News about New England books and writers

The Crow Bookshop in Burlington, Vt.
The Crow Bookshop in Burlington, Vt.Marcie Bolton

Parker-inspired nominees

Beloved Cambridge crime novelist Robert B. Parker has been dead for three years, but his fingerprints are all over this year’s Edgar Award nominees. Three best-novel nominees pay tribute to Parker in a book nominated for best critical/biographical work. That book is “In Pursuit of Spenser: Mystery Writers on Robert B. Parker and the Creation of an American Hero” (Smart Pop), edited by Otto Penzler. The three nominees are Dennis Lehane for “Live by Night” (HarperCollins), Lyndsay Faye for “The Gods of Gotham” (Penguin), and Ace Atkins for “The Lost Ones” (Putnam). Atkins, Parker fans well know, was hired by Parker’s widow, Joan, to continue Parker’s Spenser novels. “Lost Ones” is Atkins’s own series.

Channel 7 investigative news reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan’s “The Other Woman” (Forge) was nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, given annually to a novel featuring “a very nice young woman, 27-38 or so” who “solves her problem by her own courage and intelligence.” Explicit sex, on-scene violence, and four-letter words are no-no’s.

Advertisement—Continue Reading Below

Milton resident Kathryn Burak’s “Emily’s Dress and Other Missing Things” (Macmillan) was nominated for best young adult novel. Mystery Writers of America will announce the winners on May 2.

Wright updates bookstore guide

In 2008, Richard F. Wright wrote the book he wished he had during 40 years of roaming New England for one-of-a-kind bookstores. Late last year he published a new edition of his folksy ramble, “A Vacationer’s Guide to Rural New England Bookstores.” It’s a good one to keep in the glove compartment.

In just over 100 pages, he offers character sketches of 39 independent full-service bookstores and 31 used and rare bookshops and suggests itineraries for a handful of one-day bookstore tours.

Wright salts his descriptions with historical tidbits (for instance, it’s said that the Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury, Vt., was Robert Frost’s favorite) and observations from his visits (shortly after John Updike died, Wright came across a stack of 48 Updike books priced at $1,000 at Manchester By the Book near the author’s home).

Personal touches rate highly with Wright: Although the sheer size of the Shire Book Shop in Franklin — with 100,000 used and collectible books displayed throughout the first floor of a turn-of-the-century mill — is what he noticed first, what stays with him is the owner’s offer to make a cup of tea for every person who walks in the door.

A nod for Vermont bookstore

Crow Bookshop in downtown Burlington, Vt., was the sole New England establishment that made Travel + Leisure’s online list of the nation’s top 15 independent bookstores. The feature noted the shop’s creaky floors and rolling book ladder as well as its “out-of-print titles, academic publications, and lesser-known efforts by big-name authors.” Owner Keith Terwillegar wrote in an e-mail to me that he tries to offer something for everyone while striving “to keep the edges sharp for individuals looking . . . to be surprised in some way.”

Coming out

 “Speaking From Among the Bones” by Alan Bradley (Delacorte)

 “Insane City” by Dave Barry (Putnam)

 “Until the End of Time” by Danielle Steel (Delacorte)

Pick of the Week

Reid Brechner of Devaney, Doak & Garrett Booksellers in Farmington, Maine, recommends “A Memory of Light” by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Tor): “Six years after Jordan passed away, his famed “Wheel of Time’’ series ends with a stunning tome. Sanderson’s completion of Jordan’s unfinished work is a tribute to one of the greatest fantasy and science fiction writers who ever lived.”

Share