Want to kick back under an umbrella in the sand with a great read this Fourth of July weekend? Celebrate the holiday while creating your own beach getaway vibe at home with a tropical drink and a good book at a good price from our selection of featured summer reads. From history, fiction, and the esoteric, to gardening and a charming Fourth of July book for kids, we’ve got something for everyone. Explore these great titles and more in our Museum Store‘s entire online selection of unique and informative books.
Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli and award-winning illustrator Larry Day join forces to celebrate America’s birthday, the Fourth of July. A responsible little boy who’s eager to do his part wakes up joyful and ready to celebrate his favorite day of all. But the boy has lots of jobs to complete before he can enjoy the fun—The world’s best picnic! Face painting! A band concert! After what seems like the longest wait ever, the boy can kick back and enjoy the fireworks with the rest of the country. This delicious and spirited book celebrates small-town America and is full of nostalgia for times gone by, yet absolutely of the moment. Was $18.99. Now $17.10
In the early days of photography, in the death-strewn wake of the Civil War, one man seized America’s imagination. William Mumler, a “spirit photographer,” took portrait photographs that featured the ghostly presence of lost loved ones alongside his living subjects. At a time when artists were remaking American culture with their cameras, Mumler was a sensation, and the affluent and influential, including Mary Todd Lincoln, came calling. It wasn’t until Mumler’s circus-like fraud trial that a fault line of doubt and manipulation was exposed. And even then, the judge’s stunning verdict suggested no one would ever solve the mystery of how Mumler did it. This forgotten puzzle offers a vivid snapshot of America at a crossroads in its history, a nation in thrall to new technology while grasping desperately for something to believe in. Was $15.99. Now $14.40.
If you’ve ever wondered about the people and places immortalized in plant names, this enlightening and entertaining book will provide some answers. Legends in the Garden introduces 46 people and places—some familiar, others unknown—associated with popular garden plants. Rosa ‘Burbank’ honors Luther Burbank, the “plant wizard” of Santa Rosa. John Champneys and Philippe Noisette, key figures in the development of the rose, gave their names to R. ‘Champneys’ Pink Cluster’ and R. ‘Blush Noisette’. But who were Nellie Stevens (Ilex ‘Nellie Stevens’) and Frances Williams (Hosta sieboldiana ‘Frances Williams’)? This delightful book combines accounts of the lives of these intriguing characters with descriptions of the plants that bear their names and the stories of their chance discoveries or deliberate breeding. Was $19.99. Now $18.00.
Murder in nineteenth-century Britain was rare. But murder as sensation and entertainment became ubiquitous, transformed into novels, into broadsides and ballads, into theatre and melodrama and opera―even into puppet shows and performing dog-acts. Detective fiction and England’s new police force developed in parallel, each imitating the other―the pioneers of Scotland Yard gave rise to Dickens’s Inspector Bucket, the first fictional police detective, who in turn influenced Sherlock Holmes and, ultimately, even P.D. James and Patricia Cornwell. With an irresistible cast of swindlers, forgers, and poisoners, the mad, the bad and the dangerous to know, The Invention of Murder is both a gripping tale of crime and punishment and history at its most readable. Was $18.99 now $17.10
Local artist Chris Leinbach has captured some of Oakland’s most iconic views and monuments for young and old alike to bring to life with color. Enjoy Oakland long after your visit, or introduce Oakland to someone else with this over-sized coloring book that includes historical information as well. Was $14.99. Now $13.50.
“The dead can’t hurt you. Only the living can.” Effie Jones, a former slave who escaped to the Union side as a child, knows the truth of her words. Taken in by an army surgeon and his wife during the War, she learned to read and write, to tolerate the sight of blood and broken bodies—and to forget what is too painful to bear. Now a young freedwoman, she has returned south to New Orleans and earns her living as an embalmer, her steady hand and skillful incisions compensating for her white employer’s shortcomings. Effie holds tight to the satisfaction she finds in her work, but after she is introduced to new worlds of protests and activism, of soirees and social ambition, Effie decides to seek out her past. She faces loss and heartache, but also a chance to finally find her place. Was $15.95. Now $14.36.