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Here are just a few of the great things going on in your local book community.

The Indie Book: “The Martian,” by Andrew Weir

The Pacific Northwest independent bookstore community has put this book on the map, and for good reason: It’s one of the best reads of the spring.

This is a real-science suspense/thriller of the best kind: Current-day astronaut Mark Watney is left on Mars by a crew who thinks he’s dead. His only chance of survival is to stay alive until the next crew lands — several hundred days later.

With fascinating science and enough laugh-out-loud moments to balance the tension, this book will hold you until the very end. 

The Buzz Book: “All the Light We Cannot See,” by Anthony Doerr (release date: May 6, 2014)

This book was 10 years in the writing, and reviews from the four corners of the book universe are in agreement: dazzling, epic, exquisitely written, lyrical, stunningly ambitious, crafted like a vintage timepiece.

The story follows a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast. In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up to become a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels to the far-flung outskirts of Russia and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.

Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, the author illuminates the ways — against all odds — people try to be good to one another.

The Local Children’s Authors: Indies First story time

Building on the success of Sherman Alexie’s Indies First movement, children’s author Kate DeCamilla has launched a kids’ version of this amazing day. All around the country, local authors will visit their local bookstores and read aloud from their books.

Here, it’s taking place at Queen Anne Book Co. (1811 Queen Anne Ave. N.) on May 17, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The store will have a selection of picture-book and middle-reader authors, plus simple book-related crafts and treats. Here are their special guests so far (check the website at qabookco.com for late additions to the lineup):

•Kim Baker, author of “Pickle” (a novel for ages 8 to 12), from 11:30 a.m. to noon;

•Stephanie Barden, author of the “Cinderella Smith” series for early readers ages 5 to 9, from 1 to 1:30 p.m.; and

•Elizabeth Rose Stanton, author and illustrator of “Henny,” and Toni Yuly, author and illustrator of “Early Bird,” both for the picture-book crowd, ages 3 to 8, from 1:30 to 2 p.m.

The Community Conversation:

“Shadows in the Sun: Healing from Depression and Finding the Light Within,” by Gayathri Ramprasad

With the intention of starting a great conversation, Ramprasad, “a one-woman hurricane of hope,” will discuss her battle with depression, providing a first-of-its-kind cross-cultural view of depression and mental illness. This book is garnering praise from every corner of the mental-health community.

Bestselling author Jennie Shortridge (“Eating Heaven,” “Love Water Memory”) will facilitate the discussion and Q&A session at Queen Anne Book Co. on June 5 at 7 p.m. 

JOANNE MORENO is a community bookseller. To comment on this column, write to QAMagNews@nwlink.com.