Ravenna

Latest Staff Picks

This book is truly amazing! I had the good fortune to get to hear this lovely author speak at my son's school and I learned so much. Not only will you discover a ton about how cool bees are but you will also be able to make a real bee hive! Mason bees are all around us, don't sting, and are vital helpers to gardens. This book is full of fun experiments, fascinating info and did I mention you get to make a bee hive! Using the cover and paper supplies in the back the bee hive is simple and easy to make and the bees will come to you. Check it out!

Picked by Patti H.

How--and why, and to what ends--do we tell stories about addiction and recovery? Whose stories get to be about the troubled genius, and who do we write off as a fiend, a criminal, or a bad mother? These are among the questions Leslie Jamison pursues in her far-reaching and gorgeously written new book, The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath. Pivoting between memoir, biography, and literary criticism, Jamison draws on a host of sources (including her own experiences with drinking and sobriety) to interrogate the myths and the romance that cloud our view of the intersection of addiction and art.

Picked by Theo

I'm not a physicist or a mathematician, but I've always been drawn to the Big Questions. This book is just filled with Big Questions and lots of humor. Whiteson and Cham explain in layman's terms and with cute comics, the five percent about the universe that we do know, while opening up the readers' minds to the 95 percent of the universe that we are still stumped by. They explain how we might tackle these still unanswered questions and give us hope with the fact that we have managed to learn so much about our universe in just the last few hundred years.

Picked by Mark B.

An engaging coming-of-age novel is alright. Nothing wrong with them, of course, but they come along so often that I can usually take or leave them. This is an engaging coming-of-age novel with the right dash of humor, and the right dash of linguistic and existential philosophy. It features an anger-inducing and sympathetic cast of characters, who inspired in me a powerful emotional reaction, because they felt exactly like the anger-inducing, sympathetic characters I knew in college, and you did, too.

Picked by James

Madeline Miller is back, people! Even if you've never dabbled in that rich pool of high drama known as Greek mythology, her retelling of the goddess Circe's life will have you hunting for more. Miller brings fresh life to new and well-known characters alike. That and her superb storytelling had me hooked from start to finish. Circe is a character I knew very little about, but her story plays so much into what we know and love about Greek myth. You know a book is good when you plan your day around when you can read it.

Picked by Halley

I heard Luis Alberto Urrea talk on the radio about the seeds of this book. He spoke about recent losses with humor, affection, and sincere appreciation for the messiness of life. This new novel centers around a final birthday party for Miguel Angel de La Cruz, a character loosely based on Urrea's big brother, complicated by their mother's death two weeks before. This is a perfect setting for flashbacks that fill in the story, and an unexpected writer adds depth to the tale. Give it a try.

Picked by Dana

I'm on a mystery kick these days and it's going swimmingly because, well, there's loads of great books out there I haven't read. You may be familiar with the feeling! Rachel Howzell Hall's Detective Elouise Norton series began in 2014 and now there's four books in the series, each an exciting addition to the pantheon of southern California noir. In Land of Shadows, the first book, Lou is paired with a new partner and begins investigating the murder of a young black girl that may be tied to the disappearance of her sister. Hall's books combine twisted plots, crisp social commentary, and a fully realized main character (with humor, actual friends, and real family commitments!)

Picked by Christina

I need you to read this book because: It's an excellent historical spy story. Furst knows his locations, from the Balkan States to NYC, bringing to life a cast of characters. But more importantly I need you to read this book because I have questions. Seriously: a minor-seeming detail discovered early takes a plain-seeming ending and makes it insidious. Did you catch it? Am I reading too closely? Night Soldiers is great because Furst turns the reader into a Spy.

Picked by Alex

Sean Rubin's debut graphic novel Bolivar is a great idea beautifully realized: What if a single dinosaur not only survived extinction, but made his home in Manhattan's Upper West Side, living off corned beef sandwiches and buying copies of the New Yorker from the newsstand each month? What if everyone in the city--except a young girl named Sybil--is simply too busy to notice their prehistoric neighbor? Heightening this playfully absurd premise is Sean Rubin's art, replete with a level of detail and visual wit that captures all the chaos and whimsy of city life. Bolivar will thrill readers of all ages, and its hybrid comic/picture book style makes it particularly well suited for young readers new to graphic novels.

Picked by Theo