Staff Picks by Tag

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All Down Darkness Wide: A Memoir By Seán Hewitt Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780593300084
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Penguin Press - July 12th, 2022

The first memoir from poet Sean Hewitt is a story of first love and finding yourself. It is also about mental illness, travel, poetry and loss. Told with elegant prose with help from a 19th century poet, this book has haunted me in the best possible way.

 


Review by Trevor

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Greta & Valdin: A Novel By Rebecca K. Reilly Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781668028049
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster - February 6th, 2024

Opening up this book was like joining Greta and Valdin's Russian-Maori-Catalonian family after all catastrophes have passed. I'm not down at rock bottom, but gradually climbing back up towards the sun with them, warming myself in their affectionate dysfunction. 


Review by Sarah C.

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Small Beauty By Jiaqing Wilson-Yang Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780994047120
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Metonymy Press - May 13th, 2016

Small but oh, so mighty. A heartbreaking and mending meditation on grief, ancestors, race, loss, and life. wilson-yang's lyricism and care lingers as I'm left to ponder the beauty and gift of the time and space we're given to spend with the families we're born into and the families we make, choose, and find. 


Review by Sofia

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Thin Skin: Essays By Jenn Shapland Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780593317457
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Pantheon - August 15th, 2023

If 'My Autobiography of Carson McCullers' didn’t convince you that Shapland is one of the most exciting, subversive, and inventive of American writers, a writer with nerve and wide-ranging interests, then the essays in 'Thin Skin' will surely demand your attention like they demanded mine. Shapland has written more than just essays—these are eruditely-researched works of journalism tangled with deeply personal memoir, connected and cohesive like a mycorrhizal network. These essays about reproductive rights, poison in America, our many failures to out-engineer climate change, and the literal meaning of life will challenge and educate those seeking a way to articulate the discontents of the Anthropocene. 'Thin Skin' is also a masterclass in pandemic-era writing, swimming in the moment without succumbing to it. You’ll find Adrienne Rich, Eula Biss, David Graeber, and Audre Lord in these pages, in-depth frameworks for a subversive queer history, and something that resembles a My Autobiography of Rachel Carson (if we can be so lucky). Shapland grows into her own as a nature writer, and with this new collection, claims her place as a major writer of the Southwest. Not only should this book last; it should be taught.


Review by Spencer R.

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Thank You for Sharing: A Novel By Rachel Runya Katz Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781250888297
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - September 12th, 2023

At once a lovely little friends to enemies to friends to lovers, and a tender reckoning with grief, trauma, and prejudice. I love these characters and their friendships and their flaws and their growth. I wanted to eat every meal they ate, drink every cocktail they shared at their quasi-group-therapy-speakeasy-get-togethers, and just exist within the chaos and the calm. Hug your friends, tell your loved ones you love them, confess your feelings to your crush, trust your gut or heart or brain or whatever, go to therapy, and read this book (in no particular order). Thank you, Rachel, for sharing your words with us.
 
 


Review by Sofia

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The Fifth Wound By Aurora Mattia Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781643621487
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Nightboat Books - March 7th, 2023

This might be the most honest and glorious thing I've ever read. I love this book so much, I want to eat it. 


Review by Kit

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Big Swiss: A Novel By Jen Beagin Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781982153090
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Scribner - August 1st, 2023

Big Swiss is less like a novel and more like an endurance test of second-hand embarrassment. Greta/Rebekah's genuine curiosity and awe of her boss's mysterious new patient, nicknamed Big Swiss, spirals into a relationship based on lies, amorous feelings towards armpits, and jealousy in the fraudulent form of Javier Bardem. My shoulders were in a permanent state of cringing while reading this, but that didn't stop me from racing through this book. 

 


Review by Sarah C.

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Out of the Blue By Jason June Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780063015210
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: HarperTeen - May 2nd, 2023

I'm not much of a YA reader, I couldn't say they last time I read one. That said, I very much so enjoyed this! A tender, sweet and often times hilarious story of young queer love. I recommend this to anyone looking for a light, heartwarming read to sit in the sun with.


Review by Zack

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Pretty Baby: A Memoir By Chris Belcher Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781982175832
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster - June 6th, 2023

As "LA's Renowned Lesbian Dominatrix", Chris Belcher could pay off her student loans while working towards her doctorate, and keep from slipping into the cycle of poverty she had escaped from once she left West Virginia. She was also able to examine gender dynamics behind the dungeon door, and the way masculinity presents itself when she has her boot pushing into someone's back. Complicated questions of sexuality, queerness, identity, and power arise with every essay in this memoir, as well as the way society harms those that deviate from the norm. 


Review by Sarah C.

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A Master of Djinn (Dead Djinn Universe #1) By P. Djèlí Clark Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250267665
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Tordotcom - July 19th, 2022

Thank you, P. Djeli Clark, for writing this Victorian Egyptian steampunk novel just for me!  "A Master of Djinn" melds the mysterious adventures of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody archaeological mysteries with the snarky steampunk vibe of Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series.  Along with a dash of the inclusive romance that I've been devouring lately and a cast of multicultural characters, the result is the most entertaining book I've read this year from the most original voice I could hope to find.


Review by Deborah

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