This month, I’ve been asking booksellers to name their summer reading picks. It’s been delightful. But the problem with asking booksellers about books they recommend for the summer is that most of them are likely already reading books that will be coming out this fall. Librarians and booksellers are often months ahead on the new-release front.
When I asked Vlad at Third Place Books for his favorite summer read, he selected Danielle Dutton’s Margaret the First, which Frances Chiem wrote about for the Seattle Review of Books when it was published in April of last year. He said it’s been “one of my clear favorites,” adding that he was “utterly enchanted” by the book and by the character. He calls Dutton’s prose “superb, approaching Woolf-levels of achievement.”
But Vlad is also getting ready for the fall, and in addition to new novels from Alan Moore and Warren Ellis, a kids’ book from Shaun Tan, and a non-fiction book about time travel from science writer James Gleick, he’s most excited for his customers to get their hands on Colson Whitehead’s novel The Underground Railroad, which he said left him “floored.” “The topic is always troubling and harrowing…” Vlad writes in an email,
…but what fascinated me was Whitehead's unflinching exploration of the various manifestations of the economics of slavery — the way slave-owners talked about them, the subtle social cues, the levels of 'owning' another human being. The numbing idea of slaves (and their wounds) as walking ledgers of atrocity.
Vlad is not the only bookseller or librarian to talk up Underground Railroad to me; it’s set to be one of the biggest books of the fall. You should reserve a copy at your favorite bookstore today. Here’s the link to reserve it at Third Place Books; tell them Vlad sent you.
In his role as the curator, editor, and printer of Third Place Press, Vlad is most looking forward to putting out “an anthology of writing and art from the South Seattle Emerald” this fall. Vlad has been working in conjunction with Emerald publisher Marcus Green to make a vibrant and artistic collection. The Emerald is one of Seattle’s most energetic young publications, and this physical collection is a great way to affirm its voice and its place in the city. We’ll let you know when it’s available this fall.