Donna Paz Kaufman

Donna landed in the book industry after college and discovered the perfect home for the business skills she developed and her love for literature and the arts. As co-founder, she reads a lot of spreadsheets, but when reading for fun, she appreciates beautifully written literary and historical fiction, novels that prompt conversation, travel writing and novels set in other cultures, memoirs, plus business books and anything about fostering creativity.

Books are always her go-to gift, which is why you’ll find beautiful gift books and gorgeous coffee table books throughout the bookstore.

Clocke Dance by Anne Tyler

When you want something easy, uplifting and fun to read, you can't go wrong by turning to beloved author Anne Tyler. We chose this book for the Story & Song Fiction Book Group since there's so much to discuss … from what makes a family to community, choices we make to the truths we discover.

 

Willa Drake has had three opportunities to start her life over: in 1967, as a schoolgirl whose mother has suddenly disappeared; in 1977, when considering a marriage proposal; and in 1997, as a young widow trying to hold her family together. So she is surprised when in 2017 she is given one last chance to change everything, after receiving a startling phone call from a stranger. Without fully understanding why, she flies across the country to Baltimore to help a young woman she's never met. This impulsive decision, maybe the first one she's consciously made in her life, will lead Willa into uncharted territory--surrounded by eccentric neighbors who treat each other like family, she finds solace and fulfillment in unexpected places. 

For those of us who grew up in a white family, in a mostly white community, and little contact with people of color, we have so much to learn about how different life has been for those of color. In her memoir, Austin Channing Brown walks us through situations and explains how she hears the comments, questions, feedback, and requests in work situations, volunteer efforts, and casual conversation. Austin is open, honest and articulate and gives us a window into the problems that percolate and permeate every level of our society. If we want to be the change we want to see in our society, read and walk in another person's shoes. What's your role? This book will prompt thought and change.  If you think you are free of racism, read this or any other book on race written by a person of color.

This is a beautiful fable of friendship and the universal lessons we learn with, and from, one another. British illustrator Charlie Mackesy begins the story with: ‘“What do you want to be when you grow up?’ asked the mole. ‘Kind,’ said the boy.” Add 100 color and black-and-white drawings on the endpapers and throughout, and you have a gift book that is a joy to read and a joy to give. We’ve had customers buy one, then come back for 10 more. Please give yourself the luxury of sitting in our cushy blue chair to read the fable the next time you’re in.

How do we pull through the most challenging times in our lives? Julia Alvarez introduces us to Antonia Vega, who, simultaneously retired from her teaching position at the university and lost her beloved husband. And that’s only the beginning. There is so much for book groups to discuss, from love and loss, where we find meaning, the role of family, immigration and teenage pregnancy. We find our common humanity in books like this and like life, you’ll sigh and laugh, get angry and question so much in this little novel. It’s in expert writing like this we find our common humanity.

The Secret Life of Bees put Sue Monk Kidd on the map and since, she’s shown her interests in religion and feminism. Here, she takes us into the life of Ana, who lives in an age where women have few options and many obligations. She’s rebellious, engages in scholarly pursuits, meets and marries Jesus, and becomes a part of his family. Kidd offers a well-researched and richly woven story that projects the importance of honoring women’s stories. Readers of The Rent Tent will enjoy this masterful novel.

Many of us Americans were raised with the values of being productive and offering something of value each and every day. Sitting still rubs against this, but intuitively we know it’s healthy to know how to rest, how to sit still. Zen Master Tich Nhat Hahn’s Mindfulness Essentials Series offers clear, simple directions and inspiration. I begin my day with a short reading and know that the wisdom has helped me learn to breathe, calm my brain, and open myself to new ways of being. The series of tiny books also includes How to Love, Fight, Relax, Eat, Walk, See

If you're a food lover and enjoy going behind the scenes to meet the fishmongers and farmers behind the food we enjoy, Melissa Martin's Mosquito Supper Club is a book for you! After Katrina, Melissa went to Northern California to work and returned home to Louisiana to honor the food, the people, the land and the sea where she grew up. She opened a restaurant in New Orleans and we now have her beautiful debut cookbook.

Mosquito Supper Club: Cajun Recipes from a Disappearing Bayou is a cookbook to read for the stories behind the recipes ... and practical tips like how best to clean and freeze shrimp. Melissa takes us to the docks, tells us about the environmental impact she's witnessed, introduces us to her family members, and shares her precious stories of food, family, and community. This is a beautiful book with gorgeous photography, authentic recipes, and a fascinating venture into the bayou. 

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Story & Song Neighborhood Bookstore Bistro

1430 Park Avenue :: Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

(904) 601-2118

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