Welcome to Prairie Path Book's online store!  Around here, we tend to do things up, well, sort of independently.  So when we decided to offer a PPB "book-shop from home" experience, we wanted it to feel as if you were here, browsing our cozy nooks filled with books, or attending one of our groovy gatherings.  That means photos and videos wherever we can, and book raves written with sincerity by us and only us.

So we are calling our PPB online store:  Nearly Here.  

Here are our debut Nearly Here offerings:  

1)  the books me and Jenny and our PPB readers picked as their favorite books for your spring reading - I hope our descriptions make you feel almost as though you were right here with us for our April 9th "Champagne and Daffodils" Spring Book Recommendation Party ('cept without the bubbly - sorry for that);

2) the books Emma read to the kiddos at her Maple Syrup making and tasting event, plus the cookbook I'm crazy for that features maple as a luxurious ingredient.

 Thank you for keeping your online shopping local - and see you soon. 

PS:  you can pick your books up at our store so we can see you very soon, or if you just can't make it in to see us, we can ship to your door (but we will miss you!)  Most books will ship in 2-5 days.


CHAMPAGNE AND DAFFODILS BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Jenny's List:

Always Hungry?: Conquer Cravings, Retrain Your Fat Cells, and Lose Weight Permanently by David Ludwig

ISBN 9781455533862

This is not a totally new take on weight loss, but it’s a book that you can translate into a sustainable lifestyle change.  Ludwig shows you the science behind how our bodies process (or don’t process) carbohydrates and sugar and the terrible price we pay when there’s too much insulin.  As he states, “Overeating doesn’t make you fat; getting fat makes you overeat.”  He stresses that no calorie counting or portion control is necessary.  You will definitely feel less hungry, be more content, and begin to see the inches decreasing.  

28.00
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Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

ISBN 9781594206276

In Modern Romance, Ansari reveals the hidden world of......well, romance--contemporary style.  If you feel like you’re out of touch with what “young people” are up to these day, you’re about to be schooled.  This book is a fascinating look into how people in 2016 connect romantically through social media and dating sites.  It will shock and surprise you, but will leave you laughing and not feeling like such an old fart.  Get with the program and find out how the younger generation is falling in love.  You’ll be super hip at your next event when you can throw out words like “reddit,” “Tinder,” and “companionate love.”  Uh huh, your Millenial children and grand children will be impressed! 

28.95
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Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

ISBN 9781476777092

Shonda Rhimes is a mega star.  Prolific writer of hit television shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, Rhimes is at the top of her game, at the pinnacle of success.  And yet....she, like so many of us, has her own set of challenges and problems to address and work through, especially the fears in her life that have kept her from 100% engagement and happiness.  In Year of Yes, Rhimes chronicles her experimental year of saying “Yes” in order to find fulfillment, balance, and contentment.  She’s charming, funny, and insightful, leaving the reader with the sense that she’s a real person who struggles just like the rest of us.  Her book will inspire you to say “yes” too.

24.99
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How to Have a Good Day: Harness the Power of Behavioral Science to Transform Your Working Life by Caroline Webb

ISBN 9780553419634

This is not just another self-help book.  It’s one that will give you bountiful tips on how to be more efficient and more effective in your work and home lives, with practical, doable strategies to get the most out of your day and out of yourself.  Everyone will find something of value in this book, and Webb’s ideas are easy to put into action right away!

26.00
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Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better: Wise Advice for Leaning Into the Unknown by Pema Chodron

ISBN  9781622035311

This book is based on the commencement speech that Chodron promised she would deliver at her granddaughter’s graduation.  What a wonderful writer and thinker Condron is and what a perfect gift book for graduates--inspiring and hopeful.  In it, Chodron offers “heartfelt advice on facing the unknown--in ourselves and in the world--and how our missteps can open our eyes to see new possibilities and purpose.”  This is a beautifully written book that you can devour in one sitting, but it’s so wonderful that you’ll want to go back and visit it time and again.  

14.95
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American Housewife: Stories by Helen Ellis

ISBN 9780385541039

Wickedly funny. Off-the-wall stories. A subversive and frisky take on domesticity. Touching punchlines you never saw coming.  “Ellis is a master of the unhinged monologue, delivered by narrators whose conventional, seemingly benign, honeyed patter gradually reveals the disturbing demon within.”  (NPR) This is a great book club read!  FYI:  Ellis, the author, is so good at poker she plays on the national tournament circuit.  

American Housewife: Stories by Helen Ellis
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Emma's List:

Alrighty here’s the deal - I often ramble on WAY too much in these recommendations I make here, so this is what I’m going to do: I will describe each book in five bullet points or less, just to make it easier on both my brain and yours. Okay...here goes!

Into the Dim by Janet Taylor

ISBN 9780544602007

  • For girls aged 13-16.
  • Kind of like Outlander for the youngsters - AKA no Red Jaime :(
  • Writing was smart, witty, and lovely
  • Intriguing insight into English history in the 1100s
  • Main character is way memorable: girl with an eidetic memory (which gave her enough massive phobias to completely alienate her), though flawed in many ways, is strong enough to use her smarts and awkward wit to lead the adventure without being predictable. COOL.
Into the Dim by Janet Taylor
17.99
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The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

ISBN 9780803740815

Newbery Award Winner 2016!

  • This one is a crossover - meant for kids aged 9-12 but would be a great adult book club read.
  • Writing was marvelous. She tells her story with such finesse, poise, and heart it brought me to tears.
  • Though it is about WWII (a rather overbeaten subject in the literary world some say), it offers an entirely new perspective on the war - one of the children sent away from the fighting to live with complete strangers.
  • Bradley paints a touching portrait of two people (Ada and her foster guardian) learning to live with and love each other.
  • The main character is stunning. Ada is crippled, scorned by her mother, ignorant, and ornery. She believes that she is unlovable. But, her strength, love, and deep kindness reveal themselves through Bradley’s outstanding writing. She is a character to talk about, to be sure.

The Goblin’s Puzzle by Andrew Chilton

ISBN 9780553520705

  • This one, to me, screamed read-aloud. For self-readers it is for kids aged 8-12, but the content is totally appropriate for kids as young as 4 or 5.
  • I almost thought I was reading The Princess Bride with this one. It is outrageously clever, funny, and adventurous. It twists and turns the ancient fairytale themes in a young introduction to satire. It’s a classic read.
  • The writing is witty and bold. The point of view jumps around from character to character and creates this magical web of thoughts and relationships that sweep you along for the tale - OUTSTANDING.
The Goblin’s Puzzle by Andrew Chilton
16.99
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Pax by Sara Pennypacker

ISBN 9780062377012

  • For intrepid readers aged 9-13.
  • This one is winning some awards, baby. Pennypacker tells a warm and touching story of a boy and his pet (but it’s not My Dog Skip I promise!) with jaw dropping grace and love. Her writing kind of reminded me of Kate DiCamillo or Lois Lowry.
  • The story explores the concept of war gently, but profoundly. The perspective of Pax (a fox) on “the human sickness” opens up doors of young thought worthy of pursuit.
  • Mark my words, Ms. Pennypacker is one to watch out for.
Pax by Sara Pennypacker
16.99
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Sandy's List

Old Filth Trilogy by Jane Gardam

Old Filth   ISBN 9781933372136
The Man in the Wooden Hat  ISBN 9781933372891
The Last Friends  ISBN 9781609450939

These three books are now among my favorite books ever.  The Gardam bug bit me HARD this winter and now I know why her historical fiction is often compared to that of Jane Austen.  It’s that good.  The New York Times called “Old Filth” one of the most memorable characters in modern literature, and boy is he ever -- Filth is brilliant, reserved, good, and much-loved, plus greatly respected by his barrister colleagues. (“Filth” is very much a term of endearment - it stands for “Failed in London, Try Hong Kong).  I missed Filth the minute I closed the third book, and also his wife of 50 years, Betty.  I have more complicated feelings towards Veneering, Filth’s barrister arch-rival who presents a sort of love-triangle figure for Betty and Filth. The story begins in post-WWII England, where nothing much but rubble can be found, so the dashing and talented Filth heads for Hong Kong to make his fortune.  There he meets and marries Betty.  Both have fascinating pre-war childhoods to tell us about, as does our Veneering.  Gardam weaves their tales together with great insight, nuance, humor, wisdom and sentiment, and I love that each book gives us a first-person perspective from each of their characters. Satisfying, funny, readable, sophisticated, vivid and unforgettable:  all.  Read these books!

 

* Old Filth was our event BESTSELLER!

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Miller’s Valley: A Novel by Anna Quindlen

ISBN 9780812996081

Ooh, this is a good one, and it just came out Tuesday.  In bookland, they call this sort of book a “curl up and read” - as in you are so into the story you may not get off your chair for hours.  I can’t stop thinking about this family.  Set in a small, rural Pennsylvania town, we are led through the story by Mimi Miller, who is 11 when her story begins in the mid 60’s.  She is the youngest of 3 living on a farm in Miller’s Valley, a town in danger of being “flooded over” by a state redirection of water from nearby Roosevelt Dam.  But more important it’s the story of her father and mother, best friends and brothers, and really kooky aunt.  Quindlen is a master at evoking fond American domestic living (her description of Mimi slowly treasuring the last chocolate-covered cherry in the box… “I liked to bite off the top, suck that stuff out, then tap the cherry onto my tongue.  Later I figured out they weren’t so good - ‘LIQUEUR’ it said on the foil, but it wasn’t.”)  Highly recommend - great story by a great writer.  For another young narrator book, read the next one:

Miller's Valley: A Novel by Anna Quindlen
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The Dogs of Littlefield by Suzanne Berne

ISBN 9781476794242

This book was so interesting.  A college anthropology professor, tired of studying remote, desperate civilizations, decides to come visit and assess Littlefield, Massachusetts, recently named one of the “Twenty Best Places to Live in America”, to better understand what a “good quality of life” looks like.  Well, guess what?  The houses are pretty, the lanes are leafy, the schools are excellent, but there are “23 banks, 7 nail salons, 12 hair salons, 3 electrolysis salons, 4 test prep services, 9 jewelry stores, 6 dog groomers, 3 drugstores, 17 dentists, 7 orthodontists, 1,146 psychotherapists, 679 psychiatrists, 6 coffee shops, 1 ice cream parlor . . . .”  You get the idea.  This book is an unsentimental look (that is book review code for takes a hard look at real issues) at suburban domestic life, in particular at the marriage and family life of Margaret, her husband Bill and 7th grade daughter Julia.   But it is also very funny, and a bit of a mystery . . . who is poisoning the dogs of Littlefield??  Several have been found dead or dying, and there IS that kerfuffle about dogs being allowed off-leash in the village park.  My favorite thing about this story is the portrayal of middle-schooler Julia and her parents attempted parenting of -- and frequent fretting over, her quirkiness.  She is awesome, what a triumph of characterization.  Your book club will have a good discussion about this one.

The Dogs of Littlefield by Suzanne Berne
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It IS About Islam:  Exposing the Truth About Isis, Al Qaeda, Iran, and the Caliphate by Glenn Beck

ISBN 9781476794242

I wrote a blog recently about how it’s good for us to take on genres and topics that for some reason don’t pique our everyday interest.  You know how you flip to certain sections of the newspaper?  Well, I have a secret fear that I’ll be stopped on the street and interviewed (humiliated) by some reporter asking basic details about the Middle East.  A friend recommended this book for its first 80 pages and I took notes (the only way I can learn) on what the Sharia (everyday laws of Islam, taken from the Quran itself), the Hadith and the Quran, and the Caliphate, are, the origins of the Sunni and Shi’ite tribes, the meaning of a “jihad”, and of course, the life and death of Muhammed and the leaders and origins and geographical centers of al-Qaeda and ISIS.  No doubt there are many ways and persons that could have exposed me to the basics, but this one came into my hands, and I’m pleased that since the note-taking, I read and (mostly) understood-ish a newspaper article about the Brussels bombings.  That felt great - and now I can read and better discern for myself what I really think.  


Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue by Sam Harris

ISBN 9780674088702

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To balance things out, I am excited to read Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue. The New York Times described this book as:  “How refreshing to read an honest yet affectionate exchange between the Islamist-turned-liberal-Muslim Maajid Nawaz and the neuroscientist who advocates mindful atheism, Sam Harris… Their back-and-forth clarifies multiple confusions that plague the public conversation about Islam.”  


Thomas Murphy by Roger Rosenblatt

ISBN 9780062394569

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Love this narrator too - but he is Thomas Murphy: a 70-something Irishman, dreamer, famous poet, beloved father and grandfather, who is recently widowed and misses his wife of 50 years, Oona, and best pal Greenburg.  Always eccentric, Murph forgets eggs on the stove and wields a fire extinguisher successfully, but his daughter Maire thinks he better see a memory doctor.  I laughed so hard at his interview of the doctor as she tried to interview him.  His mind is nimble and luxious, clever and glorious, at times wistful and yes, confused.  But Murph lives thoughtfully and boisterously and well - with extravagant love for those close to him.  LOVED this.

Thomas Murphy by Roger Rosenblatt
24.99
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The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante

My Brilliant Friend ISBN 9781609450786

The Story of a New Name ISBN 9781609451349

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay ISBN 9781609452339

The Story of the Lost Child ISBN 9781609452865

Those of you that attended Champagne and Snowflakes remember my crazy love for My Brilliant Friend.  I’ve “read” these only in my car for the past few months, on audio CDs, and it has at times been pure torture to get out of my car.  Ferrante is brilliant in a steady way, much the same as her protagonist Elena Greco, best friend, mother, successful author.  Her friendship with the dazzling, impulsive and fierce Lila (who is Elena’s romantic rival for the love of Nino) will stay forever in my mind -- the two define each other FOR each other.  These books are the story of a 60 year friendship, with Naples, a city in transition mid-century, as the back-drop.  Not like anything you’ve read - Ferrante’s Elena seems matter-of-fact but really she is much like Lila in her passions, it’s just that she has more the ability to detach and stay lucid too.  I will never forget these two women.

Friend.jpg
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Book Club Movie/Book recommendation:  

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

ISBN 9780345804006

Many book clubs want to read an occasional classic, or mix-up their meeting routine with a book/movie combo.  This book can do both for you.  I loved the 2015 version of the movie with Carey Mulligan as beautiful, headstrong Bathsheba Everdeen, a great female character who does and says what she likes even before she is granted a rather lovely inheritance.  This is a love story (Bathsheba attracts three very different suitors) with poignant parts, and it is missing the tragical aspects that poor Tess of the D’urbervilles suffered.  Perhaps because of this, it is Hardy’s most popular work.  This book was written nearly 100 years after Pride and Prejudice, and boy is it more earthy and sexy and different - even if the plot DOES center on “who will Bathsheba marry?”  Hardy does tend to have rather long descriptions of flora and fauna (which I admit, I skip), but his ability to evoke very human and subtle interactions and manners is almost spooky. I think you or your club will love comparing the book to the movie. How did the director choose which scenes from the book to portray (I can’t believe he left off the one in the beginning where Bathsheba… Farmer Oak) and how to cast and script the 4 main characters. The movie portrays stunningly well, the gorgeous Victorian England countryside.  Highly recommend.


Cathy's List:

The Moor's Account by Laila Lalami

ISBN 9780804170628

Historical fiction at its finest! This is the imagined memoirs of a Moroccan slave who was on an expedition from Spain to conquer the Gulf coast of the U.S. It starts in 1527 as the large crew sets sail under the authority of Panfilo de Narvaez with the intention of finding many riches for the Spanish crown. After a year has passed, only four men have survived the many trials they have faced; including disease, starvation and the natives.The three Spaniards and the slave, Estebanico begin their own perilous journey across the land, relying on each other to survive.  A fascinating story told from an unlikely perspective.

The Moor's Account by Laila Lalami
15.95
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As Close to us as Breathing by Elizabeth Poliner

ISBN 9780316384148

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Everyone is talking about this book!  Set in small town Woodmont, CT in 1948, a resort community for the areas' Jewish population. It centers on the Leibritski family made up of three grown daughters: Ada, Vivie and Bec. Ada and Vivie are married with children, Bec is not. They all converge at the family cottage for the summer, with the husbands joining them on the weekends. Every Friday the sisters must take a break from their idyllic week to prepare the traditional Shabbos dinner in time for the men's arrival. A deeply religious family, they adhere to strict Jewish law faithfully. Vivie, the oldest, and her husband Leo have one child, Nina, a serious, bookish 15 year old. Ada and Mort have three beautiful children; Howard, 18, athletic and handsome, Molly, 12, a curious dreamer and finally Davy, 8, a sweet boy. Bec, a warm and loving sister and Aunt.  A tragedy strikes  the Leibritskis'  totally unawares and devastates them all in different ways. Relationships change and fall apart, lives are altered forever.

I could not put this book down, the writing is so effortless and good.


Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

ISBN 9780399160301

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Historical fiction written for YA readers. This book tells the tale of the greatest maritime disaster during WWII, though little known by many. It is told through the perspective of four traveling teenagers. Alfred, a young Nazi soldier, gets through his days by imagining himself a brave hero. Joana, a guilt- ridden nurse from Lithiuania ,eases her pain by assisting others. Emilia, a Polish refugee attaches herself to her savior, Florian. Florian is East Prussian, has a secret desire for revenge. Joana, Emilia and Florian are part of a ragged group of fleeing refugees in 1945 , trying to reach the coast in order to board ships that will deliver them from advancing Russian troops. Each of these young people have seen and done terrible things during the War that they would like to forget. Ultimately their destinies become interwoven with each other and the young Nazi, Alfred.  Though it is a tragedy, there are also hints of humanity and hope.  

PS - this is an Emma Koropp two thumbs way up!

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
18.99
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The Plover by Brian Doyle

ISBN 9781250034779

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I enjoyed this book a great deal. The premise is simple: A young man named Declan O'Donnell decides to take himself and his small boat West out of Oregon. He wants no companions, no responsibility, just solitude. He doesn't want to deal with society and all of its ills ever again. Declan's tranquility is very short-lived. First, he is joined by a gull. Then an old acquaintance with his disabled daughter and so on until the boat is quite full. The cast of characters is varied; some friend, some foe, all with unique gifts and problems.

Take a ride on The Plover, I bet you'll like it!

The Plover by Brian Soyle
24.99
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The Life and Times of Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson

ISBN 9780767919371

This isn't a new one, but it's definitely a goodie. I forgot how much I enjoyed Bill's writing until I started. Bill Bryson grew up in Iowa in the 1950-60's. In this book he reminisces about a simpler time. When he was born in 1951, America was strong, proud, clean and prosperous. You went outside at 8:00 in the morning and did not come home until 5:00 unless you were bleeding profusely. Kids knew how to make their own fun without parental interference or worry. Bill tells us the facts of the era with witty, personal stories blended in. I loved the references to toys and games he played  (Lincoln logs, silly putty, a slinky), that I remember fondly as well.

A nice jaunt down memory lane.


Jennifer's List:

The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner

ISBN 9780446698894

In humorous, conversational style prose, Eric Weiner- a self-proclaimed grump- travels the world looking for the happiest places to live. Using science and observation, he journeys across the globe trying to determine exactly what environmental factors create the ideal stew to ladle out happy individuals. You'll chuckle from country to country and anecdote to anecdote. A fun, casual read.

The Georgraphy of Bliss by Eric Weiner
16.00
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Deep South by Paul Theroux

ISBN 9780544323520

If you’re from the rural South like I am you’ll recognize the people in this book, people who generally are invisible to the rest of America or are otherwise stereotypes. Paul Theroux records his conversations with locals in order to illuminate the soul of the region - the family narratives that give the area its “human wealth”- amidst the deepest pockets of poverty. A necessary education for anyone who wants to understand the cultural and economic condition of the South, and by extension the country.

Deep South by Paul Theroux
29.95
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A Mother's Reckoning by Sue Klebold

ISBN 9781101902752

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We instinctively assume that when a child kills someone, that somehow the parents are directly or indirectly responsible, but what if we're wrong? In this honest, straightforward narrative, Sue Klebold - mother of Columbine shooter Dylan Klebold - recounts what she discovered after years of attempting to answer the same question we all asked in the aftermath: how could this have happened? Her side of events may challenge the beliefs you have about Dylan and his family and will certainly give you insight on how this could happen to any of us and what we can do to prevent it.

A Mother's Reckoning by Sue Klebold
28.00
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When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

ISBN 9780812988406

When Dr. Paul Kalanithi is diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at the age of 36, it appears that all he has worked for in becoming a neurosurgeon is about to evaporate into thin air. In a book so elegantly written that you swear this man is a writer and not a doctor, Kalanithi takes the universal experience of death and creates a deeply personal ode to facing your mortality with strength and honesty. He distills his experiences through prose that affirms the profound depth of life, even while he wraps his mind around the undeniable approach of death. Beautiful in every way.  

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
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M Train by Patti Smith

ISBN 9781101875100

Patti Smith - artist, musician, writer -  described M Train as a “roadmap to my life” and it introduces us to a brilliant creative mind, moving in stream of consciousness thought while written in decidedly coherent and straightforward prose. Smith’s books have been widely embraced and praised, even for those readers not fans of her music.  A book that defies simple categorization, it’s a hint of Annie Dillard’s juxtapositions rolled into a traveler’s journey through the lens of an amazing artist and performer.  Because this is a non-linear book, you need to be open to the experience more so than the getting to the “so-called destination”. If you don’t mind where you make stops, and in what order, this could be a train ride to enjoy.

M Train by Patti Smith
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Betsy's List:

Be Frank With Me by Julia Johnson

ISBN 0062413716

Do you want a fun spring read?  A way to escape the day to day news that seems to be the focus of everyone’s attention?  Well then Be Frank with Me is just the book for you.

The premise of the book is that Mimi, a reclusive writer, wrote one book many years ago and now that she has lost nearly all her resources, she decides to take a stab at another.  One catch:  she tells her editor she MUST have an assistant to help her watch her son, Frank if she is to complete the book on time.  And so we meet Frank, a most wonderful character.  He will capture your heart.

I loved him from the first page:  "Before we left the house that morning, he'd shellacked his hair like a mini Rudolph Valentino, put on a wing-collared shirt, white tie and vest cutaway coat, morning pants and spats. Also a top hat...."
Frank chooses his outfit carefully each day, matching plans, excursions and adventures to his outfits. That's the outside of Frank. Inside is a boy with a brilliant mind, who doesn't quite see the world as everyone else does. But despite his perceptive perspective, he's still a young boy who is fragile as he tries to make sense of relationships and interactions in that world.  Oh, and Alice the young assistant from Nebraska is a wonderful character too-this is a heartwarming easy read.

Be Frank with Me by Julia Johnson
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Paula's List:

The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

ISBN 9780618663026

Taking place in the mid-1800s in Europe, the story focuses on the era’s premiere opera singer. She is approached by a young man who gives her a novel that he wishes to turn into an opera for her to star in but as she reads it, she quickly realizes that it is the story of her life that she has kept hidden. The book tells of her searching out who has told her story to the novelist and also tells her actual story. The book continually asks the question of  “whose story am I in? Is it my story or am I a playing a small part in someone else’s story?” While this book is long (550+ pages), it is not laborious. It is not a fast read, but it is engrossing and interesting.

The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee
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The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson

ISBN 9780812993103

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Many a book club fell in love with the characters in Simonson’s debut novel Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. In this her second book, Simonson gives the reader the blessing of multiple interesting and interactive characters. Based in England right before the outbreak of  (and then during) World War I, men and women of all ages, backgrounds, social standing and passions intermingle in Rye as England stands on the cusp on change on many fronts. The main character is a recently orphaned Latin school teacher with whom the town is not sure what to do -- she is independent, liberal (she wants to be a writer!), and already embarking on old maid status at 23. It is filled with love stories, family interactions, friendships and how war changes lives -- book clubs will enjoy talking with each other about this book.

The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson
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The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin

ISBN 9780345528698

Local author Melanie Benjamin tackles another historical fiction novel, this time focusing on author/celebrity Truman Capote and his years surrounded by the New York society wives of the 1960s-70s. While today we live in a culture where celebrities are famous for no reason, it is interesting to observe Capote give up his well-earned fame as an author (In Cold Blood) in favor of fame for merely being known. I am a fan of In Cold Blood and the murder-mystery farce film “Murder by Death” (in which he stars) so I found this quite interesting. It is a fast and lighter read, but not fluffy. If you would like to know more about Capote, I recommend the biography Capote: A Biography by Gerald Clarke.

The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin
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The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

ISBN 9780062414212

This book hits on many topics readers can understand – siblings, family money, raising children. A family of four children eagerly awaits the coming due of family trust fund and each has made foolish decisions in their dependence on this money that is yet to be theirs. When one sibling makes a particularly poor decision, their mother drains “the nest” to keep the family out of court and the papers and the siblings must deal with the aftermath. Readers who enjoy a fast read with lots of complicated family interactions will enjoy this book. This is the author’s debut novel and it caused quite the bidding war amongst publishing houses. I believe it is a book you will be seeing and hearing about quite a bit as it is a good spring/summer read.

The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
26.99
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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

ISBN 9780307352156

This book was released in 2013 but it is a book I find myself recommending quite a bit. We have always been taught that you are "an introvert or an extrovert" and as we age, it doesn't feel that neat and tidy. This book explains that we are more complicated than that and helps us understand ourselves a bit better.  As the author states, “The single most important aspect of personality – the ‘north and south of temperament,’ as one scientist puts it – is where we fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum” and it impact almost every decision we make! The author introduces us to many famous introverts who changed the world, some of which we would be surprised they are introverts, considering their huge impact. It is extremely helpful if you are married to or raising an introvert, especially if you do not find yourself built like that. Or like myself who is becoming more introverted as I age. It leads to great conversations and would be a different book for your book club -- mine is reading it for April!


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

ISBN 9780385754729

I cannot believe this book has been out for ten years. It is one of my favorites of all time and I have read it half a dozen times. I do not say it flippantly or dramatically when I tell you this book touched my soul - this has only happened a few times in my life so I treasure this book. The writer is masterful in his words and his imagery is a gift to its readers. It follows a young girl who lives with foster parents in World War II Germany and their care for a Jewish man who hides in their home. As the title reads, she desires the written word when it is discouraged and even punishable. The narrator is Death, but not in a Grim Reaper form - it is more gracious and sorrowful figure. The paper copy is a necessity due to the drawings found in the pages. And how much do I love this book – I own three copies: a paperback merely to lend out; a second paperback because the first didn’t come back quickly enough; and a first edition hardcover. (Yes, I have a problem.) This can be an adult and young adult read. In fact, it is a great introduction to the Holocaust for middle schoolers. It shows the human spirit and goodness even in a horrific time.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
12.99
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EMMA'S KIDS BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

Emma's book-based maple syrup making and tasting event in March stands as one of my favorite PPB events, ever.  It had it all - hands-on learning for curious kiddos, with great books (and my Emma) leading the way.  Everything I hoped for when I opened a bookstore (that luckily has a kitchen)!   -- Sandy

Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola

ISBN 9780156707688

Though this little guy has no words, it was such great fun to pick out the details in each comic panel and make up the story as we went along! 

Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola
6.99
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Sugaring Time by Kathryn Lasky 

ISBN 9780027516807

This Caldecott Medal winner was such a beautiful book. It isn't one you'd read all in one sitting, but the pictures and descriptions of syrup-making life transported us to the cozy life on a Vermont farm. 

Sugaring Time by Kathryn Lasky
17.99
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Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast by Josh Funk

ISBN 9781454914044

Reading this one was a riot! The rhymes make for a quick, rhythmic read aloud and the pictures are hilarious. Who knew all this went on in the fridge when we're not looking?


Maple: 100 Sweet and Savory Recipes Featuring Pure Maple Syrup by Katie Webster

ISBN 9781594748042

I just had to offer parents that came with their children to Emma's Kids, tastes of the five or six full-bodied and even bourbon-y Vermont maple syrups.  Katie Webster's new cookbook, Maple, features health-conscious foods such as Maple Morning Glory Muffins, Cinnamon Maple Punch, Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette, Maple Ginger Roasted Salmon and Maple Shortbread Cookies.  I'm hosting a dinner party on the 30th with all recipes from this book - it's that good.  It's a great gift to yourself or your hostess, maybe with a wee bottle of the good stuff, as in Amber Dark syrup!