Hearts from River Bend

Note from a Bookseller

Hello, River Bend readers! Audrey here with what’s going on ‘round the shop.


We’re celebrating Black History month by highlighting the work of outstanding Black authors throughout the shop all February long. Stop on by and check out what’s new (or simply new to you)!

And of course, what’s February without Valentine’s Day? Whether you love it or loathe it, we have just the thing to give you the warm fuzzies this February. Stumped on what to get your sweetheart? You can’t go wrong with a River Bend gift card and some delicious McCrea’s caramels.

We’ve also added another virtual book launch to our calendar! Lambda Award-winning author Rebecca Podos will be in conversation with fellow author Katherine Locke via Zoom in early March. Rebecca’s propulsive Jewish folklore-inspired YA fantasy, From Dust, a Flame, comes out March 8. Check out our interview with Rebecca below and keep an eye on riverbendbookshop.com for up-to-date event information.

See you soon!

— Audrey, Manager

River Bend Bookshop

Audrey's Latest Book Picks


Kids: Crankenstein Valentine by Samantha Berger, illus. by Dan Santat

This delightful collab between Samantha Berger and one of my all-time fave illustrators, Dan Santat, hits all the right notes for my Crankenstein heart.

There’s nothing better on Valentine’s Day than a special someone by your side…who’s as grossed out by the mushy stuff as you are.


Middle Grade: The Legend of Auntie Po by Shing Yin Khor

Part historical fiction and part tall tale, this graphic novel tells the story of a 13-year-old Chinese American girl named Mei working in her father’s kitchen at a Sierra Nevada logging camp during the racially tumultuous wake of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

Khor artfully weaves a tender coming of age tale that both informs and enchants. Perfect for kids 10+.


Adult: Goliath by Tochi Onyebuchi

Set in Connecticut! Have you ever wondered, "while the predominantly white heroes of the sci-fi stories

we all know went gallivanting around space, what was going on back on earth?"

Onyebuchi's strikingly original novel imagines what that version of our planet would look like—and does so to breathtaking effect. A must-read for fans of survival dystopian sci-fi like Station Eleven.

Hot Stock! Recent Best Sellers


To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara


The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk


Each of Us a Universe by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo (*local fave!)


Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon

Virtual Book Events


Thank You, Mr. Nixon

Boston.com Interview

Join River Bend owner Meghan Hayden as she chats with author Gish Jen about her newest book, a fictional journey through U.S.-China relations.

RSVP to attend the virtual discussion. Book and other Jen titles available through River Bend.

Register now for Feb. 16 @ 6 PM
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From Dust, A Flame

Virtual Book Launch

Celebrate the debut of From Dust, A Flame with River Bend! Local author Rebecca Podos chats with fellow scribe Katherine Locke in conversation.

Register to get the link. Books are available through River Bend Bookshop and Eventbrite websites.

Register now for March 8 @ 3 PM

Current Staff Reads


Meghan: Listening Still by Anne Griffin (out March 1)


Ernio: The Aquanaut by Dan Santat (preorder for March 1!)


Deb: The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley (out Feb. 22)


Taryn: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou


Anna: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger


David: Already Enough by Lisa Olivera

Author Chat with Rebecca Podos


What inspired you to write a fantasy rooted in Jewish folklore?

Most of my books begin with the theme of inheritance—the things passed down to you for

better or worse, and how you navigate that as a young person still trying to figure out who you are, and who you want to become. From Dust, a Flame started when I felt ready to tackle that question in relation to Judaism. And part of the inheritance of Judaism is its folklore, both the magic and the monsters. These stories are artifacts of culture and history and religion combined, and it was awesome to explore the history of the Jewish Quarter in Prague and rituals of Shabbat, right alongside rituals for protection against shedim and the creation of golems.


Which character in From Dust, A Flame did you really want to write more for?

I love the main trio—Hannah, who puts so much pressure on herself to be perfect, and Ari, who’s frustrated that the community she grew up in might love her, but is making it harder to become who she wants to be, and Gabe, who struggles to make the people around him happy while staying true to a self he doesn’t totally understand. But if I somehow got to do a sequel, it would be a Gabe book. He’s the best big brother, the true definition of a cinnamon roll, and you know, he’s got a golem.

Who inspired your reading as a kid?

I actually read a lot of Jewish books as a kid—my synagogue library was one the first places I went to pick my own books—though Jewish kidlit looked a lot different in the '90s. Lots of Holocaust books, and not a ton of diversity. I was also obsessed with the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. I think he was my first favorite author. But the first YA I read (before the genre was so huge) was the Tomorrow series by John Marsden, following a group of teens who have to survive in the Australian bush after their country is invaded, and who navigate complicated moral questions, grief, and trauma as they decide to fight back. As a teenager, I felt so respected by that series and the way Marsden wrote his teen heroes. Now, as an author, I don’t think it’s possible or advisable to write for teenagers if you don’t respect them.

What author do you always love to read?

I have a lot of auto-buy authors, whose books I’ll pick up before I even read the synopsis. At the top of the list for YA is Anna-Marie McLemore (When the Moon Was Ours, Wild Beauty, The Mirror Season), and for adult, Alyssa Cole (the Reluctant Royals series, When No One Is Watching)


What's the last book you read and/or loved?

This one isn’t out until summer, alas, but I just got to read Britney Lewis’s debut YA novel, The Undead Truth of Us, which is this gorgeously written, surreal coming-of-age story about grief, love, and also zombies. Definitely a story not-to-miss.

Books you keep recommending:

Well if you like or are intrigued by From Dust, A Flame, I’ve got a list of amazing Jewish fantasies and folktales to recommend! In YA, there’s Aden Polydoros’ The City Beautiful, Phoebe North’s Strange Creatures, and Katherine Locke’s Balloonmakers duology (also, make sure to catch their upcoming historical fantasy, This Rebel Heart). And in adult, I’ll always recommend Ava Reid’s The Wolf and the Woodsman, and Rena Rossner’s The Sisters of the Winter Wood.


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Hours: Monday-Tuesday 10-4, Wednesday-Friday 10-6, Saturday 10-4, closed Sunday

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