Before falling back in love with reading, I fell in love with a bookstore. I know it’s old-fashioned to go to brick-and-mortar bookstores, but scanning the bestseller list on your Kindle will never replace the pleasure of quietly roaming the stacks and chatting with shop owners about their current favorites. (I even secretly love the crisp, untouched paper smell.) I’ve been a dork for books since FOREVER.
And the moment I walked into A Great Good Place for Books, I knew it would be my jam. The owner, Kathleen, is incredibly knowledgeable about contemporary fiction and it shows in the impeccably curated collection she packs into her cozy little shop. She’s also super intuitive with her recommendations, so much so that I will literally buy anything she suggests.
Oh, and there are always cookies.
Anyway, this terrific bookstore helped me rediscover a passion for reading lost amidst the diapers and exhaustion of the past three years. My bedside table now sports a proper stack of books to be read that do not begin with “What To Expect” nor are they authored by “whisperers” of any kind. Here are the books Priss & Vinegar is digging into this fall:
- “Fourth of July Creek” by Smith Henderson. This novel could be a downright bummer given that the social worker protagonist works with abused and neglected children, but Henderson’s prose is so achingly beautiful that it’s worth sticking through the ugly bits. Kathleen compared the world of this novel to the film “Winter’s Bone”, an allusion I find very apt.
- “This is Where I Leave You” by Johnathan Tropper. Apparently this book was kind of a big deal a looooong time ago. I plainly missed it and am trying desperately to catch up before the feature film is released later this month. (Because Tina Fey. Of course.)
- “The Untold” by Courtney Collins. A debut novel like “Fourth of July Creek”, there’s something special about being with an author from the beginning. This female-driven adventure through the Australian frontier has drawn comparisons to Cormac McCarthy (though Kathleen insists Collins is even better) and Charles Portis’ “True Grit.”
- “If I Stay” by by Gayle Forman. “Twilight”, “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent” have proven that YA books merit grown-up attention. (I also think they make superb palate cleansers after darker, more substantial novels.)
- “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch. I have read as well as listened to “The Last Lecture” on audiobook many, many times, and each pass reveals a new and remarkable insight: the value of character, how to raise capable (not coddled) children, the virtue of having big dreams, and what personal excellence really means. I dare you to read (or listen) to this without being utterly inspired.