Ravenna

Latest Staff Picks

This is not a screed about the destruction and moral decay of society. Lanier argues that individuals have a right to be authentic and that a way to do so is to unplug from social media. Lanier's arguments aren't without holes, but they do a great job explaining what social media is, how it functions, where its led us, and that there's another way. The Internet is a public good best experienced by the individual on their own terms. As Lanier states early on: "This book is about how to be a cat."

Picked by Alex

I loved Be Prepared. It brought me back to summers when I was a kid. It deals with important stuff in such a wonderful way. Vera struggles to fit in at school. She hopes that summer camp with other kids who have the same Russian background as she does will be help her finally feel like she belongs somewhere. Of course things don't go as planned and she has difficulty navigating new friends and what it really means to be a friend. We've all stepped into these muddy waters and it was such a refreshing and sweet look at ways to overcome struggles with belonging. Young, old, and everyone in between will fall in love with Vera's big heart.

Picked by Patti H.

This book is a meditation, a philosophical treatise, an interrogation of the way humans experience time. And let me tell you, we've got it all wrong. With carefully balanced blocks of reasoning and scientific theories, Rovelli builds a new understanding of the way we hold memory, history, each moment. You don't have to be a scientist or a philosopher to embrace this book, you only have to be human.

Picked by Dana

Near Cleveland, Harit comes home from work every night and puts on his dead sister's clothing, pretending that she's still alive for his sick mother. Ranjana spends hours writing paranormal romance novels, trying to grapple with the thought that her husband might be cheating on her. As Ranjana and Harit's paths cross, they begin one of those weird, wonderful oddball friendships that upsets everything that once seemed impossible to change. This is a sweet novel that tells the story of how they each came to be so lonely, and how infinitely variable loneliness can be, and I loved Satyal's wry portrait of the selfishness and generous compassion that can coexist in relationships.

Picked by Christina

When Ruth is visiting her parents for Christmas, her mother asks her to stay for a year to help care for her father, who is starting to suffer the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s. Meanwhile, Ruth is trying to find her own footing, after her fiancée left her for another woman. Goodbye, Vitamin is narrated by Ruth in short diary-like entries that are often very funny, but by the end of the book these vignettes add up to a moving chronicle of familial love, as Ruth finds meaning and connection in some unexpected places. Goodbye, Vitamin sneaks up on you and may have you laughing out loud and then bring you to tears on the same page!

Rachel Khong was the managing editor then executive editor of Lucky Peach magazine from 2011 to 2016. Goodbye, Vitamin is her first novel.

Picked by Mark B.
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Agony Cover Image
By Mark Beyer, Colson Whitehead (Introduction by)
$15.95

Reading Mark Beyer's Agony is a uniquely surreal and exhilarating experience. Beyer--a giant within the world of underground comics who once regularly graced the pages of Art Spiegelman's RAW magazine--draws with childlike abandon and tells stories (and jokes) like a man with a lifetime of suffering under his belt. I could try to say more about this book's bizarre charms, but the excellent introduction from Colson Whitehead does a much better job than I ever could. I'll just say: this is a book to tickle your funny bone and haunt your dreams.

Picked by Theo

I read Deadendia poolside in 95 degree weather. I couldn't tell you if I even broke a sweat because I was completely swept away from the first panel. Norma, Barney, and dog Pugsley work the haunted house at Dead End theme park. Is the house really haunted? No. It just happens to be a portal to all levels of demon and angel worlds. Deadendia is filled to the brim with loveable and diverse characters, adventure, humor and real heart. I finished it wanting more. The Scooby Doo kid in me will be rereading this one for years to come.

Picked by Halley

Mad Boy -- set in the War of 1812 -- is a rollicking adventure that often veers into the surreal. Ten-year-old Henry Phipps’ mother has died, and he aims to fulfill her wish to be buried at sea, surrounded by family. He is also determined to scrape up the funds to free his father from debtor’s prison and to find out whether his brother Franklin has truly been shot for desertion from the American army. There are crazy characters aplenty, exciting battle scenes and wild humor that will have you excitedly turning pages to find out all it all ends.

Picked by Mark B.

Beautifully-written, heart-breaking, suspenseful, impossible to put down. Hisham Matar's The Return follows the author's quest to find out the fate of his father -- a vocal critic of the Gaddafi regime in Libya, taken from his home with the cooperation of Egyptian police. Although this story has strains of political intrigue, it will resonate personally with anyone who has experienced grief. This book, like few others, really does have something for everyone.

Picked by James