This was one of the first books I read after graduating college. A scrappy memoir that’s a joy to live vicariously through, Rakoff invites you into her crumbling Brooklyn apartment – where she dreams of becoming a renowned poet, and the heater is as helpful as her ranting, preoccupied boyfriend. She finds a job at a literary agency as the office assistant to J. D. Salinger’s agent. The systems are outdated and the work is menial, but change comes tumbling through and Rakoff is there soaking it all in. For the reader who is figuring out their place in the world, or anyone who likes the literary New York scene.
A lyrical memoir reflecting on the passing of her beloved husband, Alexander offers her readers words they themselves may have been searching for. The book paints elegant, flowing brushstrokes of these two artists coming together, and the homes that they build. Full of bright colors, big changes, and a community that becomes family – the lives of FicreGhebreyesus and Elizabeth Alexander are inspiring. Her compelling meditation on Ficre’s life and death is so genuine, and so full of love, that it left me breathless on the T. And I hope it will be the same for you. This is a beautiful book about living and honoring a full life.
Let’s say, you like historical fiction. Now throw in a mansion full of unique treasures. A dash of looming mystery perhaps? Fantastical hidden doors with worlds you’ve never seen. And a young girl who’s coming-of-age through all of this. January Scaller is raised at the Locke mansion, and at first tries to be a “good girl” for her guardian while her father is requisitioning artifacts for Locke’s collection. But the white gloves and dresses suffocate her. So, January escapes into books – eagerly anticipating when her father returns with his own magical stories. Up until the day he goes missing. A girl, sheltered from the world, finds that she has the key to all of it. An absolutely enchanting book about finding your voice and the power of words. This dear story is for anyone in search of an adventure.
Genuine, fresh, and inviting. I love Dusoulier’s writing, and her introductions to each recipe are a treat. This cookbook is based on the idea of shopping at “les marches,” or farmers markets. If you’re ever in France, be sure to venture out on market day! It’s a sight to see in any town and Dusolier captures that beautiful, home-grown essence in her book. Each section (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter) is filled with vibrant vegetarian recipes utilizing the produce of that season. There are some wonderful classics mixed in with plenty of twists. Recipes are adaptable and easy to follow. I started flagging interesting recipes with sticky notes, but would’ve filled the whole book! My family can heartily recommend her Tomato Mustard Tart and Peach Clafoutis. Great for anyone with food sensitivities, as well as the masses.
Mary Bennet gets the full story arc she deserves. This book can whole-heartedly stand on its own, but for fans of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, this is an extra treat. Hadlow creates an incredible world that some of us thought we knew – going deeper and more vividly into each character’s motivations and reactions. Without giving too much away – Mary struggles with the contentions of her family while finding her own place in the world. And that search takes her further than she ever would’ve dreamed. Brimming with emotion, Hadlow outdoes herself with her sharp wit. For fans of 1800s England (particularly London) and a good jaunt with some questions of society. This book is an outright joy to read.
This book made me feel brazen enough to mark it up in pen – underlining memorable phrases, starring interesting sentence structure, and more. A professor of Keegan’s, who stopped by the Concord Bookshop this past winter, told me Keegan would have been thrilled to hear I scribbled in someone else’s margins. The Opposite of Loneliness is a collection of essays and short stories titled after Keegan’s Yale graduation speech. The one she gave days before tragically dying in a car crash, prompting her family and friends to put this beautiful book out into the world. The pages are full of hope and triumph – a woman mastering the craft of writing. I recommend this to anyone looking for something touching, recent grads, and aspiring writers alike.
Wonderful atmosphere, this book is a delight to read! I love the unique perspective of this book – as a girl practicing writing in several “exercise books.” Makes you wonder what else is going on in her periphery. Be transported to a crumbling castle in the English countryside with a dramatic family and neighborly intrigue. This story really takes you away!
Waxman is an excellent creator of loveable characters. I finished this book not wanting to leave Lilian and the gang behind! Thankfully, Waxman manages to sneak them into her other novels – which made me gleefully do a double take in her most recent book (The Bookish Life of Nina Hill)! In short, The Garden of Small Beginnings is a novel about grief, love, and how we find the light in our lives. Heavier topics, in a fun, quirky little package. Oh, and the kids are adorable. And the main character is a spunky artist whose main counterpart is British. And there’s a lazy old dog named Frank. Such a good book! For anyone in need of a laugh or some cheer.
Cheesy title aside (like- a kiss isn’t even a major plot point aside), this is a charming YA novel that I’ve found myself rereading several times over the years. Anna Oliphant is a sassy, average American high schooler just trying to get by. She gets shipped out to Paris by her absent father who wanted to appear high cultured to his yacht buddies. Only problems are: a croissant knows more French than she does, and she does not want to leave her family and friends during her senior year. This adventure in friendship and self-discovery will have you laughing, crying, and groaning with all the heartfelt – and at times dramatic (it is high school) – moments. It’s a story about the connections we make in this world, and how to be at peace with yourself and others. There’s also a wonderful sense of place in this book! Love the characters. Love the book. For anyone looking for a friend in a crazy situation, or anyone interested in studying abroad.