The Power of Books
February 12, 2017
BookHampton’s mission is “to provide a vibrant year-round environment for discovering books that intrigue, amuse, educate and inspire.” Never has this been more important. The world—always fast-changing, complex and interconnected—has become even more so. Few parts of the globe, few people, and few topics seem to be left untouched. “Civic anxiety” is a phrase I find myself using again and again to describe what so many of us feel at a very cellular level.
Bookstores around the country are sorting out how best to serve their communities during this time of upheaval. We talk about this a lot at BookHampton. As always, we are committed to being a safe place for all people, to foster awareness and discussion that leads to understanding and empathy. The power of books, as always, is remarkable. Books provide a sense of history, perspective, context, comfort and inspiration. And also, escape! We’re featuring a lot of books in the store now which we think do this and there will be many books forthcoming. We’ll call attention to them through reading lists, book recommendations, special displays, featured new books, etc. We won’t be heavy-handed, we’ll be balanced and you’ll hear our collective voice(s). It’s an exciting time to find books already in print and to watch for those books which come into the store each week addressing the most important issues of the day—governance, immigration, women’s rights, Islam/being Muslim, trade and globalization, and the virtues of civility, empathy and tolerance.
Here are just a few of the books you’ll find in the store:
It Can’t Happen Here
by Sinclair Lewis
This is my favorite of the dystopian classics now enjoying a resurgence. Written in 1935, it is a cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy. Similiar dystopian classics currently in demand include Brave New World, 1984, Animal Farm and The Handmaid's Tale.
Coming February 21
350 photographs from marches on all seven continents.
Letters to a Young Muslim
by Omar Saif Ghobash
My current most favorite book. These are letters written by a father to his teenage son encouraging him to find ways to be true to Islam while actively engaging in the modern world. In the face of radical extremism, Ghobash counsels the next generation to avoid religiously sanctioned violence, exercise independent judgment about what it means to be a good Muslim in today’s society, and to appreciate diversity among various faiths in order to live in harmony with others in a crowded world. A complex view and of great interest to Muslims and anyone trying to better understand the Muslim world.
A Hope More Powerful Than The Sea
by Melissa Fleming
A gut-wrenching and heartbreaking tale of survival of one woman's goal to find a better life. An eye-opening examination of what it's like to leave a war-torn country and the trials of trying to escape.
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
by Timothy Snyder
Coming February 28
The not-so-far-fetched ways in which democracy is threatened.
Just to mix it up, here are a few more books also on my list:
Lincoln in the Bardo
by George Saunders
George Saunders’ long-awaited first novel is also a father-son story. But here the father is Abraham Lincoln. His son Willie is dead at age 11. And the Civil War is less than one year old.
The below was published in the New York Times Book Review, by Colson Whitehead:
Abraham Lincoln must stop being the father to a lost boy and assume his role as a father to a nation, one on the brink of cataclysm.
It is a perilous moment, the sort that comes along every so often, where it seems the country is listing and about to tip and only steady hands can right the ship. Survival depends not only on the captain, but on all aboard... But events sometimes conspire to make a work of art, like a novel set in the past, supremely timely.
The Airbnb Story
by Leigh Gallagher
What happens to a crazy, never-will-work idea!
A Meatloaf in Every Oven
by Frank Bruni & Jennifer Steinhauer
I added this book in case you escape through comfort food - plus, it’s still winter. We learn that meatloaf has broad culinary appeal. Donald Trump loves meatloaf and there is a recipe from Senator Susan Collins for Bipartisan Meatloaf. Enjoy!
In closing, I agree with Ghobash when he said in Letters to a Young Muslim,
“I am convinced of the power of ideas, and language, to move the world to a better place.”
See you in the store,
P.S. Are you a Rowdy Reader? We've started a new book club with Rowdy Hall! The first meeting is March 2 at 12:30pm and we'll be discussing The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney. Join us!
P.P.S. In the next few weeks, we will be beginning something new! We are trying an email version of the Indie Next List that we distribute in our store each month. If you've never picked one up, the Indie Next List is a monthly list of the best new books chosen by us and other independent booksellers across the country. You will receive this new email once a month. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do! If this is too much email, just click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the Indie Next List e-newsletter and you will be immediately unsubscribed from this new offering. You'll still receive the other emails from BookHampton that you have requested.
Be sure to join us for Story Time every Sunday at 10:30am!
February 19: Marion Lear Swaybill, Oysters: A Celebration in the Raw
(rescheduled from February 11)
February 22: Maidstone BookHampton Book Club - The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin
February 25: Dava Sobel, The Glass Universe
March 2: Rowdy Readers Book Club, The Gloroious Heresies by Lisa McInerney