Booksmith's founder Marshall Smith was recently presented with the Cultural Contributor Award by the Brookline Commission for the Arts:
"In recognition of the outstanding contribution of Brookline Booksmith to the cultural life of the Town of Brookline. With unique vision, insight, and dedication, you made Brookline Booksmith into the intellectual heart of the town by: attracting and welcoming loyal browsers, readers, thinkers, authors and artists of all ages through its doors; serving as a standard-bearer of independent bookselling; and encouraging exploration, discussion and exchange."

There are still tickets available for our event with Barney Frank this Thursday at 6pm, John Waters on Tuesday, June 2nd, and Colin Quinn on Saturday, June 13th. Call the store or click here to get your tickets!

Wednesday, May 20th at 7:00 pm
Sara Novic - Girl at War
Jonathan Papernick - The Book of Stone 

Girl at War is an honest, generous, brilliantly written novel that illuminates how history shapes the individual. Zagreb, 1991. Ana Juric is a carefree ten-year-old, living with her family in a small apartment in Croatia’s capital. But that year, civil war breaks out across Yugoslavia, splintering Ana’s idyllic childhood. New York, 2001. Ana is now a college student in Manhattan. Haunted by the events that forever changed her family, Ana returns to Croatia after a decade away, hoping to make peace with the place she once called home. As she faces her ghosts, she must come to terms with her country’s difficult history and the events that interrupted her childhood years before.

The Book of Stone is a searing psychological thriller set in pre-9/11 Brooklyn. Matthew Stone has inherited a troubling legacy: a gangster grandfather and a distant father. After his father’s death, Matthew turns to his father’s beloved books for comfort, perceiving within them guidance that leads him to connect with a group of religious extremists. As Matthew immerses himself in this unfamiliar world, the FBI seeks his assistance to foil the group’s violent plot. Caught between these powerful forces and desperate for redemption, Matthew charts a course of increasing peril—for himself and for everyone around him.


Thursday, May 21st at 6:00 pm
Barney Frank
Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage 

Growing up in Bayonne, New Jersey, the fourteen-year-old Barney Frank made two vital discoveries about himself: he was attracted to government, and to men. He resolved to make a career out of the first attraction and to keep the second a secret. Now, sixty years later, his sexual orientation is widely accepted, while his belief in government is embattled. Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage is one man's account of the country's transformation--and the tale of a truly momentous career.

This event will take place at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. Tickets are $5 each, or free with the purchase of Frank from Brookline Booksmith. To purchase tickets, call 617.566.6660 or visit .The theater portion of the event will be followed by a free signing back at the bookstore.

Thursday, May 21st at 7:00 pm
Small Press Book Club

Our new book club selects readings from independent presses. Read something off the beaten path! Free and open to the public meeting the third Thursday of every month at 7:00pm. To contact our moderator, email

This month we will be discussing "Sphinx" by Anne Garreta, translated by Emma Ramadan.

Friday, May 22nd at 7:00pm
Claire Bidwell Smith
After This: When Life Is Over, Where Do We Go? 

In After This, acclaimed author, and therapist Claire Bidwell Smith confronts the question she encounters every day in private practice—what happens after we die? She wonders: How do we grieve our loved ones without proof that they live on? Will we ever see them again? Can they see us now, even though they are gone? Drawing on both her personal losses, recounted in her memoir The Rules of Inheritance, as well as her background working in hospice as a bereavement counselor, Smith attempts to show how exploring the afterlife can have a positive impact on the grief process.


Saturday, May 23rd at 4:00pm
Mako Yoshikawa
Every Father’s Daughter: Twenty-Four Women Writers Remember Their Father 

Every Father's Daughter is a collection of 25 personal essays by women writers writing about their fathers. They come from farms and small towns and big cities, from every geographic region, from deprived and privileged circumstances, and from families of every description. But whether their fathers were present or absent in their formative years, they share a desire to understand one of life's profound relationships.The contributors include Alice Munro, Jayne Anne Phillips, Ann Hood, among others. Brookline Booksmith’s event will feature novelist and Emerson professor Mako Yoshikawa (Once Removed).


Tuesday, May 26th at 7:00pm
Dorie Clark
Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Ideas and Build a Following Around It 

Dorie Clark, branding expert and author of Reinventing You, returns with Stand Out, a guidebook for breaking out with your idea in today’s ever-changing world. She helps you to develop your expert niche, generate brand new research, and branch out to find the network, audience and community. Each of us has ideas that can reshape the world. In Stand Out, Clark reveals how you can leverage them to create a movement of your own.

    Booksmith Book Club
 June 8 @ 7:30pm

by Lily King

No need to sign up, just show up!

Small Press Bookclub
May 21 @ 7pm

Anne Garréta


This Idea Must Die: Scientific Theories That Are Blocking Progress

John Brockman
PB, $15.99

War of the Encyclopaedists

Gavin Kovite, Chris Robinson
HC, $26

Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break, with Recipes for Pastries, Breads, and Other Treats

Anna Brones, Johanna Kindvall
HC, $17.99

Your Band Sucks: What I Saw at Indie Rock's Failed Revolution (But Can No Longer Hear)

Jon Fine
HC, $27.95

The Knockoff

Lucy Sykes, Jo Piazza
HC, $25.95

England and Other Stories
Graham Swift
Knopf Publishing Group
Hardcover, $25.95


Graham Swift's first collection of short fiction in over thirty years brings us stories of ancient bloodlines, evidence of England's imperial past, knotted up in the contemporary confusion of modern England. Swift, Booker Prize-winning author of Last Orders and Wish You Were Here, effortlessly illustrates the monumental shifts in culture, power, and social order from the seventeenth century to today, all through the small, perfectly drawn everyday lives of his characters. 


Neal Stephenson
William Morrow & Company
Hardcover, $35


Neal Stephenson's storytelling returns to a truly epic scale with Seveneves: the story of the end of the Earth we know, told by the handful of humans who survive to witness the birth of a new, infinitely more dangerous version. A catastrophy has turned our world into a ticking time bomb, and the certitude of imminent, total collapse brings nations together to make a desperate attempt at colonizing outer space. Stephenson deftly explores how old enmities are abandoned and new ones form under extreme pressure, and how successfully human nature can adapt to a frightening new reality.

Nell Zink
Ecco Press
Hardcover, $26.99


The second novel from Nell Zink (The Wallcreeper) stays in her Virginia home, at Stillwater College in 1966. Freshman Peggy, falls under the spell of Lee, poet and professor, and their affair results in an unplanned pregnancy and marriage. She’s a lesbian, he’s gay, so you just know this is going to be a great success. Peggy runs off with their daughter, leaving her older son behind, and they disappear underground, fleeing an ill-suited life for one on the run. Wicked comedy and a plot as taut as a bowstring, that's what Zink brings to the table. Click here to find out more about the sudden appearance of Nell Zink on the literary scene.


This Is Sadie
Sara O'Leary, Julie Morstad
Tundra Books
Hardcover, $17.99
Ages 4-8

Sadie has lived under the sea. She's been a boy raised by wolves. She's spent time in wonderland and the world of fairytales. She whispers to the dresses in her closet and talks to birds in the treetops. She has wings! She likes to make things -- boats out of boxes and castles out of cushions. But more than anything Sadie likes stories, because you can make them from nothing at all. Julie Morstad's illustrations make this already supremely lively little girl truly come to life.



Noelle Stevenson
Harper Teen
Paperback, $12.99
Ages 13-17


"When rash, shape-changing Nimona shows up to help the villain Ballister Blackheart take down the government (and his best friend turned nemesis) nothing turns out to be what they expected. YOU WILL FEEL THINGS!!" bellows bookseller Alex, with a backup chorus of booksellers Clarissa and Amy.
I feel pressured to read this book, that's what I feel.


In a Village by the Sea

Muon Van, April Chu
Creston Books
Hardcover, $16.95
Ages 4-7


In a Village by the Sea was inspired by the author's ancestral village in Central Vietnam, where Muan Van's family has been fishing for generations beyond count. The rhythm of the days -  the daily departure and return of the father, the household and village responsibilities of the mother - are beautifully rendered by April Chu, and the interconnectedness and layering of moment after moment for each member of the family will put readers in a trance. Down-to-earth with touches of magic.


Up In the Old Hotel
Joseph Mitchell
Vintage, 2008
Used Paperback, $9

In the 1930's Joseph Mitchell took up residence at The New Yorker, where over the ensuing decades he would build a towering journalistic legacy. Up In the Old Hotel brings together the best of his reportage, with four books-worth of observations from the keenest eye to ever survey the streets of New York City, and introduces the reader to some of the oddest, most unforgettable characters they'll ever meet. Here is one reviewer defending Mitchell's treatment of his subjects, which to some seem woefully dated: "The truth is that they are unfashionable because they attribute qualities to a certain type of people whom we find easier to deal with as abstracts rather than as individuals."

Golden Lilies

Adapted by Eileen Goudge, illustrated by Zhang Qing
Viking, 1990

The collection of letters that is Golden Lilies begins in the 1870s, with the arresting line "The house on the mountaintop has lost its soul." The letters are written by young Kwei-li, all of 18 years old, and bride-to-be of a wealthy Chinese nobleman long away on trade business. Golden Lilies gives readers an exceedingly rare glimpse of the private life and thoughts of late 19th and early 20th century China through the eyes of a woman, in an era when it is estimated that only ten percent of women could read or write.

Oakley Hall
New York Review of Books, 2006
Used Paperback, $9

Published in the 1950s at the height of the McCarthy era, Oakley Hall's legendary Warlock reworks the traditional conventions of the Western to present a raw, comic, and devastating picture of the America of our imagination. Tombstone, Arizona in the 1880s retains its grip on the American imagination like no other time and place, and in this masterful novel Hall restores the blood and grit of reality to a scene which storytellers and filmmakers have elevated to mythical status.

Bleeding Edge
Thomas Pynchon
Penguin, Paperback
Orig. $17, Sale $6.99

It's New York City in 2001, just after the bubble burst and right before the towers fell. Perfect setting for paranoid antics, for criminals on the hunt for the main chance, and for naive ordinaries to get yanked from numbing "real" life into the swirling chaos of Pynchon-esque conspiracies. Slate says of the novel "reading Bleeding Edge, tearing up at the beauty of its sadness or the punches of its hilarity, you may realize it as the 9/11 novel you never knew you needed...a necessary novel and one that literary history has been waiting for."

Running in the Family
Michael Ondaatje
Bloomsbury, Hardcover
Orig. $30, Sale $6.99

"In this unconventional memoir, Ondaatje returns to his native home of Sri Lanka to learn more about his father. The chapters include memories, anecdotes, poetry, travel logs, and lovely imagined scenes all combining to form a beautiful mosaic of a family. I particularly loved the sections about Ondaatje's maternal grandmother, Lalla." - bookseller Shuchi.
If you've read and loved Ondaatje's The English Patient or Divisadero, you absolutely owe yourself the pleasure of getting to know him better.

Seven Puzzles of Thought and How to Solve Them: An Originalist Theory of Concepts
R.M. Sainsbury, Michael Tye
Oxford U. Press, Hardcover
Orig. $44.95, Sale 6.99

Just the first sentence of the introduction to Seven Puzzles of Thought sent me to the dictionary four times, to look up definitions which, were I a student of any merit whatsoever, should have been searched out long ago, probably in high school. Sainsbury and Tye here present seven classic puzzles and challenge the reader to solve them using their entirely new theory they are calling "Originalism," which posits that concepts, the constituents of thoughts, are to be individuated by their origin rather than by epistemology or semantics.
Now, don't mistake me, this is fascinating stuff, and the first puzzle in the series will be bouncing around in my head all day long, but I do wish someone would have convinced Sainsbury and Tye to pick a different name for their new philosophy. The flag of a different "Originalism" has long been held aloft, sometimes as a beacon, sometimes as a bludgeon, by more than a few of our Supreme Court justices. It's entirely possibly that more Americans of voting age are familiar with the term Originalism than are acquainted with the idea that the Earth goes around the Sun.

Aaaaaaand here we are in the front of the cafeteria. Next slide.

Let's get this summer started!
You'll flip over all of the beachy totes, sunglasses,
beach radios and yes, flip flops!!!

Come join the fun at the Putterham branch library on Wednesday, May 20th, at 4pm. It's the Stop-Motion Animation Station, sponsored by Steve and Kate's Camp! Make your very own stop-motion animated movie by yourself or with friends. Create your own sets, props, and characters, and even add soundtracks, voice-overs, and more! Ages 4 and up.

The Bike-A-Thon is Bikes Not Bombs' largest and most exciting event of the year! Each rider registers and then fundraises at least $150 (and $75 for youth) to support Bikes Not Bombs' Youth Programs and International Programs. Then on June 7th, hundreds of cyclists join together on a ride for social justice along one of our scenic routes through greater Boston. Bike-A-Thon riders are ambassadors of BNB's mission to promote environmental sustainability and social justice, and all fundraising goes directly to making Bikes Not Bombs' programs possible!  Bikes Not Bombs uses the bicycle as a vehicle for social change, reclaiming thousands of bicycles each year. They create local and global programs that provide skill development, jobs, and sustainable transportation, programs that mobilize youth and adults to be leaders in community transformation.

As a fan of a) books, b) very long books, and c) Norway,
I love that this is now a debate.

Now, our second-grade son is supposed to bring in his favorite book to school today, so that he can write a short opinion piece about it during class.
"You going to bring in Harry Potter, I assume?"
"Really? Why not?"
"I don't want everyone to laugh at me."
Oh, Jackson. If there is one thing in the world that you don't need to be afraid of, it's of kids laughing at you for liking Harry Potter.

Thanks for reading,

currently reading Ancillary Justice by Ann Lecke.
Currently listening to Blur.

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

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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

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