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Book Group Ambassador Reviews 2019

The Secrets We Kept

I couldn’t put this book down. Who doesn’t like spies? Especially if they are women trained as secretaries. Sally and Irina are drawn into the world of espionage at the height of the Cold War through the recently formed CIA. Their mission? Smuggling literature into Russia as a way to ignite democracy and a sense of freedom. I was fascinated by how these women moved between two worlds, working as secretaries during the day and involved in clandestine operations after hours. —Laurel Maxwell, Bookshop Ambassador

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The Secrets We Kept: A novel Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780525656159
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - September 3rd, 2019

Olive, Again

Fans of Strout’s Olive Kitteridge will be thrilled with this follow-up. Olive remains as brutally honest and irritable as ever, her world packed with complexities that befuddle and amuse her. The genius of Strout’s juicy prose is found in her characters and how their stories illustrate what it is to be human: vulnerable, sweet, disappointing, heartbreaking, heartwarming. We recognize ourselves and our neighbors in these stories—and maybe our book group members, too! —Jennifer Wood, Bookshop Ambassador

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Olive, Again (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel Cover Image
$21.60
ISBN: 9780812996548
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - October 15th, 2019

Beekeepers of Aleppo

How do you see? How do you see strength? Evil? Resilience? Tragedy? Hope? Hopelessness? Love? Lefteri asks these questions in The Beekeeper of Aleppo. This story is about a young man, Uri, his wife Afra, and their escape from war-torn Aleppo. They experience the unimaginable loss of war and it’s up to Uri to get all he has left—his wife—to the safety of the UK. Uri and Afra are gentle people and so is the book. It doesn’t hide the horrors the two suffer, but the revelations of these atrocities are veiled and tragic, not bloody or graphic. The text reflects Uri’s spirit and perspective. Lefteri spent time volunteering in refugee camps and has worked with refugees in the UK. Her deep knowledge of their plight, both acute and long term, has produced an empathetic account of survival and love. This is a must-read.  —Judi Heher, Bookshop Ambassador

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The Beekeeper of Aleppo: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781984821218
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ballantine Books - August 27th, 2019

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

I loved Naomi Novik’s Uprooted so much that I have spent years awaiting Spinning Silver, and it did NOT disappoint. Spinning is not a sequel to Uprooted, but it follows in a similar style: adventure fantasy loosely inspired by a classic fairy tale and set in medieval Eastern Europe. Different from Uprooted, however, Spinning is told from the rotating viewpoints of a sizeable cast of characters, centering around three strong but very different female characters. Novik does a fantastic job of building excitement and constantly accelerating the plot. Overall, even though it’s set in winter (too much winter!) in a cold region, I found it the perfect summer read.

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Spinning Silver: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780399180996
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - May 7th, 2019

I loved Naomi Novik’s Uprooted so much that I have spent years awaiting Spinning Silver, and it did NOT disappoint. Spinning is not a sequel to Uprooted, but it follows in a similar style: adventure fantasy loosely inspired by a classic fairy tale and set in medieval Eastern Europe. Different from Uprooted, however, Spinning is told from the rotating viewpoints of a sizeable cast of characters, centering around three strong but very different female characters. Novik does a fantastic job of building excitement and constantly accelerating the plot. Overall, even though it’s set in winter (too much winter!) in a cold region, I found it the perfect summer read.


The Clock Dance by Anne Tyler

This book is subtle yet surreal, and a bit of a ride. With characters anyone can relate to, and actions that aren't so easy to relate to, this is the perfect summer read. The story winds its way along and the reader wants to try and figure out what is going to happen. Tuck this in your bag for the times when you have a moment to escape into the story. You will want to read it to the end as quickly as you can. Enjoy! —Karen Burgess, Book Group Ambassador

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Clock Dance Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780525563020
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 30th, 2019

This book is subtle yet surreal, and a bit of a ride.  With characters anyone can relate to, and actions that aren't so easy to relate to, this is the perfect summer read.  The story winds its way along and the reader wants to try and figure out what is going to happen.  Tuck this in your bag for the times when you have a moment to escape into the story.  You will want to read it to the end as quickly as you can.  Enjoy! —Karen Burgess, Book Group Ambassador


Fruit of the Drunken Tree

In this faced paced novel, Contreras draws upon her life to create a novel that reads like a thriller and coming of age story set in her native Columbia. Chula is drawn to her live-in maid, Petrona who comes from a guerrilla-occupied slum. As the relationship between Petroana and Chula grows, so does the danger they find themselves in. I felt I was reading a diary of both Chula and Petrona's everyday lives. This only added to the depth of the story for me. The last half of the book I was rushing to devour every word. I was left heartbroken with the taste of reality both faced.

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Fruit of the Drunken Tree Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525434313
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - June 4th, 2019

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

A delightful sci-fi adventure,The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is the first in the Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers. This is a great “gateway” book for those looking to either fall in love with the genre or re-discover it. The author has a real talent for world building that doesn’t feel overwhelming while still being rather wide in scope. It explores a multitude of themes: gender fluidity, unconventional relationships and sentient artificial intelligence to name a few.  It’s funny, heart-wrenching and charming all at once. If you want something fun that also makes you think – this is perfect.

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The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062444134
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Voyager - July 5th, 2016

The Last Romantics: A Novel

After the four Skinner siblings’ father suddenly dies, their mother retreats to her own world during a 2-year span that they call The Pause. The children run wild and in the process forge unusually close bonds. The book starts when the youngest Skinner Fiona is a 102-year-old famous poet in the year 2079 and in it she tells the story of the Skinner family. This novel is a rich family epic full of love and heart, grief and challenge, and ultimately redemption.

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The Last Romantics: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062358202
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow - February 5th, 2019

Ghost Wall: A Novel

Ghost Wall is indeed a haunting book. Silvie “vacations” with her family to a primitive skills reenactment anthropology class. Silvie’s father’s passion is primitive life and she has been raised to fend for herself in the wild. She and her fellow students forage food and hunt rabbits, and Silvie is exposed through their friendship to the modern world, while the students have a close view of--and the opportunity to intervene in--Silvie’s family life.

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Ghost Wall: A Novel Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9780374161927
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - January 8th, 2019

Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country

Fans of Pam Houston have to wait a few years between books, but the wait is always worth it. Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country chronicles life on the  ranch she bought 25 years ago in Creede, Colorado, while also lovingly bearing witness to the large and small changes our planet and its inhabitants are undergoing. Houston weaves stories of her travels to remote and beautiful places with painful childhood memories and happenings on the ranch while addressing hope in the face of a changing climate. She leaves us with the idea that it is possible to simultaneously love and grieve, and that at its best grieving calls us to love that much more.

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Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780393241020
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - January 29th, 2019

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