Staff Picks by Tag

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I Who Have Never Known Men By Jacqueline Harpman, Ros Schwartz (Translator), Sophie Mackintosh (Afterword by) Cover Image
By Jacqueline Harpman, Ros Schwartz (Translator), Sophie Mackintosh (Afterword by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781945492600
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Transit Books - May 10th, 2022

Raised in an underground bunker with no outside contact, our protagonist has no name and no idea where she is. When she and the 38 other women imprisoned with her suddenly find themselves freed, they are released onto a vast, barren plane. Described as "Ursula K. LeGuin meets The Road" Harpman's writing is austere and beautiful. This is a book I will not soon forget. 


Review by Jade

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Cross-Stitch By Jazmina Barrera, Christina Macsweeney (Translator) Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9781949641530
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Two Lines Press - November 7th, 2023

Even when Jazmina Barrera is in the business of writing novels, she can't escape the essay form. Barrera's Ferrante-esque novel of friendship, woven within a cultural history of sewing, makes for an engrossing story, the kind that has you drawing exclamation points in the margins with abundance. I'm amazed by the breadth of Barrera's thinking, her manifold interests. Christina MacSweeney, returning for a third time to render Barrera's work into English, is the only translator I want to see at the helm.


Review by Spencer R.

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A Shining By Jon Fosse, Damion Searls (Translator) Cover Image
By Jon Fosse, Damion Searls (Translator)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781945492778
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Transit Books - October 31st, 2023

When think of my own death, I will forever see Fosse's dark woods and his shining, barefoot apparitions in snow-smothered quiet. I don't know how to speak of this brief book without reverence or animal fear. A book to be read aloud, around a campfire, with loved ones, in its entirety.

 


Review by Spencer R.

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Same Bed Different Dreams: A Novel By Ed Park Cover Image
By Ed Park
$30.00
ISBN: 9780812998979
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Random House - November 7th, 2023

Holy cow. Home run. Outta the park. A novel clear in its ambitions, absorbed in the moment of its plot(s) in a way that is uniquely entertaining. You’ll want to tell everyone about this book An alternate history of the Korean Provision Government, a covert organization that, in Park's vision, has embedded its membership into popular culture, role-playing games, popular science fiction, slasher films. At the center of it all is a mysterious novel-within-a-novel called, yes, Same Bed, Different Dreams by a Nobel-rumored Korean author who goes by the mononym Echo. Ed Park for the Pulitzer. A novel that is so varied, comical, deliciously clever, and mad fun that it’s hard to believe it was written by a single author.


Review by Spencer R.

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Self-Help (Vintage Contemporaries) By Lorrie Moore Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307277299
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Vintage - March 13th, 2007

Recommended to me by two of our best booksellers (thank you, Wes; thank you, Emily), this is the first story collection I ever fell in love with. Lorrie's grief is heavy and familiar with a willingness to find relief and comfort in growing in and out of love and in the universality of death and loss. Allow her to bring solace to an achy heart and you'll want to swim in her wit and drown in her sorrows forever.  
 
 


Review by Sofia

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Death Valley: A Novel By Melissa Broder Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781668024843
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Scribner - October 3rd, 2023

I will never think of Best Western the same. This book is a trip through creativity in the midst of heartache. Writing through grief. Finding yourself by losing yourself, completely. In Death Valley, Broder brings readers along on a surreal journey that either has her lost in the desert for days or planted firmly in the queen size bed of her hotel room. I'm glad I will never know which one is true. This work is deeply personal. Trippy and emotional. Unpredictable and yet completely relatable. An exploration through the meaning of life, death, and everything in between; climb on the back of a giant bird and let the vivid colors of Death Valley consume you. 

 



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Days Without End: A Novel By Sebastian Barry Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143111405
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Penguin Books - September 12th, 2017

Vast, aching, unique...

Two young men, Thomas and John Cole Meet in the tumult of a war torn  young America.

Despite - or maybe because of - the terrors the two men flee (and some they create). Thomas and John find rare comfort and steadfastness in one another, building a chosen family...through fear and across endless days.



Staff Pick Badge
Death Valley: A Novel By Melissa Broder Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781668024843
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Scribner - October 3rd, 2023

 

I've stayed in my share of Best Westerns-- nothing special outside of their complete predictability and the pre-covid make your own waffle machine.  But I have never crawled inside a cactus and talked to the childhood version of my dad, tried to get rabbits to source safe food or followed a mythical bird out of the desert. The main character's trippy adventure through the desert and through her fear and grief worked for me. She walks through the Valley but comes out the other side.


Review by Charlotte

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The MANIAC By Benjamin Labatut Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593654477
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Penguin Press - October 3rd, 2023

Labatut's genre is entirely his own, his philosophy both rigid and curious. With The MANIAC, we're given the lives of Austrian physicist Paul Ehrenreich; the Hungarian-American mathematician Johnny von Neumann, often cited as the grandfather of artificial life, a foundational figure in computational mathematics, a key figure in the development of the hydrogen bomb and a half dozen other surreal acts of destruction, a man endowed with abominable and limitless intelligence, like 'fog on a fog,' and yet unable to tie his own shoes; and finally, a chilling play-by-play of global Go champion Lee Sodel's historic 2016 match against Google's AlphaGo AI in South Korea—often cited as the first moment in history in which artificial intelligence expresses 'creativity.' How does this triptych form, in my opinion, one of the greatest novels of this year, a stunning, hair-raising literary achievement? It is difficult not to let Labatut's obsessions become your own. To see clearly what we will soon lose to our own intelligence. Benjamin Labatut dwells in the foggy, cosmic, uncanny valley amidst math, science, history, and literature.


Review by Spencer R.

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Of Cattle and Men By Ana Paula Maia, Zoë Perry (Translator) Cover Image
By Ana Paula Maia, Zoë Perry (Translator)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781913867492
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Charco Press - April 11th, 2023

A vivid, hardened tale of the slaughterhouse trade by Brazilian author Ana Paula Maia. In Zoe Perry's translation, Maia reads like Cormac McCarthy with the labor consciousness of George Orwell. Good, haunting, bloody old west stuff with an ethical imperative—if I wasn't already a vegetarian, this would do the trick. I'm keeping "Of Cattle and Men" high on the shelf.


Review by Spencer R.

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