Staff Picks by Tag

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Tacky: Love Letters to the Worst Culture We Have to Offer By Rax King Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780593312728
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Vintage - November 2nd, 2021

In the words of Melissa Lozada-Olivia, "this bitch has me crying to Creed." But that's what King does throughout her essay collection by perfectly balancing the social commentary on pop culture, what's deemed "tacky" and perhaps shameful, with the personal struggles of enjoying what you want to enjoy. Tackling her friendships and relationships and her need to be the sexually available cool girl, she ties it effortlessly to cultural artifacts such as Jersey Shore, warm vanilla sugar, Hot Topic, the Sims, and the American shopping mall. For those who grew up in the 2000s, take this trip down memory lane.


Review by Emily

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Sometimes I Trip On How Happy We Could Be By Nichole Perkins Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781538702741
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Grand Central Publishing - August 17th, 2021

Yes!!! So real and honest on topics like sex, relationships, being black, how a slightly picky list of must-haves in a partner has changed over the years, did I mention sex? Normalizing conversations about pleasure, normalizing not being partnered at a certain age, all from the female perspective, really brought things to the forefront and I enjoyed how fun she could be while still taking it seriously. I know she wouldn't make me dinner but I'd love to be there when she had leftovers.

 


Review by Emily

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A Ghost in the Throat By Doireann Ní Ghríofa Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781771964111
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Biblioasis - June 1st, 2021

One of the best books I've read about what it means to be a mother and an artist. I still think about this book and the emotional ride it took me on. I found so man answers in these pages. Simply put, I ADORE this book. 


Review by Rosa

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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)
$19.95
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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Always Crashing in the Same Car: On Art, Crisis, and Los Angeles, California By Matthew Specktor Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781951142629
Availability: Out of stock, usually available in 3-10 days
Published: Tin House Books - July 27th, 2021

You may have no desire to know the intimate backroad histories of old LA, you might not be a film buff, but I'm telling you... you don't have to be much of anything to fall in love with this book. I couldn't stop until I found its author, the inimitable Matthew Specktor, in possession of success or happiness or peace or something that resembles those impossible objects. These aren't just essays about Fitzgerald, Warren Zevon, Thomas McGuane, Renata Adler; this is a book about what it is to be an artist in America. Specktor's story is both erudite and crafty magic.

 


Review by Spencer R.

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Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness (Pantheon Graphic Library) By Kristen Radtke Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781524748067
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Pantheon - July 13th, 2021

It's hard to prepare yourself for a book like Seek You. Not quite memoir, not quite essay, and never what you'd expect, Kristen Radtke has somehow captured the essence of loneliness in an era that will surely be defined by it. There are panels of ocean tides and isolated sitcom-watchers that send me deeper into myself every time I see them—I've been those isolated sitcom-watchers; I've felt those ocean tides. Radtke diagnoses our loneliness without pity or preciousness. What else to call this but a masterpiece?


Review by Spencer R.

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A Primer for Forgetting: Getting Past the Past By Lewis Hyde Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9781250619532
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Picador - September 22nd, 2020

Lewis Hyde imagines a world in which the loss of memory—not published thought, not the Cloud, not ink spilled or the tyranny of documentation—is not only a gift, but a foundation for nations, the self, and creation. Lewis Hyde's goal isn't to comfort, but to create a new mythology of loss, citing Borges, Virgil, Emerson, John Cage, and dozens more, pasting together quotes and anecdotes, aphorism and vignette in what must be Hyde's greatest work, a sublime museum of loss as swift and venerable as the river Lethe.


Review by Spencer R.

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Make It Scream, Make It Burn: Essays By Leslie Jamison Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316259651
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Back Bay Books - October 20th, 2020

Make It Scream, Make It Burn eschews preciousness, dives into the weird and desolate, and brings us some of the finest curiosities in nonfiction today. Leslie Jamison's celebrated return to the essay form is marked by everything we want and more: The unheard dirge of loneliest whale in the world! The devout banality of Second Life citizens! Stepmotherhood and motherhood! True to form, Jamison doesn't stop at essay, criticism, or memoir—we, the readers, get this multi-genre, loose, unknown thing, imperfect in design, just as it should be.


Review by Spencer R.

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We Had a Little Real Estate Problem: The Unheralded Story of Native Americans & Comedy By Kliph Nesteroff Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781982103057
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Simon & Schuster - February 15th, 2022

Easily combining the modern ways of standup comedy for Indigenous folks with the tragic history of their 'real estate problem' (as the great Charlie Hill puts it), Nesteroff does wonders in 270 odd pages. He flexes his wide knowledge of comedy and show business and is upfront in the Author's Note that he himself is not Indigenous so his goal was to highlight the voices in comedy and show business who are. And, in these short but comprehensive essays/chapters, I think he succeeds.


Review by Emily

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A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life By George Saunders Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9781984856036
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - April 12th, 2022

Tolstoy + Chekhov + Gogol + Turgenev + Saunders = a crash course in good writing! My favorite chapter was on "The Nose" by Nikolai Gogol for the pure absurdity of the story and the great clarity Saunders brought to understanding it.


Review by Emily

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