Around the Bookstore: Literary flowers blooming


That old saying “April showers bring May flowers” is true for me. Sitting at the register, looking out at Main Street in April means more than just showers. Though, goodness, there seem to be a lot of them. April means the stirring of Edgartown life for “the season.”

Restaurants are opening up or extending their hours; paper is coming off windows. Soon painters will be out, freshening the look for another year of what will, hopefully, be swarms of visitors.

Customers I haven’t seen since October are dropping by as they are getting their summer homes ready. It doesn’t seem too silly to be thinking about beachwear.

Trucks pull up, their contents moved into the empty storefronts. Shops stock up for the coming summer. New clothes, new T shirts, jewelry, house goods, sunglasses, picnic goods, swim gear, sweatshirts — all of it restocked.

Same goes for books. The summer’s book orders are ready to go out. We’re doing our best to ensure good reading for the summer, from the serious books, such as “Knife” by Salman Rushdie, about the near-fatal attack on him, to a great beach read by Emily Henry, “Funny Story.”

Any book by Amor Towles is a cause for celebration everywhere, especially here on the Vineyard. His newest, “Table for Two,” is just out. Six short stories set in New York and one novella follow one of his characters from “Rules of Civility” after the end of that book.

Erik Larsen, arguably one of the best living authors of nonfiction, is out with a new book this spring. “The Demon of Unrest” is about the five months leading up to the shelling of Fort Sumter at the beginning of the Civil War. It is on my list of summer must-reads.

Colm Toibin, author of “The Magician,” is back with “Long Island.” A sequel to his “Brooklyn,” “Long Island” centers on an Irish-born woman who lives with her husband Tony, their two teenage children, and Tony’s family. When she returns to Ireland to find out if her husband has had an affair resulting in a child, she comes face to face with the life she’s led and one she might have had.

“Crazy Rich Asians” author Kevin Kwan is back with “Lies and Weddings.” Will he, an English earl and a product of a love match between his father and a model from Hong Kong, follow his heart, or the needs of the family’s fortune? Summer will also bring another Ali Hazelwood, “Not in Love,” as always with a heroine smart and beautiful and very human.

And for mystery lovers, one of “May’s flowers” will be Ruth Ware’s offering, “One Perfect Couple,” about a reality show, its contestants, an isolated island, suddenly cut off … blood will flow.

Peter Swanson is out with a new mystery, “A Talent for Murder.” He’s a writer who has never, at least in our bookstore, gotten quite the love I think he should. If you like mysteries, try him — he’s written enough to keep you busy all summer, if you like the taste.

Along with showers, we have National Poetry Month this April; upstairs we have a number of Island poets featured in our poetry section. We’re an Island of poets. The Vineyard stimulates the senses and drives authors to capture the Island’s spirit and their own in lines of verse, including the Island’s own, late, great Arnie Reisman.

Speculative fiction, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is “a genre of fiction that encompasses works in which the setting is other than the real world, involving supernatural, futuristic, or other imagined elements.” Coming out in paperback soon is the marvelous “Ministry of Time,” by Kaliane Bradley, a mash-up of time travel, romance, and spy thriller tossed together with the potential of love to change everything. If this is your genre, come and get it.

And, don’t forget! We have “Dune” by Frank Herbert; the two movies currently released cover the first book, a masterpiece of “speculative fiction”! Want to get ahead of the curve? Think about reading the next one, “Dune Messiah.” Hollywood rumor has it they’re working on another film based on this book.

Seeking to soothe the soul? You might try Savannah Guthrie’s “Mostly What God Does.” And, while not a new book, “Atomic Habits” still sits firmly on the bestseller list, now at 228 weeks, and makes the case that small things add up to big changes.

Spring is a good time for good change, and a bookstore is a good place to look for thoughts to create those changes.

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



  1. I agree about Peter Swanson.🙂 He’s one of the best at tense mysteries, and one of the few I look forward to every year. Lots of nods in his writing to vintage titles and authors within the genre. Plus, the majority of his stories are set in a familiar New England.

    Table for Two by Amor Towles is worth reading for The DiDomenico Fragment alone, one of my favorite short stories. Until this release, I could only find it on Audible, and while that version is narrated to perfection by John Lithgow, I’ve wanted a copy in print.

    Highly recommend it to anyone who likes art history woven through their fiction. Excited to finish the rest of the book.

Comments are closed.