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Penny's Picks

penny

 

Penny McConnel has worked in bookstores for almost 40 years. Since reducing her hours at the bookstore (although remaining a co-owner) she is spending more time gardening, reading, cooking and traveling to be with her grown sons and their families in France, Phoenix, Arizona and Marin County, California. She and husband Jim live in Norwich.

 


 

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Fresh Water for Flowers Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781609456764
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Europa Editions - May 4th, 2021

Violette Toussaint is the caretaker at a cemetery in Burgundy France. She tends the flowers, grows vegetables and spends hours talking to the people who come to visit; mourners, visitors and town's people. She offers an ear for listening and often a cup of tea in her small, cozy house. In spite of the difficult turns that her young life has taken, Violette is able to offer compassion and understanding to others. Over the years she has learned the stories of many of the people buried in her cemetery and when one day a man knocks on her door wanting to talk to her about his deceased mother's wishes to have her ashes scattered on the grave of a man unknown to the son, Violette's life changes. This is a beautifully written and insightful novel about the turns our lives can take if we only give them a chance.


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Whereabouts: A novel Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9780593318317
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Knopf - April 27th, 2021

Our unnamed narrator lives in an unnamed city in Italy. Unmarried and middle aged, she walks the city, goes to cafes and bars and meets the occasional friend for dinner. Nothing really happens, but we sense her unrest with the life she is leading. Told in short chapters with the beautiful prose we have come to expect from this prize winning author.  Whereabouts is Lahiri's first novel since she decided to write only in Italian and then translate her work into English for publication.
The brevity of this work is only one of its triumphs and of course I wanted it to last longer.


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When the Stars Go Dark: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593237892
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Ballantine Books - April 13th, 2021

I found this one of those books that I needed to read quickly until I found out "what happened."  Anna Hart is a seasoned missing persons detective in San Francisco. When calamity hits her personal life, she flees to the seaside town of Mendocino where she finds herself drawn into a case of a missing teenage girl. Her own past  is too close to what she begins to learn, but she is in too deep in the case to pull out. A good read!


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The Rose Code: A Novel Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062943477
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - March 9th, 2021

Kate Quinn has a knack for writing fast paced historical fiction based on women during WW2. This one centers around the women who worked at Bletchley Park; the secretive home of the war's code breaking activities. The story follows three friends throughout the years of the war and beyond where they still have one final code to break. As in her other two books, Quinn has done admirable research. The late Prince Phillip even has a cameo role in the story. I enjoyed this read. The pages raced by too quickly in spite of its length.


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Brood: A Novel Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9780385546751
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Doubleday - March 9th, 2021

I found this a delightful read. A husband and wife living in Minnesota are contemplating a move away from their home and their small brood of chickens. There is little plot, but some fine writing about life, friendship and chickens made this just a darn good read.


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Vera: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781501157523
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Scribner - March 2nd, 2021

San Francisco was a bustling city in 1906 when 15 year old Vera Johnson, the illegitimate daughter of the madam of a famous brothel woke up to a city crumbling as an earthquake tore through her home and neighborhood. 
 Vera was different from other young women; she did not have beauty nor did she understand feminine coyness, but she was smart, resilient and very capable. The tragedy took almost everything from her, but also promised her a future, if she could use these strengths to help rebuild her city and her own life. I enjoyed this novel. Edgarian tells a good story.


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Send for Me: A novel Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781101947807
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Knopf - February 2nd, 2021

A lovingly told story about how the emigration from Nazi Germany to America affects three successive generations of women. Fox writes of the interconnectedness of family life and the ties that bind us, one generation to another. As I read this, I held in my mind the similar stories that we are hearing now as people are entering the US from our Southern borders. Can we ever leave behind the lives we grew up in? Our families and our stories?
This is a tale of heartbreak as well as of hope. Above all it is a tale of love.


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We Run the Tides: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062936233
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Ecco - February 9th, 2021

In 1984 Teenagers Eulabee and her friend Maria are hanging around their San Francisco neighborhood of Sea Cliff when they are witnesses to a starting occurrence. Their differing ideas on what they saw shake their community as well as the friendship. A story of innocence lost and with it the emergence into young adulthood for one of the girls.


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Kant's Little Prussian Head and Other Reasons Why I Write: An Autobiography in Essays Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781324006756
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - October 13th, 2020

Truth be told this is a difficult book to describe, but nevertheless I loved it. Very much!
Claire Messud is a very talented writer. She is the author of 6 novels, numerous essays and now this wonderful book that she calls "an autobiography in essays". Messud's descriptions of her fascinating upbringing made me wish that this particular volume was three times longer than it is. The first section of the book is what you might expect of an autobiography but then it is followed with a series of essays and criticisms about a variety of subjects; writing, art and criticism. All of this makes for a wonderful portrait of a woman and a writer consumed with the written word.  Claire Messud is a beautiful and meticulous writer.


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Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9780593189481
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Riverhead Books - November 10th, 2020

Katherine May has given us the  perfect memoir for these strange days as we move forward into this winter of our pandemic. May writes beautifully about her personal life and shares writings from others to teach us the power of transforming ourselves. Our lives are rift with difficulties in so many dimensions and May helps us learn to recognize our struggles and to accept that we are in a dark time and therefore need to allow ourselves to slow down and move inward. In her words “to winter”. Her thoughtful writing offers both help and comfort as we begin to accept that our lives are not linear but cyclical.
This is a memoir both moving, and wise but also calming and hopeful. I finished it with hope.


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Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780399588587
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Random House - February 9th, 2021

In the summer of 2010 Suleika Jaouad had just graduated from Princeton and moved to Paris. After only a few months there and just beginning a new relationship, she was diagnosed with a form of Leukemia that came with a 35% chance of survival.
In the following three and a half years, in addition to chemo, a clinical trial and a bone transplant, she documented her illness and treatment in a column for The New York Times which garnered her both acclaim and a boat load of people who wrote to her in response to the columns. 
When Jaouad  finished treatment in New York, she took off with her dog on a cross country trip to meet some of the people with whom she had corresponded during her treatments as well as to decide what the next chapter of her life might be.
This is a well written book that is not about cancer, but it is. Not about travel, but it is. Not about our relationships, but it is. What it is is a very good memoir about life.


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The Searcher: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780735224650
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Viking - October 6th, 2020

I cannot believe that this is my first Tana French mystery. People have raved about her to me for years but I just never picked up one of her books. My mistake. French carries off a fast paced read with strong characters and crafty plotting. The Searcher takes place in a remote Irish village where Chicago policeman Cal Hooper has recently retired to what he thought would be a calm life fixing up his new cottage and going fishing. When a local child asks Hooper to find her missing brother, we are off and running.
Hooper discovers that the locals seem to be hiding something from him and the reader is asked to consider how a situation can be both right and wrong. To complicate the situation Hooper is working a case for the first time without the benefit of a large police force to back him up. I thoroughly enjoyed this well written atmospheric mystery. Happily there are 7 more of French's novels to read and I am on my way.


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Monogamy: A Novel Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780062969651
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Harper - September 8th, 2020

I am forever drawn to stories about how people live their lives. How they manage to survive the situations they are dealt. I am also partial to novels that show but do not tell. For these reasons and more I was very pleased to find Sue Miller's new novel, Monogamy. Gabe and Annie are a long married couple when Gabe suddenly dies leaving Annie to figure out what her future will bring. She then discovers that he had a brief affair just before his death and her life feels doubly shattered. Through her memories, thoughts and conversations with friends and family Annie begins to  make her way through the murkiness to rediscover the man she loved as well as a way to move into the future.
Miller, always a fine writer tells her story with depth and caring. I loved it.


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Caste (Oprah's Book Club): The Origins of Our Discontents Cover Image
$32.00
ISBN: 9780593230251
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Random House - August 4th, 2020

There have been a number of books on race being written and talked about since the death of George Floyd. Most of them have a strong and profound message, but if you only read one of these important and timely books,
I strongly urge you to read Caste by the author of The Warmth of Other Suns. It is a brilliant book and an amazing and mesmerizing read.

Wilkerson explores the caste systems of India, Germany and The US, as a means of explaining how what we have come to refer to as race, has permeated cultures everywhere. Using the stories of real life people, including her own, Wilkerson demonstrates how we all experience this insidious system in our daily lives.

Caste is a beautifully written and scholarly book. It is also engaging, stimulating and a profound take on what is in our newspapers, on our TV's and on all of our minds this very minute.
To quote Wilkerson " As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power."


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Bright Precious Thing: A Memoir Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780525510055
Availability: Hard to Find (may be out of print - email to check availability)
Published: Random House - July 7th, 2020

I have long loved Gail Caldwell's memoirs and with this lovely new gem my admiration increases. Caldwell writes with heart, intelligence, passion and humour. Reading a Caldwell book feels like sitting with a friend over a cup of tea. She writes seamlessly about  rowing, swimming and dogs and always in the context of her own past and present. The winner of a Pulitzer Prize in Journalism, Gail Caldwell discusses her days in College in the 60's, the 2016 election and the Me Too movement as well as what being a woman in today's world means to her. To quote her "At some point you shuffle the cards and call the deck a life". This is a life I would love to be able to read for many more years.


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When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times (20th Anniversary Edition) Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781611803433
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Shambhala - June 7th, 2016

Even if you have already read this book or if it has sat on your bookshelf unopened for the past several years, now is a good occasion to give this special little book a (re) read. In these strange disparate times this is perfect to open in the middle and read for 10 minutes or an hour.

Pema Chodron writes:
“Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy."


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Love, Death & Rare Books Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781883285852
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Delphinium - March 17th, 2020

Gabe Johnson has been a rare book dealer all of his life, working with his father and grandfather in the very successful family store in Chicago. He is a book man through and through, and knows and loves literature. When it is time for him to take over the business the bookselling world has greatly changed and Gabe decides to change his life. I enjoyed this book not only because literature was so much a part of it but because I became so caught up in the characters. It is a book I didn’t want to end because I didn’t want to leave those interesting people.

(If you have not yet listened to a book on Libro, now may be the time as the audiobook of Love, Death, & Rare Books has an excellent narrator.)


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Dirt: Adventures in Lyon as a Chef in Training, Father, and Sleuth Looking for the Secret of French Cooking Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9780307271013
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Knopf - May 5th, 2020

The author, his wife, and their 3-year-old twin boys travel to Lyon, France, so that Bill can learn how to be a real French cook—preferably in a Michelin Star restaurant. He already has his cooking and writing chops, having published Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany, a book based on his experiences living and cooking in Italy.

Arriving in Lyon, the family rents a large apartment, enrolls the boys in school, and the reader gets to enjoy a marvelously vicarious adventure. It is funny, full of recipes and adventures in France. At times Buford goes more deeply into the history of French cooking than I am interested in, but he is so excited about his subject that I paid attention.


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Poetic License: A Memoir Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781631527111
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: She Writes Press - August 4th, 2020

Plainfield resident Gretchen Cherington has written an amazing memoir. She skillfully draws her reader in with clear writing, insightful awareness and a flair for story telling that is rare for a first time author. I was immediately caught up with this account of growing up in an academic family that had a constant stream of famous poets and writers through their door. The daughter of Richard Eberhart, the United States Poet Laureate in 1959 as well as a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1966, Cherington's was a life of comfort, but beneath the surface lay the truth of what being the daughter of a deeply flawed man meant for her. Cherington is a born storyteller and she has wonderful stories to tell. "Poetic License" is a sad and painful tale at times, but also a delightful one as the reader is taken intimately into Cherington’s world. I greatly enjoyed it.


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The Vanishing Sky Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781635574678
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - July 21st, 2020

A powerfully gut-wrenching and beautifully told war story from the perspective of a German family in the last months of WW2. The writing is dynamic and Binder's tale of a family with two sons; a runaway from Hitler's Youth School and the other fighting on the Eastern front, held me spellbound throughout. We seldom have the opportunity to read about innocent German families and their personal experiences of war. Binder's extraordinary novel has opened my eyes and heart  and I will carry this story with me for quite awhile.


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Old Lovegood Girls Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781632868220
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - May 5th, 2020

I have long admired the novels of Gail Godwin and was most pleased to see the release of Old Lovegood Girls  this spring. In 1958 Ferron Hood and Merry Jellicoe became roommates and close friends at Lovegood College. Merry had to drop out at the end of the first semester and the girls lost touch for several years. Both became writers and although they did not visit in person very often their bond continued over the years with letters and then emails. Godwin writes thoughtful quiet novels. Her characters are often adult women living their seemingly ordinary but always interesting lives. A good plot with sympathetic and believable characters made this one of my favorite novels this spring.


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Wild Game: My Mother, Her Secret, and Me Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780358361329
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Mariner Books - July 7th, 2020

When she was barely 14, Adrienne's mom made her an accomplice in her affair with her best friend's husband. The secret became the driving force in Adrienne's life for many years as she fought her desire to break free from her mother's hold on her and her joy in being her mother's confidant. Memoirs hold great interest for me as they give the reader entree into the author's secret life. This was quite the enticing read albeit somewhat voyeuristic. I have to admit to enjoying it.


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More News Tomorrow: A Novel Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393358131
Availability: Special Order (email to check availability)
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - June 2nd, 2020

A wonderful summer read about the canoe trip that 70 year old Georgianna Grove takes her children and grandchildren on to the summer camp where her father murdered her mother when Georgie was 4. Georgie is expecting something to happen when they get to the place where the murder happened, but has no idea what lies in front of her. Her family is a bit eccentric and not really sure that they wanted to go on this trip in the first place. But here they are--together. I greatly enjoyed this novel.


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Spirit of Place: The Making of a New England Garden Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781604698503
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Timber Press - June 23rd, 2020

With close to 300 enticingly beautiful photographs, all taken by Bill in his Norwich garden, the book addresses both the pleasures as well as the challenges of creating and sustaining a garden in New England. It offers ideas and suggestions to anyone who already has a garden as well as to those beginning to think of how to start their own. The photos are reason enough to buy or give this book, but the text is so personally written that the reader feels as if she is on a personal garden walk with the very experienced author.
As a bookseller, I received an early copy of Spirit of Place and it has become my bedtime reading during these difficult times. I read about plants and get ideas for my garden and go to sleep dreaming of hope and beauty. Makes for great dreams.


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Afterlife Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9781643750255
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Algonquin Books - April 7th, 2020

Antonia Vegas, recently widowed and a retired English Professor, has always found solace in books and in the written word. When she discovers an illegal pregnant migrant hiding in her barn and then her older sister goes missing, her life is upended.  Antonia and her three sisters all born in the Dominican Republic but having lived their lives in the US are professional women and very close. They joke and sing and laugh together always sharing their love for their heritage and each other.

Her first adult novel in 15 years, Alverez has written a warm, often funny and always heartfelt tale of how we care for ourselves, our family and our fellow neighbors.


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Brave Like That Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062878113
Availability: Backordered (email to check availability)
Published: HarperCollins - June 2nd, 2020

Norwich native Lindsey Stoddard has done it again with  an amazing knack of understanding the concerns and lives of grade school students. Cyrus Olson lives with his dad who is a fireman and former football player in a small midwestern town. It is expected that Cyrus will follow in his fathers' brave footsteps, but Cyrus who is small for his age and is interested in music and getting a dog is afraid to admit that he does not want to play football. With the help of a new friend, his grandmother and the understanding that there are different ways to be brave, Cyrus begins to stand up for what he wants.


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The Library Book Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781476740195
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Simon & Schuster - October 1st, 2019

Are you interested in libraries, fires, California, people or book restoration? This and much more can be found within the pages of best selling author Orlean's latest.  Known for many previous books, including "The Orchid Thief" and "Rin Tin Tin" as well as her essays in The New Yorker, Orlean could write about a sewer system and make it a compelling read. In the end she writes lovingly and passionately about people and this is true with The Library Book. It is a leisurely read for both men and women and perfect for a winter's day in a cozy chair.


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The Yellow Bird Sings: A Novel Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9781250179760
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - March 3rd, 2020

In Poland as WW2 rages, a Jewish mother and her 5 year old daughter Shira take shelter in a loft in a barn. They are from a family of musicians and Shira shows signs of being a musical prodigy. It is most difficult keeping a young child who wants to sing and create music quiet, but they succeed for many months until the mother has to make a decision that no mother should have to make. This is a difficult story to tell. It is sad and at times scary, but it is also a lovely tale of hope.


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Chirp Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781547602810
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Bloomsbury Children's Books - February 4th, 2020

Kate Messner knows and understands what her 8-12 year old readers like. Mia and her family move to Vermont the summer before 8th grade. She has no friends and is really only interested in helping her grandmother make a success of her Cricket Farm business. Day camps, new friends and a possible sabotage of her gram's business make for a full and interesting summer for both Mia and the readers of this book.


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Sea Wife: A novel Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780525656494
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Knopf - April 28th, 2020

I loved this tale of a family with two very young children heading to sea for an extended period of time. The story is an oft told one of a marriage that is trying to find the way back to the closeness shared before the children were born. Juliet and Michael just happen to be doing this in a boat and with little experience. An insightful page turner told with both humor and compassion.


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The List of Things That Will Not Change Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781101938096
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Wendy Lamb Books - April 7th, 2020

Bea's dad is marrying again and Bea is delighted to have her new dad Jesse move into their house. She is also hoping that she and Jesse's daughter will become real sisters. Things do not get off to a good start as the two ten year olds live on opposite sides of the country and have grown up very differently. But Bea is a very loving and persistent young girl who is looking forward to a new family. This is a delightful story about what makes a family a family. I loved it.


Writers & Lovers Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780802148537
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Grove Press - March 3rd, 2020

Lily King is one of those writers I can count on to write about real people with interesting lives. King takes me to places I had not expected and does it with crisp and fine writing. In 1997, 30 year old Casey is working as a waitress in Boston, trying to finish writing a novel and is seriously in debt. Life has to change and we the reader are the lucky ones to watch it unfold. King has a sensitivity and sense of humour and place that makes her novels ones that I look forward to. This was a pleasure throughout.


Recollections of My Nonexistence: A Memoir Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780593083338
Availability: Hard to Find (may be out of print - email to check availability)
Published: Viking - March 10th, 2020

Solnit, a prolific author of many books and essays, has covered a variety of topics in her writing. Her new book is primarily about herself and her formation as both a feminist and a writer. I found it fascinating to read about her life: leaving home at an early age, the people and experiences she had along the way and the changes in this country's landscape since the 80's. I look forward to delving into her other titles. She writes with care, insight and affection.


House on Endless Waters: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781982130220
Availability: Hard to Find (may be out of print - email to check availability)
Published: Atria Books - January 7th, 2020

 

Well known Israeli writer Yoel Blum is in Amsterdam with his wife on a book tour when on a visit to The Jewish Museum he sees a photo of his mother and sister taken in Amsterdam in a year just prior to WW 2. His mother is standing with his young sister holding a baby boy who Blum is sure is not himself. To discover what happened back 60 years, he rents a room in Amsterdam and sets out to discover the truth of his past in a city that was once trying to rid itself of Jews. As he moves through the city of the present as well as the one of 1944, he begins to write his next novel using the story that he is uncovering. This is a sensitively told story of yet another look at the events prior to the last great war.   I found it moving and also heartfelt.


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The Long Call (The Two Rivers Series #1) Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250204448
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - September 3rd, 2019

I loved this mystery set in Devon England’s present day. Detective Matthew Venn is working to solve a murder of a man who has a connection to the local Arts Center run by Matthew’s husband. Great plotting and well filled in backstories plus a wonderful setting made me keep on reading fast. Then once I finished, I was bummed to not be spending time with these great characters. Five Stars!
 


White Bird: A Wonder Story (A Graphic Novel) Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9780525645535
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - October 1st, 2019

This well-written graphic novel is a wonderful way to introduce young readers to the many acts of bravery and heroism that took place before and during World War II. A young Jewish girl is hidden by a family in Nazi-occupied France by a couple and their son. This is done at large risk to the family and the reader discovers both great bravery as well as kindness. A good introduction for middle grade and older children to a lesser known aspect of what happened to Jewish people during WWII. The art is simple, and skillfully helps to tell the story. This quote from the book sums it up for me: "It always takes courage to be kind, but in those days, such kindness could cost you everything."


My Jasper June Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062836625
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Walden Pond Press - September 3rd, 2019

 

This is a delightful novel for girls about friendship, family and loss. Leah is just beginning her summer vacation, but this summer everything is different. We do not learn why until midway into the novel, but we are totally along with Leah as she makes a new friend who also seems to be having a strange summer. The story of their friendship, and the wisdom that Leah discovers in herself make for a lovely and rewarding novel.
 


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The Last Train to London: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062946935
Availability: Backordered (email to check availability)
Published: Harper - September 10th, 2019

There have been numerous books written about World War II over the years focused on the Holocaust and the bravery of people in many countries who risked their lives to save Jews living in their communities. This fast-paced novel centers around the true story of Trus Wijsmuller, a member of the Dutch resistance in the days before WWII, who was a key player in smuggling over 10,000 Jewish children to safety. We follow several families and their individual stories as they go from living in a free society to Nazi controlled Austria. This is an intriguing good summer read. Appropriate for young adults as well. 
 


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Rules for Visiting: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780525559221
Availability: Hard to Find (may be out of print - email to check availability)
Published: Penguin Press - May 14th, 2019

This is a quiet tale of a young British landscape gardener who is shy, seemingly with few friends and yet content with her life. On somewhat of a whim she decides to visit four people from her past to see what may be there in terms of friendship. Along the way, she makes discoveries not only about herself but about the world around her. Not a new topic, but Kane's story of an endearing and unique young woman will stay with you long after you have closed the book.
 


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The Parisian Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780802129437
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Grove Press - April 9th, 2019

I have not yet finished this book but am too excited to wait to share it! Midhat Kamal is the son of a wealthy textile merchant from the town of Nablus in Ottoman Palestine. He travels to Montpelier, France in 1914 to study medicine, thus changing how he views everything in his life so far. This is a fascinating look at a period in history that I am ashamedly ignorant about. Midhat returns to Nablus to find it under British rule with Palestine at the cusp of its battle for independence. This is a hard to put down tale about love, one's home, country and family. The writing is rich and well constructed. I look forward to hearing more from this talented novelist.


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The Guest Book: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250110251
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - May 7th, 2019

I loved this book about a large house on an island in Maine and the family who bought and loved it for several generations. Fortunately, we can never imagine the curves that our lives will throw us or where they will lead; nor what we will remember and what we will forget. As time forges ahead the younger generation begins to look at life differently from their parents and grandparents, and nothing is the same. This is a powerfully engaging story about change, friendship and loyalty.
 


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The Line Tender Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780735231603
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - April 16th, 2019

Growing up in Rockport, Mass, 12 year old Lucy Everhart's life has centered around the sea. Her mother, a marine biologist who studied sharks, died when Lucy was 7. When a Great White Shark washes up onto the beach, Lucy and her best friend Fred decide to learn all they can about this creature that had fascinated Lucy's mother. The summer brings another tragedy to her life that sets Lucy off on a search to learn more about her mother, as well as to help her reach beyond her losses and move ahead with her life.
 


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The Salt Path: A Memoir Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143134114
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Penguin Books - March 5th, 2019

A couple in their early 50’s living in Wales find themselves broke, homeless and to top it off, he has a debilitating disease. Sounds like a depressing scenario doesn’t it? This is, however one of the more uplifting and positive books that I have read in quite awhile. With nothing else on their horizon Ray and Moth decide to walk the South West Coast Path in England. They have limited financial means, a tent and two sleeping bags. 630 miles and many months later their lives have been enriched and changed forever. Ray and Moth walk through a magical and challenging landscape to come out the other side. I felt privileged to walk with them.
 


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Unto Us a Son Is Given: A Comissario Guido Brunetti Mystery Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780802129116
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - March 5th, 2019

I am a reader who would be happy for a new Donna Leon book every 6 months. Sadly, I have to settle for one a year, but they never disappoint. Commissario Guido Brunetti is called to his father-in-law's palazzo where the elder man asks Guido to do some checking on an old friend. Gonzalo Rodriguez de Tejada is considering adopting a young man, who would someday inherit great wealth and position. This seemingly simple request to Brunetti leads to soulful thinking and conversations around his family dining table, as well as in the Questura. Another richly satisfying trip for fans and new readers of this wonderful series.
 


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The Huntress: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062740373
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - February 26th, 2019

Quinn’s first book The Alice Network was good, and this new novel is even better. Boston, Vienna and Siberia; an American  girl, two men searching for a war criminal, a young Siberian woman and the criminal herself—The Huntress. Spanning the years from the 30’s to 1951 this book goes back and forth between the characters until they converge in Boston. It moves fast, is clever, thoroughly enjoyable, and I missed these characters for days once I put the book down.
 


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Right as Rain Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062652942
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: HarperCollins - February 12th, 2019

Norwich native Stoddard, following on the heels of her first novel for young readers, has written another marvelous story for readers who are interested in reading something other than fantasy. Our heroine Rain and her family have recently moved from Vermont to Brooklyn to start over after a family tragedy. Rain is finding it difficult to adjust to so many new changes and is also harboring a secret that she is determined her family do not discover. This is a gentle yet strong and heartfelt story about family, change and friendships.
 


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Becoming Cover Image
$32.50
ISBN: 9781524763138
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Crown - November 13th, 2018

HONEST-SENSITIVE-REVEALING-HEARTFELT-INFORMATIVE-POWERFUL

                  FOR ME THIS WAS THE BOOK OF 2018!


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Ottolenghi Simple: A Cookbook Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781607749165
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Ten Speed Press - October 16th, 2018

 

I wish that Ottolenghi had written this book first. Great flavors made without fanfare or fuss and often with items already in  your pantry.
 


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Kingdom of the Blind: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250066305
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - June 25th, 2019

Louise Penny has done it again.This woman is one heck of a fine writer. Her amazing ability to come up with yet another suspenseful and interesting story for her readers is one thing; but then she proceeds to write a clever, fast paced, and thoughtful novel about murder, mayhem, friendship, family, and oh yes, love. Her interesting characters are always growing and changing. In this new one, both Gamache and Beauvoir have reason to question even themselves. I wanted to race to the end but I also wanted to savor every page. Louise Penny, you rock!
 


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The Library Book Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781476740195
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Simon & Schuster - October 1st, 2019

Are you interested in libraries, fires, California, people or book restoration? This and much more can be found within the pages of best selling author Orlean's latest.  Known for many previous books, including "The Orchid Thief" and "Rin Tin Tin" as well as her essays in The New Yorker, Orlean could write about a sewer system and make it a compelling read. In the end she writes lovingly and passionately about people and this is true with The Library Book. It is a leisurely read for both men and women and perfect for a winter's day in a cozy chair.


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Where We Live Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9780997452884
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Green Writers Press - October 17th, 2018

Lyme resident Walter Wetherell has been giving his loyal readers good books for years. Be they essays, fiction, non fiction, books of nature or fishing, Wetherell never disappoints. His newest book of short stories is yet another gem. His imaginative plots are developed and concluded in often less than 20 pages and the reader comes away feeling as satisfied as if she had read a novel.
 


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The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781328770028
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Clarion Books - September 25th, 2018

Every Vermont child between 8 and 12 should read this wonderful story about a family with 5 children who live in present day Harlem. It is a wonderful way to find out what life in the city can be like for enterprising children. These are resourceful kids with trusting parents. When Mr. Jeet, an older neighbor in their small brownstone apartment building lands in the hospital, the children decide that they have to come up with a plan to make him feel better. They discover an old abandoned lot nearby and decide to create a garden. With creativity and cooperation they do just that. This is a delightful old-fashioned story and I loved it.
 


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Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781571313812
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Milkweed Editions - March 12th, 2019

I believe this book may be the "Silent Spring" for our times. At first, I was not sure that I could write a review, for it is both a beautiful and yet devastating read. From New England to the Eastern Coast to California, the seas are rising, the marshes are flooding and we are in great peril. There once were bayous in Louisiana that no longer exist. There are people whose homes are now under water. Yes, the tale is at times overwhelming, but somehow Rush's poetic and flowing language draw the reader further into her story. Descriptions of the scientists and volunteers who are working daily to combat these dire conditions, as well as the personal commentaries of people whose lives have been affected recount courage and elicit empathy. I found myself loving this book and looking forward each morning to reading a few more pages.

David Biello in the NYT Sunday Book Review gave "Rising" a glowing review:
 "This is a book for those who mourn the changing climate and coast, as well as, perhaps, America's diminishing literary culture: sadness benefits from lyrical prose"
 


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French Exit: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062846938
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Ecco - June 11th, 2019

Frances Price and her 32 year old son who live together on the Upper East Side of NYC discover that their vast fortune has run out. What else can they do but run away to a friend's apartment in Paris to escape scandal and make their next move? De Witt has written a deliciously droll and quirky novel about two rather unusual people and their small cadre who are so intrigued they can't stay away. Did I mention that there is also a small cat who has a few odd characteristics? Quite simply a delightful read.
 


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Less (Winner of the Pulitzer Prize): A Novel Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780316316132
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Back Bay Books - May 22nd, 2018

Even though Andrew Dean Greer won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for literature for Less, I truly did not pick it up, thinking that It did not seem like a book that I wanted to read. Then a friend passed on her copy to me saying she loved it. As did I. It is witty and wise, and definitely has substance. Our hero Arthur Less is a gay writer approaching the age of 50. His most recent partner is about to marry another and Less sees no reason to stick around San Francisco to hear friends talk about it. He cobbles together a trip around the world teaching and attending literary events. The trip becomes an opportunity for Less to examine his life, his beliefs, his lovers, his friends and at heart a chance to decide how he will precede into his future. I found this humorous novel a delight.
 


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Tin Man: A Novel Cover Image
$14.00
ISBN: 9780735218765
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - April 9th, 2019

Sarah Winman has written a short, astounding book that this reader will not soon forget. A beautiful account of the love between three characters; two men and a woman. The two men meet as boys when they are 12 with the woman entering their lives a decade later. This lovely story is about friendship, kindness, love and loss.The characters are honestly and beautifully written and the story a simple one in the telling, although perhaps not in the living. I hated for it to end.


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The Ensemble: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780735214774
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - June 25th, 2019

It is always a joy to come upon a debut novel by an author who excels at her craft and is a good storyteller. The Ensemble is just that. This is a story of a young string quartet founded in San Francisco that moves through the lives of its members spanning their 20's into their 40's. These are complex lives, both individually and as members of an group who need to be so fine-tuned to each other that they play as one. Everything each individual does has ramifications within the whole. Being a lover of chamber music increased my enjoyment of this book, but it is definitely not a prerequisite. The Ensemble was one of those delicious novels that I did not want to end.
 


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The Female Persuasion: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780399573231
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - May 21st, 2019

Meg Wolitzer, the author of "The Interestings" has again written a book about people I would like to hang out with. I love a good story and this is an exceptionally good one. Greer Kadetsky is 17 when she meets Faith Frank, an elegant 63 year old pillar of the women's movement. We follow Greer, as well as a very interesting and diverse cast of characters, for the next 17 years as she does her best to follow in Faith's footsteps and make a difference in the world. As in much of Wolitzer's writing, this novel does not take us where we or our protagonist expects it to. This was for me a most satisfying read.
 


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The Temptation of Forgiveness: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802129208
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Grove Press - March 19th, 2019

The Temptation of Forgiveness is the 27th in the always delicious series about Commissario Guido Brunetti of the Venice Police Department; and it is even better than the last one! Putting the "bad guy" into jail is not the only thing of importance to Guido. He is always interested in people, philosophy, la lingua Venetian, and his family. But he is also concerned with why people do what they do.Trust me, you will not be disappointed in Leon's latest. And if you have not read her before,, you have 26 more books to delight in.
 


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The Italian Teacher: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780735222700
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Penguin Books - March 5th, 2019

Pinch Bavinsky has grown up and lived under the shadow of his father Bear, who is a famous and larger than life painter. Always trying to gain the attention and admiration of his father, Pinch never truly lives his own life until after the death of Bear, when he conceives of a way to make his own mark on the world. Moving from Rome to galleries in NYC to the South of France, the reader follows the life of a man determined to be heard.
 


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Personal History Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780375701047
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Vintage - February 24th, 1998

I came to this absorbing memoir after seeing the recent film, The Post. Although written 20 years ago, this Pulitzer prize winning autobiography remains a strong and insightful read. Graham reveals she spent most of her first 40 years as a shy, insecure person. After the suicide of her husband Phil Graham, the publisher of The Washington Post, Katharine took the helm. She played a monumentally important role in shaping our nation’s history as she quietly guided the paper through many turbulent years, including exposing The Pentagon Papers and Watergate. This is a frank, honest and courageous account of a woman who found her sense of self in a man's world. To me, she is a remarkable role model.


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Educated: A Memoir Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780399590504
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Random House - February 20th, 2018

This unforgettable memoir is both devastating and uplifting, and yes, I do mean both of these adjectives. The story of Tara, who grew up in a survivalist Mormon household in rural Idaho under unimaginable circumstances, is difficult to believe in these times. At 17 she left home for college having never attended school. The story of how she breaks away from her family and earns a PhD from The University of Cambridge will stay with you long after you sadly turn the last page. This is a great story of a remarkable young woman who I, for one, am unable to forget.


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The Boggart Fights Back Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781534406308
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - February 26th, 2019

 

e and Jay are visiting their grandfather in Scotland when they discover that the castle next door is being bought by a rather nasty American who plans to turn it and all of the surrounding land into a very fancy resort. With the help of the local Boggart, a magical, mischievous, and friendly beast who lives in the loch, things get turned around in a most delightful way. Susan Cooper has written another sequel to her wonderful book of several years ago titled The Boggart. Like the others, this one is part fantasy and part story about family. Perfect for the reader who likes a quiet book that addresses good and bad without violence.Allie and Jay are visiting their grandfather in Scotland when they discover that the castle next door is being bought by a rather nasty American who plans to turn it and all of the surrounding land into a very fancy resort. With the help of the local Boggart, a magical, mischievous, and friendly beast who lives in the loch, things get turned around in a most delightful way. Susan Cooper has written another sequel to her wonderful book of several years ago titled The Boggart. Like the others, this one is part fantasy and part story about family. Perfect for the reader who likes a quiet book that addresses good and bad without violence.


Just Like Jackie Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780062652928
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: HarperCollins - December 31st, 2018

Lindsay Stoddart grew up in Norwich and was a classroom teacher for 10 years, has written a wonderful novel for middle grade readers. Robinson Hart, age 11 does not have a mother, father or siblings. She lives with her grandfather with whom she is very close in a small town in Vermont. Robinson's secret worries about her grandfather's memory loss is making her act out at school, but when she is put into a small group of 4 other students to "talk about what is troubling them" she realizes that everyone is going through something. This is a lovely story about acceptance and family and I loved it.


L'Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780804188401
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Crown - November 6th, 2018

A delightful book about Paris, food and the intricacies of buying and renovating a Parisian apartment. I have followed Lebovitz's blog about living and eating in Paris for several years and love his cookbooks. His readings make me feel that I am sitting next to a friend who is regaling me with his exploits. A wonderful gift for anyone who loves food, Paris or better yet, both!
 


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Marrow: Love, Loss, and What Matters Most Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062367655
Availability: Special Order (email to check availability)
Published: Harper Wave - October 3rd, 2017

Two sisters, one living in Vermont, come to terms with issues of life and death as the author's sister is faced with having a bone marrow transplant and all that ensues from this decision. Written with love and honesty, this is not a downer of a book, but one about finding within us the ability to make difficult choices and continue with the unfolding of our lives.


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Avid Reader: A Life Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781250141057
Availability: Special Order (email to check availability)
Published: Picador - September 12th, 2017

This is the perfect book for anyone interested in the world of publishing, especially from the 50's right up until today. Robert Gottlieb had a long career in books. He started working for Simon & Schuster in his early 20's, became an editor there, and continued at Knopf Publishing, and later still as the editor at The New Yorker. Today, in his 80's, Gottlieb is still very involved in the world of books. He writes of  friends and writers from his many years in publishing, including Bill Clinton, Lauren Bacall, John Cheever, Nora Ephron, Doris Lessing, Joseph Heller and scores of others. For a literary voyeur like me, this book is pure delight.
 


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The Night Garden Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781250294142
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Square Fish - March 26th, 2019

Whether or not you read the wonderful first book in this series, The War That Saved My Life,  you are in for a treat with this richly satisfying read. Ada and her brother are living in the country outside of war torn London with Susan who has become their ward following the developments in the first book. Jamie at 6 is able to adjust to their new life, but for Ada this does not come easily. When a bomb destroys their cottage, they move into a house on the nearby estate and are soon joined by a group of people who help young Ada understand that learning to trust others is a necessary part of growing up.This is a story that satisfies on every level.


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Glass Houses (Chief Inspector Gamache Novel #13) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781432852351
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Large Print Press - May 29th, 2018

Louise Penny never disappoints. Once again she has written a fast paced, suspenseful and well written novel to delight her ever growing stream of fans. The investigation into vast amounts of illegal drugs being transported across the border between Canada and Vermont has put the professional and private lives of Armand Gamache and Jean- Guy Beauvoir in great risk. As time runs out they hope that they their plan will work, and we the reader are their trusting delighted companions. 


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Before We Sleep Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781620404997
Availability: Special Order (email to check availability)
Published: Bloomsbury USA - May 2nd, 2017

I have long believed that Jeffrey Lent is one of the finest living writers in our country. Sadly, he has not yet gained recognition outside of New England. His newest novel contains all of the fine writing and use of language that his fans have long associated with his novels. The story of a mother and daughter in Vermont and the man who loved them takes us from the post war years of the 1940's to the dawning of the wild 60's, I was engrossed in this beautiful tale of family and awakening from beginning to end. Jeffrey will be reading The Norwich Bookstore on May 24


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Anything Is Possible: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812989410
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - March 27th, 2018

Throughout each of her 6 novels, Elizabeth Strout has demonstrated an acute awareness and understanding of the human condition. Her seemingly uncomplicated stories tell of ordinary people and their complex small town lives, but they have a depth of pathos that astounds me. Her stories are filled with people bearing heavy hearts, but who are also experiencing moments of joy and love. This is a beautiful novel.


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Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9781101974261
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Anchor - April 3rd, 2018

Dani Shapiro is a writer appreciated for her memoirs and novels. Reading "Hourglass" which is a memoir,  I felt as if I were sitting down with a friend for a heartfelt conversation---no holds barred. Shapiro has a way of sharing with the reader stories and details about her life and marriage with such intimacy and truth that I felt a deeper understanding of my own life story.
 


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Autumn: A Novel (Seasonal Quartet) Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781101969946
Availability: Usually Available in 3-7 Days
Published: Anchor - October 17th, 2017

When I first started reading this book I could not get into it. However, it pulled me back and on the second go around I fell in love. Daniel is 100 years old, Elisabeth younger by more than 70 years. Their friendship is the loose hook upon which the author takes us to the past and returns us to a very changed present. One reviewer called the novel a "meditation on a world growing ever more bordered and exclusive". It is also a dream that I emerged from without being able to describe the dream, but with a warm memory of having been someplace elusive and special.
 


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4 3 2 1: A Novel Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781250160010
Availability: Hard to Find (may be out of print - email to check availability)
Published: Picador - February 6th, 2018

866 pages of pure delight, amazement, awe and gratitude. I loved this novel! Auster weaves literature, history and family through this tour de force and never falters in the telling.  Archibald Isaac Ferguson is born in 1947 in Newark NJ and from the moment of his birth, we the reader are witness to the four lives Ferguson may have lived had his life taken 4 different turns. Four parallel yet entirely different Fergusons with the same parents, friends and interests, yet each life different from the others. From the moment I started, I was hooked. Not in many years have I come across a novel so full of life and passion as this one. Ferguson's four lives cover the decades between 1947 and 1975 as we experience with one Ferguson or another, those amazing years of our country's modern coming of age.


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