Staff Picks by Tag

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Letter to a Stranger: Essays to the Ones Who Haunt Us By Colleen Kinder (Editor), Leslie Jamison (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Colleen Kinder (Editor), Leslie Jamison (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781643751245
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Algonquin Books - March 22nd, 2022

Concept: Write a letter to a stranger. Maybe you caught their name, maybe they will forever be a mystery but essentially a person who passed by your life only fleetingly. Yet they haunt you, you've never forgotten them. What would that letter say?

Product: This book! 

Review by Emily

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Distant Fathers By Marina Jarre, Ann Goldstein (Translator) Cover Image
By Marina Jarre, Ann Goldstein (Translator)
Unavailable at this time.
ISBN: 9781939931948
Published: New Vessel Press - June 22nd, 2021

A Memoir of facism, childhood, and then motherhood in early 20th century Italy, written in a unique, pointillist style made famous (relatively speaking) by the stylings of Annie Ernaux or the fiction of Renata Adler. Jarre's speciality is writing the unspoken peculiarities of childhood. Read the first paragraph and tell me you wouldn't read 200 pages of Jarre's work. An immense story of a life. 

Review by Spencer R.

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The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation By Anna Malaika Tubbs Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250756138
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Flatiron Books - December 28th, 2021

We all know who Marin Luther King, Malcolm X and James Baldwin were, but little has been written about their mothers. The women who raised them and instilled in each an unwavering passion to raise their voices against injustice. Each woman and their lives were different, but they were all instrumental in their sons lives. This book is a tribute to them and all mothers. 

Review by Sue

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Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life By Lulu Miller Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501160349
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 6th, 2021

At her absolute lowest, Lulu Miller becomes obsessed with early president of Stanford and famed ichthyologist David Starr Jordan. This part-memoir-part-biography is a touching story about struggling with mental health and how we cope in the face of chaos. It's a scientific history lesson on how fish taxonomy influenced the imagined hierarchy of human genetics. It's also a murder mystery. And if you're wondering if fish exist, I promise your question will be answered (they definitely don't)!

Review by Jess

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Crying in H Mart: A Memoir By Michelle Zauner Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984898951
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Vintage - March 28th, 2023

Like author Michelle Zauner, I also lost a parent in 2014. While reading Crying in the H Mart I was vividly transported back to that time through Zauner's careful writing, reliving the same pain and grief, but also feeling the powerful love of family that emerges from such difficult times. This is a beautiful, emotional memoir that captures the heartbreak of losing a parent perfectly.

Review by Kalani

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Serving the Servant: Remembering Kurt Cobain By Danny Goldberg Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062861665
Availability: Out of stock, usually available in 3-10 days
Published: Ecco - April 28th, 2020

Danny Goldberg was more than a band manager to Nirvana but a friend and confidant, especially to Kurt Cobain, at the height of their career. He is able to share the good and the bad, without idolizing or demonizing Cobain, in this look behind the music scene of the early nineties punk rock and grunge surge. So sit back, maybe unplug with Unplugged in the background, and enjoy.

Review by Emily

The Power Notebooks By Katie Roiphe Cover Image
Unavailable at this time.
ISBN: 9781982128012
Published: Free Press - March 3rd, 2020

When Roiphe isn't unflinchingly examining her own flaws as what our society wants a woman to be, she is picking apart the very essence of femininity. Occasionally I felt skewered by the barbs she hurls heedlessly into the void, but ultimately I felt empowered to be my own flawed self and appreciate my power, be it soft, hard, or something altogether different.

Review by Kitri

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My Autobiography of Carson McCullers: A Memoir By Jenn Shapland Cover Image
ISBN: 9781947793286
Availability: Out of stock, usually available in 3-10 days
Published: Tin House Books - February 4th, 2020

If you’ve ever read the title of Carson McCullers’ seminal work “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter” and thought: “I’ve just read the most beautiful poem, written for me”—if you’ve ever done that—maybe you should pick up this book. 

Shapland deftly writes about closeted queer desire, her own coming to terms with herself, and McCullers vs. the coded language she has long been shrouded in. 

I don’t know where to put this magnificent  book—but maybe it belongs with you. 

Review by Kitri

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Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White By Michael Tisserand Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061733000
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Harper Perennial - November 13th, 2018

Krazy Kat remains a marvel even more than a century after its debut. Anarchic and wondrous, it stands among the most innovative and influential strips in all of comics history.

But my staff pick isn't Krazy Kat, it's Krazy by Michael Tisserand: a richly detailed and endlessly compelling biography of the strip's visionary creator, George Herriman. From the complex racial politics of New Orleans to the hyper-competitive world of newspaper comics publishing, Tisserand deftly lays out the cultural and historical contexts that informed Herriman's brilliance.

Review by Theo

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Solitary: A Biography (National Book Award Finalist; Pulitzer Prize Finalist) By Albert Woodfox Cover Image
Unavailable at this time.
ISBN: 9780802129086
Published: Grove Press - March 5th, 2019

In 2016, Albert Woodfox was released from prison after years of campaigning by activists, judges, politicians, and members of the Angola Three support network. Framed for the murder of a prison guard along with two other Black Panther Party members, he'd been kept in solitary confinement for over 40 years due to a system of falsified accusations and sabotaged appeals involving collusion at high levels of government and judiciary. Radicalized in prison, Woodfox drew immense strength and determination from the principles of the Black Panther Party; in every cell block, he worked to eradicate violence, materially improve conditions, practice liberation, and call for change. In these pages, his goal is not just to tell his incredible story, but to educate us about the many ways mass incarceration and police brutality are used as a weapon against Black communities.

Review by Christina