Laura M's Top Ten Books for Seasonal Reading


Florence in Ecstasy Cover Image
ISBN: 9781944700171
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Unnamed Press - May 16th, 2017

To me, Spring is all about rebirth. Everything’s coming up green and fresh and alive, and reading this book was exactly like that. In it, a young woman named Hannah travels to Florence to outrun her life and combat an eating disorder. She joins the rowing club, gets a job at a local library, and spends her days wandering the city and reading up on the lives of saints. What makes this book so special though, is its depiction of Florence. I have yet to read a book that so perfectly captures the spirit of the city, and in such achingly beautiful language. Each time Hannah falters in her journey, the city, in all of its crumbling grandeur, is there is pull her out of the shadows. Oh and did I mention there’s a lovely, tender, utterly realistic romance at the center of it all? In short, Chaffee has managed to skirt along the edge of sentimentality and bring us a Florence, and a protagonist, that is just as flawed as she is beautiful.

The Wrong Heaven Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316516211
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - July 17th, 2018

I often struggle with short story collections. By the time I get invested in one story, it’s over, and I have to go through the whole process again. That wasn’t the case with THE WRONG HEAVEN. I read this weird and wonderful collection in one sitting! Each protagonist faces a dizzying array of strange problems. These women have sex with angels, are scolded by Jesus and Mary shaped lawn ornaments, and take injections to be turned into horses. And yet, among all the unnatural occurrences are kernels of love, loneliness, and growing up. These little moments, profound partly because they are amplified by the strangeness, stay with you long after you close the book. I hope you will end up loving this strange little book as much as I do!


The Summer Book Cover Image
By Tove Jansson, Kathryn Davis (Introduction by), Thomas Teal (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781590172681
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: NYRB Classics - May 20th, 2008

In this deceptively simply book, a young girl and her grandmother spend the summer on a quiet, desolate island. The chapters read like a series of vignettes: the girl and her grandmother build a city out of branches, they climb rocks, they weather through a storm. And yet, this book felt a breath of cool air on a too-warm day. Its meandering pace was so relaxing, and the quirky humor was enough to keep me smiling throughout. A pure delight of a book, perfect for a lazy afternoon and a tall glass of lemonade.

Tales from the Inner City Cover Image
By Shaun Tan, Shaun Tan (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781338298406
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Arthur A. Levine Books - September 25th, 2018

It’s only mildly embarrassing to admit that Shaun Tan is one of those authors I have to read in small doses, because if I’m not careful I get overwhelmingly jealous of his creative brain. The stories in the book are like snow globes, each one so perfectly crafted (and stunningly illustrated), they are like little worlds unto themselves. Each one takes a slice of urban life and adds just enough strangeness and nostalgia to make you marvel. An eagle at an airport terminal. Crocodiles on the 87th floor of a high-rise. Bears seeking legal representation. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Shaun Tan knows how to work magic.

The Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater: Essays on Crafting Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250095619
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - March 20th, 2018

This is a book about knitting. Do I knit? No. Have I ever wanted learn? Not really. Did I love this book anyway? YES. This is an essay collection about the joy of crafting, but more than that it’s about the joy of making something out nothing, and of carrying on a family tradition. It’s about the ways we chose to fill those extra pockets of time in our day, and how those choices can end up changing our lives. I laughed. I cried. I almost wanted to take up knitting. Maybe you’re wondering why I think you should read it in summer? Well firstly, it’s the best time to start a knitting project (if all goes well you’ll be done in time for winter). Secondly, the author makes a very compelling argument for knitting at the beach!


City of Crows Cover Image
ISBN: 9781609454708
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - September 18th, 2018

The weather is getting cooler, the light fades faster in the evening, and more than ever I want to curl up with something atmospheric, engrossing, and a little creepy. I found all three of those things in CITY OF CROWS. Set in 17th century France, it follows Charlotte, a woman who makes a deal with the devil in order to find her kidnapped son, and Lesage, a traveling con man in search of treasure. All roads lead to Paris, the City of Crows, and Charlotte and Lesage find themselves increasingly drawn into the underworld of magic and trickery. What I loved most was the author’s exploration into the strange mix of religion and magic that pervaded this time period: plague and hardship was kept at bay by a fearful belief in both, and the way Womersly interweaves the two is absolutely fascinating.

In the Night Wood Cover Image
ISBN: 9781328494436
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - October 9th, 2018

A mysterious children's book author. A failed professor and drug-addled wife, clouded by grief over the loss of their daughter. A remote mansion at the edge of a terrifying wood. And a horned monster lurking just out of sight. This modern gothic fairy tale is perfect for any chilly October evening. What I loved most about it was the way Bailey weaves modern elements into a classic story. Somehow, Disney princesses become sinister and academic stuffiness seems tension-filled. Bailey weaves a story as complex and gnarled as the intertwining roots of a tree, that will give you chills and keep you up long after you should have gone to bed.


Heart Spring Mountain: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062444431
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco - November 6th, 2018

This book is by the author of a short story collection that made it onto my top ten last year, so naturally it was one of my most anticipated releases of 2018. It did not disappoint! This rich, layered novel follows three generations of women who make their home on the same rural farm in Vermont. It carries us through one year, jumping back and forth between different timelines and revealing long lost family secrets. But more than the revelations you uncover, this book is about resilience and isolation, loneliness and community, and the slow destructiveness of climate change. The reason I chose winter and not spring (as the title suggests) is that the Vermont winters are so intense that they seem to expand to encompass the whole book, intensifying both the starkness of the landscape and the warmth inside.

Empty Set Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566894944
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - February 6th, 2018

In this little gem of a novel, a young woman is dealing with the disappearance of her mother, and attempting to navigate the spaces she used to fill. She plots her relationships with charts and graphs, Venn diagrams, and arrows, mapping out her place in the complicated spaces that are human relationships. She meditates on time, tracing the spiral rings on the plywood she’s using to shore up her dilapidated house, and wonders if time overlaps, circles around itself like the rings of a tree. This is a small, quiet story, but you immediately feel engrossed in Veronica’s world. What’s more, the visual nature of the book had me seeing connections everywhere - just for a moment, it made me think differently about time and love and the spaces between.

SKU: x9030

This is the journal that is going to revolutionize journals. No, seriously. It’s a game changer. Why? The Rekonect notebook has magnetic pages, which allows you take them out and re-organize them at will. Maybe you want your to-do list to always be the first page. Maybe you need a way to re-organize notes in a way that makes more sense to you. No longer are you bound by the confines of static notebook pages! You can take pages out and scan them without worrying about the bulge from the spine. You can tear them along the perforated magnetic strip and have a loose sheet of paper. You can take a page out of your notebook and stick it right on your fridge! The possibilities are endless. What’s more, the journal is surprisingly sturdy - one tug and a page comes free of the binding, but open the covers and shake, and nothing falls out. It’s kind of magical, and it truly is the notebook of the future!

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