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If this year’s holiday list—down to the kids’ picture books—seems tilted to the political, cautionary, and subversive, we argue in our defense that not so long ago these same books would not have seemed nearly so filled with societal innuendo. Further, is it not true that much of the best writing, at any time, earns its worth by stirring us from our placidity? Our final defense is a defiant one from folks who have sold thousands of copies of Fahrenheit 451, 1984, and the like over the decades: in times like these, if we weren’t promoting books that lead us to consider the nature and content of our personal and collective souls, it would be an abrogation of our responsibility as booksellers.
It is with a great sigh of relief from up here on our high horse that we had many fine books to choose from this year that not only challenge and expand the way we look at the world but that also are addictive reading. As we note every year in our holiday newsletter, there are many more excellent books where these came from that we would be delighted to present in person. And, as a bookstore known for honoring the classics (we are one of a tiny number of American bookstores allowed to sell the Folio Society’s keepsake editions of the Great Works), we love reminding folk that Dickens and Dostoyevsky are as powerful and powerfully upsetting today as ever. We would also point out to those who seek a bit of escapist respite from these fraught times that there’s nothing like an Austen or a Trollope in a storm.
A hearty welcome this year to Nico Arthur Valdez Raschella, newly arrived to the bookstore family on Oct. 1. There is no better antidote to glum thoughts than one of baby Nico’s smiles.
Have a wonderful holiday. Despite everything, don’t forget the joys of family, friends, and good books.
& Stephanie Valdez