Dear Readers,

August. For me, there's so much packed into the word at the top of our collective calendar feed. On the one hand, it's the epitome of summer with tomato sandwiches on repeat and temperatures so high that one is basically required to retreat to the shade with for a languorous read-nap-read cycle. On the other hand, some are starting to dip a toe back into schedules, sports practices and even school. And while that tension between work and play can can make it a struggle to stay present, it's worth giving it a go.

In the book world, August is both Romance Awareness Month AND Women in Translation Month. Some picks that cover both fronts can be found HERE, HERE, AND HERE.

We are in the midst of filling up the Fall calendar so be on the lookout for an upcoming e-mail heralding event news. To whet your palate, read on for a preview of our Fall Barrett Book Club; seats are limited for this intimate author conversations so click the link to save your spot!

Stay cool,

Barrett Book Club: September Edition
Please join Barrett Bookstore for a live, in-person Book Club event featuring author Lauren Acampora and her thrillingly compelling new novel, The Hundred Waters. The evening will feature conversation with the author, food, and drink; all are welcome!

Tickets are required for attendance and include a copy of Lauren's book, wine, and light bites. Please note, tickets are limited and may sell out.

Your purchase of Lauren's book via this link = your ticket. Please choose "in-store pickup" of your book and a copy will be held for you at the front counter. Please also confirm your attendance with Marketing + Event Director Page Berger via e-mail by clicking HERE.
Friday Five: The Struggle is Real
This week, we’re talking struggle of all sorts. Take that as you will and read on to see if I’ve stretched the boundaries of meaning far and wide or stayed in my lane. Before diving in, a prelude postscript: I’ve just started Rabbit Hutch and about a quarter of the way in, I'm bold enough to say it squarely deserves a spot. The reviews are RAVE and we’ve got plenty of stock on hand. And because I simply cannot help myself, I hope you'll also check out the recently released brilliant memoir filled with struggle of a familial sort: Also a Poet: Frank O'Hara, My Father, and Me.

POGUEMAHONE: Last weekend, my husband and I ventured into the city to see a play that may have passed us by if not for our fabulous Ladies of Summer event. During a pre-game warmup chat with rockstar author Jean Hanff Korelitz, we reminisced about some shared history at the Bread Loaf School of English. During the course of this conversation, it came to light that her son Asher (with the poet Paul Muldoon) was about to debut a play at the Irish Reparatory Theatre. With the kids off to camp for a few weeks, I eagerly went home and purchased two tickets to Asher’s interpretation of The Butcher Boy. The play is adapted from a novel of the same name by the brilliant Patrick McCabe. A Booker Prize Nominee in 1992, this book tells the harrowing tale of young Francie Brady, a luminous and deeply troubled young boy growing up in a home with an alcoholic father and a mother slowly losing her mind. I can’t say it’s an upper; in fact, it’s probably fair to give you all more of a warning that I did my husband about the dark nature of the tale. But the tenderness and truth cradled in Muldoon's production is simply too good to pass by. Here’s the long wind-up to the bummer punch line: paper copies of The Butcher Boy seem to be a wee bit difficult to get a hold of right now. Can't wait? Try, a wonderful resource for out-of-print and hard to find titles and purchase a used copy from an independent seller. Or, wait for a restock and in the meantime, pick up McCabe’s latest, Poguemahone, also filled with heartbreaking characters so multi-dimensional that one can’t help but feel empathy even amidst the struggle to love. Heads up: Poguemahone is written in verse, described aptly by the publisher as “Drinking song and punk libretto.” It's a story I could probably read a hundred times and find something new with each turn of the page.

THE DISHWASHER: Next up, a book for fans of The Bear (which, if you haven’t yet watched, be forewarned that naughty language abounds but so does a boatload of excellent television viewing). I‘m not sure it’s so much the kitchen scenes that draw parallels between The Bear and The Dishwasher as much as it is the dazzling pace of the action and the struggle of the kitchen-bound protagonists. The Dishwasher is the only book from Stéphane Larue and follows a young freelance artist and college student (also named Stéphane) who, by his own hand, faces a mountain of debt brought on by a gambling addiction. In an attempt to stem his bleeding finances, Stéphane takes on an open dishwasher position at the posh La Trattoria in Montreal. Translated from French, this novel is great for heavy metal fans or anyone who appreciates a hard-living, fast-paced read. I loved it. Kirkus Reviews notes: “One can see how this bleak bildungsroman attracted so much attention in Canada…[The Dishwasher] reads like a cross between the dearly departed Anthony Bourdain and Stephanie Danler’s Sweetbitter, combining the complicated life of a kitchen wretch with a highly literate voice…hypnotizing.”

THE CRANE WIFE: Switching gears a bit, a memoir from the author of Family of Origin, CJ Hauser. Hauser ups the innovative ante with form, penning vignettes from her life in a series of essays. The result is less a linear chronological thread and more an incredibly self-aware amalgamation of interconnected relationships with a side of sharp-eyed cultural commentary. Despite hitting many professional highs, Hauser is frank about failed relationships and rearview mirror regrets. While I found her critiques of everything from the X-Files to the Wizard of Oz and The Philadelphia Story compelling, I think Hauser’s writing is at its most interesting when engaged in a personal deep dive, relationships interspersed with cultural memories (the outline of a high school romance against the backdrop of the long-running The Fantasticks is, well, fantastic). Hauser works hard in her life, professionally and personally as well, resulting in high expectations that beget enormous generosity in return. The struggle is worth it, as evidenced by a mountain of positive critical reviews, including one from staff favorite Mary Laura Philpott. 

THE MISSING WORD: Clocking in at 112 pages, you might be forgiven for assuming this slender volume from one of Italy’s most celebrated journalists is a light read. It is, dear reader, decidedly not. Irina is living a life that from the outside looks orderly and ideal, perhaps not as extreme as Sleeping with the Enemy (still have nightmares about that one), but protagonist and mother of two Irina is indeed sleeping with an adversary who will commit the unthinkable in order to render complete control over Irina’s life. Based on a true story, the book isn’t entirely without hope and shows how one can forge ahead even in the most unthinkable of circumstances.

THE CLUB: Finally, some FUN, if your idea of a good time is an easy, breezy, thriller of a tale. This one caught my eye last year; summer is my time for thrillers and I’ve read some good ones this year but this one is perhaps the frothiest of them all (I say with oodles of love for a light summer read). Picture an over-the-top version of Soho House, exclusively open only to the most prominent of citizens. The Home Group has built up an impressive roster of clubs around the world and the most ambitious property to date - Island Home - will open with a lavish three-day party off the coast of England. Everyone who’s anyone is jockeying for an invite, struggling to find a way in. The descriptions of decor, luxury hotel life, food, drink, and fashion add to the fun; you’ll rip through the pages as you try to figure out who's not making it off the Island in one piece. 
New on the Shelf: Fiction
New on the Shelf: Nonfiction
Listening with Leslie
By: Colm Tóibín
Narrated by: Meryl Streep
Length: 3 hrs and 7 mins
I think Colm Tóibín (pronounced Toe-bean) is one of the great writers of our time - deeply spiritual, but
accessible, and a master of musical, rhythmic sentences that are a pleasure to read or listen to.
Listening to The Testament of Mary as read by the great Meryl Streep is a profound experience and will
enrich your understanding of Mary, as a woman of her time and as a mother. Forced to endure the
brutality of her son’s last days and death, her words pain at the loss of her son and
always find new layers of meaning that elicit ever more compassion for how Mary must have suffered with the loss of her son and the circumstances of his death. It is an intense listening experience, which to my mind is exactly the right length at three hours.