Staff reviews from Bartleby's Books


Ana's Picks

"Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant" by Joel Golby

Joel Golby is a staff writer for Vice, where his pieces are often among the most read, and it is easy to see why when you read his collection of essays, now out in paperback. Golby, a Londoner, has a tone that is uniquely quirky and droll. His topics can range from one-off humor pieces, like his essay on a camel beauty pageant held yearly in Saudi Arabia, to the deeply personal, as in Things You Only Know When Both Your Parents Are Dead, in which he shares the experience of losing both parents at a relatively young age. Conversational and revealing, reading Goldby's work is like sitting in the pub with a chummy companion, a pleasant time with moments of personal revelation that leave us entertained, on both a frivolous level, and a very meaningful one as well. It's a good time.

"Small in the City" by Sydney Smith

An atmospheric new picture book for young readers between three and seven years, both written beautifully and then illustrated in ink, watercolor, and gouache pictures by Sydney Smith. The reader follows along with a young narrator through various urban haunts, all while being assured that feelings of being overwhelmed or insignificant in a big world are understandable. There are pockets of beauty and safety to be found and enjoyed, even in a world that stretches out with expansive unknowns and moments of loud drama. The child in this story shares their personal places of peacefulness as the story unfolds; it's a tour of little pieces of beauty and friendliness. As night falls and snow descends, we see that the narrator has been on mission distributing flyers about a lost pet, and that the shared wisdom is meant to be a guide for another small creature out exploring in the wide world. This is a visually appealing book that is both cozy and suspenseful at the same time, and ultimately hopeful. It's a wonderful new title for the fall season.

Lisa's Picks

"Girls Like Us" by Cristina Alger

FBI agent Nell Flynn heads home to Long Island for her father's funeral and finds herself in the middle of a serial killer murder investigation. Her father was a Suffolk County detective who had been involved in the case before this death. The investigation brings up questions from the past, including her own mother's murder when Nell was a child. Did her father have anything to do with her mother's murder? Is there a serial killer on the loose? An engrossing read that deals with power, corruption and class division. Good police and FBI procedural.

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"Someone We Know" by Shari Lapena

Riveting read by the New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door. When Olivia Sharpe finds out that her son has broken into houses on their street to snoop in neighbor's computers, she is very upset. Then a neighbor is found murdered in the same week and everyone is a suspect, including her own husband as well as the husband of the victim. Fast-paced with lots of twists and turns and an ending I didn't see coming.

"Frankly In Love" by David Yoon

Frank Li is an American teenager growing up in Southern California. His Korean-American immigrant parents run a convenience store and expect Frank to focus on his studies. His parents expect him to date and eventually marry a Korean girl. Things get a little challenging when Frank begins to date a girl from his high school who is not Korean and he must keep it from his parents. This book has got it all: a coming of age tale, a love story, as well as issues like racism and privilege. Funny and moving!

Maria's Pick

"The Scarecrow" by Beth Ferry with illustrations from the Fan Brothers

A scarecrow, by nature, is meant to scare...crows. A purposeful but lonely life. When a small crow falls from the nest, Scarecrow rejects his nature and bends down to help. This sweet story about "the oddest friends" reminds us that everyone needs help sometimes and that you can make your own family. Reads like poetry and the illustrations are so moving. Get your tissues ready!

Bartleby's Books is celebrating 30 years in business in 2019. The store is at 17 West Main St. in historic downtown Wilmington and is open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. year-round and until 8 p.m. during the months of July and August. More: 802-464-5425,


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