by Sang Kromah
Sykesville Main Street is quite picturesque. With quirky small businesses that are truly one of a kind, it would be easy to think you’ve somehow been transported to the town of Stars Hollow. Although there is a town gazebo, this isn’t the set of Gilmore Girls, but I think Rory Gilmore would approve of the turn out at A Likely Story Bookstore, where Penguin Random House held a Publisher Book Chat on Wednesday evening, November 2nd.
The bibliophile in me, screamed internally upon entering, but I had to pretend to be normal, even though I suck at adulating, where books are concerned. The bookstore is a gem, with titles galore and as I made my way to the last available seat, I found my to-be read list growing longer by the second. The lights were bright and three reps from Penguin Random House took to the floor to passionately discuss their top book titles. What I found interesting is that I honestly thought that there were five reps, because there were five people (four women and one man) discussing books, but two of the women were actually the store’s owners, who fervently discussed previously released books by some of the authors that were being mentioned, from Louisa May Alcott to Jodi Picoult. You can always tell when people are passionate about what they do, because it hardly seems like work, and that’s what I saw; five people who were lucky enough to turn their passions into careers. As I sat, witnessing the banter between the five, I felt like I was a part of a tribe of my own people, a sorority of sorts. There were no secret handshakes or even code, but we all shared the same enthusiasm for discovering new worlds and forming lifelong friendships with characters that will surely become a part of us, once we’re at least 50 pages in.
I could go on and on about the ambiance of the event or how happy I was that the bookstore was filled to capacity, but the purpose of this post is to tell you my favorite titles of the books presented. Oh, but I must mention I’ve already pre-ordered one of the books presented, Butter Celebrates! by Rosie Daykin (On Sale Nov. 08, 2016), because one of the reps used five of the book’s recipes and baked us goodies that I would sell my camera (if you knew how much I love this camera, you’d gasp) for right now. They were that good and I will be using those recipes for my holiday party.
SANG’S TOP PICKS:
- Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs- There’s no way this couldn’t be number one on my list. According to one of the reps, Wonder Women is a “Great read of badass women who you never knew existed.” So I was sold by that statement alone. I feel like this is a great precursor for the film, “Hidden Figures“, which I think every girl, woman, and any man interested in STEM or history should definitely go out and see when it’s released in theaters on Christmas day.
- Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult sounded so powerful that I saw everyone in the room taking notes, when this title was being raved about. Jodi Picoult has been a favorite of mine long before her books were films, but this is one of those books that I’m not going to feel guilty about putting before the ones that have been on my to-be read list for weeks. The book is about an African American delivery/labor nurse, who is transferred because a white supremacist couple doesn’t want her attending to them. So imagine the drama.
- The Education of Dixie Dupree by Donna Eberhart is the third book on the list and it’s a heavy one. Now, don’t let the cover fool you. It looks like some sweet novel that would include some wacky town event that Taylor Doosie has planned to compete with a neighboring town (yes, that’s another Gilmore Girls reference, because duh, I’m obsessed), but that couldn’t be any further from the truth. Yes, it’s a mother-daughter novel, so layered and disturbing that after reading it, Lorelei would likely ask Emily Gilmore for her forgiveness and thank her.
- The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore, makes the list because it follows a theme that Project GirlSpire is very big on, sisterhood. The story follows the 40-year friendship of three girls in a small southern town as they transition from girlhood to womanhood and beyond. Oh, and there’s a ghost, who serves as the comic relief. If you are a fan of The Help or Fried Green Tomatoes, you’ll love this one. It’s a light read that you’ll definitely need after reading The Education of Dixie Dupree, and it will definitely have you laughing out loud.
- A Merry Christmas by Louisa May Alcott is not a new novel and you may have even heard of it, before, but it makes the list because it’s a Penguin Classic, the cover is beautiful, and Louisa May Alcott is one of my favorite authors. These stories are timeless, enchanting, and captures the same magic that made me fall in love with Little Women.
So there you have it, my favorites from my first Penguin Random House Book Chat. So please look into these titles, and decide which ones suit your preferences or the preferences of the girls and women in your lives, because these will make awesome holiday gifts as well.