Sam's Picks

Sam has been selling books for over 30 years, working at local indies Pages & Pages and Hawley-Cooke before coming to Carmichael's in 2014, where she is the Trainer and Floor Manager of the Frankfort Avenue location. Often an unoffical spokesperson for the store, she is a frequent guest on the literary podcast The Perks of Being a Book Lover, she appeared in the documentary "Bookstour" and interviewed author Leesa Cross-Smith for A Mighty Blaze's "Authors Love Bookstores".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7ZnnD43LYQ

https://soundcloud.com/wfmp-forward-radio/perks-ep-91-bookseller-sam-miller-summertime-and-the-reading-is-easy-5-26-21

https://soundcloud.com/wfmp-forward-radio/perks-ep-67-sam-miller-buy-books-before-the-bedlam-11-4-20

https://soundcloud.com/wfmp-forward-radio/perks-ep-49-sam-miller-reading-for-summer-sun-and-solidarity-6-10-20

https://soundcloud.com/wfmp-forward-radio/perks-ep-14-sam-miller-backlist-party-in-the-bookstore-9-4-19

https://www.thebookstourfilm.com/

Sam is also one of the featured booksellers in Reading is Magic: A Book Log for Families (9781419741401) published by Abrams Image.

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Horror for Weenies: Everything You Need to Know About the Films You're Too Scared to Watch By Emily C. Hughes Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781683694250
Availability: Coming Soon! Pre-Order this now and we will contact you on publication date!
Published: Quirk Books - September 3rd, 2024

Love the idea of horror movies but are too squeamish to actually watch them? Are you a big movie buff with an embarrassing gap in your knowledge? Have I got a book for you! It will break down plots, give you party talking points and make you laugh out loud.


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The Hypocrite: A Novel By Jo Hamya Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780593701034
Availability: Coming Soon! Pre-Order this now and we will contact you on publication date!
Published: Pantheon - August 13th, 2024

An aging and mostly irrelevant male novelist has the worst theater going experience ever when he goes to the opening of his daughter's play only to discover its all about him and his bad behavior. This multi generational  'he said, she said' is full of both the classic generational struggle and of the moment sexual politics. An assured debut from a new writer unafraid of bringing the intensity.


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The God of the Woods: A Novel By Liz Moore Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780593418918
Availability: Coming Soon! Pre-Order this now and we will contact you on publication date!
Published: Riverhead Books - July 2nd, 2024

When a camper disappears from an Adirondack summer camp on the estate her parents own chaos ensues, not the least because she's not the first of their children to vanish. What happened to both children, the 'Upstairs/Downstairs' flavored fallout afterwards and the burgeoning skills of the young female investigator determined to make her name by unlocking it all makes for a meaty, satisfying mystery. If you praise the plotting in a book it sounds like you aren't emotionally engaged, that's certainly not the case here, but it was a pleasure to read one so deftly written, that moves so confidently between braided timelines. Also, this might be the most perfect cover of 2024. (IFKYK)


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Sandwich: A Novel By Catherine Newman Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780063345164
Availability: Coming Soon! Pre-Order this now and we will contact you on publication date!
Published: Harper - June 18th, 2024

For her sophomore novel Newman again embeds the reader in another delightful yet maddening family, this time a multi generational one on vacation. It's all wonderful tradition until it isn't and the mother, Rocky (sandwiched between generations and flashing her way through menopause) is forced by unfolding events and proximity to confront things she'd rather stay hidden. I read this in one big gulp and I think you should too!


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Challenger: A True Story of Heroism and Disaster on the Edge of Space By Adam Higginbotham Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781982176617
Availability: On Our Shelves in the last 24 hours. Click to see a specific store location's stock.
Published: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster - May 14th, 2024

After reading this cautionary tale of overconfidence, scientific assumption, and entangled bureaucracy the reader will be forgiven if they are surprised the space shuttle ever flew at all. With a keen eye for detail and an equally deft way of condensing large amounts of history, this account of the doomed vessel is full of suspense even though we know how it ends. It will open your eyes, even as the unfolding tragedy make you cry out in frustration. This nonfiction is the sticks with you kind.


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The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing: 25th-Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) By Melissa Bank, Nick Hornby (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Melissa Bank, Nick Hornby (Foreword by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143138150
Availability: On Our Shelves in the last 24 hours. Click to see a specific store location's stock.
Published: Penguin Classics - June 4th, 2024

"Chick Lit" (noun) a demeaning term from the 1990's used to describe lively books written by women about discovering yourself and how people come together and fall apart.

You know, like Jane Austen, foremother of the modern novel, wrote.

Like meeting an old friend again in person, I am delighted to see this modern classic reissued with with a fancy deluxe edition for its 25th anniversary so I can handsell it to a new generation of readers who will delight in the comic and heartfelt adventures of Jane Rosenal. If you didn't read it then, read it now.


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Little Shrew By Akiko Miyakoshi, Akiko Miyakoshi (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Akiko Miyakoshi, Akiko Miyakoshi (Illustrator)
$19.99
ISBN: 9781525313035
Availability: On Our Shelves in the last 24 hours. Click to see a specific store location's stock.
Published: Kids Can Press - June 4th, 2024

I feel like there is a little shrew in all of us, or at least all of us who work at Carmichael's. We cherish our place (no matter how small) our comfortable routines with favorite co-workers, and relish special visits with friends. The best kind of comfort read, with lovely soft pencil illustrations, this small treasure will make the shy and the neurodivergent especially feel SEEN.


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Long Island (Eilis Lacey Series) By Colm Toibin Cover Image
$22.40
ISBN: 9781476785110
Availability: On Our Shelves in the last 24 hours. Click to see a specific store location's stock.
Published: Scribner - May 7th, 2024

As a longtime admirer of Ailish, the heroine of Toibin's novel and the movie Brooklyn, I was delighted to renew our acquaintance in this follow up. Now long married and living in Long Island she finds herself adrift with a terrible choice that is compounded, in a "The Age of Innocence" like twist, when she goes home to Ireland for her mother's 80th birthday. Toibin is a master, period, but especially of capturing the turning points in a life that feels both real and earned.


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The Ministry of Time: A Novel By Kaliane Bradley Cover Image
$23.19
ISBN: 9781668045145
Availability: On Our Shelves in the last 24 hours. Click to see a specific store location's stock.
Published: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster - May 7th, 2024

Take polar exploration, time travel and romance. Add a spoonful of spice and sprinkle liberally with snortworthy witty banter and you have the ingredients for this amazing debut. With a twist I SO did not see coming, I just didn't want this one to end.


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Bite by Bite: Nourishments and Jamborees By Aimee Nezhukumatathil Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780063282261
Availability: On Our Shelves in the last 24 hours. Click to see a specific store location's stock.
Published: Ecco - April 30th, 2024

This collection of micro essays about food, from risotto to halo-halo, which could have been called World of Wonder__ful Things to Taste, is (wait for it) good enough to eat. The author continues her potent blend of poetry, science and memoir to engage all the reader's senses. And make them really, really hungry.


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Rabbit Heart: A Mother's Murder, a Daughter's Story By Kristine S. Ervin Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781640096370
Availability: On Our Shelves in the last 24 hours. Click to see a specific store location's stock.
Published: Counterpoint - March 26th, 2024

What James Ellroy's "My Dark Places" did for motherless sons, Kristine Ervin's "Rabbit Heart" does for motherless daughters. And then some.This memoir is a disturbing, poetic, heartrending examination of how her mother's murder hit her life like an earthquake, with tremors lingering until the present day. A longtime true crime fan, I would place this one up with Mikal Gilmore's "Shot in the Heart", a champion of illuminating the damage done.


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Orris and Timble: The Beginning By Kate DiCamillo, Carmen Mok (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Kate DiCamillo, Carmen Mok (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781536222791
Availability: On Our Shelves in the last 24 hours. Click to see a specific store location's stock.
Published: Candlewick - April 30th, 2024

Readers of all ages will be charmed by this enemies to friends tale that celebrates being brave, shiny things, and the power of one good story.

 


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The Hunter: A Novel By Tana French Cover Image
$32.00
ISBN: 9780593493434
Availability: On Our Shelves in the last 24 hours. Click to see a specific store location's stock.
Published: Viking - March 5th, 2024

Shall I tell you how much I enjoyed this follow up to The Searcher? With all the world building done French is free to craft a small town (village) crime story with bite. Retired American cop Cal Hooper is still just wanting to enjoy a bucolic Irish retirement but when the feckless father of his young apprentice/daughter of his heart returns with a too-good-to-be-true scheme to make everyone rich he is pulled in once again, and deeper.


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Watership Down: The Graphic Novel By Richard Adams, James Sturm (Adapted by), Joe Sutphin (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Richard Adams, James Sturm (Adapted by), Joe Sutphin (Illustrator)
$26.99
ISBN: 9781984857200
Availability: On Our Shelves in the last 24 hours. Click to see a specific store location's stock.
Published: Ten Speed Graphic - October 17th, 2023

When I was in eighth grade I discovered Watership Down and spent the school year repeatedly checking it out from the school library (two weeks out, one week in) until my dad took pity on me and bought me my own copy. It's one of the classic British quest stories originally told aloud to children and, like others of that genre, uses archetypes to establish characters with more gravitas than your everyday children's tale. As a lifelong fan I am delighted by this new graphic novel, its abridgement and soft pastoral imagery is a faithful tribute to the beloved original.


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Chinese Menu: The History, Myths, and Legends Behind Your Favorite Foods By Grace Lin Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9780316486002
Availability: On Our Shelves in the last 24 hours. Click to see a specific store location's stock.
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - September 12th, 2023

As a child of divorce in the 70's Chinese food was my first 'ethic' cuisine. (RIP Golden Dragon!) Not only did I love the taste I was fascinated by the decor and all the small accompanying ceremonies. This beautiful book not only takes me back to declaring "I hope heaven has a Chinese restaurant" (family legend!) it makes me HUNGRY. Ostensibly a kids book, it tells the myths and stories behind all the food we enjoy today. Did you know that wonton soup tells the story of creation? Or that rice is the foundation of the human spirit? Feast on this delicious book and find out.


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Fish and Crab By Marianna Coppo Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781797204437
Availability: Not currently on our shelves, but available to order (usually within a few days)
Published: Chronicle Books - March 14th, 2023

Perfect for readers of any age who struggle with anxious worrying-what the Buddhists call 'monkey mind'-this picture book tells the story of two roommates, Fish and Crab, who need to address their worries before sleep. Older readers will appreciate the twin bed conversation of polar opposite besties that harkens back to other famous duos (Bert & Ernie anyone?) and younger readers will appreciate the artwork that reveals more with each reading.


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The Quickening: Creation and Community at the Ends of the Earth By Elizabeth Rush Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781571313966
Availability: On Our Shelves in the last 24 hours. Click to see a specific store location's stock.
Published: Milkweed Editions - August 15th, 2023

An Antarctic book like no other, this mesmerizing account of a writer contemplating motherhood tagging along on a scientific voyage to the literal bottom of the world is the best writing I have read about climate change yet. The poetically personal account, mixed with the chorus of the scientists' statements of purpose, catches the reader's attention in a way no dry facts could.


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The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store: A Novel By James McBride Cover Image
$22.40
ISBN: 9780593422946
Availability: On Our Shelves in the last 24 hours. Click to see a specific store location's stock.
Published: Riverhead Books - August 8th, 2023

In the 1984 movie,"The River", a frightened deer makes its way into a steel mill and some farmers, tricked into being strikebreakers, surround it and usher it out to safety. Well read viewers at at the time pointed out how similar that plot point was to Kurt Vonnegut's 1968 short story "A Deer in the Works", from his masterpiece collection Welcome to the Monkey House. Reporters, perhaps hoping for an angry hot take, were met with shrugs by the author who said, "It's good propaganda for humanity". I felt similarly about the latest novel from National Book Award winner James McBride. With graceful sentences that encourage lingering and a circular writing style that Venn diagrams its way to the point, this novel is both a good yarn about hardscrabble folks doing the right thing even when it's hard and a reminder of what we as humans owe one another. I predict major awards in this novel's future and, as I add my voice to the deafening chorus of praise, I encourage all readers of heart to share this book, we need it, and others like it, now more than ever.


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Leonard and Hungry Paul By Ronan Hession Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781612199085
Availability: On Our Shelves in the last 24 hours. Click to see a specific store location's stock.
Published: Melville House - May 11th, 2021

If you missed this debut novel back in 2021 don't feel bad, so did I, but I am grateful to find it now as it's a great example of one of my favorite (and rare) genres-the feel good literary novel. Leonard and Hungry Paul are bachelor best friends who still live at home and have quiet lives full of board games and small work dramas. Hession's an Irish musician by trade and it shows in his musical and lovely prose. Seemingly simple but profound like my other favorites, Jim the Boy and A Fortnight in September, it's a calm treat in a busy world.


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Why Sinéad O'Connor Matters (Music Matters) By Allyson McCabe Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781477325704
Availability: On Our Shelves in the last 24 hours. Click to see a specific store location's stock.
Published: University of Texas Press - May 9th, 2023

Brave and clear eyed, the latest addition to the terrific Music Matters series re examines O'Connor's career, mines it for her many contributions and points out how a racist, sexist industry framed it so problematically (she's crazy, she's a bitch) a book like this was necessary to try and set the record straight. But McCabe aims higher than mere due giving-she also delves into the personal for a larger indictment about celebrity culture, how we (mis)treat the mentally ill and how music gets knotted into our lives in ways it's sometimes hard to articulate. A heartfelt bravo for an artist who has never gotten enough.


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Unshuttered: Poems By Patricia Smith Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780810145634
Availability: On Our Shelves in the last 24 hours. Click to see a specific store location's stock.
Published: TriQuarterly - February 15th, 2023

To create this startling collection poet and Princeton professor Patricia Smith used her personal collection of 19th century photographs of African Americans as prompts for poems ranging from erotic to mundane. The pairing of the two mediums explodes the remove people sometimes feel when looking at black and white portraits so the subjects feel wholly real and timeless. A great read for National Poetry Month!


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Free to Obey: How the Nazis Invented Modern Management By Johann Chapoutot, Steven Rendall (Translator) Cover Image
By Johann Chapoutot, Steven Rendall (Translator)
$17.00
ISBN: 9781609458041
Availability: Not currently on our shelves, but available to order (usually within a few days)
Published: Europa Compass - April 18th, 2023

Managing by delegation? Performance rewards? Extracurricular activities to promote employee satisfaction? Encouraging managers self development? These aren't ideas pioneered by the Harvard Business School, no, these are bedrock ideas of the Nazi Party that were synthesized by Reinhard Hohn, former general and SS Intelligence officer, and taught for years at the business school he founded after the war. In this slim volume, one of the first in Compass, a new nonfiction series by Europa, a leading French historian lays out the whole horrifying/fascinating evolution.


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We All Want Impossible Things: A Novel By Catherine Newman Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780063230927
Availability: On Our Shelves in the last 24 hours. Click to see a specific store location's stock.
Published: Harper Perennial - November 7th, 2023

I loved, loved, loved this debut novel by one of my favorite magazine writers (Newman is the advice columnist for Real Simple). A life affirming story about being present at the end for a beloved friend, this book will make you laugh as often as cry and you'll beg to be adopted by this big, messy found family. It also has my favorite cover of the year- great before you read, and perfect after.


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