May Reading Recommendations: Part One From Your Local Booksellers

Spring is in the air and local bookstores are buzzing about interesting new titles.

It’s official: Spring has sprung and there are many great new books to delve into.  With a slight emphasis on mothers, history, and nature, here is Part One of local reading recommendations for May from Harbor Books and Gallery, Bay Book Company and Ink Spell.  Part Two will soon follow, with choices from Coastside Books, the Half Moon Bay Public Library, and Ocean Books.

Carole Brehm of Harbor Books and Gallery in Princeton made sure to select titles about women for May reading, featuring works from mothers, historical figures, and nonfiction from the woman who brought us “Brokeback Mountain.”

Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff.  Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Schiff presents a fascinating look at the last queen of Egypt and one of the most intriguing women in history.

Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein.  This New York Times best-selling author lives in Northern California, but ventured to Disneyland, American Girl Place, and beauty pageants across the nation to uncover the answers to baffling questions about her own daughter, a girlie-girl.  The rise of the girlie-girl, she tells us, is not that innocent.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua.  This novel, stemming from one Chinese American mother's parenting techniques, has sparked much debate about parenting in general.  “It can start a conversation,” says Brehm. With a harsh beginning, including a list of what Chua’s children were not allowed to do (sleepovers, playdates, choosing their own activities, bringing home a grade lower than an A, for example), many have already passed judgment on Chua.  Reading to the end is the key, says Brehm, to thoroughly understand the author.  

Bird Cloud by Annie Proulx.  The author of the “Brokeback Mountain” story and Shipping News novel enchanted fiction readers everywhere.  Her first work of nonfiction in more than two decades, Proulx’s Bird Cloud, is the story of building a house and a life in the Wyoming wilderness. Natural history of the region, as well as family history dating back to the 19th Century, is included.

Pillar Point Harbor Shoppes, 270 Capistrano Road, El Granada, 726-4241

open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm


Manager Jeff Broyles always enjoys historical novels.  For May, he selects two new works, among other titles.

The Battle of Britain:  Five Months That Changed History by James Holland.  “The story has been told before,” says Broyles of this account of British and German history in 1940. “But this book offers a fresh take and perspective.”

Satori by Don Winslow.  This prequel to Winslow’s Shibumi sees the main character at age 26.  “It’s one of the best espionage novels of the year,” says Broyles.

Eve by Iris Johansen.  The New York Times best-selling author begins a trilogy with a main character who works as a forensic sculptor and whose daughter was taken years ago.  The deep characters are notable, says Broyles.

Elizabeth I  by Margaret George.  This look into Elizabeth Tudor’s world highlights the rivalry between Elizabeth and Lettice Knollys, a look-alike cousin who was ever present in her life.  The book features intimate portraits of Dudley, Shakespeare, Drake, and others of the Elizabethan Age.

Strawflower Shopping Center (intersection of Highways 1 and 92), Half Moon Bay, 726-3488

Open Sunday 10 a.m. - 7 p.m, Monday-Thursday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.-9 p.m. 

Ink Spell Books

Ink Spell owner Cindy Whittemore has picked a couple of young adult selections for May, with a craft book and a favorite read sprinkled in. Stop by her shop and take the Summer Reading Challenge, where children who read and document 10 books over their vacation get a free $5 or under used book. 

Plague: A Gone Novel by Michael Grant.  Though the series is for ages 12 and up, Whittemore thinks it’s more suited for adults who want an easy read.  “It is intense, like Stephen King’s Under the Dome meets Lord of the Flies,” she says of this novel where fourteen-year-olds are left to fend when everyone suddenly disappears.

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa.  In this series where lead character Meghan discovers she is a true fairy princess, love and betrayal in a world gone mad are featured.  “This is for the 12- to 14-year-old Twilight lover,” says Whittemore.

The Star Wars Craft Book by Bonnie Burton.  The crafts in this book include many useful items, like blankets, rings, and extra ideas from crafty Star Wars fans, besides the author.  The section “Five Things To Do With A Star Wars T-Shirt” helps you go from the Dark Side of hanging on to old tees to the brighter side of making them into a quilt.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  With a movie based on the book out soon, this debut effort by the author takes us to 1960s Mississippi, where women are questioning their roles and relationships, be they black or white.  “Parts are hilarious and parts are poignant,” says Whittemore.  “I think everyone should read it.”

500 Purissima Street, Half Moon Bay, 726-6571

Open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays

Interested in buying these books and more? Visit our Facebook page here and click on the "Like" button. You'll be entered into a drawing to win one of three gift certificates to Half Moon Bay bookstores once we reach 200 Facebook likes.




Cid May 05, 2011 at 09:29 PM
I want to read the newest book "A Singular Woman" The un-told storyof Barack Obama's mother by Janny Scott. NPR had a great interview http://www.npr.org/2011/05/03/135840068/the-singular-woman-who-raised-barack-obama -Cid Young Moss Beach


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