Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Weekly Bestsellers July 14th - July 20th


1) The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness - Last Friday, we were one of the stops on Deborah Harkness' summer tour for the third book in The All Souls Trilogy. In a feat of spatial reasoning, we managed to fit about 200 *very* excited fans in our Used Book Cellar, and Ms. Harkness lovingly took her time with each one of them during the signing. The series follows historian Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont and their discoveries into the world of magic. You can read an excerpt from the first book here.

2) The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makkai - At my previous bookstore job, over at Titcomb's Bookshop on Cape Cod, my eager galley grabbing hands found a copy of Rebecca Makkai's first novel, The Borrower, about a librarian who inadvertently ends up kidnapping a willing boy. I loved Ms. Makkai's style - charming and witty, serious but not without fun - and I recommended it for the Indie Next List. Her second book is a historical novel about a rambling estate that once served as an artists' colony, which she actually began while taking a break from writing The Borrower.

3) Euphoria by Lily King - Lily King has a beautiful writing desk in Yarmouth, Maine where she writes the first draft of her novel by hand in a spiral notebook. Which is kind of incredible when you think about the fact that novel she's writing - set in New Guinea nearly 100 years ago - probably doesn't resemble coastal Maine in the least. She talks about writing and spaces over at The Boston Globe.

4) The Heist by Daniel Silva - Daniel Silva, one of the masters of international spy fiction, just released his latest: The Heist brings art restorer-assassin-spy Gabriel Allon to Venice, and then all over Europe, to track down a missing painting - Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence by Carvaggio.

5) Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir by Roz Chast - I had way too much fun looking through Roz Chast's website to find a cartoon of hers to share with you. This one was the first to make me laugh out loud and then go aww.

6) The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith - Good news for you Galbraith fans - it looks like the author plans on hanging out with detective Cormoran Strike for a long time.


1) The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri - Last fall, Jhumpa Lahiri read from The Lowland at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. This is from my introduction: Beginning in Calcutta in the 1960s during the Naxalite movement, the story begins with two young brothers. Their paths diverge when the rebellious Udayan decides to join the Naxals and secretly marry the quiet, complicated Gauri while his brother, Subhash, moves to Rhode Island to pursue his studies. I hesitate to describe this novel in full because to do so undermines the experience of meeting these characters and following them through decades of their lives as they stumble to connect with one another, as they find solace in landscapes, as they make profound, questionable decisions. On my second reading of The Lowland I found myself slowing down to appreciate the descriptions of place, the stunning detailed moments of daily life. This is a beautiful, meditative novel, expansive in scope yet truly intimate. It is one of her finest works of fiction yet.

2) The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown - This time last year, Janet Maslin at The New York Times selected The Boys in the Boat as that summer's Unbroken - an absorbing story of endurance set against a volatile historical backdrop. The Boys In the Boat just came out in paperback and by the end of the weekend we had one lonely copy left in the store.

3) The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert - Elizabeth Gilbert exquisitely talks about her novel in less than three and a half minutes.

4) My Struggle: Book 1 by Karl Ove Knausgaard - They ask over at would My Struggle still be as popular if it was written by a woman?

5) I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou - Though the mass market edition has been the best seller, we have a couple of bargain book copies of a hardcover reprint with the original 1969 cover.

6) The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout - I don't know if a character like Olive in Elizabeth Strout's Pulitzer Prize winning novel Olive Kitteridge could ever be duplicated, but Ms. Strout is also a master at getting at the underbelly of relationships between neighbors and friends and in-laws. The Burgess Boys is the story of two brothers who return to their Maine hometown after many years away. One of my favorite reviewers, Ron Charles over at The Washington Post, says this novel is even more impressive.

7) The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith -  An advance copy of The Cuckoo's Calling is selling at eBay for around $2000. But you can get the book from us for $18. I'd say that's a bargain.

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