Booksmith's design and buying teams have been knocking their heads together to assemble a beautiful presentation of all the best that your local independent bookstore has to offer. The first weekly Brookline Booksmith Gift Guide will arrive in your inbox (subscribe to B-Mail at the bottom of theis page) soon, and inside it you will find the very best of the books that have caught our heart and minds. And if a book isn't what you're looking for, our outstanding Giftsmith team has hand-picked a bunch of great ideas for anyone and everyone on your list. We hope our Gift Guide provides a spark of inspiration, and we sure hope it brings you into the store this holiday season. We can't wait to see you!

Oh, and don't forget that next Saturday, Nov. 28th is Small Business Saturday. Whether you will be shopping with us here in Brookline, or somewhere closer to wherever you call home, do the right thing and keep your money in your community, by shopping local and independent.

Wednesday, November 18th at 7:00pm
Jason Starr - Savage Lane
Christopher Irvin - Safe Inside the Violence

Jason Starr’s Savage Lane is his most riveting and intimate novel yet, a dark, domestic thriller and an honest, searing satire of a declining marriage, suburban life, and obsessive love.
Christopher Irvin’s Safe Inside the Violence is an unforgettable collection of 13 crime stories described by LitReactor as “lightning fast, hard hitting, [it] leaves the reader breathless and shocked with the sudden and realistic portrayal of violence."


Thursday, November 19th at 7:00pm
Small Press Book Club

Man Tiger

Eka Kurniawan

Our newest book club selects readings from independent presses. Read something off the beaten path! Free and open to the public, meeting the third Thursday of every month at 7:00pm. To contact our moderator, email


Friday, November 20th at 7:00pm
Breakwater Reading Series

Join us for a night of new stories, essays, and poems by MFA candidates from Emerson, BU, and UMass Boston. For more information, please visit


Saturday, November 21st at 10:30am

Do you love picture books? Join us in our children’s section as our fine children’s team reads stories aloud every third Saturday and last Sunday of the month.


Monday, November 23rd at 7:00pm
Joshua Halberstam
The Blind Angel: New Old Chassidic Tales

For twenty-five years, Rabbi Tovia Halberstam, a scion of leading Chassidic dynasties, told riveting Chassidic tales to an audience of thousands on the Yiddish radio in New York. In The Blind Angel, Rabbi Halberstam’s son, Joshua Halberstam, renders these stories for a contemporary audience while maintaining the full charm, rhythm, and authenticity of the original tales.

    Booksmith Book Club
Monday, December 14th @ 7:30pm

How to Be Both
Ali Smith

No need to sign up, just show up!

Small Press Book Club
Thursday, November 19th @ 7pm

Man Tiger
Eka Kurniawan

No need to sign up, just show up! *meeting around the corner at
Hops N' Scotch


To Hell and Back: Europe 1914-1949

Ian Kershaw
HC, $35
The Sleep of the Righteous

Wolfgang Hilbig
PB, $14.95

Kevin Barry
HC, $24.95
This Old Man: All in Pieces

Roger Angell
HC, $26.95
First Bite: How We Learn to Eat

Bee Wilson
HC, $27.99
The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue Des Martyrs
Elaine Sciolino
W. W. Norton & Company
Hardcover, $25.95


Elaine Sciolino, the former Paris Bureau Chief of the New York Times, offers an homage to Parisian street life and the pleasures of Parisian living. “I can never be sad on the rue des Martyrs,” Sciolino explains, as she celebrates the neighborhood’s rich history and vibrant lives. On this street, the patron saint of France was beheaded and the Jesuits took their first vows. It was here that Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted circus acrobats, Emile Zola situated a lesbian dinner club in his novel Nana, and François Truffaut filmed scenes from The 400 Blows. Sciolino reveals the charms and idiosyncrasies of this street and its longtime residents, bringing Paris alive in all of its unique majesty. 


438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea
Jonathan Franklin
Atria Books
Hardcover, $26


438 Days is the true story of the fisherman who survived fourteen months in a small boat drifting seven thousand miles across the Pacific Ocean. On November 17, 2012, a pair of fishermen left the coast of Mexico for a weekend fishing trip in the open Pacific. That night, a violent storm ambushed them as they were fishing eighty miles offshore. Fourteen months later, on January 30, 2014, Salvador Alvarenga, now a hairy, wild-bearded and half-mad castaway, washed ashore on a nearly deserted island on the far side of the Pacific, some seven thousand miles away from home. Jonathan Franklin's retelling of his nearly unbelievable ordeal is called “The best survival book in a decade” by Outside magazine.

About Women: Conversations Between a Writer and a Painter
Lisa Alther, Francoise Gilot
Nan A. Talese
Hardcover, $25.95

Lisa Alther and Françoise Gilot have been friends for more than twenty-five years. Although from different backgrounds and different generations, they found they have a great deal in common as women who managed to support themselves with careers in the arts while simultaneously balancing the obligations of work and parenthood. About Women is their extended conversation in which they talk about everything important to them: their childhoods, the impact of war on their lives and their work, and their views on love, style, self-invention, feminism, child rearing, and the importance of art as they ponder what it means to be a woman.

Jack Frost
William Joyce
Hardcover, $17.99
Ages 4-8
William Joyce's lush picturebooks contain whole worlds in each image. His newest adventure tells of the days before Jack Frost was Jack Frost; when he was Nightlight, the most trusted and valiant companion of Mim, the Man in the Moon. But when Pitch destroys Mim’s world, he nearly destroys Nightlight too, sending him plunging to Earth where, like Peter Pan, he is destined to remain forever a boy, frozen in time. Jack finds the warmth he’s been yearning for when he gets a chance to help some children in need,

Hilda and the Troll
Luke Pearson
Nobrow Press
Paperback, $10.99
Ages 6 & up

The barrier between the vibrant little domestic scene inside Hilda's little cottage and the dangerous, stormy world outside is merely the width of her imagination. But is that really just her imagination, or is there really a troll on her trail? Hilda is one of the best heroines to emerge over the past few years. Luke Pearson's stunningly beautiful book is finally out in paperback, so get a copy for the smart, brave little kid in your life!

The Game of Lives (the Mortality Doctrine, Book Three)
James Dashner
Delacorte Press
Hardcover, $18.99
Ages 13-17
The Game of Lives is the final book in the Mortality Doctrine series, an edge-of-your-seat cyber-adventure trilogy. Michael used to live to game, but the games he was playing have become all too real. Only weeks ago, sinking into the Sleep was fun. The VirtNet - which combines the most cutting-edge technology and the most sophisticated gaming for a full mind-body experience - has become a world of deadly consequences, and Kaine, the evil creator of The Mortality Doctrine, grows stronger by the day. Little by little the line separating the virtual from the real is blurring, and unless Michael can figure this out, it will mean worldwide cyber domination.
John McPhee
Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2000
Used Paperback, $7.50
Oranges, you love to eat 'em. I have one poor friend who is allergic to fruit. Can you imagine? My son has this trick with a clementine, it only works as long as he still has those slim little fingers, but it's great, he peels the clementine and then just slides a finger right through the middle and all of the stuff you don't want to eat just pops out the other side. Sometimes I like to wash an orange, stick a toothpick through one hole in the rind repeatedly at all different angles, and then just suck on the orange for the next five minutes or so. I haven't read this book, but I assume eminent essayist John McPhee covers a lot of the same ground as I just did.

Two or Three Things I Know For Sure
Dorothy Allison
Plume, 1995
Used Paperback, $7
In Two or Three Things I Know for Sure, Dorothy Allison takes a probing look at her family’s history to explore how the gossip of one generation can become legends for the next. Illustrated with photographs from the author’s personal collection, this slim memoir tells the story of the Gibson women - sisters, cousins, daughters, and aunts - and the men who loved them, often abused them, and, nonetheless, shared their destinies. With luminous clarity, Allison explores how desire surprises and what power feels like to a young girl as she confronts abuse.

Michael Broek
Alice James Books, 2015
Used Paperback, $8.50


"Juxtaposing our wars, our disturbed cities, our flawed policies with the erotic and domestic, Michael Broek creates a stunning love song for our troubled nation and world." - Martha Collins

I am not sure I know the difference anymore
between this person & that
along Kingsland Avenue
though some point guns & others
kiss me hard on the lips
& I am so glad
we are one of those
who point with our mouths
most of the time.


Remainders are extra books being cleared from the publisher's warehouse.
We scoop them up at a deep discount and pass the savings on to you!
The Age of the Image: Redefining Literacy in a World of Screens
Stephen Apkon
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Hardcover
Orig. $26, Sale $6.99
The farthest thing from a bemoaning of the degeneracy of the written word, Stephen Apkon's The Age of the Image traces the deep history and frenetic present of human methods of communication, from cave paintings to YouTube, and instead presents a case for the excitement we should be feeling as we bear witness to humankind's evolving ability to blend word and image in ever more meaningful ways.

Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an: Islam and the Founders

Denise A. Spellberg
Knopf, Hardcover
Orig. $27.95, Sale $7.95

Historian Denise Spellman's groundbreaking research reveals how a handful of Founders, led by Thomas Jefferson, drew upon Enlightenment ideas about the toleration of Muslims - then considered the ultimate outsiders in Western Society - to turn what had been a purely speculative debate into a practical foundation for American governance, not to mention the Constitutionally mandated religious tolerance which has been a beacon of hope for so many citizens of the world who have suffered at the hand of the state for holding a set of personal beliefs.

Enough About Love
Hervé le Tellier
Other Press, Paperback
Orig. $14.95, Sale $5.99


Four characters lives are unexpectedly turned upside down by the deliciously inconvenient arrival of love. For Anna, meeting Yves has brought a flurry of excitement to her life and made her question her values, her reliable husband, and her responsibilities to her children. For Louise, a successful career woman in a stable and comfortable marriage, her routine is uprooted by the youthful passion she feels for Thomas. Thought-provoking, sophisticated, and amusing, Hervé le Tellier's Enough About Love captures the euphoria of desire through tender and unflinching portraits of husbands, wives, and lovers.


Opéra Municipal de Marseille

Travel mugs and tea, stock up for the season!
Whether it's going to be savored at home, curled up in a window seat with a book, or sipped in traffic on your way to Thanksgiving dinner, our new selection of sumptuous teas and mugs will bring comfort and calm to even the chilliest days.

Brookline's First Light event started eighteen years ago in Washington Square when several businesses came together to spread some holiday cheer by hanging snowflakes in their storefront windows. The glowing flakes illuminated the square, signaling the start of the holiday season, and they've been coming back every year since. First Light has grown into the Town’s annual winter festival, showcasing the talents of local artists, musicians and performers at businesses and other venues throughout town. Join your neighbors in Coolidge Corner tomorrow, Thursday November 19 from 5-8pm, and let's spread some serious peace and love all together!

The Snow Queen is a new pop/rock musical based on the classic Hans Christian Andersen story, on stage at the New Repertory Theatre. Our friends at New Rep are extending a special offer for readers of this newsletter: Receive $25 tickets by using code SNOW25. The discount is good for Tier B tickets only. Please call the New Rep Box Office at 617-923-8487 or order tickets online at Group discounts are also available.


I would say "where did the time go?" but I can recall where it went: eleven months of 2015 have passed, and all I have to do is flick at the newsfeed on my phone to see that more than enough changes have occurred for one calendar year. Full measures of beauty, but far too much tragedy. One thing that springs to mind in the wake of such scenes of mayhem as this year has brought us is a Buddhist slogan that struck me the first time I read Chogyam Trungpa's Training the Mind:
Drive all blames into one.
In Trungpa's explanation, the slogan serves as a method to loosen up, thereby allowing the other party room to loosen up as well. Your understanding of another's error or violent action is your understanding. While the slogan doesn't require you to admit to a crime you didn't commit, it does strengthen your resolve to say,
with finality,
The buck stops here.

Thanksgiving is about family, and our global family is being tested in the fire right now. In a metaphorical sense, I hope that in the coming months we open up the kitchen and let the children do some of the cooking; that we can forgive the teenagers for their surly, self-destructive behavior and invite them to the table; and that we will really listen when our elders say grace. And that we will look at ourselves in the mirror and decide that the buck stops here.
Peace in this world always begins with you.

Thanks for reading,

currently reading The Witches by Stacy Schiff.
currently listening to "Friends" by Raury.

email me, if you'd like to make this a conversation.


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Boston A-List's Best Bookstore 2014
Boston Phoenix's 2012 "Readers' Pick for Best Bookstore, New"
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brookline booksmith
279 Harvard St.
Coolidge Corner, Brookline
an easy block from the Coolidge Corner T-stop on the C line
Dana Brigham, Co-owner and Store Manager

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Saturday: 9 am - 11 pm
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