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 Weekly Words about New Books in
Independent Bookstores

July 8, 2018

Debut Novels Feature Engaging Young Heroines and Strong Friendships
 
The Lido by Libby Page. This sweet debut novel features a young cub reporter at a small local newspaper, an 86-year-old widow, and the unlikely and life-changing friendship that develops between them. Kate works for a local paper in Brixton, London, covering forgettably small stories. When she's assigned to write about the closing of the local lido (an outdoor pool and recreation center), she meets Rosemary,who has swum at the lido daily since it opened its doors when she was a child. When a local developer attempts to buy the lido for a posh new apartment complex, Kate and Rosemary  galvanize the community to fight the lido's closure as their friendship blossoms and provides sustenance to both.
   
Reviewing the book for this month's Indie Next list, bookseller Anna Flynn from Watermark Books & Cafe in Wichita, Kansas, wrote: "What a fun read! Libby Page does a great job telling the story of a small London town pool and the people who make it an important part of their lives. The friendship between Kate and Rosemary, despite their age difference, is so well-developed and plays an integral role in the story. The Lido is a book that every summer reader will enjoy and one that will be great to talk about at book clubs. Very well done, Libby Page!"
 
 
Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce. Another enjoyable debut novel about women and friendship, this one set in London during World War II and featuring an adven-
t urous young woman who becomes a secret advice columnist. The book's protagonist, Emmy Lake, dreams of being a journalist and figures her break has come when she lands a job at a fast-fading magazine. But the job turns out to be working as a typist for the fierce and renowned advice columnist, Henrietta Bird. Mrs. Bird has one hard and fast rule: any letters to Mrs. Bird's Problem Page touching on a long list of unacceptable topics are discarded and not answered. But Emmy is touched by such missives and begins to secretly write back to the readers who have poured out their troubles, many of which are a result of the war. Emmy and her best friend, Bunty, are gutsy and spirited women who handle dire circumstances and their war-torn city with pluck and resolve.  
Dad's Got Alzheimer's - Daughter Copes with Compassion, Humor    
 
Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong.
This poignant and often funny look at a family's struggle with Alzheimer's was one of last year's most recommended summer reads.  Freshly disengaged from her fiancĂ© and feeling that life has not turned out quite the way she planned, 30-year-old Ruth quits her job, leaves town and arrives at her parents' home. There she finds her father, a prominent history professor, is losing his memory and is only erratically lucid. Ruth's mother, meanwhile, is lucidly erratic. It's not a fun time for the unprepared Ruth, but as her father's condition intensifies, she finds her grief leavened by the humor and absurdities of the situation. The book is written in journal form, with Ruth telling her story through chronological entries that span a year of her chaotic life. 
 
Among the many favorable reviews Goodbye, Vitamin garnered, these words from NPR were as good as any: "A heartwarming book. . . Khong's endearingly quirky novel. . .is filled with whimsical observations, oddball facts. . . [and] some passages evoke the wonderful offbeat sensibility of Ali Smith. . . .Sweet? Yes. Sugarcoated? Perhaps. Saccharine or cloying? Not to me. Hello, Rachel Khong. Kudos for this delectable take on familial devotion and dementia."  
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WHY THE COLUMN?
Hi, I'm Hut Landon, and I work as a bookseller in an independent bookstore in BerkeIey, California.

My goal with this newsletter is to keep readers up to date about new books hitting the shelves, share what indie booksellers are recommending in their stores, and pass on occasional news about the book world.

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