Saturday 16, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Somehow the school year defines our Septembers even now, doesn’t it? It feels sort of right to sharpen our pencils, strap on our thinking caps and crack open some real reads this time of year. You guys all know that September brings about our annual “Champagne & Maple Leaves” book recommendation bash, and we are reading like crazy so we can highlight the best books out there. As usual, Paula, Jenny, Jen and me have put together a much-varied list, including some of the most thought-provoking new fiction and non-fiction out there. Like The Unwomanly Face of War by Nobel Prize-winning Svetlana Alexievich. I’m listening on Audible books to this ground-breaking oral history of Russian women at the front lines during WWII: it is my book of the year so far, a read made even more impactful by listening to the Russian voices telling these unforgettable stories of combat and camaraderie, strength, loss and survival, and yes -- femininity. Come hear tell too of My Absolute Darling, the debut novel everyone is talking about, and Devil’s Bargain by Joshua Green, one person’s take on Steve Bannon’s role in the 2016 election, plus many many others. Today I'm cracking open Hue 1968, A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam by Mark Bowden which has earned top marks by reviewers; I bet you like me and Dave are eagerly awaiting Kens Burns' PBS documentary on that war (it premiers September, 17). 

Don't worry - we will feature some lighter reads too! Speaking of that:  you might want to settle your September self into one or both of the following classic tales set in Scotland:  Outlander by Diana Gabaldon,* and September by Rosamunde Pilcher. We’ve stocked up because (I know you know that) season three of “Outlander” premiers Sunday and there is nothing like Book One, is there ladies? If you haven’t read Outlander – oh my gosh, come on in and pick it up. Next, Pilcher charms in her autumn tale set in the village of Strathcroy, Scotland. Hers is a pleasing saga of 6 or so characters from two large, aristocratic families. They sort through their mostly manageable issues in time for a champagne-soaked September fete. It’s just the thing if you want some simpler but well-written fare before we see you on the 16th. 

If you haven’t already, RSVP for Champagne & Maple Leaves by calling the store, (630) 765-7455 – we are filling up fast.