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Rona Brinlee, The Bookmark


Recommendations from a store by the sea, The Bookmark in Atlantic Beach, Fla.

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl: Like Alfred Hitchcock meets The Breakfast Club, this book tells the story from the perspective of a brainy girl named Blue van Meer. Blue's life changes "due to certain nuclear events." In the beginning, you wonder where this book is headed. Once it gets going, you don't really care. It's just a great ride.

Please Mr. Einstein by Jean-Claude Carriere: This book is about a young unidentified woman in unidentified city in unidentified building who finds herself in a room with Albert Einstein. It's a science fantasy that makes your brain hurt a little -- but in a good way.

The Ghost at the Table: A Novel by Suzanne Berne: A really good story that's perfect for the holidays, Berne's book is set at Thanksgiving and follows a family that started off as three sisters, before one died. Their story is paralleled by that of Mark Twain and his three daughters. Berne explores what it means to come home for the holidays.

On Agate Hill: A Novel by Lee Smith: Molly, a girl orphaned by the Civil War, lives with uncles and relatives. We learn about her through diary entries, letters and court documents. She's a strong-willed young girl, and this book follows her through her life -- going to school, getting married to a no-good scoundrel. Smith is good at taking an ordinary life and making extraordinary.

Alpana Pours: About Being a Woman, Loving Wine, and Having Great Relationships by Alpana Singh and Robert Scarola: Singh, the youngest female to be admitted as a Master Sommelier, wants to demystify wines -- and maybe relationships, too. She tells her stories about serving wine to people, and what she's learned in the process.

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