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290 E. Main
Ashland, OR 97520
(541) 488-0029 bloomsburyashland
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Home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Specializing in contemporary fiction, children's books, young adult, local authors, & a large Shakespeare & theatre section.

After shopping, enjoy your book at... Bloomsbury Coffee House
Organic eats, drinks, treats
Above Bloomsbury Books.  
290 E. Main
(541) 482-6112
More about the cafe...

Virginia Woolf wants you!

Join the Bloomsbury Book Club!
Share your passion for books with like-minded people. Meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month, 7 pm on the Mezzanine at Bloomsbury Books. Limit: 25 participants.

Staff Favorites

Come into Bloomsbury and let our extremely knowledgeable staff help you find your next great read

If we don’t have a book in stock, we can usually order it and have it to you within 2 business days.

 

Staff Reviews
Anita, Becky, Greg, Karen, Susan, Skye, Sheila

Recommendations by Karen

housewithoutwindowsA HOUSE WITHOUT WINDOWS, by Nadia Hashimi
A spellbinding story of murder, survival, sisterhood, and a mother’s love that illuminates the plight of women in Afghanistan. Engrossing!

DEEP DOWN DARK, by Hector Tabor is the incredible story of the 33 miners trapped for 69 days in a collapsed Chilean mine. The survival story has been cmplied and told in its entirety for the first time. Through interviews Tobar tells what these men did to survive and their lives before and after this event.

AN OFFICER AND A SPY, by Robert Harris
Paris, 1895, the Dreyfus Affair—the scandal that mesmerized the world is brought to life in this page-turner of conspiracy and espionage.

HOPE MORE POWERFUL THAN THE SEA, by Melissa Flemming
Author Melissa Flemming, an advocate for refugees, tells this true incredible story of 19-year-old Doaa al Zamel’s escape from war-torn Syria. Her story represents millions of refugees who risk everything in their desperate search for a safe haven. With the refugee crises so much in the news, Doaa’s story is timely.

CROOKED HEART, by Lisa Evans
I laughed, I cried, and I fell in love with the two main “unlovable” characters in this wonderfully engaging novel. Noel, an orphan good at hiding his intelligence, is evacuated from London during the WWII Blitz and lands in a suburb NW of the city. Vee, his new caretaker, is an unscrupulous, bitter woman.

CATHERINE THE GREAT: PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN, by Robert K. Massie
Massie returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography. I also enjoyed his biographies of Nicholas and Alexandra and Peter the Great.

THE SENSE OF AN ENDING, by Julian Barnes
This intense novel follow Tony Webster, a middle-aged man, as he contends with a past he never thought much about–until his closest childhood friends return with a vengeance: one of them from the grave, another maddeningly present. Tony thought he left this all behind as he built a life for himself, but when he is presented with a mysterious legacy, he is forced to revise his estimation of his own nature and place in the world. A great read and a good candidate for book club discussion.
Recommendations by Sheila

HOMEGOING, by Yaa Gyasi
Stretching from the tribal wars of Ghana to slavery and Civil War in America, from the coal mines in the North to the Great Migration to the streets of 20th century Harlem, Gyasi has written a modern masterpiece that is unforgettable. This is one of my favorite novels of the year.

THE BARBAROUS YEARS by Bernard Bailyn
Pulitzer winner Bailyn gives us a compelling account of the first great transit of people from Europe and Africa to British north America, their involvement with each other and their struggles with indigenous peoples of the eastern seaboard. Later generations would gentrify this peopling of the first colonies, but there was nothing genteel about it. Bailyn shows that it was horrifically brutal—not only between the Europeans and native peoples and Europeans and Africans, but among Europeans themselves. This is a fresh account of the history of the British North American population in its earliest, bitterly contested years.

CONGRATULATIONS, BY THE WAY by George Saunders
The store is full of inspirational title, but this is the one that made me want to change. Saunders, author of Tenth of December, is critically acclaimed, hip, funny and wise. He has written a book, not just for those starting out, but for anyone who needs to take stock and remember what is really important. I want to give a copy to everyone.

Green Road by Anne Enright
The 2005 Booker Prize winner for The Gathering has written a beautifully rendered heart-breaking portrait of Irish siblings who reunited for Christmas at their mother’s home in rural Ireland. Spanning thirty years, beginning in County Clare and including brilliant depictions of AIDS-devastated Manhattan and famine in Africa, it is a story of family dynamics and characters who struggle with anguish, illuminated by grace and humor.

THE PATRIARCH by David Nasaw
Nasaw was granted unrestricted access to the founder of the twentieth century’s most famous political dynasty. The elder Kennedy’s seemingly limitless ambition took him from an East Boston outsider to the first Irish American Ambassador to Britain, where his antiwar position made him the subject of White House ire and popular distaste. The tragedies that befell his family marked his final years with unspeakable suffering. Nasaw addresses the questions that have haunted the legend of the patriarch: Was he an anti-Semite and Nazi sympathizer? Why did he have his daughter lobotomized? Did he push his second son into politics then buy the election for him? Always fascinating, occasionally repugnant, this is a look at a supremely influential man.
I loved Ian McEwan’s ATONEMENT and I highly recommend his new novel, SWEET TOOTH, which features a female M15 secret agent. It’s a great, and unlikely, combination of espionage, love and the art of writing.

We really did have a scuffle in the store over who would first read Barbara Kingsolver’s FLIGHT BEHAVIOR. I loved it, and thought it to be a much better book than her previous, LACUNA. Set in Appalachia, great plot, beautiful nature writing and a protagonist who will charm you.

THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE HER, by Pulitzer Prize-winner Junot Diaz, is splendid. He is young, dazzling and totally unique. This collection of his short stories is one of my favorite new books.

DOG STARS, by Peter Heller, is the story of a pilot surviving in a post- apocalypse world. The premise has been used a lot lately, but I found this one very moving, mainly because of the main character’s valiant struggle to maintain his own humanity and capacity for love.

PARIS: A LOVE STORY, by Kati Marton. Can there possibly be too many stories set in Paris? This lovely, candid memoir is about love, loss and life after loss – with Paris at its heart. I finished it in a day.

CITY OF WOMEN, by David R. Gilham, is particularly for those, like myself, who were mesmerized by World War II Berlin in IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS. This novel is so atmospheric that I felt I could hear the Gestapo rapping on the attic door. Berlin, during the war, is mostly a city of frightened women, and this story of a Nazi soldier’s wife and her clandestine life is scary, steamy and excellent historical fiction.

Gen-Xers cannot get enough of Jonathan Tropper (BOOK OF JOE). ONE LAST THING BEFORE I GO is touching and outrageously funny. This was the requested title from both of my thirty-something offspring.

THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY, by Rachel Joyce, is what you should read now if you loved MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND and GUERNSEY WOMEN’S LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL SOCIETY.

Michael Kardo’s debut novel, THE THREE DAY AFFAIR, is about three friends who went to Princeton together and reunite for a road trip that takes an unexpected turn when one of them kidnaps a young woman.

BLACK FRIDAYS, by Michael Sears, who spent twenty years on Wall Street is exciting, appalling and you’ll learn a lot about hedge funds (not much of it good).

Ariel Walker’s, THE TWENTY-YEAR DEATH, which consists of three interrelated sections, is written in the styles and periods of Georges Simenon, Raymond Chandler and Jim Thompson. It is, to use an over-used phrase, a tour de force.

More Staff Recommendations

bettyvilleBETTYVILLE
George Hodgman
When George Hodgman leaves Manhattan for his hometown of Paris, Missouri, he finds himself an unlikely caretaker (and lethal cook) to his 90 year-old mother, Betty, who has never really accepted the fact that her son is gay.  This laugh aloud, cry aloud story of growing up “different” in a small town in the Midwest in the sixties is a portrait of a bygone world – which the breakup of the family farm, the advent of Walmart and prevalence of meth destroyed.- and a snapshot of two generations who have struggled to understand each other.  It is also big-hearted, funny and heart-rending.  I want to adopt George Hodgman. –review by Denise Harnly

ARCADIA, by Lauren Groff
Set on a commune in New York State during the 1970s, Groff’s prose simultaneously romanticizes and illuminate the realities of rural community life, finding a balance between the hilarity and tragedy of living off the land in a mostly commercial and industrialized world. Wide in scope, full of heart and quirky humor, the rise and fall of the Arcadia House community is narrated by the ever lovable Bit, the first child of Arcadia, who stole my heart from the first page. If you like Brady Udall, Tom Perrotta or loved, The Monsters of Templeton, read this original coming-of-age tale next!
review by Becky

THE ROUND HOUSE, by Louise Erdrich
Returning to the Ojibwe reservation (rez) in North Dakota for the first time since The Plague of Doves, Erdrich’s newest book is a luminous tale of familial love with a terrible accident at the heart. Part mystery, part Native American history and part coming of age tale, Erdrich’s story captures the complexity of human relationships, our frailty and resilience and the place where the two meet. This book brings up morality and mortality without preaching, and beautifully evokes the traditions of Native American culture.  I love this book and cannot recommend this highly enough.
review by Becky

RULES OF CIVILITY, by Amor Towles
Towles has written a good old-fashioned novel of manners with overtones of F. Scott Fitzgerald. It is set in New York City, 1938, with a bright, first-generation heroine who rises from secretary to a power in the publishing world. The Gatsbyesque hero, Tinker Grey, is an investment banker with “a smile on his face that could have lit every lamp on the North Pole.” One of the charms of the novel is the re-creation of the period, still mired in the depression, on the verge of a bloody war, with a class structure struggling to preserve its elegance and boundaries–and is just about to collapse.
review by Sheila

TURN OF MIND, by Alice LaPlante
Turn of Mind is the best literary thriller since Presumed Innocent. The narrator is a hand surgeon who has dementia, though she experiences lucid moments. She is also the prime suspect in the murder of her best friend, who was found with her fingers surgically removed. She doesn’t know whether she did it or not. This is a page-turning thriller and a moving and fascinating glimpse into the deteriorating mind of a tightly controlled, intelligent woman who is slowly succumbing to her disease. Alzheimer’s works brilliantly as a literary device, revealing family secrets, tragedies and an ending you won’t expect. It will be one of the most read and talked-about books of 2011.
review by Sheila

WHY BE HAPPY WHEN YOU COULD BE NORMAL?  by Jeanette Winterson
A soul-searching and vivid memoir by one of the more intriguing contemporary British Writers of our time. Adopted into a family in a north England industrial town, Winterson confronts the ravages of an extreme religious upbringing and her own burgeoning homosexuality within that context. Winterson explores her adopted mother’s erratic, brutal and manic behavior with searing honesty. She courageously attempts to understand herself and her childhood beyond the pain, stigma and her evident genius. With Winterson, one feels you are with her on a quest and that you are part of the incandescence of a brilliant mind struggling to illuminate even the darkest recesses. -review by Rebecca