Moonglow by Michael Chabon

Moonglow by Michael Chabon

Moonglow by Michael Chabon

Michael Chabon returns in top form with Moonglow, a riveting and thought-provoking novel… or is it a memoir? This sweeping familial tale, told via the deathbed recollections of a character the narrator refers to only as “my grandfather,” is neither pure fact nor pure fiction. A smart, engrossing, profound tale that ranges from prewar Philadelphia to Nazi Germany to a Jewish retirement village near Cape Canaveral, this masterpiece marks a new apogee for Chabon. His most daring book to date, Moonglow is peppered with deftly-handled narrative experimentation, balanced with liberal doses of humor, and peopled with sparkling, fully-realized characters. This book’s luminous insights will resound long after you close the covers. Like the rockets at the heart of the story, with a force sometimes terrifying but never less than awe-inspiring, Moonglow soars. You can read more and buy the book here.

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True Christmas Treasure

First edition of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, 1843, published by Chapman & Hall, London, with four hand-colored illustrations by John Leech and additional b&w illustrations by Linton. Original rust colored cloth covers with gilt lettering and decorations bound in on 3 pages in rear of elegantly rebound book. Binding is full polished green leather (faded to brown on spine), Rivière name is stamped on front endpaper, and entire book is in fine condition. Yes, that’s a first edition of this gem, in a signature leather binding. This is a rare and lovely book for the collector. <sold>

first edition of A Christmas Carol, frontis and title page with tissue guard

first edition of A Christmas Carol, frontis and title page with tissue guard

beautiful leather binding

beautiful leather binding

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RIP Laurie Vrabel


Laurie welcoming the new chairs to Larchmere Tavern, Aug. 2013

Laurie was a friend, and she owned the restaurant next door, Larchmere Tavern. I go there often, to get a break, read PW, have staff meetings, and, of course, to get some food. We even had our annual staff party there this year. While it’s nice to have a tavern next door, that’s not what I am most grateful for. I’m just grateful for Laurie.

We were typical nice neighbors: exchanging books for food, borrowing address labels and advice on services, helping with technological issues (Laurie was more of a Luditte than I!). She didn’t have a lot of vegetarian options on the menu, but she would always make a grilled cheese for me, and trained her staff to do the same. We collaborated on a couple of events, and I suggested renters and presenters at my space to use her catering services. Laurie always treated me to her fabulous gazpacho on Larchmere Festival day, thanking me as if I personally brought her every customer of the day.

She was an avid and passionate runner. When I tried to take up running, she was so encouraging and supportive, like I had complimented her with my good taste. I told her I didn’t go very fast, and she leaned in and gave me the biggest smile, as she let me in on a great secret: “it doesn’t matter!”  She wanted to know what inspired me to start running, and when I told her grief management, she didn’t pry, she just smiled and welcomed me to the club. She was sad when her health dictated that she stop running, but she just started running in water instead.  She never stopped — that is, until she developed debilitating back pain, that was later diagnosed as stage IV liver cancer.  She was gone just four months later.

I will miss Laurie. I should probably start running again.

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When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air

When Breath Becomes Air
by Paul Kalanithi
Random House, January 12, 2016

With a message both mournful and life-affirming, When Breath Becomes Air chronicles a young doctor’s journey from literature student to promising neurosurgeon and finally to a patient in his own hospital after being diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. Always profound, never sentimental, this important book refuses to take refuge in platitudes, instead facing mortality with honesty and humility. Written in engaging prose and filled with penetrating insights, this story is relevant to everyone and will captivate fans of memoir, literature, philosophy, and popular science alike. Lyrical passages of great beauty and vulnerability are deftly balanced by bright, candid moments of joy and even humor. Come prepared with plenty of tissues; over and over again this exquisite book will break your heart. This is a great choice for fans of Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal. You can read more and buy the book here.


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Dietland by Sarai Walker

Dietland by Sara Walker

Dietland by Sara Walker Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May 26, 2015

Who has ever read a fashion magazine, contemplated a diet, bought a lipstick? This book is for you! The heroine is Plum, not yet 30 but already a veteran of the fight to measure up to body images popularized in contemporary culture. Her book is funny but wise, a romp through the opposing worlds of a media-hyped lifestyle industry and feminist-inspired war against violence and pornography. Plum writes answers to questions emailed by readers to Kitty, the publisher of a magazine for teens. She grew up in Los Angeles, went to college in VT, lives in Brooklyn, and dreads monthly visits to the glitzy Manhattan headquarters of the media empire that employs her. Strange encounters lead her to stranger discoveries in the basement of this corporate skyscraper. Mystery, danger, drama, pathos, absurdity, enlightenment follow. Whether enjoyed as a diversion while walking a treadmill or devoured while propped in a recliner, this book will deliver great pleasure, many laughs, and satisfying insights. I loved it!

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Internships Available

It’s been awhile since we’ve had summer internships available, mostly because it’s depressing to train someone on a short-term basis, bring them up to speed, and then lose them just a few months later.  But the Booklog cataloging project is ripe for college student summer work, and we’re still working on the original inventory, so there’s lots to do.

We are now accepting resumes for part-time, temporary workers interested in learning a bit more about the book business.  Chief jobs will be cataloging our inventory with our Booklog software.  But, as a small indie business, you’ll need to be a jack-of-all-trades to some degree, so customer service and cashier skills are also required.  Event planning and management could use some help, and website knowledge or book binding skills are always a plus.  What are your special skills?  Talk it up.

Positions may vary between 20-35 hours per week, with a commensurate pay scale of $9-12 per hour.  Some evening and weekend hours are required.  Interviews will include a literary test, a typing test, a ladder and box-carrying demonstration, and short answers on various other job aspects.  Please forward your resume and letter of interest to  Many thanks!

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timberWe are pleased to announce that our new web store is live.  Yes, we’ve been doing this bookselling thing for a couple decades now, but we changed technology a while back, and we hope this new feature is bigger, better.  For one thing, our new software, Timber, updates live with our point of sale and inventory control system, Booklog.  While we only have a sample of our holdings currently posted on the web store, we’re working on adding more, and on creating niche catalogs of interest.  The new site has fancy shopping cart technology and secure credit card transactions via  Stay tuned as we add more listings (68,542 titles cataloged on Booklog presently, and counting).  Of course, if you are seeking a particular title, please don’t hesitate to contact us (there’s so much more!).

Sarah Manguso

While I’m in bragging mode, I’m thrilled to share that we were recently mentioned in The New York TimesSarah Manguso, a writer, was reminiscing about her childhood book memories, and yes, there was one she couldn’t identify, that led her to our Stump the Bookseller forum.  The query was quickly solved.  Her essay about the memories and the quest in the Sunday Book Review is charming, and isn’t it wonderful that we happened to have the book she remembered so fondly just sitting on our shelves?  Yeah, sometimes you just have to ask.  (See the Stumper blog for more. ) Many thanks, Sarah.

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New Website Launch


style tile

We’ve been scheming about a redesigned, sleeker website for over a year now.  But we didn’t just fantasize about it, we worked on it, too, and we hired a web designer to help us out.  The new site wins in four major regards:

  • it is updated with a bright new design and with older, stray pages finally laid to rest
  • Google calendars synchronizes our events by date and category
  • it is easy for anyone on staff to edit pages, and will resist the random insertion of “junk code” that we experienced with every cut-and-paste of the past
  • it is screen size responsive, so you can read it on your mobile, too

There are still some things to be worked on in the months to come, namely

  • getting this blog and the Stump the Bookseller blog to conform to the same style
  • listing catalogs of inventory for sale via Timber (which makes our Booklog catalog web-accessible), as well as online consortiums like ABE, and perhaps even Etsy
  • better Stump the Bookseller archives, with a pie-in-the-sky dream of a searchable database by categories and keywords

Much accomplished, much to go.  It amazes me how little slow steps eventually add up to a mile or a marathon.  All this while running the shop, dealing with the mountains of incoming, and planning for events in the near future, too.  We are grateful for your patience, and hope to bring more interesting author pages, editorials, and catalogs in the near future.  Kudos and thanks to Josh Brown for the web design, and Rob Logan for the web hosting expertise.

Launch is 9pm tonight!  Do let us know if you experience technical difficulties, and I hope you like it!

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Dorothy Must Die – Danielle Page

Dorothy Must DieOMG I just loved this book!

Imagine that a second girl from Kansas was swept away to OZ. But the OZ she arrives in is falling apart – literally. The color seems to have been dulled, and there is a huge hole in the middle of the land that is getting bigger.

What has happened to OZ? Short answer is Dorothy. What, you didn’t know that Dorothy went back to OZ? Well she found her way back and now it is up to Amy, the new girl from Kansas, to try to fix things.

Amy must decide which of her unlikely companions are the most trustworthy. Is it the order of the wicked witches or the wingless flying monkeys or both? Or are there other players in this game that we don’t know about yet?

I hated to put this book down and read it in just 2 days.

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Lazy Liza1Here is a very scarce children’s book that just turned up in a storage box, having been misplaced for years. It was published by The John C. Winston Company in 1953, and may have seemed old-fashioned even then. Marie Curtis Rains, who lived in Cincinnati, OH, wrote thLazy Liza2e story, and Vera Neville did the charming and hilarious black and white drawings on full page plates as well as chapter-headings and in-text illustrations. The 8vo hardback book has green cloth covers with drawing of Liza on the cover, 119 pages, and formerly lived in a high school library that put a white letter on the spine and a discrete black identifying stamp on the title page and half-title. It is in less than very good condition because of worn cover edges and some soiling, but it is tightly bound, all intact, complete and unmarred by underlining or tears on the pages. And the stories of Mr. Frog, Mr. Snake, Old Lady Fieldmouse, Dr. Doodle-Bug, One-Foot-Dooless-Drake and especially Liza Lizard herself are droll, funny and wise in the manner of Thornton Burgess and other writers of stories about anthropomoLazyLiza3rphic animals. There are six chapters, and although books for elementary school children were not called “chapter books” in 1953, that’s what this is. Some people must remember Lazy Liza with great fondness, because there are only a few copies of this book to be found for sale on the internet, and they are quite pricey. This one is too, but less than any others I could find.

LAZY LIZA LIZARD’S TRICKS, by Marie Curtis Rains, Pictures by Vera Neville The Junior Literary Guild and The John C. Winston Company, 1953, presumed 1st Edition, HB, 119 pages, ex-lib

Posted in Collection, Kids, Rarities & Conservation | 2 Comments