Seward Park

Latest Staff Picks

I know what you need: cannibalistic children, a possessed daughter, a shady pharmacological conglomerate, some creepy android dolls, freak weather related events and the Swiss (the people, not the cheese). Good thing Moto Hagio’s Otherworld Barbara has all these unique features  or else you’d be stuck reading 2-3 different western horror stories and watching an M. Night Shyamalan movie to boot.

In Otherworld Barbara, follow Watarai, our young George Michael doppelganger and who serves as our requisite straight you enter with him into a rich family’s possessed daughter’s dream construct, a simple but pleasant enough rural island populated by what initially seems to be just some regular village folk. The kids here are alright too...except they can float around and people have some strange xenophobia towards outsiders.

But when the Island of Baraba starts cropping up in Watari’s real outside life in seemingly random ways he suspects it’s more than just serendipity...

Take your metaphorical corn chip and dip into layer after layer of storytelling so rich I am getting indigestion just thinking about it. With some throwbacks to Inception or Pan’s Labyrinth and enough dissociative females to shake a Murakami novel at, Otherworld Barbara doesn’t disappoint.

Recommendation: find a hermetically sealed container to store your disbelief while you read

Picked by Garrett

This collection of short stories drops you in at different points in time and warps reality. Sometimes comic, sometimes edged in darkness, Joaquin examines colonial history, myth, modern Philippines and diaspora, and the dynamics between generations and space. Totally refreshing to read modern Philippine literature.

Picked by Michelle

When I read a book that I enjoy, it always leaves me wanting to know the author better. Readers of Exit West will have that wish fulfilled with this autobiographical collection of essays from Hamid, subtitled "Dispatches from New York, Lahore and London." His reflections on Pakistan, thoughts on life as an emerging writer, and making pasta for Toni Morrison in his dorm room all contribute to a fuller picture of this exciting writer.

Picked by Bernie

In the untamed landscape of Alaska, anything can kill you. For the Allbright family, the wilderness represents a chance for a new beginning. But as thirteen year old Leni soon learns, her mother's unquestioned devotion to her father is more dangerous than the cold.

Picked by Jayson


It's hard for superheroes to make the leap from graphic novels to regular-flavor novels, but VE Schwab makes it look easy. In this world, superpowers come at a steep price and those who receive them are often cursed more than they are rewarded and no one seems to be better off for them. Vicious is a classic Good Vs Evil tale, except it is never quite certain who is good or evil or if, at the end of the day, it matters at all.

Picked by Rich

Pico Iyer has been one of our most insightful cultural observers, immersing himself in our new global culture. He has hung out with the Dalai Lama in Dharmsala and written about Kathmandu, Graham Greene and his adopted home in Kyoto. In this essay taken from his TED talk, Iyer explores our need for finding a still place in the midst of our lives. He examines the monastic roots in religious traditions and shares how he carves out the quiet place we all need in a busy modern life. 

Picked by Bernie

Girls are super scientists too! This series dips into the basics of the scientific process and the natural world with fun friends like neighborly monsters and a curious, lively cat! Perfect for grades 1-3.

Picked by Michelle

This! Book! Is! Important!!!

In this day and age of "newsworthy" [sexual] harrassment and assault, consent is a subject that seems to be shrouded in mystery and confusion. But fear not! What Does Consent Really Mean is an easily understood guide to consent (in comic format!) that should be read by everyone, especially if you're a young adult, someone who has difficulties saying no when uncomfortable with a situation you're in, or if you're a cis male. Sorry (not sorry) guys, gotta call you out and keep you accountable and all that.

Picked by Avery

Akwaeke Emezi's harrowing, challenging debut novel depicts its central character's struggle with mental illness through the lens of Nigerian folklore. The Ogbanje are a traditionally recognized cadre of "evil" spirits who invade Nigerian families in order to destroy them. In Freshwater, a collection of these spirits attach themselves to Ada, a young Nigerian immigrant, seducing her into a cycle of divine self-destruction.

After a traumatic incident in early childhood involving a poisonous snake, Ada finds she can communicate (not always voluntarily) with a host of spirits who have infiltrated her mind and self. Traveling to the U.S. to attend college, Ada is assaulted by a boyfriend. In response, a single entity named Asughara differentiates itself from the mass of others, and begins a kind of domineering, possessive romance with Ada. Like an abusive lover, Asughara coaxes and berates Ada into radical coping behaviors, demands sacrifices, and imposes strictures on Ada's human relationships. At the same time, Ada and Asughara become intimate friends, affirmations of one another -- two godlike creatures alone in the world of humans, caged and frustrated by their shared inability to exist in the full flower of their being.

It's only March, but I can already tell this is one of the best novels I'll read in 2018.I can't wait to see what this author does next.

Picked by Devon