Lucinda Recommends!

What book from your childhood had the biggest impact on you as a reader?

    The Castle in The Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop was the first book I remember reading in which the main character disappears into a world within their world -- a theme that remains one of my favorites to this day.

What was your favorite 'adult' book that you read as a teenager?

    We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson resonated on so many levels when I first encountered it and I still love to revisit the creepy, insular community from time to time.

After years spent as a bookseller, what is a hidden gem that you wish more people knew about?

    Lindsey Drager is a spectacular writer whose short novels are so elegantly constructed they feel (in a good way) so much longer. Her interconnected storylines come together to wonderfully satisfying conclusions.

Who is an author that you have just recently discovered?

    After resisting my mother's insistence I'd love him, I finally started reading Gerald Durrell's memoirs and they are so charming, funny, and smart.

What is a book that you enjoyed unexpectedly -- whether because of subject matter, genre, style, etc?

    Isaac's Storm by Eric Larson astounded me. I was utterly thrilled to discover that a book about meteorology could be so fascinating and an absolute pageturner.

What was the best book you've read during quarantine, or during the pandemic in general?

    World of Wonders was the perfect book for 2020. Stunningly beautiful writing about nature blended with reflection on what it means to be non-white in America. Alternating between the uncomfortable realities of modern life and the absolute wonder of plants and animals, Nezhukumatathil's prose provides both comfort and discomfort in equal, and necessary doses.


Read below for book recommendations from Lucinda...

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Ring Shout Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781250767028
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Published: Tordotcom - October 13th, 2020

I'm not sure what exactly what I was expecting from this little book, but what I encountered was so delightful. A perfect blend of familiar Roaring Twenties tropes and a truly wonderful use of traditional Gullah language mixed with just the right amount of body horror and allusions to A Wrinkle In Time, the book I still read on an almost yearly basis. Maryse is a deeply complicated character, one I'm amazed could be realized in such a short book, especially when one considers all the action that takes place. Her concerns are so tangible, her anxiety so relatable, her anger so justified, she seems so much more than just a fictional hero, but an actual living, breathing person captured on the page. As someone who generally shies away from horror, I found Clark's approach to be enjoyable -- his descriptions of the creatures are just detailed enough to give a sense of them, allowing the reader to interpret the missing pieces however they see fit, and I suspect that my image of them is quite different from others'. Even the most gruesome things are handled in such a way that while I sometimes cringed, I never put the book down.

Undeniably allegorical, Ring Shout is never preachy, though when dealing with a topic like the rise of the KKK in the twenties it would be easy to veer in that direction. The ending leans toward ambiguity -- a follow up may come, but it may not, and either way that's just fine by me; perhaps the ongoing struggle alluded to is not for the page but for the real world instead.

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Monster Friends: (A Graphic Novel) Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9781984896827
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Published: Random House Graphic - June 22nd, 2021

Monster Friends is exactly what I want in a graphic novel. Reggie and Emily are a perfect pair of friends, balancing each other's strengths and weaknesses flawlessly. They are the kind of friends everyone should aspire to be and hope to have. The artwork is utterly delightful, and reveals so much about the characters' "monstrous" natures. The adventures that Reggie and Emily have (and they're quite spectacular!) are, at least in my mind, secondary to the evolution of their friendship, and the way they change as a result of knowing each other. This is a book that will resonate with so many people, and the fact that it's shelved in the kids' room should in no way discourage adults from picking it up.

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Every Minute Is a Day: A Doctor, an Emergency Room, and a City Under Siege Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593238592
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Published: Crown - August 3rd, 2021

Every Minute Is a Day is not the book I expected it to be. I was anticipating a book that would enrage me as it chronicled a pandemic that could have, largely, been prevented by swift action and straightforward information. Instead, I was met with a story I could not read fast enough that broke my heart over and over, making me devastatingly sad, but never angry. An advance copy was delivered to the store at about 10:30 in the morning, and I closed it for the last time at 8:02 the same day. As much as I dislike the phrase 'unputdownable' and swore I'd never use it when writing a recommendation, this is exactly that; even throughout the work day I found myself picking it up, compelled to go back over and over as soon as the tears had cleared from my eyes.

During the time that this book covers (March-September 2020) I was avoiding most of the first-hand accounts of what was happening in hospitals in hard-hit areas, choosing instead to follow the science, the history of pandemics, and the increasing politicization of a subject that should have been entirely non-partisan. As a result Every Minute Is a Day was really the first on-the-ground reporting that I immersed myself in. Despite my initial hesitation (did I really have it in me to read a book like this, especially as cases are trending upward yet again?), I took the plunge and I am so grateful that I did. The reality behind the headlines of overcrowding and PPE shortages and what that looked like for individual doctors and patients was beyond what I could have imagined. But this book is about so much more than just COVID-19, it delves into the history of emergency medicine in this country, the significance of mentors at key moments in one's life, and what challenges are ahead not just for survivors of COVID-19, but for all those who delayed routine care due to the pandemic.

I certainly won't presume to say I know what it was like, but I have certainly gained a greater understanding of the medical realities beyond the headlines. I heartily recommend this book for everyone, whether you've been fortunate enough to live on the fringes of the pandemic or have been radically affected by it, there's something to be gained by reading Meyer's account."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781982167356
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Published: Atria Books - July 6th, 2021

There are so many books that are marketed as hilarious but the only humorous thing to occur in them is, to my mind, the suffering of the main character; I rarely find these funny or even enjoyable. Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead could easily have fallen into the same trap -- Gilda leads a pretty miserable existence, and you spend a lot of time laughing at her, but not because of her suffering. She is funny for the ridiculous situations she ends up in (how often to atheist lesbians end up working for the Catholic Church, after all? How many people are on a first name basis with the janitor at the ER because they go so often?) and her own recognition of just how odd she is.

At no point in my reading of this truly entertaining book did I feel that Gilda was being made fun of or that mental illness is something to laugh at. It was so refreshing to encounter a character whose anxiety wasn’t a punchline but was instead just a feature of the person I was reading about. Granted, that anxiety led her to some situations that someone better equipped to handle stress never would have ended up in, but they were still genuinely funny situations.

A comedy of errors, misjudgments, bad decisions, panic and just a little bit of murder that will keep you laughing while also giving excellent insight into the mind of a young woman who is incredibly relatable despite (and to some extent because of) her struggles.

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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The Temple House Vanishing Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781643750279
Availability: Not in stock, usually ships to store in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Books - July 6th, 2021

Boarding school intrigue has served as the fodder for a lot of great novels and The Temple House Vanishing has earned its spot on the list. Parallel stories unfold in the leadup to a girl’s disappearance from the elite Temple House school and a journalist’s quest to uncover the truth of what happened to her twenty five years later. Donohue’s use of the two different times is expertly executed and both conclusions are right where they ought to be.

I’d hesitate to call it a thriller, exactly, but it is absolutely a page-turner with all the trappings of a great Gothic novel—a winding road leads to a crumbling mansion perched atop a cliff overlooking the North Sea, a heavy mist rolls in each night, there are nuns who may or may not be benevolent and the legacy students are an aristocracy not to be taken lightly.    

I read this book in two sittings and was actually disappointed that it is Donohue’s debut because I couldn’t immediately dive into something else she had written."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Unbound: The Life and Art of Judith Scott Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525648116
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Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - June 8th, 2021

Melissa Sweet's art is always spectacular and anything she illustrates is well worth picking up. In the case of Unbound, however, the story is equally, if not even more, compelling. Judith Scott was born with Down syndrome and profound deafness and spent much of her life in an institution for those with special needs. As an adult, she was reunited with her twin sister Joyce, who gave her a home and enrolled her in an art class where she began making fiber arts. Today, Judith's art is shown in galleries and museums around the world. Unbound is a story about what can happen when opportunities are given and limits are removed and it is illustrated with a variety of media, creating images you want to reach out and touch. A perfect book about the power that art has to change a life. 

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 Cover Image
By Ibram X. Kendi (Editor), Keisha N. Blain (Editor)
$32.00
ISBN: 9780593134047
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Published: One World - February 2nd, 2021

This book takes a different approach to history -- 400 years, divided into 5 year increments, each of which was assigned to a different author, and all compiled into a single volume about African-American history. If you're worried it might feel like a textbook, divided up into thematic chapters, don't! It reads more like a collection of short stories than an academic work, even when authors are taking on semantics, changes in colonial governance, or other potentially tedious topics. Each section is brief, only 4-5 pages, but long enough to give you a sense of something deeply significant to how the African-American experience has been shaped throughout history. Because the sections are so short, it's easy to break it up into small chunks and to sit with what you've read, to really process and to look deeper if you want (there are excellent endnotes).

One of my favorite parts of this collection is that the authors are not all historians -- there are poets and novelists included as well, so each chapter feels distinctive and some are actually poems or stories based on historic figures. So much is contained within this book, and no matter how well-versed you are in American history, there's more to learn. And while this book paints itself as African-American history, there is no separation of the Black experience from "the rest" of American history, all Four Hundred Souls does is shift the focal point.

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Dessert Person: Recipes and Guidance for Baking with Confidence Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781984826961
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Published: Clarkson Potter - October 20th, 2020

After a particularly disastrous attempt at a Great British Bake Off recipe, my most recent birthday was rescued by Claire's Classic Birthday Cake -- the best yellow cake I've ever had, made by my husband who has made exactly one layer cake in the last eight years. Whether you are an experienced baker or you just enjoy eating delicious baked goods but have never used your oven, Dessert Person is the perfect book to turn to. One of my favorite features is the "Recipe Matrix" that shows where recipes fall in terms of both the time it takes to complete them and how difficult they are so you can choose what to make based on how ambitious you're feeling. 

This is as well put together a cookbook as I've come across, and I've spent time with a lot of cookbooks. All of the recipes are clear, with detailed instructions, useful modifications, and step-by-step pictures when warranted. Unlike so many cookbooks these days, each recipe is prefaced with just a single paragraph; there are no sweeping essays that wind their way through the author's life, eventually getting around to the food. Everything that my husband and I have baked from this book has come out amazingly, and we're enjoying eating our way through the whole thing. It's worth noting that despite the title, there is a chapter of savory baked goods as well, and they're just as delicious as the sweet.

An added bonus to this book is the Dessert Person video series on YouTube, in which Claire makes recipes from the book (and a few others). Watching a professional make these recipes, seeing exactly what color the butter should be browned to, what consistency a batter should be, all done in a tiny New York City kitchen that would drive me utterly insane, is so helpful and incredibly inspiring. 

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9780593189481
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Published: Riverhead Books - November 10th, 2020

"Wintering is unlike anything else I've encountered. Ultimately a memoir covering just a few months, May's text manages to include essays (of sorts) on searching for the Northern Lights, bees, the origins and legacies of religious celebrations -- both Christian and Pagan -- winter swimming, literary criticism, and more. Like so many books about hardship, *Wintering* begins with a blow, followed by another, even more debilitating one, but there is no drawn out description of treatments, of loss. Instead, there is just the chronicle of May's winter -- what she did day to day, how she coped. 

This powerful little book moved me in so many ways. Some passages prompted me to read them over and over, to internalize the author's meaning, others to truly appreciate her humor (such as when her snowsuit-bundled child rolled off the hard plastic boat bench he was napping on). Still others led me to look something up, to go off an a tangent of my own making before returning to the thesis: sometimes we need to step back, to retreat from the pace and pressure of modern life -- to winter -- so that we can come out the other side stronger, more capable of continuing on. 

It is a truly beautiful book from which I learned so much, far more than what I expected to, and one that is likely to strike a chord with so many people. We all have reasons to winter these days and while we aren't all able to retreat as fully as May did, she provides us with a framework for getting through our own winters, whatever they may look like."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Can You Find My Robot's Arm? Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780735265103
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Published: Tundra Books - March 26th, 2019

'One day my robot woke up to discover he had lost his arm.' So begins the most endearing scavenger hunt in which the robot and his friend try to find the missing arm. With many places to look and may substitute arms to try, the robots visit lots of interesting and unlikely places on their journey. The illustrations in this book are charming -- so much is conveyed through simple black and white, blocky-in-the-best-way, images. The robots' faces never change, but you can imagine the emotions crossing the face of the one whose arm is missing. 

A great book to read over and over for both kids and adults. You won't get bored with this one."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143110439
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Published: Penguin Books - March 26th, 2019

Maybe I'm late to the game and everyone has already read *A Gentleman in Moscow*, but here's hoping I can convince some of you who haven't that it's absolutely worth the time and the hype. The premise of this story is simple: in 1922 the titular gentleman, Count Alexander Rostov, has been sentenced to live out his days in the Metropol Hotel in Moscow. Due to his aristocratic heritage, Rostov is now, under the Soviet government, considered a former person, but due to the publication of a poem some years earlier he is deemed too well-known to execute or exile.  

There's so much I want to say about this book. First and foremost, it is spectacularly written. Towles' language is precise, evocative, and reads as effortless (though I'm sure he put huge amounts of time and consideration into every sentence). The narration of the book, just like the titular character, has an air of sophistication and formality without condescending. At no point did I think the author pretentious for his choice of a complicated phrase when a simple one could have sufficed, or feel that he was simply trying to prove how smart he was, how extensive his research. Secondly, you may think that with the entire book taking place within the confines of a single building, there would be little room for growth, little opportunity for character development, but Rostov's relationships with the staff at the hotel, as well as with the guests, provides more than enough fodder for a well rounded story. 

The final thing I will say (until you've also read the book, then we can talk about it at length) is that *A Gentleman in Moscow* surprised me, time and time again. A turn of phrase, an unexpected occurrence, a statement out of character, and so many other little twists. Despite the limited scope of the setting, the story feels vast and sweeping, an epic story of a wealthy man's travels and intrigues squeezed into just four walls without ever feeling pinched. Do yourself a favor and spend some time at the Metropol with Count Rostov, you won't be disappointed."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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The Ghost Variations: One Hundred Stories Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781524748838
Availability: Backordered
Published: Pantheon - March 9th, 2021

The phrase 'ghost story' conjures up a certain set of images: rattling chains, cold wind, hair standing up on the back of your neck, the spectres that haunted our childhood dreams. The Ghost Variations is a collection of 100 ghost stories, none of them surpassing two pages in length, and none of them scary. Instead, these vignettes are ruminations on life, living, and, to a lesser extent, dying. The ghosts are sometimes obvious and sometimes you reach the end of the story and realize you're not sure who, or what, was the ghost in the story. 

The book is divided into thematic sections -- memory, time, nature, belief -- yet each story is so distinct from its neighbors that it stands out; there is no sense of repetition or even familiarity. Every story begins with an absolutely fantastic first sentence. Whether it is a long meandering phrase filled with clauses and punctuation or just a two- or three-word declaration, there is no turning back. 

Due to the brevity of the tales, this is a perfect book to dip in and out of, to grab when you want to read but are pressed for time, or when you feel like taking on an entire section. If you don't consider yourself a 'ghost story person' don't worry, this collection is for anyone. After all, one needn't be a 'ghost story person' to enjoy Macbeth. And like Shakespeare's great tragedy, while The Ghost Variations is centered on the idea of an apparition, it is so much more about what humanity does with the knowledge offered by the apparition." 

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Klara and the Sun: A novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593318171
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Published: Knopf - March 2nd, 2021

There are some books that are perfect for certain people, and I’m always happy when I read something and think 'oh, I can’t wait to tell ___ about this!' *Klara and the Sun* is a book that I can whole-heartedly endorse for everyone who likes a good story; it has so many facets that no matter what you’re looking for, Ishiguro delivers.

I approached *Klara and the Sun* knowing virtually nothing about it, which was, I think, the best possible way. A few pages in, I figured out what AF stood for (something given away in the description on the jacket, but that was not spelled out on my advance copy) and with that realization, the scene was set for what would come next. Or so I thought. 

As I read, I was completely certain I knew the arc of the story ahead, only to have my assumptions challenged with new information. This happened several times and with each new development I had to regain my footing and reevaluate everything that had come before, to dig deeper for meaning, to better get to know the characters. Having just finished a few days ago, I’m already looking forward to revisiting the book with foreknowledge of the twists and turns.

I won’t tell you anything about the actual story, it’s one best discovered on your own, page by exquisitely-written page, but I will say this: Klara is one of the most complex characters I’ve been introduced to in a long time and she was an absolute joy to journey with."

-- Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Maybe Tomorrow? (a story about loss, healing, and friendship) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781338214888
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Published: Scholastic Press - March 26th, 2019

This is the best children's book about sadness that I've ever read. Beautifully illustrated, with a totally relatable plot of "maybe tomorrow" I'll feel up to doing something, this picture book resonates not just with the kids it is aimed at, but everyone who has lived through the last year of pandemic fatigue, cancelled plans, and a general feeling of disinterest in doing things.

Whether you're looking for something specifically about grief, or just about how it's OK to feel sad and not feel like yourself, (local author!) Agell's book is just right for kids of all ages (and their adults)."

-- Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Shit, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780316449823
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Published: Hachette Books - October 20th, 2020

I picked up Shit, Actually on a recent vacation and it was the perfect bit of escapism. Lindy West rewatched (and in one case watched for the first time) some of the most popular movies of the 80s and 90s and the book is simply a series of essays in which she provides running commentary. The standard against which she holds all other films is the undisputed classic from 1993, The Fugitive. I find her love of this movie, flaws and all, utterly endearing as it is one of the action movies I watched over and over as a kid.

Some of the movies she watched were movies I grew up with, beloved films that if I were to see for the first time today I'd likely find to be at best not very good and at worst incredibly offensive. But even more fun to read were the descriptions of movies that are familiar through their popularity but that I've never actually seen, like Top Gun (I got bored and turned it off) and Speed (somehow I've just never gotten around to it even though it sounds like everything I love in a movie).

Getting the whole plot of a movie through Lindy's hilarious voice, her irreverence, and her peppering in of present day political and social happenings (lots of mentions of 2020's awfulness) made me want to rewatch some of my favorites and made me question why some people love some of the others so much.

The book may not be destined to be a classic as it's very much of this current moment, but if you're looking for something truly fun to break up your binge watching while you wait for your vaccine, this is just what the doctor ordered."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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The Museum of Whales You Will Never See: And Other Excursions to Iceland's Most Unusual Museums Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9780143135463
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Published: Penguin Books - May 12th, 2020

"I'm a museum junkie. I'm the person who you hate (or maybe love) to travel with because I'll drag you down narrow side streets to obscure museums that aren't in the guide books. I read fiction about museums, I read nonfiction about museums. Prior to becoming a bookseller I worked in museums. So when an advance copy of The Museum of Whales You Will Never See arrived at the store, I knew, immediately, I was going to love this book.

Iceland is a tiny country, with a population of about 330,000, yet it has 265 museums. And most of them are not the kind of place that most people would think of when you say the word "museum;" they don't have columns and galleries, but are instead small, intimate, often makeshift buildings that evolved to house collections of...whatever the founder wanted to collect. In some cases, the collection is exactly the kind of thing you'd expect, but often times it isn't (I'm looking at you, Museum of Prophecies).

Greene visited a lot of Iceland's museums, though not all 265, as she traveled and researched for this book, and despite the way that museum visits can run together, the chapters stand alone and illustrate each institution with care and clarity. Part biography of the collectors, part travel essay, part reflection on the place and role of museums in the world, this exquisite little collection is remarkable. Even if you're not someone who tends to spend hours poring over every display, this book has so much to offer on so many truly lovely levels."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Death in Her Hands: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781984879356
Availability: Not in stock, usually ships to store in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Press - June 23rd, 2020

"Ottessa Moshfegh is an absolute master of discomfort. Her writing is like a tiny pebble in your shoe -- you remove the shoe, shake it out, put it back on and everything is fine. For a step or two. And then it’s back, not painful but impossible to ignore. That is the same mental process that Moshfegh’s books lead me on.

Death in Her Hands troubled me in the best sort of way. I was so excited to receive an advance copy that I started reading it before bed the day it arrived. For several nights in a row, I read a few pages, only to be haunted by disquieting dreams. The uncertainty, the questionable sanity of the all too relatable protagonist seemed to seep into my own psyche and I would wake feeling unrested and as though I had forgotten something important, so I set the book aside, half finished. Months passed and the conditions of the world led me to read only gentle and familiar books, but all the while in the back of my mind was the itch to know how everything would turn out for the narrator.

Not unlike We Have Always Lived in the Castle, this book is a marvel of psychological unrest and interiority. A perfect read as the days are growing shorter and the nights feel darker."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Mystery Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780385343497
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Published: Bantam - January 19th, 2010

"I don’t generally gravitate toward mysteries, but every now and then I want something that is familiar without having already read it once before. I enjoy the low stakes of a cozy mystery, but I want something that is still going to surprise me with the twists to the formula. Enter: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, a delightful post-WWII, English-countryside murder mystery starring the precocious Flavia de Luce, an eleven year old chemistry whiz who is the person I longed to be at her age.

Convinced that her father is responsible for the body in the garden (or at least knows more about it than he’s letting on), Flavia sets out to prove she’s smarter than the police. She’s got a little more to go on than they do, so she finds herself one step ahead of them as they all try to solve the crime. But the deeper she goes, the more her father is tied up with the victim, and the worse things are looking.

A joy to read, Flavia is the cleverest person in the room, an amateur poisoner (it’s all done in the name of science, and to get back at her sister) and a character that I can’t wait to encounter again. Luckily, this is the first in a series, so there are plenty more opportunities to get to know her better. Additionally, because the main character is eleven, these books are low-violence and have no racy scenes at all, so they’re perfect for a strong reader who has graduated from Nancy Drew and wants something more grown up."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781571313652
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Published: Milkweed Editions - September 8th, 2020

"I find that term "nature writing" evokes different, and often very strong, emotions in different people. There's the style of Annie Dillard, in which she places herself in nature and tells you all about how it makes her feel. There's David Attenborough's natural history approach, through which you learn all about the flora and fauna, generally as if humans don't exist in the same sphere as whatever he's writing about. There are countless urgent calls to arms about melting ice, crumbling habitats, and carbon emissions.

And then there's World of Wonders. It is, undeniably, a book about things that exist in nature, but it is also a memoir beautifully told by attaching a specific plant or animal to a time in Aimee Nezhukumatathil's life. The story of her life is bookended with chapters on fireflies and the sense of childlike wonder they still bring, while in between are peacocks, corpse flowers, cara cara oranges, and so many other delights. But not everything is truly a delight as Nezhukumatathil is reminded, time and time again that she is a brown person in a predominantly white world, particularly when she ventures into nature.

This book is beautiful, written with so much love. Even when dealing with difficult topics such as racism, ignorance, isolation, and motherhood, when it would be so easy to just make a point and move on, each word is absolutely perfect, creating a softness that I associate with bedtime stories. This is Nezhukumatathil's first book of prose and her background in poetry shines through without ever complicating her writing. When I finished this book, I felt that I had made a new friend, that I had sat beside her when she was singled out by her teacher, that I had swum with a whale shark, that I had magically lived these chapters of her life alongside her."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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The Book of Delights: Essays Cover Image
$23.95
ISBN: 9781616207922
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Published: Algonquin Books - February 12th, 2019

"This little book of essays is pleasing in so many ways, but I feel that my recommendation of it can hardly do it justice as it is so much more than it seems. I like the look of it and the way its squat little covers fit in my hands as I read it. And then, there’s what it says. This is a collection of, well, delights: short essays (you could also easily call them reflections or meditations) about things that delighted Ross Gay over the course of a year. On the surface it is little more than a writing exercise: write about something that delights you every day for a year. Yet it became clear after only the first few pieces that it was going to be so much more than the sum of its delightful parts.

Not all of Gay’s delights bring joy with them. Some are poignant, some are tinged with sadness like the occurrence that reminds him of a friend who has died, or those which, while on some level delightful, only exists because of racial disparities or the ecological devastation facing our planet. These are beautiful pieces some of which will leave you with a calm sense of ease, others will make you uncomfortable, and they should. With his precise word choice and sense of rhythm (he is, after all, a poet), Ross Gay reminds us that it’s ok to find the beauty in the dismal or to feel sadness even when standing in the sun, that the world is multifaceted and our reactions to it should be as well."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Valley of the Dolls Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802125347
Availability: Backordered
Published: Grove Press - July 4th, 2016

"Sometimes I read a book because I feel like I should read it. Valley of the Dolls, however, is a book that I had been told wasn’t worth the time it would take to get through, that it was dated, melodramatic, and self-indulgent. I was told this by men of a certain age, both in person and via numerous online outlets, all claiming it lacks literary merit. Despite their repetition that this was a silly book for silly people, I was always drawn to it, and I’m so glad I finally picked it up. This is a timeless story of women being medicated into submission, into complacency, of (male) doctors telling women they are over reacting, that what is bothering them is just part of life and that they need to get over it, and that they can provide the solution in a pill that will fix everything. In reality those pills just dull sensation, both physical and mental, but they also weaken with time, leading to a greater dependency on stronger and stronger drugs just to get through the day.

The bestselling book the year it was released (1966), Valley of the Dolls, is an insightful look at why people become addicted to prescriptions, how society actively dismisses the issues that lead to frustration and depression in women, how unreasonable expectations and unattainable standards drive people to extremes and quick fixes. It reads like it could have been written last week. I understand why this book has been dismissed by so many over the half century it’s been in print, but it deserves its rightful place with feminist classics like Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper, Plath’s The Bell Jar, and Chopin’s The Awakening. Like these others, it won’t leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, but it will stick with you long after the final page."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Mexican Gothic Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780525620808
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Published: Del Rey - June 15th, 2021

"I haven’t been reading a lot of new books lately, the world just feels a bit too heavy for that, so I keep returning to familiar, comfortable things. But then I picked up Mexican Gothic and it was neither familiar, nor comfortable, and it was so, so wonderful.

If you are a fan of “traditional” gothic novels, this is for you -- it has all the classic tropes: a woman has been taken away from her family by marriage and is now being held (perhaps against her will?) in a house perched on a mountaintop far away from what most would consider civilization; there is a house that boasts disused rooms full of moldering furniture and mildewed books; electricity is patchy at best and the roads are virtually impassible. If you’re a fan of Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, this is for you -- it’s hard to say exactly why without giving away a major plot point, the feeling I got while reading Mexican Gothic was very much the same as that I got from Annihilation (also from Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, one of my all-time favorite books).

In the best possible way, this book made me uncomfortable. After the initial setup, there is no scene in which Noemi is at ease as she tries to navigate her in-laws’ house and the strange environment she finds there. Weirdly, considering how much of the time I spend at least mildly uncomfortable these days, Moreno-Garcia’s ability to create a sense of disquiet was just what I didn’t realize I was missing. The story is fast-paced but never rushed, and the conclusion is just what it ought to be. There are so many people who will enjoy this truly excellent genre-bending story."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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The Electric State Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781501181412
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Published: Skybound Books - September 25th, 2018

"At what age do we suddenly stop wanting pictures to go along with our stories? Simon Stalenhag's The Electric State is one of the most exciting books I’ve read in the last few years, a book I engaged with in a totally different way than I’m used to these days. I read graphic novels from time to time, and lots of picture books, but a true picture book for adults is something you don’t see very often. The story is the sort common in dystopia -- a protagonist searches for a sibling through harrowing conditions. This is a story that’s been told over and over, with enough variations to keep bookstore shelves filled for decades, but the twist here is the pictures. The prose are accompanied by stunning images that capture simultaneously feelings of wonder and desperation. I was transported by the artwork in this book, which pairs perfectly with Stalenhag’s writing; the images give just enough to fill in the blanks left by the text and vice versa. I would love to see more books follow this lead, but also fear that they wouldn’t meet this same, spectacularly high standard, so maybe it’s just best to savor this one and wait for Stalenhag to give us another."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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The Magicians: A Novel (Magicians Trilogy #1) Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780452296299
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Published: Penguin Books - May 25th, 2010

"If you’re like most of the world right now, you’re finding it hard to focus, and might be craving the comfort of the familiar. The Magicians (and the two subsequent books) provides just the right amount of nostalgia, offering an innovative approach to a common fantasy trope. Quentin is a gifted student somewhat obsessed with a fantasy series akin to the Narnia books who stumbles into a world filled with magic, discovering that his childhood’s literary escape is actually a reality he can slip into. At a school for magic, he hones his craft, meeting others who share his abilities, and is pulled between worlds and between people.

Grossman creates a traditional fantasy landscape with a modern edge, where magic is a drug as much as a tool, and the magicians are often much more than they seem at first glance. This trilogy is exceptional escapist reading."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon (Vintage Departures) Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781400078455
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Published: Vintage - January 26th, 2010

"It is not uncommon for a journalist to find themselves in dangerous, potentially life-threatening situations in the course of tracking a story. It is however strange that it happens the way it did for David Grann: A New Yorker with no outdoor experience, Grann decided to search for the (long cold) trail of explorer Percy Fawcett, an adventurer who disappeared in the Amazon in 1925 while looking for the city known as Z.

Grann’s writing is masterful, and his research is impeccable. The book goes back and forth between Fawcett’s story and his own, creating parallels and showing just how absurd early 20th exploration was at times (and is at times today). Fawcett comes alive as a man obsessed and Grann shows himself to be, while not obsessed with success and acclaim, certainly focused on attaining his goal, despite being wildly unprepared.

An excellent adventure story, a mystery, and an all around great read."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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$9 Therapy: Semi-Capitalist Solutions to Your Emotional Problems Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780062936332
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Published: Morrow Gift - February 11th, 2020

"When did taking care of yourself become so expensive? The world is full of advice that makes it seem like the only way you can possibly engage in self-care is to have vast financial resources. “Can’t afford that particular candle? Is the right face cream more than your weekly paycheck? Too bad, you’re doomed to be miserable.” Enter Megan and Nick who will offer you solid solutions (and a lot of laughs along the way) for ways you can take care of yourself without breaking the bank.

Everything from dealing with overbearing coworkers, to sex, to acupressure massage, they cover a lot of bases. This practical advice for ways to hold yourself together brings together a variety of approaches and is sure to offer something for everyone. As the name states, none of these things should cost more than $9 (and a lot are even free or close to it).

If you’re looking for a self-help book that will talk to you like a friend, not like a guru, look no further."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Recollections of My Nonexistence: A Memoir Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780593083345
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Published: Penguin Books - March 9th, 2021

"This memoir is so deeply lovely.

As I read I found myself wanting to mark sentences that resonated, phrases that felt so utterly beautiful and powerful. Then I’d move to the next paragraph, and there would be another sentence that blew the previous one out of the water. This continued chapter after chapter, with every page offering lyrical prose that drove me to pause, to ruminate, to revel in Solnit’s absolutely stunning turn of phrase and her ability to so beautifully capture the female condition. I took my time, reading slowly over the course of about a month and a half, picking up a chapter here, a few paragraphs there. I felt deeply privileged as I dipped in and out of Solnit’s life and I couldn’t wait to share it with others I knew would appreciate her words as well.

Starting when she left home in her teens and concluding just a few years ago, the life story encompassed in these pages touches on other published works, including both the well-known (Men Explain Things to Me, Wanderlust) and the more obscure. By the time I reached the end of the book, I felt that I had grown up with Solnit, had been with her at protests, in college classes, in her first apartment, sitting at the desk upon which she writes. This is made all the more remarkable by the fact that there is almost nothing in these pages about her day to day experiences, about relationships. You get a sense of the woman she was and has become, you journey with her, but in feeling, not in specifics.

If you are familiar with Rebecca Solnit’s writing from her essays, this memoir will come as a breath of fresh air—all of her passion, all of her vigor is present, but instead of the raging fire she so often brings to a topic, here her words are like embers, burning with a mellow intensity, ready to flare up when necessary, but simply providing warmth until then.

Simply put, this is a hug in book form."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780156035156
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Published: Mariner Books - October 8th, 2007

"I almost hesitate to say it, because the movie version of The Princess Bride is just about perfect, but the book is actually even better. It’s got all the parts you know and love from the movie, plus so much more to delight you.

Goldman begins with the pretense that he is actually abridging the story written by S. Guildenstern. There was no Guildenstern, however, so Goldman just makes up the ridiculous things he wants to mention but leave out, such as numerous pages devoted to detailed descriptions of all the hats being packed for a particular journey.

Riotously funny, filled with adventure and whimsy, this is the perfect addition to any library."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Temporary (Emily Books) Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566895668
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Published: Coffee House Press - March 3rd, 2020

Sometimes you want a book that is entirely disconnected from the real world. I wasn’t expecting that when I picked up Temporary, but it is exactly what I got. I anticipated millennial anxiety about the job market, uncertain employment, and the lack of a retirement account, but what I got was a marvelous exploration of a world in which temps don’t just fill in for someone who is on leave, they actually take over that person’s life. It’s the best kind of magical realism—there’s no fantasy added to make plot points come together, there’s just a delightful slightly-alternate sense of how the world works.

If you want some whimsy, something that will offer you a respite from reality, Temporary is the book you’re looking for.

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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A Faithful But Melancholy Account of Several Barbarities Lately Committed Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781945829246
Availability: Not in stock, usually ships to store in 1-5 Days
Published: Missouri Review Books - December 15th, 2019

"This book is stunning.

Similar in feeling to Howard Frank Mosher’s depictions of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont (my own home), Brown’s writing is hazy with the glow of nostalgia, yet studded with dialog that brings characters sharply into focus, linking them to the landscapes that made them and turning them into people you swear you’ll find on the street and are delighted to encounter again on subsequent pages.

Brown’s linked stories, all of which follow members of the Howland family, are beautifully written, haunting depictions of life in Maine, though they could really be anywhere in northern New England where Puritan stock still lingers, tied to the land that is far from easy to survive on. There is a balance between the land, the ocean, the rivers that make up the state of Maine and the richly developed characters that inhabit the places in question.

Each story is compelling in its own way—some give you a little bit of anxiety about how they’re going to turn out, others make you sigh with relief that you aren’t a member of the Howland family, others make you long for a simpler time, a life without constant connection to everyone everywhere. All of them leave you feeling like you’ve been rudely deposited back into your real life, one that is just a little less wonderful, a little less “Maine” than what Brown created.

A must read for Mainers. Whether you’re from an old Maine family or a recent arrival, this book will speak to you."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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The Western Wind Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802147721
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Published: Grove Press - October 15th, 2019

"I won’t say this book is unlike anything else I’ve ever read, but it felt marvelously unique due to the way it combined so many elements rarely seen together. Harvey expertly merged medieval historical fiction with a reverse chronology, an unreliable narrator—or is that just because of the timeline?—and spectacular imagery. This well-researched book is so immersive. The time (the late fifteenth century) feels appropriately alive, there’s disease, superstition, faith, and mud. There’s so much mud. The people seem like people you could encounter on a daily basis in modern life but they are in no way anachronistic. The language is old fashioned but doesn’t get you bogged down, it gives the essence without becoming pedantic. The depictions of medieval Christianity are just what I would expect having spent several semesters doing a deep-dive into the topic in college: there’s a wonderful blend of folklore, magic, pagan traditions, and Catholicism merging into a fairytale-esque whirlwind.

The story in The Western Wind is mesmerizing—a man is dead. Was he murdered? Was it an accident? Is he even really dead? I suppose you could classify this book as a mystery, the characters are investigating what happened to the missing town figures, after all, but it didn’t read like a mystery to me. There was not a pressing sense that a “bad guy” was lurking, though plenty of people were willing to take responsibility for the untimely demise. Having so much of the character development unfold in a confessional provides a different way of learning about people than usually unfolds: their own perspectives on their actions and themselves—of what they choose to bare to the priest, anyway—gives readers a take that is quite apart from that they would get from reading about those actions from a third person perspective. It makes the ground you stand on in regard to everyone just a little bit shaky. There is one scene in the book (earlyish in the book, but late in the story because of the unconventional chronology) that has stayed with me so vividly, despite having read numerous other books since finishing this one. This book was a haunting, mesmerizing experience."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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The Starless Sea: A Novel Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781101971383
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Published: Anchor - August 4th, 2020

"If you have already read The Night Circus, you know that Erin Morgenstern is a master of her craft, and the fact that she has written an even more intricately woven tale should be all the incentive you need to pick up The Starless Sea, but just in case you haven’t yet (what are you waiting for?!), read on.

I don’t think I will ever tire of books in which the characters are able to enter books, to transport themselves to another world less ordinary than the “real” world they come from. Morgenstern’s take on this classic adventure is built of many slightly-permeable layers of story all existing inside the realm of books. There are so many things happening in this book that it feels a bit like one of those cartoon hallways filled with doors, where you enter one room only to come out another on the opposite side of the hall, but it all makes sense somehow, and the journey from one side to the other is so vividly described that you could swear you’d really made the trip. There are stories within stories, characters who jump from one tale to another, then reappear in reality, bringing their literary magic with them.

This book was so much fun to read. The phrasing is beautiful, the stories within the world of books are stunning, and the overarching narrative is compelling and perfectly paced. I won’t try to describe the plot at all, it’s far too complicated for me to do it justice without horrific spoilers, but trust me and give it a try."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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The Silver Nutmeg: The Story of Anna Lavinia and Toby Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781590175002
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Published: NYR Children's Collection - April 10th, 2012

"The story of The Silver Nutmeg is straight forward: Anna Lavinia’s father chipped a hole in the garden wall so that she would have a good point of view on the world. When she leaves the garden to explore what she has been watching from that hold, she discovers another world, one that can be accessed by jumping through still, deep water. In that place she has adventures, makes friends, and learns all kinds of valuable lessons, the most important of which is that home is actually a pretty great place to be. It’s a story that has been rehashed for centuries for both children and adults, but in the capable hands of Palmer Brown, it is anything but common (and beautifully illustrated). Deeply philosophical for a children’s book, it belongs on your shelf next to Winnie the Pooh and The Little Prince. It offers different lessons at different stages of life and is truly an under-appreciated classic.

As a kid, every time I was sick and had to stay home from school, I read The Silver Nutmeg. Any time I had had a particularly bad day at school, was feeling lost, had had a fight with a friend, I would go upstairs to my room and jump into Anna Lavinia’s world. It was the ultimate comfort, a healing balm that offered so much potential, potential of a sort that was completely lacking in real life. Over the years I have returned to this book more times that I can say, and I recently reclaimed it from my childhood bedroom, in the middle of a stack of text books from my college years, books that were meant to expand my perspectives and offer me a new point of view, and they certainly did, but none in such a vivid way as this lovely story from my childhood."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Mitz: The Marmoset of Bloomsbury Cover Image
By Sigrid Nunez, Peter Cameron (Afterword by)
$15.95
ISBN: 9781593765828
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Published: Soft Skull - August 6th, 2019

"In the case of Mitz, I was first intrigued by the tiny monkey peering around the edge of the book, but then I saw the author and was won over one hundred percent. I had read The Friend (2018’s National Book Award winner) and was smitten not only with the dog the book is about, but with Nunez’s voice, and I couldn’t wait to throw myself into another story about an animal that would have that same, almost ethereal, feel.

Mitz was a marmoset, an actual marmoset, cared for by Leonard and Virginia Woolf (mostly Leonard) and this is her absolutely delightful fictionalized biography. Ostensibly, it is a story about Mitz’s life, but it is so much more than just a light, animal-centric tale. It is a story of writer’s block, of passion projects, of desperation, of the trials of being Jewish and watching Hitler’s rise to power in the interwar years. So much happens in this little book, and there is conflict, but there is not a traditional narrative arc. Instead, you, the reader, are presented with a series of events viewed by a creature entirely without the capacity to understand, but deeply affected by what unfolds around it and by the impact of those events on her people.

I loved this book, I have given it as a gift, I have recommended it to numerous people, and I so look forward to revisiting it in the future."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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After the Flood: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062889386
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Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - September 15th, 2020

"I love a good post-apocalyptic story, and After the Flood delivered not only a solid interpretation of a world ravaged by the effects of climate change, but also a new perspective on a common theme in disaster books and movies: the avenging parent. In a world that is falling apart, a woman seeks her daughter, stolen by her husband years ago.

In Montag’s imagining of the world destroyed by melting icecaps, civilization as we know it has ceased to exist, governments are gone, and it is primarily pirates that run the show. Society consists of a scattering of settlements on high peaks and boats that move from outpost to outpost, gathering supplies, trading, and sharing information. Myra and her daughter (born on the boat they now call home) remain in near constant motion, searching for any word of her older daughter, hoping desperately to find her before she reaches the age at which she would be valuable on board a breeding ship.

As someone who reads a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction, and loves a good (or bad) disaster movie, it was so refreshing to see a mother trying to prove herself in dangerous circumstances and against unfathomable odds and to see the emotional struggle she went through as more important than the physical challenges she faced."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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The River: A novel (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780525563532
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Published: Vintage - March 3rd, 2020

"I don’t often read books that are considered wilderness adventure stories, but something about the description of The River drew me in, and I’m so glad it did. Set on a lonely river leading to Hudson Bay, Heller creates a world reminiscent of a Hitchcock movie, with a slowly building sense of urgency and unrest as the two main characters race to reach the safety of the Bay ahead of a massive forest fire while navigating the other paddlers on the river, at least some of whom are not to be trusted.

Heller’s descriptions of scenery are so rich, so all-encompassing that it’s almost possible to forget the tension of the story that is happening in that stunning setting. His characters are well thought out and their backstories are provided in a manner that truly lends to the story. Wynn, hailing from the same corner of Vermont as my family, felt particularly real to me, and the place he grew up was so well researched, so perfectly described, you could practically use it as a road map to that little corner of the state.

As soon as I finished this book I called my dad to recommend it to him, because it’s just the sort of book he (a retired English teacher) was always trying to get me to read when I was younger. It is filled with absolutely lovely writing, layers of story, and intermittent bursts of action that make you gasp before being soothed back into the scenery just long enough to forget that the river bends, and something may be waiting around that curve."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781616206420
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Published: Algonquin Books - September 6th, 2016

"A lovely little book! While suffering from a rare and difficult-to-treat virus, Bailey found herself mentally present but unable to move her body. During her convalescence, a period of great emotional anguish, a friend brought her a wild snail she had found in the woods near Bailey’s house. Finding herself with a constant, enigmatic companion, she gained focus and purpose. No longer meditating solely on her own entrapment, she threw herself into the unexpected relationship she developed with the snail.

I definitely didn’t think I’d like this book so much, but I truly love it and haven’t stopped telling people about it since I read it. Even if you don’t usually read nature writing, give this a try because it’s absolutely beautiful."

-Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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I Am a Wolf Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525553298
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Published: Dial Books - May 21st, 2019

"What a wonderful book! The perfectly presented transition from wild beast to loving pet is so charmingly presented by Miller’s very round, very angry dog illustrations. Not only is it a great story about a shelter dog, it is also a beautiful story of the transformative power of kindness, something that the world can always use more of."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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The Lost Daughter Collective Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781941088739
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Published: Dzanc Books - March 7th, 2017

"As I write this, Lindsey Drager is my favorite author of the moment and the Lost Daughter Collective is one of the most exquisite books I have read in a long time. Drager’s lyrical prose tells of a future world—or maybe just an alternate one, it’s a little hard to say—and the relationships between fathers and daughters in this familiar yet entirely separate society. With allusions to not-quite-fairy tales—Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and The Wizard of Oz—the author depicts the way that young women move through their father’s lives. Like Drager’s newest book, The Archive of Alternate Endings, this is built around the power of language and perception.

It’s hard to explain the story without giving away the absolutely stunning plot twist, but I can say this: Fathers of Lost Daughters (or FOLD) gathers regularly on the top floor of an abandoned umbrella factory, a support group for the men whose daughters are gone as they try to navigate the world as former-parents, to share their sorrow with others who will understand, but to do so in physical seclusion from the rest of the world, from those whose daughters are still present. Meanwhile (or maybe before, or maybe after), another story unfolds, that of a lonely little girl whose father is an academic and the relationship between the two of them, between the man who is not present and the girl who is always present, waiting, but is, in her own way, just as lost as the daughters lamented by FOLD.

Considering the overall length is not monumental, Drager has created a story with layer upon layer of rich, emotional characters, capturing everything from a young girl’s anxiety about her changing body (clearly the loosening of her teeth must be due to her clandestine use of a forbidden word) to the tenderness of a parent coping with the unexpected and the, to him, utterly incomprehensible experiences of his child. Complex without being obtuse, creatively structured, and absolutely brilliant. A story I will definitely revisit."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Rules for Visiting: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780525559245
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Published: Penguin Books - April 28th, 2020

"I started this book thinking it would be fun and light and forgettable; I was wrong. Kane’s lovely prose resonated with me on so many levels with her well-constructed, entirely human characters, all of whom I felt I know in my real life.

May Attaway is a horticulturalist working on a college campus. Her life is one that revolves around plants instead of people, but when she receives an unexpected sabbatical, she decides to spend it visiting old friends for extended periods of time, a la the characters in Jane Austen novels. In the course of these visits, May’s friends are revealed to her in new light, as are her relationships both with herself and others. It’s an introvert’s take on interpersonal relationships.

While this is undeniably a book about the connections between friends and family, it is also a meditation on home and what that means at various times in one’s life. May and the friends she visits all have their own distinctive, challenging situations, yet they make do, getting by the best they can. The theme of travel, of adventure, of setting out vs. staying home, that runs through the story is perfectly placed to draw readers in, to make them think about their own homes, their own journeys.

Despite being laden with allusions to the classics, the Rules for Visiting is entirely approachable the, just like May herself is approachable (though she may not like to admit it and certainly doesn’t work to cultivate it). A fantastic book to share with a long-distance friend."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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The Archive of Alternate Endings Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781945814822
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Published: Dzanc Books - May 7th, 2019

"Reading this book was a wonderful experience. The blurb on the back makes it sound a little dry, clinical even, but the actual experience of reading it was so rich, so dynamic, so all-consuming that I was genuinely surprised when I reached the end.

Consisting of interwoven stories pulled from imagined pages of human history, as well as its the future, The Archive of Alternate Endings is a masterful study of sibling relationships, societal prejudices, and the limitations placed upon us by the time in which we live. The seemingly unrelated characters unite smoothly, without ever meeting, to create a single cast sharing one story.

Simply a magnificent little book."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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The Last Equation of Isaac Severy: A Novel in Clues Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781501175138
Availability: Not in stock, usually ships to store in 1-5 Days
Published: Atria Books - December 4th, 2018

"I’m not a big fan of most books that are classified as mysteries. Police procedurals, stories about murdered women, thrillers that center on mentally disturbed characters and their victims really don’t tend to interest me. That being said, I love reading books in which a character has an actual (non-violent) mystery or puzzle to solve and does it without the resources of a police force behind them. This is one of those books.

Isaac Severy, a brilliant mathematician and the patriarch of a family of even more brilliant mathematicians, is dead when this book begins, but that doesn’t stop him from pulling strings throughout the story. Chapters alternate perspectives between one of his children and two of his grandchildren as they come to terms with the unraveling of the family following Isaac’s unexpected, and rather spectacular, death. It is this narrative style that makes this the kind of mystery I like—there is no single all-knowing character, nor is there a huge, final-chapter reveal that proves the author has been holding out on you. Instead, there’s an organically unfolding tale that comes together, piece by piece, as different people seek out and stumble upon clues to just what on Earth Isaac had discovered before he died.

Part family drama, part mystery, there’s a lot going on in Jacobs’ text. Sibling rivalry, familial expectations and disappointments, political intrigue, and tragic loss all come together to tell one cohesive story that does not feel contrived in the least.

Filled with deeply flawed and completely human players, The Last Equation of Isaac Severy is a mystery to solve along with the written characters. The twists and turns are just enough to keep you guessing; the clues are there to be found to keep you up to speed with (or sometimes even ahead of) the various Severys. Give this book a shot, even if you don’t think you’re a classic mystery person, I bet you’ll be surprised how quickly you fall under the Severy spell."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Early Riser: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143111276
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Published: Penguin Books - February 11th, 2020

"Jasper Fforde is one of my favorite authors. He has a way of writing stories that are intelligent without being pretentious, silly without being fluffy, and thought provoking without making you work too hard. His newest book, Early Riser, is a delightful and dark look at a society that goes to sleep through the unbearable cold of winter that is, essentially, an annual ice age.

While some sleepers rely on the cold and dark and heavy fat reserves to keep them going through months of slumber, anyone who can afford it turns to pharmaceuticals to ensure a safe passage to spring. And then there are those who stay awake through the season, guarding the sleepers from any number of disasters—a heating system malfunction and roving bands of scavengers top the list of threats, but they are far from the only things that can go wrong when most of the population is asleep. Our hero, Charles Worthing, is faced with his first winter awake and all the strange goings-on in Sector 12, the coldest, most isolated, most Wild West of regions. Surrounded by companions with constantly shifting alliances and cut throat attitudes, he must survive the cold while also unraveling a conspiracy that seems to go all the way to the top.

If you’re looking for a dystopia that won’t fill you with existential dread or make you question every single action you take, you have found it. There is no detailed description of what went wrong to cause winters to be so severe, they just are and people adapt to them. There’s a big scary pharmaceutical company, but there are also zombies (kind of), contagious dreams, and a remarkable case of multiple personalities. There’s action, there’s romance (but only in a bizarre, possibly imaginary sort of way), and there’s a woman who just won’t stop playing Tom Jones’ ‘Help Yourself’ on the bouzouki. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and, as strange as it is, give it a try, chances are if you’ve read this far, you’ll like it too."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good Cover Image
By Helene Tursten, Marlaine Delargy (Translated by)
$12.99
ISBN: 9781641290111
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Published: Soho Crime - November 6th, 2018

"Everything about this book is charming from its faux cross stitched cover to its description of grocery shopping to the Elderly Lady herself. Maud, the titular character, sacrificed her youth to caring for family and her own life largely passed her by. After the death of her disabled sister, Maud finds herself with no further obligations, a large, rent-free apartment, and plenty of time to kill. But life still has its inconveniences. While others might just see an overbearing neighbor as an annoyance, or the upcoming marriage of a former fiancé as a moment for nostalgia, Maud takes (no good) action.

This collection of connected stories is a refreshing approach to the genre I like to think of as “little old lady murder mysteries” in that the old lady is, for once, the one doing the murdering instead of the sleuthing. She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s inspiring. I hope I’m even a fraction this feisty when I’m Maud’s age.

Read this little book and share it with your friends. I’m promise they’ll all enjoy it."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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The Sea Beast Takes a Lover: Stories Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781101986639
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Published: Dutton - March 5th, 2019

"I’m not usually one for story collections, but the title of this one drew me in and I’m so glad it did. Andreasen creates spectacular worlds, even when the story takes place entirely in one room, or apartment, or slowly sinking ship. If you’re a fan of Vonnegut’s style, this is a new author who can give you a similar feeling with a universe just slightly off from our own, where fantastic things happen everyday but nobody thinks they are that exciting.

This is Andreasen’s first book and I’m already looking forward to his next."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9780679733768
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Published: Vintage - June 4th, 1991

"A fascinating, engrossing story of one woman’s community in Hallowell, Maine. Based in part on the diary of Martha Ballard and in part on Ulrich’s extensive research, this book brings to life the characters as though they are just that and not people who lived more than two hundred years ago.

This is a great look at how communication existed in a rural area and how closely connected lives were when social networks revolved around shared toil instead of computers.

A must read for those who love history, sociology, or are curious about how Maine looked in the past."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Circe Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316556323
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Published: Back Bay Books - April 14th, 2020

"This is a book to savor.

Miller’s artful prose is a perfect counterbalance to so much contemporary fiction that is written to feel breathless and compulsive. Here, each line, each word, is deliberate, meant not just to convey information but to evoke feeling. The characters are well-developed, complicated, vibrant, flawed humans (and immortals). Names that are familiar from the pages of Greek myths are brought to life with a wholeness that transcends the well-known rivalries and power-struggles of the classic stories to illuminate the depth of their humanity.

There is an intensity that burns at the heart of the book and inside Circe herself; it scorches everything and everyone she touches. Whether you’re familiar with the myths that inspired it or not, Circe will bring you great pleasure as a reader."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Blotto Botany: A Lesson in Healing Cordials and Plant Magic Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062740618
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Published: Morrow Gift - September 4th, 2018

"A beautiful little guide to making cordials, bitters, and other healing tonics. McGowan’s training as an herbalist highlights the medicinal values of various plants and combines those remedial properties for the modern cocktail-enthusiast’s palette. Unwilling to compromise her artistic vision, McGowan’s book is designed the same way as the zine she used to produce: hand-lettered recipes are accompanied by her own images and collages, making this a distinctive and useful roadmap for anyone who enjoys brewing up their own beverages."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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The Night Ocean: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781101981092
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Published: Penguin Books - April 3rd, 2018

"One of the most gripping books I’ve read in years, The Night Ocean sparkles with multiple timelines, unreliable narrators, and beautifully painted portraits and scenery. Quietly unsettling throughout, it’s not a thriller, nor is it a true mystery, but it borrows the best characteristics from each of those styles.

It’s hard to describe what happens without ruining the numerous twists and turns, but trust me, if you don’t think a woman’s quest to pick up the line of inquiry her husband was pursuing when he died (or did he simply disappear?) is for you, give it another chance; this is not your typical family drama. Drawing on the untold parts of H.P. Lovecraft’s biography, including many rumors, LaFarge creates a plausible life story-or not, you’re never entirely sure-but that’s the beauty of it. I have rarely read a book with so many threads that are satisfyingly pulled together by the end without leaving plot-holes or the feeling that the author tried too hard to create a neat and tidy conclusion.

As an added bonus, fans of sci-fi, even if they’ve never read H.P. Lovecraft, will gain an appreciation for the man behind so many of the genre’s best-known tropes.

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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The Hazel Wood: A Novel Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9781250147936
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Published: Flatiron Books - March 26th, 2019

"A gripping combination of modern life and fairytale lore, The Hazel Wood is a delight! Alice Crewe has grown up on the road, chased by round after round of bad luck that has led her mother Ella to move her from place to place for as long as she can remember. After a letter announcing the death of Alice’s grandmother, they settle down, finally staying in one place long enough for her mom to marry and for Alice to get a job and enroll at a prestigious prep school. All the time, though, she remains haunted by the grandmother she never knew and the fairy tales her mother has tried so hard to keep from her.

When Ella is kidnapped, Alice knows it isn’t about ransom, at least not in the traditional sense and she seeks out the only person she knows who has actually read her grandmother’s book, hoping he can provide insight into her mother’s disappearance. Together they go on a quest that ranges from the streets of New York City to the depths of the Hinterland, the world Alice had, until recently, thought was fictional.

With well-developed back stories, the characters are fully actualized and feel like people could run into on the street, even, to an extent, those who reside only in stories. By blending the modern world with the dark side of fairy tales—it’s definitely more Brothers Grimm than Disney—Albert creates a classic tale that doesn’t feel old fashioned."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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My Year of Rest and Relaxation: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525522133
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Published: Penguin Books - June 25th, 2019

Ottessa Moshfegh is a master at creating compelling yet unlikable characters. The unnamed protagonist of My Year of Rest and Relaxation decides to spend a year asleep in order to reset her life. By relying on a psychiatrist with highly questionable professional ethics, she is able to medicate herself into a state of oblivion punctuated by bodega coffee, Whoopie Goldberg and Harrison Ford movies, and visits from her college roommate Reva, a woman who faces the challenges of life in New York City in her own deeply problematic manner.

The relationship between the protagonist and Reva captures so perfectly the struggles of old friends who, apart from shared experiences long past, have nothing at all in common, yet remain part of one another’s lives. Each of these women knows the other has problems, each openly judges and chastises the other in the way that only old friends can be forgiven for; each of them relies of the familiar nature of the other in order to muddle through.

Beautifully written, Moshfegh’s prose pulled me along and kept me turning pages without ever feeling breathless; every word is perfectly selected to capture a feeling, to evoke a specific, calculated emotion. For a book in which nothing much happens, it moves quickly and the year passes in a blink of an eye, just as the protagonist intends.

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Dear Mrs. Bird: A Novel (The Emmy Lake Chronicles #1) Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781501170072
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Published: Scribner - May 7th, 2019

What a lovely book! Set during the blitz, Dear Mrs. Bird is the story of a young woman, Emmy, who wants nothing more than to be a war correspondent. When she sees a job posting for a Junior, and applications are to be sent to the Evening Chronicle, one of London’s finest newspapers, she is over the moon. A slightly strange interview leads to success and next thing she knows, Emmy is the newest Junior Typist for…Henrietta Helps, the advice column of a weekly ladies’ magazine that’s stuck in the ‘20s due to the Editress, Mrs. Bird, whose list of Unacceptable content is much longer than the list of topics she’ll consider giving advice on.

As much as she is frustrated by her misunderstanding of the job and her rigid boss, she’s unwilling to let so many letters go answered; despite knowing it’s a terrible idea, she begins forging Mrs. Bird’s signature on responses to readers in need. Hilarity (and heartache) ensues.

A delightful book, Dear Mrs. Bird transported me to London, made me laugh, and had all the sobering moments one would expect for a story set at the height of the bombing of London. A charming story for when you want something that is well-researched, well-written, but still light.

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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The Power Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316547604
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Published: Back Bay Books - January 8th, 2019

"With high praise from Margaret Atwood and an alternate reality in which women develop the ability to shoot bolts of electricity from their bodies, entirely shifting the world-wide social order, I knew this was right up my alley. When I (finally) got around to reading it, I couldn’t put it down.

Alderman’s vision is well-crafted, compelling, and emotional, containing just enough intersections with today’s world, to be filled with thought-provoking characters and events that you simultaneously think “but that couldn’t happen here” and “wow, that really hits home.”

The story alternates between several interconnected characters over the course of ten years. Among others there are the charismatic religious leader, the daughter of an organized crime boss, the politician rising through the ranks, and the freelance reporter documenting the changing world. Each point of focus brings something distinct to the telling, highlighting concerns about corruption, morality, and how exactly power should be wielded.

While the “history”—written several hundred years after women gain power—stands alone, the letters at the beginning, and especially the end, really made this book come together with a satisfying, gasp-inducing, gut-punch final sentence.

If you like alternate histories, dystopias, powerful women, and well-crafted stories, this book is a must read.

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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The Bedlam Stacks Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781620409695
Availability: Not in stock, usually ships to store in 1-5 Days
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - May 15th, 2018

"These days it seems like standalone fantasies are few and far between. The Bedlam Stacks, however, stands brilliantly on its own two feet. This is a charming story of companionship and mystical pre-Incan statues deep in the Andes.

This book had everything that I love in fantasy, foremost a sense of not quite knowing what is real, what’s an illusion, and where the protagonist stands amidst it all. There’s a quest, there’s betrayal, there’s a moody guide who clearly doesn’t want outsiders there, but will also fight to protect them now that they’ve arrived. There’s Victorian entitlement and propriety, crumbling estates, characters you just love to hate, and some you long to see more of. Despite all of these familiar elements, there’s nothing trite about Pulley’s story. Her writing is inventive, her characters believable to the point that one of them became, in my mind’s eye, the spitting image of someone I know. From beginning to end, this book kept me intrigued.

It should be noted that this is a companion book to The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, but you can read either of them without the other and get the entirety of both stories."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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How to Be Famous: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062433787
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Published: Harper Perennial - July 2nd, 2019

"There are a very few authors who have the ability to be simultaneously hilarious, outraged, poignant, inspiring, and utterly unbelievable, but Caitlin Moran can do just that. I was introduced to her in How to Be a Woman, the first of her memoirs and a book I can’t recommend highly enough for its fresh approach to feminism. Her second work of fiction, How to Be Famous is a laugh out loud romp through the fringes of rock and roll high society, following the Dolly Wilde, and her real-life alter-ego, Johanna Morrigan. While technically this is a sequel to How to Build a Girl, it stands firmly on its own—a feat that Dolly sometimes struggles with the rise to fame and fortune.

So much more than a small-town girl makes big story, Moran’s prose tell the tale of a young woman who is all at once self-assured, determined, and terrified. While she tells of the perils associated with fame, there is no preaching, no “be grateful for what you have” mentality; let’s face it, fame is pretty fantastic, it just isn’t perfect.

A book to share with your friends, How to be Famous is a nearly-perfect story told with just the right balance of fluff and substance.

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Sleeping Giants (The Themis Files #1) Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781101886717
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Published: Del Rey - January 24th, 2017

These books are unlike anything else I’ve ever read and I love them for it. Each chapter is told in a different format—interview, official military recordings, transcripts of conversations and news reports—all moving the story forward without an omniscient narrator or any expository text. The story is told entirely through dialog moving it forward quickly without feeling rushed.

The odd-bedfellows cast of characters includes a nameless shadowy operative, a back-from-the-dead scientist, and a linguist with a tendency to quote sci-fi movies. I found myself surprised again and again by the twists that somehow managed to hit on many of the standard sci-fi themes without turning into a cliché.

This series runs the gamut from unsettling to poignant to soul-searchingly terrifying. It’s easy to get burned out on a series, but this is one that’s absolutely worth sticking with.

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Girls Burn Brighter: A Novel Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250309501
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Published: Flatiron Books - March 5th, 2019

"This book was at times hard to read, it speaks frankly about brutality against women in a variety of forms, but that’s not what the story is about. It is a story about the fierce intensity of friendship and its power to sustain someone through the most trying times.

The young women in the story are subjected to absolute horrors yet they do not crumble under the pressure, instead they burn like embers—slow, intense, and with the potential to start a blaze capable of destroying everything around them.

This is not just a story about friendship or resilience, it is a story about love and protection and the extremes that someone will go to for the person they love. There is an honesty and an intimacy between the characters that is clearly the most important force in these girls’ lives, something that is true for so many teenaged best friends, which makes the story relatable in a way that I didn’t expect considering the content. Even though I had to put it down a few times, I was always compelled to pick it up again.

I was entranced from the very beginning and I’m willing to bet you will be too."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780465056972
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Published: Basic Books - October 8th, 2013

"This is the only book that every member of my book club has both finished and enjoyed, Consider the Fork is a fascinating look at so many little things that we take for granted on a daily basis.

Do you know why chopsticks took hold in Asia and forks in Europe? Spoiler—it has to do with knives. How much thought have you ever given to the labor-saving devices that fill our kitchens? Would you be surprised to learn that many of them were met with reluctance by professional cooks when they were first introduced? Have you ever wondered about the first person to try a certain food or method of preparation? This book is so much more satisfying than an afternoon spent Googling.

Wilson examines this and so many other aspects of culinary tradition that made me think so differently about almost every meal I prepare. Beautiful prose, lovely illustrations, and fascinating content make this a must-read!"

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Adventures of a Young Naturalist: The Zoo Quest Expeditions Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781635060706
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Quercus - April 2nd, 2019

"David Attenborough has long been the first guest I would invite to my hypothetical celebrity dinner party. Knowing that my chances of ever sharing a meal with him are slim to the point of nonexistence, this book will have to suffice. And suffice it most certainly does.

As a fan of Attenborough’s narrative style in nature documentaries, the introduction to this book captured me. Here he is not as a man who has been knighted for his contributions to broadcasting and education, but instead as a young man producing live TV for the BBC. The formality and splendor of Planet Earth is put aside, softened by the recounting of a scheme to convince his boss and London Zoo to sign on for filming a series in Africa as a desperate attempt to make nature programs more exciting (each was told the other had already agreed). What could have gone so terribly wrong instead has resulted in one of the world’s most recognizable voices shining light on nature’s most magnificent and most humble creatures.

The bulk of the book consists of Attenborough’s reflections on some of his earliest expeditions, giving you the chance to see into the experiences that shaped his journey to the man we know him as today."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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Country Dark Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802129338
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Published: Grove Press - March 19th, 2019

"This book is a breath of fresh air. It’s not going to change the world; it’s not trying to tell a universal story that will draw big, powerful, conclusions about life or humanity. It’s just a story about some people going through their own personal hell, but it is told with such beautiful prose that I found myself rereading passages throughout.

Offutt’s grasp of language is exquisite. He writes with a precision I have rarely encountered and which I cannot do justice to, so instead of gushing about simplicity, I will simply share this passage, from which the book draws its name:

“The sky stretched black in every direction. Clouds blocked the stars, lending an unfathomable depth to the air. The tree line was gone and hilltops blended with the black tapestry of night. It was country dark. He closed his eyes, feeling safe.”

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone: [A Cookbook] Cover Image
$40.00
ISBN: 9781607745532
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Published: Ten Speed Press - March 11th, 2014

"The previous version of this cookbook was a staple in my childhood kitchen, and there have been numerous occasions that I called my parents asking them to read me a recipe before I finally bought myself a copy. This is a fantastic reference book for anyone looking to make delicious sides, hearty main courses, or unexpected desserts.

Organized by vegetable, it’s a great book to flip through when you find yourself in a rut or trying to use up a particular item in the fridge. Madison’s instructions are clear and straightforward, whether you’re an accomplished cook or just starting out, this book will inspire you to use veggies in ways you’d never thought of before."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books


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We Have Always Lived in the Castle: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) Cover Image
By Shirley Jackson, Jonathan Lethem (Afterword by), Thomas Ott (Illustrator)
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143039976
Availability: Backordered
Published: Penguin Classics - October 31st, 2006

"Some books linger long beyond the final page; this is one of those books. Jackson’s prose create a perfect image of a small New England town and the characters in it, but even more compelling is the feeling of uneasiness that develops as the story progresses. This is a haunting tale of small town suspicion. It is a story about persecution, deception, friendship, loyalty, crime, whispered rumors and shouted accusations, and the many faces of guilt. There’s so much to appreciate about the way the story unfolds as you learn more about the past that led to what you’re seeing, as well as insights into the residents of the “castle.”

A beautifully unsettling book that will keep you enthralled, right to the end, only to wonder, upon reaching the conclusion, if your own suspicions were accurate."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books