A bookseller for many years and now co-owner of the bookstore. Her previous gigs included serving as the Events Manager, management committee member, and becoming a journeyman book buyer. At least, almost one. She’s been involved in hosting events, and becoming pals with all of the weird and wonderful people who make this community great. She loves nothing more than to be astonished by the latest brilliant novel. But buyer beware, stop her from telling you a book’s ending that you’re thinking about buying since she has somewhat of a problem controlling her blood/sugar balance when she gets excited about the book in question. That said, it’s nothing compared to her passion for all things relating to baseball.
All bookstores are filled with the best of stories, but this bookshop is special - it hides long held secrets within its walls and beneath its floors, secrets that can change a life. Readers will love Natalie, who inherits an historic (but also dilapidated) bookshop after a heartbreaking tragedy. Never afraid but often uncertain, she plunges forward to rebuild her life and preserve her legacy, with the help of a delightful surrogate bookstore family, a bookstore cat, and her beloved ailing grandfather. What would you do for love? That is the essence of this very rich novel.
Antonia, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, is grieving the sudden loss of her beloved American husband, who died on the very day that she retired as a Professor of English. She is bereft and wants only to retreat into her grief, however, she is pulled further and further into the lives and crises of others around her. Characters include her cherished but complicated sisters and a couple of young and desperate undocumented laborers from the neighboring dairy farm. Grieving, loneliness, obligation, belonging, and promise are themes explored in this small gem of a novel. Throughout it all the message is “let’s see what love can do.”
A tale of a small village in Ireland just before electricity arrives, caught in time between history and modernity. Noe is a young man who comes to live with his grandparents in Faha, recovering from deep grief and a distinct loss of faith. Many decades later, he narrates the story of all that happened to him during one unforgettable summer. The store is told with comic charm and sublime poignancy. The plot unfolds slowly, we meet the characters casually, and yet the language compels you to continue. The writing style is exquisite. You will find yourself reading passages aloud to your loved ones, because this book must be shared. During these uneasy times, this novel is a balm for the soul. Fans of Brian Doyle will love this tale.
After dazzling the world with The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern is finally back with another glorious contemporary fairy tale, filled with magical sparkling imagery. The story begins with graduate student Zachary Ezra Rawlings' discovery of a mysterious book in the college library. The book leads to sinister intrigue and a journey through painted doorways into an underground universe filled with rich symbolism, elaborate scenery, and fascinating characters. It is a hero's tale involving a quest journey in a world where stories are layered and connected, and never quite what they seem. You will want some quiet time to absorb this magical tale.
Pulitzer Prize winning historian Timothy Egan puts himself into the story in this remarkable memoir. Raised in a devout Irish Catholic family, Egan has wrestled with his faith as the clerical abuse scandal and the Church's position on women have impacted his family. He also notes the increasing popularity of secularism throughout the world. To work out his feelings about religion, whether or not it has been good for the world, and whether or not his faith can be restored, Egan makes a Pilgrimage along the Via Francigena. You will learn much about European history, and you will want to visit every town along the way. This is a remarkable story!
Do witches exist? And if so, do their spells really work? After reading this delightfully magical memoir, I certainly hope so. Known for his wicked humor in the face of real challenges, Burroughs does not disappoint in this latest tale, in which he comes out as a witch, descended from a centuries-long lineage of powerful witches. It really doesn't matter whether Burroughs is putting us on - as some have suggested - this story is a hoot, filled with colorful characters, taut situations, fabulous dogs, and lots of love. Suspend your disbelief, or embrace your magical desires, and climb aboard for the ride.
Using beautiful prose, historical references, and magical realism Alice Hoffman has created a masterful folktale. In desperation to send her daughter Lea to safety from Germany during WWII, a Jewish mother convinces a Rabbi’s brilliant daughter Ettie to create a Golem to protect Lea on her journey. Both girls make it to war torn France with the Golem Ava, where their paths diverge. It is a story of hope, survival, revenge, and deep love. Finally, it is a meditation on what it is to be human.
Caroline left her family, friends, and a broken heart in rural Southwest Washington to pursue a career in high fashion. Ten years later she returns home with her career in tatters, destroyed by a powerful fashion icon, and her best friend's two traumatized children to raise on her own. With huge challenges and few resources, she is nearly overcome with doubts and anxiety. Armed with a strong purpose for helping women and incredible design skills, she moves into a life even bigger than she could have imagined. Can she also repair her broken heart? This rich story takes on the #MeToo challenges most women have faced, and shows that together, supporting each other, we can get through just about anything.
In turns, this book is sassy, fun, heartbreaking, deeply moving, and finally absolutely and utterly satisfying. It is set in the glamorous world of pre-WWII New York City and the exciting showgirl theater culture, with all of the wild and fast drama of that age. Essentially, it is a book that examines women's relationships, to each other and to the men in their lives, and to themselves. It encourages women to be unapologetically authentic, because that's when life is lived at its best. Read it! It's grand.
Better than any other author, George moves her brilliant characters from the depths of darkness and despair, back into the light, always along the path of love. The novel begins with Henri, a former war correspondent. On the day he is to meet his only son, Sam, for the first time, he is involved in an accident that puts him into a severe coma. A former lover, Eddie, who has been out of his life for years, is surprised to be listed as his medical guardian. The story unfolds from there. Through amazing imagery and deft storytelling, we are moved to explore whether there are do-overs. Could there be parallel stories with unending possibilities? Can healing occur on other planes of consciousness? At its core, this novel is an examination of the transcendent power of love.
If you've ever wondered how to commit the perfect murder, this book will give you some clues. Much delightful mayhem occurs in these five short chapters, where we come to know the seemingly mild-mannered Maud, an elderly retiree in Göteborg, Sweden. Maud leads a rather comfortable but pedestrian life of solitude, which she will protect at all costs. Helene Tursten, the author of many popular Scandinavian crime thrillers, has shifted gears to offer up this lively and darkly funny tale. It is a pint-sized book that makes a perfect gift. You will never take seniors for granted again!
Elaine Pagels rose to prominence as one of the early experts of the Gnostic Gospels, and other ancient religious texts discovered in the last century. Her brilliant work was academic, until unbearable tragedy struck within her own life, not once but twice within a year. Realizing the life she had crafted was changed forever, and with two young children to raise on her own, she looked for answers in the realm she knew best - ancient wisdom teachings. This is a deeply moving memoir loaded with courage, resilience, and hope. I could not put it down.
For curious children, here is a book that will broaden their view of the world. With full color spreads of fascinating cultural, geographical, and man-made wonders on every continent, this book is sure to amaze and enchant. It is fun for kids to explore on their own, and for you to read and discuss together with the youngsters in your life. Get ready to experience the world in a new way!
After the mysterious loss of her mother, Turtle is raised by a powerful unpredictable father. He claims to love and adore her while treating her to horrendous physical and psychological abuse. She excels at survivalist tactics and wilderness skills, but is failing academically and socially. Despite such a desperate situation, and her course begins to change when she develops a friendship with two charismatic older boys. Turtle’s father will not give away his control easily, however. This is a tense tale, well told. You will be cheering for Turtle long after you turn the last page.
From dinner parties, to community meetings, to gala events, we islanders know about gathering! The Art of Gathering, by Priya Parker is a wonderful and insightful resource for creating profoundly enjoyable gatherings. Parker reminds us that meeting with people is an important part of being human. She also makes it clear that doing it with intention benefits all in profound ways. From changing the focus away from logistics and onto the actual purpose of the gathering, and how you want your guests to feel, these interactions are revolutionized. I look forward to applying these new tools to all the ways in which we gather with you here in your bookshop. Because in this community, gathering is what we do best!
I approached this book with considerable trepidation, but by the 2nd page, I was hooked and had to know more. Michael Pollan (Omnivore's Dilemma, Botany of Desire, Cooked) explores the fascinating history of psychedelic agents in our culture, along with the colorful cast of characters who have worked with them. There are many surprises, including the clear evidence that not only do these agents allow profound mystical experiences, but modern studies show that they are also highly effective at treating addiction, depression, anxiety, and many other health issues, with long lasting mind-altering effects. Pollan samples the psychedelics himself throughout the book, and his trips are described in detail. This is the most amazing book I have read in a very long time.
Some of us may relate directly to the events of this memoir, others may not, but all of us can relate to the urgent need, first expressed by Plato, to live an “examined life.” No one does this better than Claire Dederer. In a unique essay format, loaded with both sensitivity and humor, Claire reflects on her sexually promiscuous youth and the profound, sudden and shocking sexual urges that have returned to her that confuse and threaten her carefully crafted role as a modern devoted mother and wife. Read it for the brilliant writing, or for the storytelling. This is a brave undertaking in every respect, and so well done.
This book is brilliant! It is delightfully illustrated and filled with fun facts about bees and why they are important, as well as lots of amazing and easy experiments for young minds to try. As if that wasn't enough, the entire book becomes a beehive for mason bees - so your child can be crafty while participating in saving the planet! And if you build it, the bees will come! What's not to love?
With incredibly beautiful illustrations, and playful rhymes, we follow Smon Smon on a whimsical and mysterious journey through a land of enchantments. Along the way there are won wons, lon lons, ton tons, and even klon klons to learn about. With delightful encounters and sudden pitfalls, It is a stunningly beautiful book, meant to be read aloud with your favorite youngster (or oldster!).
Marianne, in her 60th year - and her 40th year in a dark and unhappy marriage - is considering suicide. But what happens to her after she literally walks away from her situation is magical. This novel is loaded with charm, quirky characters, art, food, dance, and romance. It is about recognizing and loving the characters around us, the ones who become our surrogate family, the ones who define community. If your heart needs some patching, or if the outside world seems bleak, Marianne's tale will lift your spirits. It's a sweet escape on a cold rainy day.
This intriguing mystery introduces us to the delightful character, Celine, a missing-persons private eye with secrets of her own. Her blue-blood New England background gives her access to unusual resources, and her fearless attitude creates rich drama. Heller is a master storyteller.
The next time you're ready to make a meal, consider this: to bring 1 lb of beef to your table, 1851 gallons of water are used, whereas 0 gallons of water are used to bring you wild caught fresh fish. A tomato has a fresh water footprint of 13 gallons, a cup of coffee, 34 gallons: mere trifles to king chocolate bar at 449! Despair not, for Ramirez explains how to make better choices as you enjoy all three, and countless other foods. There are low water solutions for all of it, and the author, a water conservation activist, traveled the country to find out who is leading the way. From food and drink providers of all stripes, she presents their stories with immense charm and humor. Highly readable and complete with recipes from each contributor, this is a book not just for conscious eaters, but for foodies everywhere.
This deeply moving memoir concerns two sisters, one with advanced cancer and the other, her bone marrow donor. When it becomes clear that Elizabeth is the perfect genetic match for her younger sister, both patient and donor perform a detox regimen in preparation for the transplant. These sisters, however, also decide that they will detoxify themselves spiritually, particularly their relationship with each other. It takes tremendous courage and resilience to heal the issues in their past, especially in light of the physical challenges they face. Heartbreaking at times, this is a redemptive story, written exquisitely. It has the power to change lives.
An archivist specializing in ancient texts is asked to appraise a tarot deck, perhaps the earliest deck known, dating back thousands of years. In a parallel tale, the mysterious history of the deck is revealed as the modern-day drama of the appraiser and her mysterious wealthy client unfolds. A suspenseful tale, steeped in mysticism.
This is Rachel Carson at her best, and most personal. This is less a book about nature and its glories, but more of an exploration of Carson’s deep personal relationship with the natural world. It’s also a fine training manual on how to find and nurture that same devotion, not only for yourself, but more importantly, for the youngsters in your life. It turns out that it is easier than you might think. This lovely classic, with gorgeous photography, is good for the soul. It will be a cherished baby gift for new parents.
With brilliant writing and astonishing storytelling, this debut novel is not to be missed. An unflinching, intimate tale of women both free and enslaved during the years surrounding the Civil War, it is narrated by the ghost of an escaped slave who hovers near her daughter throughout the story. Their parallel stories intertwine to capture the terrors, frustrations, injustices, and enduring hopes of the women in that era. Book groups will find much to discuss with this great novel for our times.
In this steamy, dreamy, and mysterious novel, a woman and her mother travel to the Spanish coast, to an enigmatic but secretive doctor, in hopes of finally finding a cure to the mother’s long-term illness. A haunting and sensuous read.
In her role as an NPR host, Tippett has forged an enviable career of interviewing thinkers and visionaries of our time, all in the pursuit of wisdom. Through insightful discussions with philosophers, poets, scientists, theologians, activists, and many others, she teases out unique and profound perspectives on life’s most perplexing issues. In this time of intense societal change, Krista gently and gracefully explores how to recognize the basic philosophical tenets of love and understanding that make us uniquely human. Beautifully written, this book is a must-read.
Young John Lewis lived on a small family farm in the rural South, where he took care of the chickens. John has a vision of becoming a preacher who would inspire people and change lives. He began to practice giving sermons to his captive audience, the chickens. The chickens seemed to like it, and so his career began. Today, he is known as the towering civil rights leaderJohn Lewis, Congressman from Georgia. This captivating story is illuminated with glorious watercolors from award-winning illustrator E.B. Lewis. Aimed for kids, but lots for adults to ponder and enjoy, this book is beautiful, compelling and quite special. Ages 5-8.
If you want to explore the weirdest, most obscure, and genuinely fascinating places on Earth, this book is for you. Inside you will find a detailed compendium of the oddest natural phenomena, architectural wonders, and even strange cultural events—all very far from ordinary, and incredibly intriguing. But beware, once you open the cover and even just peek inside, you will be hooked. This book will make a cherished gift for anyone who receives it.
This is a romp of a good novel. Stewart, (The Drunken Botanist, Wicked Plants), came across the idea in newspaper stories while researching another book. Set in New Jersey during Prohibition times, it has gangsters, a tried and true sheriff, and, of course, damsels in distress—but what powerful and entertaining damsels! You will love it.
Can an octopus have conscious thoughts? Can it play, make friends, show emotions? It turns out that these odd, slimy creatures are extraordinarily intelligent animals with personalities, and, in captivity, develop personal relationships with people. Montgomery captures the spirits of the octopi she befriends at the New England Aquarium. Whether an octopus has a soul is up for debate, but what it can teach us about ourselves and our relationship to others is profound. Put down your skepticism and pick up this book—you’ll be amazed. It has changed my attitude toward animals in general, but especially the comely octopus!
Spiritual philosopher Mark Nepo has given us another gem for the nourishment of the heart and soul. By explaining that life’s glories, complexities, and difficulties are meant to be experienced and especially to be examined, we learn that everything has meaning, and everything contributes to the making of soul. Through Nepo’s clarity and prose, we are encouraged and guided to develop practices that will help address the universal longing for wisdom, truth, and love. ~ Jane
As this brilliant, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel opens, young Theo survives a New York City terrorist attack that kills his mother and leaves him tormented. In the next few years he journeys from the upper echelons of New York society to the suburbs of Las Vegas, and finally to Amsterdam. As he tries to adapt to each new situation, all the while shielding a secret from the day of the attack, the plot centers on his trauma, longing and regret. A frantic and tense climax creates a path of redemption for Theo. Unforgettable characters, great attention to detail, exquisite writing, and a grand scope combine to make this a rare literary treat. ~ Jane
Set in early 20th century New York City, this dazzling novel involves a charlatan who collects human deformities and animal wonders for his Coney Island museum. His daughter, born with webbed hands and incredible swimming skills, is used to attract museum-goers. Far from being a monster, she has a kind, compassionate nature. Fearful of her father and self-conscious of her deformity, she longs for a normal life, especially after falling in love. Between the suspenseful storyline, colorful characters, a magical backdrop, and rich history of New York, this novel ponders what it is that makes us human. It is a gem.
Plunging into this ambitious, amazingly researched novel, I was not of this century but part of the great age of discovery and debate. In 1800s America, plain Alma Whittaker becomes a scientist by absorbing vast quantities of knowledge through her father's gardens, greenhouses, and collections of botanical art and scientific journals. She creates a fulfilling career for herself while studying the wonders of life, and her character grows in depth with her profound knowledge. Gilbert touches on the themes of a deeper spirituality and psycho-sexuality, creationism versus evolution, and the revelations of Darwin's Origin of the Species. This is a grand read, an adventure into a more innocent era and a thought-provoking experience that I enjoyed immensely.
Indie spiritualists experience what has been called a deep longing for a direct connection with spirit. It often involves finding meaning in the details of everyday life, from the most mundane to the blindsiding and sublime. A rock musician covered with tattoos and piercings, Grosso has delivered a stunning account of his own tough journey from self-destruction to wholeness, in a way that honors diversity and individuality. In these pages you will find profound truths, insights, and wisdom for your own spiritual explorations. The message is empowering and hopeful.
Ifemelu is a young woman from Nigeria, living in New Jersey. Her blog for non-American blacks, with its poignant observations on racism in America, has brought her fame. In a series of flash-backs, we learn of Ifemelu’s first love and their life in Nigeria as students with promising futures. Much of the novel takes place in a hair braiding salon, and these fascinating passages also function symbolically in bridging the racial gap. This is an enduring love story and a brilliant look at the parallels between race in America and class structure in Nigeria—a satisfying, honest novel to be enjoyed by people from all backgrounds.
This novel is wild! In order to escape from a 100-year birthday party planned for him, protagonist Allan climbs out the window of his old folks home, and thereafter has adventures, misadventures, and narrow escapes. In his earlier years, he has brushes with fame, lunching with Truman, annoying Mao, and being sent to Siberia by Stalin. Somehow, he always seems to come out on top. This book has drawn comparisons to Forrest Gump, but I think it is much, much better! ~ Ann, Jane
A rollicking modern-day interpretation of the classic Greek tragedy, Oedipus Rex, this story will leave you in stitches. It has the cynicism of Tom Wolfe mixed with the absurdity of Carl Hiassen. The novel begins with a slow dangerous seduction then picks up speed as each new character and plot twist is introduced. This story is wickedly funny, fearlessly taking on many contemporary societal themes as it builds to a thrill-ride climax of an ending. Featured in the story is a cadre of rather despicable but entertaining characters who are caricatures of the 1980’s “Me Generation.” The writing is superb and the story is fantastic. I recommend it to everyone!
There is much to discuss in this rich story that is beautifully told, as only Adichie can do. It is a family drama set in contemporary Nigeria with universal themes - indigenous culture vs. modernity, youth and elders living in harmony, oppression in its many forms - government, church, and patriarchy - and the deep shame and fear involved with hiding family secrets. In the end it is about enduring love, as everything seems to be. Of her many books, this first of her novels has become my strong favorite.
This is a historical novel based on the ancient battle of the Masada. In Herod's palace high on a clifftop, a community of Jews gathered for protection against the Roman army. They lived for years in security until the Romans devised a plan of attack. This is the story of four Jewish women who arrive at the palace from different directions and different backgrounds, who become as close as sisters. Together they serve as caretakers of the doves of the palace, which holds a place of importance in this fragile community. The story is filled with mysticism, magic, and beauty, alongside the horrors of battle and persecution. ~ Jane
For short story enthusiasts, this collection is among the best you’ll find. With a playful voice, Keret creates scenarios that capture the imagination and grab the soul. Each story is only a few pages long, some even shorter, but each packs a punch. Magical realism features prominently, although the stories seem plausible enough as told. You will savor these little marvels long after you’ve finished reading. This is also a perfect gift for serious readers, and for those who prefer high entertainment in small doses.
This haunting and beautifully written story is set in Ceylon in the mid-1800's during a time of civil unrest between peasants and colonialists. The land and people are vividly depicted; the lushness of the lifestyles, even the smells of the place come through the writing. A complex and powerful relationship develops between a colonial governor's wife and her Tamil servant, as together they work to capture images on glass in the earliest days of photography. A mounting civil war adds suspense and drama to this incredible story. ~ Jane
What could be called a memoir is more like a wild adventure, so fasten your seat belts! A spiritual journey of nearly 20 years takes Jessica Maxwell from a dubious skeptic, to a believer, to a healing holy woman. Along the way she attracts many spiritual characters including an enlightened pig farmer and a golf-loving Indian mystic. She connects a past life with her present situation, experiences energy bodies of several ascended masters, and has visitations from departed friends. Maxwell tells her story with great humor, joy, and compassion—and without proselytizing. We learn from this rollicking ride is that there is an amazing and powerful spiritual aspect to life if you are willing to show up, and are paying attention. ~ Jane
In one of the most imaginative plots ever conceived, many themes take turns on center stage to produce a lively and engaging story. An intricate plot leads a simple country boy, Wheeler Burton, from his early goals of trying to perfect a killer spit ball on his little league team, to becoming an iconic rock star and then a successful author. But it seems that Wheeler, this magical hero, has more to accomplish, when at the age of forty-seven he mysteriously finds himself back in time in turn-of-the-20th-century Vienna. An accurate depiction of this time and place is woven into the story: Change is in the air, modern society is emerging, and young intellectuals from around the world—many of whom will become famous—are all together practicing café politics. This book is destined to become a classic. ~ Jane
Ricard is both a cellular geneticist from the Pasteur Institute and a Buddhist monk, living and working with the most enlightened spiritual masters of our times. He combines twenty-first century science with the thousands of years of spirituality to develop and encourage a compelling plan for realizing happiness. ~Jane
In a society where the distance between the haves and the have-nots grows every day, this book is a timely and inspiring resource. It attempts to help us align the soulful intentions that we all have with the way we direct the flow of money through our lives. Twist is both a fundraiser and a consciousness raiser, speaking from her heart to bring about dramatic change in the relationship between people and their money. Her goal is to alter the view of money as a scarcity, which produces toxic results, and to see it instead as a carrier of our finest aims and as an opportunity to nourish the things we most care about. This book is filled with stories of individuals, organizations and corporations already practicing this approach. Whether we have a little or a lot of money, the author's words can help us live with integrity and be happier doing it. ~ Jane