Staff Picks by Tag

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salt slow Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9781250224774
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Flatiron Books - October 8th, 2019

With the recent trend of short story collections exploring the darker parts of womanhood, it can be difficult to dedicate your time to one book out of all the overwhelming options. However, Armfield's descent into body horror, queer desire, and personal monstrosity stands out due to the delicious decay surrounding her prose. Perfect for fans of Daisy Johnson and Carmen Maria Machado. 


Review by Sarah C.

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A Lucky Man: Stories Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555978433
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Graywolf Press - June 4th, 2019

A Lucky Man was one of the best books of fiction I read, and then some, in the year of its debut. Brinkley can illuminate and expose seemingly any corner of humanity, with equal compassion and precision. His writing is so powerful and graceful at once that it feels balletic, with a dancer's way of making an incredible feat seem simple and easy.


Review by Christina

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Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory: Stories Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9781524732011
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Knopf - June 11th, 2019

Funny, dark and often absurd, this debut collection of short stories from the creator of the hit animated series "BoJack Horseman" is a winner. There is heartbreak aplenty, a door into a parallel universe and a theme park, featuring the U.S. presidents with large foam heads. But for me, the goat-infused wedding at the heart of "A Most Blessed and Auspicious Occasion" was itself worth the price of admission.


Review by Mark B.

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The Inner Room Cover Image
$7.00
ISBN: 9780571351770
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Faber & Faber - August 6th, 2019

Small investment, big payoff.  Aickman has long been an undervalued and out of print author but is now experiencing a small revival, and this novelette is an ideal place to start.  Like much of Aickman, "The Inner Room" is an entrancing seduction, an impossible mystery, and a melancholy siren song.  Here memory, psychology, and the external world overlap and confound one another.  This is neo-romanticism at its best, shrugging aside the mundane to expose a secret entrance to unfathomable and hazardous depths.  Though often characterized as "horror," it's much better to label such Aickman stories as literary dark fantasy--or to use his own term: "strange stories."


Review by Adam

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Everything Inside: Stories Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780525521273
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Knopf - August 27th, 2019

The epigraph of Edwidge Danticat's new story collection generously claims that everyone experiences diaspora, as we are exiled from our mother's body as soon as we are born. What follows are stories that strive to prove its' universality with equal attention to tenderness and brutality. In this collection that lingers on family and death, she has tapped directly into the core of human experience. This book will make you cry, probably in public, so prepare accordingly.


Review by Kitri

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The Best of Richard Matheson Cover Image
By Richard Matheson, Victor LaValle (Editor), Victor LaValle (Introduction by)
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143130178
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Penguin Classics - October 10th, 2017

Do you like the Twilight Zone? Of course you do. But you might not know Richard Matheson. And you should, because arguably the most iconic episodes were adapted from his masterfully-written short fiction. Each story is so tightly crafted as to border on pulp, each ending twists with a stinger that demands your return. If I'm on a plane: 1) I have a Richard Matheson collection in my carry on and 2) I'm not going to look at the wing of the plane. Yeah. He wrote that. 


Review by Dean

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You Know You Want This:
$24.99
ISBN: 9781982101633
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Gallery/Scout Press - January 15th, 2019

Maybe you already know her short story "Cat Person," which captured a modern feeling—one that has barely begun to be put in print—so well I felt it in my body. There's more of those sickeningly visceral moments in this collection. The stories feel like urban legends stretched into something else, something you feel in the pit of your stomach and taste at the back of your mouth. 


Review by Kitri

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Burning Secret (Pushkin Collection) Cover Image
By Stefan Zweig, Anthea Bell (Translated by)
$6.99
ISBN: 9781782274520
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Pushkin Press - June 26th, 2018

Zweig here captures two striking truths. First, the transition from child to adult comes not by steady gradualism but in catalytic episodes in which the membrane between the two worlds thins by means of betrayal, violence (emotional and otherwise), and critical acts of independence. Second, a shocking number of life's Big Moments would entirely resemble cheap melodrama if not for the transmuting--almost alchemical--effect these moments initiate deep in the souls of innocent parties who are snared in the drama's orbit. A compulsive read!


Review by Adam

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Mothers: Stories Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780374213664
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - January 15th, 2019

Chris Power made his literary bones as a critic, writing the long-running series "A Brief Survey of the Short Story" for the Guardian. It's no surprise, then, that the stories in his debut collection are marked by a quiet mastery of the form, as assured as it is unassuming. They tend to center on characters who could be described as searchers: travelers and tourists driven by mysterious motives, looking to cure some elusive lack in their lives. All this enigma rewards careful reading; the more you strain to understand these variously broken people, the more apparent the quality of the prose becomes. And as if all that wasn't enough, the book gets extra credit for having one of my favorite dust jacket designs in recent memory.


Review by Theo

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Tales from the Inner City Cover Image
By Shaun Tan, Shaun Tan (Illustrator)
$24.99
ISBN: 9781338298406
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Arthur A. Levine Books - September 25th, 2018

Tales From the Inner City is short story collection by the beloved artist Shaun Tan, where crocodiles live on the 87th floor, men turn into frogs, and snails fall in love. His world is our world slightly altered by small detail. Through Tan's unique imagination and breathtaking art, he investigates our deeply relational coexistence with animals. They occupy our imagination in fantastic and ordinary ways (just like his stories). I haven't been able to shake the otherworldly fugue I encountered in Tales from the Inner City and I think everyone will enjoy dipping their toes in Tan's stories.


Review by Halley

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