Growing up as an only child, my favorite playmates were books.  I didn't just read them, though.  I would leaf through the pages and make up games in my head about specific words, I would make up songs about the characters, I would gaze into the pictures for minutes analyzing all of the intricate little details looking for faces or shapes or anything that stands out  - I guess that's the artist in me.  I still do that as an adult.  Photographer by day, bookseller by night - I have pretty much the best work situation you could dream of having!


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Coincidence: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062309891
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - February 18th, 2014

This book is GOOD.  It's a fast paced read about Azalea Lewis and her struggle to find out why she has so many uncanny coincidences surrounding her life.

On Midsummer's Day, 1982, three year-old Azalea is found wandering a fairground in England alone.  Nobody knows why she is alone or what happened to her parents.  A nice couple adopts Azalea and takes her to their mission school in Uganda. 

On  Midsummer's day 1992, her new parents are killed by the LRA tyrant Joseph Kony.  Azalea survives the attack and is adopted yet again by a loving family who takes her home to England.

Azalea's life is full of coincidences.  Lots of super unexplainable coincidences that have lead her to believe that she is going to die on the Midsummer's day of her thirtieth birthday.  

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Henna House: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476740270
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Scribner - August 12th, 2014

It's hard for me to find books that really grab me and make me want to keep reading.  I often lose interest about a third of the way through.  Well, not with Henna House.  It was soooo good.  

It follows the story of young Adela Damari.  In Yemen, there is a law called The Orphan's Decree.  The decree was introduced in the 1920s and allowed the state to seize any unbetrothed, non-Muslim children whose fathers have died.  This part is real life!  In the story, Adela's father is very sick and they know it's only a matter of time before he dies, so the whole family is racing to find her a husband to avoid her capture by the "confiscator."  


Adela's situation looks dire until her uncle arrives with his wife and daughter.  The two women take Adela under their nurturing wing and introduce her to the powerful world of henna tattooing.  As she grows, we follow her family through the tumultuous life that a Yemenite Jew faced in the early twentieth century.


Think One-Thousand White Women meets The Red Tent and you will have Henna House.

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Detroit: An American Autopsy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143124467
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - January 28th, 2014

I just cannot say enough good things about this book. I rarely read non-fiction, I have never finished a non-fiction book. I just can't pay attention! I blame it on the ADD. Anyway, Detroit is a must read for anyone even slightly interested in the decay of the once great city.

The book is gripping... surreal. How can this actually have happened? The city's mayor denying necessary upgrades to firehouses but hiring Strawberry the stripper and then having her killed? No way.

Five years ago, I drove through the city on a tour of my family's roots and was dumbfounded at what I saw. I had no idea it was so bad. Now, every few weeks I am in the area for one reason or another and it's so fascinating to see the changes taking place... some bad, but a lot of really great things, too.

Charlie does a great job of discussing the changes. Much of what he discusses is negative, but some gives us a glimmer of hope for the great city.

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First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers Cover Image
ISBN: 9780060856267
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - April 4th, 2006

I didn't know a lot about the Khmer Rouge and the Cambodian genocide back in the 70s until I went to Cambodia in 2012. It's not something they taught in school. Over 2 million Cambodians lost their lives at the hands of Pol Pot and his extremist followers.


Five-year-old Luong Ung lived a comfortable life in Phnom Penh until the Khmer Rouge army stormed into the city, forcing her family out of their home and into horrific work camps reminiscent of Hitler's concentration camps. After she was separated from her family, Loung was trained as a child soldier in a camp for orphans where the extremist soldiers attempted to brainwash her. Her siblings were sent to labor camps, and those who survived the horrors would not be reunited until the Khmer Rouge was destroyed.


This is a must-read. It is an accurate and powerful account of was like to survive the four years of absolute insanity while Pol Pot reighned Cambodia. It's a quick read and will leave you with a knowledge you didn't know you were missing.

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A Dirty Job: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780060590284
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - March 27th, 2007

Ahhhhh, this book was laugh-out-loud funny from the first page!  A Dirty Job was the first Christopher Moore book I read and I have been hooked ever since.

Charlie Asher is a normal guy.  Like, almost boring-normal.  He is just a low-key, passive man running a resale shop in San Francisco who minds his own business. 

Then his wife dies in childbirth, people start dropping dead around him, giant ravens perch on his rooftop, and everywhere he goes, a dark presence whispers to him from the sewer.  Strange names start appearing on post-its, and before he knows it, those people end up dead, too.

 Charlie Asher has been recruited for a new job: Death. 

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Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307886279
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Three Rivers Press - September 18th, 2012

If you like Tina Fey, Chelsea Handler, Zoey Deschanel, and other funny women of today, you will just love Mindy Kaling.

She is so funny and so honest. I can relate to her because of her honesty. I tell people way too much about my personal life. For example, just yesterday I walked into a room of friends and announced that I had just eaten four Johan's donuts. That's something Mindy would admit to doing only she would make it sound a lot funnier and a lot less pathetic.

 Seriously though, it's her honesty and her humor that totally sucked me in. I really believe that if we could all be just a little more honest about our silly mistakes and embarrassing moments, everyone would be more confident and emotionally healthy! I am pretty sure that everyone at one point in their life has had an embarrassing binge on Halloween candy, girl scout cookies, or caramel corn. If not, then I suggest you do it ASAP because it's really fun...and then you feel pretty sick...but the 20 minutes when it's happening are magical.

 Mindy's book is laugh out loud funny. Girls from generations X and Y will relate best to Mindy's hilarious opinions, advice, and life experiences. This isn't epic literature, but it's a great lighthearted read. Just like Tina Fey's Bossypants, it's even better on audio.

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Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616951290
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Soho Press - December 26th, 2012

Wealthy Hollywood studio executive Greyson Todd's mind never quiets, his heart is never full, and he is forever in a state of emotional turbulence. He has surrendered to his emotionally chaotic life and has resolved to leave his wife and young daughter. One night he goes into the backyard to pick up after the dog and never returns.


Greyson travels the world giving in to his every desire. In the confines of his manic-depressive brain, he is always floating somewhere between living on the edge or hardly living at all. He manages to make it ten exciting years before landing himself in a New York psychiatric ward where he suffers through electroshock therapy and drugs that bleed him dry of feeling or emotion.

Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See is a rollercoaster of breathless excitement and dark emotional pain. This addicting story weaves in and out of four timelines: Greyson's childhood with his emotionally disturbed father, the tumultuous relationship with his wife and daughter, his time in the New York psychiatric ward, and his reckless travel around the world.


This book is both hilarious and heartbreaking, You will laugh and you will cry throughout this page-turning whirlwind. I read nonstop through the last heartrending page.

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Everyday Food: Light: The Quickest and Easiest Recipes, All Under 500 Calories: A Cookbook Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307718099
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Clarkson Potter - December 27th, 2011

You must own this cookbook.

I got my mom a big, beautiful hardcover cookbook for her birthday and she graciously accepted it, but a few days later kindly told me that she'd rather exchange it for a book she'd been wanting to read. She told me that by now, she'd collected all the cookbooks she needed.

I got this cookbook a few months ago and have been raving to everyone. The recipes are tasty, the portions are hefty, the preparation is easy, and every recipe is under 500 calories!

I literally carry the cookbook in my purse so that no matter where I am, I know I can make a yummy, healthy dinner without planning ahead. Last weekend I was having dinner with friends, and somehow we started talking about the contents of my purse. I pulled out my cookbook and two people decided to buy a copy!

I'm sure you're wondering why I told you about my mom. After trying out a few of the recipes, she just had me send her the cookbook last week.   She loves it!

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A Chair for My Mother 25th Anniversary Edition Cover Image
ISBN: 9780688040741
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Greenwillow Books - January 23rd, 2007

This classic and award-winning picture book was written and illustrated by the celebrated Vera B. Williams and was named a Caldecott Honor Book by the American Library Association. This picture book is an excellent choice to share during homeschooling, in particular for children ages 4 to 6.

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A Sudden Light: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781439187036
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - September 30th, 2014

When I saw Mr. Stein's new book on our shelf of Advanced Reader Copies, I snatched it up so fast - I couldn't believe my luck!   I loved The Art of Racing in the Rain, and couldn't wait to pick up this book.  If you are looking for a repeat of the sweet story about Denny and his thoughtful dog Enzo, you won't get that with A Sudden Light, but what you will get is an equally well-written story that you can't put down.


A Sudden Light follows the story of 14 year old Trevor and the return to his father's childhood home.  Trevor and his father return in an attempt to put his grandfather in a nursing home and sell the sprawling, multi-million dollar property.   But, as Trevor explores the old mansion, he finds a lingering spirit at the Riddell house who would like to put a stop to his father's plan.  


It's a haunting, dark, exciting story that is sure to grab you on the first page.  Garth Stein's ability to tell a spellbinding story has only gotten better with time.  He has an uncanny skill to tell the story of his characters with such empathy that it's hard to remember that it's a novel and not a memoir.

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The Birth of Venus: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812968972
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - November 30th, 2004

What a fun book! Fast paced and full of juicy entertainment.

Allesandra is about to be married off to a wealthy, much older man when a handsome and mysterious artist comes into her life. Allesandra is immediately drawn to this painter but she is soon whisked away to live with her new husband and his deep, dark secret.

This book is great historical fiction taking place during the Italian renaissance in Florence in the fourteenth century. The book is an absorbing read about love, art, religion, and power.

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