Mid-Summer Slush Pile! Part II

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Score! Olympia journalist-turned-novelist Jim Lynch just snagged a New York Times review for his sophomore effort, Border Songs (Knopf, $25.95). Usually that's a privilege reserved for Northwest novelists whose names are Guterson, Alexie, or Raban. Along with the generally favorable NYT review ("ambling, provincial whimsy") for the book, about eccentrics on both sides of the 49th parallel, Border Songs is No. 4 on the Pacific Northwest Independent Booksellers Bestseller List. After several local readings (we hope not his last), Lynch is off on a national book tour.

Make the jump for more local books and authors newly in print...

Sister of David, Mary Guterson has her second novel out: Gone to the Dogs (St. Martin's, $13.95 in paper), about a young woman's romantic misadventures and dog theft. It's being marketed as chick lit, a summer beach read, and there's nothing wrong with that. She next reads at Elliott Bay (101 S. Main St., 624-6600), 7:30 p.m. Wed., July 8. Then Bellevue Regional Library, 7 p.m. Wed., July 15; and Third Place, 7 p.m. Thurs., July 16.

Also pertaining to the beach, or setting a tent on them, is Camping Washington (Mountaineers, $18.95) by longtime Seattle Times outdoors columnist Ron C. Judd (he of big blue tarp fame). His destinations are mostly car-camping sites, but that's a pretty good recession-era vacation idea for families with kids.

An American woman nursing a broken heart finds friends, solace, and more in a scenic Irish coastal village--are there any other kind?--in The Lace Makers of Glenmara (Harper, $24.99) by Seattle novelist Heather Barbieri. It sounds like a bodice-ripper, though much of the plot, yes, actually concerns lace. ("She fingered the lace. Sumptuous blooms they were, the petals full, beckoning, in shades of pink and red, a tracery of green, here and there, for the leaves. She'd fill the drawer with beautiful things by the time she was done.") She next reads at Elliott Bay (101 S. Main St., 624-6600), 7:30 p.m. Mon., July 13.

Following a similar pattern is Water, Stone, Heart (Shaye Areheart, $24) by Will North. This time it's a lonely divorced American dude who needs healing in a small English village, this one "a magical landscape of dizzying cliffs, jagged coastline, lush valleys, and hills lined with stone hedges that have stood the test of time." But no lace. North divides his time between Seattle and the U.K., so we're guessing he gets those regional details right. And guys need summer beach reading, too.

Back to the beach, this time in Hawaii. Seattle journalist, screenwriter (Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle), and novelist (Owl Island) Randy Sue Coburn has most recently penned A Better View of Paradise (Ballantine, $25), about a woman rebuilding her life in the Aloha State. It's less a potboiler than an adult woman-estranged father reconciliation saga, but one that has romantic detours before finally reaching Puget Sound. And the publisher's note reiterates: "a perfect novel to read at the beach or while wishing you were at the beach this summer." Coburn reads at Elliott Bay (101 S. Main St., 624-6600), 7:30 p.m. Tues., July 21.

And lastly there's the island of Whidbey, home to mystery writer Elizabeth George. She's the editor of a new anthology, including her own entry: Two of the Deadliest (Harper, $25.99). She and 22 other female writers--including local romance novelist Susan Wiggs--were tasked with including two of the deadly sins in each story. Hey--does anyone in the book get killed on a beach?

 
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