Blue Willow Digital Marketing Team's blog

The Best Books of 2021

Best Books of 2021 LogoHere we are again. It may seem hard to believe, but the year is winding down and it's time to share our favorite books from an exciting year in publishing. To that end, we're very proud to introduce you to our annual "Best Books" list—we loved each and every one of these books, and we think you will, too.

You can scroll through all 30 titles, from Picture Books down to Cookbooks. Alternatively, use the anchor links below to jump straight to the section of your choice. As a fun bonus, we've shared a few author Q&As with some of the creators below—we always love hearing more from the people behind these special books.

Happy reading, friends.

Book Bites: Holiday Reading & More

The year’s winding down and the holidays are picking up. What does that mean? More time to read! This week, we’re featuring new books for all ages, including two that are perfect for the holidays: A sweet picture book about community bonds and a tender novella that screams “future Christmas classic.” Break out the blankets, cozy up to some cocoa, and read on.

Celebrate Indie Bookstore Day with Blue Willow!

We’re so excited to celebrate Independent Bookstore Day, Saturday, April 24, with you virtually and in-person! To shop with us in-store, don’t forget to make your shopping appointment to stop by between 10:00AM and 5:00PM CT.

You can also shop with us online, call to schedule an order for curbside pick-up, sign up for our newsletter, purchase a gift card, or sign up for one of our many virtual events.

Fun fact: Glennon Doyle is this year’s Indie Bookstore Day Author Ambassador!

Read more about our Indie Bookstore Day plans.

The Best Books of 2020

2020 has been a unique year, to say the least. Through all the uncertainty, we've been so grateful for you, our friends and neighbors, and your wonderful support of our local bookstore. With the holidays just around the corner, we can't wait to help you discover the perfect gifts for everyone on your list. To that end, our merry band of booksellers is very proud to present our annual "Best Books" list—a selection of titles we especially loved this year, and think you will, too. 

Happy reading, friends. And from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your continued love and support.

Introducing Our Early Reader Bundles!

This month, we rolled out a brand new program: Early Reader Book Bundles! Our team sat down and sifted through a mountain of titles for early readers, which we then broke down into three categories: Emerging, Beginning Independent, and Independent. Each bundle comes in its own special bag and includes a letter explaining why each title was chosen, as well as a suggested order of reading. We chose a mix of classic and current books and made sure to include some that are part of a series. Here's a sneak peek at the kind of books you can expect in each category!

Book Bites: Summer Samples

We have now been open for appointments for two weeks, and it has been such a joy to see a few of you behind your masks. We know that many of you are still exercising caution and care around leaving the home, so we’re planning to offer porch pickup for the foreseeable future. The shop isn’t the same without your smiles and laughter, but we’re holding onto the knowledge that sunnier days will come again. As is our wont, we are also holding onto piles and piles of books. Here are a few of our recent favorites. Read on!

Book Bites: Dogs, Dragons, and Other Delights

This week, we’re getting the shop ready for a (soft, quiet, socially distant) reopening. We’ve been busy clearing space on the floor, cleaning and disinfecting, and setting up some protocols for safe and responsible browsing. And of course we’ve also been reading. The pleasure of a good book has been such a comfort over these last few months. Below, we highlight ten recent favorites that are on our shelves right now, waiting to see you in the store or on our porch for pickup sometime soon.

Liara Tamani on Signs, Basketball, and ALL THE THINGS WE NEVER KNEW

Friends, one of our favorite Houston authors has a new book on the way, and we can't wait for you to read it. All the Things We Never Knew is the second YA novel from Liara Tamani, a dear friend of the shop and general author-you-need-to-read. It stars Carli and Rex, a pair of Texas teens who meet on the basketball court, and it's the perfect thing to help you through these lonesome, sports-less times we've been living through. The book is funny, romantic, thoughtful... it belongs on the same shelf as your well-loved copies of With the Fire On HighTo All the Boys I've Loved Before, or The Sun Is Also a Star.

As if that wasn't enough, we partnered with Liara to hook you up with some special swag. If you pre-order a signed, personalized first edition of All the Things We Never Knew from us by June 4, we'll send you a branded notebook, pencil, sticker, pin, and bookmark in addition to your book! Liara will also generously make a donation to the Houston Food Bank for every pre-order placed. We were hoping to host a big event with Liara in the store to celebrate the book's release, but we've had to switch to the next best thing: An exclusive virtual launch party taking place via Zoom on June 12! Attending is easy: Order All the Things We Never Knew from our shop, and we'll send you an invitation to the Zoom event. We can't wait to see you there! In the meantime, check out our Q&A with the author.

Blue Willow's Graduation Gift Guide

What a strange season we've been living through, friends. The world is upside down, but certain familiar milestones keep marching on unhindered. A birthday comes and goes. A holiday. An anniversary. For the bookstore, this time of year always finds us making recommendations and wrapping gifts for graduates. (It's one of the few gift-giving occasions where everyone else seems to agree with us: Books really do make the best gifts!) The class of 2020 is stepping out into the world at a troubling, unprecedented moment in our history. Still and all, books can offer some help. The right book, read at the right time, can inspire, comfort, empower, give solace, unite.... Here are a few of our very favorite titles for graduates. We hope it helps you find the perfect choice for the young people in your life. 

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