Staff Picks by Tag

Staff Pick Badge
Cahokia Jazz: A Novel By Francis Spufford Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781668025451
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Scribner - February 6th, 2024

This is speculative noir for readers of all stripes: classic hardboiled fiction fans, history buffs, worldbuilding junkies and “what-if” questioners. In the bustling metropolis of Cahokia, in an alternate vision of Jazz Age America in which Native populations were never decimated by European diseases, a municipal rooftop becomes the stage for a grisly and theatrical murder. As fallout from the crime threatens to plunge the city into chaos, we follow a classically conflicted detective–himself an outsider in this place, unsure if he ought to be a cop or a pianist–as he chases the case through underground speakeasies to the halls of power in this richly imagined, vividly rendered city. This book is a brain-tingling good time; I couldn’t wait to get back to Cahokia every time real life interrupted.


Review by Theo

Staff Pick Badge
Dinner on Monster Island: Essays By Tania De Rozario Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780063299665
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Harper Perennial - February 6th, 2024

Monsters in real life are rarely as easy to identify as those in movies. Tania De Rozario grew up queer, brown and fat in a society that demonized these characteristics and encouraged conformity. From the gay exorcism her mother orchestrated to the mandatory weight loss program in Singapore elementary schools, the author retains and solidifies her own unapologetic identity while musing on the role of women in horror films. 


Review by Natalie

Staff Pick Badge
Bright Red Fruit By Safia Elhillo Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780593381205
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Make Me a World - February 6th, 2024

 

After loving Elhillo's first novel in verse Home is Not a Country, I dove into Bright Red Fruit excitedly! Here we follow sixteen-year-old poet Samira, at odds with her mother for many reasons. One being her mother's very protective nature toward her daughter after hearing rumors about her in their tight-knit Sudanese community in Washington D.C. With her phone confiscated and her few solaces of her poetry workshop, Samira uses an online poet forum. What occurs there may be something her mother cannot protect her from. Bursting with intimacy and connecting to one of my favorites of the Persephone myth, this book was so gratifying to read. Truly a salve of a book!



Staff Pick Badge
The Skin and Its Girl: A Novel By Sarah Cypher Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780593499559
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Ballantine Books - April 23rd, 2024

A family saga and a poetic tale about a young, queer girl coming to terms with her inner and outer identities. Elspeth/Betty is born in a Portland hospital with cobalt blue skin. From her 0-10 year-old perspective, she watches her thrown-together parents become parents, unravels the folklore of her Palestinian ancestors, and discovers her great aunt has more in common with her than she thought. With language so rich you'll want to savor it with a spoon!

 


Review by Emily

Staff Pick Badge
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

Messy and heartwarming in the most wonderful ways, Greta and Valdin's loves and woes and troubles and mistakes and antics are like a gin and tonic in a can: far from perfect but, boy, does it hit the spot. 
 


Review by Sofia

Staff Pick Badge
Portrait of a Scotsman (A League of Extraordinary Women #3) By Evie Dunmore Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781984805720
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Berkley - September 7th, 2021

Historical romance loses its fantasy element when I think too hard about the reality of the 1880s - the surplus of clothing layers and the lack of women's rights, the quickness in which you can get labeled a wanton or hysteric and sent away to a sanitarium. Sooty gas lighting? NO THANKS. However, Evie Dunmore got me good with this one. There's a discussion on Marx! Socialism! Suffragettes! Workers and unions! A grumpy Scotsman with big hands and a chipped tooth! For all of those wary historical romance babies, this one is for you.


Review by Sarah C.

Staff Pick Badge
Not Quite a Ghost By Anne Ursu Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780062275158
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Walden Pond Press - January 16th, 2024

Violet has just moved with her family to a bigger house and she’s got the biggest room in the attic. There is a lot going on with her friends - not all of it good, and on top of everything, Violet is really exhausted. The last thing she needs is a ghost. This is NOT a book that wraps things up neatly. 

 

So soooo scary! And so good!


Review by Laura

Staff Pick Badge
The Fox Wife: A Novel By Yangsze Choo Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250266019
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - February 13th, 2024

Snow is on the hunt, seeking revenge; her quarry is always just steps ahead of her. Meanwhile, Bao finds himself following Snow’s trail. Both Snow and Bao become intertwined with the same family, a curse, and the lore and veneration of the old fox gods at a time of great political and social change. 


Part historical fiction, part fable. This sweeping story is driven by great - and sly - characterizations, and mostly by love.


Review by Laura

Staff Pick Badge
Dead in Long Beach, California: A Novel By Venita Blackburn Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780374602826
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: MCD - January 23rd, 2024

People grieve in different ways. Some cry and host a funeral. Coral texts as her dead brother from his phone and doesn't tell anyone. Grappling with loss and a strained tie to familial and romantic love, Dead in Long Beach, California will somehow take you through those stages of grief while still firmly plunged in denial. Cerebral and deeply original.

 


Review by Emily

Staff Pick Badge
Black Punk Now By Chris L. Terry (Editor), James Spooner Spooner (Editor) Cover Image
By Chris L. Terry (Editor), James Spooner Spooner (Editor)
$18.95
ISBN: 9781593767457
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Soft Skull - October 31st, 2023

I knew I was going to make this a staff pick before I even bought it. The list of contributors is both impressive and inspiring. Uniquely presented in a combination of short stories, interviews, graphic memoirs, and other formats, this collection gives perspective on the Black punk experience (and a kick-ass list of bands that you should be listening to). The pieces of this anthology exhibit the creation of community out of places of loneliness, of belonging out of otherness, of acceptance out of rejection of and by family, society, and the punk scene itself. And what’s more punk than rejecting boxed-in notions of what punk is while proclaiming your punkness?


Review by Bailey

Pages