All posts by George Cooper

Hurricane Irma

Good news from the store after Hurricane Irma. The Studios served as a hurricane shelter for 20 or so hardy souls, including pets and children. They all fared well. The store was buttoned up tight  with new hurricane shutters. But they were installed in haste at the last minute and some attachment hardware failed. Luckily architect Haven Burkee was among the sheltered gang and managed temporary repairs so we lost only two books.

Hope to reopen later this week. (Written 10:27 on 9/18)

In the Salt — Hays Blinckmann

In The Salt When her mother’s life ends in a mysterious accident, Maggie Atwood must face the legacy of alcoholism and lies that she fled from years before. From the safety of her new life in New Orleans with the man of her dreams, she reluctantly makes her way back to the town where it all began and the past she’s tried to forget. It’s been over two years since Maggie stepped foot in Haven, a small seaside town on the Massachusetts shoreline, and even longer since she spoke to her mother. The charismatic and troubled Vivian, serial wife and drinker, was a tough woman to love, though everyone did, and now she was dead. Maggie knows that she cannot move forward without diving backwards into the chaos and characters that defined her youth. Upholding a generations long tradition of self-medicating, Maggie navigates her way through thinly suppressed rage and childhood fears in an attempt to figure out what finally really happened to her mother. Swaddled in a haze of Valium and sarcasm, she begins to suspect that her mother’s death was not an accident. Determined to understand the motivation behind a lifetime of drunken deception, Maggie delves into the long-buried secrets of her eccentric, wealthy family. What she finds is the heartbreaking truth behind her mother’s infectious pain, and with it finally, peace. In The Salt is a novel that seeps into your skin and your bones like a cold New England day. Vivid in detail, imagery and emotion, Maggie’s journey from anger to acceptance is one that anyone with an unconventional family can relate to. Is there any other kind?

A Narcotic Conspiracy — David and Nancy Beckwith

In this latest adventure Will and Betsy Black, those crime-solving financial whizzes, find themselves curious when Geoffrey Oliver Watson III is found dead on his boat near Key West. Then a 50-foot go-fast cigarette boat nearly rams a Coast Guard cutter, raising more questions. The answer is drug smuggling. Can the husband-and-wife sleuths thwart the local drug lords?

The Rooster Who Loved the Violin — Ben Harrison and Carrie Disrud

The Rooster Who Loved the Violin is a children’s story brought to life by the collaboration of two artists with a flair for the fantastic.

Ben Harrison sweeps readers through the lyrical tale of a violin player at an Italian restaurant and his struggles with an overly enthusiastic rooster, while Carrie Disrud’s vibrant paintings envelop viewers into the charming fable’s rich, island setting of Key West.
This book will appeal to those who are too young to read and kids who are just getting the hang of it. It also includes a longer supplemental text about the real rooster encounter that inspired Ben to write the story, as well as fun photographs of local chickens around Key West.

The Woman at the Light — Joanna Brady

Inspired by Key West’s colorful history and its female lighthouse keepers in the 19th century, and written by local author and journalist, Joanna Brady.

One afternoon in 1839, Emily Lowry’s husband vanishes from Wreckers’ Cay, an isolated island off the coast of Key West where he tends to the lighthouse. As days stretch into months, Emily has no choice but take charge of Wrecker’s Cay and her husband’s duties tending the light to support her three children and a fourth on the way. Unexpected help arrives when a runaway slave named Andrew washes up on their beach. At first, Emily is intensely wary of this strange, charming man, whose very presence there is highly illegal. But Andrew proves himself an enormous help and soon wins the hearts of the Lowry family. And far from the outside world and society’s rules his place in Emily’s life, as steadfast now as the light, will forever change their futures. When Emily’s family is ripped apart once again, she faces untold hardships that test her love and determination and show how the passionate love of a defiant, determined woman can overcome any obstacle.


Glass Houses — Louise Penny

Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy — Tim Harford

A lively history seen through the fifty inventions that shaped it most profoundly, by the bestselling author of The Undercover Economist and Messy.

Who thought up paper money? What was the secret element that made the Gutenberg printing press possible? And what is the connection between The Da Vinci Code and the collapse of Lehman Brothers?
Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy paints an epic picture of change in an intimate way by telling the stories of the tools, people, and ideas that had far-reaching consequences for all of us. From the plough to artificial intelligence, from Gillette’s disposable razor to IKEA’s Billy bookcase, bestselling author and Financial Times columnist Tim Harford recounts each invention’s own curious, surprising, and memorable story.
Invention by invention, Harford reflects on how we got here and where we might go next. He lays bare often unexpected connections: how the bar code undermined family corner stores, and why the gramophone widened inequality. In the process, he introduces characters who developed some of these inventions, profited from them, and were ruined by them, as he traces the principles that helped explain their transformative effects. The result is a wise and witty book of history, economics, and biography.

I’ll Have What She’s Having — Erin Carlson

A backstage look at the making of Nora Ephron’s revered trilogy–When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle–which brought romantic comedies back to the fore, and an intimate portrait of the beloved writer/director who inspired a generation of Hollywood women, from Mindy Kaling to Lena Dunham. In I’ll Have What She’s Having entertainment journalist Erin Carlson tells the story of the real Nora Ephron and how she reinvented the romcom through her trio of instant classics. With a cast of famous faces including Rob Reiner, Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, and Billy Crystal, Carlson takes readers on a rollicking, revelatory trip to Ephron’s New York City, where reality took a backseat to romance and Ephron–who always knew what she wanted and how she wanted it–ruled the set with an attention to detail that made her actors feel safe but sometimes exasperated crew members. Along the way, Carlson examines how Ephron explored in the cinema answers to the questions that plagued her own romantic life and how she regained faith in love after one broken engagement and two failed marriages. Carlson also explores countless other questions Ephron’s fans have wondered about: What sparked Reiner to snap out of his bachelor blues during the making of When Harry Met Sally? Why was Ryan, a gifted comedian trapped in the body of a fairytale princess, not the first choice for the role? After she and Hanks each separatel balked at playing Mail’s Kathleen Kelly and Sleepless‘ Sam Baldwin, what changed their minds? And perhaps most importantly: What was Dave Chappelle doing … in a turtleneck? An intimate portrait of a one of America’s most iconic filmmakers and a look behind the scenes of her crowning achievements, I’ll Have What She’s Having is a vivid account of the days and nights when Ephron, along with assorted cynical collaborators, learned to show her heart on the screen.

My Absolute Darling – Gabriele Tallent

“The word ‘masterpiece’ has been cheapened by too many blurbs, but My Absolute Darling absolutely is one.” –Stephen King

A brilliant and immersive, all-consuming read about one fourteen-year-old girl’s heart-stopping fight for her own soul.

Turtle Alveston is a survivor. At fourteen, she roams the woods along the northern California coast. The creeks, tide pools, and rocky islands are her haunts and her hiding grounds, and she is known to wander for miles. But while her physical world is expansive, her personal one is small and treacherous: Turtle has grown up isolated since the death of her mother, in the thrall of her tortured and charismatic father, Martin. Her social existence is confined to the middle school (where she fends off the interest of anyone, student or teacher, who might penetrate her shell) and to her life with her father.

Then Turtle meets Jacob, a high-school boy who tells jokes, lives in a big clean house, and looks at Turtle as if she is the sunrise. And for the first time, the larger world begins to come into focus: her life with Martin is neither safe nor sustainable. Motivated by her first experience with real friendship and a teenage crush, Turtle starts to imagine escape, using the very survival skills her father devoted himself to teaching her. The reader tracks Turtle’s escalating acts of physical and emotional courage, and watches, heart in throat, as she struggles to become her own hero–and in the process, becomes ours as well.

Shot through with striking language in a fierce natural setting, My Absolute Darling is an urgently told, profoundly moving read that marks the debut of an extraordinary new writer.