Welcome to the official blog of Third Place Books

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Bookseller Spotlight


Jim has been working out at Lake Forest Park for a little over three years, but he's been a bookseller for about nine years. So he pretty much knows everything. His favorite food is eggs Benedict, and one day he wants to own a Bluetick Coonhound. He likes to cook and golf; I'm guessing not at the same time, but who knows, Jim is kinda weird. On weekends, when not reading, Jim does stand up comedy.

What sections do you shelve? Political Science.

What's the most underrated book in your section? Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, written when he was 37 years old.

What's your favorite section in the store? Poetry.

What book do you recommend most? Currently, This Is Between Us by Kevin Sampsell, but next is Nicole Krauss’ The History of Love.

Favorite bookstore besides Third Place?  Faulkner House Books in New Orleans.

What are you reading now?  Here and Now: Letters 2008-2011 (correspondence between Auster and Coetzee,) and Happiness: Ten Years of n+ 1 by n+1 (a wonderful collection coming out in September).

Can you read more than one book at a time?  I do, but not very well.

Do you have to finish a book once you've started, or do you give up on books? As Milorad Pavic said, "If you put it down tomorrow, you may find it like a stove gone cold, with no hot supper waiting for you any more"… I try not to let that happen too often.

A book you regret never having read? I still haven’t read The Alchemist by Paolo Coehlo.

Favorite author, or three, or five? T.C. Boyle, Fernando Pessoa, Eve Ensler, Joan Didion’s earlier non-fiction… Paul Auster, Cheryl Strayed.

Do you have an all-time favorite book? The Dictionary of the Khazars by Milorad Pavic, it comes in both a Male and a Female edition.

Guilty reading pleasure?  Cookbooks or anything about cooking.

Do you keep books? Borrow them? Lend them?  I’m currently paring down my collection and trying to give more to neighborhood free libraries. I think they’re a great way to filter books you like into the universe.

How are your bookshelves arranged at home? By the peculiar way that my brain allows me to find certain titles again.

Do you judge books by their covers?  I do, and it’s been some of the best reading.

A book you loved that you wouldn't have read if someone hadn't recommend it to you?  Fear of Dreaming: The Selected Poems by Jim Carroll… my sister’s boyfriend recommended this when I was in my last year as a teenager.

Favorite movie version of a book, or a movie that most ruined a book? Favorite: Pride and Prejudice, with Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy.  Worst: Watchers with Corey Haim.

Favorite book as a kid? War and Peace, I was a fourth grader and I didn't actually read it, but I turned in a book report.

Have you read Ulysses? No.  All the way through? Yup.  Are you lying? No.  (editors note, pretty sure Jim is making fun of my questions)

Currently reading and raving about? 
What Narcissism Means to Me: Poems  by Tony Hoagland

A beautiful collection of poetry I've been visiting on and off for the last year when I need a smile. He writes with insight and a biting wit.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Hachette vs. Amazon and Why it Matters

Perhaps you've heard about the little dust-up going on in the book world. For those who haven't, Amazon and publisher Hachette Book Group are in the midst of some sort of disagreement over terms, though no one really knows the specifics. As a result, Amazon has retaliated by taking certain actions against Hachette including slowing delivery of Hachette titles and removing books altogether. At any rate, it's a lot to explain, so you should read more about it here and here.

While Amazon throws its considerable weight around, the disagreement is hurting more than just Hachette. Authors are beginning to worry about what the continued battle will mean for their livelihoods. James Patterson has written a short but brilliant piece on the subject:
The press doesn't seem to consider this newsworthy, but there is a war going on between Amazon and book publishers. This war involves money of course, and though I have an opinion, I’m not here to comment on what might be a fair and reasonable settlement. 
There are other significant issues people might want to consider. Currently, Amazon is making it difficult to order many books from Little, Brown and Grand Central, which affects readers of authors such as Malcolm Gladwell, Nicholas Sparks, Michael Connelly, me, and hundreds of others whose living depends on book sales. What I don’t understand about this particular battle tactic is how it is in the best interest of Amazon customers. It certainly doesn't appear to be in the best interest of authors. 
More important—much more important—is the evolution/revolution that’s occurring now in publishing. Small bookstores are being shuttered, book chains are going out of business, libraries are suffering enormous budget cuts, and every publisher—and the people who work at these publishing houses—is feeling a great deal of pain and stress. Ultimately, inevitably, the quality of American literature will suffer. 
If the world of books is going to change to ebooks, so be it. But I think it’s essential that someone steps up and takes responsibility for the future of American literature and the part it plays in our culture. Right now, bookstores, libraries, authors, and books themselves are caught in the cross fire of an economic war. If this is the new American way, then maybe it has to be changed—by law, if necessary—immediately, if not sooner.
Now, sure, James Patterson will probably weather this storm just fine. But what about the smaller, lesser known authors?

Hopefully this gives you a few more reasons to shop with us, or any other independent bookstore. For one thing, we'll gladly sell you the book you want (and if we don't have it, we'll get it for you as soon as we can, usually within a day or two). And shopping with us means supporting your favorite authors. At the Ravenna location, we've put together a small display of Hachette titles, making it easier for you to support those authors and your community, and maybe help Hachette stand its ground.

And in case you need them, here are a few more reasons to shop indie, brought to you by IndieBound.

Why shop Indie? 

When you shop at an independently owned business, your entire community benefits:
The Economy
-Spend $100 at a local and $68 of that stays in your community. Spend the same $100 at a national chain, and your community only sees $43. --Local businesses create higher-paying jobs for our neighbors.
-More of your taxes are reinvested in your community--where they belong.
The Environment 
-Buying local means less packaging, less transportation, and a smaller carbon footprint. 
-Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money to beautify your community.
The Community 
-Local retailers are your friends and neighbors—support them and they’ll support you. 
-Local businesses donate to charities at more than twice the rate of national chains. 
-More independents means more choice, more diversity, and a truly unique community.
Now is the time to stand up and join your fellow individuals in the IndieBound mission supporting local businesses and celebrating independents.

If you'd like to learn more about what Amazon means for the future of publishing and books, George Packer's New Yorker article from earlier this year is required reading.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Good Enough to Eat

I'm swooning over this beautiful new book. Maybe because it's almost lunchtime and what I'm really feeling is faintness from hunger, but I doubt it.

Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature's Most Memorable Meals  by Dinah Fried

 Using meals from some of literature's biggest heavyweights, Dinah Fried has created a work of art.  She's cooked, arranged, and photographed each meal with unbelievable attention to detail.  Each photograph is accompanied with the text from the original novel, and interesting facts about the books and the food. 

In her introduction she says, "Many of my most vivid memories from books are of the meals the characters eat.  I read Heidi more than twenty years ago but I can still taste the golden, cheesy toast that her grandfather serve her..."

She's right, for some reason, when I think of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, what I remember most is the decadent meal that Tracy Bacon brings Sammy Clay at the top of the Empire State Building.  The cream of watercress soup, and steamed asparagus in holandaise sauce, the melted baked Alaska; I can see it and taste it all so clearly.

This book reminds me of an eighth grade project I once had.  My classmates and I had to prepare a meal based on Dickens' Great Expectations. We chose to make scones, and then blew out my mom's electric mixer.  She was not happy.  From the looks of this book, Fried had much better luck.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


It's graduation time!   Last year I posted Fresh Gift Ideas for Your Graduate. I had hoped to give you some ideas beyond Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go.  I have nothing against Dr. Seuss, but if it's THE book to get a graduate, isn't there the slightest possibility that graduates everywhere might be inundated by countless copies of it from well-meaning relatives who simply don't have any other options?  Sure, it's a classic, but how many copies does one person need?

Well, it seems that this year publishers have finally grasped the Oh, the Places You'll Go conundrum. Suddenly there are a slew of fresh books to hand that newly-minted genius in your life. And nary a made up word in sight.

I hope the suggestions below are helpful!  For more ideas, head to the Ravenna location and visit our Graduation display.  I made tiny graduation hats and tiny diplomas, which are probably worth the trip even if you don't have to buy a graduation gift.

Congratulations, by the way: Some Thoughts on Kindness by George Saunders

Three months after George Saunders gave a convocation address at Syracuse University, a transcript of that speech was posted on the website of The New York Times, where its simple, uplifting message struck a deep chord. Within days, it had been shared more than one million times. Why? Because Saunders’s words tap into a desire in all of us to lead kinder, more fulfilling lives. Powerful, funny, and wise, Congratulations, by the way is an inspiring message from one of today’s most influential and original writers.

If This Isn't Nice, What Is?: Advice for the Young by Kurt Vonnegut

A collection of graduation speeches by acclaimed author Kurt Vonnegut, offering his heartfelt and humorous advice for young people about to enter the world. 

After the publication of his novel Slaughterhouse-Five brought him worldwide acclaim in 1969, Kurt Vonnegut became one of America's most popular graduation speakers. There were years when public speaking was his main source of income, and he put a great deal of thought and preparation into the things he said and also in his presentations. "We are performing animals" is one of Vonnegut's trademark sayings, and he took it to heart when he found himself before an auditorium filled with college seniors about to enter the world as members of the citizenry, hopeful of being gainfully employed, adults with their school days now finally behind them. 

Vonnegut was a very, very funny graduation speaker. At the same time, he conveys in these speeches something of the seriousness, of the momentousness of life too. He tells stories and jokes, invokes the figures who inspire him the most–Jesus, Eugene Debs, Bertrand Russell, Jazz historian Albert Murray, and Vonnegut's friend Joseph Heller among many others. Perhaps most importantly, he acts like the young people he is speaking to are going to go out into the world and make a difference. 

You Are (Not) Special: And Other Encouragements by David McCullough, Jr.

A profound expansion of David McCullough, Jr.'s popular commencement speech--a call to arms against a prevailing, narrow, conception of success viewed by millions on YouTube--You Are (Not) Special is a love letter to students and parents as well as a guide to a truly fulfilling, happy life. 

Children today, says David McCullough--high school English teacher, father of four, and son and namesake of the famous historian--are being encouraged to sacrifice passionate engagement with life for specious notions of success. The intense pressure to excel discourages kids from taking chances, failing, and learning empathy and self-confidence from those failures. 

In You Are (Not) Special, McCullough elaborates on his now-famous speech exploring how, for what purpose, and for whose sake, we're raising our kids. With wry, affectionate humor, McCullough takes on hovering parents, ineffectual schools, professional college prep, electronic distractions, club sports, and generally the manifestations, and the applications and consequences of privilege. By acknowledging that the world is indifferent to them, McCullough takes pressure off of students to be extraordinary achievers and instead exhorts them to roll up their sleeves and do something useful with their advantages.

I Just Graduated...Now What?: Honest Answers from Those Who Have Been There by Katherine Schwarzenegger

Graduation is a time of tough questions whose answers we don’t—and sometimes can’t—know the day we receive our diploma. Determined to power through the uncertainty of post-gradua­tion, bestselling author Katherine Schwarzenegger embarked on a yearlong quest to gather the best guid­ance possible from more than thirty highly success­ful people working in fields like business, media, fashion, technology, sports, and philanthropy. 

Along the way, Katherine uncovered the essential and often surprising advice they have for graduates, including answers to questions like: 
 • How do I find my first job in a tough economy? 
 • How do I decide between a career that pays well and one that I’m passionate about?
 • How do I balance work with friends, relationships, and family? 
 • Should I take a “gap year” before starting my first job?
 • What should I do about my student loan debt? 

 Drawing on the stories and real-life experiences of contributors such as Anderson Cooper, Eva Longoria, Blake Mycoskie of TOMS shoes, Lauren Bush Lauren, Andy Cohen, Meghan McCain, Gayle King, and more, Katherine has written the must-have guide for recent and soon-to-be gradu­ates as they prepare to seek success and fulfillment in their work, relationships, and lives.

Lean In for Graduates by Sheryl Sandburg

In 2013, Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In became a massive cultural phenomenon and its title became an instant catchphrase for empowering women. The book soared to the top of best-seller lists both nationally and internationally, igniting global conversations about women and ambition. Sandberg packed theaters, dominated op-ed pages, appeared on every major television show and on the cover of Time magazine, and sparked ferocious debate about women and leadership. Now, this enhanced edition provides the entire text of the original book updated with more recent statistics and features a passionate letter from Sandberg encouraging graduates to find and commit to work they love. A combination of inspiration and practical advice, this new edition will speak directly to graduates and, like the original, will change lives. 

New Material for the Graduate Edition: 
· A Letter to Graduates from Sheryl Sandberg 
· Find Your First Job, by Mindy Levy 
· Negotiate Your Salary, by Kim Keating
· Man Up: Millennial Men and Equality, by Kunal Modi 
· Leaning In Together, by Rachel Thomas 
· Own Who You Are, by Mellody Hobson  
· Listen to Your Inner Voice, by Rachel Simmons
· 12 Lean In stories (500-word essays), by readers around the world who have been inspired by Sandberg

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bike to Work Day

Tomorrow, Friday, May 16th is Bike to Work Day, part of Bike Month, sponsored by Cascade Bicycle Club.  Here is a link to some of the great events that are still scheduled.

We are so excited to be participating again this year with not one, but two commuter stations!  Look for the Lake Forest Park commuter station on the Burke Gilman Trail at Ballinger and Bothell.  The Ravenna station will be right outside the store at 65th and 20th NE.

We'll be giving away some great bike swag including tire levers, seat covers, and coupons for Third Place and Performance Bicycle .

Hop on your bike and head over to one of our stations we'll be there from 6:00-9:00AM.  Hope to see you bright and early tomorrow morning!

Some of our awesome swag!

And one of our resident cyclists suggests this bike book:
In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist by Pete Jordan

This lighthearted yet thorough look at cycling in Amsterdam strikes the perfect balance between cultural history and memoir. The author's enthusiasm for his topic shines as he explores his new home's relationship with the bicycle, from 1890s high-wheelers bumping over cobblestones, through the Nazi occupation, and into the modern day. Wonderful! - Emily A.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Table Time and Bike Month

 If you're an outdoor enthusiast, bicycling, Pacific Northwest, traveling, road-tripping-reader, you should probably come check out the theme tables at Lake Forest Park.  This month, the tree table is featuring everything you might need for the perfect road trip.  We're talking, maps, audio books, BBQ cookbooks, travel guides, "beach reads," and even flip flops.  We have got it all.

But if a fossil fuel powered road trip isn't your bag, the small table is featuring books dedicated to bike month.  That's right, May is officially the month of the bicylcle (oh how I wish we still called them velocipedes).  We've got histories and memoirs, picture books and repair manuals...all featuring bikes!

The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

From the creator of The Boy and the Airplane, a touching wordless picture book about a little girl, a shiny bicycle, and the meaning of persistence--with an unexpected payoff.

A little girl sees a shiny new bicycle in the shop window. She hurries home to see if she has enough money in her piggy bank, but when she comes up short, she knocks on the doors of her neighbors, hoping to do their yardwork. They all turn her away except for a kindly old woman.

The woman and the girl work through the seasons, side by side. They form a tender friendship. When the weather warms, the girl finally has enough money for the bicycle. She runs back to the store, but the bicycle is gone What happens next shows the reward of hard work and the true meaning of generosity.

Wordless, timeless, and classic, The Girl and the Bicycle carries a message of selflessness and sweet surprises and makes an ideal gift for graduations and other special occasions.

The Rules: The Way of the Cycling Disciple by The Velominati

The Rules is an essential part of every cyclist's kit whether you're riding to work or training to be the next Bradley Wiggins or Victoria Pendleton. Winning awards and gaining millions of viewers, Velominati.com has become an online cycling mecca. In 92 canonical rules, these masters of the peloton share tips on gear, tell stories from cycling s legendary hardmen, and enforce the etiquette of the road with a healthy, often sinister sense of humor.

Practical and motivating (Rule #12: the correct number of bikes to own is N + 1, where N is the number of bikes currently owned), unflinching and authoritative (Rule #9: If you're out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.), The Rules will help readers find their cycling passion, whether it's in high alpine passes or tight velodrome races, in the garage before the ride or in the bar afterward. "Vive la Vie Velominatus."

In honor of bike month, show your bicycle helmet to the cashier and receive 10% off your purchase.  Don't forget your bike saddle bags!  You never know what kind of goodies you'll find!  Also stay tuned for more info on our Bike to Work Stations.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

New Releases!

Check out these great new books out this week!

Delicious by Ruth Reichl

Ruth Reichl is a born storyteller. Through her restaurant reviews, where she celebrated the pleasures of a well-made meal, and her bestselling memoirs that address our universal feelings of love and loss, Reichl has achieved a special place in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of readers. Now, with this magical debut novel, she has created a sumptuous, wholly realized world that will enchant you.

Billie Breslin has traveled far from her home in California to take a job at Delicious!, New York’s most iconic food magazine. Away from her family, particularly her older sister, Genie, Billie feels like a fish out of water—until she is welcomed by the magazine’s colorful staff. She is also seduced by the vibrant downtown food scene, especially by Fontanari’s, the famous Italian food shop where she works on weekends. Then Delicious! is abruptly shut down, but Billie agrees to stay on in the empty office, maintaining the hotline for reader complaints in order to pay her bills.

To Billie’s surprise, the lonely job becomes the portal to a miraculous discovery. In a hidden room in the magazine’s library, Billie finds a cache of letters written during World War II by Lulu Swan, a plucky twelve-year-old, to the legendary chef James Beard. Lulu’s letters provide Billie with a richer understanding of history, and a feeling of deep connection to the young writer whose courage in the face of hardship inspires Billie to comes to terms with her fears, her big sister and her ability to open her heart to love.

The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky, and Death by Colson Whitehead

On one level, The Noble Hustle is a familiar species of participatory journalism--a longtime neighborhood poker player, Whitehead was given a $10,000 stake and an assignment from the online online magazine Grantland to see how far he could get in the World Series of Poker. But since it stems from the astonishing mind of Colson Whitehead (MacArthur Award-endorsed!), the book is a brilliant, hilarious, weirdly profound, and ultimately moving portrayal of--yes, it sounds overblown and ridiculous, but really!--the human condition.

After weeks of preparation that included repeated bus trips to glamorous Atlantic City, and hiring a personal trainer to toughen him up for sitting at twelve hours a stretch, the author journeyed to the gaudy wonderland that is Las Vegas – the world’s greatest “Leisure Industrial Complex” -- to try his luck in the multi-million dollar tournament. Hobbled by his mediocre playing skills and a lifelong condition known as “anhedonia” (the inability to experience pleasure) Whitehead did not – spoiler alert! - win tens of millions of dollars. But he did chronicle his progress, both literal and existential, in this unbelievably funny, uncannily accurate social satire whose main target is the author himself.

The Noble Hustle is Pulitzer finalist Colson Whitehead’s hilarious memoir of his search for meaning at high stakes poker tables, which the author describes as “Eat, Pray, Love for depressed shut-ins.”

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson

A wildly picaresque new novel from Jonas Jonasson, the author of the internationally bestselling The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.

In a tiny shack in the largest township in South Africa, Nombeko Mayeki is born. Put to work at five years old and orphaned at ten, she quickly learns that the world expects nothing more from her than to die young, be it from drugs, alcohol, or just plain despair. But Nombeko has grander plans. She learns to read and write, and at just fifteen, using her cunning and fearlessness, she makes it out of Soweto with millions of smuggled diamonds in her possession. Then things take a turn for the worse....

Nombeko ends up the prisoner of an incompetent engineer in a research facility working on South Africa's secret nuclear arsenal. Yet the unstoppable Nombeko pulls off a daring escape to Sweden, where she meets twins named Holger One and Holger Two, who are carrying out a mission to bring down the Swedish monarchy...by any means necessary.

Nombeko's life ends up hopelessly intertwined with the lives of the twins, and when the twins arrange to kidnap the Swedish king and prime minister, it is up to our unlikely heroine to save the day--and possibly the world. In this wild romp, Jonasson tackles issues ranging from the pervasiveness of racism to the dangers of absolute power while telling a charming and hilarious story along the way. In the satirical voice that has earned him legions of fans the world over, Jonasson gives us another rollicking tale of how even the smallest of decisions can have sweeping--even global--consequences.

Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg

In this funny, frank, and tender new memoir, the author of the "New York Times" bestseller A Homemade Life and the blog Orangette recounts how opening a restaurant sparked the first crisis of her young marriage. When Molly Wizenberg married Brandon Pettit, he was a trained composer with a handful of offbeat interests: espresso machines, wooden boats, violin-building, and ice cream-making. So when Brandon decided to open a pizza restaurant, Molly was supportive--not because she wanted him to do it, but because the idea was so far-fetched that she didn't think he would. Before she knew it, he'd signed a lease on a space.

The restaurant, Delancey, was going to be a reality, and all of Molly's assumptions about her marriage were about to change. Together they built Delancey: gutting and renovating the space on a cobbled-together budget, developing a menu, hiring staff, and passing inspections. Delancey became a success, and Molly tried to convince herself that she was happy in their new life until--in the heat and pressure of the restaurant kitchen--she realized that she hadn't been honest with herself or Brandon.

With evocative photos by Molly and twenty new recipes for the kind of simple, delicious food that chefs eat at home, Delancey is a moving and honest account of two young people learning to give in and let go in order to grow together.

 The Bone Season  by Samantha Shannon

It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine—a young woman learning to harness her powers in a world where everything has been taken from her. It also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

Will Not Attend: Lively Stories of Detachment and Isolation by Adam Resnick

Adam Resnick, an Emmy Award-winning writer for NBC’s Late Night with David Letterman, has spent his entire life trying to avoid interaction with people. While courageously admitting to being “euphorically antisocial” and “sick in the head,” he allows us to plunge even deeper into his troubled psyche in this unabashedly uproarious memoir-in-essays where we observe Resnick’s committed indifference to family, friends, strangers, and the world at large. His mind shaped by such touchstone events as a traumatic Easter egg hunt when he was six (which solidified his hatred of parties) and overwrought by obsessions, including one with a plastic shopping bag (which solidified his hatred for change), he refuses to be burdened by chores like basic social obligation and personal growth, living instead by his own steadfast rule: “I refuse to do anything I don’t want to do.”

Cut from a similar (if somewhat stranger) cloth as Albert Brooks or Louis C.K., Resnick is the crazy, miserable bastard you can’t help rooting for, and the brilliant Will Not Attend showcases this seasoned comedy writer at his brazenly hilarious best.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Read This Book

Erin B. says read this book:

All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld

If you're looking for a tidy little book, a book that ties up all its loose ends, fits all the puzzle pieces together, resolves every mysterious plot line...this is not the book for you. But who wants that anyway?  Life isn't tidy, so this just feels more real.

All the Birds, Singing is crammed full of hidden pasts, unraveling lives, and mysterious strangers.  A bleak and wind-whipped British island is home to Jake Whyte, a solitary woman who raises sheep and keeps the locals as far away as she can.  She's hiding something, and now her sheep are being hunted and mutilated, and Jake might be next.

What makes this book impossible to put down is the unique structure Evie Wyld employs.  In alternating chapters, between the the eerie present day mystery, she tells the story of Jake's secret past in the burning isolation of rural Australia.  But these flashbacks run backwards in time, bringing the reader ever closer to the tragic secret that sets Jake's life spiraling out of her control.

This is a dark but beautiful book that I just could not put down. Even a week after reading it, it's lingering on my mind.  Plus, I really like a book title with punctuation in it.