Recommendations and Reviews

Highlights of what we've been reading and loving.

Book Bites: Romance! Mystery! Bravery! Spaceships!

New books, new books! Summer reading is officially upon us, friends, and the brand new releases hitting our shelves do not disappoint. Great debuts? Check. Classic beach reads? We’ve got ‘em. Dazzling thrillers? Science fiction? Biography? Memoir? Stop reading this silly intro and check out our list of recent favorites. No matter what kind of book you’re after, you’re sure to find something to love. Read on!

Book Bites: Running the Gamut

We pride ourselves on balance here at the store. Half of our space is devoted to kids’ books, half is for adults, and each one of our merry band of booksellers is wholly committed to fostering a love of books in readers of any age. Just check out our list of recent favorites below—we’ve got everything from a great read aloud for young families to a terrific book about Egypt and the Arab spring by longtime New Yorker staff writer Peter Hessler. Welcome, all readers!

Book Bites: Histories and Mysteries

Have you noticed? There’s been a terrific wave of historical fiction washing over our shelves this spring. Below, we highlight three of the best, spanning over 100 years. Read them in chronological order for some Blue Willow Brownie points. We’ve got mysteries, too—from a British boarding school for tweens to intrigue and murder on the streets of Houston. If that’s not your thing, Alice just finished a fascinating novel packed with insightful social commentary. Plus, we share our thoughts on the new novel by Sally Rooney—if you haven’t already, put her on your list of names to know. Read on!

Book Bites: Kate, Kwame, Kadir, Kip, and More!

Kate DiCamillo! Kwame Alexander! Kadir Nelson! Our shelves have been hit by a winning influx of Ks over the last few weeks, and we couldn’t be more excited. From the legendary Kate DiCamillo, we have a wonderful new picture book that serves as a prequel to the early-reader Mercy Watson series. Elsewhere in picture books, Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson have teamed up for a stunningly beautiful US history lesson for any young reader. Plus, there’s an incredible debut YA novel by Kip Wilson to check out (from Kwame’s Versify imprint, no less). Believe by Robert Sabuda doesn’t have a single K to its name… but it will knock you over with its innovation and beauty. (We tried.)

Moving over to the adult side of the store, we have two novels and a book of essays you’ll want to add to your list. Up first, The Book of Dreams marks the return of Little Paris Bookshop author Nina George. Stay Up With Hugo Best is a timely, witty debut full of sharp social commentary. And Helen Ellis’ hilarious Southern Lady Code is a rowdy romp through life and womanhood below the Mason-Dixon.

Book Bites: We Miss You Already, Alice! Plus Faith, Baseball, and Soccer

If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you probably know that we often try to find some kind of theme to frame our bi-weekly roundup of staff picks. Sometimes the books we feature are all written by women, for example. Sometimes the women are named Sarah. And so on. The theme for this week? How much we miss Alice. Our resident book orderer and literary tastemaker is off on another one of her globetrotting vacations, leaving our little shop a smidge short on its signature pizzazz. So of the seven titles featured below, four are recent favorites of the marvelous Ms. Meloy. (And don’t you worry—she brought a whole bookcase worth of e-books on her trip, so there will be plenty more Alice-approved picks coming your way after she returns.)

Book Bites: Women’s History Month and TeenBookCon, Too

Happy Women's History Month, friends! We're proud to be a woman-owned, women-run independent bookshop every day of the year, but this month is a special reminder to highlight the invaluable contributions of women. We're excited to highlight books by women authors below — including a sweet picture book, a wonderful piece of historical fiction, a fantastic debut novel, and a selection of books by authors who will be featured at this month's tenth annual TeenBookCon!

We’ve been busy, busy, busy preparing for TeenBookCon 2019, which will feature 24 of the best YA authors writing today. To say that we’re looking forward to it is just a tiny bit of an understatement — none other than Angie Thomas and Laurie Halse Anderson (!!!) are keynoting the festival — so we’re turning a chunk of this biweekly roundup over to them. Dig in and read on, friends.

Book Bites: Daisy, Nikki, Monkey, Cake

Here's one thing about working at a bookstore: You'll never see the top of your nightstand again. Between all of the recommendations and advance copies, each member of our staff has a "to be read" list that's dozens—hundreds?—of titles long, along with a hefty stack of books waiting to be picked up. We've been reading, reading, reading our way through our lists, and we have to say: It's been a great season for new releases. In the last few weeks, we've welcomed a pair of fantastic picture books, a delightful middle grade debut, some great novels for teens and adults, and (despite the chilly temperatures) the first wave of books that could make for fantastic summer reading. Heard the hype about Daisy Jones & The Six? It's real, friends. Clear some space on your shelves and give us a visit—we'll send you home happy.

Book Bytes: Audiobook Favorites from Libro.fm

Have you heard about our audiobook partner, Libro.fm? It's a wonderful platform, full of smart, opinionated recommendations from real booksellers (including some of yours truly)—which makes it much better than whatever some anonymous computer algorithm recommends, as far as we're concerned. How do they do it? By partnering with and supporting over 500 independent bookstores around the country. Setting up an account with Libro means supporting your local community. What's not to love?

They're also running a spectacular deal right now for new customers switching from the Amazon-owned Audible platform: Join Libro.fm, support your local bookstore by doing so, and get three audiobooks for the price of one. Jeffrey doesn't really need more money, does he?

Here are some of our very favorite audiobooks to get you started.

Book Bites: Bonanza!

Folks, it’s a bumper crop of great new books this week, starting with a beautiful picture book by an acclaimed Caldecott medalist. Five novels made the cut, including a twisty, turny tale that should have plenty of crossover appeal into the young adult market. From there it’s on to literary fiction, a period piece, a thriller, a family drama… suffice it to say that you’ll find something on this list that you can love. Finally, take a turn into nonfiction, where we have a pair of tremendous books whose titles sound synonymous—but whose subjects couldn’t be more different. What will it be, friends? Read on!

Book Bites: New Angie Thomas (!!) & More

First things first, everybody. The incredible Angie Thomas, keynote speaker at TeenBookCon 2019, is back this week with her stunning sophomore novel. Friends, it’s every bit as good as The Hate U Give, and it needs to go right to the top of your TBR pile. We don’t care how long it’s been since you were 16, or whether you know the first thing about hip-hop. Trust us when we say that you’re going to fall for Bri Jackson and her story.

Now that that’s taken care of, we’ll show you the rest. For kids, we have a great picture book about an odd little dog and his killer accessories. Beyond that, Texas author Lynne Kelly has written a beautiful middle grade novel that has Katherine Applegate, and many others, singing praises—come see her at the shop on the 9th! The new graphic novel from Jerry Craft is worth your time, especially if you’re into Gene Luen Yang or Raina Telgemeier. (And who isn’t?)

For adults, take your pick: We have a well-drawn piece of historical fiction for fans of The Crown, a collection of short stories straight out of The Twilight Zone, and a multigenerational saga that's perfect if you liked Accordion Crimes or Bel Canto. Whatever you choose, happy reading—we can’t wait to hear what you think.

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