Local author, mathematical physicist at BU, and most importantly Booksmith regular Amir Aczel has been generating waves (gravitational waves from the Big Bang, am I right?) with his provocative new book Why Science Does Not Disprove God. Check out these: Alan Lightman's review in the Washington Post and a more recent one in Forbes. Aczel will be here tomorrow night at 7 to discuss the new book. We can't recommend highly enough that you attend! In fact, if I am reading the gravitational waves correctly, it appears that you already have attended, albeit in an alternate universe. Well, come again anyway!

Thursday marks the next meeting of our Small Press Book Club, where Natasha will lead the discussion around The Weirdness by Jeremy Bushnell. Our longstanding Booksmith Book Club met last night and decided that next on the list is Dave Egger's latest novel, A Hologram for the King. Early next week we welcome Ayelet Waldman and Gabrielle Zevin.
See you around the store!


Wednesday, April 16 at 7pm
Amir Aczel
Why Science Does Not Disprove God

Renowned science journalist, mathematician, and Booksmith favorite Amir Aczel returns with his latest book, a clear-eyed presentation about how faith in God and empirical science are not at odds. His incisive analysis of the theories and findings of Einstein, Penrose, Guth, and Darwin, and his lucid explanations of obscure aspects of physics, reveal how quantum theory, the anthropic principle, the fine-tuned dance of protons and quarks, the existence of antimatter, and the theory of parallel universes fail to disprove God.
   
Thursday, April 17 at 7pm
Small Press Book Club

Our new book club selects readings from independent presses. Read something off the beaten path! This month, we discuss The Weirdness by Jeremy Bushnell. Free and open to the public, the Small Press Book Club meets every third Thursday at 7pm.
   


Friday, April 18 at 7pm
Breakwater Reading Series

Join us for a night of new stories, essays, and poems by MFA candidates from Emerson, BU, and UMass Boston. For more information, visit breakwaterreading.wordpress.com.
   
Saturday, April 19 at 10:30am
Children’s Storytime

Do you love picture books? Join us in our children’s section as our fine children’s team reads stories aloud every third Saturday and last Sunday of the month.
   
Monday, April 21 at 7pm
Ayelet Waldman

Love and Treasure

Charged with guarding the Hungarian Gold Train after its discovery at the end of the war, classics scholar Jack Wiseman remains haunted by his responsibility. Years later he asks his granddaughter, Natalie Stein, to return a necklace to its original owner, triggering a journey involving a suave and shady art historian, a delusive Freudian, and a family of singing circus dwarves. Told over the decades, this layered novel challenges concepts of identity, destiny, and love.
   
Tuesday, April 22 at 7pm
Gabrielle Zevin
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry


Truly a bookseller’s book—Gabrielle Zevin has presented us with the character of A.J. Fikry, a grumbly bookstore owner whose every reference is laced with the literary. Struggling to accept the loss of his wife, his prized collection of first edition Poe poems, and watching his bookstore sales slowly crumble, A.J.’s nature seems set until a two-year-old toddler is abandoned at his store. A tale of love, second chances, and somehow, bookselling, this is a must read.

Infinitesimal: How a Dangerous Mathematical Theory Shaped the Modern World

Amir Alexander
HC, $27
The Expedition to the Baobab Tree

Wilma Stockenstrom,
J.M. Coetzee
PB, $18
Paris at the End of the World: How the City of Lights Soared in Its Darkest Hour, 1914-1918

John Baxter
PB, $15.99
The Other Story

Tatiana de Rosnay
HC, $26.99
Gandhi Before India

Ramachandra Guha
HC, $35

All the Birds, Singing
Evie Wyld
Pantheon
Hardcover, $24.95

 

Jake Whyte lives alone, except for her dog and her flock of sheep, on an island that seems to be a desolate end-of-the-earth kind of spot. The wind and rain never stops, the neighborhood is, well, non-existent, and that is just perfect for her. She's got some dark secrets in her past, back in Australia, and alone is how she chooses to be. But when something starts murdering her sheep in the night, it seems that those secrets are going to start coming to light. Set between Australia and a remote English island, All the Birds, Singing is the second novel from Evie Wyld, the award-winning author of After the Fire, A Still Small Voice.
 

Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything
Barbara Ehrenreich
Twelve
Hardcover, $26

 

Barbara Ehrenreich, lifelong atheist and a fiery force for social justice, has held onto a precious journal from her teenage years for all of her life. After emerging from a dark depression, she delved into it to remind herself of her roots, and what she found in there is the source material for this book. The explosive secret at the heart of the tale is one night, alone in the desert, when Ehrenreich endured, as she describes it in the book, "not the passive beatific merger with the ‘All,’ as promised by the Eastern mystics. It was a furious encounter with a living substance that was coming at me through all things at once, and one reason for the terrible wordlessness of the experience is that you cannot observe fire really closely without becoming part of it."
The book, spinning outward from this cataclysmic encounter, is her investigation into the mysteries that consumed her young mind and ended up motivating her throughout her life.
 

Casebook
Mona Simpson
Knopf
Hardcover, $25.95

 

From Mona Simpson (Anywhere But Here and My Hollywood) comes a new novel about a young boy’s quest to uncover the mysteries of his unraveling family. What he discovers turns out to be what he least wants to know: the inner workings of his parents’ lives. And once he's gone too far inside, it turns out to be not far enough: the answers lie even deeper within. Simpson's unearthing of one family's deepest secrets is brilliantly crafted, compulsive reading
 

Anna and the French Kiss
Stephanie Perkins
Speak
Paperback, $9.99
Ages 14-17

   
"You know that cute, predictable, funny, amazing movie you watch when you're having a bad day? This is that movie in book form."
- kids bookseller Amy.

Stephanie Perkins' Anna and the French Kiss follows one girl who is on the cusp of her senior year in high school in Atlanta...until suddenly her dad packs her off to a Parisian boarding school instead. Leaving behind her home, her friends, and (especially painfully) her crush, Anna is devastated...until one Etienne St. Clair comes strolling along the boulevard. A delicious romantic adventure awaits lucky readers.
 


The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend
Dan Santat
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, $17
Ages 2-5

   

Dan Santat's Beekle reminds me of an inverted, streamlined version of Shaun Tan's The Lost Thing. Odd creatures pop into existence on an island of imaginary friends, and wait eagerly to be imagined by a child in the real world. Everyone gets the call except for one meek little marshmallow-y guy in a paper crown. He starts to worry that he might be doomed to an unimaginary existence! So he sets out on a never-before attempted journey, to find his unknown friend. An awkward little girl is certainly not the friend he himself had been imagining, but as it turns out they are more perfect for each other than either could have hoped for.

 

Fly Away
Patricia MacLachlan
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Hardcover, $15.99
Ages 7&up
   
From the Newbery Award–winning author of Sarah, Plain and Tall comes a story about one brave girl who saves her family from losing everything. Music seems to fill every corner of Lucy's life. Lullabies, opera, rap, you name it, someone in her family sings it. But not Lucy. She opens her mouth to sing and - nothing. Another, more serious family tradition is traveling to North Dakota to help Aunt Frankie prepare for the seasonal floods that threaten her home. This year mortal danger will rise with the waters, and young Lucy will need to find her voice or lose her brother.
 

Latitude Hooks and Azimuth Rings: How to Build and Use 18 Traditional Navigational Tools
Dennis Fisher
International Marine Publishing, 1995
Used Paperback, $10.50

 
Put away your smart phones and pick up your traverse board, cross-staff, and astrolabe. Think how good it will feel to finally be able to curse the heavens in earnest when you go astray! Yes, your life can be just like a Shakespearian play!
 


The Flower Family Album

Helen Field Fischer, Gretchen Fischer Harshbarger
Bonanza Books, 1941
Used Hardcover, $5.50

 
There's something fishy going on here. In researching Helen Field Fischer, radio hostess and prodigious gardener, I came across this award which honors distinguished and meritorious service rendered the American Hemerocallis Society, which Fischer founded. Read the fine print at the bottom of the AHS home page, and you'll see that the 2013 winner of that handsome gold medal was none other than the AHS webmaster, Tim Fehr. Conflict of interest anyone?
But let's put the questionable self-congratulatory behavior of the Daylilies society aside for the moment and focus on this delightful book. On each lefthand page, Helen Fischer introduces a new family of flowers, weeds and vegetables that she thinks we ought to know about. On the righthand side, Gretchen Fischer Harshbarger illustrates a lively lineup of the plants in question. It's a neighborly introduction, to be sure, and a terrific artifact from the era of victory gardens.
 

The Lady Who Liked Clean Restrooms: The Chronicle Of One Of The Strangest Stories Ever To Be Rumoured About Around New York
J. P. Donleavy
St. Martin's Griffin, 1995
Used Paperback, $5.50
 
J.P. Donleavy's stylish novella tells the tale of Jocelyn Guenevere Marchantire Jones, whose Scarsdale life comes to an abrupt end when her husband goes in search of a bit of "fresh flesh". Soon she is fending for herself in New York City, where finding a clean restroom will prove to be the least of her concerns.
 
The Ask
Sam Lipsyte
Picador, Paperback
Orig. $16, Sale $5.99
 
Sam Lipsyte's hilarious novel looks into the life of everyman (hopefully that's not really true) Milo Burke, and in the process exposes every raw nerve in the modern American body of anxieties. Sudden unemployment forces Milo to embark on a torturous search for odd jobs. The quest eventually brings him right back to his former boss, and a last-chance opportunity to get back on his feet which involves courting a sinister figure from his past.
Click here to read a fascinating interview of the author, by the author.
 

What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses
Daniel Chamovitz
Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover
Orig $23, Sale $6.99
 

Daniel Chamovitz' spritely romp through the sensual universe of plants will fascinate even the most herbiphobic reader out there. Citing amazing examples of the diverse sensory attributes of various plants such as venus flytraps, cherry trees, sunflowers and tobacco, Chamovitz forces you to ponder whether plants are truly aware of their surroundings. And do brussels sprouts really scream when you cut them from the stalk? Brussels sprouts on the stalk always make me think of that moment in The Matrix when Keanu Reeves wakes up for the first time.
Here's a venus flytrap video that spawned a family game we used to play with Jackson and Libbie. ticktickticktickticktickticktickSNAP! But they always escaped, those sneaky little flies.

 


The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry

Gary Greenberg
Blue Rider Press, Hardcover
Orig. $28.95, Sale $7.99

 
Since its debut in 1952, the DSM has been frequently revised, and with each revision, the official view on which psychological problems constitute mental illness. Each revision has created controversy, but the DSM-5, the newest iteration, has shaken psychiatry to its foundations. The APA has taken fire from patients, mental health practitioners, and former members for extending the reach of psychiatry into daily life by encouraging doctors to diagnose more illnesses and prescribe more therapies often medications whose efficacy is unknown and whose side effects are severe. Critics including author Gary Greenberg argue that the APA should not have the naming rights to psychological pain or to the hundreds of millions of dollars the organization earns, especially when even the DSM 's staunchest defenders acknowledge that the disorders listed in the book are not real illnesses.
 
 


"I'm sorry Mrs. Hutchins, but I just don't see how Mr. Stanning could have been any clearer....
No, I don't think there is any "obvious subtext" here, and furthermore.....
Well, I am sorry that your husband took it that way, but let me assure you that the letter to every single Lloyd's employee included precisely the same number of words......
No, I do not think his signature looks at all hurried or uncaring, in fact......
yes......
no.........
no.........
No, I don't see how that would help....
You are suggesting that Mr. Stanning post an expanded, more heartfelt version of the letter to your husband, today, Christmas Eve.
And how many more words would be necessary?
And are there any words your husband is particularly fond of, or should we just dash off the first ones that come to mind?"
 
Passover is here, and Easter is on its way!
Whatever your family celebrates at this time of year,
the Giftsmith has a bright and beautiful selection of
cards and gifts. Reverent or irreverent, whatever floats your boat!

   

A Hologram for the King
Dave Eggers


May 12th, 2014 @ 7:30pm
No need to sign up, just show up!

 

The terrific folk duo Fox & Branch will be performing a wonderful family concert at Club Passim in Harvard Square on Saturday, April 26 at 10:30am. Their music is a regular feature on the airwaves of our home, and the kids and I can attest to the quality of their live shows. Don't miss this great show, and this terrific music! Original songs mixed with funny and respectful reworkings of traditional folk standards, played on banjo, guitar, washboard and spoons by two great guys. And they visit the bookstore every time they pass through Boston! Get your tickets here.

The annual Tee Off @ the Library will take place on Saturday May 3 &4! 7:30-10pm on Saturday night is just for adults! Mini-golf, snacks, spirits, special guest authors, & wear your favorite Kentucky Derby hat for our photo booth. Doors open at 7:30pm. TICKETS: $5 online until May 1st; $10 at the door. Including alcohol: $15 online until May 1st; $20 at the door. FOR SATURDAY NIGHT register here or call 6170730-2370 for more information.
Sunday morning the golf course is open for kids, families & teens! Enjoy mini-golf, breakfast treats, face painting, special guest authors, and a photo booth to capture your memories. Doors open at 8:30am. TICKETS: $10 for families up to four; Open to kids ages 5 on up through to teens. FOR SUNDAY MORNING register at Brooklinerec.com or call 617-730-2069.

 

Next Monday is Marathon Monday, which is one of the best days of the year to work at the Booksmith. The doors are thrown open, and all day long we hear the cheers and clapping from the race, just a couple hundred feet away.
As the hours roll by and the runners complete their individual journeys, they begin to trickle in to the store, wrapped in their silvery capes and surrounded by beaming family and friends, all of them now looking for a friendly place to cool down. It is a singularly cheerful, peaceful day to be a bookseller at the Brookline Booksmith.

Of course, no one is forgetful of the tragedy that marred last year's Marathon, or of those who were lost to us, or of the journey of healing that continues for those wounded by what happened that day.

When you watch the runners, it is impossible not to notice the strength, the effort, and yes the pain that transforms their faces during those hours on the road. That is the face of suffering alone. But when you see them cross the line, and you see them around the city, or on the train, or in our store in the hours after, they positively glow, all of them, and their loved ones, all with the same light. That is when you see that we are truly all together.
A lot has been said in the past year about strength, and resilience, and our community. This Marathon Monday will be just like all the ones that came before, even last year's: a celebration of individual perseverance and our shared strength in community.
Can't wait to see you in the store, whether you wear a silver cape or not!

Thanks for reading,
Paul

 

currently reading Instant Zen by Foyan.

currently listening to Inventions.

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
617.566.6660
thestore@brooklinebooksmith.com
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 www.brooklinebooksmith.com