Recent Staff Picks
This is the story of three generations of Palestinian-American women living in Brooklyn who are torn between individual desire and the strict mores of Arab culture. It is a fascinating, horrifying, unvarnished glimpse at their world. (The author was raised by Palestinian immigrants in Brooklyn so writes with authority.) I became completely immersed in the lives of these women and I left them with a better understanding of who they are ...not one-dimensional. In her letter to the reader Etaf hopes that people from both inside and outside her community will read this book and see "the strength and resiliency of our women." I certainly did. --Rene
From Mamie: I want every single novelist and essayist and memoirist and poet and reader to shelve what they’re reading and pick up The White Book. On the first page, Kang makes a list of white things. The objects on this list recur throughout the book (not sure I’d call it a novel—it’s more like a series of vignettes). It is the story of a woman whose infant brother died before she was born, whose black eyes are the only thing that isn’t white in her memories. You can read this book in one sitting, but I’m pretty sure that, like I have, you’ll go back to it again and again for inspiration. It’s brilliant, and I can’t stop thinking (or talking) about it.
This is the story of a family of four siblings that begins to fall apart when their mother dies. Decades later, their world is rocked again when their oldest sister is arrested for a crime that rocks their entire community. She leaves her younger siblings, especially her two younger sisters, to deal with the aftermath, including caring for her daughters, who are falling apart in their own ways. This book is a haunting, twisting story about a family with members who have not always treated each other well, but who still fall together at the end of the day. It is also a look into what it means to be a woman in any number of different roles: mother, daughter, sister, friend, wife, stranger. Arresting and engrossing, these characters and their voices will stay with you for days. --Caroline
This compulsively readable novel will take you back to the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll of the 60's and 70's so convincingly that you'll hear the music as you read. Told in interviews with band members of Daisy Jones & the Six over the years, Reids' story is both universal and personal and her characters are talented, vulnerable, and lovable, demons and all. The songwriting scenes between Daisy and her sometimes enemy, the band's leader, Billy Dunne, are insightful and moving, as are the band dynamics she portrays brilliantly. If you came of age in the 70's, as I did, you will love the return journey. If you didn't, you'll enjoy experiencing it. --Sarah
The first behind-the-scenes account of life with the legendary ravens at the world’s eeriest monument
The ravens at the Tower of London are of mighty importance: rumor has it that if a raven from the Tower should ever leave, the city will fall.
Through first person narration, Yara Zgheib does a masterful job of presenting Anna, a young woman who has gradually spiraled into anorexia. So vivid are Anna's guilt and physical revulsion towards food that I was absolutely shaken. The other characters are equally well developed. Anna's husband Mathias is loving and supportive but not immune to feelings of fear, frustration and anger. Insights into the other residents and staff at 17 Swann Street provide a compelling context within which we experience Anna's excruciating struggle towards recovery. This is a very readable yet sobering reminder that eating disorders remain a serious problem in our image-conscious society and anyone is potentially vulnerable. —Samantha
A collection of lyrics, as well as sketches, poems, and various ephemera, from the face, voice, and pen of the band Florence + the Machine. This beautiful edition would make a great gift for any fan, and even for those who have never heard the music before but have a love of poetry and an artist’s process. —Amber
Lisa See is no slouch when it comes to research, attention to detail, and putting together a beautiful but devastating saga, and The Island of Sea Women is one of her best. Nearly every page has fascinating tidbits about haenyeo, female deep-sea divers who used minimal gear, held their breath for up to 3 minutes, and could spend hours in freezing water. There is so much information about life on Jeju Island in Korea, the Japanese, United States, and Korean occupations of it, as well as the Jeju uprising that took tens of thousands of lives. The characters are vibrant, the writing is stunning, and Lisa See has left me yet again astounded with her talent for storytelling. --Amber
A RECOMMENDED BOOK OF 2019 FROM
Entertainment Weekly * O, The Oprah Magazine * Southern Living * BBC * Huffington Post * Lit Hub * Kirkus * Bustle * Publishers Weekly * BookRiot * Popsugar * Bookish * The Boston Globe * The Seattle Times
The stakes have never been higher than they are in this third installment of the Books of Babel:
Senlin, erudite headmaster-turned-pirate-turned-spy, continues the search for his wife, who has become deeply entangled in the fifth ringdom. What – or who – has convinced her to stay with her kidnapper?
Edith, the farmer who has become a powerful Wakeman, captains the mightiest ship ever known in the newest assignment from her mysterious and seemingly omnipotent employer. A demon from her past returns in a crucial role.
The amazonian Iren guards her charge, Voleta, who has bitten off far more than she can chew in her under-cover role as a high-society lady. Iren finally finds a confidant in an unexpected place.
As always, Bancroft's characters are wonderfully fleshed out and his descriptions are rich. I hated to have to put the book down because the plot was so compelling. Everything about these books is incredibly well-done. --Kaley
"Sweeping from the glamour of 1930's Paris through the battlefields of World War II and into the war's long shadow, The Age of Light is a startlingly modern love story and a mesmerizing portrait of a woman's self-transformation from muse into artist."--Celeste Ng, New York Times bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere$24.99ISBN: 9781982101633Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Gallery/Scout Press - January 15th, 2019
Hard-pressed to find time to read lengthy novels? Try this collection of offbeat, provocative stories! Ranging from the mundane to the truly fantastical, Roupenian's short storieswill shock you (in a good way!) from the first page.
At its heart, this collection explores how women are limited by our current world and the perverted ways in which we might be forced to act to gain an inkling of respect or power. --Kiwi$22.95ISBN: 9780385544238Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Doubleday - November 20th, 2018
How much do we owe our families? Korede helped her sister dispose of her boyfriend’s body. Again. But this time, she’s not sure she believes Ayoola’s version of events. With her hands tied both by family bonds and by her own actions, she can’t help wondering what kind of man Femi really was and whether he deserved death at her sister’s hands. And then her sister turns her attention to the coworker that Korede loves. A taut read, in which the tension and the stakes are ever on the rise, and the best and worst aspects of the bonds between sisters are explored. --Ginger$28.00ISBN: 9781594633157Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Riverhead Books - January 22nd, 2019
On December 29th, of 1890 ~ The Wounded Knee Massacre occurred on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. An encounter with US Army soldiers ended with the deaths of over several hundred unarmed Lakota Indians.
Popular thought has commonly adhered to the notion that Native American history ended on that day in 1890. Treuer’s work in The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee challenges that perception.
Examining the trials and tribulations of Native Americans in dealing with life in the US since that fateful date, Treuer shows an ingenious and sophisticated group of people determined to carve out a place for themselves in the modern world. Do yourself a favor: forget Dances With Wolves and read this book! --Bud$16.00ISBN: 9780143133421Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Penguin Books - January 29th, 2019
In his follow-up to the amazing REASONS TO STAY ALIVE, Matt Haig returns with a new book that focuses on anxiety, the world around us, and the effect technology can have on both. In the familiar format of lists and vignettes, Haig discusses his own experiences with mental illness, how society seems to encourage worry and anxiety, and how to get past it for your own health.
NOTES ON A NERVOUS PLANET is a look into how to feel happy, healthy, and whole in the 21st century, and it could not come at a better time. --Amber$28.00ISBN: 9780525508922Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Random House - September 18th, 2018
When I picked up this book, I was quite unsure of it... but then I read it and it was one of my favorite books of the year. This book made me laugh, and cry, and feel more validated by a narrative than I have in a long while.
Read this graphic memoir if you have an artistic soul and have ever felt lost or beaten down. Read it if you've ever misplaced your hopes and dreams. Liana's story is a big 'ol hug that will help you remember who you are, and make you feel okay about being human. --Kiwi$26.95ISBN: 9781616206215Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Algonquin Books - January 8th, 2019
Once again, I found myself reading something while at the Wildacres Retreat Center in the NC mountains that became a part of the experience. This book has Appalachia written all over it. The main character Jodi, newly released from prison, and the rag-tag assortment of characters she accumulates as the story progresses are defined by the past they want to leave behind and their present struggles to make a go of it in rural West Virginia. There’s hard drinking and a lot of drugging, loving and leaving, and a good bit of frustrated anger thrown in for some nail-biting tension. If you like Ron Rash, you’re going to love Sugar Run. Maren’s writing is so gorgeous and precise that I know whatever she writes, I’m going to want to read it. Mesha Maren will be here to talk about the book on Thursday, Feb. 7th, 2019, at 7 p.m.$16.99ISBN: 9781250088567Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Flatiron Books - January 23rd, 2018
This is one of those magical books that, should you let it, allows you to shift the person you are to one with an expanded understanding of identity, gender identity, family life, and parenting. It is a beautiful story woven together with language that is as enchanting as the fairy tale that the father in this book spins for his children as their bedtime story. It is a story told with refreshing kindness and open perspective about a little-understood topic that scares many people. I am a better person and parent for having read this. --Mindy$26.99ISBN: 9780765392466Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Tor Books - March 27th, 2018
A twisting, dark interpretation of Shakespeare's King Lear, it centers around Lear's daughters and the wild, fantastic island where they live. A mad king, star propechies, war, and three daughters: a warrior, a scholar, and a priest fill the pages of this immersive novel. Steeped in magic, madness, greed, and love, this story gets into your bones. Perfect for dreary winter days, the prose will transport you. --Caroline$26.00ISBN: 9781328802699Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - November 13th, 2018
Written by Wiesel’s student and teaching assistant, Witness explores the questions and the beliefs that underpin Wiesel’s teaching philosophy. Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, believed that moral education holds the key to changing the world. He theorized that the missing component that transforms education into moral education lies in memory & bearing witness as first steps towards compassion. Both Wiesel and his student Burger grapple with faith and God when confronted with worldly suffering and hatred. And like the texts and conversations from the classroom, this text asks more than it answers – in meaningful and moving ways. --Ginger$26.00ISBN: 9780525509509Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Random House - November 13th, 2018
This is a perfect book for our times when we need an escape from the harshness of the day. Berg has given us a good story with characters we quickly come to care about. It is a book with hope and with miracles and happy endings! I really enjoyed it! --Rene$26.99ISBN: 9781501156212Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Gallery/Scout Press - May 29th, 2018
From Anne: Mrs. Westaway is dead from natural causes and she has left her estate to her granddaughter. A mystery? Hal Westaway, a tarot card reader who "reads" people more than cards, knows that she isn’t that granddaughter but needs the money. Can she pass herself off as the heir? Are there more secrets in this family? I couldn’t put this one down!$27.00ISBN: 9781984823014Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Hogarth - November 13th, 2018
Take a charismatic man with writer’s block and a lot of opportunity, and what do you have? John Boyne’s new novel, A Ladder to the Sky. Maurice Swift will stop at nothing to steal, well maybe borrow, or perhaps merely help bring to light another author’s work. Dead or alive, stranger or relative, no one is safe from his thievery. This is an amazing satire that you will not want to put down because Maurice Swift will have you under his spell too. The novel is so different from Boyne’s other works which are different from each other, proving that Boyne certainly doesn’t suffer from writer’s block! --Mamie$15.95ISBN: 9781616208523Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Algonquin Books - November 27th, 2018
In 2010, performance artist Marina Abramovic began a 75 day "exhibit" at the Museum of Modern Art. She sat, silent, at a small table. Any visitor was welcomed to sit across from her for as long as he or she wished. This book is a fictionalized consideration of the impact of this exhibit and, indeed, of art in general on those who experience it. This is also a story of love - complicated, inconvenient, inevitable love. I found myself underlining passage after passage of Rose's gorgeous prose. After reading this book, watch the youtube video of the visit to Marina's table by her former lover Ulay. It provides a visual exclamation point to a powerful novel. --Samantha$26.00ISBN: 9780525533337Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Portfolio - October 23rd, 2018
If you’re anything like me, you have spent much of your life buying too many journals and dedicating each to a different subject or task, creating chaos and cross-referencing galore.
Do not let Pinterest and Instagram scare you away — Ryder Carroll, the original creator of The Bullet Journal Method, explains in great detail how to start a simple, practical, time- and effort-saving organizational system that allows you to focus on the things that matter. It is straightforward, no frills, and already making a huge difference in my work and life! --Amber$30.00ISBN: 9780525520047Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Knopf - October 9th, 2018
Celebrated author, Haruki Murakami, returns with another novel exploring the mysteries of the human condition. Those familiar with Murakami’s works will know that the questions that he explores are difficult ones and the answers are potentially stranger and harder to embrace.
A Japanese painter of minor works, recently separated, takes up residence in the home of a master artist. To date, the painter has never felt truly connected in any meaningful way to the various commissions of art that have thus far been his body of work. However, the chance discovery of a hidden painting by the master artist awakens something inside the painter and starts him on a journey of discovery.
While fans of Murakami’s earlier works will know that they are in for a treat with Killing Commendatore ~ new readers will come to celebrate the mysteries and delights that are hallmarks of Murakami’s work. --Bud$20.00ISBN: 9780802128256Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Grove Press - June 12th, 2018
This little, unassuming book is chock full of startling hilarity and thoughtful commentary about cultural and social expectations.
The narrator and protagonist, Keiko, feels perfectly fulfilled as a convenience store worker-- she is so good at her job, in fact, that she has basically become a part of the store itself. She doesn't understand social conventions and has learned to blend in by mimicking her coworkers. But lately, people keep bothering her: Why hasn't she pursued a more serious career by now? Does she have a boyfriend? Why isn't she married? She's going to have kids soon, right?
Keiko doesn't understand why these things are important, but tries to appease her prying family by taking in a deadbeat ex-coworker to pose as her (fake) boyfriend. But no matter how she tries to change, all Keiko truly wants is to be a perfect cog in the machine of the convenience store! --Kiwi$28.00ISBN: 9780316477604Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Little, Brown and Company - September 11th, 2018
What an appropriate novel to bring us into the midst of war as we commemorate the 100th anniversary of WWl. Lucius is a young medical student in Vienna when war erupts. He wants to practice, not just study, medicine so he volunteers. Rather than a well-organized field hospital he is posted to a freezing, typhus ravaged commandeered church in a Carpathian Mt valley. The other doctors have fled. Remaining is a mysterious nurse named Sister Margarete. What Lucius gets is a crash course in battle wounds and PTSD. "The story that unfolds in this forsaken place is so captivating that you may feel as unable to leave it as Lucius does". - Ron Charles. "The Winter Soldier achieves a deeply affecting balancing act, drawing us into the crushing agony of war while simultaneously stirring our hearts with an inspired and touching love story." - Georgia Hunter. By the author of The Piano Tuner. --Rene$19.99ISBN: 9780062844132Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Harper Perennial - October 30th, 2018
“This isn’t a story. It’s a road trip.”
A loved one disappears. After months of fruitlessly searching, a funeral is held allowing those left behind to grieve & mourn. Then, things start getting weird.
Reports are coming in from all over: Specifically, the dead may not be dead. Not only that, there is much more to the story ~ something on a grand scale that defies easy explanations.
Welcome to Night Vale fans will easily recognize the author Joseph Fink as one of the creators of that same podcast. Here in Alice Isn’t Dead, Fink establishes himself with a story that will delight readers from all over as well as leave them with questions and improbable answers as to what may/may not be going on out there. --Bud$16.00ISBN: 9780762463671Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Running Press Adult - June 19th, 2018
If this picture doesn't convince you, nothing will.
Everything about this book is wonderful. From a technical standpoint, the photos are gorgeous, and Marttila has a way of photographing each cat so that their individual personalities shine through.
Really, though, just look at the book. Do you need to be convinced?
--Kaley$16.00ISBN: 9780374537661Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: FSG Originals - October 16th, 2018
Destroy All Monsters is North Carolina author Jeff Jackson's debut with a major publisher (his previous novel Mira Corpora, a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year, was published by indie press Two Dollar Radio). This is a story about an epidemic of concert shootings, the death of rock and roll, small town living and growing up. For fans of: John Darnielle, David Lynch, Rachel Kushner. --Jason$17.00ISBN: 9781524760793Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Hogarth - March 6th, 2018
We first meet Cyril Avery in 1945 as he tells the story of his 16-year-old pregnant mother being denounced from the altar by the parish priest and kicked out of her rural Irish hometown. From his birth in Dublin, we experience Cyril’s life in seven year increments for the next 70 years. Cyril discovers that he is gay early in his life, and must endure the cruelty and hypocrisy of a society dominated by the Catholic Church. And while the book has plenty of tragedy and heartbreak, it is also one of the funniest books I have ever read. After enjoying his company for over 500 pages, I was truly sorry to say goodbye to Cyril. --Tony$16.00ISBN: 9780143133049Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Penguin Books - October 2nd, 2018
The hallmark of Simon Van Booy's writing is its precision. There is not a superfluous word in his work, yet he is able to convey the deepest emotion; the details of a landscape, the nuanced import of a sideways glance. If you've never read his work, I urge you to read this. And if you like it, please read his novel Everything Beautiful Began After - a brilliant work of literary fiction. P.S. He was one of Nancy Olsen's favorite authors. --Samantha$17.95ISBN: 9781487004071Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Ambrosia - August 7th, 2018
Sharon Blackie explores the philosophical and psychological history of disenchantment, and how Western society came to be so thoroughly and determinedly disenchanted with the world. In the face of the trauma this has caused (in the form of increasing rates of depression, anxiety, and physical manifestations of stress), she offers up an alternative: enchantment, or falling in love with the world and all its complexities. Don't underestimate this work. Blackie has a strong background in neuroscience and doesn't hesitate to dive into academic texts spanning psychology, philosophy, and folklore. --Kaley