Book Bites: Stocking Up

Friends, we’ve been so moved by your support over the last week. Our online orders have spiked, the phone’s been ringing off the hook, and so many of you have stopped by to browse or to take advantage of our curbside delivery program. Small businesses across the country are facing closure and uncertainty. We feel immeasurably lucky to belong to such a kind, generous, compassionate community. 

One thing's for sure: We’re going to need a lot of reading material to get through the next few weeks! To that end, here’s an all-ages roundup of some of our favorite new and recent releases. Our inventory is changing rapidly—if we don’t have one of these titles on our shelves by the time you’re ready to buy, we’d be happy to order it in for you or recommend something similar. In the meantime, we’re wishing you all good health and happy reading.


Ages 4-8

That’s Life! by Ame Dyckman; illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld

The text of this picture book consists predominantly of greeting card cliches featuring Life ("Life is full of surprises!" "Life stinks!"). Life takes the form of a fuzzy gray being that arrives without warning and drags the child through the book on adventures. I can't imagine a better time for this book to be on shelves, reminding us all that life is beautiful.
—Cathy

READ because this clever book includes a great message.
PASS if you’re more of a let-life-pass-you-by kind of person.
Order your copy on our website.

An Ordinary Day by Elana K. Arnold; illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic

Gently and quietly and in muted colors, we learn about life coming and going on one street. We see that in one house, a family pet must go to dog heaven, and next door, a family is celebrating the birth of a child. For times when we must explain the difficult issues to young children, this will help.
—Valerie

READ because this book is beautifully designed, thoughtful, and profound. 
PASS if you’re looking for madcap silliness right now. Give us a call and we'll get you all set up to giggle for days.
Order your copy on our website.

Ages 8-12

City Spies by James Ponti

Facing years of juvenile detention for hacking into the New York City foster care system in order to prove that her foster parents are cheating the system, twelve-year-old Sara Martinez decides to trust the dapper British man who not only represents her in court but whisks her off to Scotland to be part of a secret MI5 affiliate employing “talented” youth. Here she and four others hone their particular skills and spy-craft to prepare for a mission in Paris. A fun-filled and action-packed beginning to a new series by James Ponti.
—Jennifer G.

READ because this fun adventure will definitely brighten your day.
PASS if reading about distant adventures just makes you homesick.
Order your copy on our website.

Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros

This is the story of Efrén and his efforts to keep the family going after his mother is deported. It's beautifully written and focuses on the family, their community, and their story. At heart it is about a middle schooler having to come to terms with a family torn apart—in this case by deportation—in a way that is very relatable. Relationships with friends and teachers are tested, new friendships are forged, and support is found—sometimes in unexpected places.
—Caroline R.

READ this Indies Introduce pick because it’s timely and tender.
PASS if you’re looking for more escapist subject matter. (See above!)
Order your copy on our website.

Ages 14-18

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang

In his latest graphic novel, Yang turns his attention to the basketball team at Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, California, where he attended and later taught math for years. The Dragons have been an excellent team, but they've always fallen short of winning the state championship. Gene spends the year following the team, interviewing the staff and players and interspersing their stories with his outlook on sports, his family, and his career as a graphic novelist. It's an engaging story about crossing boundaries and moving forward that will appeal to everyone—graphic novel fans, sports fans, and more!
—Ann

READ because this is a fun and unique piece of storytelling from an absolute master. And you’re probably missing basketball anyway.
PASS if you’re missing basketball so much that even the slightest hint of basketball will send you into sobs.
Order your copy on our website.

Ages 12 & Up

That Can Be Arranged: A Muslim Love Story by Huda Fahmy

With simple comic book-like illustrations and self-deprecating humor, Huda Fahmy regales her readers with her experiences finding the perfect husband, following Islamic proscriptions and remaining true to herself. I l-o-v-e-d this—it’s laugh-out-loud funny and informative for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Readers will identify with Huda’s universal struggles and longings. 
—Jennifer G.

READ if you could use a laugh right now. (In other words, read it.)
PASS if you recently broke a rib and have been forbidden from laughing until it heals.
Order your copy on our website.

Adult Fiction

Mrs. Mohr Goes Missing by Maryla Szymiczkowa

Zofia Turbotyfiska is an upstanding Polish housewife. Her husband is a university professor. While doing her good works at a local nursing home, Zofia starts to believe that innocent deaths may not be so innocent. With a good amount of sly humor about upper crust society, it's a witty "cozy" mystery.
—Valerie

READ because witty, cozy mysteries are a slam-dunk cure for the social isolation blues.
PASS if you hate Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, the Kopp sisters, Auntie Poldi… Do you even like books??
Order your copy on our website.

Weather by Jenny Offill

Lizzie is a youngish wife and mother to 5-year old Eli, living in an immigrant neighborhood in Brooklyn. She works at the reference desk in a university library and handles correspondence for a podcasting friend. Her husband, a classics major, creates video games, and her brother, a recovering drug abuser, is finally getting married and having a baby. As we follow her through her daily life, we notice that she is getting increasingly worried—about herself, her family, her brother, her mother, money, possible climate change, and the political situation in the country (in an evocative reflection of what many Americans felt after the last national election). As in her previous novels (Department of Speculation and Last Things), Offill writes in snippets of thoughts and observations that move toward a gradually-building tension between despair and hope. But she has a light touch, and her sense of humor made me laugh out loud. 
—Alice

READ because it made Alice laugh out loud! It’s obviously good.
PASS if the “worrier” angle isn’t right for you just now.
Order your copy on our website.