Steve Iwanski, owner of Charter Books in Newport

With the holiday shopping season reaching its peak over the next couple of weekends, we’ll be sharing some ideas for unique gifts available locally. Here’s a nice list of Newport-related books for you to consider curated by Charter Books proprietor Steve Iwanski. There’s a good mix of fiction and non-fiction, some art, and a little rock and roll. Happy shopping!

America’s Eden by John Tschirch, along with his Newport: The Artful City from 2020. These magnificent books by local historian and preservationist John Tschirch are essential additions to the bookshelf of any Newport history buff. Published with the Newport Tree Conservancy and the Newport Historical Society, each book is filled with gorgeous photographs, illustrations, and maps, many of which were previously unpublished.

The Lost Summers of Newport by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White. “Team W” launched their national book tour here in May, and this gripping novel is set at a fictional Bellevue Ave. mansion in three different periods: the peak of the 1890s Gilded Age, the 1950s yacht club heyday, and the present-day, when a family’s buried secrets are revealed.

Photo Courtesy of Charter Books

A Guide to Historic Burial Grounds in Newport by Lew Keen. Readers may know Lew from many cemetery walking tours he’s given in Newport over the past few years. This paperback distills all the information from those tours into a single volume that you might carry with you on your next walk. On Monday, December 12 at Charter Books, Lew will interview Greg Melville, author of Over My Dead Body: Unearthing the Hidden History of America’s Cemeteries.

The Maze at Windermere by Gregory Blake Smith. What do a lonely Quaker teen, a villainous British soldier, an aspiring writer, a sycophantic loafer, and a jilted motorcyclist all have in common? In Smith’s compelling novel, they all experience a life-altering crisis in Newport, Rhode Island across five centuries.

Seeing Sideways by Kristin Hersh. Kristin formed the band Throwing Muses with her step-sister Tanya Donnelly and classmate David Narcizo while attending Rogers High School in the early 1980s. In this, her second memoir, she chronicles her band on the road through the lives of her four sons.

Photo Courtesy of Charter Books

Theophilus North by Thornton Wilder. Setting out to see the world in 1926, Theophilus gets as far as Newport before his car breaks down. Over the ensuing summer, he becomes embroiled in misadventures and intrigue across the city while serving as a tutor, tennis coach, spy, confidant, and lover.