Book Bites: New Novels, Plus One

Are you staying safe and warm, friends? It’s been a long, cold week here at the shop, and we’ve been thinking of you all. If your house is heated, if your pipes are unfrozen, and if you’re sitting in front of a fire looking for something to read, we have a few new suggestions for you below—lots of great novels have been published this month. If you’re looking for something shorter, there’s a fabulous new picture book we know your family will love. Bundle up and read on!

Ages 4-8

The Old Boat by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey

This gorgeous picture book is an ode to the Gulf Coast, to the natural world, to family. It's another hit from the Pumphrey brothers (The Old Truck) for every reader to treasure.
— Cathy

READ because this is a beautiful book about home, family, and nature.
PASS if you want to miss a wonderful story by some of our very favorite creators.
Pre-order by February 26 to receive a signed, personalized copy, an enamel pin, and a sea animal print!

Adult Fiction 

Zorrie by Laird Hunt

Quietly and gently, Zorrie's story is told crossing the 20th century with love and loss. Left orphaned early and sent to live with a loveless aunt, Zorrie ends up in a girl's home for a few years. She moves on to work in a factory that uses radioactive paint for clocks. Love comes... and then leaves. Zorrie is a strong woman who faces adversity wisely on an Indiana farm. A powerful, character-driven book.
— Valerie 

READ if you’re into Marilynne Robinson or Kent Haruf. 
PASS if you don’t like profound books about unforgettable characters.
Order your copy 

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles

In two different voices, we learn the story of the American Library in Paris during the Nazi occupation. Odile is thrilled to have a job there among the treasured stacks. Her police commissar father is less happy. Her twin brother Remy cherishes the new connections, especially one with the children's librarian, Bitzi. But as war approaches, the closeness and camaraderie is split apart. 

The alternating story is told by Lily, a young girl in Froid, Montana during the 1980s. She must write a report about something distant, so she decides to interview the prickly French widow next door. There, a new friendship begins and their life journeys intertwine.
— Valerie

READ because this is a great novel for book lovers.
PASS if your entire opinion of libraries comes from Parks and Rec.
Order your copy 

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Elsa Wolcott is treated as an invalid and outsider by her own uncaring family. At 25 she gets pregnant and is forced to leave her wealthy parents’ house and live on the farm belonging to the family of her new husband, Rafe Martinelli. As the economy falters and dust and drought destroy the farm, Rafe deserts his wife and two young children in search of a better life in California.  

Amid the Great Depression, after the dust nearly kills one of her children, Elsa leaves Texas to try to find Rafe and reunite her family. Conditions go from bad to worse in California as Elsa lives in poverty among other migrant farm workers and works hard just to survive. On her own for the first time, facing unimaginable circumstances, Elsa finds herself an unlikely hero in a role in the fight for workers’ rights.
— Barb

READ because it’s Kristin Hannah! Of course you’re reading it.
PASS if… we really can’t think of a reason to pass on this one.
Order your copy

Send for Me by Lauren Fox

In the pantheon of WWII novels, this slim volume will surely become a book club favorite. Annelise and her Jewish family run a popular bakery in Feldenheim, Germany. She is a dutiful teenager helping her parents while experiencing typical teenage heartache and desire. The atmosphere is slowly turning dark as Jews are persecuted throughout the country. As a young married woman with a small child, Lise and Walter are sponsored to immigrate to the US but without her beloved parents. Two generations later, Clare has a new love, but with baggage. When she finds her grandmother's letters from her great grandmother, she begins to understand the struggle that all humans have in finding happiness. The snippets from the letters are from Fox's own grandmother. The poignancy of their attempt to leave Germany is palpable. Add this to your shelf!
— Valerie

READ because every book club in town is going to be talking about this beautiful novel.
PASS if you like being out of the loop.
Order your copy

The Survivors by Jane Harper

Kieran Elliot comes home to the coastal town in Australia where he grew up to help his mother pack up the house. She is moving his father into a memory care unit on the mainland. There are lots of memories here. The worst memory is the loss of his brother and his diving boat partner during a freak storm. Add to this tragedy a young teenager's disappearance. And now, an artist and waitress who is loved by the community shows up dead. Kieran has to decide if the long-ago cases and the present day one have something—or someone—in common. There are many possible suspects, and Harper strings them all along in a satisfying way for mystery lovers.
— Valerie 

READ because this complex web of a book is the perfect escapist thriller.
PASS if the most suspense you can handle is seeing who'll get star baker on GBBO.
Order your copy