Book Bites: Something For Everyone

If you’ve been following the store for a while, you know that we love to share our favorite recent releases with you here on the blog. Some weeks, we’re especially excited about a group of new novels. Other times, we’re all about middle grade or YA. But on occasion, the stars align and we can deliver a classic all-ages, all-genres bookish lovefest. This is one such occasion! Enjoy, friends.

Ages 3-7

Inside Cat by Brendan Wenzel

Inside Cat thinks it knows everything it sees through the windows in its house. But does it really? This new picture book from store favorite Brendan Wenzel encourages us all to look outside ourselves and TO GO OUTSIDE. To see the world. What's better than that? 

READ because this is a great read-aloud that encourages imagination and observation.

PASS if you’re allergic to illustrations of cats.

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Gladys the Magic Chicken by Adam Rubin; illustrated by Adam Rex

Gladys is just your ordinary chicken in ancient times until the Boy Shepherd decides that she grants magic wishes and sells her to a Traveling Merchant. Is Gladys really magic or is she just in the right place at the right time? A funny book, perfect for a rollicking read aloud.

READ because this is a powerhouse author-illustrator pairing that absolutely delivers on the hype.

PASS if you are terrified of chickens.

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Ages 8-12

Manu by Kelly Fernández

In Kelly Fernández’s debut graphic novel, Manu is a student at a school where students learn all sorts of magic and curses. Manu just wants to impress others with her magic, but it always turns out horribly wrong. When her best friend Josefina wishes for her magic to go away, it really does. And Manu goes through a dangerous strategy to get it back.

Manu was a cute story, and the art style was adorable. I simply just wanted more of it. I can’t wait to see what’s next from Kelly Fernández.
—Harper, Teen Advisory Board

READ because this is empowering, vibrant, adorable, and sweet. What more could you want?

PASS if there is, somehow, something more that you want.

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Ages 13-18

Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed ed. Saraciea Fennell

Fifteen authors—well known as well as up-and-coming—each contribute a piece exploring the Latinx diaspora. Full of pain and laughter, this is a moving celebration of the Latinx community. Not to be missed!

READ because this includes contributions from old favorites (Elizabeth Acevedo! Ibi Zoboi!) and soon-to-be favorites.

PASS it along to a friend when you’re done — it’s a great collection.

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Adult Fiction

Donut Fall in Love by Jackie Lau

Gourmet baker Lindsay and actor Ryan meet cute when he knocks over two dozen donuts in her store. When Ryan is set to appear on a celebrity edition of Baking Fail, he asks Lindsay to teach him the basics of baking. As their relationship progresses, they both work through the loss of loved ones and the strain Ryan's fame brings to the relationship. This is a delightful rom-com that will leave you craving a chocolate espresso donut! 

READ because this sweet rom-com is perfect to cozy up with as the seasons change.

PASS if you’re *already* craving a chocolate espresso donut.

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Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan

Meg Devonshire thinks in numbers and facts with no room for things in the gray area of life.  When her bedridden younger brother reads The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and asks her to find out where Narnia came from, she doesn't know where to begin. She just knows that she cannot let him down. She tracks down a professor at nearby Oxford called Mr. Lewis, better known as Jack. She’s invited into his house, and the magic of storytelling begins. Meg continues to visit the Lewis brothers and hear their childhood stories, which she retells to her brother, George. As time passes, Meg realizes that instead of a clear-cut answer, she gets another precious story which opens her mind to the endless possibilities of the imagination! 

READ this one in time for Christmas! It’s perfectly cozy and magical.

PASS if you’ve injured yourself trying to jump through a wardrobe.

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Tales from the Cafe by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

More stories from the magical café in Tokyo where sitting in a particular chair allows you to travel in time but always within the café. While reading the first book, Before the Coffee Gets Cold, is not required, this one builds a bit on the stories of the people who work in the café and the ghost who normally occupies the special chair. A gentle read.
—Jennifer K.

READ because this is a heartwarming, wistful novel that’s great for fall and winter.

PASS if you want to read the first book before diving into this one.

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The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak

The island of Cyprus is the primary setting of this novel about love, loss, grief, trees, and political conflict. In present day London, 16-year old Ada is coming to terms with the death of her mother, a Turkish Cypriot, and her Greek Cypriot father's preoccupation with the study of trees. She has never met any relatives on either side and knows nothing of her parents' past. Along with Ada, readers gradually find out what happened since 1974, when her parents were teenagers and when a political coup by the majority Greeks led to an invasion by Turkey. Some of the most fascinating parts of the story are narrated by a fig tree, who was at center stage for some of the more significant events in the family's story. Beautiful and compassionate writing by the author of 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World.

READ because this is a gorgeously-written meditation on some of life’s biggest questions.

PASS if you’re just so dang tired of reading book after book after book narrated by a fig tree.

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Adult Nonfiction

Both/And by Huma Abedin

Huma Abedin served as Hillary Clinton's top aide for years in the White House, in the Senate, and in the State Department. She was with her every step of the way through the 2016 campaign. We all know about her disastrous marriage to the apparently charismatic but flawed Anthony Wiener. She has an incredible background as the child of two very gifted parents, both professors. She grew up in New Jersey, spent summers in Michigan until her Indian/Pakistani parents moved the family to Saudi Arabia. There is an intimate feel about this memoir with compelling stories that give you a peek behind the curtain.

READ because this is an absorbing journey through the highs and lows of a life lived close to history.

PASS if you’re avoiding politics for now. (But don’t forget to vote!)

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Cook / Gift

Gastro Obscura by Dylan Thuras and Cecily Wong

From the creative minds that showed us hidden corners of the world in Atlas Obscura comes a compendium of food, ingredients, eateries and the history and culture that have given birth to some of the most exciting dishes you might ever experience. The diversity of what humans consume and the ways foods are prepared is eye-opening. From African termite mound ovens to Haggis hurling in Scotland and floating markets and farms, from fermented shark to Gunpowder Rum and Vietnamese Egg Coffee (delicious!), this fascinating and informative book is a feast for the curious traveler (because you have to GO to the places where most of these things exist) and the intrepid gourmand (because you have to be willing to venture beyond the food your mama made). A few recipes are included for the armchair traveler. This is a terrific gift for just about anyone on your list.

READ after eating! You don’t want to be hungry when you’re paging through this one.

PASS if you’re in a bitter feud with actor Kyle Maclachlan, who provided an enthusiastic blurb.

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