Church Street Shop http://churchstreetshop.com a blog of books. Sun, 10 Jun 2018 15:38:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 89943312 June 2018 Books of the Month /june-2018-books-of-the-month/ /june-2018-books-of-the-month/#respond Sun, 10 Jun 2018 15:38:33 +0000 /?p=7919 View Article]]> Cal picked three books for Church Street Coffee and Books’ June 2018 “Books of the Month.” Copies will be available in the shop for purchase on and after their publication dates. If you read any of the June picks, make sure you chat with Cal about them!

 

Here are the titles, their publication dates, links to the books’ publishers, and summaries from the publishers’ websites:

 

Florida by Lauren Groff

ON SALE: NOW

In her thrilling new book, Lauren Groff brings the reader into a physical world that is at once domestic and wild—a place where the hazards of the natural world lie waiting to pounce, yet the greatest threats and mysteries are still of an emotional, psychological nature. A family retreat can be derailed by a prowling panther, or by a sexual secret. Among those navigating this place are a resourceful pair of abandoned sisters; a lonely boy, grown up; a restless, childless couple, a searching, homeless woman; and an unforgettable, recurring character—a steely and conflicted wife and mother.

The stories in this collection span characters, towns, decades, even centuries, but Florida—its landscape, climate, history, and state of mind—becomes its gravitational center: an energy, a mood, as much as a place of residence. Groff transports the reader, then jolts us alert with a crackle of wit, a wave of sadness, a flash of cruelty, as she writes about loneliness, rage, family, and the passage of time. With shocking accuracy and effect, she pinpoints the moments and decisions and connections behind human pleasure and pain, hope and despair, love and fury—the moments that make us alive. Startling, precise, and affecting, Florida is a magnificent achievement.

 

 

A Place for Us by Fatima Mirza

ON SALE: June 12, 2018

As an Indian wedding gathers a family back together, parents Rafiq and Layla must reckon with the choices their children have made. There is Hadia: their headstrong, eldest daughter, whose marriage is a match of love and not tradition. Huda, the middle child, determined to follow in her sister’s footsteps. And lastly, their estranged son, Amar, who returns to the family fold for the first time in three years to take his place as brother of the bride. What secrets and betrayals have caused this close-knit family to fracture? Can Amar find his way back to the people who know and love him best?

A Place for Us takes us back to the beginning of this family’s life: from the bonds that bring them together, to the differences that pull them apart. All the joy and struggle of family life is here, from Rafiq and Layla’s own arrival in America from India, to the years in which their children—each in their own way—tread between two cultures, seeking to find their place in the world, as well as a path home.

A Place for Us is a book for our times: an astonishingly tender-hearted novel of identity and belonging, and a resonant portrait of what it means to be an American family today. It announces Fatima Farheen Mirza as a major new literary talent.

 

 

Room to Dream by David Lynch and Kristine McKenna

ON SALE: June 19, 2018

In this unique hybrid of biography and memoir, David Lynch opens up for the first time about a life lived in pursuit of his singular vision, and the many heartaches and struggles he’s faced to bring his unorthodox projects to fruition. Lynch’s lyrical, intimate, and unfiltered personal reflections riff off biographical sections written by close collaborator Kristine McKenna and based on more than one hundred new interviews with surprisingly candid ex-wives, family members, actors, agents, musicians, and colleagues in various fields who all have their own takes on what happened.

Room to Dream is a landmark book that offers a onetime all-access pass into the life and mind of one of our most enigmatic and utterly original living artists.

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/june-2018-books-of-the-month/feed/ 0 7919 May 2018 Books of the Month /may-2018-books-of-the-month/ /may-2018-books-of-the-month/#respond Sun, 06 May 2018 13:44:16 +0000 /?p=7904 View Article]]>

A Stone for Sascha by Aaron Becker

ON SALE: May 8, 2018

A girl grieves the loss of her dog in an achingly beautiful wordless epic from the Caldecott Honor–winning creator of Journey.

This year’s summer vacation will be very different for a young girl and her family without Sascha, the beloved family dog, along for the ride. But a wistful walk along the beach to gather cool, polished stones becomes a brilliant turning point in the girl’s grief. There, at the edge of a vast ocean beneath an infinite sky, she uncovers, alongside the reader, a profound and joyous truth. In his first picture book following the conclusion of his best-selling Journey trilogy, Aaron Becker achieves a tremendous feat, connecting the private, personal loss of one child to a cycle spanning millennia — and delivering a stunningly layered tale that demands to be pored over again and again.

 

 

How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan

ON SALE: May 15, 2018

A brilliant and brave investigation by Michael Pollan, author of five New York Times best sellers, into the medical and scientific revolution taking place around psychedelic drugs–and the spellbinding story of his own life-changing psychedelic experiences

When Michael Pollan set out to research how LSD and psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) are being used to provide relief to people suffering from difficult-to-treat conditions such as depression, addiction and anxiety, he did not intend to write what is undoubtedly his most personal book. But upon discovering how these remarkable substances are improving the lives not only of the mentally ill but also of healthy people coming to grips with the challenges of everyday life, he decided to explore the landscape of the mind in the first person as well as the third. Thus began a singular adventure into various altered states of consciousness, along with a dive deep into both the latest brain science and the thriving underground community of psychedelic therapists. Pollan sifts the historical record to separate the truth about these mysterious drugs from the myths that have surrounded them since the 1960s, when a handful of psychedelic evangelists inadvertently catalyzed a powerful backlash against what was then a promising field of research.

A unique and elegant blend of science, memoir, travel writing, history, and medicine, How to Change Your Mind is a triumph of participatory journalism. By turns dazzling and edifying, it is the gripping account of a journey to an exciting and unexpected new frontier in our understanding of the mind, the self, and our place in the world. The true subject of Pollan’s “mental travelogue” is not just psychedelic drugs but also the eternal puzzle of human consciousness and how, in a world that offers us both suffering and joy, we can do our best to be fully present and find meaning in our lives.

 

 

Calypso by David Sedaris

ON SALE: May 29, 2018

David Sedaris returns with his most deeply personal and darkly hilarious book.

If you’ve ever laughed your way through David Sedaris’s cheerfully misanthropic stories, you might think you know what you’re getting with Calypso. You’d be wrong.

When he buys a beach house on the Carolina coast, Sedaris envisions long, relaxing vacations spent playing board games and lounging in the sun with those he loves most. And life at the Sea Section, as he names the vacation home, is exactly as idyllic as he imagined, except for one tiny, vexing realization: it’s impossible to take a vacation from yourself.

With Calypso, Sedaris sets his formidable powers of observation toward middle age and mortality. Make no mistake: these stories are very, very funny–it’s a book that can make you laugh ’til you snort, the way only family can. Sedaris’s powers of observation have never been sharper, and his ability to shock readers into laughter unparalleled. But much of the comedy here is born out of that vertiginous moment when your own body betrays you and you realize that the story of your life is made up of more past than future.

This is beach reading for people who detest beaches, required reading for those who loathe small talk and love a good tumor joke. Calypso is simultaneously Sedaris’s darkest and warmest book yet–and it just might be his very best.

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March 2018 Books of the Month /march-2018-books-of-the-month/ /march-2018-books-of-the-month/#respond Thu, 01 Mar 2018 20:39:15 +0000 /?p=7898 View Article]]> Cal picked three books for Church Street Coffee and Books’ March 2018 “Books of the Month.” Copies will be available in the shop for purchase on and after their publication dates. If you read any of the March picks, make sure you chat with Cal about them!

 

Here are the titles, their publication dates, links to the books’ publishers, and summaries from the publishers’ websites:

Census by Jesse Ball

ON SALE: March 6, 2018

A powerful and moving new novel from an award-winning, acclaimed author: in the wake of a devastating revelation, a father and son journey north across a tapestry of towns.

 

When a widower receives notice from a doctor that he doesn’t have long left to live, he is struck by the question of who will care for his adult son—a son whom he fiercely loves, a boy with Down syndrome. With no recourse in mind, and with a desire to see the country on one last trip, the man signs up as a census taker for a mysterious governmental bureau and leaves town with his son.

Traveling into the country, through towns named only by ascending letters of the alphabet, the man and his son encounter a wide range of human experience. While some townspeople welcome them into their homes, others who bear the physical brand of past censuses on their ribs are wary of their presence. When they press toward the edges of civilization, the landscape grows wilder, and the towns grow farther apart and more blighted by industrial decay. As they approach “Z,” the man must confront a series of questions: What is the purpose of the census? Is he complicit in its mission? And just how will he learn to say good-bye to his son?

 

Mysterious and evocative, Census is a novel about free will, grief, the power of memory, and the ferocity of parental love, from one of our most captivating young writers.

 

 

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

ON SALE: March 6, 2018

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

 

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

 

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

 

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers?and her growing feelings for an enemy.

 

 

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

ON SALE NOW

 

A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer—the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade—from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case.

 

“You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark.”

 

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

 

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer.” Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

 

At the time of the crimes, the Golden State Killer was between the ages of eighteen and thirty, Caucasian, and athletic—capable of vaulting tall fences. He always wore a mask. After choosing a victim—he favored suburban couples—he often entered their home when no one was there, studying family pictures, mastering the layout. He attacked while they slept, using a flashlight to awaken and blind them. Though they could not recognize him, his victims recalled his voice: a guttural whisper through clenched teeth, abrupt and threatening.

 

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Framed by an introduction by Gillian Flynn and an afterword by her husband, Patton Oswalt, the book was completed by Michelle’s lead researcher and a close colleague. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic—and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer.

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EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON AND OTHER LIES I’VE LOVED /everything-happens-for-a-reason-and-other-lies-ive-loved/ /everything-happens-for-a-reason-and-other-lies-ive-loved/#respond Tue, 27 Feb 2018 18:36:55 +0000 /?p=7895 View Article]]>

At the end of the preface to Kate Bowler’s Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved, she writes:

 

I wish this were a different kind of story. But this is a book about befores and afters and how people in the midst of pain make up their minds about the eternal questions: Why? Why is this happening to me? What could I have done differently? Does everything actually happen for a reason? If I accept that what is happening is something I cannot change, can I learn how to let go?

 

And then she delivers on that statement throughout the rest of her book about her experiences with cancer. Bowler writes about how sometimes Christians get it wrong. When we offer formulas for life, when we believe everything will work out the way we want it to if we do our part, and when we think we are the ones in control, we are off base. If we think we have figured out how to make things work so our expectations are met and so we can avoid pain and brokenness, we are off base. Bowler sums it up nicely when she says, “We want to tell ourselves a story—any story—so we can get back to certainty.”

 

Bowler learns through her circumstances, through God’s grace, and through the advice of a dear friend, that living in the present moment open to what God has for her is the only way to make it through difficulty. Her friend tells her,

 

“We’re all terminal,” he says simply, and it answers my unspoken question. How do you stop? You just stop. You come to the end of yourself. And then you take a deep breath. And say a prayer. And get back to work.

 

So Bowler learns this lesson and more because she is living a life open to God, regardless of what she might be dealing with during any specific season. She learns God doesn’t disappear when life is hard. He’s present. And He’s good.

 

Charlotte lives in Homewood with her husband and their two children. She’s earning an MFA in creative writing from Seattle Pacific University, and she does freelance writing and copywriting. You can find her online at www.charlottedonlon.com, on Twitter at @charlottedonlon, and on Instagram at @charlottedonlon. You can sign up for her weekly email newsletter about reading, writing, and creativity via her website at charlottedonlon.com. Email newsletter subscribers are invited to participate in book giveaways, too. Feel free to contact Charlotte at charlotte@charlottedonlon.com with any questions or comments!

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Ordinary People Change the World /ordinary-people-change-the-world/ /ordinary-people-change-the-world/#respond Sat, 10 Feb 2018 17:44:18 +0000 /?p=7890 View Article]]> Cal has been selling books from the Ordinary People Change the World series written by Brad Meltzer and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos for a while now. I picked up two of the books from the display by the cash register this morning to read and write about. These books are interesting and informative and perfect options for children–and, as always, adults–to learn about people who have made an impact on the world.

 

I am Rosa Parks

 

This book provides a summary of Rosa Parks’ life and work. I love Meltzer’s focus on Parks standing up for herself and standing up for what’s right as she decided to not give into the demands to move from her seat on a bus, a decision that ignited the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. Meltzer provides a realistic glimpse of what it was like for Parks and others to live under oppression and segregation.

 

Meltzer writes:

 

“This was my school, a small, old wooden building with one room and one teacher… for all of us. Everyone from the five-year-olds to the sixth graders were stuffed in that one room. there were no windows, desks, and barely any books.

 

We also brought our books home every night. Why? Because we were worried that folks who hated the color of our skin would burn down our school.”

 

Meltzer contrasts this description with a description of a school for white kids. He writes:

 

“Now, there’s the school for the kids who were white. Notice the difference? It was a new brick building with beautiful windows, new desks, and plenty of books. Plus a playground.”

 

Eliopoulos provides detailed illustrations to further point out the differences in the two schools. It’s refreshing to read children’s literature that doesn’t shy away from our tragic history.

 

I am Jackie Robinson

 

This book provides a summary of Jackie Robinson’s childhood and career as a baseball player. The primary theme is the importance of bravery, but Meltzer presents bravery with a large dose of reality. He writes,

 

“Being a leader takes bravery. But remember this: No one is born brave. No matter how big or small you are, there will always be things that scare you. It’s okay to be afraid. Just don’t let it stop you.”

 

I also like how Meltzer addresses the need for people in power to use their power for the common good. He writes:

 

“There is real power in each and every one of us. Use that power to do what’s right. Use that power for a cause that you believe in. And most of all, use that power to lead and help others.”

 

Again, Eliopoulos’ lovely illustrations are full of details that add meaning to the story.

 

Next time you’re at Church Street, flip through some of the books from the Ordinary People Change the World series. There might be one that’s perfect for an ordinary child you know.

 

Charlotte lives in Homewood with her husband and their two children. She’s earning an MFA in creative writing from Seattle Pacific University, and she does freelance writing and copywriting. You can find her online at www.charlottedonlon.com, on Twitter at @charlottedonlon, and on Instagram at @charlottedonlon. You can sign up for her weekly email newsletter about reading, writing, and creativity via her website at charlottedonlon.com. Email newsletter subscribers are invited to participate in book giveaways, too. Feel free to contact Charlotte at charlotte@charlottedonlon.com with any questions or comments!

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WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A CHANCE? /what-do-you-do-with-a-chance/ /what-do-you-do-with-a-chance/#respond Thu, 08 Feb 2018 16:33:29 +0000 /?p=7885 View Article]]>

The newest book written by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae Besom will encourage kids–and adults–to be brave and grab ahold of chances to do new things. What Do You Do With A Chance (one of Cal’s picks for February) confronts the presence of fear with a realistic tone. I love it when children’s books don’t shy away from negative aspects of life. Yamada writes:

 

“I know I acted like I didn’t care, but the truth was, I did. I still wanted to take a chance, but I was afraid. And I wasn’t sure if I would ever be brave enough.”

 

And later, the main character explains a shift:

 

“It wasn’t that I was no longer afraid, but now my excitement was bigger than my fear.”

 

I love this change in perspective. It’s so simple, yet so true. When I think about opportunities I have that may never be successful, that I may try and fall flat on my face in failure, if I choose to move forward it’s because the excitement really does outweigh the fear.

 

Here’s to taking more chances.

 

Charlotte lives in Homewood with her husband and their two children. She’s earning an MFA in creative writing from Seattle Pacific University, and she does freelance writing and copywriting. You can find her online at www.charlottedonlon.com, on Twitter at @charlottedonlon, and on Instagram at @charlottedonlon. You can sign up for her weekly email newsletter about reading, writing, and creativity via her website at charlottedonlon.com. Email newsletter subscribers are invited to participate in book giveaways, too. Feel free to contact Charlotte at charlotte@charlottedonlon.com with any questions or comments!

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February 2018 Books of the Month /february-2018-books-of-the-month/ /february-2018-books-of-the-month/#respond Thu, 01 Feb 2018 15:08:14 +0000 /?p=7876 View Article]]> Cal picked four books for Church Street Coffee and Books’ February 2018 “Books of the Month.” Copies will be available in the shop for purchase on and after their publication dates. If you read any of the February picks, make sure you chat with Cal about them!

 

Here are the titles, their publication dates, links to the books’ publishers, and summaries from the publishers’ websites:

 

Feel Free by Zadie Smith

ON SALE: February 6, 2018

 

From Zadie Smith, one of the most beloved authors of her generation, a new collection of essays. 

Since she burst spectacularly into view with her debut novel almost two decades ago, Zadie Smith has established herself not just as one of the world’s preeminent fiction writers, but also a brilliant and singular essayist. She contributes regularly to The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books on a range of subjects, and each piece of hers is a literary event in its own right.

Arranged into five sections–In the World, In the Audience, In the Gallery, On the Bookshelf, and Feel Free–this new collection poses questions we immediately recognize. What is The Social Network–and Facebook itself–really about? “It’s a cruel portrait of us: 500 million sentient people entrapped in the recent careless thoughts of a Harvard sophomore.” Why do we love libraries? “Well-run libraries are filled with people because what a good library offers cannot be easily found elsewhere: an indoor public space in which you do not have to buy anything in order to stay.” What will we tell our granddaughters about our collective failure to address global warming? “So I might say to her, look: the thing you have to appreciate is that we’d just been through a century of relativism and deconstruction, in which we were informed that most of our fondest-held principles were either uncertain or simple wishful thinking, and in many areas of our lives we had already been asked to accept that nothing is essential and everything changes–and this had taken the fight out of us somewhat.”

 

 

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

ON SALE: February 6, 2018

 

Alaska, 1974.

Untamed.

Unpredictable.

And for a family in crisis, the ultimate test of the human spirit.

(Click here to read an excerpt.)

 

 

What Do You Do With A Chance by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae Besom

ON SALE: NOW

 

The award-winning creators of the New York Times best sellers What Do You Do With an Idea? and What Do You Do With a Problem? return with a captivating story about a child who isn’t sure what to make of a chance encounter—and then discovers that when you have courage, take chances, and say yes to new experiences, amazing things can happen. 

 

The final addition to the award-winning What Do You Do With…? picture book series created by New York Times best-selling author Kobi Yamada and illustrator Mae Besom, What Do You Do With a Chance? inspires kids of all ages and parents alike to find the courage to go for the opportunities that come their way. Because you never know when a chance, once taken, might be the one to change everything.

 

 

What Are We Doing Here? by Marilynne Robinson

ON SALE: February 20, 2018

 

Marilynne Robinson has plumbed the human spirit in her renowned novels, including Lila, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Gilead, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. In this new essay collection she trains her incisive mind on our modern political climate and the mysteries of faith. Whether she is investigating how the work of great thinkers about America like Emerson and Tocqueville inform our political consciousness or discussing the way that beauty informs and disciplines daily life, Robinson’s peerless prose and boundless humanity are on full display. What Are We Doing Here? is a call for Americans to continue the tradition of those great thinkers and to remake American political and cultural life as “deeply impressed by obligation [and as] a great theater of heroic generosity, which, despite all, is sometimes palpable still.”

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WILD THINGS: THE JOY OF READING CHILDREN’S LITERATURE AS AN ADULT /wild-things-the-joy-of-reading-childrens-literature-as-an-adult/ /wild-things-the-joy-of-reading-childrens-literature-as-an-adult/#respond Mon, 15 Jan 2018 20:24:24 +0000 /?p=7871 View Article]]>

In Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult, Bruce Handy explores classic children’s books, engages their critics, and provides background information and details about the stories and their authors. Publishers Weekly says, “…Handy’s breezy, friendly style lends the book a bright feeling, as of old friends discussing old friends, and this book will surely leave its readers with a new appreciation for childhood favorites.” I agree with this take and recommend this book to anyone who enjoys children’s literature now or who might want to return to their favorite childhood stories.

 

In a chapter about fairy tales, Handy writes about how Grimms, Perrault, and others mimic reality as viewed through the eyes of children. Handy writes,

 

“…the profound strangeness of the new and the unfamiliar, the fear of lurking monsters and hidden evildoers, the seeming arbitrariness of adults’ demands, the supernatural assumptions about almost everything. When I was two or three, for instance, I thought the sun literally set on the other side of our neighbor’s house—and why wouldn’t I have? A little older, I believed our TV worked because there was a small troupe of actors living inside the set, performing Underdog and Captain Kangaroo just for me.” 

 

Handy says fairy tales grab the attention and imaginations of children because they make perfect sense to them. When real life seems kind of scary, it makes sense for kids to connect with fairy tales that are kind of scary.

 

In a chapter on Ramona Quimby (one of my favorites), Handy cautions readers to not limit Beverly Cleary’s achievement by calling her a realist. He writes:

 

“Her best books are gems of emotional insight and also, most important of all, they are very, very, funny, though never jokey—they’re comedies of manners for children. Cleary made me laugh at the age of eight and still makes me laugh nearly half a century later. Slapstick comedians aside, the only other person I can think of who has managed that is Charles Schulz.”

 

Handy examines several other authors and their books in Wild Things. Reading his own assessments and his well-researched analysis will surely inspire you to track down the books you read as a child and engage them again on this side of life.

 

Charlotte lives in Homewood with her husband and their two children. She’s earning an MFA in creative writing from Seattle Pacific University, and she does freelance writing and copywriting. You can find her online at www.charlottedonlon.com, on Twitter at @charlottedonlon, and on Instagram at @charlottedonlon. You can sign up for her weekly email newsletter about reading, writing, and creativity via her website at charlottedonlon.com. Email newsletter subscribers are invited to participate in book giveaways, too. Feel free to contact Charlotte at charlotte@charlottedonlon.com with any questions or comments!

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January 2018 Books of the Month /january-2018-books-of-the-month/ /january-2018-books-of-the-month/#respond Mon, 01 Jan 2018 19:22:51 +0000 /?p=7861 View Article]]> Cal picked three books for Church Street Coffee and Books’ January 2018 “Books of the Month.” Copies will be available in the shop for purchase on and after their publication dates. If you read any of the January picks, make sure you chat with Cal about them!

 

Here are the titles, their publication dates, links to the books’ publishers, and the summaries from the publishers’ websites:

 

Watch with Me by Wendell Berry

ON SALE: January 9, 2018

 

In these newly reissued stories, Wendell Berry transports readers to Port William, Kentucky, the fictional community he’s lovingly created across multiple novels, stories, and poems

 

Never has Berry seemingly had so much fun as he does in spinning the tall tales of Ptolemy Proudfoot, “a member of a large clan of large people.” Tol Proudfoot is a farmer, a longtime bachelor at war with his clothes. The challenge of arriving in presentable fashion at the harvest festival in order to court Miss Minnie, Port William’s schoolmarm, is an epic battle. But Miss Minnie is delighted to have “Mr. Proudfoot” bid on her cake at the bake auction for a princely sum, and pleased to have him see her home. The stories in Part One sensitively capture their long marriage from 1908 through the Second World War. Part Two consists of the single, startlingly beautiful story “Watch with Me,” which explores the depth of affection and tolerance for eccentricity, borne by these neighbors toward one of their own.

 

Rich in humor and wisdom, each of these stories highlights the comic and poignant ways in which Port William’s denizens cope with the intrusions of the 20th century into their idyllic, agrarian world.

 

When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors, asha bandele

ON SALE: January 16, 2018

 

The emotional and powerful story of one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter and how the movement was born.

 

“This remarkable book reveals what inspired Patrisse’s visionary and courageous activism and forces us to face the consequence of the choices our nation made when we criminalized a generation. This book is a must-read for all of us.” – Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow

 

From one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement comes a poetic memoir and reflection on humanity. Necessary and timely, Patrisse Cullors’ story asks us to remember that protest in the interest of the most vulnerable comes from love. Leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement have been called terrorists, a threat to America. But in truth, they are loving women whose life experiences have led them to seek justice for those victimized by the powerful. In this meaningful, empowering account of survival, strength, and resilience, Patrisse Cullors and asha bandele seek to change the culture that declares innocent black life expendable.

 

The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers

ON SALE: January 30, 2018

 

From the best-selling author of The Circle and What Is the What, a heart-pounding true story that weaves together the history of coffee, the struggles of everyday Yemenis living through civil war and the courageous journey of a young man–a Muslim and a U.S. citizen–following the most American of dreams.

 

Mokhtar Alkhanshali grew up in San Francisco, one of seven siblings brought up by Yemeni immigrants in a tiny apartment. At age twenty-four, unable to pay for college, he works as a doorman, until a chance encounter awakens his interest in coffee and its rich history in Yemen. Reinventing himself, he sets out to learn about coffee cultivation, roasting and importing. He travels to Yemen and visits farms in every corner of the country, collecting samples, eager to improve cultivation methods and help Yemeni farmers bring their coffee back to its former glory. And he is on the verge of success when civil war engulfs Yemen in 2015. The U.S. embassy closes, Saudi bombs begin to rain down on the country and Mokhtar is trapped in Yemen.

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WE’RE ALL WONDERS and HERE WE ARE /were-all-wonders-and-here-we-are/ /were-all-wonders-and-here-we-are/#respond Sat, 23 Dec 2017 22:12:19 +0000 /?p=7855 View Article]]> I recently read something on Facebook (that I think is actually true) about a tradition in Iceland where everyone exchanges gifts of books on Christmas Eve. Then they read their new books in bed that night while eating chocolate. Sign me up for books and chocolate in bed on Christmas Eve. There are worse ways to pass the time while waiting for The Big Day.

 

 

And there are worse books to read than the two children’s books I picked up at Church Street this week. We’re All Wonders by R. J. Palacio (based on Palacio’s Wonder) and Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers have similar themes that will make children (and adults) think about what it means to be human, what it looks like to inhabit Earth, and what it looks like to show kindness to others. Both books have fantastic art, as well, providing a visual feast for eyes of all ages.

 

 

A few of my favorite lines from Here We Are are:

 

“Things can sometimes move slowly here on Earth. More often, though, they move quickly, so use your time well. It will be gone before you know it.” 

 

And a few of my favorite lines from We’re All Wonders are:

 

“I know I can’t change the way I look. But maybe, just maybe… People can change the way they see. If they do, they’ll see that I’m a wonder.”

 

How great is that?

 

So if you’re looking for a last-minute Christmas gift or are inspired by the tradition mentioned above, We’re All Wonders and Here We Are are great options this holiday season.

 

Charlotte lives in Homewood with her husband and their two children. She’s earning an MFA in creative writing from Seattle Pacific University, and she does freelance writing and copywriting. You can find her online at www.charlottedonlon.com, on Twitter at @charlottedonlon, and on Instagram at @charlottedonlon. You can sign up for her weekly email newsletter about reading, writing, and creativity via her website at charlottedonlon.com. Email newsletter subscribers are invited to participate in book giveaways, too. Feel free to contact Charlotte at cbdonlon@gmail.com with any questions or comments!

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