Dear Readers,

This week, Event Coordinator Rosanna and I took a little trip into NYC night to hear from the best of the best, Yotam Ottolenghi and Noor Murad, as they toasted the release of their newest cookbook: Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Extra Good Things. It was heavenly way to celebrate one of the hottest titles of the upcoming holiday season. Another extra good thing? You don't have to travel to NYC to meet authors of all sorts. At Barrett, we're particularly excited to welcome Kate Manning and Dani Shapiro in early November, among many others. Keep your eyes peeled and you might spot us at a benefit for your favorite local charity, selling books at a school talk, or hanging out at our favorite neighborhood spot (Darien Library, of course). Prefer a quiet read by yourself? The shelves are filling up with so many Barrett Bookstore favorites including brand new stunners from George Saunders, Barbara Kingsolver, Jon Meacham and more. 

Before I sign off, a  fun fact to try out with your friends and family this weekend: did you know that in this country, more money is spent in a year on lottery tickets than on video streaming services, concert tickets, books, and movie tickets COMBINED? Thank you Kathryn Schultz (author of one of my most favorite memoirs ever) for that new-to-me nugget. I, for one, intend to do my part to turn that statistic upside down. 

Have a lovely weekend,


What We're Reading + Recommending

*PRO TIP: You can preorder any forthcoming title on our website and we'll have it ready and waiting for you when it's released!

GILDED MOUNTAINGilded Mountain is historical fiction at its best! A coming-of-age family saga that follows a young Sylvia Pelletier and her family living in the extreme conditions of the mountains of Colorado. Based on historical events, the story unfolds with violence and drama as well as hope and love. An exciting read not to be missed! —Tatum

OUR MISSING HEARTS: A wonderful narrative that contains a not so gentle warning of what is at stake when we start policing our neighbors, censoring voices, and when we forget the power of stories to help us make sense of the world we live in. Librarians star as heroes in this an apocalyptic tale that comes along with a clear message to pay attention to small shifts in the surrounding world. —Sally

WOMAN HOLDING THINGS: I am such a fan of Maira Kalman. Her illustrations are sublime and her words are so honest and personal. She is also clever- for example ‘women holding a grudge." I'm taking this copy home! —Dorothy

LUNGFISH: A debut novel that follows a young family in crisis, struggling with addiction and grief  in a recently vacated cabin on a remote island in Maine. Top-notch writing, inventive format, and beautiful landscape imagery define this fabulous book. —Page

THE LEAF THIEF: This sweet book is just plain funny. Every time I read it, I laugh out loud at the silly squirrel who seems to have seasonal amnesia. As he tries to figure out where all his leaves have gone, his trusty sidekick bird gently reminds him that this dance happens every year. Gorgeous, saturated color, this is such a fun book to share with the kids. —Yvette

BLUE BISON NEEDS A HAIRCUTThis recent release is a humorous and quirky tale of a bison who desperately wants a haircut during a time when everything is closed. Along the way he learns valuable lessons in patience and self-acceptance. Fans of Pete Oswald’s illustrations will love the vibrant and fun artwork. Wonderful read aloud book for all ages! —Rita

HESTER: A young girl name Isobel is growing up in Scotland, where she becomes a very accomplished seamstress. As she’s about to leave for the New World, her mother tells her to always put a little red A in the corner of everything she sews to remind her of her hometown in Scotland. Isobel goes to Salem and becomes an accomplished seamstress. She puts the little red A in everything she sews and eventually she meets and falls in love with Nathaniel Hawthorne. I think you can see where the story is going!


SAVORY BAKING: All I have to say is: Chicken and Dumplings. It's happening. I love this more savory-than-sweet (although McDowell does give us a spoonful of sugar through a handful of sweet recipes as well) collection and can't wait to get baking! 

EXTRA GOOD THINGS: There's not much for me to say except, it's Ottolenghi (and his amazing head of OTK, Noor Murad) back again with so many delectable recipes. Should I admit we spent a quiet moment at the bookstore drooling over their TikTok videos? —Brianna

Listening with Leslie

Lucy by the Sea

By: Elizabeth Strout

Narrated by: Kimberly Farr

Length: 8 hrs and 19 mins

Hearing Kimberly Farr’s familiar unhurried cadence and slightly bewildered tone in the opening phrases of Elizabeth Strout’s latest novel Lucy by the Sea: A Novel immediately transports us into the intimacy of the life of what feels like an old friend. We already know a lot about Lucy Barton through Strout’s earlier stories of Lucy’s childhood, her marriage, motherhood and divorce, her success as a writer, her life in New York City and the recent death of her second husband. 

This novel begins during the early days of the Covid pandemic with Lucy saying, “Like

many others, I did not see it coming.” Her former husband William, a scientist, does

foresee the escalating global health crisis and evacuates her to Maine. Isolated from her daughters and grieving for her second husband while stuck in a remote house with her first husband, Lucy takes us on her journey to overcome the fear and loneliness she has felt since childhood that comes crowding back in to rob her of

her confidence. “Life as I had known it was gone,” she says, and “I could not trust

myself to know what to do.” The halting rhythms and clear-eyed candor of Strout’s

conversational style perfectly captures the dislocation, claustrophobia, and loneliness of the early days of the pandemic, but also the possibilities, hope and moments of

happiness those quiet days of reflection inspired. It's a long way from NYC to rural Maine, in distance, in politics, in resources, and Lucy knows what it’s like to be poor, to feel looked down upon and humiliated. So, while like us she is greatly disturbed by the powerful and dangerous divisions in America today, she helps us understand why many people are so angry, and shows us through quiet, respectful, encounters, how we can begin to talk to each other. Lucy knows that while there is great suffering in life and while “grief is a solitary matter,” we can find healing, even long after the loss, and much of that healing comes through our connections to others. After all, as Lucy says, “We are only doing what we can to get through.”

Kerry Malawista 

Meet the Moon

Thursday, October 27 · 6:30PM

Please join us as we celebrate author Kerry Malawista and her new book, Meet the Moon on Thursday, October 27 at 6:30PM. Wine and light bites will be served.


"Jody Moran is an endearing guide - funny, smart, word-wise - through this sad and triumphant coming-of-age tale. There is such clarifying honesty here, about grief, friendship, resilience and faith. There is as well a keen and vivid sense of an era that seems more innocent than our own and yet remarkably timeless, perhaps because Kerry Malawista understands so well the enduring grace of family love. " 

Alice McDermott, Charming Billy (National Book Award), After This (finalist Pulitzer Prize)