This weekend is Mother’s Day, and so let’s not forget to call our moms, okay? Regardless of whether they are next door or across the state or even sailing on a boat around Ireland, drinking whiskey without you. Give ‘em a call. Let them know that your enduring love for books and fanciful stories stems from all the times they told you stories or took you to the library or let you run free in the bookstore. 

Speaking of running free in the bookstore, we have an administrative note. Next week’s scheduled coloring night has been canceled. If you pre-bought a ticket and haven’t heard from us already, please reach out. We’ll take care of you. Coloring nights will probably return in the fall when the days get shorter and the nights get darker, but for now, we think it’s a mighty fine time to get out and take in some air. 

No, wait. Get out of the house. Come get a book from the store. And THEN take in some air. It’s important to keep your priorities straight, even with all this fine weather (which is totally a lie today, isn’t it? Who ordered the rain?)

Anyway, what’s on the table this week? Well, let’s start with Sheryl Sandberg’s and Adam Grant’s Option B. Sandberg recently lost her husband (quite suddenly) and as she tried to figure out how to cope with a very different life than she planned, she got together with Grant, who is a psychologist at Wharton (and author of two previous books about the psychology of success). They’ve put together an illuminating book about how to develop a strong resilience to deep crises that threaten to overwhelm us. When Option A isn’t available, it’s good to have an Option B. 

And speaking of options, for those of you who would prefer more options and less crap cluttering your lives, we’ll suggest Fumio Sasaki’s Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism. Frankly, the subtitle is not that minimalist, and when did we get tired of the Old Japanese Minimalism? It’s so hard to keep up with trends these days, and that’s part of what brought Sasaki to the realization he discusses in the book. You lose track of what’s important when you are busy keeping track of all the things that own you. 

Speaking of knowing what to keep and what to toss, Nathaniel Philbrick’s Valiant Ambition is out in paperback this week. Recounting the relationship between George Washington and Benedict Arnold during the Revolutionary War, Philbrick brings his betselling non-fiction narrative chops to the story about how an unexperienced statesman and leader became the first President of the United States. We’re not going to ruin it for you, but we’re guessing Washington’s success had a little something to do with high moral character and a deep responsibility to the people he represented. 

And speaking of dogs and cats living together (Colby Cash to anyone who followed that deeply cynical transition), the next book in the Mort(e) saga is out. D’Arc follows housecat turned war hero Mort(e) as he tries to save all the animals from amphibian sea creatures. It’s kind of like We3 meets “The Shadows Over Innsmouth.” 

And for those of you who just ignored all the deep nerding in that previous paragraph, we have the latest from Jo Nesbø. The cover of The Thirst proclaims it is the new Harry Hole novel, so, uh, yeah, so much for the suspense in the previous books if you weren’t sure that Harry survived. But he does, because it’s Harry Hole, right? Even though he’s bound and determined to not get sucked back into the bleak and ugly world of homicide investigations, there’s something about this new killer that Harry just can’t ignore . . . 

And we’re going to wander off this week with a copy of Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees, following our own instructions to grab a book and get outside. We hope to see you among the trees and along the less-traveled paths. Perhaps we can swap books when we pass . . . 


GINGER: Hi, there. It’s nice to see you again. 

BOB: Hi. Thanks. It’s nice to see you too.

GINGER: What are you reading today? 

BOB: Oh, a book about talking to animals. It came out last week. By Jon Katz. 

GINGER: Fascinating. I talk to my dog. He looks like he’s listening but I don’t think he really gets me.  

BOB: Well, dogs are kinda dumb. They mean well, but you know . . .  

GINGER: Oh, I know. Sort of like many of the men I date too. Say, that’s a cute bookmark. What does it say? A “free ticket.” For what? Oh, I see. 

BOB: Yeah, it’s from the bookstore down the street. 

GINGER: It says here that my imagination is filled with unicorn sparkles and space monkeys. I didn’t know that. 

BOB: They may be stretching the truth a bit. 

GINGER: What’s this on the back? “Wolves are big fans of gothic romances.” Did you see this?

BOB: Yeah, they always put a story on the back, about some sort of animal. This time it was the wolf. 

GINGER: There’s a whole series? 

BOB: I think so. You can tell by the color of the circle behind the tree. This one is orange. I think there’s been blue and yellow—one or two more, I think. They all come with stories about animals and what kind of books they like. 

GINGER: Wait. Animals like to read books? 

BOB: Well, some species more than others.

GINGER: You’re . . . you’re kidding me, right? 

BOB: No, it’s true. 

GINGER: What’s this place? Some gothic castle called Udolpho? 

BOB: It’s a reference to a classic in the gothic genre. 

GINGER: You mean like Interview With a Vampire. 

BOB: No, a little more classic than that. Late 18th century. 

GINGER: Really? So wolves are into 18th century gothic romances. 

BOB: I guess so. 

GINGER: Have you asked one? 

BOB: Have I asked one what? 

GINGER: A wolf. Based on that book you’re reading, it sounds like you do some talking with animals. What are you? A wolf whisperer or something? 

BOB: No, nothing like that. 

GINGER: What was the last animal you talked to?

BOB: A moose. 

GINGER: A moose. 

BOB: Yeah. His name is Glom-glom. 

GINGER: And what does a moose named Glom-glom like to read? 

BOB: He liked Thoreau. Walden. I had it with me the last time I was in. I read you some. 

GINGER: Yes. Yes, you did. I remember that. Something about the plants and animals around a lake. And how all that nature made you feel. 

BOB: “Like the lake, my serenity is rippled, but not ruffled.” 

GINGER: I like that. “Rippled, but not ruffled.” 

BOB: It’s a good quote. 

GINGER: Hmm. Well, cute bookmark. I’m not so sure about this whole talking to animals thing, though. 

BOB: Well, if you ever meet one that talks to you, you should talk back. 

GINGER: I should?

BOB: It’s the polite thing to do. 

GINGER: Well, Not Entirely A Stranger Who Talks To Animals, I’ll be sure to remember that. 

BOB: My name is Bob. 

GINGER: I’m Ginger. Nice to meet you, Bob. 


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