Sci-fi fans beware, it looks like you should take that shiny Hugo Award-winning medal on the book jacket with a grain of (pure, white) salt. Less-than-savory fringe elements have hijacked the nominations this year, meaning that more than ever before you need some solid advice from a source you can really trust. If you stroll down aisle four you can't help but notice that not only our Sci-fi, but our Mystery and Fiction section are filled with brightly colored notes, denoting works of fiction that our staff has read and loved. These are the books we believe in, and we aren't waiting around to push them into the spotlight.

Here's a happier award-winning tale to tell: Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See - perhaps the staff favorite of staff favorites from 2014 just won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. With all due respect to the nominating process for the Pulitzers, I'll just go ahead and take credit on behalf of my fellow booksellers for that one. Booksmith booksellers sold the heck out of that book from day one.

For next month, members of the Small Press Book Club will delve into Sphinx by Anne Garréta, "an erotic, genderless love story that delves into the nightclubs and cabarets of afterhours Paris." Garréta's novel, first published in 1986, is the crowning achievement of the experimental literary group OULIPO, whose ranks include Georges Perec and Italo Calvino. Flex your reading muscles and join the club on May 21st at 7pm.

We guarantee that all of our new books are actually new. Check that out, it's pretty much magic.

Thursday, April 23rd at 7:00 pm
Thane Rosenbaum
How Sweet It Is!

Set in Miami Beach, Florida in 1972, How Sweet It Is! follows the Posner family--two Holocaust survivors, Sophie and Jacob, and their son, Adam--doing everything they can to avoid one another in a city with an infinite supply of colorful diversions. In this year, Miami Beach was the site of both the Republican and Democratic political conventions, and saw the rise of the counterculture, the Cold War, and the desegregation of the old South. Where better to blend in, regain one's sanity, and live their lives? Instead what they discover is that Miami Beach is not a place of camouflage--all that sunshine highlighted the very things they wished to forget, and the abundant sun turned their lives into a Disney World of funhouse mirrors and chaotic rides.


Sunday, April 26th at 10:30 am

Do you love picture books? Join us in our children’s section as our fine children’s team reads stories aloud.


Monday, April 27 at 7:00 PM
Belinda Rathbone
The Boston Raphael: A Mysterious Painting, an Embattled Museum in an Era of Change & A Daughter’s Search for the Truth

In December, 1969, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts announced the acquisition of an unknown and uncatalogued painting attributed to Raphael. Soon afterward, an Italian art sleuth began challenging the museum's right to ownership, and experts on both sides of the Atlantic lined up to debate its very authenticity. While these contests played themselves out on the international stage, the crisis deepened within the museum as its charismatic director, Perry T. Rathbone, faced the most challenging crossroads of his thirty-year career. The full story of the forces that converged on the museum and how they intersected with the challenges of the Sixties is now revealed in full detail by the director's daughter Belinda Rathbone.

Tuesday, April 28th at 7:00 pm
Michael Downing
The Chapel

Recently widowed, unhappily stuck on a pricey tour of Italy, Elizabeth Berman comes face to face with the first documented painting of a teardrop in human history, and in the presence of that tearful mother, painted by Giotto in the Arena Chapel, she wakes up to the possibility that she is not lost. Itching to leave as soon as she arrives in Padua, Elizabeth's efforts to book a ticket home are stymied. But there are consolations—ancient arcades and Aperol spritzes with her odd-lot of fellow castaways, including a melancholy doctor who claims his name is T. Tracking the hopes and heartaches and hangovers of a woman with a history of disappearing, The Chapel shows us that happiness is as fragile as a fresco by Giotto.
Wednesday, April 29th at 7:00 pm
Nicole Aschoff
The New Prophets of Capital

Mythmaking is as central to sustaining our economy as proft-making, particularly as severe environmental degradation, breathtaking inequality, and increasing alienation among youth push capitalism against its own contradictions. Enter The New Prophets of Capital. In this moment of crisis, a new generation of wealthy mythmakers, masquerading as progressive thinkers, has emerged to reinvent the free market as the solution to society’s problems. With Oprah rallying the poor to bootstrap their way into the middle class; Sheryl Sandberg calling on women to “lean in” to the unequal demands of a sexist world; and Bill and Melinda Gates offering the generosity of the 1 percent as the solution to a persistent, systemic inequality, the new prophets of capital buttress the exploitative system, even as the cracks grow more visible.
    Booksmith Book Club
 May 11 @ 7:30pm

For the Next Life

Atticus Lish
PEN/Faulkner Award
winner for 2015

No need to sign up, just show up!

Small Press Bookclub
May 21 @ 7pm

Anne Garréta


Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything

Barbara Ehrenreich
PB, $16
Improbable Libraries: A Visual Journey to the World's Most Unusual Libraries

Alex Johnson
HC, $27.50
The Bone Tree

Greg Iles
HC, $27.99
Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That's Transforming Education

Ken Robinson, Lou Aronica
HC, $27.95

God Help the Child
Toni Morrison
Knopf Publishing Group
Hardcover, $24.95


At the center of Toni Morrison's first novel to be set in our current moment is a young woman who calls herself Bride. Her stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, but it is what caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love. Bringing her formidable wisdom and supreme narrative powers to a story set in the present day, Morrison weaves a tale about the way the sufferings of childhood can shape, and misshape, the life of the adult. 

The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia

James Bradley
 Little Brown and Company
Hardcover, $35


I heard only part of James Bradley's radio interview this morning, but from what I gathered, this book ought to change everything we think we know about the other giant on the world stage. Bradley (Flags of Our Fathers) revisits the earliest roots of America's commercial and cultural interaction with China, and reveals that what we assume we know about the past present and likely future of that society is based on the word of a handful of opium profiteers. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Pearl S. Buck and Henry Luce feature prominently in the real story of how the West got fooled into thinking it had the East all figured out. The revelations in this book radically reframe our history with China all the way up to the present day.

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town

Jon Krakauer
Doubleday Books
Hardcover, $28.95

In Missoula, Jon Krakauer chronicles the searing experiences of several women in Missoula - the nights when they were raped; their fear and self-doubt in the aftermath; the way they were treated by the police, prosecutors, defense attorneys; the public vilification and private anguish; their bravery in pushing forward and what it cost them. 

Stick and Stone
Beth Ferry, Tom Lichtenheld
Harcourt Brace and Company
Hardcover, $16.99
Ages 3-6


Our kids booksellers are unanimous in their admiration for this terrific little story about friendships which weather any storm. It's a simple premise: your friends are important, so stick up for them. What makes this book so good is Lichtenfeld's funny illustrations, scenarios that turn a simple stick and stone into one of the greatest oddball pairs ever.


Yard Sale

Eve Bunting, Lauren Castillo
Candlewick Press
Hardcover, $15.99
Ages 3-7


We all know the pain of the yard sale. And if you don't know that pain, then I regret to inform you that you have been living only a half-life. For many, for our protagonist, for me, the yard sale (tag sale, rummage sale, vale of tears, it goes by many names) is the first time we experience the singular twisting of the heart strings that is nostalgia. Callie's family is not just clearing out the basement, they are downsizing. The family home is up for sale, and it's off to an uncertain future for a young girl and her parents in a smaller apartment. Only as the objects of her world begin to disappear does Callie begin to realize the magnitude of what is happening. With tenderness and understanding Eve Bunting and Lauren Castillo paint a big-hearted picture of a family in an all-too-familiar moment of sadness, hope and change.


The Great War: Stories Inspired by Items from the First World War

Various Authors, Illustrated by Jim Kay
Candlewick Press
Hardcover, $19.99
Ages 10 & up

Bookseller Amy:
"Beautiful. Engaging. Haunting. Each story is centered around a real artifact from WWI and accompanied by Jim Kay's sooty illustrations. You've never read an anthology like this before."
Tracy Chevalier, A.L. Kennedy, Marcus Sedgwick, Tanya Lee Stone, John Boyne and others take inspiration from mundane relics of a century ago, and bring to life the lives and stories of the men and women who lived and died in the Great War.

Sunbeams: A Book of Quotations
Edited by Sy Safransky
North Atlantic Books, 1990
Used Paperback, $7

In his introduction Sy Safransky, editor of The Sun magazine, describes the ritual of cleaning up his desktop which leads to Sunbeams, the collection of quotes which ends each issue of the venerable monthly. This collection, culled from more than a decade of these tidy-up sessions, includes the words of philosophers, spiritual leaders, musicians, artists, directors, athletes, poets and sages of the ancient world.  

Heraldic Designs
Arthur Charles Fox-Davies
Crescent Books, 1988
Used Paperback, $15

The heralds, as described by Arthur Charles Fox-Davies' (is there any doubt that he knows what he's talking about?) book of 40 full color posters, were basically the event organizers for the Norman Court. They wanted to make it easier for the fans to root for their guy at jousting tournaments and whatnot, so they told everyone to figure out their own design and stick to it for crying out loud. This is a great book with heavyweight pages suitable for framing. I would've loved this book during my medieval phase as a kid. Check out the heraldic crest of my wife's ancestral clan. Do not mess with my wife.

Pepper and Salt: or Seasoning for Young Folk

Prepared by Howard Pyle
Dover Books, $4
Used Paperback, $4


Howard Pyle was a revolutionizing figure in the world of illustration and children's books. Pepper and Salt is Pyle's book of fairy tales, written in his own original verse and mostly derived from his memories of the folklore his mother had read to him as a child. Published in 1885, fresh off the heels of his (still) massively popular Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, the book sings with respect for the intelligence and curiosity of children.
'It is for this that I sit here now, telling you all manner of odd quips and jests until yon sober, wise man shakes his head and goes his way, thinking that I am even more of a shallow-witted knave than I really am. But, prut! Who cares for that? I am sure that I do not if you do not."


I wish I knew how to help.


From marathons to sporting events and upcoming vacations, there's a lot to celebrate this spring and summer. Come check out our new bar section and beer glasses in the giftsmith. Say cheers! with your favorite, craft beer in a cool and recycled glass.
Join Julie Seltzer and Lily Carey, preschool teachers at the JCC Early Learning Center, in the children’s section of Brookline Booksmith (hey, that's us!) for a spring-inspired storytime and 3D art project! Sunday, April 26, 10-11am, for families with children 3-7.
For more information on the Early Learning Center, contact or visit

Literary Death Match marries the literary and performative aspects of Def Poetry Jam, rapier-witted quips of American Idol’s judging (without any meanness), and the ridiculousness and hilarity of Double Dare. Each episode of this competitive, humor-centric reading series features a thrilling mix of four famous and emerging authors (all representing a literary publication, press or concern — online, in print or live) who perform their most electric writing in seven minutes or less before a lively audience and a panel of three all-star judges. After each pair of readings, the judges — focused on literary merit, performance and intangibles — take turns spouting hilarious, off-the-wall commentary about each story, then select their favorite to advance to the finals.

This past week the news cycle was hijacked by the budding Presidential campaigns of this one and that one and those guys. We'll see in a year and a half whose pile of money was the biggest. Did the mailman's letters ever actually get delivered, I wonder? This quote, found in that Sunbeams collection above, seems somehow to speak to this:

"Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it."
- André Gide.

Went for a little ramble in the Lincoln woods with Jack and Libbie yesterday. I caught a toad and they laughed when it peed all over me.

Thanks for reading,

currently reading Ghost Road by Pat Barker.
currently listening to Spiritualized.

Thanks for reading,

email me, if you'd like to make this a conversation.


Boston A-List's Best Bookstore 2014
Boston Phoenix's 2012 "Readers' Pick for Best Bookstore, New"
Boston Magazine's Best Bookstore 2004-2006, 2008, 2011, & 2013
WBZ-TV A-List Editor's pick for Best Bookstore 2006, 2007, & 2011
Community Newspapers' 2009 Readers' Choice Award

To subscribe to b-mail, enter your e-mail address below
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


brookline booksmith
279 Harvard St.
Coolidge Corner, Brookline
an easy block from the Coolidge Corner T-stop on the C line
Dana Brigham, Co-owner and Store Manager

Open 7 days a week:
Monday - Thursday: 8.30 am - 10 pm
Friday: 8:30 am - 11 pm
Saturday: 9 am - 11 pm
Sunday: 9 am - 9 pm

Open 24/7 at



Brookline Booksmith Online