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John's picks

 John, a bookseller at Gibson's Bookstore My academic background is science & history & I've been a bookseller for over 20 years, first at the Harvard Coop, then at Gibson's.


ISBN-13: 9781594204302
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press HC, The, 2/2014

John's April 2014 pick

Five Came Back:  A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War by Mark Harris

Five Came Back by Mark Harris is the story of five leading Hollywood directors – John Ford, Frank Capra, William Wyler, George Stevens & John Huston – who volunteered to serve in World War II, giving up lavish lifestyles to do so. They tried to use their filmmaking talents to show & explain the war to the American people. Harris tells a fascinating story that is a wonderful mixture of Hollywood gossip, politics, military history, & the individual stories of the five. All were changed by their experiences witnessing combat & being separated from loved ones, and the movies they made postwar would reflect that. Most moving is the story of George Stevens, who filmed the liberation of Dachau & later struggled with what we would now call PTSD.

ISBN-13: 9780307597052
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf, 9/2013

John's December 2013 pick

Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War by Max Hastings

With the impending centennial of the start of the First World War, there have already been many books on the subject of the war’s beginnings, with more to come. Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War is a fine one to start with. Max Hastings mostly sticks to military side of the disaster that befell Europe in 1914, and does his usual excellent job of telling the story. Like Rick Atkinson (Liberation Trilogy) he covers both the generals and the front line soldiers and civilians, using many quotes from primary sources to convey the experience of battle. He’s unsparing in his criticism of the leaders on both sides and debunks many myths.

ISBN-13: 9780767919401
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday, 10/2013

John's October 2013 pick

With a cast of characters still famous – Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth – to the now obscure like Shipwreck Kelly and Philo T. Farnsworth, Bill Bryson does a wonderful job of portraying America in the summer of 1927. Here we have the beginnings of things we now take for granted, like transatlantic flight, talking movies, national radio broadcasts-even the culture of celebrity we live with today. Bryson tells it all in his usual wry manner, and creates a fascinating narrative. This is popular history at its best – one to try even if you don’t normally like history.


ISBN-13: 9780385532921
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday, 8/2013

John's September 2013 pick

Scott Anderson tells the story of the First World War in the Middle East through the stories of four men – T.E. Lawrence (British), Curt Prufer (German), William Yale (American) & Aaron Aaronsohn (Palestinian Jew). Lawrence dominates the tale, of course, but all the men affect the events before & during the war that lead to the Arab Revolt and helped create the Middle East as we know it today. Anderson is a fine writer and gives us an exciting narrative. Essential reading for anyone interested in the Middle East or who wants to understand the real Lawrence as opposed to the legend.

ISBN-13: 9781594161643
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Westholme Publishing, 10/2012
John's November 2012 pick
Many regard politics today as being uniquely uncivil. This book is a reminder that things could be much worse.
On May 22, 1856, Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts was brutally beaten by pro-slavery Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina on the floor of the US Senate. Stephen Puleo (author of Dark Tide: the Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919) does a fine job of narrating this incident (a key turning point on the path to Civil War) and its aftermath.

ISBN-13: 9780307273598
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Knopf, 11/2011

April 2012

Do we need another history of World War II? The answer is yes, when it's as well written and engaging as this one. He gives a solid overview of battles, strategy, campaigns, etc. but the great strength of the book is the amount of attention Hastings gives to ordinary people's experience of the war.

ISBN-13: 9780670022656
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Viking Adult, 4/2011

John's December 2011 pick

A book to appeal to railroad buffs, graphic design & map geeks (like me) or anyone for whom dreaming of a trip is almost as pleasurable as the journey itself.

ISBN-13: 9780670022700
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking Adult, 10/2011

November 2011

The author, Director of the British Museum, takes objects from throughout history to illuminate the evolution of human culture. From the sublime (Seated Buddha from Gandhara) to the mundane (the credit card), MacGregor uses these things to tell the story of mankind in a dramatically original way.

The Art Museum (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780714856520
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Phaidon Press, 9/2011

November 2011

With over 2500 of the world's greatest works of art, this oversized (1000 pages, 19 x 14 inches) volume may be the most comprehensive history of art ever published. If the price gives you pause ($160 at Gibson's) consider what the cost would be to see all these masterpieces in person!

New books, new trailers

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014, 7 PM, join us for a very special book club as New York Times best-selling author Chris Bohjalian leads the Gibson's Book Club discussion of his novel The Sandcastle Girls! Fear not, you need not have read this novel to join in the discussion, or enjoy Chris's presentation on his research in to the Armenian Genocide. Chris will be happy to take questions on all of his novels! All are welcome, newcomers are encouraged.

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Visiting superstars: Blanco, Korn, Greenlaw, Bohjalian, Chiasson. April 15th, 2014

Richard Blanco

Meet Richard Blanco!
The marvelous poet who was chosen to read at President Obama's 2012 inauguration will be in Concord on Wed., April 16, at 7 PM, at the Concord Public Library. We'll be there selling his books, including his memoir, For All of Us, One Today, and his many volumes of poetry, like
Boston Strong: The Poem to Benefit the One Fund Boston.

Why We Make Things
Meet Peter Korn!
One of the most interesting books of this or any season, Why We Make Things is both a memoir and a meditation on the nature of creativity.  The book itself was sumptuously produced by one of the last true craftsmen in publishing, David Godine. Join us at the League of NH Craftsmen on Thursday, April 17, at 5:30 PM, to hear the author and to ask him questions--and maybe to pick up an early Father's Day present.
Chris Bohjalian
A rare local appearance by Chris Bohjalian!
Wed., May 7, at 7 PM
When Chris learned that our in-store book group had chosen his novel The Sandcastle Girls for May, he required little convincing to agree to come talk about it. Armenian history is very important to him. You don't have to have read the novel to attend. Come hear Chris talk about this important topic, and about his many other novels as well. Open to all fans of Chris Bohjalian and students of history!
Chris Bohjalian's excellent new novel, Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands, will be on our shelves on July 8. Reserve your copy today!
Dan Chiasson
Mark Your Calendars!
One of  America's most interesting poets and essayists, Dan Chiasson, joins us at the bookstore on Thurs., April 24, at 7 PM, to read and sign his new collection of verse, Bicentennial. Dan's work appears often in The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books.

Linda Greenlaw
Mark Your Calendars!
Linda Greenlaw, the swordfish boat captain who first came to fame in The Perfect Storm, and who has written many fabulous memoirs and novels about life at sea, now faces her greatest battle with nature—a newly adopted teenage daughter. Meet Linda on Monday, April 28, at 7 PM, here in the bookstore.



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