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Gayle GAYLE
When she's not working in her garden, Gayle is usually reading or watching reruns of West Wing and ER. She loves contemporary fiction, mysteries and memoirs.  Occasionally you'll find her reading essays by people like Malcolm Gladwell, Paco Underhill, Daniel Pink or John McPhee.
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The Mountain: Stories Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781501154089
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 15th, 2017

Paul Yoon is one of my favorite wordsmiths (The Snow Hunters is one of the best novels I’ve read in the last ten years), and his new story collection, The Mountain, is brilliant. Yoon’s characters live big in stories that are sparse, reflective, and in some sense all connected. Lives at once desperate and tender traversing the globe and bringing hope when you think there is none.


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Bad Dreams and Other Stories Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062476661
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper - May 16th, 2017

In her reflections of family dynamics and our inner psyche, Hadley reveals how small actions can have immense repercussions and often reveal the hidden mysteries that shape the people we are. In these ten stories she captures her characters at turning points so subtle they themselves rarely notice them. Her stories are right up there with those of Alice Munro, Laurie Moore, and Jhumpa Lahiri.


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All Grown Up Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780544824249
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Houghton Mifflin - March 7th, 2017

If you want a sense of what it's like to be a career woman, childless by choice and living in Manhattan, All Grown Up will fit your needs.
Andrea Bern understands how American culture works, and as she nears forty has, by choice and by circumstance, bucked convention. She questions society’s need for her to be married, have children, strive for advanced degrees, and climb the corporate ladder. She’s funny, lonely, and she sees a therapist regularly. She's generally happy with her debt-free, rather carefree life in Manhattan, except when she talks to her mom on the phone who questions and constantly nags her to change her life.


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The Idiot Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781594205613
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press - March 14th, 2017

In The Idiot—yes, a reference to Dostoyevsky's Idiot—a rather naive first generation Turkish American in her first year at Harvard attempts to absorb American ways. Along with learning the workings of email, she asks profound questions about how culture and language shape our experiences, notices how differently men and women are treated, and how baffling love is. You wouldn't think the naivete would work with this young debut author, but she is a great writer and it does.


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The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman Cover Image
By Denis Theriault, Liedewy Hawke (Translator)
$14.99
ISBN: 9781786070531
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: ONEWorld Publications - March 14th, 2017

This is a tribute to handwritten letters, haiku, and the power of poetry to manifest heartfelt love. A lonely mail carrier has found a way to break the monotony of his life--he steals people's mail, steaming open the envelopes, and reading the letters inside--but only the hand-written envelopes. A local poet and a mysterious woman are communicating in haiku, beautiful love letters in a mere three lines and their world suddenly becomes his world when he witnesses a terrible and tragic accident and decides to continue the correspondence. Denis Theriault weaves a passionate and elegant tale, comic and tragic with a love story at its heart. This small, elegant book will be one you hand out like candy to friends.


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Little Fires Everywhere Cover Image
$21.60
ISBN: 9780735224292
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press - September 12th, 2017

Celeste Ng is a wonderful storyteller.  She has her finger on the pulse of America at the moment--the disparities between the wealthy and those just barely making it.  Her characters moved in next door to me and most likely will never leave my life.  There is an abundance of intrigue and pathos and there are no easy answers in spite of the desire by the matriarch of the wealthy family to impose order on her world.  Her daughter, Izzy, is the proverbial Fifth Business--she lights the little fires, she is the truth teller, she asks the hard questions. I totally loved this book.


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Anything Is Possible Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780812989403
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - April 25th, 2017

If you read My Name is Lucy Barton and loved it but were left wondering who Lucy Barton truly was or where she might have gone when she left the small town in Illinois where she grew up, this new novel by Elizabeth Strout will fill in the blanks. Strout is a brilliant writer, her prose is read out loud beautiful and her characters totally believable and memorable. There is intense emotion in these connected stories, complicated lives, interwoven and overlapping drama that leaves you wanting to start the book over from the beginning because there is a chance that you missed a few bits the first time around and missing anything Strout has to say would be a travesty.  


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Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781620404935
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury USA - February 14th, 2017

Lucky for us Bill Hayes is an insomniac. This book is a gift to readers. It is a paean to New York City and to love in all its guises and intimacies. The journal entries, photographs and short creative pieces left me teary and laughing and reminded me that great writing comes in my forms. I want to meet Bill Hayes on the streets of NYC, ride with him on the subway, have a drink with him at a party that neither of us were invited to, go onto the roof of his building, eat fresh grilled salmon and drink from a bottle of wine with a straw, and talk about Oliver Sacks--the sweet time he spent with this brilliant scientist, musician, writer, and human being.


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Iza's Ballad Cover Image
By Magda Szabo, George Szirtes (Introduction by), George Szirtes (Translator)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781681370347
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New York Review of Books - October 18th, 2016

Magda Szabo is one of Hungary's most notable novelists but I confess to never hearing about her before I read this amazing novel.  It's a quiet book but the impact is loud and disturbing. Iza, a famous doctor, has been in control of everything and everyone around her since her early childhood.  She compartmentalizes her emotions and the pieces of her life so carefully that even those who love her fear breaking into her boxes. Her beloved father's death brings her mother into her life in a huge way and as she tries once again to be all and do all for her, she fails and her life collapses. A novel about families, mothers and daughters, trust, careers and Budapest.  I'm on the hunt for the rest of Szabo's writing.


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A Whole Life Cover Image
$23.00
ISBN: 9780374289867
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 13th, 2016

Andreas Egger lived his whole life with nature as his most trusted companion--when humans, war and debilitating events threatened him, he quietly climbed mountains, bathed in icy streams, watched the sun streak its intense color into the sky, put his head down and forged ahead.  He lived eight decades, mostly alone, and faced death and privation with heroism, stoicism and a depth of character rarely experienced in the 'modern' 20th century. Egger was of the opinion, "when someone opens their mouth, they close their ears."  Fortunately for us as readers, when Robert Seethaler penned this sparse 160 page novel we have no choice but to open our ears and listen. He has poetically created a character and a way of looking at the natural world that you will never forget for the rest of your life. 
 


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The Girl from Venice Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781439140246
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - September 26th, 2017

One of the best mysteries I've read in years. Smith's work is usually brilliantly written, but often dark and brutal. This novel, set at the end of WWII in Venice, is not so dark, but funny and compelling at the same time. Mussolini, Hitler, their mistresses, and their gold are characters in the story, as is a lovely young Jew hiding from the Nazis, and a fisherman who not only teaches her about fishing but about life, discovering unknown parts of himself in the process. 
 


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Reputations Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780735216860
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - September 19th, 2017

Political cartoons and caricatures in particular can change the subject’s life dramatically and drastically.  They can also change the course of an election, the fate of a corporation, or a law getting passed. But, what are the constraints on an artist--is he allowed to destroy someone’s life in the process?  And what if there is a chance that an artist with his pen and ink has made a mistake? This novel examines these issues in an absorbing, brilliant way--the famous caricaturist, Javier Mallarino, at the apex of his career is suddenly confronted with the implications of his holier than thou, although in my mind, politically correct, attempts to get Bogota’s corrupt government back on track. His world implodes and he if forced to examine it from the inside out.  


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Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781501110078
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Touchstone Books - May 23rd, 2017

Borba argues that we can change our world, one child at a time, if we can teach them empathy and compassion and get them off of electronic devices. This is one of the best parenting books I've ever read. As I am once again helping to raise a school-age child, Borba reminded me how important teachers and parents and grandparents can be, and that teaching children to take care of others might be the best thing we can do for them. 
 


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Did You Ever Have a Family Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781476798189
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery/Scout Press - May 17th, 2016

Bill Clegg's book is a masterpiece--quiet at times, loud at others, but brilliant.  All his characters, with no exceptions, are fully realized and speak with voices that come from the depths of their being, formed by circumstance, happenstance, pain and joy.  The intersection of disparate lives is fascinating and so true to how humans connect, disconnect, and move through the world but Clegg manages to shape and bend the lives to a cohesive whole without compromising the truth of any of their stories.  This is going to be my favorite handsell when it arrives in our stores in September.


Kitchens of the Great Midwest Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780143109419
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - June 7th, 2016

In today's world of foodies, famous chef inspired dinners and truffles, you might not imagine that chocolate habaneros, lutefisk and Minnesota would be of interest to readers, but you would be wrong.  The narrator, Eva, is abandoned by her mother before she is one and her father decides he can compensate by educating her palate and not with babyfood but with bits of bison, smelly cheeses, and spice!   Unfortunately, he, too, is gone in a flash and Eva is left to her own devices.  She fights her way through school, meets a cast of curious and lovable characters and in the end, becomes a famous chef herself.  The characters were well developed and given that the author is a man, the women were extremely well portrayed.  The story is a tender, poignant and remarkable one.  You will read this and give it to your friends.


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What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9781476785066
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner Book Company - April 19th, 2016

We go through life meeting people, forming relationships, ending friendships, suffering illnesses of our own or our family members, losing dogs and cats, participating in life’s transitions—weddings, births, celebrations—and rarely do we read about these in the way that Abigail Thomas writes about them.  Some pages are a paragraph long, others a few pages but every entry conveys emotion, rich complex thoughts that take her content, moving from middle age to older age, to a new level of memoir writing.  I devoured this book.  


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The Light of the World: A Memoir Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9781455599868
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - September 6th, 2016

Grief is never pretty but in the words of poet, Elizabeth Alexander, it is made tactile, understandable and movingly felt.  Her husband, the love of her life, the father of her children, dies suddenly in his mid-forties and she is left to navigate this profound, life altering experience alone--as any of us might. But in her prose we find solace and a deeper understanding of what it means to love, lose and move forward again.  Like Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking, this book will become a classic.  


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The Faulkes Chronicle Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781936797455
Availability: Not Available In-Store - Usually Ships from Warehouse in 1-5 Days
Published: Tupelo Press - September 1st, 2014

I'm not sure exactly how many children the dying mother in this beautiful novel gave birth to in her too-short life, but they range from under two years old to twenty, with few years between. This sweet, steadfast family takes a roadtrip to visit pieces of their parents' past, and in doing so they reveal themselves in a pithy and magical way. The writing is poetic (Huddle is a fine poet whom I've read for years), funny, and poignant. As the mother fades, her children and husband shine in their own reconstructed orbits. A family saga like none I've ever read. I loved it from beginning to end.


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Nora Webster Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781439170939
Availability: Not Available In-Store - Usually Ships from Warehouse in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner Book Company - June 2nd, 2015

This is a quiet book. Toibin slowly creates a character that evolves, despairs, contemplates the meaning of life, and then ultimately blooms. But not without anguish and self examination. Nora's husband dies when she is only 40 and leaves her with little money, four children and a sense that the world she thought would always shelter her is in fact harsh and bleak. She must regroup, restore her children's faith — and her own — in the possibility of normalcy that only comes a glimpse at a time. Beautifully written, a joy to read and savor.


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Lucky Us Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780812978940
Availability: Not Available In-Store - Usually Ships from Warehouse in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade - July 7th, 2015

A crazy romp with a misconstrued family and various hangers on — a Mexican make-up artist, a daughter who learns to read tarot cards, another narcissistic daughter who will stop at nothing to get what she wants, a nightclub singer, and a father who steals from his children, pretends to be a butler and ultimately dies not knowing what he might have done to hold his family together. Bloom's story is told through letters, diary entries and several narrative perspectives, and it is up to readers to form their own opinion of the characters' lives. Fun, heartwarming and poignant.


The Children Act Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9781101872871
Availability: Not Available In-Store - Usually Ships from Warehouse in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor Books - April 28th, 2015

Four of us read this at the beach this year and all loved it. McEwan's prose is exquisite — not a wasted word and some paragraphs so beautifully written you want to read them out loud to a friend. The story centers around a family law judge who makes life and death decisions in her professional life and whose own family life is in crisis. She is forced to decide if an underage boy should be forced to receive medical help against the wishes of his parents and church. In making the decision, she must also confront her own emotional issues and life choices.


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Euphoria Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802123701
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - April 14th, 2015

A fictional look at cultural anthropology in the 1930s inspired by three famous figures — Margaret Mead, Reo Fortune, and Gregory Bateson — who have three entirely different ways of studying the native peoples who they live with and observe. The novel explores not only the culture but the lives of the three who compete both professionally and personally with one another. Beautifully written, provocative and a stay up late page turner. I loved it.


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The Illusion of Separateness Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780062248459
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - July 29th, 2014

If I had an illusion of separateness before reading this book, it was dispelled in the pages as I read, mesmerized from the first paragraph.  This novel is evidence of why people read books. The prose is extraordinary, poetic, and in a sense revolutionary as it weaves through time and history dispelling any sense of linear thinking but allowing one to react, feel and ponder the meaning of Life with a big L.  I finished the last page and marveled at the power of the writing and then almost immediately, I started it from the beginning and read it again.


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The Lion Seeker Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780544334519
Availability: Not Available In-Store - Usually Ships from Warehouse in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - September 2nd, 2014

This is the perfect beach book which is where I read it.  Actually, it's the perfect book.  Period.  Given that this is Bonert's debut novel, it's even more astounding.  He uses apartheid in South Africa, where blacks are treated like the Jews of Eastern Europe, to convey the drama of a family's emigration to escape the very debasement that they then perpetrate on those who live in their community. It's a complicated story well-told, emotional, fraught with angst but also with some of the most memorable characters in recent fictional history.


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