I’m heartbroken about the end of Borders, because Barnes & Noble might fall next, and what’s after that? Buying books online? I can’t stand it. I need to open covers and read page 237 and walk aisles lined with Hemingway and Alice Munro, touching the spines, feeling encouraged to write better, and more.

What could happen (let us pray): independent bookstores may rise again. Who wants to open a City Lights-Tattered Cover-Powell’s mashup by Postino? I’ll be your first customer, even tap dance out front on the weekends, or bake chocolate chip cookies and pass them out from a basket.

And with that — here’s a peek at what’s on my nightstand, but make me a promise: buy them from a bookstore, OK? Today is Hemingway’s birthday, so if not for me, do it for him.

1. Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton

Hamilton has an MFA in writing, and is chef at buzzy NYC restaurant Prune, and writes sentences about gurgling sauce that made even Anthony Bourdain say nice things. Also: the first chapter is about her family lamb roast — which reminds me that I really need to write the story of my family’s Javelina roast. Anyway, I’m all in.  Buy it here.

2. State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett

I picked this up at the ever-charming Bay Books on Coronado because I needed something I couldn’t put down, and this book has been sailing around on that reputation. It’s an Amazon jungle-love story-mystery, and Republic reporter Kerry Lengel had a fantastic chat with the celebrated Patchett that you can read here. My writer friends are all asking if I’ve read it yet — so, better start. Buy it here.

3. How Did You Get This Number: Essays by Sloane Crosley


I devoured Crosley’s first collection of sly, quirky stories about being young, and in New York, and bookish, and locked out — which had the best book title ever: I Was Told There’d Be Cake. Crosley was a publicist for Very Big Deal Authors, too — and her literary bent shows through. Also: she’s hilarious. My mother tried to steal Crosley’s new book from me while we were at the beach. Humph.Buy it here.