A little about Co-Owner Kathy:
Kathy Crowley worked many years as a physician at Boston Medical Center and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine. (Sorry–we have no plans to offer a “Read While You Wait” clinic in the bookstore.) Her short stories have appeared in Ontario Review, Fish Stories, The Literary Review, New Millenium Writings and The Marlboro Review. She has won awards from the Massachusetts Cultural Council for both her fiction and non-fiction, and was a founder and editor of the literary blog Beyond the Margins. She’s currently racing to finish her second novel, a spy mystery set in the local area, before her bookstore responsibilities take away all her free time.
These are the books she loves!
I have never read anything that so strikingly captures the dynamic between a mother and daughter. The depth of their connection is evident throughout, but Gornick's precise, scalding honesty dissolves every trace of sentimentality. The book moves back and forth between her youth, growing up in a tenement in the Bronx with her widowed mother, , and the present (1980s) when the two women walk the streets of Manhattan together, remembering their complicated past.
A moving and beautiful story of war and loss. Paul Yoon's protagonists are three orphaned teens who bond while living and working at a field hospital in Laos, deep in the country, surronded by minefields, in the 1970s. Their stories, over the years and decades that follow, bring home the shattering force of war in a way unlike any other novel I've read.
An all too familiar story: a young woman who'd rather be left alone is stalked by a powerful older man. The fraught setting and relentless voice of the narrator, however, make this book unique. The unnamed city (Belfast) is a stand-in for any violent, paranoia-ridden human enclave, a place where everything from the choice of tea or butter to automobile parts signifies us or them. All written, somehow, with humor, and a sense of hope.
“In all marriages there is struggle and ours was no different in that regard. But we always came to the other shore, dusted off, and said, There you are, my love.” Poet Elizabeth Alexander's memoir on the sudden death of her husband, Ficre. A tale that begins with tragedy and loss but is ultimately a love story.
Though it won the National Book Critics' Award in poetry, Citizen is a piece of writing that's difficult to categorize -- also hard to forget. Claudia Rankine takes us into the slights, bruises and body blows of every day racism, from small moments between friends to events in the public sphere. Written in the second person, she leaves open who "you" might be, and what citizenship means. A work of art that crosses lines in more than one direction.
If you love heart-breaking, beautifully-written family sagas, this one is for you. Fatima Mirza writes with the wisdom and insight of someone way beyond her years.
I loved this memoir, both because the story of Patrick and the other kids Kuo teaches is so moving, and because Kuo is honest and perceptive about her own failings and motivations. Highly recommend.
September! A good time to read (or reread) a parenting classic. I have gone back to this book many times, and always found it to be smart, respectful and practical.
Fourteen-year-old Kaz Adams just wants to read comic books and spend every day with Aisha Warren. And maybe get up the nerve to ask her out, if Kaz turns out to be a gender that Aisha's into.
An inventive, poetic, warm, funny, insightful, rich (are you getting the idea?) "novel" -- really 12 layered novellas -- that brings a world to light. Evaristo's buoyant prose takes us deep into the lives of a dozen very different women. The book is set primarily in Britian, with forays/flasbacks to the Caribbean, Africa and the U.S. A big book that moves with speed and grace.
A picture book about life in the city, through the eyes of a child looking for -- and trying to reassure -- a lost cat. Beautiful and heartwarming. "But I know you. You will be all right."
A fun, well-paced MG detective novel with lots of history, especially around abolitionism, the Underground Railroad, and the election of Abraham Lincoln. The novel is based on the story of Kate Warne, the first female employee of The Pinkerton Detective Agency, and Hannigan's protagonist is 11-year-old Nell, Kate's recently orphaned niece. Nell earns her stripes on the detective team while also untangling the mysterious disappearance of her best friend and the death of her father. Ages 9-12.
I fell in love with Joan Silber's writing when I read Ideas of Heaven, her 2004 collection of linked stories (National Book Award finalist). Her new novel, Improvement, recent winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, tells the stories of several characters tied together by a single devastating event. The writing is smooth, easy, and lovely. I didn't realize how thoroughly she'd caught me until I finished the book and found out the book wasn't finished with me.
A debut novel that is a) moving b) unusual c) beautifully written, and d) funny. The story of a young woman whose life plan (Phd in Chemistry from Famous University, marriage to Perfect Boyfriend) dissolves and slips right out of her hands as we watch. If I were as smart as she is, I'd write this review as a chemical equation. Since I'm not, I'll just say that this is one of the best novels I've read in a long time.
A story of exile, family, and the costs of being a revolutionary. Kimiâ is the daughter of dissidents in Tehran during the 1970s. Her father, life under threat, flees to Paris, and his family follows. Kimiâ's story is more than just politics -- the choices made by her adored father reverberate through the family and her own coming of age. Far from home, with no possibilty of return, she struggles to "re-orient." Complex, dark but with a touch of humor.
A memoir, a tract, and an inspiration. Michael McCarthy, longtime UK writer and environmentalist, discovered deep and sustaining joy in nature as a teen in a fragile (father absent, mother institutionalized) family. He details the massive losses caused by human greed and expansion, but his larger point is to remind us that the experience of the natural world is crucial to human well-being, happiness, and joy. It's a book to take in slowly, like a long walk in the woods.
Ruth, an American writer, discovers a plastic-wrapped Hello Kitty lunch box on the shores of British Columbia containing the diary of Nao, a 16 year old who lives (lived?) in Tokyo. We move between Ruth's quiet island life and the engaging, worrisome tale she discovers in Nao's diary -- bullying, depression, and a Buddhist Monk grandmother, whose life Nao sets out to chronicle before ending her own. A novel of big ideas told with humor and a touch of mysticism.
A debut collection of compelling and surprising stories, with a diverse cast of characters, full to overflowing with life, pain, and complexity. There are 16 stories here, and though some are more successful than others, all caught my interest and all made me think.
A funny, engaging, medieval tale of three children of different races and religious traditions, brought together by chance on a journey that becomes a mission. Each of the children has a special gift, and along the way they encounter knights, dragons, foreboding forests, and much more. A middle-grade story told with depth and complexity, all in the style of the Canterbury Tales.
A collection of Coates' essays from The Atlantic, sequenced and structured by the years of Barack Obama's presidency. Many of these excellent essays you may have read before, but even if you've read them all, what makes this book worth having is the interwoven commentary of Coates' own experience, looking back over those years. He's a smart, fierce, and eloquent witness to our own history.