Dear reader,

Well, folks—it’s happened: I officially have the Christmas spirit.

After a weekend of holiday decorating at home, my work week began with an early morning drive from the JTRB office around the corner to R.J. Julia Booksellers where the trees along the main street were lit and twinkling and wreaths with bright red bows hung from lampposts.  As I took in the decked-out scene a breath of cold air filled my lungs and a burst of holiday cheer popped open within me.

The festive vibe continued as I selected books this morning for our recipients. Elf Academy: Trouble in Toyland by Alan Katz is being sent to Roarke just in time for a Christmas read. One Way or Another by Kara McDowell is going to Gabby for all the wintry rom-com fun she can stand. And for Ellen, my small-town fiction lover, I selected The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan because well, duh.

What holiday moments, locations, or activities help your heart to grow three sizes in an instant?  For a non-heart healthy but oh so indulgent and delicious treat, check out my Trash Can Cookie recipe, below.  I mix in my favorite things, but the add-in options are endless.  If you want to throw in hateful and soul crushing raisins, instead of delightfully tart and perfect in every way dried cranberries—you do you.

Let me know what you’re thinking,


Lou’s Corner

Your favorite four legged JTRB employee here to tell you about an animal themed novel that I will be gifting this holiday season to all my cat loving co-workers.  The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa has sold over 1.5 million copies and was made into a film in Japan.  This book begs you to curl up and help a talking cat and a failing secondhand bookshop owner rescue all the neglected and unread books of the world.  This fanciful, warm, and wise adventure will make you not only want to read this book in one sitting but to show a little love to one of those dusty, always meant to read books on your shelf.

JTRB Staff Pick

Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance is my favorite non-fiction book of the year. In this latest collection from the brilliant essayist and poet Hanif Abdurraqib, moments of Black performance are remembered and rediscovered with incredible thoughtfulness. Abdurraqib places each performance in context of the larger American history and culture as well as the author’s own life and experience to explore joy, devastation, and resilience.  The essays in this book sing.


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