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Question: What do The Fault in Our Stars, Hop on Pop, Tintin in America, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Paper Towns, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the Twilight series, Siddhatha, The Kite Runner, Persepolis, Nineteen Minutes, Looking for Alaska, Song of Solomon, Brave New World, The Glass Castle, Of Mice and Men, The Art of Racing in the Rain, and a host of other pretty good books have in common?

Answer: All were challenged and/or banned in schools and libraries somewhere in the United States during 2014-2015.

The First Amendment guarantees that each of us has the right to express our views, including opinions about particular books. At the same time, the First Amendment also ensures that none of us has the right to control or limit another person's ability to read or access information. Yet when individuals or groups file formal written requests demanding that libraries and schools remove specific books from the shelves, they are doing just that - attempting to restrict the rights of other individuals to access those books. The rights and protections of the First Amendment extend to children and teens as well as adults. While parents have the right - and the responsibility - to guide their children's own reading, that right does not extend to other people's children. Similarly, each adult has the right to choose his or her own reading materials, along with the responsibility to acknowledge and respect the right of others to do the same. - Robert P. Doyle (From "Books Challenged or Banned 2014-2015")

Celebrate Banned Books Week 2015! Read a book someone else says you shouldn't.



Beloved Northwest writer Ivan Doig died in April this year, aged 75, but he leaves his readers with one last book, Last Bus to Wisdom (Riverhead Books, $28.95). New York Times reviewer (and a Northwest writer himself) Bruce Barcott praises Last Bus as "one of Doig's best novels, an enchanting 1950s roadtrip tale." It begins in Montana (of course!) and follows the periptetic adventures of a spirited 11-year-old, Donal Cameron. Ivan Doig was a great friend to Watermark - and to Anacortes - over the years. He regularly visited the store for book signing events, and we've sold numerous copies of his many novels, including The Sea Runners, English Creek, The Whistling Season, and The Bartender's Tale. Ivan was also the author of the memoir This House of Sky, which was a finalist for the National Book Award.




Published to coincide with the 125th anniversaries this month of the founding of the Anacortes American newspaper (on May 15, 1890) and the incorporation of the City of Anacortes (May 19, 1890), this is a new coffee table book featuring articles and historical photographs from the collection of legendary American editor Wallie Funk. All sales benefit the Anacortes Museum.



This lovely, limited-edition coffee table book features the work of our sorely missed Guemes Island friend, Rebecca Hyland. Compiled by Carol Strandberg, the book serves as a reminder of the quality and breadth of Rebecca's artistic interests and skills. (Published locally, $100.)



THE STORY OF THE LOST CHILD, by Elena Ferrante (Europa editions, $18.00). The stunning conclusion to Ferrante's compelling tetralogy of Neopolitan novels.  Elena and Lila, friends and competitors since childhood, are now mature women with husbands, lovers, aging parents and children. Both women fought to escape from the neighborhood in which they grew up - a prison of conformity, violence, and inviolable taboos. But now Elena, a writer, has moved back to Naples, drawn back as if responding to the city's obscure magnetism. Lila, meanwhile, has become a successful entrepreneur, but her success draws her into closer proximity to the nepotism, chauvinism, and criminal violence that infect the neighborhood. Taken together, Ferrante's four novels (which need to be read in order, and begin with My Brilliant Friend)  tell the story of a lifelong friendship between two women with unmatched honesty and brilliance, against the backdrop of a seductive, dangerous city and a world undergoing epochal change.


DEEP DOWN DARK - The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine and the Miracle that Set Them Free, by Hector Tobar (Picador, $16.00).  When the San Jose Mine collapsed outside of Copiapo, Chile, in August 2010, it trapped thirty-three miners beneath thousands of feet of rock for sixty-nine days. The entire world watched the above-ground efforts to rescue the men, but the story of who the men were, and the saga of their experiences below the Earth's surface has never been told - until now. For some of the miners, the cavern where they were entombed was a coffin; for others, a church where they sought redemption through prayer. To write this book, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Hector Tobar was granted exclusive access to the men and their tales. The result is a masterwork of narrative journalism - a riveting, at times shocking, emotionally textured account of a singular human event.


THE PAYING GUESTS, by Sarah Waters (Riverhead Books, $17.00) Four years after the end of WWI, spinsterish Frances Wray and her widowed mother are obliged to take lodgers, a young married couple, into their large London house to help pay the bills. Frances and Lilian, the wife, become shy friends, and then their relationship develops into something more passionate. But The Paying Guests is more than a Sapphic romance. Midway through the story, it abruptly shifts gears to become a masterfully suspenseful crime story. Even though the reader knows whodunnit, Waters keeps you turning the pages!


CHOOSE YOUR OWN AUTOBIOGRAPHY, by Neil Patrick Harris (Three Rivers Press, $16.00)  Seeking an exciting read that puts the "u" back in aUtobiography? Look no further than this entertaining and innovative memoir, in which the seemingly omnipresent Neil Patrick Harris shares intimate and hilarious stories about everything from his early days in LA, life on the How I Met Your Mother set, secrets from backstage at award shows, and family life with partner, David, and children, Harper and Gideon. In a fresh spin on the typical celebrity narrative, Harris lets you, the reader, choose which path you want him to follow. All this, plus magic tricks, cocktail recipes, embarrasing pictures from his years as a child actor, and even a closing song!


A WALK IN THE WOODS - Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, by Bill Bryson (Broadway Books, $15.99) Noteworthy rather than new, this is Bill Bryson's original memoir from 1998 about walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail. Bryson had spent the previous twenty years in Britain and decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the Trail, with his gloriously out-of-shape buddy from Iowa, Stephen Katz, as a companion. The Trail offers a variety of stunning landscapes, from silent forests to sparkling lakes, and to a writer of Bryson's comic genius, it also provided endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings. (Bryson is portrayed by Robert Redford in the current big screen version of 'A Walk in the Woods.' I imagine Bryson is somewhat flattered by this, but he might have preferred the movie to have been made when Redford was younger, as Bryson was only in his forties when he undertook the walk! - Arlene)






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