Thursday, December 12, 2013

In Praise of Elliott Bay Books

So, for my birthday Monday  (I'm now old enough that I actually qualify for some senior discounts. Gah.), Janice took me up to Elliott Bay Books, Seattle's best independent bookstore, and let me have a good pokearound. Two hours is about right to prowl through their various sections and see what interesting books have come out that I didn't know about. I enjoyed seeing the latest by authors I like but am falling a bit behind on --Guy Gavriel Kay, Neil Gaiman, Patricia McKillip, Terry Pratchett-- as well as have a look-see at various books I'd heard about but not seen (e.g., The Folgio's Girl Genius novel) and to find out about others just by seeing them on the shelf (e.g., a new biography of Edward VII, an underrated king).

Of course, it wdn't be a visit to Elliott Bay if I didn't go by their archeology section, where I tend to find interesting books I didn't know existed until walking up and finding them on the shelf. I wanted to pick up one as a birthday gift to myself, and in the end it came down to three contenders: a book on Ahknaten's city, Amarna; a book on Neanderthals, taking into account the many new discoveries; and a book on Stonehenge, again taking into account recent excavations of the riverside and processional. I wound up opting for the Egyptian one, which'll go nicely with the one on Abydos I bought on a previous birthday visit three years ago (that occasion being the first time I'd been to what had been a favorite store's now new location*) and also with all the great Egyptian exhibits we got to go to last year. It's a fairly slow read, being an awkward size (to allow for more pictures, which are great, as is usual with a Thames and Hudson book), but I've made a good start and it looks to be an interesting read overall. We'll see. And I'll have to plan things better so as to make it back to Elliott Bay more often, if only to pick up those other two books at opportune times.


*Elliott Bay Books is now no longer on Elliott Bay, but up on Capitol Hill (so named because Seattle's founding fathers thought the state capitol wd be up there. It wasn't.)

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