Granite State booksellers offer great choices from NH authors

By LISA BROWN
Special to the Sunday News
December 15. 2017 7:56PM
Dan Chartrand, owner of the Water Street Bookstore in Exeter, with some of his shop's top sellers among books by New Hampshire authors, including "Origin" by Dan Brown, "Strange Weather" by Joe Hill, and "Small" by illustrator Gail Perry. (JASON SCHREIBER/SUNDAY NEWS CORRESPONDENT)

What's not to like about a good book and a roaring fire on a cold New England night? The absolute best gift to buy someone who either has "everything" or is "hard to buy for" is a book. Choosing a book written by a New Hampshire author from a local independent bookstore is a double bonus.

We spoke to several local booksellers - Michael Herrmann of Gibson's Bookstore in Concord, Dan Chartrand of Exeter's Water Street Bookstore and Tammy McCracken and Sue Carita of Toadstool Bookshops - about the hot sellers they have on their shelves from Granite Staters.

Their suggestions cover all ages. Here's a sampling:

"Strange Weather: Four Short Novels" by Joe Hill

William Morrow & Co; $27.99

Hill, a father of three, lives near Exeter and is the son of horror icon Stephen King. "Stranger Weather" features four tightly written stories of chilling horror with a blend of supernatural elements. Hill's previous outing, "The Fireman" was a New York Times best seller.

"Origin" by Dan Brown

Doubleday Books; $29.95

He may never capture the full-throated obsession of "The Da Vinci Code" again, but Seacoast resident Dan Brown's latest Robert Langdon thriller is sure to find its way under many a Christmas tree. Brown, a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, where he has taught English and creative writing, sets "Origin" in Spain. Here, Langdon tries to decipher an encrypted password to reveal a religious revelation assembled by a billionaire who meets an untimely demise. We're already breathless.

"Tamed & Untamed: Close Encounters of the Animal Kind" by Sy Montgomery and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

Chelsea Green Publishing Company; $17.95

Essays by two of the world's most revered naturalists - and New Hampshire residents - explore the minds, mystery and magic of the animal kingdom. Montgomery lives in Hancock with her husband, the writer Howard Mansfield, while Thomas is a longtime resident of Peterborough. Thomas even serves on the town's board of selectmen. Essays in "Tamed & Untamed" cover a diverse array of animals including snails, house cats, hawks, sharks, dogs, lions, and octopuses.
A few of the books by New Hampshire authors selling well this Christmas include "Strange Weather" by Joe Hill and "Origin" by Dan Brown. (JASON SCHREIBER/SUNDAY NEWS CORRESPONDENT)

"Small" by Gina Perry (picture book for ages 4-8)

Little Bee Books; $17.99 

Illustrator and North Hampton resident Gina Perry debuts a darling picture book about a little girl's imagination that makes her feel like she isn't so small after all. Perry is also the illustrator of "It's Great Being a Dad," written by Dan Bar-el. 

"The Last Gargoyle" by Paul Durham (for ages 8-12)

Crown Books for Young Readers; $16.99 (due out on Jan. 9, 2018, bookstores are taking orders) 

The self-proclaimed "children's author and teller of fibs" has emerged from his swampside, chicken-coop writer's perch in Exeter with a new tale. "The Last Gargoyle" is the adventure of one of the last gargoyles in Boston who feels alone but discovers he isn't alone at all. Durham is also the author of the popular Lucky Ugly series.

"Cog Days: A Boy's Life and One Tragic Summer on Mt. Washington" by Joseph W. McQuaid

Plaidswede; $15.95

New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News Publisher Joe McQuaid writes a historical, humorous and sometimes tragic memoir about his summer job at Mount Washington during his youth in the 1960s. Of course we're homers, but booksellers say McQuaid's book is proving popular this year. "We just had to order more," said Tammy McCracken of Toadstool Bookshops.

"Be Nice to The Weather Guy" by Josh Judge

Peter Randall; $19.95

WMUR meteorologist Josh Judge pens a holiday book with a twist on "The Night Before Christmas" and Dr. Seuss. Included is a behind the scene look at the Channel 9 weather center as snow approaches. All profits will be donated to the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth.


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