Ravenna

Latest Staff Picks

This profoundly moving novel begins in 1973 and spans four decades, covering the lives of two families, who live next door to each other just north of New York City. The fathers were rookie cops together and briefly partners, before their paths diverged. When the children are nearing high school age, tragedy strikes and what had seemed an idyllic life in a quiet neighborhood is thrown into disarray. Mary Beth Keane deftly deals with issues such as mental health, alcoholism and immigration while treating her well-drawn characters with kindness. One of my favorite books of the year.

Picked by Mark B.

A Lucky Man was one of the best books of fiction I read, and then some, in the year of its debut. Brinkley can illuminate and expose seemingly any corner of humanity, with equal compassion and precision. His writing is so powerful and graceful at once that it feels balletic, with a dancer's way of making an incredible feat seem simple and easy.

Picked by Christina

The River ebbs and pulls the reader along, sometimes ambling, sometimes with a violent force. On the surface, it's a survival story about college friends Jack and Wynn on a canoe trip who must race to safety while a raging forest fire follows in their wake. It's a surival story, but like all good stories, there's a deeper meaning behind Heller's surface narrative. It's about grief, it's about love, and it's about the relationships that make our time in this world worth fighting for. The River has a quiet grace only a seasoned author can provide. I'm looking forward to reading more from Peter Heller and I would strongly encourage you pick this one up.

Picked by Halley

Fred Riley has a problem: her girlfriend, Laura Dean? Terrible. A beautiful, terrible flake. Also, she keeps breaking up with Fred. But Fred loves Laura Dean because Laura Dean, impossibly, chose her. Fred struggles to balance the hurtful, manipulative things Laura Dean does with the depth of her love, knowing she's stuck in a vicious cycle but feeling powerless to break free. How can she ever stop loving Laura Dean? Valero-O'Connell's gorgeous, sherbet-colored art and Mariko Tamaki's writing, always true to the complex emotions of her characters, combine to make a beautiful queer coming of age story.

Picked by Christina

The complicated things are easy and the simple things are hard. This is a book of reminders that life is simple, that recognizing this is our practice, and that practice is hard to do. Written as a conversation and organized as essays, this is the book to dip into, pause, and notice our day.

Picked by Alex

Seattle-based cartoonist Simon Hanselmann’s Meg Mogg & Owl is as hilarious, moving, and as gleefully filthy as ever in this latest installment of the ultimate slacker soap opera. Bad Gateway further chronicles the squalid existences of a lovable cast of degenerates, who just happen to be a witch, a cat (dating the witch), a put-upon owl and a drug-dealing werewolf. Depravity abounds. I don’t know. Just try it.

Picked by Theo

Unfurling like an deliriously convoluted yet impeccably timed joke, Adam Ehrlich Sachs's first novel maps the conversations between a skeptical German polymath and a blind (and possibly insane) astronomer who, aided by an impossibly large telescope, accurately predicts a solar eclipse in 1666. If you yearn for the wiley, cerebral pranksterism of Pynchon a la The Crying of Lot 49, or if book-length comic riffs on epistemology are your bag, this book is for you.

Picked by Theo

My City shows that even the simplest errand can be full of discovery, if you aren't too busy to notice. Max is on a mission to deliver a letter, and every step of his journey reveals some small wonder: bright colors dancing in a laundromat window, the world mirrored in a puddle, the sky's shifting hues at sunset. Every time I open this book I find something new to marvel at, right alongside Max.

Picked by Theo

This is not your great aunt’s romance novel; this is as if Queer Eye did a makeover on the 2016 Presidential Election and the result is tender, funny, suspenseful, political, and super hot. I haven't read a romance in decades, so I wasn't sure I'd finish this book, much less stay up until 1 am to do it. I expected to blush, but I didn't expect that I’d also laugh out loud, cry, and at the end, feel more hopeful than I have in months. Give it a try. This is the light summer read you’ve been looking for.

Picked by Dana