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In the forward to Twin Lights Tonic, by Paul St. Germain and Devlin Sherlock, Philip Elliot Hopkins, Co-executor of t…

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 In my family, cooking assignments for Thanksgiving were doled out weeks ago, though I make the same thing every year.  I’m not much of a cook, but I’ve perfected a handful of baked goods over the years, including apple pie and so, in addition to finding and signing the family up for the turkey trot in whichever town we happen to be celebrating in that year, an apple pie or two is my only responsibility.  My recipe comes from Pam Anderson’s The Perfect Recipe, which sadly is no longer in print. But if you’ve been assigned pie this year and you’re looking for a little inspiration, I’d recommend The Book on Pie by Erin Jeanne McDowell and Mark Weinberg.  If you’re looking to bring your pie to the next level, check out Pie Camp by Kate McDermott, which focuses on technique, in addition to having fabulous recipes. But why limit yourself to pie this Thanksgiving?  The great Dorie Greenspan’s latest, Baking with Dorie, is delightful.

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For most gift-giving occasions, not surprisingly, I usually wrap up a book.  But I can’t remember the last time someone gave me a book on my birthday or Christmas.  My brother, co-owner of the store with me, is the only one who still tries.  Would you give a book to a bookstore owner? Yeah, probably not.  I get it.  I wouldn’t want to try and give me a book either.  

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The other week Hannah Harlow was on a call with a sales rep, reviewing her company’s spring publishing list, when she pitched me a book that Harlow had initially passed on.  She referred to it as being “cli-fi.”  What?  Well, it refers to "climate change science fiction."  Go figure ...

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What is in a name? A lot I guess, but it's hard to figure out what.  If my name was Steve instead of Mark would my life have turned out differently?  Would I be a famous criminal?  A busker?  So many possibilities with Steve.  I would of course insist on being call Stephen and correct everyone who called me Steve.  

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About 10 years ago, The Book Shop's Hannah Harlow gave herself permission not to finish a book.  It’s a popular creed for people to decide that every book they start must be paged through to fruition.  She used to feel the same way.  Not anymore.  She's decided not finishing a book isn't the end of the world.

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Life restarts with a bang in September.  As summer comes to a close, we get back in a business frame of mind.  For those of us in retail, that means thinking about the holidays.  A lot of our buying has already been done.  In fact, Christmas cards began arriving last week.  The big question looming this year is the supply chain.  Where exactly will the works get gummed up? 

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This week, Mark Stolle from Manchester By The Book contemplates the concept of "best sellers."  Every week he peruses the lists in the book trade magazine Publishers Weekly.  And every week he despairs.

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One of our first new partners at the Book Shop was Libro.fm, a company that allows customers to purchase audiobooks through independent bookstores. I’ve come to learn just how much narration matters.

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Selling books is the best.  The greatest.  So much fun.  But you know what is even bester, greatester and funner?  Buying books.  My favorite feeling in the world (one of my favorites, have you noticed I love hyperbole?) is having a van load of books from a great house call and then bringing in the books box by box to price and shelve them.  

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Did you know today, August 20, is National Lemonade Day? The age of social media has meant a new random holiday to celebrate every day, mostly so we can use hashtags to generate likes and follows.  A less cynical view is that they exist to bring greater attention to things that often get overlooked. August is also Women in Translation Month, and that’s an internet holiday I can get behind.

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Do people go on blind dates anymore?In the age of the internet, when you meet first online, or when you can google any name before agreeing to dinner and a movie, does the blind date still exist?  I’ve never been on one — except with a book.

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Over the years I have amassed a collection of a few thousand of these page rememberers and small advertisements.  I love them.  Right now, I'm using a Brattle Book Shop bookmark to keep my place in the book I'm reading (The Drowned and the Saved, Primo Levi is one of the greatest humans ever). 

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It’s raining—again—as Hannah Harlow write this. And she has just finished reading The Lost Boys of Montauk by Amanda Fairbanks, which means she has water on the brain ... in more ways than one. 

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Like any good Massachusetts native, Hannah Harlow has spent a fair amount of time on Cape Cod.  Ever since moving to the North Shore eight years ago, though, she has visited less and less.  Why bother when we have better beaches in our own backyard?

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Anytime anybody told me to read something I instinctively loathed it.  I couldn't be told what to read, it was my prerogative to find the treasure on my own.  Not too bright, I must say.  But now I've gone back and re-read books from my high school curriculum (Hamilton-Wenham class of 1987.)  And I find that they were right, and I was wrong.

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Last weekend my husband and I took a quick getaway up the coast to Camden, Maine.  It’s an occupational hazard that I must stop into any bookstore that exists in any town we are visiting. On the one hand, I want to buy a book and show support for my fellow independent bookstores. On the other hand, I like to see how other stores arrange their inventory; I like to check out their stock and get reminded of deep backlist titles I’ve forgotten about but love. 

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Books come through the store in a relentless tide, which is great.  And they are all good books, since I am the gatekeeper against lesser works.   But since everything is so interesting, I get caught up in reading instead of working (part of the job I say.)  This often leads to great rewards.

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While the official start of summer may be June 20, for me Memorial Day weekend has always signaled the start of the season.  With the upcoming long weekend in mind, here are a few books I’ve already read but am excited for you all to get to read on the beach, by the pool, and late into the longer, warmer nights.