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 Weekly Words about New Books in
Independent Bookstores

January 20, 2019

A Memoir of Mistaken Identity and  a Literary Novel Replete with Domestic Complications 
   
Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro. Novelist, journ alist, and memoirist Shapiro returns to this last genre with a story of origin that is fascinating. As many have done in recent years, Sha p i ro - on little more than a whim - sends her DNA in for analysis. What she discov ers, at age 54, is a real shocker. Her beloved father, who raised her in the Orthod ox Jewish culture, is not actually her biological dad. That honor, she later learns, belongs to a sperm sample from the 1960s that was artificially inseminated in her mother. After recovering from the jaw-dropping news and unable to confront her now-dead parents, Shapiro the writer realizes what a great story this could be. So she sets out to track down her birth father while dealing with the prospect of a whole new iden tity.  
 
In describing the book, Publishers Weekly said, "With thoughtful candor, [Shapiro] explores the ethical questions surrounding sperm donation, the consequences of DNA testing, and the emotional impact of having an uprooted religious and ethnic identity. This beautifully written, thought-provoking genealogical mystery will captivate readers from the very first pages."  
    
 
Late In the Day by Tessa Hadley. For those of you who enjoy good literary  fiction, London-based Hadley is a solid bet. She's written novels, including 2016's The P ast, and short story collections, and is a regular contributor to The New Yorke r. Her latest is a novel in which the lives of two close-knit couples - friends for more than 30 years - are irrevocably changed by the untimely death of one of the four. As the remaining three collectively attempt to deal with the loss, they find their relationships strained by entanglements and grievances from the past. Hadley's absorbing narrative moves back and forth in time, weaving the protagonists' thoughts and interactions into a perceptive character study that speaks to loss, friendship, and marriage.  
 
By the way, Late In the Day is also the front page review of today's New York Times Book Review - click here if you haven't read it and would like to.     
Uplifting Women's Guide to Aging Wisely and Happily  
 
Women Rowing North: Navigating Life's Currents and Flourishing as We Age by Mary 
Pipher. Noted psychologist Pipher first gained attention in the book world with her bestselling Reviving Ophelia, an enlightening examination of  adolescent girls prone to eating disorders, depression, and suicide attempts. The book also offered strategies to help. With her new title, she heads to the other end of life's spectrum with this uplifting guide for women as they age. Interestingly, although older women contend with misogyny, ageism, and loss, Pipher found that most are resilient and quite happy. Their struggles help them grow into the empathetic and wise people many have always wanted to be.  
 
The book is divided into four sections, and I'll let the author herself describe them - this from her introduction: "Part I considers the challenges of aging, including ageism and lookism, caregiving, loss, and loneliness. Part II considers the travel skills necessary for our river journey north. These includes understanding ourselves, skillful choices, community building, managing our narratives, and gratitude... Part III turns readers toward the lifeboat of long-term loving relationships. Whether or not we have family, we need to live interdependently with others... Finally, Part IV explores the rewards of this life stage, including authenticity, enhanced perspectives, and bliss." 
WHERE TO FIND 
AN INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE

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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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