A list of hot picks from owner Laura Cummings for the New Year!
DODGERS by Bill Beverly
Bill Beverly’s stunning debut is a dark, haunting, literary crime novel that is also a powerful coming-of-age narrative, and one that will be sure to appeal to fans of Richard Price or The Wire. Paperback Due: 1/3/17
THE GIRL IN GREEN by Derek B. Miller
This novel begins in 1991 at the end of Desert Storm. It ends 22 years later in another place and during another war. It a war story, a mystery and also a great fiction read. Due: 1/3/17
THE SLEEPWALKER by Chris Bohjalian
When Annalee Ahlberg goes missing, her children fear the worst. Annalee is a sleepwalker whose affliction manifests in ways both bizarre and devastating. Once, she merely destroyed the hydrangeas in front of her Vermont home. More terrifying was the night her older daughter, Lianna, pulled her back from the precipice of the Gale River bridge. The morning of Annalee’s disappearance, a search party combs the nearby woods. Annalee’s husband, Warren, flies home from a business trip. Lianna is questioned by a young, hazel-eyed detective. And her little sister, Paige, takes to swimming the Gale to look for clues. When the police discover a small swatch of fabric, a nightshirt, ripped and hanging from a tree branch, it seems certain Annalee is dead, but Gavin Rikert, the hazel-eyed detective, continues to call, continues to stop by the Ahlbergs’ Victorian home. As Lianna peels back the layers, she must ask herself: Why does the detective know so much about her mother? Why did Annalee leave her bed only when her father was away? And if she really died while sleepwalking, where was the body? Due: 1/10/17
THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE ON EARTH by Lindsey Lee Johnson
In an edenic community of wealthy Bay Area families, Molly Nicholl, a replacement teacher from a poorer, scrubbier version of California arrives in the middle of the school year and soon becomes intrigued by the hidden lives of her privileged students. Unknown to her, a tragedy from middle school years continues to reverberate for “her” kids. These teens are all navigating a world in which every action may become public—postable, shareable, indelible, a world that Molly finds both alluring and dangerous. Due: 1/10/17
LUCKY BOY by Shanthi Sekaran
A heart-wrenching novel that gives voice to two mothers: a young undocumented Mexican woman and an Indian-American wife whose love for one lucky boy will bind their fates together. Due: 1/10/17
THE NOWHERE MAN : AN ORPHAN X NOVEL by Gregg Hurwitz
Spoken about only in whispers, it is said that when the Nowhere Man is reached by the truly desperate, he can and will do anything to save them. Evan Smoak is the Nowhere Man. Due: 1/17/17
LILLIAN BOXFISH TAKES A WALK by Kathleen Rooney
Set on New Year’s Eve, 1984, 85-year-old Lillian Boxfish walks the length of Manhattan and encounters a vibrant cross-section of fellow urbanites and recollects an eventful life. Due: 1/17/17
THE GIRL BEFORE by JP Delaney
A damaged young woman gets the unique opportunity to rent a one-of-a-kind house. When she falls in love with the sexy, enigmatic architect who designed it, she has no idea she is following in the footsteps of the girl who came before: the house’s former tenant. The eerie parallels in the two girls’ lives lay bare an enthralling story…and make this novel the must-read thriller of the season. Due: 1/24/17
RIGHT BEHIND YOU by Lisa Gardner
Is he a hero? Is he a killer? All she knows is that he’s back. For the first time in ten years, Gardner will check in on some of her best-selling characters, Pierce Quincy and Rainie Conner, as they become embroiled in an intense case that will capture fans old and new alike – a case tied far too closely to their new roles as adoptive parents to broken teen, Sharlah May. Due: 1/31/17
THE SILENCE OF THE SEA by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
In Silence of the Sea, the sixth installment in the Thóra Gudmundsdóttir series, a luxury yacht arrives in Reykjavik harbor with nobody on board. What has happened to the crew and the family who were on board when the yacht left Lisbon? An Icelandic thriller! Paperback Due: 1/31/17
4 3 2 1: A Novel by Paul Auster
Nearly two weeks early, on March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four identical Fergusons made of the same DNA, four boys who are the same boy, go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Due: 1/31/17
PACHINKO by Min Jin Lee
Pachinko is a new masterpiece from the bestselling author of Free Food for Millionaires, and is great for readers of The Kite Runner and Cutting for Stone. Sweeping in scope yet deeply personal, Pachinko follows one Korean family’s desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs across generations – from the 1910 Japanese annexation through the late 1980’s. As they experience great joy, dark yearning, victory and despair, this hugely satisfying novel explores the enduring questions of faith, family and identity. Due: 2/7/17
A DIVIDED SPY by Charles Cumming
Thomas Kell thought he was done with spying. A former MI6 officer, he devoted his life to the Service, but it has left him with nothing but grief and a simmering anger against the Kremlin. Then Kell is offered an unexpected chance at revenge. Taking the law into his own hands, he embarks on a mission to recruit a top Russian spy who is in possession of a terrifying secret. As the mission reaches boiling point, the threat of a catastrophic terrorist attack looms over Britain. Kell is faced with an impossible choice. Loyalty to MI6—or to his own conscience? Due: 2/14/17
LINCOLN IN THE BARDO by George Saunders
On February 22, 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln was laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. That very night, shattered by grief, Abraham Lincoln arrives at the cemetery under cover of darkness and visits the crypt, alone, to spend time with his son’s body. Due: 2/14/17
THE MOTHER’S PROMISE by Sally Hepworth
Alice and her daughter Zoe have been a family of two all their lives. Zoe has always struggled with crippling social anxiety and her mother has been her constant and fierce protector. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe’s father shrouded in mystery, their team of two works – until it doesn’t. Due: 2/21/17
EDGAR AND LUCY by Victor Lodato
There’s his mother, Lucy, who, though she has moments where she loves him, mostly disappears at night with her various “suitors.” And then there’s his grandmother, Florence, who dotes on him to the point where she is at a loss when he isn’t around. When Florence suddenly dies, Lucy is thrown into the role of main caretaker and doesn’t know how to handle her new job. But as Edgar and Lucy adjust, they must also deal with Ron, a local butcher who wants to court Lucy, and Conrad, an unsettlingly attentive adult whose intentions are at one more sinister and more innocent than Edgar could ever know. Due: 3/7/17
NORSE MYTHOLOGY by Neil Gaiman
Introducing an instant classic—master storyteller Neil Gaiman presents a dazzling version of the great Norse myths. Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales. Due: 2/7/17
We have a great series of North Conway, NH book store events coming up and we keep adding on, so do check regularly! See when our book groups are meeting and what they’re reading and meet our many visiting authors – there really is something for everyone. And if you can’t make it to the event, just send us an email or give us a call and we can get a book signed for you – no problem!
We had so much fun with our Happy Hours in December that we are going to continue them each month in 2017!
The fourth Thursday of each month from 4-6pm we will have specials, munchies, beer, wine and specific help on finding that perfect book! PLUS 15% off the featured books of the night! Featured books of the night will be New Age, Health & Fitness, Self-Help and Spiritual.
– See more at: http://whitebirchbooks.com/#sthash.sb1BMcY0.dpuf
Author Afternoon with Annie Harnett
Thursday, March 16 at 5pm
Thursday Night Book Group – Thursday, March 23 at 7pm
Everybody’s Fool by Richard Russo
Happy Hour – Stop by for a relaxing, fun, late March afternoon at the bookstore!
Thursday, March 23rd – 4-6pm
Mystery Book Group – Thursday, April 13 at 7pm
An Unexpected Corpse, A White Mountain Mystery by Cathy Strasser
WILL’S RED COAT Book Launch Event
Tuesday, April 25, 7 p.m. at KHS Auditorium
Thursday Night Book Group – Thursday, April 27, 7 p.m.
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte
One thing that we can count on when we head into a new year is year-end best of lists. For books, there are always the best-selling lists, the critic’s lists and, of course, the White Birch Books Local Top Ten list. Let’s dig right in!
Holding the top spot this year is The Finest Hours by Michael Tougias and Casey Sherman. Although not a local book per se, it was our community read selection this year. White Birch Books partnered with local libraries across the Valley to promote and discuss this book, ending with a grand finale event with the author that was attended by more than 150 people. The story of a near impossible Coast Guard rescue resonated with readers as they compared it to the amazing work our local rescuers do time and again. A great read AND a great movie!
A perennial favorite and annual chart topper, Following Atticus by Tom Ryan, sits up high again this year. For a book that was originally published five years ago, this is a pretty amazing feat. For those who do not know the book, it is the story of Tom, an unlikely hiker, and Atticus, a miniature schnauzer, and their attempt to climb all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4000-foot peaks twice in one winter while raising money for charity. We are very much looking forward to the continuing this story when Will’s Red Coat comes out in late April.
Our next author is always in the annual top ten, too. Lisa Gardner has the number three spot for 2016 with Find Her, a thriller where we enter the world of a young woman who was abducted and terrorized for 472 days. Gardner gives us an inside look at the FBI and the victim advocate’s role. This is a thriller in the truest sense. Gardner’s next book is Right Behind You. White Birch Books will once again collaborate with Horsefeathers for the debut book event. This year it is scheduled for Monday January 30, starting at 7 p.m. I suspect we will see Lisa Gardner on the list next year, too.
Desperate Steps: Life, Death, and Choices Made in the Mountains of the Northeast, written by Peter Kick, was also a late addition to last year’s list and kept the momentum to reach again this year. The book recounts 20 true tales of backcountry misadventure and misfortune, including incidents along the Appalachian Trail, and seeks the lessons to be learned. Weather is unpredictable and even the best laid plans go awry – sometimes, the best decision is to just read the book!
Other popular outdoor books, and basically staples of our local book section, are AMC’s Best Day Hikes in the White Mountains by Robert Buchsbaum and the White Mountain Guide by Steve Smith, also published by the Appalachian Mountain Club. Both books are must-haves for the region. Together they offer almost all of the hiking advice, trail descriptions and suggestions that any local or visitor might need to fully enjoy the area.
A newcomer to the list this year is Not Just A Recipe: Celebrating People, Places and Food by Pat Altomare. Pat was a guest of the Cold River Radio Show and made an appearance at the bookstore. Her cookbook is full of recipes from her family, as well as from her travels all over the world.
Another book on our list is Death at the Day Lily Cafe, set on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. We can’t even pretend that’s local, but it makes our list because the author, Wendy Sand Eckel, is related to one of our former employees. This is the second book in the series and features recipes as well as sleuthing and was given the thumbs up by our Mystery Book Club.
Two novels round out our local top ten list. The first is The Major’s Daughter by J.P. Francis (also known as N.H. author Joe Monninger). This novel is based on the true story of German prisoners of war held in Stark, N.H., during World War II. It’s a great bit of mostly unknown history and Joe has turned it into a wonderful little novel.
Breaking Wild by Diane LesBecquets takes the final spot. The book is set out west, but Diane is from New Hampshire. It tells the story of two women, one lost in the wilderness and the other working to find her. They are both complicated and strong – fantastic women characters who work and play in the great outdoors.
So that’s it!– the second annual White Birch Books Local Top Ten List for 2016. What will 2017 bring in the way of local favorites? Only time will tell!
Laura Cummings owns and operates White Birch Books, an independent full service bookstore serving the Mt. Washington Valley – and beyond – for 24 years and counting.