Book Bites: Humor and Heart

Here at the shop, we love a book that makes us laugh. Or cry, for that matter. This week, we’re featuring six wonderful titles that will achieve at least one of those outcomes—and a few of them will probably manage both. For kids, we have some hilarious new picture books in stock, featuring clever prose and delightful illustrations. A little older? We can steer you towards a terrific high school rom-com from Maggie Lehrman that will have you staying up late to see what happens next. And then there are the novels. Poignant and funny and altogether relatable, we think you’ll love the latest books from Anstey Harris, Kristan Higgins, and Joanna Cannon. Once you’ve finished reading, be sure to stop in and let us know—we’re dying to talk about these titles. Happy browsing, friends.

Ages 4-8

Something Smells! by Blake Liliane Hellman; illustrated by Steven Henry

Elliot has 2 problems: his mom won't let him keep wearing his favorite costume and something stinks in his house! But Elliot is on the scent, searching high and low—it's not the baby's diaper and it's not the cat food. It's not even the garbage bin. Detailed, colorful illustrations will direct readers straight to the source of the stench. Laugh-out-loud funny, this is sure to become a favorite read-aloud story.

READ this one to a group—the clever narration will lead the audience straight to the source of the stench.
PASS if you suddenly realized that you have quite a bit of laundry to do.
Order your copy on our website.

How to Feed Your Parents by Ryan Miller; illustrated by Hatem Aly

Matilda Macaroni wants to be an adventurous eater, but her parents only eat chicken fingers, pizza and elbow macaroni with the orange powder on it. With the help of her grandmother, she learns to cook a variety of food and finally convinces her parents to try it. To their surprise, it's delicious! This clever take on picky eaters is a fun read for all ages.

READ this ode to adventurous eating for the sweet story, sassy illustrations, and the fun alliteration. (“Conquers croquettes,” anyone?)
PASS if “orange powder” is your favorite type of cheese.
Order your copy on our website.

Ages 14 & Up

The Last Best Story by Maggie Lehrman

Rose and Grant have been close friends since they started working on the school paper when they were freshmen. They were going to change the world, one story at a time. Now it's prom night and they're not close anymore. The reasons why are revealed against the backdrop of the prom, complete with a prom crasher, an emergency lockdown and an after party. It's romantic comedy you can't put down that has depth, great voices and strong characters. A sure winner for grades 9 and up!

READ this witty rom-com if you’re a fan of Becky Albertalli, Katie Cotugno, or Sarah Dessen.
PASS if the thought of even a fictional prom night gives you shudders.
Order your copy on our website.

Adult Fiction

Goodbye, Paris by Anstey Harris

Ever since a traumatic incident in music school many years ago, Grace has been unable to play her cello. She lives a quiet life in the countryside, repairing instruments and harboring dreams of entering and winning the world's most prestigious violin making competition. Then there's David, the married man she loves and visits in Paris. He's helped her rebuild her life, but when he rescued a woman from the subway tracks in the Paris Metro, their affair is revealed and Grace's life once again collapses. How she moves on from this is the heart of the story, told with a deft hand and full of some wonderful secondary characters.

READ because the publisher describes this as “Jojo Moyes meets Eleanor Oliphant.” Sold.
PASS if you think good books should be all, like, “gritty” and stuff.
Order your copy on our website.

Good Luck with That by Kristan Higgins

Marley, Georgia, and Emerson met at a weight loss camp when they were in high school and, at the end of the summer, made a list of all the things they would do when they lost weight. Seventeen years later, Emerson is morbidly obese and calls Marley and Georgia to her hospital bed where she makes them promise to check off each item on the list. As Marley and Georgia try to follow thorough, they both confront issues that have challenged them throughout their lives. By turns poignant and hilarious, this is an engrossing story of women coming to terms with themselves. A great read!

READ because this is a tender and courageous story of self-love from Cathy’s favorite imprint.
PASS if you are not a human. Otherwise, you should find plenty of yourself on these pages.
Order your copy on our website.

Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

The central character in Cannon's latest novel is Florence, an 84-year old resident of Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly, who, as the novel opens, has fallen in her apartment. As she lies on the floor, unable to get up, she relives in her mind events from her youth as well as those from her recent past. Florence is slipping into dementia, and she can't remember all the details of a terrible secret that she shares with Elsie, her best friend from girlhood. The secret has resurfaced, triggered by the appearance of a new resident at Cherry Tree, a man Florence thought had drowned sixty years earlier. On "probation" for her sometimes erratic behavior, Flo solicits the help of another resident to try to fit the pieces together before she is sent off to a nursing home for dementia patients. The author, a psychiatrist, has clearly drawn on her experiences with dementia patients to describe what it must be like to be slipping down that particular slope. It makes for a somewhat different kind of unreliable narrator. Flo always has Elsie nearby—Elsie, who 1) is Flo's best friend, 2) always knows what to say to make Flo feel better, and 3) ...Flo can't quite remember the third thing, but it gradually becomes clear as the novel progresses. It's a warm-hearted and poignant story about human relationships, written with compassion and some clever twists.

READ because this wonderful book offers the exact blend of heart and suspense you never knew you needed.
PASS if you hate books.
Order your copy on our website.