Conversations About Books2021-08-18T15:11:39-05:00

Conversations About Books

You Are Extraordinary

“I don’t believe there’s such a thing as ordinary life. I think all life is extraordinary.” –Hilma Wolitzer With November here and the busyness of the upcoming holiday season nearly upon us, it can become more difficult to concentrate on reading. When we still crave that daily nourishment, short stories can be a great answer. I’ve been [...]

Something For Everybody

“One must wait until evening to see how splendid the day has been.” –Sophocles, Antigone Have you found yourself under that autumnal influence? The gorgeous blue skies. The trees' command of color. The birds following their own mysterious cues south in eye-catching formations as we turn toward the "evening" of the year and the inevitable turn inward [...]

What’s So Special About Forty-Seven?

We visit bookshops not so often to buy any one special book, but rather to rediscover, in the happier and more expressive words of others, our own encumbered soul. –Christopher Morley (1890-1957) "On Visiting Bookshops" 44 Essays This little quotation has been hanging behind the front counter at Town House for the many years we have [...]

Falling In Love With Fall Books

New Non-Fiction From A Town House Favorite As the movers took the last boxes, Mom joined us at the window, leaning against it one last time. ‘The city would never have allowed this to happen in a white neighborhood,’ she said, her voice echoing around the living room. –from Three Girls From Bronzeville by Dawn Turner [...]

Literature’s Secret Superpower

...And then I saw it, she had a picture of her daughter clutched to her chest. She walked past me. I couldn't move. And this was like an earthquake inside of me: this woman had lost her child. It maybe sounds simple, but it was not. I had been in a sort of coffin. This lifted [...]

What’s New With Us

The big news is that we still get to be here! So many indie bookstores were lost during the pandemic. We have you to thank for seeing us through this unprecedented year. So, what’s new is getting to be the same old store we have been since Marilou Kelly first opened the doors way back in [...]

Literary Fireworks

Some books set off fireworks of their own. As much as I pay attention to the many lists of books coming across my desk, it’s surprising how often books come to me through a conversation with a friend or through the wisp of a mention in another book I’m reading. Nothing beats an ebullient recommendation of [...]

Father’s Day & Summer Reading

“I shivered and waited, little Marie. Sole survivor, now, of that street scene. Waited for the first sighting of my father, coming up from the subway in his hat and coat, most beloved among all those ghosts.” This poignant passage from the novel titled Someone by Alice McDermott, is a sweet echo of that special anticipation of [...]

Of Mothers & Moons

And there they were. All these mothers. I have more mothers than any eight girls off the street. They are the moons shining over me. —Sue Monk Kidd This passage from The Secret Life of Bees also brought to mind the protagonist in Mary Ann Taylor-Hall’s novel Come and Go, Molly Snow who suffers an unimaginable [...]

Independent Bookstore Day

An entrancing haven of the innocent accumulation of years. The whole place glowed with a universal patina. I wish I could say that this beautiful quote by Patrick Leigh Fermor was written about Town House Books rather than the Red Ox Inn in Heidelberg, Germany, but when I read that passage from A Time of [...]

April, The Cruelest Month?

Maybe, if you hate poetry or spring or flowers. We’d be remiss if this month, in addition to honoring poetry, we didn’t honor World Autism Month. We created a new list, Autism Library, to help us all celebrate these incredible and valuable members of our community. The books you’ll find here have something for siblings, parents, educators, [...]

Musings For Poetry Month

How Poetry Happens A poem often is nothing but a stone that makes you pick it up along the shore. Beautiful, at least to you. Something you keep on a shelf, nightstand or sill. While not useful in itself, strangely it makes other things more so. Things that must work, work better. Whatever no longer does, you [...]

Chorus Of Women

We take time in March to honor the many women who have contributed their art, ideas, courage, scientific breakthroughs, political prowess and business acumen. We include among them our own bookstore founder Marilou Kelly (1933-2014) (Marilou in the center between Manager Heidi Schmidt and current owner David Hunt) who had the vision in 1974 to forge a community [...]

Love Not War

Make Love Not War Perhaps there is more wisdom in this old adage than meets the eye. I recently finished a novel, by Irish author Colum McCann entitled Apeirogon, that left my head swirling with ideas in a way that only a truly thoughtful and innovative book can. Told in one thousand and one small chapters (an [...]

Valentine Inspiration

Be My Valentine! Valentine’s Day seems perfectly placed in our year. Right smack in the middle of winter. Just when we need our inner fires relit. A friend related to me that part of the tradition of this holiday is to send an anonymous gift to someone you admire, just as in the delightful picture book Somebody [...]

Keep Laughing

During these winter months, especially in the midst of a pandemic and so much social unrest, I have been touched by the importance of laughter in our lives, the place it has in keeping our spirits buoyant and our nerves from fraying. As usual, I stumble across authors and poets who have expressed this so well, and [...]

Yuletide Wishes

Dear Friends, As we near the end of a challenging year I wanted to take a minute from the busyness (and business) of the season to share a favorite holiday passage. This comes from William Horwood's book for children of all ages called The Willows and Beyond. I was skeptical when in 1993 Horwood embarked on a [...]

Reflections On Time

Nothin' But Time... During the recent period of electoral limbo, and out-of-season Midwestern weather (not to mention an ongoing pandemic), I found myself reflecting upon the nature of Time. I turned to a book that I have read and reread for over twenty-five years called Einstein's Dreams. This novel is a small, poetic rumination by physicist Alan [...]

Novels On Walking

Taking a walk. Such a simple yet profound way to experience the world while at the same time allowing our minds to ruminate within a unique kind of solitude. I am currently rereading Teju Cole's brilliant novel Open City and marveling again at all he is able to convey as his protagonist takes long walks through New [...]

Short Fiction

Nicole Krauss has a book of short stories coming out in a few weeks called To Be a Man, and as I've been reading this new collection I am reminded that what brought me to this author back in 2002 was the publication of her debut novel, Man Walks Into a Room. The premise of her first [...]

Nature Writing & The Lost Art Of Letters

If you’re reading Helen MacDonald’s new book Vesper Flights, you’ve probably already read her earlier book H Is For Hawk. Here are some similar threads you may want to follow: Goshawk, by T. H. White The Peregrine, J. A. Baker Eye of the Albatross: Visions of Hope and Survival, by Carl Safina The Warbler Road, by [...]

Fiction Not To Miss

Anne Michaels, Lily King & More Great Literary Fiction The Winter Vault by Anne Michaels is one of my favorite books of all time. She is best known for her 1998 novel Fugitive Pieces which is indeed gorgeous and was made into a film in 2007. Her new book of poetry, just published September 2020, is [...]

Evolution Of An Online Bookstore

Many businesses have been forced by the pandemic to rethink their business model and this includes many already embattled local bookstores.  As if the bigbox bookstores like Barnes & Noble and the online behemoth Amazon weren’t bad enough for many traditional independent bookstores, along came Covid 19.  With Governor Pritzker’s “Shelter at Home” order, a number [...]

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