Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page; you can look over at her site to find links to other readers’ mailboxes.
My sister lives WAY UP in Maine, and we are able to get together with her and her family only a few times each year. Yesterday we met for a fun post-Christmas excursion. She got the proverbial “short end of the stick” and drove almost 3 hours to meet us in Kittery for lunch.
On our relatively short 1 1/2 hour drive, we went through Portsmouth, NH. We arrived at the restaurant/rendezvous spot a half hour before we planned to meet. Let’s go back to RiverRun Bookstore, I suggested. A quick check on the GPS showed that it was a mere 1.7 miles from where we were in Kittery!
Back over the bridge into New Hampshire we drove, found an ideal parking spot across from the store on Congress Street, and trooped into the store … six of us … like circus clowns who had been trapped in a Volkswagen and were anxious for some reading material other than what is on the back of the sun visors.
We didn’t have much time, but I was able to confirm, without a doubt, that all the wonderful accolades Brooks Sigler bestowed on the store in this Spotlight post are true! On a rainy Sunday, just before noon, the store was hopping with parents and children browsing the books in the back of the store (not including my children, two of whom were arguing that they each needed a copy of the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book), booksellers helping other patrons, and the sounds of a cash register ringing up sales.
I was particularly taken by the prominent display of staff picks, from which I selected Yoko Ogawa’s The Housekeeper and the Professor. I’ve read many positive reviews of this novel, and the premise intrigues me:
He is a brilliant math Professor with a peculiar problem–ever since a traumatic head injury, he has lived with only eighty minutes of short-term memory. She is an astute young Housekeeper, with a ten-year-old son, who is hired to care for him.
And every morning, as the Professor and the Housekeeper are introduced to each other anew, a strange and beautiful relationship blossoms between them. Though he cannot hold memories for long (his brain is like a tape that begins to erase itself every eighty minutes), the Professor’s mind is still alive with elegant equations from the past. And the numbers, in all of their articulate order, reveal a sheltering and poetic world to both the Housekeeper and her young son. The Professor is capable of discovering connections between the simplest of quantities–like the Housekeeper’s shoe size–and the universe at large, drawing their lives ever closer and more profoundly together, even as his memory slips away.
The Housekeeper and the Professor is an enchanting story about what it means to live in the present, and about the curious equations that can create a family.
And, it came recommended by Gwen at RiverRun Bookstore! Deckle-edge paper, French-flap cover, a bookstore bookmark, and 20% off the Staff Pick … it was meant to be.
What’s new on your bookcase this week?