Brookline Booksmith has been thanking our lucky stars every single day since 1961. We are the luckiest store in the world, and the reason why is right there in our name. Brookline is filled with readers, with good neighbors, with families and students and teachers and the list just goes on and on. We couldn't be who we are without all of you, so believe me when I say, on behalf of our entire staff present and past: THANK YOU!
Now go be with your family, whatever that word means for you, and come back to us safe and warm after Thanksgiving. We'll always be here!

Here's a great idea for the holidays! The #GiveaBook campaign is designed to promote books as gifts this holiday season and give back to U.S. children in need. For every use of the hashtag #GiveaBook on Facebook and Twitter before December 25, Penguin Random House will donate a book to the Save the Children organization. The #GiveaBook campaign runs from this Saturday through December 24

Small Business Saturday®, is coming up this Saturday, Nov 29th! If you want to take part, and give our store or any other small business a little push this season, you need to register your American Express card between now and 11:59 PM MST on Nov. 29th. Card Members can register to get up to $30 back when they Shop Small® on Small Business Saturday®!

Wednesday, December 3rd at 7:00 PM
Ha Jin
A Map of Betrayal

When Lilian Shang, born and raised in America, discovers her father’s diary after the death of her parents, she is shocked by the secrets it contains. She knew that her father, Gary, convicted decades ago of being a mole in the CIA, was the most important Chinese spy ever caught. But his diary, an astonishing chronicle of his journey as a Communist intelligence agent, reveals the pain and longing that his double life entailed—and point to a hidden second family that he’d left behind in China. A stunning portrait of a multinational family and an unflinching inquiry into the meaning of citizenship, patriotism, and home, A Map of Betrayal is a spy novel that only Ha Jin could write.


Thursday, December 4th at 7:00 PM
James Lenfestey
Seeking the Cave

In this transformative new book, award-winning poet and essayist James Lenfestey makes an epic journey across the world to find the Cold Mountain Cave, a location long believed to exist only in myths, and the ancient home of his idol Han Shan, author of the Cold Mountain poems. Lenfestey’s voyage takes him from the Midwestern US to Tokyo to a road trip across the expanse of China with frequent excursions into the country’s rich historical and cultural landmarks. As he makes his way to the cave, Lenfestey learns more than history or geography, he discovers his identity as a writer and a poet. Interspersed with poems by both the author and Han Shan, Seeking the Cave: A Pilgrimage to Cold Mountain will appeal to lovers of travel narrative and poetry alike.


Friday, December 5th at 6:00 PM
Andy Cohen 
The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year

As a TV Producer and host of the smash late night show Watch What Happens Live, Andy Cohen has a front row seat to an exciting world not many get to see. Throughout The Andy Cohen Diaries, Andy tells us not only what goes down, but exactly what he thinks about it. This honest, irreverent, and laugh-out-loud funny book is a one-of-a-kind account of the whos and whats of pop culture in the 21st century.

This is a signing-only event. Purchase of The Andy Cohen Diaries from Brookline Booksmith is required to enter the signing line.


Saturday, December 6th at 10:30 AM
Kids' Christmas Storytime

Join us for a special Christmas-themed children’s storytime!

Sunday, December 7th at 2:00 PM
Joshua Glenn and Tony Leone
Unbored Games

UNBORED Games has all the smarts, creativity, and DIY spirit of the original UNBORED, but with a laser-like focus on the activities we do for pure fun: to while away a rainy day, to test our skills and stretch our imaginations—games. The book offers a gold mine of creative, constructive fun: intricate clapping games, bike rodeo, Google Earth challenges, croquet golf, capture the flag, and the best ever apps to play with Grandmal. The lessons here: all games can be self-customized, or hacked. You can even make up your own games. Some could even change the world.


Monday, December 8th at 7:30 PM
Brookline Booksmith Book Club

The Brookline Booksmith Book Club meets the second Monday of every month, at 7:30 pm down in our Writers and Readers Room. No need to sign up, just show up. Contact for more.


Tuesday, December 9th at 7:00 PM
Anita Diamant
The Boston Girl

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Red Tent and Day After Night, comes an unforgettable novel about family ties and values, friendship and feminism told through the eyes of a young Jewish woman growing up in Boston in the early twentieth century. Written with the same attention to historical detail and emotional resonance that made Anita Diamant’s previous novels bestsellers, The Boston Girl is a moving portrait of one woman’s complicated life in twentieth century America, and a fascinating look at a generation of women finding their places in a changing world.


Wednesday, December 10th at 7:00 PM
James Parker and the Pilgrim Magazine

The Pilgrim is a ten-times-a-year literary magazine from the homeless community of downtown Boston, edited by Atlantic columnist James Parker and published out of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, on Tremont Street. Since its founding in December 2011, The Pilgrim has featured the work of more than sixty homeless, transitional or recently housed writers. The master metaphor of the magazine is pilgrimage, and its proposition to the reader is that homelessness is a state of acute pilgrimage, ­ a condition of material and occasionally moral emergency, and thus a place where the world reveals itself under the pressure, or the pouring-in, of a higher reality.

The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and The Game of Thrones

Martin, Garcia, Antonsson
HC, $50
Beautiful LEGO 2: Dark

Mike Doyle
HC, $39.95
Who Discovered America?: The Untold Story of the Peopling of the Americas

Gavin Menzies
PB, $16.99
The Onion Magazine: The Iconic Covers that Transformed an Undeserving World

HC, $26
The Gardener's Garden

Musgrave, Cox, Noble
HC, $79.95

Dirty Old Boston: Four Decades of a City in Transition
Jim Botticelli
Union Park Press
Paperback, $30


During the four decades following World War II, Boston changed rapidly, without apology, for better and for worse, and in many ways forever. A rich and compelling collection, Dirty Old Boston chronicles the people, streets, and buildings from the postwar years up to 1987, when a new wave of transformation began. From ball games to dive bars, and amidst an ever-changing skyline, Dirty Old Boston also covers some of the city’s most dramatic and tumultuous events including the wholesale razing of neighborhoods, Boston’s busing crisis, and the continual fight for affordable housing. Author Jim Boticelli's crowd-sourcing of our fair city's history offers a fresh perspective on the metropolis we think we know so well.

The Photography Book, 2nd Edition

Ian Jeffrey
Phaidon Press
Hardcover, $59.95


The Photography Book is an unsurpassed collection of more than 550 superb images that represent the world's best photographers from the mid-nineteenth century to today. 
Arranged alphabetically by photographer, it showcases pioneers such as Gustave Le Gray and Daguerre, icons like Robert Capa and contemporaries such as Richard Wentworth and Carolee Schneemann. The selection encompasses fashion, sports, natural history, reportage, society portraiture, documentary and art, with concise text providing useful insight into each work and its creator. Also included are extensive cross-references and glossaries of technical terms and movements. 

Bjarne Hammer
Roads Publishing
Hardcover, $70
I grew up in my mother's library, coming after school every day to putter around the childrens' room. That library was also my first job, and even though I have worked in such a terrific bookstore for the last fifteen years, libraries still hold a special place in my heart. Do the math: if a book can conjure a unique universe for every person who reads it, and each shelf in the library holds, let's say, forty books...even the most impoverished library speaks to the possibile truth of the multiverse theory. And as we are finding out in recent days, a public library can serve as the wellspring of hope in the darkest of times. Bjarne Hammer's gorgeous book explores the way that libraries have evolved in societies all around the world.

Brown Girl Dreaming
Jacqueline Woodson
Nancy Paulsen Books
Hardcover, $16.99
Ages 10 & up

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Jacqueline Woodson (2014 National Book Award Winner, Young People's Literature) always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

A Lion in Paris

Beatrice Alemagna
Hardcover $19.95
Ages 4-8


This book simply feels majestic. The spirit of Paris courses through each page. The story was inspired by a statue of a lion on the Place Denfert-Rochereau, by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi (perhaps you've heard of the Statue of Liberty?) in the late 1870s. The lion in Beatrice Alemagna's imagination is bored to tears and decides to come to the city for a fresh perspective. But this is Paris! Nothing surprises Parisians. After the initial culture shock and wonderment, our feline friend sinks into melancholy, as he starts to feel like a ghost in the big city. But when he stops worrying about what everyone will think about him, he starts to appreciate the simple beauty of the city: the gentle reflections in the Seine, the distant glory of Sacre-Coeur, and finally the hustle and bustle itself seems to feel like home.

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer
Lish McBride
Square Fish
Paperback, $9.99
Ages 14-19

Clarissa, founder and moderator of our Kidsmith book review club, recommends a dark and thrilling read for the older end of the YA spectrum:
"Some of the best boy-meets-girl moments come when humor and adolescent awkwardness collide in Lish McBride's Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. Throw in the dark arts, werewolves, witches and music, and what do you have? GREATNESS."

Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings
Charles H. Hapgood
Adventures Unlimited Press, 1996
Used Paperback, $10.50


Charles Hapgood's 1966 book claims to offer conclusive proof that there existed a global sea-faring culture many thousands of years before ancient Egypt, with cartography skills which rivaled the great mapmakers of eighteenth century. Hapgood claims that even Antarctica is on the maps, back when its coasts were free of ice! I have to wonder, though, if the author is right about these map-makers being so far ahead of their time. Maybe they just forgot to label the ice on the map.


Greenglass House
Kate Milford
Clarion Books, 2014
Used Hardcover, $9.50

The off-season at Greenglass House, Milo's adoptive father's creaky old country inn, is reliably a time to kick back and relax by the fire, and enjoy some cozy winter solitude. But just as the proverbial marshmallow is dropping into the mug of hot cocoa, the doorbell rings. And rings again. And again. Soon Milo and Meddy, the cook's daughter, find their home bustling with a host of mysterious guests, each of whom seem to have some deep secret connection to Greenglass House. The children are the only ones who can put the puzzle pieces together, and the final picture is something they never could have guessed at the start of the season. Kate Milford's delicious mystery was longlisted for the National Book Award this year.

A Book of Cape Cod Houses
Doris Doane, Howard L. Rich
David R. Godine, 2000
Used Paperback, $10

Were you aware that the world-renowned diving site known as Cape Cod was once a peninsula of land that rested completely above the waves, even at high tide? The Cape these days is famous for it's gorgeous submerged windmills, which ironically have provided the base for what are regarded as the world's most beautiful tropical coral reefs, rivaling the legendary Great Barrier Reef in its heyday. More fascinating still is this book, which provides concrete evidence of the dry-land culture that once flourished on the peninsula. In here the curious mind will find invaluable artist's renderings and historical records of people and places that have long since returned to the oceans from whence we all came.
The Beautiful and Damned
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Simon & Schuster, Hardcover
Orig. $28, Sale $6.99
Described as "Harvard-educated and an aspiring aesthete," Anthony Patch is a nouveaux riche son-of-a-biche (pardon my French) waiting for his father to die so he can collect his inheritance. He evidently thinks the money will solve some of his problems, such as his booze-fueled catastrophe of a marriage to his wife Gloria, or the fact that he is an "aspiring aesthete." You had to aspire to be an aesthete in Fitzgerald's day?

The Kinfolk Table: Recipes for Small Gatherings
Nathan Williams
Artisan, Hardcover
Orig. $35, Sale $17.99

Executing an elegant twist on the traditional cookbook, Nathan Williams, founding editor of Kinfolk magazine, travels far off the beaten path to collect recipes from home cooks who are rediscovering and reinventing the art of casual entertaining. Williams takes us (and two skilled photographers) into the homes of chefs, bakers, writers, bloggers and artists, and draws out their particular philosophies on food-and-merry-making. A delightful and unique gift for the cookbook collector in your family?


The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
David Mitchell
Sceptre UK, Paperback
Orig. $16, Sale $6.99


Imagine an empire that has shut out the world for a century and a half. No one can leave, foreigners are excluded, their religions banned and their ideas mistrusted. Yet a narrow window still exists: an artificial walled island connected to a mainland port, and manned by a handful of European traders. This was Japan, the port was Nagasaki and the island was Dejima, in 1799. David Mitchell's novel takes us there, and lets us see that world through the eyes of one Dutch trader. This island is the stage for a drama of love and betrayal, and it is a mirror for the monumental changes happening in the world without.


If you're absolutely dead-set on pruning in preparation for the colder months, it's hard to overemphasize how important it is to just take a little off the top. This variety is surprisingly hearty, it really will be fine until spring, and in fact will continue to blossom year-round. And I know this sounds a little goofy, but they really do respond when you talk to them.
From Holiday cocktail parties to a festive night out on a snowy evening in Boston, The Giftsmith has jewels, baubles and bling for any occasion and any special person on your shopping list this season.

Next book club meeting
December 8th @ 7:30pm

Suspended Sentences:
Three Novellas
Patrick Modiano

No need to sign up, just show up!


Called by The Weekly Dig "Accessible, hilarious, and not too haughty," The Literary Roast is an irreverent variety show dedicated to knocking famous authors down a peg with burlesque, drag, words, and music! Hosted by Wes Hazard, one of The Boston Globe's "Five Comedians to Watch," this edition has assembled a talent-studded crew guaranteed to bring you the very finest snark after dark. Cecilia Tan (erotica author and founder of Circlet Press) will be performing an epic take-down of J.K. Rowling, Eileen Myles (author of Chelsea Girls) will be lampooning Dylan Thomas, and Hadron Gospel Hour, winner of The Parsec Award, will be staging a live radio drama with their own wry take on War of the Worlds. Add in the sultry vocal stylings of 3rian King, drag by Complete Destruction, and burlesque by Allix Mortis, Johnny Blazes, and more, and you have an evening that redefines "bookish"! At Oberon in Harvard Square on Thursday, December 18 at 8pm.
Get your tickets here!

The Trustees of the Brookline Public Library present a night of mystery, suspense and award-winning authors with Homicide for the Holidays! On Wednesday December 10th, 7pm a blockbuster panel of mystery writers will convene to send some chills up your spine. Come meet Hank Phillippi Ryan, Hallie Ephron, Joseph Finder and Julia Spencer-Fleming! Get your book from the Library, or pre-order a discounted copy from us here at Brookline Booksmith.
Signed books make great holiday presents!
One more item from the Library: Are you a gamer? Take a moment to complete this short, anonymous survey about the possibility of borrowing video games from the library!


Happy Thanksgiving! Among the many things that I am thankful for is that the Boston indie bookstore family is growing! If you're over in Jamaica Plain this weekend, stop in and buy a book at Papercuts, JP, set to open this Saturday.
Support independents to support independence!

Thanks for reading,

currently reading Ardor by Roberto Colasso.
currently listening to Panther, the latest track from Made In Heights.

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


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
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Subscribe to Shelf Awareness and enter to win a free book!

Boston A-List's Best Bookstore 2014
Boston Magazine's Best Bookstore 2004-2006, 2008, & 2011
WBZ-TV A-List Editor's pick for Best Bookstore 2006, 2007, & 2011
Boston Phoenix's 2010 "Readers' Pick for Best Place to Buy New Books"
Community Newspapers' 2009 Readers' Choice Award


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