Thanks, in Hardcover and Paperback

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This week is the time each year when we all pause to remember the things we are thankful for. We tend to focus on the big ones – a healthy family, gainful employment, food and shelter. And, while nothing can come close to these obvious choices, there are many small things to be thankful for as well. The “big ones” are the things that give our lives meaning, and the others are the things that make our lives rich.

My list of small joys must definitely include the written word. I am thankful that I have been able to explore new worlds, learn about foreign cultures, and broaden my mind with the words someone sandwiched between my varied covers. I am thankful that I grew up in a country where as a woman, I have that right, and that no one questions my desire to be a well-read and well-educated member of society.

I am sure that I am not alone in this regard. So many of us have found answers, escape, or simply entertainment during our literary travels. I recently asked our friends Stephanie Thomas and Kathy Wales, sister-owners of Martha’s Bookstore on Balboa Island, to share with me a list of the books they are thankful for. This is what they shared with me:

“We are thankful for all the authors who continue to amaze and leave us in awe of the discipline and creativity that it takes to write and publish a book. Among the current authors for whom we give thanks, would be Louise Penny, who we consider one of the best mystery writers today. She now has seven books in her Three Pines mystery series, which began with ‘Still Life.’ The newest book, ‘Trick of Light,’ was just released in August. Eric Larson continues to create page-turning non-fiction, including ‘Isaac’s Storm,’ ‘Devil In the White City,’ and his newest, ‘In the Garden of the Beasts,’ set in 1933 Berlin.”

“We are thankful for all the books on local Newport Beach history, many of which we still have available for sale in Martha’s Bookstore. We are so fortunate to have authors in our community who have taken the time and effort to preserve our local pictures and stories. Some of our favorites are ‘Bawdy Balboa’ by Judge Robret Gardner, ‘On Board With the Duke,’ about John Wayne and his boat, the Wild Goose, by Capt. Bert Minshal, ‘The Picture History of Balboa Island 1906-1981’ by Gail Vinje Smith and William A. Allen, and ‘Old Balboa Island Stories’ by Jim Jennings.”

“So many children’s books touch the hearts of parents, grandparents and children. I can still see my daughter, Sara, ‘reading’ ‘Good Night Moon’ by Margaret Wise Brown while sitting in the wicker rocking chair in Martha’s Bookstore. At 3, she already had it memorized. We are thankful for Richard Scarry’s books, including ‘The Adventures of Lowly Worm,’ for Magic Tree House books, for Mr. Men and Little Miss books, and for the hottest new series, ‘Dairy of a Wimpy Kid’ by Jeff Kinney, whose newest title, ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Cabin Fever’ was just released this month.”

‘“Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy’ by Sarah Breathnach with its companion, ‘Gratitude Journal,’ gently reminds us of all the things and people for which we are grateful. And, coming out in January, is the newest of Julia Cameron’s books, ‘The Prosperous Heart,’ a t12-week workbook that helps the reader discover what prosperity is on all levels.”

With so many titles to be thankful for, instead of slipping into a post-feast food coma this year, why not share that leftover turkey sandwich with your own favorite author, as you cozy up with a good book.

Martha’s Bookstore can be found at 308 1/2 Marine Ave., Balboa Island. Or call

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