Sandy has worked at The Galaxy Bookshop since 2000, when she worked during school breaks. Now, as co-owner of the bookstore, she doesn’t get to read on the job like she used to, but still gets excited every time she opens a new box of books. Sandy is the events coordinator, children’s book buyer, and website manager for the store, as well as being a frontline bookseller.
Books have brought great joy and comfort into Sandy’s life, and she feels very lucky to work in a place where she can share this with others every day. Although it would be impossible to list all of her beloved books here, here, at least, are some of the recent titles that have captured her heart. (If you want to see the long–yet still incomplete–list, you can find me on Goodreads!)
A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles. Reading this novel was such a treat. Towles paints a vivid picture of life in Moscow following the Bolshevik Revolution. Or, more specifically, life for former Count Alexander Rostov, sentenced to house arrest in a hotel in Moscow. Through a growing and changing cast of characters who work and stay in the elegant Metropol, Alexander maintains a connection to the shifting landscape of Russian politics and culture over the course of 30 years. Through it all, his inner sense of what it means to be a gentleman – the quality that makes his character a joy to spend time with – remains unwavering.
Landline, by Rainbow Rowell. I have read everything by Rainbow Rowell, and I have enjoyed every book, from the brilliant young adult novel Eleanor and Park to the light office romance, Attachments. Landline is one of her novels for adults, and it is perfect vacation reading. Not too heavy, but well written and funny.
Martin Marten, by Brian Doyle. I fell in love with this novel – the writing, the story, and the characters. I’ve been recommending it to all sorts of readers, whether for the coming-of-age story, the observations of nature, the wonderful community of characters (both human and animal) or the engaging writing style.
Uprooted, by Naomi Novik. An excellent fantasy novel with a strong heroine whose yet untapped magical talents have deep connections with the natural world. I highly recommend this book for adults and teens looking for an immersive read that stands on its own (no need to keep up with a series!)
The Tilted World, by Tom Franklin & Beth Ann Fennelly. A wonderful historical novel set in 1927 in a small town on the banks of the Mississippi. The rising river sets a tense backdrop to the cat and mouse story of prohibition agents and bootleggers.
Remarkable Creatures, by Tracy Chevalier. A fascinating portrait of female scientists and the tremendous upheaval created by the discovery and study of dinosaur bones in the mid-nineteenth century. Based on the life of the unfairly forgotten palaeontologist Mary Anning.
The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater. I love Stiefvater’s ability to write YA fantasy that stands apart from the rest of the books in the genre. She mixes unusual mythologies and complex characters to create intriguing and compelling stories. The Scorpio Races is a stand alone novel about a girl who must risk everything to run her common horse in a brutal race against flesh eating water horses or else lose everything she holds dear. I also highly recommend Stiefvater’s series The Raven Cycle
The Adventures of Miss Petitfour, by Anne Michaels, illustrated by Emma Block. If you love quiet stories with adventures that are not too big and not too small; if you love cats and tea and treats with whipped cream, this will be the perfect book for you. This is a small treasure of a book, with full color illustrations throughout, about Miss Petitfour, her sixteen cats, and their daily adventures as they travel about town by tablecloth (a different pattern, depending on the day and the adventure desired). A very sweet read-aloud!
The Cookie Fiasco! (Elephant and Piggie Like Reading!), by Mo Willems and Dan Santat. Fans of Elephant and Piggie and the Pigeon will rejoice to learn that their favorite author/illustrator is launching a new series aimed at early readers. Willems is collaborating with other authors and illustrators to write books that will encourage beginning readers with simple, easy to read text, vivid illustrations, and engaging – and above all funny – stories. This one has become a family favorite at bedtime. Faced with the conundrum of having three cookies to share among four friends – well, what would you do?
They All Saw a Cat, by Brendan Wenzel. This simple picture book with spare text offers a visually stunning lesson in seeing the world from a different perspective. From a bird’s eye view of a cat stalking across the grass below to the vibrations felt by a mole living underneath the cat’s footsteps, this book encourages readers of all ages think differently about the world around them.
Some older, all-time favorites: