Monday, September 16, 2019

Connie's summer reading!!!

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice: or On the Segregation of the Queen (Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes # 1) by Laurie King

If you’ve read any Flavia de Luce mysteries (Alan Bradley) featuring an extremely precocious 12 yr old (of course I have and enjoyed J ) you will be well prepared for this series featuring Sherlock Holmes and equally precocious 15 yr old Mary Russell who happens to reside next door to Sherlock in 1915 Sussex where he has retired. Murder and mysteries ensue.


The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

Set in 1930’s British controlled Malaysia and told in alternating voices. Ji Lin is a smart young woman who would love to go to college which her stepfather considers ridiculous so instead she works as both an apprentice dressmaker and a dancehall girl to pay off her mother’s Mahjong debts. 11 yr old Ren has worked as a houseboy for a dying doctor who asks Ren to reunite his lost finger with his body after he dies. A task he must complete, according to tradition, within the 49 days after the old man’s death. As the days go by, each of their lives begin to converge.


The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker 

In a small CA college town, students begin falling into a comatose sleep. The condition spreads to health care workers, parents who have come to be with their children, and town’s people until the government quarantines the entire town. This read like a Twilight Zone episode and I was really into it (any of you surprised by that declaration?), but the ending was eeh and too philosophical. Now judging from the run Random did on this book, I’m guessing they would disagree. 


We Own the Sky by Luke Allnutt 

A break your heart story that is so beautifully written that I am recommending it despite. Rob Coates has it all – a creative programming job he loves, a great wife, and then the long waited for special little boy. After that world has come tumbling down, he turns to photography to connect to what he’s lost.

The book site describes it as “A triumphant story of a father and his little boy—and a love that knows no limits.” Absolutely wonderful read – have Kleenex nearby.

Travel Light, Move Fast by Alexandra Fuller 

As with her first book “Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight” and all but 2 thereafter, this is a memoir. In this case, of her father who died fairly suddenly in Budapest – the city he called the poor man’s Paris. Before he died he began telling his daughter the secret to life and Fuller has, once again, done a stellar job of retelling of that life to us. Her father was quite the character and there are several laugh out loud parts as well as Fuller’s own take on grieving. A couple quotes to look for:

“Travel light…Move fast…When you’re all the way down to the bone…tobacco, tea, and mosquito net; that’s all you need.” Or his take on computers which he could not believe needed to be replaced every 12 years. “Humanity’s reached a whole new low”. Or when he nearly froze in a duck blind in Quebec and he was forced to be sober for 12 hours.


Big Sky by Kate Atkinson  

Ahhh, after digressing with Life after Life and A God in Ruins, Ms. Atkinson has brought back our policeman turned detective, Jackson Brodie. In this new case, Jackson is thrown into the world of child slavery and sex trafficking. There are a few lighter moments as he deals with his less than interested in the world son and an aging Labrador. As suspenseful as before – I for one, am glad Jackson’s back.


Leadership in Turbulent Times by Doris Kerns Goodwin 

Historican Goodwin presents us with four presidents – Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson – and how they overcame tremendous obstacles, calling on the qualities that gave them the strength and perseverance to do so even in the face of strong opposition. Eventually asking the question: Does the leader make the times or do the times make the leader?







Saturday, August 24, 2019

September Titles

Great new titles for September.  We'll be sharing more with you this week.

September is filled with awesome new reads.

Here are a few. Call the store to pre-order any titles.

A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier
 Pubs September 17th.

Malcolm Gladwell is back with another fascinating read. Pubs September 10th.

Talking To Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell


Friday, July 12, 2019

Our Colorado Reader, Connie is back at it again. Read her picks.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill  by Abbi Waxman  ( pub 07.09.19  Penguin)

This often laugh out loud book centers on the life of a neurotic young woman who works in an LA bookstore. As she says, working there would be perfect if it weren’t for the customers. Raised by a loving nanny who takes the place of a father she never met and her globe trotting famous photographer mother, Nina is happy living alone with her cat Phil. 

Nina’s life is turned upside down when a lawyer notifies her she’s been left something in her wealthy biological father’s will. And, if that isn’t disconcerting enough, she finds that she has more family than she is able to handle. Thrown into the mix, is her Tuesday night Trivia Contest team’s events and her apparent attraction to one of the opposing team’s players. 

Fun, fun, fun. A delightful read even if predictable. If they clean up a few parts, this would make a great Hallmark movie. 


The Lost Man by Jane Harper 
(pub 02.05.19  Macmillan)

By the author of the best seller (and really good read) “The Dry”, Harper returns us to her native Australia. Two brothers meet up at the fence separating their ranches and come upon Cameron, their 3rd brother – dead. Set in a remote area of Queensland where your closest neighbor is 3 hrs. away and the sun can kill you in hours why then would Cameron leave his car and head out into the desert? Not exactly a murder mystery in the way the next review is, but certainly suspenseful as it brings us to know this family and its history and the brutal environment in which they live. And I will attest to the fact that listening to it while gardening out in the summer sun will most definitely enhance the experience.  


What do you call historical fiction plus a mystery plus a setting in England? A trifecta!

A Test of Wills by Charles Todd – Inspector Ian Rutledge # 1  by  Charles Todd
(pub 08.01.96  Macmillan)

Obviously this is not a new book. However, “The Black Ascot – Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery #21” which was published 02.05.19 is. It always surprises, and delights, me when I hear about a new book in a series I was totally unaware of. And while I will probably never get to the entire series, I do like to go back to the beginning to get introduced to the characters and thus this read. 

Ian Rutledge was a successful homicide detective at Scotland Yard before he left to fight in the Great War. Back home in 1919, he is not the man he had been – having survived in body, but suffering from shell shock or PTSD as we now term it. For his first case back at the Yard, his jealous boss sends Rutledge to solve the murder of a popular retired military officer. Unfortunately, a war hero who is a friend of the Prince of Wales is the main suspect though others in the village or in the officer’s wealthy circle of friends may have had reason to kill the man. If Rutledge can’t keep his own demons at bay and ends up charging the wrong person – especially one so esteemed – it will certainly be the end of his career which will most certainly delight his superior.


Another possible Hallmark movie, but this one more in the tear jerker genre. 

The Long Flight Home by Alan Hlad 
(pub 06.25.19  35K  Random)

Debut novel set in London during WWII. Susan and Bertie, her grandfather, are recruited by the British government to use their carrier pigeons to help relay messages to and from France. The American’s aren’t in the war yet and after his British parent’s sudden deaths, Ollie, a young American from Maine who learned to fly crop dusters on his parent’s farm, travels to England to join the British Air Force. Before he can join up, he is sent to help with Susan’s pigeons and the two begin to have feelings for each other.  While trying to rescue Susan’s pet pigeon Duchess, he inadvertently finds himself behind enemy lines in France with a British pilot who hates “yanks”.

A moving story based on the actual event of British Services enlisting the help of over 200,000 homing pigeons to carry messages across enemy lines during WWII.







Wednesday, March 6, 2019

A few Reviews from Connie.

   Two of my all-time favorite authors, Barbara Kingsolver and Kate Morton, each published a book last October and it was wonderful reading/listening to them simultaneously. While generally very different story tellers, in this case, they actually share 2 important things: 1) the story line shifts back and forth from past to present - common with Morton but not Kingsolver and 2)a house is a central part of the plot. And because the queue of my reads always holds a mystery, I was delighted to read last fall’s best seller, Lethal White. All 3, not to be missed if, like me, you are late to this party. Connie

       Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver  (pub 10.16.18    500K     Harper)

Alternating between the present and the 1880’s the plot is centered in Vineland, NJ.                                  

Present: When Willa Knox’ husband takes a teaching job nearby, Willa’s family moves into an old house she inherited, but which is in the process of literally falling down around their ears. That family consists of Iano, her college professor husband, Nick, Iano’s cantankerous Greek father, Nick, Zeke, her ivy league education son who becomes a single parent to Dusty when his gorgeous bi-polar wife commits suicide, and Tig the feisty daughter. Can she literally save her home by proving its historical significance?                                                                                                                               1880’s: Thatcher Greenwood is the local science teacher who finds himself the target of his creationist boss when he speaks about a new theory posed by Charles Darwin. His wife and mother-in-law (in whose run down home they are living) are more interested in status and ignore Greenwoods financial problems. His only relief is spending time with Mary Treat, the amazing woman scientist living next door and a rebel newspaperman who see through the fallacy of the Utopian community that is Vineland.

Kingsolver’s environmental and political beliefs, as she always manages to do in her stories, land seamlessly in the plot.


The Clockmaker’s Daughter  by Kate Morton  (pub.  10.09.18)

In her recognizable format of past and present set in England, Ms. Morton sends us from the present to the past beginning in 1862 and moving through WWII with Birchwood Manor as one of the main characters and a ghost as another

While told in several voices, the ghost begins her narration with:

My real name, no one remembers.
The truth about that summer, no one else knows.

This narrator tells the story of how she came to be there, of the young artist Edward Radcliffe who owned the home, of a missing priceless necklace, and of murder. Today the ghost follows Elodie Winslow, a London archivist who uncovers a satchel containing an artist’s sketchbook with a drawing of a twin-gabled house along a river and a photo of a woman in Victorian clothing. Elodie knows this house, but how?

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Women Rowing North
Navigating Life's Currents and Flourishing as We Age

We have many books that address aging, either on the humorous or philosophical front, but Mary Pipher's latest book is directed primarily at women. Mary Pipher is a psychologist specializing in women, trauma and the effects of our culture on mental health. Her book "Reviving Ophelia Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls" became a classic in the field of raising girls, and instilling self worth through the adolescent years.

Her latest book offers an examination of the cultural and developmental issues facing women as they age. Think of it as a "how to" for facing challenges and creating resilient responses. With this as a guide book the road forward will be less intimidating and clear.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Two Reviews

Some reviews from our retired bookseller, Connie.

     The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand   (06.19.19   300k)

Drifting away a bit from her popular summer read format, Hilderbrand still presents her story on Nantucket, but this time throws in a dead body. Compelling with her usual fully developed characters, this may be moved from a beach read to possibly the mystery shelf. The Otis-Winbury wedding was to be the highlight of the summer, but everyone becomes a suspect when the morning of the event the maid of honor is found washed up on the estate’s beach.


      Virgil Wander  by Leif Enger   (10.02.18)

In 2001 Enger gave us “Peace Like A River”. It was a huge success and continues to be so popular that the wholesaler has more than 1000 on hand – generally unheard of except for those lasting classics. Also set in Minnesota (the author’s home), Virgil lives above the struggling cinema he owns in Greenstone – a failing ex-mining town on Lake Superior. When he nearly dies after his car plummets into the lake, he finds he has been altered (like adjectives allude him). Into town comes Rune, an old Norwegian who just recently learned he is the father of a young man who disappeared when flying over the lake and he comes seeking to learn of this son he never knew. Add to the mix a generous cast of characters and the result is an absolutely fantastic story. For lovers of any/all of Fredrik Backman’s books or “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” (I have my
hand up for all), this book is not to be missed. And for those of you who enjoy audio books, the reader has a Minnesota accent.  

Saturday, January 5, 2019

January Author Events 2019

Great Events in January 2019

Start the New Year off with some terrific author events.

Join us at Waterworks in Greenwich CT on Wednesday January 9th 5PM to meet and chat with

  Elizabeth Brooke Murray

and have a copy of her book signed.

New Canaan Library-January 10th, 6:30pm
Ambition Redefined by Kathryn Sollmann
New Canaan Library-January 14th, 6:30pm
Story by Kimberly Norton

The Mead School 2019 Speaker Series
January 17th-7:00pm
How To Be A Happier Parent by KJ Dell'Antonia
Weird Parenting Wins by Hillary Frank