What a week ahead of us! You'll have to scroll down about twenty inches to get through all of the terrific author readings, book clubs and storytimes we have going on in the next seven days. And then right in the middle of it the Boston Marathon makes its annual passage right outside our doors! This is a good week to be knee-deep in books in Coolidge Corner.

The venerable Booksmith Book Club met on Monday night and chose the amazing book by Atticus Lish, Preparation for the Next Life as their read for May. Just announced as winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award, Lish challenges his readers to see America through the eyes of three of the most damaged and vulnerable classes of our society: a traumatized soldier, an illegal immigrant and a recently-released prisoner. Beautiful writing, essential reading.
Many in the Book Club were keen to move right on to the second volume of Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle. If you are going to be reading it and want to continue the conversation, get in touch with Lisa, lisa@brooklinebooksmith.com.
On the topic of Knausgaard, he will be discussing the entire series on Leonard Lopate's radio show WNYC on May 8th at noon. And they are asking for your questions! Click here to submit your questions.

This Thursday at 7pm you can get in on the ground floor with the Small Press Book Club. Their latest pick, In The Beginning Was the Sea by Tomás González, just made the shortlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. The novel, first published in 1983, is the first by the accomplished Colombian author, and tells of how one couple's romantic retirement becomes a living hell on a remote tropical island.

Wednesday, April 15th at 7:00 pm
Zachary Klein
Ties That Blind
Peter Swanson
The Kind Worth Killing

Join us for a night of Boston-based mysteries! From Zachary Klein comes the long awaited 4th Matt Jacob novel, Ties That Blind. Former social worker-turned-private investigator Matt Jacob has had his share of vices and woes. Now Matt is struggling to kick his addictions, put his demons under wraps. Then, a phone call changes everything. Lou, the father of Matt’s dead wife, is on the line. His new girlfriend’s son has attempted suicide and Lou, for some unknown reason, refuses to get paramedics or the police involved. When Matt uncovers the truth behind this boy’s despair, everything he has worked so hard for could end in an instant.

From Peter Swanson, local author of the acclaimed The Girl with a Clock for a Heart—hailed by The Washington Post as crime fiction’s best first novel of 2014—comes a devious modern reimagining of Patricia Highsmith’s classic. On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning and mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing very intimate details about themselves. But their game turns a little darker when Ted jokes that he could kill his wife for cheating on him. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.” After all, some people are the kind worth killing...



Thursday, April 16th at 7:00 pm
Small Press Book Club

Our new book club selects readings from independent presses. This week they're discussing In the Beginning Was the Sea by Tomás González. Free and open to the public, our Small Press Book Club meets the third Thursday of every month at 7:00 pm.


Friday, April 17th at 7:00 pm

Join us for a night of new stories, essays, and poems by MFA candidates from Emerson, BU, and UMass Boston. Fore more information, please visit breakwaterreadingseries.wordpress.com

Saturday, April 18 at 10:30 am
Children's Storytime

Do you love picture books? Join us in our children’s section as our fine children’s team reads stories aloud.
Saturday, April 18th at 5:00 pm
Susan Levin
Unlocked: A Family Emerging from the Shadows of Autism

Unlocked begins with a vivid depiction of the author’s life with her autistic son, Ben. Feelings of isolation, self-hate, and even moments of hatred toward her own child impel her to seek solutions for his condition. Told largely through anecdote, Unlocked is, by turns, heart-wrenching and joyful, hopeful and doubt-laden. As we follow young Ben’s exploits into a new social world, our own hearts break as he stumbles, but finally soar as he achieves his dream: genuine, caring, and reciprocal relationships with his peers. In the end, Unlocked is a story about family, commitment, and the power of embracing, nonjudgmental love.
Saturday, April 18th at 7:00 pm

A series curated by Black Ocean Press featuring the freshest and finest poets. This month’s lineup: Matthew Lippman, Liam Day, and Dara Cerv.
Sunday, April 19th at 5:00 pm
Göran Rosenberg
A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz

Winner of the prestigious August Prize, this is the shattering memoir by a journalist about his father’s attempt to survive the aftermath of Auschwitz. On August 2, 1947 a young man gets off a train in a small Swedish town to begin his life anew. Having endured the ghetto of Lodz, the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the slave camps and transports during the final months of Nazi Germany, his final challenge is to survive the survival. In this intelligent and deeply moving book, Göran Rosenberg returns to his own childhood to tell the story of his father: walking at his side, holding his hand, trying to get close to him. It is also the story of the chasm between the world of the child, permeated by the optimism, progress, and collective oblivion of postwar Sweden, and the world of the father, darkened by the long shadows of the past.
Monday, April 20th at 7:00 pm
Marie Monique Robin
Our Daily Poison: From Pesticides to Packaging, How Chemicals Have Contaminated the Food Chain and Are Making Us Sick

Over the past thirty years, we have seen an increase in rates of cancer, neurodegenerative disease, reproductive disorders, and diabetes, particularly in developed countries. At the same time, since the end of World War II, approximately 100,000 synthetic chemical molecules have invaded our environment—and our food chain. In Our Daily Poison, award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin investigates the links between these two alarming trends, revealing how corporate interests and our ignorance may be costing us our lives.

Tuesday, April 21st at 7:00 pm
Eva Selhub
Your Health Destiny: Take Control of your Body’s Innate Ability to Heal Itself

From a board-certified internist and Lecturer in Medicine at Harvard Medical School, comes a scientifically proven mind-body prescription that will help you prevent disease, bounce back from illness, and manage life’s ups and down—all while achieving a greater sense of well-being, now and for the rest of your life. There’s no way around it: The human body is designed to get sick. Illness is the body’s way of calling attention to a bigger problem. Aches and pains—whether annoying or debilitating, acute or chronic— mean that something’s out of balance. What they don’t mean is that you’re not in control. Because your body takes its cues from your thoughts and emotions—and not the other way around—you can take control of your health, rather than letting your health take control of you.

    Join the
Booksmith Book Club
 May 11 @ 7:30pm
to discuss

For the Next Life

Atticus Lish

PEN/Faulkner Award
winner for 2015

No need to sign up, just show up!

Small Press Bookclub
April 16th @7pm

In the Beginning
Was the Sea

by Tomás González


KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps

Nikolaus Wachsmann
Hc, $40
The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories

Marina Keegan
PB, $15
Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II

Vicki Croke
Pb, $17
The Narrow Road to the Deep North

Richard Flanagan
Pb, $15.95
The Road to Character

David Brooks
HC, $28

I Was a Child: A Memoir
Bruce Eric Kaplan
Blue Rider Press
Hardcover, $25.95


Known as BEK in the pages of The New Yorker, Bruce Eric Kaplan is one of the most recognizable cartoonists working today. There are few others who are able to convey such deep context within one frame, and with so few words. His memoir, which he describes as a way of "keeping his parents alive," operates in much the same way, and feels absolutely authentic. Sentences are relentlessly to the point, and the text flows organically between brief sketches which wordlessly fill in all the gaps in the narrative. It is a totally original approach to the art of memoir, and should not be missed.

Natural Born Heroes: How a Daring Band of Misfits
Mastered the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance
Christopher McDougall
Knopf Publishing Group
Hardcover, $26.95


Christopher McDougall, author of the runaway bestseller Born to Run, leads his readers on a race to far corners of the globe and deep into human history, in a quest to prove that secrets of strength and endurance are anything but a modern invention. The rough mountain ridges of Crete and the true, amazing story of a group of WWII Resistance fighters provide the inspiration for a globe-trotting tour through Greece, London, Brazil, Colorado and his own Pennsylvania neighborhood.

Capital Dames: The Civil War and
the Women of Washington, 1848-1868

Cokie Roberts
Hardcover, $27.99

That glass ceiling in our nation's capital has suffered ever more cracks with each passing election cycle, as women have fought for and won their rightful seats in the halls of power. Cokie Roberts' new book tells of a brave group of Washington women in the more distant past who served in a different, and no less crucial way. Capital Dames is the story of the women who stayed in the city after the declaration of secession, enlisting as nurses, supply organizers, relief workers, journalists, and risking their lives making munitions.

The Grasshopper & the Ants
Jerry Pinkney
Little, Brown & Co.
Hardcover, $18
Ages 2-5


Jerry Pinkney's companion to The Lion & the Mouse and The Tortoise & the Hare will steal your breath away with its richly detailed full page watercolor illustrations. Never put off until tomorrow what you can get done today! That is the lesson that our fun-loving Grasshopper, with his banjo and straw boater, learns after a year of scoffing at his hard-working ant neighbors.


Red Queen
Victoria Aveyard
Harper Teen
Hardcover, $17.99
Ages 13 & up


About Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen, Clarissa bellows "SHE IS MY HERO!"
"Mare is a Red. Her kind live to serve the Silvers. But Mare is something new. Someone who could tear down the whole system. But will she?"


Neon Aliens Ate my Homework
and Other Poems
Nick Cannon
Scholastic Press
Hardcover, $14.99
Ages 7-10

Nick Cannon was inspired to write this book as a way to combine the worlds of poetry and hip-hop. The collection kicks off with a tribute to one of his personal heroes, Shel Silverstein, and through the rest of the book he shouts out to the "storytellers of the streets," the rappers who have, just like Silverstein, showed him how to live his life in rhyme. Cannon's rhymes are paired with artwork from an international cast of street artists.

In the Winter of Cities by Tennessee Williams, $5
The Boss by Victoria Chang, $10.50
The Beautiful Contradictions by Nathaniel Tarn, $6

National Poetry Month has descended upon us like the curling leaves of a planer's passage, ankle deep airy tunnels and fragrant spirals. Luckily Booksmith has some real poets (look under Amante and Annarummo on our poetry shelves) handpicking our recommendations this month. Here's a fistful of chapbooks from the special display down in the Used Book Cellar.

The Wave
Susan Casey
Anchor Books, 2011
Used Paperback, $8.50

An admission: I feel waves (and their invisible inverse, undertow) to be the most fearful phenomenon in the world. It took a lot of bravery to even pick Susan Casey's book off the shelf. (applause) But I faced my fears, opened up a book that the San Francisco Chronicle calls "immensely powerful, beautiful, addictive and, yes, incredibly thrilling", followed Casey out to sea with surfers, ship captains and scientists, and then I fainted. It's no good. I just don't want to know.

Chinese Posters: Art from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution
Lincoln Cushing, Ann Tompkins
Chronicles Books, 2007
Used Paperback, $10.50


Best. Propaganda. Ever. Soviet posters were always too grim, too saturated with threat. With North Vietnamese posters, there doesn't seem to be a unifying theme, you get one like this or one like this (amazing.) I'm not even going to touch on Nazi propaganda posters, those things are pure evil. But this collection of posters from the Cultural Revolution absolutely sing with goodness and light, and surely were designed to keep the People's minds off the crushing poverty and sudden destruction of the culture their ancestors had created. Still, the art! Just look at those faces! Norman Rockwell, that's how you paint a smiling face!


You Can Draw
Parragon Books, Paperback
Orig. $12.99. Sale $6.99

The only hurdle is the understanding that the tree in front of you is not the tree in your mind, and nor is the tree that your hand will draw. The only tree that matters is the one that emerges on the paper, and exists at the intersection of your memory, your perception, and the motion of your hand. There is no right or wrong, there is only getting in the habit of doing the thing. Do it for long enough, and nobody else will be doing it like you. That makes you an artist.
If you hear your kid saying "I can't draw," give them this book and tell them they get a cookie for every drawing that they do. The easiest way to get in the habit of drawing is to copy someone else, and this book is filled with hundreds of exciting drawing prompts that will provide proof enough that everyone can draw.

The Rule of Empires: Those Who Built Them,
Those Who Endure Them, and Why They Always Fall

Timothy H. Parsons
Oxford U. Press, Hardcover
Orig. $29.95, Sale $7.99

Right there in the second part of the subtitle, those who endure them, you get a good idea of Timothy Parsons' thesis. The success and eventual failure of empires rests as much on the ruled as it does on the rulers. In The Rule of Empires, written from the point of view of the subjugated, Parsons attempts to paint both past and present imperial ambitions in a more brutally realistic light than their detractors and defenders are used to. This is a radical reframing of imperialism in ancient Rome, British rule in Kenya, the Third Reich, and even good old American exceptionalism.

The Way of the Kings
André Malraux
Hesperus, Paperback
Orig. $14.95, Sale $4.99


On a quest to penetrate the jungles of Cambodia, reach the ancient city of Angkor, rob her of her treasures, and return to "civilization" as conquering heroes, young Claude and experienced Perken are also hoping to find their predecessor of sorts, Grabot. What they discover is a world that cares little for their personal ambitions, and what had seemed like a swashbuckling adventure in the beginning turns into a fight to the death against the violent forces of Nature, and the most barbaric impulses of humanity.


A grandmother's letter to her adult grandson, which starts over twice, the second start only getting as far as "Please I don't think I can keep my thoughts together. I've torn  it  3 letters - ". Throughout, she repeatedly stresses how much she expects him to be keeping up with reading his Catholic catechism.

Made in the USA, Produce candles are inspired by seasonal harvests. From sweet or spicy, to earthy and crisp, each natural soy candle will bring the best if the farm stand into your home.
The Spooky Science of the Southern Reach - An Evening with Jeff VanderMeer will take place Thursday, April 16, 5-7pm at the Stata Center at MIT.
Jeff VanderMeer, author of the New York Times bestselling Southern Reach Trilogy (hands down the best books of 2014, if you ask me. go ahead, ask me.) will join G. Eric Schaller, Professor of Biological Sciences at Dartmouth, for a broad-ranging discussion about the scientific and philosophical ideas that inspired the series. The two friends and occasional collaborators will discuss conservation science, VanderMeer's relationship with the natural world, and the theme of extinction in "slow apocalypse" fiction, as well as the role of real world science in science fiction.

Dominique Christina and Denice Frohman are Sister Outsider Poetry, and they will be performing and holding a workshop at BU's College of Arts and Sciences, Room 211, this Friday from 6-8pm. This award-winning duo represents some of the top performance poets in the world. Sister Outsider stands at the intersection of art and activism, using poetry as a tool for social change. They bring culturally competent, paradigm shifting performance poetry, workshops, and dialogue to universities, institutions, schools, organizations, and community spaces all over the country to expand necessary conversations about identity, inclusion, race, gender and LGBTQ issues, and the epidemic of gender-based violence.

One of my favorite days to come to work each year has always been Marathon Monday. The unwavering noise of cheering and clapping from half a block away just makes you feel good all day long. And inside the store it feels like a little oasis of quietude, with the doors thrown open to welcome, later in the day, the silver-caped runners coming back from their journey, leaning on family members and friends, all of them glowing with pride. And even after the tragedy of two years ago, and with the trial going on right around it, Marathon Monday continues to feel like a bright spot right around the corner of this weekend. We hope you'll find your way into the store to share in the good feelings, and we invite you to join the whole Boston community in observing a moment of silence at 2:49pm today, to honor those affected by the events of April 15, 2013.

Thanks for reading,

currently reading The Eye In the Door by Pat Barker.
currently listening to This is the Kit.
Here is something pointless and awesome.

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



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

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