Around the Bookstore

Give the gift of books written by authors connected to the Island — there are lots to choose from!


Here it is, right in front of us, the Great American Feast, Thanksgiving, the beacon that next comes the gift-giving holidays, a sharing of things we hope others will love as much as we love giving them.

There is nothing I love giving more than books, sharing ones I’ve discovered over the past year.  And I love sharing books about or connected with this Island with friends and family, allowing them a closer look into this place where I knit myself into the future.

Top of the list is Bill Eville’s “Washed Ashore,” telling of his full-time arrival on the Island, his weaving himself into the fabric of this community as a year-round resident, becoming part of a place he had experienced but not lived in. It’s a rich, wonderful read of passages in his life.

Sherry Sidoti’s “A Smoke and a Song,” leans into self-discovery, the messages our bodies tell us as we deal with impending grief, loss, and living through life’s changes, digging into our own place and space to find answers.

Charlayne Hunter Gault’s “My People: Five Decades of Writing About Black Lives,” is a chronicle of her reporting on the lives of Blacks from the American South to South Africa and points in between, a collection from an extraordinary individual telling exceptional stories.

Vineyard Haven’s Rose Styron recalls her rich life in “Beyond This Harbor.” And let’s not forget Susan Branch’s newest, “Distilled Genius,” a gathering of wisdom saved over the years, rendered in her inimitable style.

Thinking of telling your own story? Reach for Nancy Aronie’s “Memoir as Medicine,” a guide to telling your own story — and everyone has a story to tell.

Destined to be big is “Vineyard Folk,” the coffee table book by Tamara Weiss and Amanda Benchley, profiling some creative folks who live here. Bold and beautiful, copies have been leaving the store with holiday gift intentions.

For anyone interested in Island history, nothing better than a Tom Dresser book. He has burrowed into the crevices of our history, uncovering stories of various times. His most recent is “Martha’s Vineyard in the Roaring Twenties: Radicals and Rascals,” though Tom has more than 20 books so you can choose your time or theme and find something.

Mary Beth Keane’s “The Half Moon,” released this last year, was written largely here on the Island, as was Lynda Cohen Loigman’s “The Matchmaker’s Gift.” The first deals with the stresses of marriage and expectations, the second with one’s own expectations of self against a calling maybe too strong to ignore.

Island resident Julia Spiro has two books with Island settings, “Someone Else’s Secret” and “Full,” both stories of young women coming to terms with their past.

For those who have not read it, swoop in, pick up a copy of Geraldine Brooks’ “Horse.”  The West Tisbury based Pulitzer Prizewinning author, has crafted an amazing book, recounting race relations in pre-Civil War America, as well as those in our own time.

The bottom two shelves of our Vineyard section are dotted with Island-related children’s books, including Rebecca Loescher’s “The Mermaid of Martha’s Vineyard,” Amelie Loyot’s “Vanessa, the Sea Serpent of Martha’s Vineyard,” and Cathryn Newton’s “Home Sweet Island.”

If you have a middle reader on your list, nothing better than our own NY Times bestselling author, Gregory Mone, whose “Sea of Gold,” is the story of a 12-year-old who did not intend to become a pirate. Or give Jennifer Blecher’s delightful “Camp Famous,” where an ordinary girl works to fit in with kids her own age, though all are famous.

While it feels faraway, summer will come and with it another barbecue season so what better than one of Chappy’s own Steve Raichlen’s books? His “The Barbecue! Bible” is, well, the barbecue bible. His books carry us back to summer even as winter swells around us.

Speaking of Chappy, “Noah’s Rejects” by Rob Kagan recounts the joys and travails of living in paradise.

Someone on your list likes a mystery? Crispin Haskins’ newest, “Exhibit Murder,” is on our shelves. Not to mention classic Philip Craig. Or how about Cynthia Riggs’ Victoria Trumbull, the nonagenarian murder-solving poet? She’s here, too.

Romance? Holly Eger’s “Split Rock” is a perennial bestseller, as is T. Elizabeth Bell’s “Goats in a Time of Love.”

Need a short read? Try “Tower House Tales” by Lindesay Aquino, bite-sized Island tales.

Have a yen for a bit of poetry to give? “Sleeping as Fast as I Can” is Rich Michelson’s most recent, some lines dashed off, I’m sure, in his Campground cottage. Or how about Edgartown Poet Laureate, Steve Ewing, two of whose books grace our shelves?

At last count, we have more than 200 titles by Vineyard or Vineyard-related authors. Among them is something for anyone on your holiday gifting list.

Mathew Tombers is manager of Edgartown Books and an advocate for all things literary.