Ravenna

Latest Staff Picks

First off Daniel Wallace is a favorite author of mine and I was super excited about his newest endeavor. While this is quite a bit different than Big Fish, I adored this book! Being stuck in the mundane routine of life is a place many of us have experienced at one time or another. Edsel Bronfman is no different except for the fact that mediocrity has defined his life so far. Having the courage to step out of himself, take chances, and choose to be uncomfortable was inspiring and a good kick in the pants for me. This quiet and powerful story has stuck with me and I couldn't be more thankful for having read it.

Picked by Patti H.

I chose this title as my staff pick when it was published in hardcover but perhaps the price was a deterrent. Now that Versions of Us is in paperback I am renewing my praise for this amazing first novel. Laura Barnett has written a smart, entertaining and ultimately extremely moving novel of how the choices made create the life and how a slightly different choice may lead to another life. Versions of Us posits three different roads diverging from a single chance meeting between a young man and woman. The roads are different, the love is real and the disappointments are real as well.

Picked by Michael

A beautiful and strange short story collection by a northwest author. Reading this book is a jarring experience: it forces you to imagine Seattle post-earthquake, for example. But it's also very funny, and at times downright weird. My favorite story of the collection is about a Californian woman who is convinced that a man at an auto factory in Detroit is pushing a button to make the items in her kitchen drawers fall to the ground in the morning.

Get lost with octopuses in space, time travelers (or immortal people, it's unclear) at the end of the world, and memories so vivid you couldn't have made them up-- except you did.

Picked by James

Peculiar Aunt Fanny goes out to the garden after a funeral. When she returns, she claims to the rest of the family that she saw the ghost of her father and he has a warning: the end of the world is coming and only those who stay in the Halloran House will survive.

Ghosts. A creepy mansion. Family drama. End of the world. Complex and devious characters. This book has all the things I like. Shirley Jackson is an absolute master at the details and her characters are always interesting (to say the least). This lesser known novel is quintessential Jackson and not to be missed!

Picked by Halley

The Book of Joan is a savage love letter to the human race. In this seemingly prescient, post-apocalyptic tale, a cruel ex-talk show host controls the (upper) world world while a Kali-esque Joan (of Arc) lives beneath scorched earth. Christine, who lives in the upper world, inscribes Joan story on her pale body, and when the two women meet, change happens. Give this gorgeously-written speculative novel a read. You'll be transported.

Picked by Dana

Discover Knut Hamsun, whose work influenced such writers as Maxim Gorky, Thomas Mann, Isaac Bashevis Singer and Paul Auster.

Lieutenant Thomas Glahn lives in a cabin with his dog Aesop in the woods bordering a nearby village. He survives by his hunting skills and prefers the natural world to the world of men, but he grows lonely and attempts to relate to the townspeople. He falls in love with Edvarda Mack, daughter of the local squire, but the nearly sociopathic Glahn is odd and he sabotages his own desires. I've read this book twice and the impression it left on me returns again and again. I am constantly handselling Pan, so I decided to make it my June staff pick.

Picked by Mark B.

On the surface, this is a book about horses. Beneath, it is about everything else. Family, racism, social mores, love, loyalty, a nation's history, hate, friendship, and, yes, horse races. Morgan provides too much content packaged in beautiful prose, leaving you devastated and desiring more.

Picked by Alex

The Diabolic is true SF for young adults and was terrific fun. It felt like a breath of fresh air and I raced through it. Nemesis was made to serve and protect only one. Bound to a single human, she is thought incapable of loving anyone or anything else. When she must hide her true nature and dupe the emperor himself she discovers a new capacity to explore how truly human she really is. The Diabolic is full of amazing tech, political intrigue, and characters that I grew attached to. This is one that adults and teens alike will eat up!

Picked by Patti H.

In 2014 Peter Miller owner of the eponymous book shop gave us Lunch at the Shop, a fresh, simple and delicious book devoted to creating lunch for those of us at work. Now he is back with a second effort, Five Ways to Cook Asparagus. If Lunch at the Shop was about eating well at work, Five Ways is about creating interesting, delicious and often simple meals at the end of the work day. Organized around groups of five (admittedly more than a bit arbitrary) Peter takes the reader through the week proceeding from simple to complicated (weekend meals). Five things to have in the larder, five ways to cook vegetables, and on. There are enough lip smacking recipes here to take the cook through many, many weeknights.

Picked by Michael