Common Good Books in St. Paul

Store manager Martin Schmutterer recommends Beth Dooley’s In Winter’s Kitchen (Milkweed Editions, Oct.), which focuses on a Thanksgiving meal, to foodies. “She writes about local food and the idea of eating locally in a northern climate, which is less easy than it might be if you live elsewhere in the country,” he says.

He’s also a fan of Aimee Bissonett’s North Woods Girl (Minnesota Historical Society Press, Oct.), about a little girl who hikes through Grandma’s woods, which he recommends as a children’s book holiday gift. “I think anyone who loves nature will love this book,” Schmutterer says.

Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vt.

Buyer Stan Hynds anticipates two Vermont-based recipe books will have broad appeal. The Vermont Country Store Cookbook: Recipes, History, and Lore from the Classic American General Store by Ellen Ecker Ogden and Andrea Diehl (Grand Central, Sept.) features recipes and a history of the store, which, Hynds says, has “legendary status in Vermont and does huge international mail-order business.” While Ellen Stimson’s first two books occupied a Vermont niche and sold “extremely well” at Northshire, Hynds thinks that many more will enjoy her new book, An Old-Fashioned Christmas: Sweet Traditions for Hearth and Home (Countryman, Nov.).

Rainy Day Books in Fairway, Kans.

The third installment in Pulitzer Prize–winning author Jane Smiley’s Last Hundred Years trilogy, Golden Age (Knopf, Oct.), is one of the Midwest-centric books that store founder and president Vivien Jennings is looking forward to this fall. “It’s very much about the Midwest and covers a lot of the issues we’re facing here,” she says.

Jennings also can’t resist putting in a plug for a particular July release with Midwest in the title: J. Ryan Stradal’s Kitchens of the Great Midwest (Viking/Dorman). This quirky tale, about a young woman who is raised by a foodie father and grows up to become a famous chef, captures the character of the Midwest, Jennings says. “We think this is going to sell all the way through the holidays,” she notes.

The Regulator Bookshop in Durham, N.C.

Tom Campbell, co-owner of the Regulator Bookshop in Durham, N.C., calls the latest from travel writer Paul Theroux, Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads (HMH, Sept.), marvelous. Theroux immerses himself in the culture of the Deep South and visits churches, gun shows, and mom-and-pop shops. “He goes to these places and really talks to the people about their problems,” Campbell says, adding that “there’s some great stuff about race relations.”

Race is also central to a memoir that Campbell is looking forward to selling: Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine (Picador, Sept.) by Damon Tweedy, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center. “It’s very well written and a very thoughtful look by someone who’s at the top of their profession and still has to confront issues of race in their day-to-day world,” Campbell says.

Skylight Books in Los Angeles

Skylight Books manager Steven Salardino says the staff is really excited about Lost Canyon by Nina Revoyr (Akashic, out now). Revoyr “has been a local for years, and her books have always done very well for us,” he notes. The novel explores class, race, and cultural tensions as four very different hikers navigate the Sierra Nevada mountain range in search of the mysterious Lost Canyon. Salardino also singles out Mariko Tamak’s coming-of-age YA novel Saving Montgomery Sole (Roaring Brook, Apr. 2016). The author and her cousin Jillian Tamaki, who worked together on the bestselling graphic novel This One Summer, a 2015 Caldecott Honor Book and Michael L. Printz Honor Book, have both held events at the store. “We just think that they’re both pretty fantastic,” Salardino says.

Click here to return to the main feature.