For Art Lovers of All Ages

If you’re an art lover, or if you’ve been following the latest news in the Isabella Stewart Gardner case here, we have a few books for you.

The Gardner Heist: the True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft by Ulrich Boser. Written with the pacing of a novel, but including meticulous research, Boser recounts the crime, various leads pursued by art detectives, and eventually his own obsessive search for the lost masterpieces. This book showed why the largest unsolved art heist in history has captivated so many, and may light the fire of obsession in a new generation of readers and art lovers.

If fiction is more your style, The Art Forger is a must read for any art lover. Claire is a talented artist who has been unjustly blackballed by the art establishment. Then a successful gallery owner asks her to forge a Degas stolen from the Gardner museum in exchange for a one-woman show at his pretigious gallery. Almost immediately she suspects the stolen painting might be a forgery, but the more she works on her own forgery, the more entangled she becomes. This novel has so many rewarding twists and turns it is impossible to put down.

And for a new picture book to interest your little one in art (both the masterpieces and creating their own), try The Museum by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. A child makes her way through a museum and reacts to the some of the world’s greatest masterpieces. And, of course, is inspired to create her own.


The Gardner Heist: the True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft by Ulrich Boser; Harper Collins; $14.99

The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro; Workman; $23.95

The Museum by Susan Verde illus by Peter H. Reynolds; Abrams; $16.05


Miss Megan’s Five Star Favorites, Part III

Believe it or not, I read grownup books on occasion. Not as often as I would like, but still, I try to add a “big kid” title to my list every now and again. These are a selection of my favorites, the ones I’ve given the coveted five star rating on Goodreads.

The Death of Bees by Lisa O’DonnellHarperCollins; 25.99; Ages 16-adult

Opening line: “Today is Christmas Eve. Today is my birthday. Today I am fifteen. Today I buried my parents in the backyard. Neither of them were beloved.”

For fans of: The Cement Garden; The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Pure by Julianna BaggottHachette; 9.99; Ages 14-adult

Opening line: “There was a low droning overhead a week or so after the Detonations; time was hard to track. The skies were buckling with dark banks of blackened cloud, the air thick with ash and dust.”

For fans of: The Hunger Games; Divergent

Room by Emma DonoghueLittle Brown; 14.99; Ages 16-adult

Opening line: “Today I’m five. I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe, but when I wake up in Bed in the dark I’m changed to five, abracadabra.”

For fans of: Living Dead Girl; Angela’s Ashes

Atonement by Ian McEwanAnchor Books; 15.00; Ages 16-adult

Opening line: “The play—for which Briony had designed the posters, programmes and tickets, constructed the sales booth out of a folding screen tipped on its side, and lined the collection box in red crepe paper—was written by her in a two-day tempest of composition, causing her to miss a breakfast and a lunch.”

For fans of: Skeletons at the Feast; Never Let Me Go

Jane Eyre by Charlotte BrontePenguin; 7.99; Ages 14-adult

Opening line: “There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.”

For fans of: Great Expectations; Persuasion

Give us a call or shoot us an email if you want to put any of these titles on hold! (703) 548-4092 or

Read on, readers!

Miss Megan

Twelve Kinds of Ice

12kindsoficeLet me be clear from the beginning: I am not a winter person. I do not know how to ice skate, and I’ve only been skiing once. So the fact that the sentences in this little book had me dreaming of walking through frozen woods and sliding over frozen ponds gives you an idea of the mesmerizing quality of the writing. Twelve Kinds of Ice is a hard book to categorize. It has the feel of a memoir, but also sounds entirely contemporary. It’s longer (and has more complicated vocabulary) than an early reader, but at 61 pages, is much shorter that your average middle grade novel. This would be a great book to give a teacher, as the lyrical passages could be used in writing lessons and it also makes a great seasonal read aloud.

Written by Ellen Bryan Obed, Twelve Kinds of Ice takes the reader through a winter season in the life of the Bryan family. Mom, Dad and children of various ages all look forward to the skating and the fun that different kinds of ice bring them. Streams become paths to explore on skates and ponds of black ice are where “We sped to silver speeds at which lungs and legs, clouds and sun, wind and cold, raced together. Our blades spit out silver. Our lungs breathed out silver. Our minds burst with silver while the winter sun danced silver down our bending backs.” The vegetable garden becomes a skating rink on a par with Boston Garden or Maple Leaf Garden and hosts hockey games and skating parties, finally culminating in a homemade ice show, complete with Dad’s clown act. All too soon though, there is a thaw, the ice melts and patches of mud show through, leaving only dream ice to sustain skating dreams until the following winter. This beautiful text is complemented perfectly by Barbara McClintock’s precise and energetic illustrations and I know that  if I had read this as a child I would have pored over them for hours, deciding which character I wanted to be in each different picture. Twelve Kinds of Ice is a wonderful book not just for winter, but for the whole year.

— Cecilia

Twelve Kinds of Ice, by Ellen Bryan Obed, illustrated by Barbara McClintock, $16.99, Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

A great new read for grown-ups: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Harold Fry and his wife Maureen live in a quaint English village. Harold is recently retired and not quite sure what to do with himself, but appears to be somewhat content with his life.  Maureen, on the other hand,  is a cold woman, easily irritated with her husband and quite obsessed with cleaning the house. You can instantly tell they do not have a typical marriage (and the house cleaning is a bit comical, tinged with a more than a bit of sadness).
When the mail arrives one afternoon, Harold receives a letter from his former coworker, Queenie, stating that she is dying of cancer. Not quite sure what to say to Queenie, a woman he hasn’t heard from in years, he manages to write out a quick note and plans to walk down to the post office box and deliver it. Instead, Harold keeps walking. He decides to walk all the way to her hospice facility, hundreds of miles away, in a pair of boating shoes, and without any supplies. This is the story of Harold’s walk to Queenie.
I loved the entire idea of the novel and the description reminded me a bit of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, a book several of us here at the store were totally charmed by last year. Harold is an incredibly likeable character and you want him to make it to Queenie, so badly, even though you aren’t quite sure why. You only slowly learn Queenie’s part of the story as Harold walks.
Harold becomes a media sensation — walking across the English countryside as he is — never knowing if Queenie is still waiting for him to arrive or if she has passed away. He meets incredible characters along the way, each interesting and inspiring in their own way.  Every time it seems like he should just give up, the right person comes along to convince him otherwise.
Maureen was the most complex of the characters and I found her journey my favorite part of the book. Her husband just walks out of the house one day and decides to walk to another woman, making Maureen’s life instantly more complicated, as well. She is a hard woman, but you can slowly see her interior emotions breaking through as the story progresses, and it’s her breakthroughs that I kept looking forward to the most.
This was an utterly charming story and perfect to gift to those hard-to-buy-for friends and family. There is so much to like about Harold’s story that everyone could learn a thing or two from him. It’s quirky, inspirational, and a wonderful read.

 The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce; $25.00; Random House.

Trish’s Favorites of 2011

Trish read tons of books this year (as every great bookstore owner should), but a few are new favorites! These are her top picks for 2011:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern; $26.95; Knopf; Adult Fiction

The Conference of the Birds by Peter Sis; $27.95; Penguin Publishing Group; Adult Fiction

Bigger Than a Bread Box by Laurel Snyder; $16.99; Random House Children’s Publishing; ages 8+

King Jack and the Dragon by Peter Bently; $17.99; Penguin Publishing Group; ages 3+

Trish has a lot more titles that she loves, so be sure to ask her about them the next time you’re in the store. She’ll be happy to help you find the perfect gift or a great read for yourself!

Cristi’s Favorites of 2011

Cristi loves finding the perfect book for customers and will always go out of her way to make sure you’re happy with your purchase! She loved a lot of books that were published this year and had a hard time choosing just a few! These are the ones that really stood out for her:

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness; $28.95; Penguin Group; Adult Fiction

It’s a Little Book by Lane Smith; $7.99; Roaring Brook Press; ages 2+

The Man in the Moon by William Joyce; $17.99; Simon & Schuster; ages 3+

Every Thing On It by Shel Silverstein; $19.99; HarperCollins; ages 8+

Goodnight Ipad: A Parody for the Next Generation by Ann Droyd; $14.95; Penguin Group; ages 5+