys and good guys and trouble and adventure and fire and castles and crows and a blind dog.  And, of course, it’s got an ogress and 15 beloved orphans. Something for everyone! On the simplest level it’s a well-written, captivating story to be enjoyed by the listener and the reader. 

Review: French Braid by Anne Tyler

Review by Sue Domis

Anne Tyler has just written her 24th novel.  Each of  her books are about families in Baltimore and each story is different, because each family is separate.  Tyler remains popular after all these years because each novel is unique and each is a new adventure in reading.  We, the readers, can never predict what will happen.

French Braid, Tyler's latest novel is about the Garrett family.  The mother, Mercy, is an aspiring artist. The  father, Robin, runs the family plumbing supply store.  In the course of  the story we meet the three Garrett children; Alice, Lily and David and watch them mature and eventually become parents themselves.    Near the start of the book, the Garretts take their first and only family vacation.  This vacation demonstrates the family dynamics and  shows us each member's personalities.  Their trip is to a lake. At the lake, Mercy swims briefly and then returns to their cabin to paint.  Robin stays at the water's edge, visiting with another vacationing father.  Alice swims a while and then unpacks their things and starts fixing a meal. Lily, who  is a young teen, meets a teen-aged boy and spends most of the week hanging out with him and his friends.  David, the youngest child is fearful and afraid of the water.  He refuses to let his father teach him to swim.  He spends the trip by himself, playing with the sand at the water's edge.   They are all separate, while being together.

Past & Present Yakima by Ellen Allmendinger

It is always fun learning the history of the town where you live and/or came from. Even better when you get to see through pictures how much that town has changed and how much of it has been preserved. That is what Ellen Almendinger brings to her readers with her newest book, Past & Present Yakima. A must see for lovers of Yakima history and/or history in general.

For those that don't know Ellen Allmendinger, she is a local writer passionate about our local history. Her books and walking tours have helped in keeping Yakima's history alive. She is the author of Murder & Mayhem in Central Washington, where she recounts the tales that once made this the roughtest region of the Pacific Northwest; and the author of Hidden History of Yakima, where she explores forgotten events, buildings, businesses, and the people that helped shape Yakima.

Review: The Insect Crisis by Oliver Milman & Otherlands by Thomas Halliday

Review by Chris Saunders

If you’ve been thinking about apocalyptic events lately, you’ve had quite a few options to consider: pandemics, invasions, resurging fascism, choking on the smoke from wildfires that have become a normal part of August and September.

One other possibility that has started receiving some attention in the popular consciousness in the last 10 years or so has been the disappearance of a lot of insect species.

“The Insect Crisis” by Oliver Milman joins “Buzz,” “Earth Grief” and numerous others in warning about the global decline of insect populations, especially the pollinators we depend on to produce much of our food supply. The book opens by poignantly imagining what would happen if all the insects suddenly disappeared all at once, followed by interviews with scientists and naturalists acting as tour guides in spots around the world where an eerie silence pervades where once there was buzzing and humming.

Review: Meet me in the Margins by Melissa Ferguson

Meet me in the Margins is a book lover's dream! A whimsical and delightful tale of how hard and how wonderful it is to work in the world of books. This book has passionate book editors, a heavenly ARC room (advanced reader's copy), book events, a hidden nook... I was sold from the start.

Savanah works at a non-fiction publishing company that pretty much looks down at all fiction books, but especially anything as 'silly' as romance. She is great at her job, but she has a little secret: she wants to write fiction and her first manuscript is ready to go. After having to leave her manuscript behind at work one day she finds out she is not the only one that uses the little hidden nook she found in the building. Someone else must know about it too. Someone that thought it was ok and acceptable to edit her manuscript. She finds comments and observations all over the first few pages of her manuscript. She ignores it and submits it anyway, just to hear back from the other publishing company with comments similar to those the mystery editor added to the margins of her pages.

Review: Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge

Review by Amy Halvorson Miller

Kaitlyn Greenidge’s recent historical novel, Libertie, came to mind as we moved from African American History Month to Women’s History. The title character, Libertie Sampson, was named for her late father’s wish that she know true freedom. She is a dark-skinned free Black woman, daughter of a light-skinned mother who became a physician in Brooklyn during the Civil War. In fact, the story is inspired by the life of Susan McKinney Steward, one of the first Black women to earn a medical degree in the U.S. Dr. Sampson’s hope for her daughter is more specific: Libertie should go to medical school to join the practice.

Libertie’s mother enrolls her in a strict college in Ohio where she is the only female medical student. Her own interests and the voices of the Graces call her to music instead. Still, she is lonely and unsure of who she is as both a free woman and as a daughter freeing herself from her mother. Greenidge’s writing is emotive, drawing us with empathy toward our young protagonist. Libertie must navigate her path, not just academically and socially, but wrestling with the realities of racism, colorism, and sexism, as well.

Moving further from her mother, Libertie finds romance with a handsome, light-skinned man from Haiti who convinces her to marry and move to his homeland. The lush, exotic island with its mysterious religion and Emmanuel’s family welcome her at first, but is she any more free than she was in Brooklyn or Ohio?