Drama, character, and high quality prose are hallmarks of Wendee’s favorites. Wendee doesn’t shy away from a dark story, and her picks are often great book group discussion choices. Wendee is the store’s sidelines buyer, too.
I can't decide. Is it a murder mystery, a thriller, a great American classic, a tale of redemption? Yes, but most emphatically it's the truest love story I've ever read. Hauntingly powerful. Absolutely un-put-downable. A blow to the heart, and purely uplifting. Don't just think about it. Pick up this book, and then share it with everyone you know.
I haven't had this much fun reading a book in some time. Kevin's life is a hot mess. Between his shoplifting 83-year-old mom, a sulky teenage daughter, and his stalled career, Kevin can't catch a break. Until he hires a caretaker for his mom. Then the fun begins. I laughed and cringed, and laughed some more. A total charmer of a novel. If you're looking for some fun, here it is!
Here it is—the perfect balm for these anxious times. Yes, the characters are an inquisitive race horse, a regal yet homeless dog, a philosophizing raven, and an 8-year-old boy who cares for his great grandmama. But what we really have here is an adult fable set in Paris where kindness truly matters and where respect for individuality is paramount. This is a rare novel that allows the reader to toss aside cynicism for a feeling of goodness that’s simply irresistible.
If you read cookbooks like you read fiction—cover to cover—then Ina Garten’s very timely 2020 edition “Modern Comfort Food” is for you. These recipes provide an updated take on some favorite classics. Cheesy Enchiladas and Peach Almond Torte anyone? A great gift for cooks of all levels.
Don’t be fooled by the whimsical cover. Eudora Honeysett, a British woman in her latter years, decides that the only way to bring life to a suitable close is by managing the process. But life tosses a few unexpected yet charming surprises . Lyons skillfully balances somber with light-hearted, touching on deep feelings and topics while staying away from sappy or overly-sentimental. Pick this up if you’re looking for a light read, but with a little heft.
Akhtar calls this a work of fiction, but admits it's largely autobiographical. It's the story of a father (a Pakistani immigrant) and a son (American-born) and the complicated relationship they have with each other and with America. Wonderfully complex and eye-opening. I was unable to put it down, or to let go of it once I had finished. With incisive writing and heartfelt storytelling, Akhtar provides a searing glimpse into what it means to be a Muslim in America. A perfect holiday gift for the thoughtful lover of contemporary literature.
I loved this heartfelt and hilarious inside look at the quirky world of donkey running. This book has it all -- great characters (human and animal), intriguing science (animals, especially donkeys, really do calm humans), and a race-to-the-finish ending! Sherman will steal your heart.
Sit back and let McCann work his magic. The achingly tender real-life account of Rami and Bassam, Israeli and Palestinian fathers who have lost daughters to senseless violence, but who arrive at a shared position against the occupation of Palestine. Their common desire is peace and justice. They devote their lives to this. But while their story unfolds, McCann weaves all manner of curiosities--Francois Mitterrand's last meal, the Dead Sea scrolls, Philippe Petit--enriching, mind-bending elements that create a tale for our times. Mesmerizing and vibrant.
My favorite read of the past three months (Covid quarantine and lock-down). This dazzler is spun from Scottish myth and legend. A selkie tale that involves an outcast fisherman who finds enchantment but must continue his life in his tiny fishing community relentlessly stuck in the past! It's a magical story--Irresistible. You'll love it.
Here it is folks. The most gorgeous book of rooms filled with books. Breathtaking photographs of rooms with floor to ceiling bookshelves, stacks of books filling every corner, and books as furniture. Inspiring, dreamy. aspirational rooms, some belonging to famous authors and designers, others belonging to everyday book lovers like you and me. A perfect gift... for your favorite book lover.
I am over the moon for this new huge-hearted American epic. Four orphans escape Lincoln Indian Training School in Minnesota in the summer of 1932--deep into the Depression--but not before they commit a great and totally justifiable crime. A manhunt is launched, and our 4 heroes take to the rivers to escape. Endless adventure and near-death experiences ensue. A bit of Twain's Huck Finn and a large serving of Homer's Odyssey. You won't forget this saga. Need an escape? This is it!
The mysterious disappearance of two young girls from a remote Russian province sits at the core of this impressive debut novel. What follows is a month-by-month chronicle of the ways the disappearance affects various women in the community. Taut chapters read like individual short styories with a slim thread of connection to the magnetic core of the missing girls. Revel in the writing and character development.
Summer's a great time for a classic. This one's packed with intricate plotting, unforgettable characters, and an ending that will stick with you forever. Celebrating it's 80th anniversary, it is part thriller and part gentle romance, though by today's standards the romance is quite tame. If you haven't read it yet, now's the moment.
A book called Nanaville? I assumed it would be trite, banal, full of clichés. But it's by Anna Quindlen. I've read all her books, so I tentatively entered the world of Quindlen's state of grandmotherhood. I should have known. Of course, this is an immensely readable treatise on being a nana. It's significant. It's full of anecdotal wisdom. It's part memoir, part how-to manual. But above all else, it's candid, funny, irreverant, always well-written. Never trite. And I'm not even a grandmother!
This is the latest in Reichl’s string of memoirs (remember Tender at the Bone, Comfort Me with Apples et al.) Here’s the “real talk” version of her years as editor of Gourmet magazine, both the excitement, creativity and high-flying lifestyle of a Conde Nast editor, as well as financial realities of the magazine world. Here’s a little-known fact: Reichl asked Ann Patchett to write a column for her first Gourmet issue, and Patchett served as a regular contributor to every issue until the magazine shut down. If you like Ruth Reichl, or miss Gourmet magazine, or just enjoy a great foodie lit book, this one’s for you.
Publishes April 2, 2019
No other book has provided such a rich reading experience for me since Gentleman in Moscow three years ago. Told in lush prose, Owens reveals the story of Kya, a young girl abandoned by every member of her family to live alone in a shack in the marshlands of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Kya is strong, resilient, and beyond all else, a brilliant young woman who, against all odds, defies small town prejudice to become something more amazing than anyone thought possible. She is an unforgettable heroine. Her story will grip you from start to finish.
In the year between his 42nd and 43rd birthdays, Gay wrote 102 short essays on the topic of delight. Not just the fluffy kind but the curious and quirky things that reveal the good in all of us. He explores a host of topics including contemporary views of masculinity and race. These days, who wouldn’t appreciate a collection of essays that makes us feel good.
On April 29, 1986 a fire broke out at the Los Angeles Central Library. It burned for 7 hours, destroying 400,000 books and damaging 700,000 more. Harry Peaks, the chief suspect in the arson case was arrested, but never charged. This is just the beginning of Orleans' thriller cum love letter to public libraries. Full of ecceentric characters and LA history, this is a fool-proof gift to yourself...and for family and friends.
Slap-your-knee funny with a deep under current of humanity. Amid a hilarious literary romp around the world designed to provide a perfectly calibrated escape from his love life, our protagonist Less suffers the inevitable collison with age. He also sorts out a few things about life. Bit by bit, you'll fall in love with Less. A delightfully quirky read. A perfect antidote to these days of heavy news and politics.
Maria has created a sanctuary in a rented home overlooking a small Spanish village by the sea. Her solitude is disrupted by the arrival of her sister, Emma. In 6 chapters, Olsson describes the 6 day visit. Beautiful sparse writing and seering insight bring this novel to life. Reads like a meditation. If you love this like I did, be sure to pick up Astrid and Veronika and Sonata for Miriam.
In his secretly penned memoir, Cunningham tells the story of his early years as a starving hat maker and student of design in New York City. We follow the 19-year-old Harvard dropout to Paris, Milan, New York learning first hand what it takes to survive as a fashion photographer at the highest level of the industry. A story of steadfast commitment to values and personal humility. Cunningham was truly a one-of-a-kind human being.
Pure 100% Tuscan delight. Three American women--complette strangers at first--contemplate the next phase of life from the comfort of an old abandoned villa in the south of Italy. If you can't make it to Tuscany yourself, pick up this book. It's nearly as good as being there. This is escapist travel literature at its best.
Compulsively readable and deeply satisfying. Frankel writes with an insider's understanding of families--the ways they are alike and distinctly different. Also, the ways parents secure safety and happiness for their children. A beautiful exploration of transgender issues.
Ondaatje's writing is clear and concise. His storytelling is spellbinding. And the ending to this adventure story still lingers with me. A complete reading pleasure.
Exactly my kind of memoir. Elicits every emotion imaginable--outrage, compassion, curiosity, and admiration. In the end, you'll leap from your seat and cheer for Tara Westover, both for the books she's written (her first) and the courage and perseverance she has demonstrated in overcoming the most extreme childhood hardships. A New York Times Top Ten book of 2018.
The literary fiction knock-out of the year (in my humble opinion). Count Alexander Ilych Rostov is exiled by a Bolshevik tribunal to life in the world-class Metropol Hotel. Here Rostov makes a life so rich and full, the reader nearly forgets his exiled status. Each scene sparkles, and when strung together this book dazzles and entertains. Give it to Everyone.
From fashion designer Eileen Fisher to poet Nikki Giovanni, this collection puts the spotlight on 100 women across all industries and of all ages, ethnicities, and religious beliefs. Bursting with creativity and energy, this is a perfect gift for your young niece or great aunt.
The memory of an unbearable tragedy sits at the center of this stunning, award-winning novel with themes of compassion, redemption, and the fickle nature of memory. Poetic writing contrasted with the stark landscape of Northern Idaho add enticing elements.
Written like a thriller, this is classic narrative nonfiction, rich in WW II atmosphere and plot. American doctor Sumner Jackson, his wife and son live in a Paris ground floor apartment on elegant Avenue Foch in sight of the German Gestapo. Here the Jacksons secretly work on behalf of the French Resistance. A true-to-life page turner. Perfect for history buffs and spy novel fans alike.
Fans of historical fiction will love this novel set in late 19th century Spain that tells the story of the real-life infanta Princess Eulalia, daughter of Isabel II. Bold and outspoken, Eulalia became a foreign emissary traveling to Cuba in the heat of the revolution and to America to the Chicago World’s Fair, where she hopes to find a publisher for her scandalous memoir. Fast-paced, full of adventure, and with a touch of romance.
The story of a marriage—twice told, first from the husband’s perspective (Fates) and then from the wife’s (Furies). From the first sentence, this story simmers with taut language and character revelations. A page-turner for sure, though you’ll want to linger with the writing and plot, and even reread sections to capture what you missed. Lauren Groff’s writing is on fire. Get it. Read it. Then contemplate how she does it.
For the lover of historical fiction and romance comes this gorgeous Allende novel set in beautiful San Francisco, complete with mansions overlooking the Golden Gate and the quirky activist residents of an older adult community. With all the sweep of multiple generations, many continents and historical events, this book makes a perfect gift.
Weaver’s memoir set in North Seattle tells the story of a run-down plot of land, a dilapidated house, and an overgrown fruit orchard. At the heart of the story is Ellen, Weaver’s single mother, and the relationship between the two that’s about as neglected as the parcel of land. Ellen buys the property and Tara takes on the weeding and planting. It’s not all bliss, but it’s a gorgeous story of restoration and commitment.
A dazzling retelling of Beryl Markham’s childhood and early adult years in British colonial Kenya. Honestly, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled to Africa and back in time to a bygone era. Markham’s life is one non-stop adventure. If you liked The Paris Wife, I promise you’ll love this one.
Longtime New Yorker copy editor Mary Norris offers readers a delicious hybrid: a memoir and grammar guide all rolled into one. Lots of inside stories about the New Yorker and an entire chapter on the iconic Blackwing pencil. Total entertainment.