Julie E.

Books, dogs and painting… With these three, life is good! I’ve always been an avid reader. I happily worked in bookstores during my college years and beyond. Reluctantly, I left the book world and embarked on a long career in human services. When I finally graduated from that phase of life, I rediscovered a passion for art and painting. But alas, painting for long hours, under the watchful eyes of bored dogs, felt too solitary. I was delighted to join the staff of jolly booksellers at McLean & Eakin. When not at the bookstore, I continue to paint and take long walks with my two standard poodles. I’ve always been an eclectic reader: fiction, non-fiction, memoir… I just love to read and enjoy sharing great books with anyone who will listen.

Choice: A Novel By Neel Mukherjee Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781324075011
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 2nd, 2024

The novels I enjoy most do more than entertain, they seep into my heart and mind, coloring my perceptions and challenging my assumptions. Choice is one of those books. Mukherjee has crafted an unflinchingly honest look at love, responsibility, race, class, and decisions when there are no good options to be had. It is a brilliant and incisive meditation, revealing painful glimpses of the human condition.
In the first narrative of this three-part novel, Mukherjee pulls back the truth-filtering curtain to show us the workings of the publishing industry. Ayush is an editor who is drawn to a manuscript by the mysterious author M.N. Opie. After reading it, he feels a visceral response and an urgency; something that he has not felt for a very long time. This novel forces him out of the lethargy and complacency that has become his life. He is driven to publish this book. But what happens to those novels that have something important to say, but are not easily marketed and commercially popular? How will the average person ever happen to read them? Ayush pushes ahead, quarreling with and challenging the status quo.
In spite of his career success, family, and comfortable life, Ayush’s anger simmers as he observes the actions and choices of his spouse, his co-workers, and his own complicity. There is a way this game is played, over and over again. As the years go by, Ayush’s fury grows. Mukherjee invites us to feel Ayush’s pain, as well as his love. Choices have consequences. A different choice must be made.
In subsequent sections, Mukherjee rips the curtain off the wall. The light of truth is concentrated on the invisible lives we may prefer not to see. There is a strong feeling of seeing for the first time, seeing something that MUST be seen, hearing what must be said. Choice is almost a challenge. Will you look? Are you willing to see? Will you let yourself feel?
This is a surprising book with surprising, incisive turns. The narratives drew me in and left me longing for more. It is a book that will haunt you long after the last page. Not unlike M. N. Opie’s book, Choice may be easy to pass by. It is not a light read. Mukherjee has something to say, even if the book may not be commercially popular. Perhaps that is exactly why this book is very much worth reading.


North Woods: A Novel By Daniel Mason Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593597033
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - September 19th, 2023

Several months after reading this New York Times Bestseller, I am still taking about North Woods and recommending it to anyone who will listen. The novel is about a rather ordinary cabin in the woods of Massachusetts. The inhabitants of the house, on the other hand, are colorful, quirky, surprising, and indicative of the time in which they live. The story spans several centuries and is told through the many voices of those who live in the house. The tale is shimmering and warm-hearted. When I finished the last page, I sat for a few minutes, smiling and musing. It is difficult to say exactly what I was smiling about, just the whole thing!
While the book is at first difficult to read, as the diaries of those in long ago centuries tend to be, it quickly moves into a more familiar cadence. Then there is a poem, a journal entry, a drawing, a letter. Each chapter is almost like a short story or a page from a scrapbook found in the closet of an old house. The novel may feel disjointed at times, but hang on to that thread, because the house is still standing and inhabited by someone, perhaps not who you’d expect.
Daniel Mason is brilliant. I imagine him collecting scraps of ephemera and turning it into a magnificent tale about three centuries of American history. North Woods is enduring as one of my favorite books from the last few months. North Woods has something for everyone: history, nature, plant cultivation, a murder mystery, romance and drama; with a liberal seasoning of humor. I hope it makes you smile too.


A Sign of Her Own By Sarah Marsh Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780778310785
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Park Row - February 6th, 2024

A mesmerizing tale of historical fiction that follows a deaf former student of Alexander Graham Bell as she learns to reclaim her own authentic voice.


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The Parrot and the Igloo: Climate and the Science of Denial By David Lipsky Cover Image
$32.50
ISBN: 9780393866704
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - July 11th, 2023

The Parrot and the Igloo is a fast-paced, nonfiction detective story that sweeps you into the narrative with complex characters and confounding twists and turns. The book is humorous, tragic, and astonishing, recounting the historical context for our current climate debates. Lipsky writes for folks like me, who are more interested in people, ideas, and stories than scientific formulas. The mystery he is trying to unravel is this: If global warming was clearly identified decades ago, why is it still being debated? And why is so little being done to slow it down?
The tale begins with the personalities and motivations of innovators like Edison, Tesla, and Westinghouse. Of course, these guys were quirky, which Lipsky highlights with amusing tales. It was the genius of these fellows that brought on the world’s sudden need to burn copious amounts of coal, which resulted in measurable impacts to the atmosphere - impacts that were well documented, discussed in Congressional hearings, and published in the New York Times in 1956. Yes. 1956!
Lipsky describes the scientists who warned about the climate trajectory, and the scientists hired by corporations and governments to research the issue. There is just nothing better than “more research” for creating a feeling of uncertainty and a reason to delay action. As an example, Lipsky provides a history of the tobacco industry’s response to reports that cigarettes could cause cancer in humans. I thought he was describing a parallel story, until he explained, “If you could make the scientists wrong about warming, by the transitive property they’d also be wrong about cigarettes.”
The book is divided into three sections: Inventors, Scientists, and Deniers. It’s a long book, dense with information, and worth every page. Lipsky uncovers the science of denial that became a lucrative and influential industry, initiated and paid for by… you will have to read the book to find out. This is the tangled history of the people, events, and decisions that got us into this hot mess (literally). The book is well-referenced with online endnotes, so as not to be too heavy for the average hand.
I
was hesitant to read this book. I thought I would either be angry all the time, or would get bored plowing through data. Miraculously (and this speaks to Lipsky’s talent), I read hungrily to the very last page. Skillfully placed sardonic humor provided the release valve to keep my blood pressure within acceptable limits. Even so, I did feel angry at times, also incredulous and frustrated. There are a lot of scoundrels in this tale. There are many more good and brilliant heroes, diligently working to set things right. There is hope.


A Sign of Her Own By Sarah Marsh Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780778310785
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Park Row - February 6th, 2024

A mesmerizing tale of historical fiction that follows a deaf former student of Alexander Graham Bell as she learns to reclaim her own authentic voice.


Staff Pick Badge
The Parrot and the Igloo: Climate and the Science of Denial By David Lipsky Cover Image
$32.50
ISBN: 9780393866704
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - July 11th, 2023

The Parrot and the Igloo is a fast-paced, nonfiction detective story that sweeps you into the narrative with complex characters and confounding twists and turns. The book is humorous, tragic, and astonishing, recounting the historical context for our current climate debates. Lipsky writes for folks like me, who are more interested in people, ideas, and stories than scientific formulas. The mystery he is trying to unravel is this: If global warming was clearly identified decades ago, why is it still being debated? And why is so little being done to slow it down?
The tale begins with the personalities and motivations of innovators like Edison, Tesla, and Westinghouse. Of course, these guys were quirky, which Lipsky highlights with amusing tales. It was the genius of these fellows that brought on the world’s sudden need to burn copious amounts of coal, which resulted in measurable impacts to the atmosphere - impacts that were well documented, discussed in Congressional hearings, and published in the New York Times in 1956. Yes. 1956!
Lipsky describes the scientists who warned about the climate trajectory, and the scientists hired by corporations and governments to research the issue. There is just nothing better than “more research” for creating a feeling of uncertainty and a reason to delay action. As an example, Lipsky provides a history of the tobacco industry’s response to reports that cigarettes could cause cancer in humans. I thought he was describing a parallel story, until he explained, “If you could make the scientists wrong about warming, by the transitive property they’d also be wrong about cigarettes.”
The book is divided into three sections: Inventors, Scientists, and Deniers. It’s a long book, dense with information, and worth every page. Lipsky uncovers the science of denial that became a lucrative and influential industry, initiated and paid for by… you will have to read the book to find out. This is the tangled history of the people, events, and decisions that got us into this hot mess (literally). The book is well-referenced with online endnotes, so as not to be too heavy for the average hand.
I
was hesitant to read this book. I thought I would either be angry all the time, or would get bored plowing through data. Miraculously (and this speaks to Lipsky’s talent), I read hungrily to the very last page. Skillfully placed sardonic humor provided the release valve to keep my blood pressure within acceptable limits. Even so, I did feel angry at times, also incredulous and frustrated. There are a lot of scoundrels in this tale. There are many more good and brilliant heroes, diligently working to set things right. There is hope.


Staff Pick Badge
The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store: A Novel By James McBride Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593422946
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - August 8th, 2023

Settle in for a rich and colorful tale, with characters that will stay with you long after the final page. James McBride is a masterful storyteller, and this book is a worthy finalist for the Kirkus Prize.
The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store opens in 1972, but to solve the mystery of a skeleton in the Pottstown, PA well requires a flashback to 1925. The story unfolds at Chicken Hill, “a tiny area of ramshackle houses and dirt roads where the town's Blacks, Jews, and immigrant whites who couldn't afford any better lived." As you get to know the characters, some have backstories that even their spouses don’t know. The author patiently weaves their histories one around another, creating a complex and luscious pattern. This is a story of love, justice, loyalty, and the unfair and sometimes brutal ways the Chicken Hill folks were treated by the more powerful citizens of Pottstown. It is also the story of the ingenuity and love that made Chicken Hill a thriving community.
Much of the story revolves around Chona and Moshe, the Jewish owners of the Heaven and Earth Grocery Store. The store is underwritten by Moshe’s other business, a theater that is integrated, much to the town’s dismay. Miss Chona runs the store, offering liberal credit, without concern for repayment. The story heats up when Chona and Moshe take in Dodo, a young black boy who is deaf. The State wants to put him in a “special school,” and everyone knows what that means. There is also an issue with water in the Mikva and it’s complicated, as all things are on Chicken Hill. It’s not like you can just go to the city and ask for more water at the Shul. Then something happens and the scheming and plotting, the under the table deals, the truth that can’t be told, all comes bubbling up like dirty water in the Mikva.
I listened to the novel on
Libro.fm. (Click to listen to a sample.) Dominic Hoffman beautifully narrates this complex tale, shifting accents between immigrant Jews and Black characters, men and women. I felt like I was sitting at Miss Paper’s kitchen table, eating peach pie while listening to the gossip and schemes. All the good stuff is woven through this meandering tale. What a delight!


Absolution: A Novel By Alice McDermott Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780374610487
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - October 31st, 2023

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Named a Best Book of the Year by Time, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Kirkus Reviews, Los Angeles Times, NPR, Oprah Daily, Real Simple, and Vogue


Happiness Falls (Good Morning America Book Club): A Novel By Angie Kim Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593448205
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hogarth - August 29th, 2023

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK • When a father goes missing, his family’s desperate search leads them to question everything they know about him and one another in this thrilling page-turner, a deeply moving portrait of a family in crisis from the award-winning author of Miracle Creek.


Amazing Grace Adams: A Novel By Fran Littlewood Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250857019
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - September 5th, 2023

New York Times Bestseller
A Today Show #ReadwithJenna Book Club Pick


The Great Transition: A Novel By Nick Fuller Googins Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781668010754
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atria Books - August 15th, 2023

This richly imaginative, immersive, and “electrifyingly relevant” (William Kent Krueger, New York Times bestselling author) debut novel follows a shocking disappearance amid the climate crisis of our near future—perfect for fans of Station Eleven and The Last Thing He Told Me.

Emi Vargas, whose parents helped save the world, is tir


The Wishing Game: A Novel By Meg Shaffer Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593598832
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - May 30th, 2023

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • Years ago, a reclusive mega-bestselling children’s author quit writing under mysterious circumstances. Suddenly he resurfaces with a brand-new book and a one-of-a-kind competition, offering a prize that will change the winner’s life in this absorbing and whimsical novel.