Becky

The handful of books I am currently most excited about are right here on this page. I read widely, though, and hate to ever remove a book from my list of suggestions, so I've categorized my archived picks. Scroll down and click on the links to find more of my recommendations! 

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Long Island (Eilis Lacey Series) By Colm Toibin Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781476785110
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - May 7th, 2024

You don't have to have read Toibin's 2010 novel Brooklyn to understand or enjoy this follow-up story of Eilis Lacey, an Irish-American immigrant who takes her teenaged children to her native Ireland for the summer when the husband of the woman with whom her husband has conceived a child shows up at her front door on the cul-de-sac populated entirely by her Italian in-laws. On her return to Enniscorthy, Eilis is forced to confront the people and relationships she left behind decades earlier. Toibin writes with perfect Irish wit and restraint, to stunning effect.


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The Walker, the Driver, and Otto: Wayfaring Strangers on a Continental Roundabout By Frances A. McIntosh Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9798869282194
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Price Creek Press - April 15th, 2024

This travelogue by a former local schoolteacher is utterly charming. It chronicles her ex-husband Don's walking circumnavigation of the continental US, for which she was the titular driver of Otto, the brown, heatless VW camper van that served as his support vehicle. In cafes, parking lots, and campgrounds, McIntosh wrote such detailed notes about the places, people, and natural life and landscape they encountered along the way that it all feels tremendously immediate in the reading. But what affected me the most is how McIntosh emerges from a story ostensibly about Don's adventure as the hero of her own story.


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August Blue: A Novel By Deborah Levy Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781250338853
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - June 18th, 2024

Deborah Levy is, hands-down, my favorite writer. She works wonders with her prose, creating place, people, and narrative tension with simple, declarative sentences and astute observation. I get lost in the worlds she populates with smart, sophisticated, and broken characters, many of whom knock around in my brain long after the reading is over. Truth be told, I covet Levy's brain, but since I can’t have it, I’ll just read every damn thing she writes and hope some of her brilliance seeps in.


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Tell Me Everything: A Novel By Elizabeth Strout Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780593446096
Availability: Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Random House - September 10th, 2024

My attraction to Elizabeth Strout's newest novel featuring the inhabitants of Crosby, Maine is so intense that I'm almost inclined to think that real people can be written into being and become a part of who we are. In Tell Me Everything, Lucy Barton and Olive Kitteridge become wary confidants in the process of sharing stories, while friends Bob Burgess and Lucy find themselves the other end of the same path. Strout's very first novel, Amy & Isabelle is the only one I had not read prior to reading Tell Me Everything, but immediately upon finishing the latter, I picked up the former. My intention is to read them all again, as soon as possible.


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In My Time of Dying: How I Came Face to Face with the Idea of an Afterlife By Sebastian Junger Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781668050835
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - May 21st, 2024

Setting aside my complicated feelings about Junger’s über-masculine obsessions, I will admit after reading In My Time of Dying that he is freaking brilliant and I’m really glad he survived his near-death experience. His explanation of quantum physics alone is worth the hardcover price tag. Read this book.


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Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir By Matthew Perry Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250866455
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - June 25th, 2024

It's hard to think of a celebrity memoir as sad in both content and context as this one—which, naturally, makes it a challenge to recommend. But I do, emphatically, as Perry's self-effacing humor and surprising vulnerability really helped me understand what a vicious disease addiction is. I read it a year ago and it still breaks my heart to think about Perry's tragically dashed hopes.


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Sandwich: A Novel By Catherine Newman Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780063345164
Availability: Backordered, Available to Order
Published: Harper - June 18th, 2024

Newman has captured in Sandwich the poignant absurdities of being a mother at mid-life with lifelike clarity and refreshing candor. I absolutely loved it, and if you've ever had a child or been one, you will, too. 


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Service: A Novel By Sarah Gilmartin Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781911590828
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pushkin Press - June 4th, 2024

Gilmartin does a great job capturing the intoxicating (sometimes literally) atmosphere of a Michelin-starred restaurant and the personalities who find themselves in such a place. Service is a novel about power and all the ways we humans (well, mostly men) go about acquiring it and wielding it. The Dublin setting means it gets a few bonus points from this literary Hibernophile, but it really could be anywhere: New York, Chicago, Burlington. Readers of Stephanie Danler's Sweetbitter and Lily King's Writers & Lovers take note.


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James: A Novel By Percival Everett Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780385550369
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday - March 19th, 2024

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Reading Jane: A Daughter's Memoir By Susannah Kennedy Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9781736795477
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sibylline Press - September 5th, 2023

Do you know how rare it is to be struck by a person's presence and then have not just the opportunity, but the invitation, to learn their story? I do, because Susannah Kennedy, a tall, bright-faced, very apparently intelligent woman with a crown of rust-colored curls put her book in my hands and I knew right away I would read it, and not just someday—that day. I am not a person of faith, but I do believe that the universe (in conjunction with books) has ways of delivering to us what we need.  And that day, what I needed was confirmation that motherhood is hard, but that daughterhood can be much harder. This is a stunning and remarkably intimate memoir.


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A Very Private School: A Memoir By Charles Spencer Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781668046388
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery Books - March 12th, 2024

If you've ever wondered why the British aristocracy is so fucked up, look no further; it's all here in Charles Spencer's jaw-dropping account of his early years at boarding school. I confess to some schadenfreude, but mostly his story just made me really sad—and angry at people who leave their children's upbringing to others. 


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Come and Get It By Kiley Reid Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780593328200
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - January 30th, 2024

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In the Orchard: A novel (Vintage Contemporaries) By Eliza Minot Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780307477422
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - July 9th, 2024

A lovely, lyrical meditation on modern motherhood, loss, and grief, In the Orchard is also a tense narrative of how fragile we creatures are, how vulnerable to the forces of both the world we live in and our very bodies.  Minot captures the divine bonds and the mundane demands of motherhood with equal accuracy and force, depicting its totality in the most extraordinary, honest, and unvarnished way. The little sister of Susan Minot and the stepsister of Lily King, Eliza Minot is a name you need to know and a writer you need to read.


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Also a Poet: Frank O'Hara, My Father, and Me By Ada Calhoun Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780802162137
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - April 18th, 2023

I liked this book so damn much. It's a memoir, but it's also a biography and a social history. Also a Poet is Ada Calhoun's very personal investigation of her father, the art critic Peter Schjeldahl, by way of his relationship to the work and life of the poet Frank O'Hara. It's not only a true pleasure to read, it is rich with information about a literary movement with which I was only vaguely familiar, so I learned a lot. For me, that is the description of the perfect book, so... This book is perfect. 


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Fellowship Point: A Novel By Alice Elliott Dark Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9781982131821
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: S&S/ Marysue Rucci Books - May 9th, 2023

I loved this big, sprawling book about a Maine summer "cottage" community and the Quaker Philadelphians who settled it so much that I hybridized my reading experience in order to not have to stop unless conversation was unavoidable. I read the physical book when I could, and when I had to do something else, I put in headphones and listened to the audio. In this manner, I finished it in 2 days. The strong, fiercely independent, 80 year-old woman at its center — Agnes Lee, a renowned children's book author — won my heart in much the same way as Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteredge did. I might actually be looking forward to growing old now... 


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The Treehouse on Dog River Road By Catherine Drake Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781647423513
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: She Writes Press - May 10th, 2022

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The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven By Nathaniel Ian Miller Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780316592581
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - October 4th, 2022

Intimacies: A Novel By Katie Kitamura Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780399576171
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - July 19th, 2022

An unnamed narrator, recently relocated from New York City, has taken a new job as a translator at the International Criminal Courts in The Hague. Lonely, she takes up with a Dutchman whose wife has recently left him and taken his children to Portugal. At work, she is assigned to translate for the despot of an unnamed African nation who has been accused of war crimes. more is communicated in the gaps of this spellbinding novel than in its actual words, much as in real life. 


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Klara and the Sun: A novel (Vintage International) By Kazuo Ishiguro Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780593311295
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - March 1st, 2022

Kazuo Ishiguro is, hands down, the reigning master of the understated novel, and Klara and the Sun is yet another laurel in his crown. The bulk of the emotional substance of this novel about a girl and her solar-powered artificial friend occurs below the surface. The text tells the story, but its meaning is between the words, which is not to say it's a hard book... Ishiguro feeds it to the reader, but manages to do so by sleight of hand. I was mesmerized by this magical novel. 


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I Hate Running and You Can Too: How to Get Started, Keep Going, and Make Sense of an Irrational Passion By Brendan Leonard Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781579659882
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Artisan - March 16th, 2021

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