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Our Annual Holiday Books Show

It's our annual Holiday Books Show!   Several major biographies are out, including Joseph Kennedy and Thomas Jefferson.  Also fiction fans are raving over new releases from Louise Erdrich and Gillian Flynn.  We’ll find out what the big reads might be under you Christmas Tree! 


You can also visit The Book Jamblog for more recommendations from two female former booksellers!

Credit Other Press, LLC
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats: A Novel by Jan-Philipp Sendker

Dan's Picks

Water Street Bookstore's "Book of the Year":

  • The Art of Hearing Heartbeats: A Novel by Jan-Philipp Sendker

Best of Fiction:

  • Alif the Unseen: A Novel by G. Willow Wilson
  • Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm: A New English Translation by Philip Pullman
  • Flight Behavior: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver
  • In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel by Vaddey Ratner
  • Libriomancer: A Novel by Jim C. Hines
  • The Light Between Oceans: A Novel by M. L. Stedman
  • Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary  Society: A Novel by Amy Hill Hearth
  • Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel by Robin Sloan
  • The News from Spain: 7 Variations On A Love Story by Joan Wickersham
  • The Round House: A novel by Louise Erdrich
  • The Snow Child: A Novel by Eowyn Ivey
  • Sweet Tooth:  A Novel by Ian McEwan
  • The Twelve Tribes of Hattie: A Novel by Ayana Mathis
  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel by Rachel Joyce
  • Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel by Maria Semple

Best of Nonfiction:

  • 1775: A Good Year for Revolution by Kevin Phillips
  • An American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee's, Farm Fields and the Diner Table by Tracie McMillan
  • Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown
  • God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage by Gene Robinson, IX Bishop of New Hampshire
  • Gods Like Us: On Movie Stardom and Modern Fame by Ty Burr
  • The Longest Race: A Lifelong Runner, An Iconic Ultramarathon, and the Case for Human Endurance  by Ed Ayres
  • The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant In War and Peace by H. W. Brands
  • The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot by Robert MacFarlane
  • Seward: Lincoln's Indispensable Man by Walter Stahr
  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Best Books For Gift Giving:

  • My Ideal Bookshelf Art by Jane Mount, Edited by Thessaly La Force
  • Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on love and life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
  • Weatherbeaten: Winslow Homer and Maine Edited by Thomas A. Denenberg

Best New Young Adult Book:

  • Crewel: A Novel  by Gennifer Albin

Best Middle Grade Books:

  • The Last Dragonslayer: A Novel by Jaspe Fforde
  • Wonder: A Novel by R. J. Palacio

Best Children's Picture Books:

  • If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen
  • Black Dog by Levi Pinfold
  • Nightsong by Ari Berk and Loren Long
Credit Nan A. Talese/Doubleday
Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan

Michael's Picks


  • Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
  • The Round House by Louise Erdrich
  • A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers
  • The Sandcastle  Girls by Chris Bohjalian
  • Live by Night by Dennis Lehane
  • Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
  • The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
  • Dear Life by Alice Munro
  • Dog Stars by Peter Heller
  • This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz


  • New memoirs by Neil Young & Pete Townsend and biographies of Mick Jagger & Bruce Springsteen
  • How Music Works by David Byrne
  • Reinventing Bach by Paul Elie

Fine Arts:

  • Portraits by Lucian Freud (Yale University Press)
  • Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists by Kay Larson
  • Cezanne: A Life by Alex Danchev
  • What Are You Looking At? The Surprising, Shocking, and Sometimes Strange Story of 150 Years of Modern Art by Will Gompertz


  • Driving Mr. Yogi by Harvey Araton

Graphic Novels:

  • Odyssey by Seymour Chwast
  • Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel

Local Interest:

  • Christmas at Eagle Pond by Donald Hall
  • Mountain Voices: Stories of Life and Adventure in the White Mountains and Beyond by Doug Mayer & Rebecca Orestes
  • Up: A Mother and Daughter's Peakbagging Adventure by Patricia Ellis Herr
  • Books on the civil war by Mark Travis and Mike Pride
  • Iciest, Diciest, Scariest Sled Ride Ever! by Rebecca Rule (children's picture book)


  • The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds by Julie Zickefoose

Essays, Belles Lettres, Philosophy, Lit Crit:

  • The Fun Stuff by James Wood
  • The Books They Gave Me: True Stories of Life, Love, and Lit by Jen Adams
  • Antigonick, by Anne Carson
  • Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story by Jim Holt


  • Elsewhere by Richard Russo


  • New collected works editions by Louise Gluck, Adrienne Rich, Gary Snyder, Octavio Paz

General Non-Fiction:

  • Patriarch: The Remarkable Life & Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy
  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo
  • The Last Lion: Churchill, Defender of the Realm, 1940-1945
  • The Caning: The Assault that Drove America to Civil War by Stephen Puleo


  • Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller
  • Smitten Kitchen by Deb Perelman
  • Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi

Children’s Books:

Picture Books

  • Iciest, Diciest, Scariest Sled Ride Ever! by Becky Rule
  • The Birds of Bethlehem by Tomie de Paola
  • Jangles: A Big Fish Story by David Shannon
  • This Moose Belongs To Me by Oliver Jeffers

Middle grades

  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio (realistic fiction)
  • High-Skies Adventures of Blue Jay the Pirate by Scott Nash

Young Adult

  • Don’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon (fast paced cyber thriller)                 
  • The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde (zany fantasy)                                   
  • Endangered by Eliot Schrefer (survivor adventure set in Congo)

Mentioned By Listeners/On-Air:

  • The Richard Burton Diaries by Chris Williams, Ed.
  • Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • A World In One Cubic Foot: Portraits of Biodiversity by David Liittschwager
  • Blankets by Craig Thompson
  • Building Stories by Chris Ware
  • Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis
  • A Million Little Bricks: The Unofficial Illustrated History of the LEGO Phenomenon by Sarah Herman
  • Live By Night by Dennis Lehane
  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
  • Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead by Brene Brown
  • Energy for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines by Richard A. Muller
  • A History of Earth in 100 Groundbreaking Discoveries by Douglas Palmer
  • Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story by Jim Holt
Laura is well known in New Hampshire for her in-depth coverage of important issues and is widely regarded for her interviews with presidential hopefuls. Laura is a graduate of Keene High School in New Hampshire. Prior to hosting The Exchange, Laura worked in public radio in Washington, D.C. as a local reporter and announcer for WAMU and as a newscaster for NPR. Before her radio career, she was a researcher for USA Today's "Money" section, and a research assistant at the Institute for International Economics. Laura occasionally guest hosts national programs such as The Diane Rehm Show and Here and Now. In 2007 Laura was named New Hampshire Broadcaster of the Year by the New Hampshire Association of Broadcasters.
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