Wellesley Books Newsletter | September 15th, 2021
Though it may still feel like summer, don't be fooled. Fall is underway in the book world, and we have a great lineup of new books coming out this season. If you need proof, let's just start with two names: Sally Rooney, whose third novel is being widely touted as her best yet, and Colson Whitehead, who goes from strength to strength with his latest, just out this week. And our events lineup features more of the season's best, tying into new releases by Anthony Doerr (making a quantum leap forward with his new novel), Amor Towles and Elizabeth Strout (both store favorites), and Jenna Blum (whose wonderful new memoir will melt your heart). Read on for more info, and stop in to see September's new releases in all their glory. You will not be disappointed.
Upcoming Events
Tuesday, October 5th at 7:00 PM (in-person)
Hank Phillippi Ryan, author of The First to Lie, presents her new thrilling and personal standalone novel, Her Perfect Life. Everyone knows Lily Atwood—and that may be her biggest problem. The beloved television reporter has it all—fame, fortune, Emmys, an adorable seven-year-old daughter, and the hashtag her loving fans created: #PerfectLily. To keep it, all she has to do is protect one life-changing secret: her own.

“Shocking, suspenseful, with clever twists and an abundance of secrets. Her Perfect Life kept me guessing until the end. I loved it!” —B. A. Paris, internationally bestselling author of The Therapist and Behind Closed Doors
Did you love Olive Kitteridge?
Wednesday, October 27th at 7:00 PM, Elizabeth Strout joins us in person to discuss Oh William!, her new novel featuring the iconic heroine Lucy Barton.

Through her “careful words and reverberating silences” (The New York Times), Elizabeth Strout has long captured readers’ hearts with spare, exquisite insights on family, relationships, and loss. Oh William! recounts Lucy's complex, tender relationship with her first husband—and longtime, on-again-off-again friend and confidant. Recalling their college years, through the birth of their daughters, the painful dissolution of their marriage, and the lives they built with other people, Strout weaves a portrait, stunning in its subtlety, of a decades-long partnership.
Friday, October 29th at 7:00 PM (in-person)
Jenna Blum, author of Those Who Save Us, pays tribute to her beloved black Lab in a beautiful new memoir, Woodrow on the Bench: Life Lessons from a Wise Old Dog. Since adopting him as a puppy fifteen years ago, Jenna Blum and Woodrow have been inseparable. But Woodrow is aging. As he begins to fail, the true nature of his extraordinary relationship with Jenna is revealed. Jenna may be the dog parent, but it is Woodrow, with his amazing personality and trusting nature, who has much to teach her.

"...[Blum brings] a mix of heart, levity, and empathy to a story that we know from the outset will end with profound sadness."–Publishers Weekly
Wednesday, October 6th at 7:00 PM, Anthony Doerr joins us in person to discuss his hauntingly beautiful new novel, Cloud Cuckoo Land.

The heroes of Cloud Cuckoo Land are trying to figure out the world around them: Anna and Omeir, on opposite sides of the city walls during the 1453 siege of Constantinople; teenage idealist Seymour in an attack on a public library in present day Idaho; and Konstance, on an interstellar ship bound for an exoplanet, decades from now. Like Marie-Laure and Werner in All the Light We Cannot See, Anna, Omeir, Seymour, and Konstance are dreamers and outsiders who find resourcefulness and hope in the midst of peril.
Did you love A Gentleman in Moscow?
Thursday, November 4th at 6:00PM, Amor Towles presents The Lincoln Highway, his stylish and propulsive new novel set in 1950s America. Amor will be in conversation with Richard Russo, author of Empire Falls.
"Towles’ third novel is even more entertaining than his much-acclaimed A Gentleman in Moscow...A remarkable blend of sweetness and doom, [The Lincoln Highway] is packed with revelations about the American myth, the art of storytelling, and the unrelenting pull of history. An exhilarating ride through Americana."

This event will take place online in partnership with Viking/Penguin and fellow indie bookstores Print: A Bookstore, Northshire Bookstore, and RJ Julia Booksellers.
And For Kids
Saturday, September 18th at Noon (in-person)
Kids and parents, come meet these two fantastic picture book authors outside the store at our Sidewalk Sale! Phaea Crede is the author of Jet the Cat (Is Not a Cat), a timely tale that humorously challenges labels and celebrates defining one's own unique identity. Adria Karlsson is the author of My Sister, Daisy, a powerful, moving story that handles the subject of transitioning with warmth and love.

No registration necessary; just come on over and say hi!
Friday, September 24th at 7:00 PM (online)
Candace Fleming, author of Cubs in the Tub, reads What Isabella Wanted, the true story of a woman who always got what she wanted: Isabella Stewart Gardner.

"[Isabella Stewart Gardner’s] unconventional nature and love of art are engagingly portrayed, and the unsolved theft of her art reads as a mystery worthy of her scandalous legacy."
Bookseller Recommendations
Everyone recommends:
The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun
Sofia says:
"The amount of pure joy I felt in the two sittings that I inhaled The Charm Offensive was unparalleled. Charlie and Dev are both absolute sweethearts that you truly can't help but relate to and root for. Both characters struggle with their mental health, and it's handled in the most honest and thoughtful way. I've never read a book with panic disorder depicted in the way I've experienced it, and Ms. Cochrun absolutely nailed it. Fans of Red, White and Royal Blue will devour The Charm Offensive, and I will be recommending it to anyone who will listen."

Lucy says:
"A swoon-worthy gay romance set behind-the-scenes of a Bachelor-style dating show; what more could you ask for! I would have loved this book based on the romance and the reality TV intrigue alone, but Cochrun's authentic and nuanced portrayal of mental illness and queerness in their various forms really took it to the next level. I tore through it in two days, and immediately recommended it to my friends. Perfect for fans of Casey McQuiston, or anyone who (like me) started watching The Bachelor semi-ironically and now can't stop."

Ashleigh says:
"Fans of Red, White & Royal Blue, get ready: Charlie and Dev are the new couple in town and you will adore them. Even as someone who doesn't tend towards rom-coms, I truly loved this book. The plot--a reality TV show romance between the Bachelor (or Prince Charming, in this case) and his producer--is fun and precious. What really makes this book incredible to me is two-fold. First--the sensitivity and respect used towards mental health challenges. They are a characteristic of many people in the book, and a genuine component of the main love story. Both Dev and Charlie are able to love someone because of all their pieces and parts, not in spite of them; but they're still learning that they themselves deserve such love in return. Second is Charlie's exploration of his own sexual orientation. The guidance given to him by loved ones is tender and insightful. I think this book will help a lot of people (myself included) learn more if they are curious, both about themselves and the myriad identities we can all possess. This is definitely a 2021 highlight for me, and brings the rom-com genre to a new level."
Cassie recommends:
Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang
A critical addition to the literary memoir canon. Beautiful Country follows Qian Julie Wang, aged 7, from Shijiazhuang, China to New York City in 1994. There her mother works in sweatshops in Chinatown, her father works under the table at a law office, and Wang attends public school, feeling separated from her classmates, unable to speak English, and unable to disclose the reality of her home life. Like a certain plucky Roald Dahl character, she finds solace at her local public library as she learns to read, getting lost in the worlds of characters who lead lives differently than her own. Joy and hope tie up with overwhelming stresses. Wang’s clear, emotionally charged storytelling takes us through her childhood with such care and tenderness towards her family. Qian Julie’s story is not new to the United States, but it’s one that is rarely heard above the other myriad voices. You won’t want to miss this one.
Jane recommends:
The Heron's Cry by Ann Cleeves
Another great effort from Ann Cleeves, one of my favorite mystery writers! In the second installment of the Matthew Venn series, two murders take place in bucolic North Devon. As Venn searches for the killer, we are brought deep into the life of the community, with its artists, pub owners, disgruntled farmers, and property developers, whose lives intertwine. It's compulsive reading--don't miss it!
New in Hardcover
Colson Whitehead
Liane Moriarty
Colm Toibin
Maria Amparo Escandon
Joshua Prager
Mary Roach
Evan Osnos
Suruthi Bala & Hannah Maguire
Nathaniel Philbrick
Joy Harjo
Desmond Shum
David M. Rubenstein
New in Paperback
Alice Hoffman
Jodi Picoult
John Banville
Lauren Fox
David Sedaris
Claudia Rankine
Sarah Smarsh
Peter Baker & Susan Glasser
Jill Lepore
Kerri Arsenault
Michael J. Sandel
Becky Cooper
Bookseller Recommendations for Kids and Teens
Ashleigh recommends:
Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer
Count me as the newest member of the Brigid Kemmerer fan club. I would cancel plans to get back to these pages if needed. The premise of the story is simple enough: a mysterious illness is sweeping the kingdom, and the cure is unfairly distributed between wealthy citizens and the rest of the populace. Two friends, Tessa and Wes, risk their lives nightly to Robin Hood the cure into the hands of their poor neighbors. In the castle, King Harriston and his brother, the King's Justice, Prince Corrick try to balance the expectation of their consul members with a looming rebellion against systemic inequality. For me, it's the outstanding character arcs and THAT TWIST that make it juicy and delicious and compelling. The main characters are all deeply wounded by traumatic parental deaths; they cope in drastic ways, whether by cruelty, coldness, or trying to heal the kingdom's ills. The use of morally-grey protagonists and the complexity of politics vs. idealism are excellent. Wes and Tessa are delightful; Corrick and Tessa are dynamite. The slow-burn relationships, as they all learning to truly see and trust each other, are splendid. I am hooked and cannot wait for the next two installments.
Sofia recommends:
Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean
Fans of American Royals and The Princess Diaries will LOVE Tokyo Ever After! Izume is a strong-willed, kindhearted protagonist, and I adored the development of her new relationship with her father, the Crown Prince of Japan. Add in some family drama, enemies-to-lovers romance, and an exploration of identity and heritage, and you have one easily enjoyable read.
Middle-Grade Monthly: A Subscription Club
Middle-Grade Monthly is our new subscription service for kids ages 8-12! Each month our children's book buyer Lauren and school liaison Cassie will select a newly-released chapter book. Get your hands on the newest and soon-to-be coveted books of the year. We offer monthly and yearly subscriptions, and you can pick up your book at the store or have it mailed to you. Click on the link below for FAQs about the program.

The September 2021 pick is Willodeen by Katherine Applegate. To find out more about our subscription service, click here.
Picture Book Subscription Club: A Perfect Gift!
A Child's Library is a subscription service for children ages 0-5! Lauren and Cassie select one newly-released picture book each month to be sent or picked-up from the store. The goal of A Child's Library is to help foster a love for books within the child's home. It makes a great baby shower gift!

The September 2021 pick is The Shape of Home by Rashin Kheiriyeh. To find out more about our subscription service, click here.
New Releases for Kids & Teens
Amy Timberlake
Miriam Bonastre Tur
Mike Lupica
Jewell Parker Rhodes
Janae Marks
Karla Arenas Valenti & Dana SanMar
Aimee Lucido
Padma Venkatraman
Tiffany D. Jackson
Bethany C. Morrow
C.B. Lee
Sarah Raughley
Farah Naz Rishi
In the Gift Department
It's time...to start planning into the fall and beyond. Sometimes, there's no substitute for a paper calendar when you really have to keep track of everyone's comings and goings, and more 2022 calendars and planners are arriving every week. If you have a time-challenged young family member, perhaps one of these adorable wooden animal clocks will do the trick.
What We're Reading
Dog of the Week
The magnificent Moose lives with local writer Nichole Bernier. The family adopted him in February and believe he's about 18 months old. We're not 100 percent sure what he is--maybe part-Great Pyrenees?--but he's calm, friendly and, true to his name, a heckin' lorge boy (Rebecca for scale). Nichole says he loves "people stroking his head for hours on end. Looooong walks. Sleeping on couches like he owns the place. He’s cautious inside and tiptoes around but outside he runs like a gazelle and pounces on chipmunks, which he hates because they taunt him from the stone wall." Truly a gentle giant, with the best Big Dog Energy.
Thank you for supporting your community independent bookstore!
Rebecca Stimpson
82 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02482