See any titles that interest you? Email me** by MAY 21 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. (Click on the titles to read more descriptions and see the covers.) Note that some of these are unclaimed from the last giveaway, so feel free to request more than one title! And remember, if your wish isn’t granted, you can always obtain a copy from your local library or indie bookstore…

Choose from:

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver. Okay, I know she’s a stellar writer, and that this novel–a modern David Copperfield–won the Pulitzer Prize, for goodness sake. The voice of young “Demon” did get inside my head right away. But that’s part of the reason I set the book aside. I could hardly fall asleep with those images of Appalachian poverty and drug addiction so vividly rendered. I bought this book new and am ready to pass it on to another reader. I’ll stick with some of her earlier works.

Everyone But Myself by Julie Chavez. I not only reviewed this memoir positively but presented at a book event with the author, who is a delightful person. Julie recounts a year of panic attacks and misery that developed as she unfailingly attended to everyone else’s needs: her sons, traveling husband, job, volunteer obligations, and a parent’s health crises. As I wrote in my review: “highly recommended for her approachable, friendly style, and honesty,” this is a book that will appeal to every over-loaded working mom with high expectations of herself.

How to Say Babylon by Safiya Sinclair. On Independent Bookstore Day, I ran right down to Underground Books in Sacramento to buy this memoir. Sinclair grew up in a Rastafarian family in Jamaica. The Rastafari are oppressed, misunderstood, often strict. Her father is one of the most unyielding of all, and his treatment of his wife and children will appall most readers, even as the author (an accomplished poet) tells her story in utterly beautiful language as she moves toward “the sweet realization of a whole wide-eyed world, glowing and boundless, just waiting to be discovered…”

I Hear You: Talking and Listening to People with Alzheimer’s by Jane Mahakian and Alyson Kuhn. This practical guide was given to me by Alyson after spending a delightful day together in San Francisco. Anyone close to someone affected by Alzheimer’s will find comfort and care in its pages. Through a series of vignettes, the authors illustrate how best to listen, understand, respond, and plan how best to care for your loved ones. Co-written by a skilled gerontologist and Alyson, who benefited from her advice when caring for her own mother.

Mary Coin by Marisa Silver. I read this novel several years ago and it stays with me. A richly imagined tale of the migrant woman in a famous Depression-era photograph, and the equally famous woman who aimed her camera at her. What brought them together for a brief period of time, and what happened to them afterwards. Fascinating; the book will lead you to learn more about both Dorothea Lange and the real Mary Coin, Florence Thompson. I’m keeping my first copy; this one is a duplicate!

Notes from the Green Man by Chuck Dalldorf. I attended the book launch for this endearing memoir and was happy to have the chance to read of a young man’s time in Suffolk, England. Sent from Brooklyn straight to a rural Air Force base, Chuck becomes a gentle man in that gentle countryside. Sure to please anyone who hankers for those old-timey pubs (“the Green Man” being one of his favorites) and a more leisurely way of life. Illustrated with photographs by the author.

Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Most readers of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz didn’t go on to gobble up the entire series. But “Jeopardy” fans may recognize Ozma, whose image champion Amy Schneider bore as a tattoo. The story involves mechanical men, a yellow chicken, and a princess who wears a different head each day! This is a reproduction version of the 1907 publication, with over 100 illustrations. Third in the Oz series. Somehow I ended up with two copies…

Selling the Dream by Jane Marie. After avidly listening to the podcast “The Dream” https://www.pushkin.fm/podcasts/the-dream, I ordered the book from Capital Books. As the subtitle says, the book focuses on “the billion dollar industry bankrupting Americans” but don’t think for a minute the text will be heavy. Well researched but written in the same wry, breezy style Jane Marie brings on air, you’ll learn about the history of door-to-door sales, why Avon hired women as salespeople, and a lot about pyramid schemes.(I know, I know: they call it “multi-level marketing,” but no one other than those at the very tip-top make any money.) Read this and then pass it on to that friend who’s always trying to sell you essential oils or vitamins or cosmetics…

The Comfort of Crows: A Backyard Year by Margaret Renkl. I gave my crow-loving sister a copy of this book for her birthday. A brief chapter for each week of the year that each provide loving glimpses of the natural world and of family life during the pandemic. Flowers, tadpoles, maple trees, seeds and stamen, each receives a prayer of sorts. Beautifully illustrated. The kind of book that you savor in small doses and feel uplifted each time.

The Penny Poet of Portsmouth: A memoir of place, solitude, and friendship by Katherine Towler. This lovel, thoughtful book captures a time and place that is rapidly vanishing: Portsmouth, New Hampshire, as it was in the early 1990s. The author marries after years of solitary writing and moves to a town almost sight unseen. Soon, she notices an eccentric man wandering downtown. He turns out to be a brilliant poet who works part time at the Athenaeum. Everyone seems to know him, but he is also unknowable. Slowly, Katherine befriends him. I read this one out loud to Dave on long road trips, taking me back to New England even as we drove through California.

**anara@anaraguard.com