Seward Park

Latest Staff Picks

This is a collection of twelve short stories about life in rural West Virginia. The stories are achingly raw; the writing is beautiful. Pancake's work remains the most authentic representation of the Appalachian spirit that I have ever read.

Picked by Jayson

Catalina made me homesick for Southern California in a bittersweet, kind of absurd way. Not because of its opulent locations or its obsession with pharmaceuticals and day-drinking. Rather, strangely, the book made me feel nostalgic for SoCal's creeping foundational rot, and the weird culture of glamorous possibility that allows everyone to willfully ignore it.

Los Angeles and its satellites are the perfect backdrop for the novel's dissection of hetero-feminine sexuality, so often presented as a fetish object or sleek vehicle of personal liberation, but here turned violently and subtly inward, devouring its unwilling hosts.

Picked by Devon

Magic and pirates and sharpshooters and secret societies, oh my! The Reader is a fantastical book (and a book-in-a-book) with hidden messages and spectacular details throughout, combined with a fascinating story in a world where books do not exist, and where the written word holds power unseen and unknown by most. A good mixture of action, adventure, and self reflection that makes this more than just another mindless fantasy.

Picked by Avery

I am reading this amazing memoir which won the Pulitzer in 1998 and inspired the screenplay of the current movie, The Post. Graham’s story is so relevant now as she gives a personal account of what it was like for a woman to play a pivotal role in the political landscape of the country dominated by men. She had an insider view to history and made some of it with her decision to expose how the government misrepresented the failure of the Vietnam War, and to pursue the Washington Post’s Watergate investigation.  

Picked by Bernie

For the travel, culture, and classic literature lover! Let’s critique prejudice, exoticism, and naive benevolence.

Picked by Michelle

Nagabe’s illustrations are like you just woke from a dream, as if everything’s still slightly out of focus around the edges, which juxtapositions the textural definition and high contrast rare among most manga...

But what you really stay for is the story: why are these dead bodies around? Who was the “Teacher” before he was cursed? Why was the girl, Shiva, left in the woods? Don’t expect all these questions to be answered in this volume one, but do expect to be immediately thrown aback at the gorgeous illustrations and emotionally impactful storytelling. 

Picked by Garrett

Though his subject may be beaten like a dead horse, Ullrich’s composition is much more akin to a live -bucking horse. Drawing on a wide spectrum of scholarly text, propaganda and anecdotes Ullrich sets out to extinguish the half-truths and urban legends surrounding the evil dictator’s rise all the while highlighting the more “human” and fallible qualities of Hitler's pre and post WWI life. Overall, this biography accomplishes its goal and is thought provoking enough to make you question your own relationship with today's socio-political environment.

Picked by Garrett

An Italian classic, this is the freaky, fantastic story of a mystery illness sweeping, howling, screaming through town. Part horror story, part social criticism in old-timey language. Good for fans of Camus, Lovecraft, Walpole. 

Picked by Michelle
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Such Small Hands Cover Image
By Andres Barba, Lisa Dillman (Translator), Edmund White (Afterword by)

A dreamlike exploration of abuse that reads like a fairy tale and feels like a vintage European horror film. Difficult to read in places, but there's some great material here about the struggle to verbalize trauma, and the process via which failure to do so can lead to acts of violence.

cw: abuse, bullying, sexual assault

Picked by Devon