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If you couldn’t make it to our evening of bookseller suggestions last week, well, you missed out on some fantastic wine, cheese, and conversation. But here is the rundown of recommendations:

Jane: The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli and Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer

Jen: This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper and The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris

Emily: Madonnas of Echo Park by Brando Skyhorse and The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell

Grace: The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas and Northline by Willy Vlautin

There was some competition among the booksellers about which books would sell the most that evening, and I think The Slap took the honors.

We also talked about The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (did you love it or think it was totally boring?), and other all-time favorite books (Room, The Book Thief).

Thanks to all who attended!

 

This debut novel, due out in April from Norton, is poetic and moody and magical. Set in the northern town of Sawgamet, Stephen has returned to town to bury his dying mother. But he flashes back to his childhood, and the pivotal summer when Stephen’s grandfather Jeannot returned to town to find his dead wife. The snow is almost another character in the story; it’s a place where it can blizzard well into the summer, and where the river can ice over so quickly it traps people. The mythical creatures living in the woods lend a magical realism/fantasy element to the story, but it’s really steeped in love, family, and community. And it manages to be both brutal and sweet at the same time, which is a great combination. The author will be here in store reading from this book on Sunday, April 10 at 4 PM, and we’re excited to have him!

If you’ve set foot in the store anytime recently, you’ve probably heard us talk about Room. We all read it, we all loved it, and we still can’t stop talking about it. I’ve watched Jane hand-sell that book to about a hundred people, and I told her that Emma Donoghue owes her a drink, at the very least. The book works on so many different levels: plot-wise, it’s exciting. Structurally, it’s stands out as unique since it’s told from the perspective of this five year-old boy. But I think one of the things that resonated most for our staff was the mother/son relationship, which is so loving in the midst of such horror. It’s inspiring, which is what good fiction should be.

—Jennifer de la Fuente

Christmas is right around the corner! Don’t forget that we have a great selection of not only books, coffee table favorites, journals, stationery, and other great surprises!

We have great personal shopping services available and great gift bundle suggestions around the store!

Happy Holidays!

Finally,  latest book in the enormously popular series by Jeff Kinney — Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth — is out today, and we have lots and lots  of copies. Come pick one up (your child will be asking/demanding, we promise) and while you’re here check out all of the other super great new books we have in stock.

An avid reader, I’ve always been a little skeptical of graphic novels. I don’t always “get it” and find that I would rather be reading a traditional book.

This past week, I am thrilled to say, I finally fell in love with a graphic novel.

Diana Gabaldon, bestselling author of “Outlander” series fame, just came out with “The Exile,” an “Outlander” graphic novel! The book is beautifully illustrated by Hoang Nguyen, and parallels the beginning of Gabaldon’s first book from the new perspective of Jamie Fraser.

If you have read any of her books, you will understand my initial hesitations. I am a *devout* Jamie Fraser and Claire fan, but I was both thrilled and worried about how it would do as a graphic novel.

Well, it’s beautiful.

And there were two other things I learned about this book that hooked me: 1. It was Gabaldon’s original idea, after having started her publishing career as a comic artist. 2. She was heavily involved in every step of its creation, working directly with Hoang to get each image right.

I loved this whole new look at the “Outlander” world, and it made me pick up the series all over again. (*If you haven’t read these books, you should. An epic combination of historical fiction, romance, and fantasy, Gabaldon’s world and her characters are captivating.)

Hope you love it too!

~Taylor

Julia Stuart’s latest novel The Tower, The Zoo, and the Tortoise is a lovely book about the Tower of London and its quirky inhabitants: there’s Balthazar Jones, a man who, since the death of his young son, has developed the habit of collecting different types of rain; Hebe Jones, Balthazar’s wife, who works at the London Underground’s Lost Property Office and fancies playing marbles with its collection of glass eyes; Ruby Dore, a barmaid whose pet canary has simply quit singing; and Reverend Septimus Drew, a devout man of the cloth who discovers he has a knack for writing erotic fiction.  Every character is a delightful combination of odd and endearing, and together they find a way through the rainiest of times.  While Stuart’s novel requires some suspension of disbelief, she writes in such a charming way that readers give it willingly, and if you’re a fan of animals, English history or humorous fables, I think you’ll enjoy this book.

The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise by Julia Stuart
Doubleday (8/10/2010)