7 Feel-Good Books to Peruse on Independent Bookstore Day

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Mary Laura Philpott is the author of I Miss You When I Blink and Bomb Shelter. Her writing has been featured frequently by The New York Times and appears in such outlets as The Washington PostThe AtlanticReal Simple, and more. A former bookseller, she also hosted an interview program on Nashville Public Television for several years. Mary Laura lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her family.

In this wild and unpredictable world where we’re expected to roll with any number of stressors and horrors on a daily basis, we all need a little reprieve from time to time. That’s where books come in—the portable portals to other times, other places, and other people’s lives. And if there’s one day that’s perfect for stocking up on these rectangular therapeutic objects, it’s Independent Bookstore Day, coming up on April 30, 2022. Declare that Saturday your feel-good day, and pay a visit to your favorite indie bookstore(s) in person or online to load up on magnificent new and upcoming reads. 

Let's Not Do That Again
by Grant Ginder

As I started this book, I said out loud to my dog, “Man, it feels good to have fun again!” Grant Ginder deploys his sharp, irreverent sense of humor and brilliant pacing to delightful effect in this rollicking story. I loved the way adult siblings Nick and Greta, plus their mother, Congresswoman Nancy Harrison, relate to one another: often exasperated, sometimes downright angry, but ultimately loyal and loving. Ginder is a New Yorker; if you are too, snag a copy from Greenlight Bookstore.

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Let's Not Do That Again
Grant Ginder

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Marrying the Ketchups
by Jennifer Close

I adored every single member of the extended Sullivan family, all of whom find themselves at a decision point or breaking point in their lives, as we all do sometimes. One by one in interwoven plots, these cousins, siblings, parents, and children all make their way back to their native Chicago and the family restaurant that was once the center of their orbit. In keeping with the book’s setting, you could get your copy from The Book Stall in the greater Chicago area.

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Marrying the Ketchups
Jennifer Close

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MENTIONED IN:

10 Whimsical Stories That’ll Immerse You in a New Place

By Sara Roncero-Menendez | May 27, 2022

6 Wholesome Books as Sweet as Ice Cream

By Chris Gaudio | May 26, 2022

Sweepstakes: Enter for a Chance to Win 8 Summer Book Club Picks!

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 25, 2022

Rediscovered Reviews: 6 Timeless Classics We Can’t Get Over

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 25, 2022

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By Karen Bellovich | May 24, 2022

10 Supernatural Reads to Make You Shiver This Summer

By Maddie Ehrenreich | May 23, 2022

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How Strange a Season
by Megan Mayhew Bergman

It soothes my brain to read splendid writing! Megan Mayhew Bergman’s highly anticipated new collection, HOW STRANGE A SEASON, delivers complicated, nuanced female protagonists, each figuring out her own way to reconcile past, present, and future. Bergman is an award-winning essayist on environmental topics as well, and that talent for writing about the natural world surfaces throughout these stories, as flowers, trees, and plants take on significant meaning. Get yours from Northshire Bookstore near Bergman’s home in Vermont.

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How Strange a Season
Megan Mayhew Bergman

Named a Most Anticipated Book of the Year by The Millions, Thrillist, LitHub, The Week, and more

An evocative and engrossing collection of new stories and a novella about women experiencing life’s challenges and beauty from the award-winning writer Megan Mayhew Bergman.

A recently separated woman fills a huge terrarium with endangered flowers to establish a small world only she can control in an attempt to heal her broken heart. A competitive swimmer negotiates over which days she will fulfill her wifely duties, and which days she will keep for herself. A peach farmer wonders if her orchard will survive a drought. And generations of a family in South Carolina struggle with fidelity and their cruel past, some clinging to old ways and others painfully carving new paths.

In these haunting stories, Megan Mayhew Bergman portrays women who wrestle with problematic inheritances: a modern glass house on a treacherous California cliff, a water-starved ranch, and an abandoned plantation on a river near Charleston. Bergman’s provocative prose asks the questions: what are we leaving behind for our descendants to hold, and what price will they pay for our mistakes?

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MENTIONED IN:

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By Sara Roncero-Menendez | May 27, 2022

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Sweepstakes: Enter for a Chance to Win 8 Summer Book Club Picks!

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Rediscovered Reviews: 6 Timeless Classics We Can’t Get Over

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By Karen Bellovich | May 24, 2022

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By Maddie Ehrenreich | May 23, 2022

Close
Cheat Day
by Liv Stratman

When I first picked up Liv Stratman’s debut novel, CHEAT DAY, I thought it looked like fun—perhaps a light, frothy, rom-com set in a bakery? Turns out, it is indeed set in a bakery. There is some romance. And the reading experience is a great deal of fun. But there’s nothing frivolous about this book, and Stratman is no lightweight as a writer. Come for the relatable story of a woman unsure of what she wants out of her relationships and her career; stay for the exquisite prose. Bonus: CHEAT DAY is now out in paperback, so it’s a bargain! Grab a copy from WORD Bookstore in Brooklyn.

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Cheat Day
Liv Stratman

This clever and witty debut novel about the unexpected consequences of one woman’s attempt to exert control over her life by adhering to a strict wellness routine is “the kind of book you devour in a day or two…sexy and funny, but also very perceptive” (BuzzFeed).

Kit and David were college sweethearts. Now married and in their thirties, they live in Kit’s childhood home in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. While David has a successful career, jetting off on work trips to exciting destinations, Kit is stuck in a loop. She keeps quitting her job managing her sister’s bakery to seek a more ambitious profession, but fear of failure always brings her back to Sweet Cheeks. Kit finds a fraught solace in cycling through fad diets, which David, in his efforts to be supportive, follows along with her. Their latest program is the Radiant Regimen, an intense cleanse, and Kit is optimistic about embarking on a new chapter of healthy eating and self-control.

Hungry in more ways than one, she soon falls into a flirtation with a carpenter named Matt who is building new shelves for the bakery kitchen. Unable to resist their mutual attraction, Kit and Matt soon begin a passionate affair. Kit suppresses her guilt by obsessing over her diet, pushing herself in greater extremes. Told in precise, intimate detail, Cheat Day is “an incredibly likable novel of hungers controlled and liberated, and marriage’s gray areas” (Booklist) that explores monogamy versus monotony, deprivation versus indulgence, and limitations of modern wellness.

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MENTIONED IN:

10 Whimsical Stories That’ll Immerse You in a New Place

By Sara Roncero-Menendez | May 27, 2022

6 Wholesome Books as Sweet as Ice Cream

By Chris Gaudio | May 26, 2022

Sweepstakes: Enter for a Chance to Win 8 Summer Book Club Picks!

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 25, 2022

Rediscovered Reviews: 6 Timeless Classics We Can’t Get Over

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8 Tender Books with Characters You’ll Want to Hug

By Karen Bellovich | May 24, 2022

10 Supernatural Reads to Make You Shiver This Summer

By Maddie Ehrenreich | May 23, 2022

Close
Mustique Island
by Sarah McCoy

I don’t mean to be superficial—I know we’re not supposed to judge books by their covers—but this one makes my eyes so happy. When I pulled my early copy of Mustique Island from its envelope, I gasped. Look at it: The punchy, beachy colors! The glamorous, 70’s vibe! That typeface. Even better, Sarah McCoy has the storytelling chops to make the inside as lovely as the outside. This one comes out in May, so put it on your preorder tab while you’re checking out at Bookmarks—the local indie near McCoy’s home in Winston-Salem, NC.

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Mustique Island
Sarah McCoy

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MENTIONED IN:

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By Sara Roncero-Menendez | May 27, 2022

6 Wholesome Books as Sweet as Ice Cream

By Chris Gaudio | May 26, 2022

Sweepstakes: Enter for a Chance to Win 8 Summer Book Club Picks!

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 25, 2022

Rediscovered Reviews: 6 Timeless Classics We Can’t Get Over

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 25, 2022

8 Tender Books with Characters You’ll Want to Hug

By Karen Bellovich | May 24, 2022

10 Supernatural Reads to Make You Shiver This Summer

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Close
The Mutual Friend
by Carter Bays

It’s fun to have something to look forward to, which is why you should also preorder this entertaining and thought-provoking book, out in June. THE MUTUAL FRIEND is Carter Bay’s debut novel, but it’s not his first time telling a story; he was the cocreator of the television show How I Met Your Mother. Not surprisingly, reading this ensemble story feels like binge-watching a favorite series about lovable characters. And I don’t want to give anything away, but let me just say it has a very unusual narrator. Preorder yours from Skylight Books in Los Angeles.

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The Mutual Friend
Carter Bays

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MENTIONED IN:

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By Sara Roncero-Menendez | May 27, 2022

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Sweepstakes: Enter for a Chance to Win 8 Summer Book Club Picks!

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 25, 2022

Rediscovered Reviews: 6 Timeless Classics We Can’t Get Over

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 25, 2022

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10 Supernatural Reads to Make You Shiver This Summer

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Close
Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting
by Clare Pooley

Helpfully, this book comes with a diagram of the train line from Hampton Court to Waterloo Station in London, so you can visualize which character gets on at which stop. That’s important, because the train is where all these endearingly flawed humans meet, and where their lives begin to weave together. Think Love Actually with a touch of Ted Lasso and Bridget Jones’s Diary, and you have the vibe. Pooley lives in the UK, so Americans looking to buy it from her local indie would have to make a long trip (and look for it by its British title: The People on Platform 5). But on this side of the pond, you can preorder it from the online indie, Bookshop. I might also suggest listening to this one on audio from Libro.fm, the audiobook shop that supports independent bookstores!

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Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting
Clare Pooley

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MENTIONED IN:

10 Whimsical Stories That’ll Immerse You in a New Place

By Sara Roncero-Menendez | May 27, 2022

6 Wholesome Books as Sweet as Ice Cream

By Chris Gaudio | May 26, 2022

Sweepstakes: Enter for a Chance to Win 8 Summer Book Club Picks!

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 25, 2022

Rediscovered Reviews: 6 Timeless Classics We Can’t Get Over

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 25, 2022

8 Tender Books with Characters You’ll Want to Hug

By Karen Bellovich | May 24, 2022

10 Supernatural Reads to Make You Shiver This Summer

By Maddie Ehrenreich | May 23, 2022

Close
Bomb Shelter
by Mary Laura Philpott

BOMB SHELTER IS OUT NOW!

A lifelong worrier, Mary Laura Philpott always kept an eye out for danger, a habit that only intensified when she became a parent. But she looked on the bright side, too, believing that as long as she cared enough, she could keep her loved ones safe. Then, in the dark of one quiet, pre-dawn morning, she woke abruptly to a terrible sound—and found her teenage son unconscious on the floor. In the aftermath of a crisis that darkened her signature sunny spirit, she wondered: If this happened, what else could happen? And how do any of us keep going when we can’t know for sure what’s coming next? Leave it to the writer whose critically acclaimed debut had us “laughing and crying on the same page” (NPR) to illuminate what it means to move through life with a soul made of equal parts anxiety and optimism (and while she’s at it, to ponder the mysteries of backyard turtles and the challenges of spatchcocking a turkey).

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Bomb Shelter
Mary Laura Philpott

From the bestselling author of I Miss You When I Blink and “writer of singular spark and delight” (Elizabeth Gilbert, #1 New York Times bestselling author) comes a poignant and powerful new memoir-in-essays that tackles the big questions of life, death, and existential fear with humor and hope.

A lifelong worrier, Philpott always kept an eye out for danger, a habit that only intensified when she became a parent. But she looked on the bright side, too, believing that as long as she cared enough, she could keep her loved ones safe.

Then, in the dark of one quiet, pre-dawn morning, she woke abruptly to a terrible sound—and found her teenage son unconscious on the floor. In the aftermath of a crisis that darkened her signature sunny spirit, she wondered: If this happened, what else could happen? And how do any of us keep going when we can’t know for sure what’s coming next?

Leave it to the writer whose critically acclaimed debut had us “laughing and crying on the same page” (NPR) to illuminate what it means to move through life with a soul made of equal parts anxiety and optimism (and while she’s at it, to ponder the mysteries of backyard turtles and the challenges of spatchcocking a turkey).

Hailed by The Washington Post as “Nora Ephron, Erma Bombeck, Jean Kerr, and Laurie Colwin all rolled into one,” Philpott returns in her distinctive voice to explore our protective instincts, the ways we continue to grow up long after we’re grown, and the limits—both tragic and hilarious—of the human body and mind.

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MENTIONED IN:

10 Whimsical Stories That’ll Immerse You in a New Place

By Sara Roncero-Menendez | May 27, 2022

6 Wholesome Books as Sweet as Ice Cream

By Chris Gaudio | May 26, 2022

Sweepstakes: Enter for a Chance to Win 8 Summer Book Club Picks!

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 25, 2022

Rediscovered Reviews: 6 Timeless Classics We Can’t Get Over

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 25, 2022

8 Tender Books with Characters You’ll Want to Hug

By Karen Bellovich | May 24, 2022

10 Supernatural Reads to Make You Shiver This Summer

By Maddie Ehrenreich | May 23, 2022

Close

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