A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza follows Layla and Rafiq as they immigrate from India and make a life in America. They raise their children Hadia, Huda and Amar with all the opportunities that America affords while instilling in them a reverence for their Muslim faith. Mirza writes the relationships between the siblings so beautifully and memorably. This is a first novel by a young writer: I can’t wait to see what she does next.
Sing, Unburied, Sing. Jesmyn Ward. I read this twice this year, once for myself and once for the store book club. I loved it both times. A powerful multi-generational family story set in the American South. It’s part road trip novel, part ghost story.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. Gail Honeyman. I was skeptical about this book (Reese Witherspoon Book Club?) but I took it on vacation with me in June and loved the character of Eleanor. Deeply weird in just the right way, this is our top pick at the store when readers want a happy but not dumb novel.
Educated by Tara Westover is a gripping, beautifully told account of growing up in a fundamentalist, survivalist Mormon family. Westover is thoughtful and has done the work. I loved her rumination on what it means to be “educated”. A truly unforgettable memoir.
Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany. Jane Mount. I met Jane when we lived in New York – she painted a custom Ideal Bookshelf for me. Fast forward ten years and Browsers is in her newest book! She painted the store and I wrote a little paragraph on Middlemarch. Jane came to the store in September and it was just the best.
I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life. Anne Bogel. I have read and collected books about books my entire adult life and how thrilling it is to have a personal connection to this slim, perfect book of readerly essays by podcaster and blogger Anne Bogle. She also came to the store in early October – a dream come true!
If I had a penny for every time I said I wanted to write on my blog more, I would have at least dollar by now. But truly, I am more thoughtful when I *do* write here. The pace of the store has doubled in the last year but I am finding how necessary it is for me to remain rooted in certain practices at home. Reading, puttering, cooking, and yes, writing a little.