A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza


Co-Owner Annette Avery recommends this hot read:


"I recently finished A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza.  An Indie pick for June 2018.  The story follows two generations of an Indian/American/Muslim family and the haunting family dynamics that are familiar to all cultures.  Mirza writes with such detail and with such relatable issues that you feel as if you know the family and can literally feel the emotions imparted by each of the characters, especially Amar.  I'd highly recommend it if you are looking for a quick read and one that promises to look at your family structure and the common threads we all share -  love, loss, and life." - Annette

Book Jacket:

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.

Stop in to grab a copy while this book is still hot for your next summer read. 


Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker

 Bookseller and BooksandTea podcast co-host Cori recommends Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker (as do many of us wine lovers at the shop).

 "I have loved wine and been fascinated by the world  of wine tastings and sommeliers ever since I lived in N. California and spent lots of time exploring wine country.  This is classic immersive journalism.  Bosker decides that she wants to learn all there is to know about tasting and selling wine culminating with her taking a very tough exam to become a sommelier... in a year...  A process that takes many, many years...  With her inside sharing of the world of fine dining and wine mixed with her research and interactions with specialists in psychology, neuroscience, chemistry, and marketing, she takes you on an educational adventure. " - Cori

From the back cover:

Professional journalist and amateur drinker Bianca Bosker didn’t know much about wine—until she discovered an alternate universe where taste reigns supreme, a world of elite sommeliers who dedicate their lives to the pursuit of flavor. Astounded by their fervor and seemingly superhuman sensory powers, she set out to uncover what drove their obsession, and whether she, too, could become a “cork dork.” 

With boundless curiosity, humor, and a healthy dose of skepticism, Bosker takes the reader inside underground tasting groups, exclusive New York City restaurants, California mass-market wine factories, and even a neuroscientist’s fMRI machine as she attempts to answer the most nagging question of all: what’s the big deal about wine? What she learns will change the way you drink wine—and, perhaps, the way you live—forever.

Interested in learning more about that wine you've been thinking about all week? Pick up a copy of Cork Dork in store today!

Ayiti by Roxane Gay

Bookseller and writer Margarita recommends Roxane Gay's Ayiti.

"A re-release of Gay's debut short story collection, Ayiti is a poignant perspective on the Haitian diaspora in modern day. What is it like to be an outsider to your home? In a place you call home? 

These short stories are filled with characters I never wanted to leave. I wanted to laugh and cry with them, stick up for them, and be angry with them. Gay's writing has always been honest, and this debut of short stories is strikingly brave. For readers who are uncomfortable with speaking so openly and honestly (uncensored) with sensitive issues, it may be a hard read but I promise that these are subjects that need to be talked about."


From the back cover:


Roxane Gay is an award winning literary voice praised for her fearless and vivid prose, and her debut collection Ayiti exemplifies the raw talent that made her "one of the voices of our age" (National Post, Canada). Clever and haunting by turns, Ayiti explores the Haitian diaspora experience. A married couple seeking boat passage to America prepares to leave their homeland. A mother takes a foreign soldier into her home as a boarder, and into her bed. And a woman conceives a daughter on the bank of a river while fleeing a horrific massacre, a daughter who later moves to America for a new life but is perpetually haunted by the mysterious scent of blood. Wise, fanciful, and daring, Ayiti is the book that put Roxane Gay on the map and now, with two previously uncollected stories, confirms her singular vision. 

A fast read, pick up a copy in store today!

The Man In The High Castle by Phillip K. Dick

Owner Ben Shaffer recommends The Man In The High Castle by Phillip K. Dick.


"This book presupposes that the Allies lost WWII and the United States was divided up between the Nazis and Japan and there is a banned book that is very popular that presupposes that the USA won WWII. I know. 🤯
Apparently PKD wrote the book with the help of the I Ching, which features prominently in the story, and uses actual hexagrams from questions posed to the I Ching in the text.
It’s an interesting read, although PKD uses a somewhat halting style of writing when representing his characters thoughts and emotions.
I would rate this as quite good and definitely weird, with really extraordinary character progression. Especially Mr. Tagomi. Wow."



From the back cover:

It's America in 1962. Slavery is legal once again. The few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco, the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some twenty years earlier the United States lost a warand is now occupied by Nazi Germany and Japan.

This harrowing, Hugo Award-winning novel is the work that established Philip K. Dick as an innovator in science fiction while breaking the barrier between science fiction and the serious novel of ideas. In it Dick offers a haunting vision of history as a nightmare from which it may just be possible to wake.


Interested in learning more about this alternative history, science fiction book? Stop in to grab a copy and tell us what you think!

We the Animals by Justin Torres

General Manager Carla  recommends Justin Torres' debut novel We the Animals.

"Torres deftly weaves the self professed flash fiction into a perfectly curated strand of interrelated stories to create this deeply personal novel."

From the inside flap:

Three brothers tear their way through childhood smashing tomatoes all over each other, building kites from trash, hiding out when their parents do battle, tiptoeing around the house as their mother sleeps off her graveyard shift. Paps and Ma are from Brooklyn he's Puerto Rican, she's white and their love is a serious, dangerous thing that makes and unmakes a family many times.
     Life in this home is fierce and absorbing, full of chaos and heartbreak and the euphoria of belonging completely to one another. From the intense family unity that surrounds a child to the resilience and permanence of brotherhood to the profound alienation a young man endures as he begins to see himself in the world, this novel reinvents the coming-of-age story in a way that is sucker-punch powerful. It leaves us reminded that our madness is both caused by, and alleviated by, our families, and that we might not reconcile who we are with who our loved ones see, or who we want to be for them.
     Written in magical language with unforgettable images, We the Animals is a stunning exploration of the viscerally charged landscape of growing up, how deeply we are formed by our earliest bonds, and how we are ultimately propelled at escape velocity toward our futures.


Torres' We the Animals is currently set to release in theaters in early August this year. 

We The Animals Film

Circe by Madeline Miller

Bookseller and co-host of the podcast Books and Tea, Cori Cusker recommends Circe by Madeline Miller. 

"So, I was totally one of those little kids that was obsessed with mythology and fairytales.  Upon starting Circe, it all came rushing back!  This is an adult tale from the perspective of Circe.  If you have heard of her, you probably know her as the witch that turned men into pigs and minor role in The Odyssey.   Miller creates a likeable character who grew up as an unloved misfit.  As she begins to discover her powers, her father is pressured into banishing her to live alone on an island.  It becomes a story of a woman who learns how to love, discovers how to accept herself, be a parent, and live independently.  All things anyone of any time should be able to relate to!" - Cori


Book Description:

"In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child--not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power--the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.
But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.
With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man's world."

Pick up a copy today at Bright Side!

The Magic of Tiny Business by Sharon Rowe

Lisa Lamberson, Bright Side Owner recommends Sharon Rowe's new book, The Magic of Tiny Business:

"The Magic of Tiny Business (the author was at Bright Side last week for World's Ocean Day) by Sharon Rowe.  It's an awesome reminder of why it's great to own Mountain Sports and Bright Side and work with both teams to create great retail spaces.  The biggest take away for me is the "Need to do" and "Nice to do" distinction to help prioritize all the things that running two not so small business can present." - Lisa

Book Description:

"Too many of us feel trapped by work that keeps us from living our purpose. We fantasize about starting our own business, yet we're warned against falling into debt, working eighty hours a week, and coping with the pressure to grow. Eco-Bags Products founder Sharon Rowe says there's another way: go tiny. 

Like a tiny house, a tiny business is built on maintaining a laser focus on what is essential by living an intentional life. As an entrepreneur and mother, Rowe is most concerned with putting family first, maintaining financial security, and doing something that makes an impact in the world. Using the success story of Eco-Bags Products, Rowe distills the step-by-step process of building a profitable, right-scaled, sustainable venture that doesn't compromise your values. She shows you how to test your concept, manage your money and priorities, and more, while staying true to the "tiny" ethos.

Pick up a copy at Bright Side today!

Educated by Tara Westover

Owner Annette Avery recommends Tara Westover's Educated:

"I'm always amazed at the grit and determination of people.  Tara wrote this memoir about her life and never receiving a formal education until college.  Fundamentalist Mormon family in the hills of Idaho.  Fast, riveting read.  Families....we all are a part of them and some are more unique (messed up) than others.  Tara never attended school as a child or young adult.  She studied and took the ACT to be admitted to BYU.  Education changed her life (as you can imagine). 

Great read!!"

Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills” bag. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged metal in her father’s junkyard.

Her father distrusted the medical establishment, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when an older brother became violent.

When another brother got himself into college and came back with news of the world beyond the mountain, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. She taught herself enough mathematics, grammar, and science to take the ACT and was admitted to Brigham Young University. There, she studied psychology, politics, philosophy, and history, learning for the first time about pivotal world events like the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes from severing one’s closest ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.