Recommendations and Reviews

Highlights of what we've been reading and loving.

Book Bites: How to Find a Book

If you're anything like us, you’re always on the lookout for your next favorite book. Happily, we have a near-inexhaustible supply of books in the back room, and plenty of staffers who are happy to steer you towards a great recommendation. So whether you're looking for a mid-pandemic pick-me-up, a distracting psychological thriller, or engrossing novels or nonfiction, you'll find a great choice below. Choose a few favorites, then take your pick(s) to the pool, to your chair next to the A/C, or to relax six feet apart from your book club friends—it's time to read.

Book Bites: Dig Into Fiction

We’ve reached the part of the Houston summer where all we want to do is stay inside and read—pandemic or not. So drag your comfiest chair next to your biggest A/C vent, put your feet up, and blow through a stack of our favorite new fiction. Below, we recommend a new picture book featuring a beloved character, a couple of supernatural YA reads picked by members of our Teen Advisory Board, and a half-dozen new novels that range from fizzy to searing. Dig in!

New in YA: August Picks from Our Teen Advisory Board

This spring, we started a Teen Advisory Board made up of passionate YA readers from Houston-area middle and high schools. They've been busy reading (and reading and reading) ever since, looking out for fun genre reads, topical pageturners, swoonworthy rom-coms, and everything in between.

Good news, folks: There are lots of amazing YA books coming out this fall. Read on to learn about our Board's top YA picks for August across a variety of genres—including the first book selected for our brand new YA First Editions Club subscription program (sign up by August 10 to start your subscription in September!). Whether you're a bookworm, book blogger, influencer, collector, weekend reader, or just someone who loves a good story, you're sure to find something you'll love below.

Book Bites: Pirates, Potatoes, Peculiarities

If you’re like us, you’ve been reading up a storm this summer. On your evening walks. By the pool. In your special corner on the couch. With so much extra reading time, our merry band of booksellers is working hard to find the best books out there for all our readers! Our latest collection of staff picks runs the gamut—we have hilarious picture books, heartbreaking novels, and everything in between. Explore this latest roundup of titles we loved, then settle in for an enjoyable read.

Summer Picks: Coding for Kids!

Summer is a great time to try new things and hone your skills! In recent years, we’ve seen wave after wave of great books for young readers of all ages on fun topics like art, cooking, sewing, origami, and… coding! Here, full-time librarian, part-time Blue Willow staffer, and all-time tech guru Lisa Stultz shares a few of her favorite coding books. 

Book Bites: Beach Reads and Beyond

We always welcome a healthy dose of joy, especially in the form of bookish distractions (and most especially these days). Our latest roundup of staff picks is brimming with excellent summer reads, from hilarious picture books to enthralling novels. Travel to a beach-front cottage in Nantucket, go on a secret-filled ride with a psychological thriller, or swoon over smart, fun romances. Whether you choose one or all, we wish you, as always, very happy reading.

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.

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. 

Book Bites: Yorick and Books

We continue to be closed to the public—the storefront has turned into one big shipping warehouse—and as the weeks roll by, we find ourselves missing you more than ever. Even though we know it’s the right thing to do, it has been hard. We miss seeing your faces, and talking about books and life and how the two reflect one another and intertwine. We’re tentatively looking at early June for a quiet, socially distant reopening of some kind. Stay tuned for details. Until then, we know just what will lift your spirits and ours—a classic all-ages, all-interests recommendation fest featuring some of our very favorite new books. Buckle up and read on… no matter what you’re looking for, you can find it on our shelves.

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