Staff Picks by Tag

Staff Pick Badge
Red at the Bone: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525535287
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Riverhead Books - September 1st, 2020

Told in sparse paragraphs but with full language, like only the best bits you underline in a book. Woodson weaves together the many stories of a multi-generational black family as, across time, everyone navigates their own relationship with identity, gentrification, parenthood, class, and that red-to-the-bone feeling that comes with love.


Review by Emily

Staff Pick Badge
To Keep the Sun Alive Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781948226769
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Catapult - January 21st, 2020

It is 1979, and the Islamic Revolution is at the doorstep of one family's fruit orchard in Northeastern Iran. The simplicity of family life becomes more difficult to maintain as each character's path becomes more complex by the risk of losing love, duty, traditions, and their safety. Not necessarily a light read, but a rich, lyrical story. 

 


Review by Kelly

Staff Pick Badge
Pretend I'm Dead: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781501194429
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Scribner - January 8th, 2019

This book spoke to me like it had a bullhorn. Weird and, at times, disturbing but not just for the sake of being weird and, at times, disturbing. Mona has her heart broken by Mr. Disgusting then moves to New Mexico to become a maid and...dun dun dun...looks through her clients' stuff while also cleaning out some of her own skeletons. Goodreads touts her as a combination of Mary Karr and Miranda July which I wholeheartedly agree. It feels like hearing from a friend but one of those friends you're not totally sure you like but want to hear more from, you know? Read the sequel, Vacuum in the Dark, to see what happens next!

 


Review by Emily

Staff Pick Badge
Fiebre Tropical Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781936932757
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Amethyst Editions - March 4th, 2020

One of the best queer stories I've read in a long time. A young Colombian girl is uprooted from her home and moves to Miami with her family. Her mom becomes a member of a local Evangelical church and pushes her reluctant daughter to join her. Things begin to really unfold when our main character begins to fall for the pastor's daughter. I can't recommend this novel enough! 


Review by Rosa

Staff Pick Badge
Whiteout Conditions Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781937512910
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Two Dollar Radio - March 17th, 2020

This impish debut is brief and dizzying, the literary equivalent of a whippit. Modern malaise has never felt so sly and despite the book's lack of physical heft (clocking in at 115 pages), it is heavy on charm. 

 


Review by Wesley

Staff Pick Badge
Heathcliff Redux: A Novella and Stories Cover Image
$23.00
ISBN: 9780802147592
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - February 4th, 2020

Tuck is a master of minimalist refinement. Her prose is pared down and looks almost skeletal on the page but the mood and keen observations that swims in the blank spaces are shrewd and seductive.

Pure grace.


Review by Wesley

Staff Pick Badge
Sharks in the Time of Saviors: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780374272081
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: MCD - March 3rd, 2020

The Hawaiian motto of “Ohana Over Everything” sums up this beautiful debut novel by Kawai Strong Washburn. This is a family that swims off the page into real life. As the son of Native Hawaiians from the Big Island myself, I often felt like the children of this novel. I understood Dean’s rebellion, I felt Kaui’s search for purpose, and I rooted wholeheartedly for Nanoa’s ambitious spirit to save the family. This is the Hawaiian novel I’ve long waited for.


Review by Kalani

Staff Pick Badge
Everywhere You Don't Belong Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9781616208790
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Algonquin Books - February 4th, 2020

Bump writes from his own childhood experience on the South Side of Chicago. It’s a heartfelt story with familiar themes of family, love, and growing up, but from a completely unique voice – one that will endear you to main character Claude McKay and one that needs to be heard.

 Pair it with Margo Jefferson’s Negroland a memoir, also about growing up, decades earlier and in another part of Chicago, as an affluent African-American. Two illuminating and unforgettable portrayals of race in the U.S.


Review by Elisabeth

Staff Pick Badge
Ghost Wall: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781250234957
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Picador - December 31st, 2019

How mystifying the customs of ancient peoples seem to us... but how far removed are we, really?

Sylvie and her parents join a small university class on "a summer experience" living as Iron Age Britons may have. As prehistoric tasks become more intuitive to the group, so do the rituals they once thought horrific.

This unassuming wisp of a book belies the disquieting story within.

"I shivered. Of course that was the whole point of the re-enactment, that we ourselves became the ghosts, learning to walk the land as they walk it two thousand years ago."


Review by Sarah R

Staff Pick Badge
Vera Violet Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781640092327
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Counterpoint LLC - February 4th, 2020

Hot with violent urgency, and shrouded in the moss and fog of the rural Northwest, Vera Violet opens with the eponymous Vera on the run someplace deep in Montana, and does not let up until the final page. In between is something like the root system of a tall cedar, or the wiring Harness on an old pickup: tangled at first glance, but intricate as soon as you start to trace it. This is an unforgettable novel.


Review by Sam

Pages