See any titles that interest you? Email me** by FEBRUARY 16 with your name, address, and selections. I’ll throw all names into a hat and draw winners. Local folks can arrange pick-up; others will receive their books in the mail.

Choose from:

An Astronomer in Love by the French writer Antoine Laurain. (novel) An 18th century astronomer on a (perhaps futile) journey to witness the transit of Venus. Two hundred years later, his telescope is found in Paris, and an unlikely love ensues. Delightful. 2022. I bought this because I admire every book of Laurain’s and his elegant writing style.

Dancing on the Edge by Russ Tamblyn. (memoir) Remember his vivid dancing from West Side Story? Seven Brides for Seven Brothers? He has hundreds of Hollywood anecdotes to share. I received an advance reading copy (the book comes out in April) for a review. A quick, enjoyable read.

Euphoria by Lily King. (novel) A fictionalized account of Margaret Mead’s time in New Guinea with her problematic husband and perhaps problematic future husband. We read this in my book group and it gave us a great deal to discuss. 2014. Well written characters.

Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Australian writer, Benjamin Stevenson. (mystery) Witty, breaks the fourth wall by speaking directly to readers. More complicated plot and a bit darker than the Thursday Murder Club series, but a good read for folks who are well versed in detective stories. A sequel is already out. 2022

Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce. (novel) Engaging story of a London teacher who walks away from her job to hunt in New Caledonia for a rare and possibly non-existent bug, bringing along the least helpful assistant possible. True friendship emerges amid adventure, heartbreak, and surprises. Wonderful characters. 2020

Mountain Offerings by Vermonter Amy Allen. (poetry) Lovely, simple poems that would make a good gift for someone missing the Green Mountain State. 2023. I received an early copy for review. Read my review: https://www.librarything.com/work/31310045/book/255886162

My Brother My Sister: Story of a transformation by the film critic Molly Haskell. (memoir) A loving, honest account of her brother’s gender transition late in life, and her own reactions to it—sometimes mystified, often supportive, occasionally condescending. 2013

Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops by the Scottish bookshop owner, Shaun Bythell. (essays) A book for bibliophiles and those who like nothing better than to hang around secondhand bookstores. 2020

The Book of (More) Delights by Ross Gay. (brief essays) An advance reading copy of these brief, generous essays on finding—and creating—delights in life. Dip into it at will. 2023 Read my review https://portlandbookreview.com/product/the-book-of-more-delights-essays/

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their epic quest for gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. by Daniel James Brown. I wouldn’t have thought a book about rowing, detailing dozens of races, would hold my interest, but it sure did! Masterful writing and research that makes you root for each character. Thanks to Dave D. for the gift. Read the book, then watch the movie. 2013

The Learning Tree by Gordon Parks. (novel) Remember this evocative semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel by the talented photographer? It’s worth a re-read…A Christmas gift from my friend Ian but the print is small… 1963

The Tobacco Wives by Adele Myers. (novel) A teenager in North Carolina must make her way in a tobacco town near the end of WWII, when the women will be expected to give up their jobs for returning husbands and sons. Never mind that the plant is poisoning the un-gloved workers. A bit preachy, but you root for Maddie just the same. 2022

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon. (novel) Told in the voice of precocious 10-year-old Grace who is convinced that a missing neighbor has met a bad end during a heat wave in England. Secrets unravel. The child’s voice is the strongest part of this novel, which is sometimes hilarious as the girls also search for God. 2015

The Upstairs Delicatessen: On eating, reading, reading about eating, and eating while reading by New York Times book critic Dwight Garner. (memoir) 2023. I received a copy to review. Read my review https://manhattanbookreview.com/product/the-upstairs-delicatessen-on-eating-reading-reading-about-eating-and-eating-while-reading/ 

The Vagabond’s Way by Rolf Potts. 366 meditations on wanderlust, discovery, and the art of travel, one for each day of the year, with many references to other books on travel that you’ll want to read. 2022

Transform the World: fourteen sci-fi writers change the planet in this anthology. Each writer was asked to come up with innovative ideas to make better changes to our home planet. 2023. A gift from my friend (and anthology editor) Scott.

Treasure Island!!! By Sara Levine. Quirky novel of a twenty-something young woman who can’t keep a job and becomes obsessed with the belief that Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island holds all the keys to life. A signed copy I bought in a Chicago bookstore. 2012

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler. A heartfelt modern retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Thoroughly enjoyable. Although the story line is familiar, you can’t predict this novel’s ending. 2016

**anara@anaraguard.com