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Readers return to bookstores for holiday gifts

Facing economic gloom and competition from e-readers, many brick-and-mortar booksellers entered this holiday season with the humblest of expectations. But a recent New York Times article about books as holiday gifts has some surprisingly good news.

Barnes & Noble, the nation’s largest bookstore chain, said that comparable store sales this Thanksgiving weekend increased 10.9 percent over that period last year. And the American Booksellers Association, a trade group for independents, said that members saw a sales jump of 16 percent in the week including Thanksgiving, compared to the same period a year ago.

Booksellers say that a major reason for the strong sales has been a rich selection of nonfiction, especially biographies, histories and quirky pop-economics titles.

Popular biographies include “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson,”“Catherine the Great” by historian Robert K. Massie, “Spencer Tracy” by James Curtis, and memoirs from Diane Keaton, Regis Philbin and Gabrielle Giffords. Books by media pundits like Chris Matthews, Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck also have been selling well.

In fiction, popular holiday gifts have included “The Dovekeepers” by Alice Hoffman, “The Marriage Plot” by Jeffrey Eugenides, “1Q84” by Haruki Murakami, and “The Angel Esmeralda,” a story collection by Don DeLillo. Bestselling authors like Michael Connelly, Stephen King, Janet Evanovich, Danielle Steel and John Grisham all released novels in time for Christmas.

By the way, if you want to read any of these books without buying them, they all are available at your Sisson Library in hard cover, large print, CD, e-books or in some cases all these formats. Enjoy!


We have five new Advantage e-books ordered exclusively for our Sisson Library patrons — “Catherine the Great” by Robert K. Massie, “77 Shadow Street” by Dean Koontz, “The Anatomist’s Apprentice” by Tessa Harris, “The Prague Cemetery” by Umberto Eco and Richard Dixon, and “The Wedding Quilt” by Jennifer Chiaverini. Library director Jackie Welch also is tracking waiting lists for our patrons for all Advantage titles. If there are too many holds, she will buy extra copies for us.

If you are not aware of all the free e-book opportunities available for our patrons through your library, please read the Oct. 27 Library News column, which you can find on our website by clicking on the News & Events box in the left column of the home page.

Books on CD

“The Scottish Prisoner” by Diana Gabaldon is an historical novel set in London in the 1760s. “Devil’s Gate” by Clive Cussler is the latest in the Kurt Austin adventure series. “Micro” by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston is a thriller pitting nature against technology in vintage Crichton fashion. “The Wedding Quilt” by Jennifer Chiaverini is the latest in the Elm Creek Quilts series. “The Prague Cemetery” by Umberto Eco is an historical pseudo-recreation of life in 19th century Europe. “11/22/63” by Stephen King is a time travel novel that looks at what would have happened if JFK were not assassinated.

Large print mysteries

“Three-day Town” by Margaret Maron is the latest in the Deborah Knott mystery series. “The Real Macaw” by Donna Andrews is the latest in the Meg Langslow mystery series.

“How to Moon a Cat” by Rebecca M. Hale is the latest in the Cats and Curious mystery series. “Scotched” by Kaitlyn Dunnett is the latest in the Liss MacCrimmon Scottish mystery series. “The Vault” by Ruth Rendell is the latest in the Inspector Wexford mystery series.

Other large print

“Cain” is the final novel by Nobel Prize-winning author Jose Saramago. “Beyond Fort Mims” by Lauren Paine is a western featuring Davy Crockett. “The Runaways” by Max Brand is a western about a runaway boy. “The Tender Texan” is a western romance by Jodi Thomas. “The Dovekeepers” by Alice Hoffman is about four bold and resourceful who came to Masada in 70 CE by different paths. “An O’Brien Family Christmas” by Sherryl Woods is the latest in the Chesapeake Shores romance series. “Love in the Afternoon” by Lisa Kleypas is an historical romance in The Hathaways series. “Heartbreak Creek” by Kaki Warner is the latest in the Runaway Bride romance series.

Other new novels

“Micro” by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston is a thriller pitting nature against technology in vintage Crichton fashion.

“Explosive Eighteen” by Janet Evanovich is the latest in the Stephanie Plum mystery series. “Lawyer Trap” by R. J. Jagger features a newly licensed attorney in Denver’s largest law firm.

Thanks to our donors

For their generous donations, we are grateful to Kingsbury and Charity Jane Pitcher, Charlene Baumgardner, and Dan and Gail Shepherd, the latter in memory of Peter Welch. For books and materials this week, we thank Pat Kochheiser.

Quotable quote

“The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it.” — Woodrow Wilson, 1856-1924, 28th President of the United States.


For more information on library books, services and programs — and to reserve books from the comfort of your home — please visit our website at

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