Ask a bookseller

Ask a bookseller: Phinney Books in Seattle

'Golden Age' by Joan London
'Golden Age' by Joan London
Courtesy of publisher

Every week, The Thread checks in with booksellers around the country about their favorite books of the moment. This week, we spoke with Tom Nissley of Phinney Books in Seattle.

There's one request that Tom Nissley has trouble filling.

"When you're a bookseller, one of the most frequent questions — and one of the hardest ones — is when people say: 'I want a happy book.' Especially because I often like books that aren't happy," he said.

But Joan London's "The Golden Age" fits the bill.

It may not seem like a happy story, on its face. It's set in a children's polio hospital in western Australia in the 1950s.

"It's a complex book about complex people, but there is a goodness to a lot of people in the story — and to the story itself — that is kind of refreshing," Phinney said.

The book centers on the kids in the hospital, their families and the hospital staff. At the heart of it is a relationship between two young patients.

"There's nothing else to call it but a love affair," Phinney said. "It's not physical, but it's absolutely compelling and believable and feels authentic. And that's something that you don't read every day."

Golden Age Golden Age

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