It's going to be scorching week, with temperatures in the nineties most days, with a chance of hot tea being poured on your head after 5pm tonight. Beginning tomorrow morning an MBTA bus will be in front of you wherever you are across the region, blanketing your face with super-heated exhaust throughout the afternoon and well into the evening commute. No rain in the forecast until Friday, by which point you will have lost all hope anyway.

I think you know what I'm getting at. Everything out there is awful, just the worst. Everything in here is exactly the opposite. If you want to see what it's like in Booksmith right now, I consider this to be a suitable visual metaphor. Coming into the store in the next seven days we've got mystery authors and experts on true art crime, women's studies, and the two state solution, not to mention a little Where's Waldo? shinding on Friday afternoon, and an event with sensational actress, comedian and author Felicia Day coming up in a couple weeks. Booksmith has got summer reading recommendations for everyone who walks through the door,
and squirt guns, too.

So tell me, where else would you rather be?


Wednesday, July 29th at 7:00pm
Ray Daniel - Corrupted Memory
Brad Parks - The Fraud

Corrupted Memory opens with a dead body lying outside of the computer hacker Tucker’s Boston home. Tucker soon learns the terrible truth: the dead man is a half-brother he never knew he had, and his second family comes with dark secrets.
The Fraud
 is the most thrilling, emotionally resonant entry yet in the award-winning Carter Ross series. What starts as an investigation into a rash of deadly carjackings in Newark ends with reporter Carter Ross having to make a chilling choice about who gets to live: him or his unborn child.


Thursday, July 30th at 7:00pm 
Anthony Amore in conversation with Michael Blanding (The Map Thief)
The Art of the Con: The Most Notorious Fakes, Frauds and Forgeries in the Art World

The Art of the Con tells the stories of some of history's most notorious yet untold cons. They involve stolen art hidden for decades; elaborate ruses; the use of online auction sites to scam buyers out of millions; and other confidence scams incredible not only for their boldness but more so because they actually worked. The Art of the Con will also take the reader into the investigations that led to the capture of the con men, who oftentimes return back to the world of crime. 

Friday, July 31st at 3:00pm
Where's Waldo? Party!

Where’s Waldo? Since July 2nd, Waldo has been hiding in participating local businesses. Find him to collect stamps on your Where’s Waldo? passport and bringing it to our party on July 31st for your chance to win prizes! Additional prizes will go to whoever wears the best Waldo or Wenda costume, and the actual Waldo might just make an appearance...

Tuesday, August 4th at 7:00pm
J. Shoshanna Ehrlich
Regulating Desire: From the Virtuous Maiden to the Purity Princess

Starting with the mid-nineteenth century campaign to criminalize seduction and moving forward to the late twentieth century effort to codify a national abstinence-only education policy, Regulating Desire explores the legal regulation of young women's sexuality in the United States. Drawing upon a rich array of primary source materials, J. Shoshanna Ehrlich has captured the complex and dynamic nature of the relationship between the state and the sexualized youthful female body.


Wednesday, August 5th at 7:00pm
Padraig O’Malley
The Two-State Delusion: Israel and Palestine - A Tale of Two Narratives

Disputes over settlements, the right of return, the rise of Hamas, recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, and other intractable issues have repeatedly derailed peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine. Now, in a book that is sure to spark controversy, renowned peacemaker Padraig O’Malley argues that the moment for a two-state solution has passed. In this revelatory, hard-hitting book, O’Malley approaches the key issues pragmatically, without ideological bias, to show that we must find new frameworks for reconciliation if there is to be lasting peace between Palestine and Israel.

    Booksmith Book Club
August 10th @ 7:30pm

Station Eleven
Emily St. John Mandel

No need to sign up, just show up!

Small Press Book Club
August 20th @ 7pm

The Argonauts
Maggie Nelson


Kitchens of the Great Midwest

J. Ryan Stradal
HC, $25
On Writing

Charles Bukowski
HC, $25.99
The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League

Jeff Hobbs
PB, $16
The Ambassador's Wife

Jennifer Steil
HC, $26.95
This Is Not a Love Story: A Memoir

Judy Brown
HC, $26
Circling the Sun
Paula McLain
Ballantine Books
Hardcover, $28


The success of The Paris Wife marked the arrival of a new star of historical fiction. Paula McLain's Circling the Sun moves the action from Paris to the majestic landscape of 1920s Kenya, where the love life of pioneering aviator Beryl Markham is spinning out of control. Brought from England as a child and raised by her father and the Kipsigis tribe who share the land with them, Beryl has grown up under a complex mixture of colonialism and native traditions. Filled with fire but searching for direction, it is the love triangle that connects her, the safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton, and his partner the Baroness Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa, which awakens Beryl's passion to fly.


Crooked Heart
Lissa Evans
Hardcover, $24.99


When ten-year-old orphan Noel Bostock is evacuated from London to escape the Nazi bombardment, he lands in a suburb northwest of the city with Vera Sedge—a thirty-six-year-old widow and con-artist, who is drowning in debts and dependents. Their relationship is rocky from the start; Noel has grown wise beyond his years, forced to grow up all the faster without any parents to lean on; Vera is a whirlwind of activity, bouncing from one ill-planned escapade to the next without a thought for tomorrow. But a bond will form between these two unlikely and unstable characters over the course of Lissa Evans black comedy, and while Noel might not be exactly "safe" here on the outskirts of London, his life is certainly taking on a bit more color.


Storms At Sea
Mark Schultz
Flesk Publ.
Hardcover, $24.95
Mark Schultz's labor of love has been ten long years in the making, but the wait was well worth it. Storms at Sea is a fantastic mash-up of monsters, pulp fiction, speculative sci-fi, Illuminati conspiracies and the present danger of environmental catastrophe, all cast in a classic shadowy noir by Schultz's truly masterful carbon pencil illustrations. This is one of the most visually arresting books to arrive in our ever-expanding graphica section in quite some time. Here's an interview with Mark Schultz that might whet your appetite for this unusual and timely book.

Jason Miller Segel, Kirsten Miller, Karl Kwasny
Yearling Books
Paperback, $7.99
Ages 8-12

Jason Segel captured my heart from the first moment his perpetually stoned, emotionally raw and intellectually lazy character bounced onto the screen in Freaks & Geeks. Like his more notorious partner from the show, James Franco, Segel has tried a little bit of everything in the years since. Last year he teamed up with author Kirsten Miller to pen a novel for intermediate readers that does him, and them, a lot of credit. Nightmares! is the story of young Charlie Laird, who recently lost his mother and now lives with his new stepmother. She puts on a good show, but Charlie is convinced that she is out to steal his dad, his little brother, and even his memories of his mother. Segel isn't afraid to put a scare into his young audience, and that's a good thing. The second installment is due out in September.


What Pet Should I Get?
Dr. Seuss
Random House
Hardcover, $17.99
Ages 3-7, or whatever, really.

A new Dr. Seuss book! Surely you've heard.
But in line to read it you're second or third.
See, I get here first, I'm at the bookstore at seven,
And I won't let you see it until nine, ten, or eleven

This is the season for long-lost books resurfacing, I guess! Dr. Seuss' What Pet Should I Get? The good news is that this isn't merely a rough around the edges first draft, some artifact released mainly for to satisfy the needs of the completists, looking to fill in the corners of their Seuss collection. While it doesn't reach the trippy heights of his finest books, this is vintage Dr. Seuss, featuring ever more wacky imaginary animals and a pair of children who are handed the reins of responsibility in Mom and Dad's absence.

Count to 10 with a Mouse
Margaret Wise Brown, Kirsten Richards
Parragon, Hardcover
Orig. $16.95, Sale $6.99


There is really no equal to Margaret Wise Brown. She was never straightforward, her rhymes take unexpected detours and challenging little hiccups of syncopation, forcing even the most lackadaisacal reader-out-loud to grab the baton and put some expression in their performance. C'mon Mom and Dad! Enough with the monotone! I've never seen this book before, and even though it doesn't benefit from the timeless art of Clement Hurd, Garth Williams or Alice & Martin Provensen, the illustrations provide a delightfully modern vehicle for Margaret Wise Brown's always excellent wordplay.

Haunted America: Star-Spangled Supernatural Stories
Selected by Marvin Kaye
Guild America Books, 1990
Used Hardcover, $7.50
Creepy tales from dozens of our finest writers, including Edith Wharton, Nathaniel Hawthorne, H.P. Lovecraft, L. Frank Baum, Isaac Asimov, Ogden Nash, Willa Cather and Ambrose Bierce haunt the pages of this all-American compilation. It's hot out there this week, so give yourself an escape and bring home some chills. This book will scare your pants off, which should also help.

Rineke Dijkstra: A Retrospective
Guggenheim Museum Publications, 2012
Used Hardcover, $30

Rineke Dijkstra came to prominence in the 1990s with her celebrated Beach Portraits, large-scale color photographs of children on the verge of adolescence posed on beaches around the world, from South Carolina to the Ukraine. From that point on, her sensitive and visually riveting portraits have documented individuals caught in transitional states, sometimes due to physical exertion, for example after giving birth or dancing, or charted over time through series. Along with other Western European photographers such as Thomas Struth and Thomas Ruff, Dijkstra has been a leading innovator in the production of large-scale color images, which came to define contemporary photography in the 1990s and have transformed it ever since.

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work
Edited by Mason Currey
Knopf, 2013
Used Hardcover, $13


From my own experience as an artist working full-time with two kids to care for, I can attest to the difficulty of keeping a daily ritual. I won't chew on amphetamines and aspirin all day like Sartre, and I can't see a way to days on end of dawn-to-dusk nonstop painting, a la Van Gogh. But surely there are numerous nuggets of unexpected (and more practical) wisdom in this collection of the daily rituals of more than 160 artists, writers, musicians, composers, scientists, philosophers and filmmakers...I just need to take a moment and find them. Whether they brought joy or pain, these sometimes strange, sometimes common sense rituals were an essential ingredient in a recipe for success.

Peter Ackroyd
Penguin, Paperback
Orig. $14.95, Sale $5.99
Nicholas Dyer, commissioned by the great Enlightenment-era architect Christopher Wren to build seven iconic London churches, hides a devilish secret from his mentor. Secreted away in the heart of each church is dark secret, a contradiction at the core of these places of worship which will survive for eternity. Two hundred fifty years later a London detective finds himself being drawn into a web of mystery which seems to connect a series of gruesome murders at these same churches - a web that his modern mind, born as it is out of the Enlightenment's embrace of evidence over superstition, simply cannot wrap itself 'round. Here is the 1986 NYT review of Peter Ackroyd's highly suspenseful historical thriller.

Creativity: The Perfect Crime
Philippe Petit
Riverhead Books, Hardcover
Orig. $27.95, Sale 6.99

"At six, I taught myself magic; at fourteen, juggling; at sixteen, wire-walking. In the process, I was thrown out of five different schools. Regardless, I would never let my schooling get in the way of my education." There's the early evidence of the fire in the belly of the man who walked the wire between the twin towers. Philippe Petit confesses that he cannot stand self-help books for artists, so one wonders what compelled him to write what appears to be exactly that. But read on, and you will realize that if Petit is offering any help, it's not in the form of advice. His fiercely independent spirit; the dangerous choices he has made; the authorities he has confounded; these are not offered as steps for you to follow. Petite is advocating for a creative mindset.

The Fever Tree
Jennifer McVeigh
Berkley, Paperback
Orig. $16, Sale $4.99

The Fever Tree is the passionate tale of a woman unmoored from the world to which she is accustomed, pulled from the dream of 1880's London high society into the naked reality of South Africa. Her father's death left her penniless (pence-less?) and without refuge in her homeland, but it's a case of out of the frying pan into the fire for poor Frances Irvine. Upon her arrival on the Cape of Africa Frances is cast by author Jennifer McVeigh into the heat of passion (the first page I opened to was as steamy a bodice-ripping scene as one could wish for) as well as into a moral quagmire. We follow Frances through a maze of love and loyalty all the way into the depths of a diamond mine, where she will be forced to make her ultimate choice.

Oh man, I barely remember this New Year's party.

Olympics or no Olympics, Boston rules,
and the Giftsmith knows it. Locally crafted candles and coasters make great gifts for friends or family touring our beautiful city and the Booksmith's hometown of Brookline. The "home." t-shirt shows off your MA pride with style and was also featured on ABC's the Shark Tank.

It's a parade of animals in August at the Brookline Public Library! With young animal expert Lila leading the way, your kids can get to know Ralph the Shy Guinea Pig, Chloe the Friendly Bearded Dragon, and a rescued duck and a blue jay from Drumlin Farm. Registration is required for these events, so click here to sign up, and maybe reserve your spot for the Stuffed Animal Field Trip and Sleepover while you're at it!

One of Greater Boston's most beloved traditions, Free Shakespeare On The Common presents William Shakespeare's King Lear with celebrated Boston actor Will Lyman in the title role. Directed by Commonwealth Shakespeare Company's Founding Artistic Director Steven Maler, King Lear follows the journey of the aging king, faced with his own mortality and mental decline as he tries to secure the legacy of his kingdom by dividing it amongst his three daughters. Performances run July 22-August 9 near the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common.

We're reading book six of Harry Potter, and my eight-year-old son interrupts to tell me that Walden McNair was also one of the wizards who showed up at Hogwarts to execute Buckbeak in book three.
"Oh, wow, really? Soooo, who's McNair?"
"He's a Death Eater."
"Has he been in this book so far?"
"Dad, we're on chapter one. He was in book five."
"And you remember that he was one of the guys in that one chapter back in book three? Sheesh."

Thanks for reading,

currently reading Daily Rituals by Mason Curry.
currently listening to Love. I want to be a cosmic barber.

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

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