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Staff Pick List

Hank

Hank is the adorable son of Jim, our receiving manager. His picks are typically about trains, things that make noise, dogs, and social justice.

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Trains Go Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780811879422
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Chronicle Books - January 25th, 2012

Choo Choo!!!


Gaston (Gaston and Friends) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781442451025
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - June 3rd, 2014

Gaston is a little different from the rest of his family, and when he meets a burly brood of bulldogs everyone realizes that there may have been a mix-up when he was just a pup, but they soon learn that just because something might look right, doesn't mean that it feels right.


I Will Not Eat You Cover Image
By Adam Lehrhaupt, Scott Magoon (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781481429337
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books - September 6th, 2016

Theodore just wants some peace and quiet and shows a lot of patience (even though he's always grumpy about it) to the creatures that disturb him in his cave, but one noisy boy pushes the limits of Theodore's patience a little too far.


Dragons Love Tacos Cover Image
By Adam Rubin, Daniel Salmieri (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780803736801
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Books - June 14th, 2012

"Hey kid, did you know that dragons love tacosTo be fair, who doesn't love tacos? This book is perfectly goofy and is just as fun for parents to read as it is for kids to have it read to them.


Star Wars: The Last Jedi Chewie and the Porgs Cover Image
By Kevin Shinick, Fiona Hsieh (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781484780763
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Disney Lucasfilm Press - December 15th, 2017

Poor Chewie just wants something to eat (fun fact: Wookies are ALWAYS hungry) while Rey is off looking for Luke Skywalker, but can't find any food, and can't go anywhere without being followed by the Porgs that inhabit the island. What's a hungry Wookie to do?!


The Bad Seed Cover Image
By Jory John, Pete Oswald (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062467768
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - August 29th, 2017

This sunflower seed does all kinds of bad and inconsiderate things; He tells long jokes with no punch lines, talks during movies,and lies about pointless stuff. Everywhere he goes, other seeds say "There goes a bad seed!", but how did he get to be so bad? Was he just a bad seed from the beginning, or did something happen to make him go bad? Is he always going to be a baaaaad seed?


Jamell

Name: Jamell J. Spann, The First

What you think your job is at Left Bank Books? Bookseller & Self-Proclaimed African-American Literature Afficianado

If you had a Super Power, what would it be? Astral projection. To troll my friends & work from home.

What’s your sign? Aries (Fire signs unite!)

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The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781569767092
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Lawrence Hill Books - April 1st, 2011

Perhaps the only thing more criminal than the assassination of Fred Hampton would be to forgo reading "The Assassination of Fred Hampton." Never before has a book managed to be as inspiring as it is a cautionary tale; a young civil rights leader was killed in his sleep by the FBI & the Chicago PD, and people need to know that history. Painstakingly researched and full of memorable quotes from the Panther Party leader himself, this book is a must read.


Bee

What you think your job is at Left Bank Books: Hair model

If you had a Super Power, what would it be? Animal shape shifting would check all of my boxes. Not only am I intensely curious about animals, but then I would get to experience flight, the depths of the sea, and everything in between.

What’s your sign? One of those duck crossing signs.

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Jade City Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780316440868
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orbit - November 7th, 2017

This book reads like an action mob movie with a flair of magically super powered brawls. It's fast paced, but also well fleshed out. The culture of the Green Bones has a wonderful depth that includes everything from the necessity of these ruling gang families to all the flaws of their pride.  It's a well thought out, well written, and fantastically delivered read.


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The Power Cover Image
$20.80
ISBN: 9780316547611
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little Brown and Company - October 10th, 2017

This is one of those amazing books where it hits you so hard and makes your blood pump so fast that you need to take a break to breathe through and process what you just read. Naomi Alderman writes in such a way that you can feel the impact of this power in every ounce of the book. The Power is incredibly well thought out and well written.


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Star Wars: Lost Stars Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781368013789
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Disney Lucasfilm Press - August 1st, 2017

Claudia Gray managed to accurately capture the feel of the Star Wars Universe while simultaneously exploring a new perspective that focuses less on heroes, and more on the people that are actually wrapped up in the mess of this intergalactic war. This was the Star Wars book I didn't know I needed. It has sent me down both a spiral of consuming Star Wars novels, and made me a strong fan of Claudia Gray.


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The Witch Boy Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9781338089516
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Graphix - October 31st, 2017

 I find all of Molly's work fun and engaging. Witch Boy is no different. It's a wonderful graphic novel that takes a fun story and uses that as a vessel to introduce discussion on gender issues and the damages of forcing social norms. Meant for younger readers, but I think would be fun for anyone.


Defy the Stars Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316394031
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - April 4th, 2017

By all accounts this should have been a pretty standard YA novel. Instead it took the tropes and turned them over to discuss things like what defines person-hood, what makes a person good or bad, and how do we stand up for the things we want to fight for. I'm not sure when it happened, but I was pulled in and could not put it down until I was done.


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Super Late Bloomer: My Early Days in Transition Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781449489625
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Andrews McMeel Publishing - May 1st, 2018

Julia Kaye put the words to the confusing mess of thoughts I have had for a lifetime. I knew from that point this book was going to hit me on a deeply emotional level. Kaye uses her words and highly expressive illustrations to perfectly capture emotions that I've struggled with (and that I thought I was alone in experiencing). In the hour it took me to get through this book I was tearing up, laughing, smiling, sighing, and everything in between. Thank you Julia Kaye, if nothing else you have positively impacted my life by telling your story.


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The Stars Are Legion Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781481447935
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Saga Press - February 7th, 2017

Kameron Hurley creates worlds like no other author. Between the disturbingly one of a kind world building, the wonderfully flawed characters, and the enthralling unreliability of the narrator this book fully absorbed me.


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The Poet X Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062662804
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Teen - March 6th, 2018

Poet X is a wonderful coming of age novel completely written in verse. It's beautifully written and navigates a wide variety of social roles and expectations. I think it can be summed up in the two lines: And I think about all the things we could be if we were never told our bodies were not built for them.

 


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Body Music Cover Image
By Julie Maroh, David Homel (Translator)
$26.95
ISBN: 9781551526928
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Arsenal Pulp Press - November 14th, 2017

What an absolutely amazing collection of stories about all aspects of love and so many forms of love. The artwork fits perfectly with the theme and it explores so many aspects of relationships in a beautiful way.

 


Elon

If you had a Super Power, what would it be?If I had a superpower, it would be to control water. Cuz, if you think about, water is in every living thing and covers over 70% of the earth, so I would have nearly unlimited power. I could swim like Aquaman, bend water like an Avatar Korra (or a Blood Bender...), or control it like Magneto.

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The Parking Lot Attendant Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781250128508
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt & Company - March 13th, 2018

Reading this book is like standing on the edge of a high ledge, looking down and feeling your chest tighten. You will fear Ayale, AND you will cling to his every word, just as the narrator does.


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Giant Days, Volume 1 Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781608867899
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Boom Box - December 1st, 2015

 This series really surprised me with its over-the-top humor and quirky, lovable characters. Whether you are student or not, you will find a laugh, a favorite character, and something to cheer about in this series.


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Saga Volume 1 (Saga (Comic Series)) Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781607066019
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Image Comics - October 23rd, 2012

Saga is in a league of its own. It's smart, it's sexy, it's hilarious, it's bloody, it's delightful, all with its own unique twists and turns.


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Binti Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780765385253
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor.com - September 22nd, 2015

I promise you, the Binti series is like nothing else you've read before. Okorafor's imagination is so inventive and original. This story is about SO MUCH MORE than a girl going to college. Binti will win you over again & again. And these little novellas pack a surprising punch (straight to the heart).


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Behind You: One-Shot Horror Stories Cover Image
By Brian Coldrick, Joe Hill (Introduction by)
$15.99
ISBN: 9781631409530
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: IDW Publishing - October 31st, 2017

Coldrick's illustrations gave me the creeps, and he sent chills down my spine with 1 short sentence. His unique style of horror makes me rethink what horror really is. And what I'm really afraid of...


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The Power Cover Image
$20.80
ISBN: 9780316547611
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little Brown and Company - October 10th, 2017

Wow! This book pulses with electricity as you read it. Alderman creates a world, full of badass women as warriors & leaders, and throws you into it headfirst. We are all aware of the faults of our society (sexism and violence against women), and Alderman wastes no time "teaching" us this. She skips straight to the point, the shock, and the hellfire.


The ABCs of Socialism Cover Image
By Bhaskar Sunkara (Editor), Phil Wrigglesworth (Illustrator)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781784787264
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Verso - July 12th, 2016

Great for beginner & intermediate readers. This book dispels many myths about Socialism while presenting inventive & hopeful visions for the future. Even better: It has links to further reading in each essay!


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Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780316227933
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little Brown and Company - May 20th, 2014

Did you know that applying heat to garlic cloves within 10 minutes of cutting or mincing destroys all of its many beneficial properties?

This book offers readers a little bit of history, a little bit of chemistry, and a lot of surprising nutrition facts. Robinson spares us the science jargon and speaks plainly about what to look for in the grocery store and how to get the most out of what you eat.


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A Dream Between Two Rivers: Stories of Liminality Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780692864685
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Cutlass Press - September 5th, 2017

A dark, mysterious, erotic, feverish collection of short stories. From werewolves, Hansel + Gretel, and many other myths and folktales, Pereira takes readers on a dreamlike journey that lingers long after it's over.


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Ayoade on Ayoade: A Cinematic Odyssey Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780571316533
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Faber & Faber - December 13th, 2016

This book is... a wild ride.

Filled with laughs, film history tidbits, and, surprisingly, romance and action. Seriously, just flip to the front page and tell me you're not curious where this goes.


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Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781476709130
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - December 2nd, 2014

Janet’s autobiography is down-to-earth in its tenderness & brave in its vulnerability. She opens her heart to her readers, and this book will cling to yours long after you put it down.


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The Boy & the Bindi Cover Image
By Vivek Shraya, Rajni Perera (Illustrator)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781551526683
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Arsenal Pulp Press - October 11th, 2016

For readers of any culture, this a tenderly written & beautifully illustrated story of a boy & his South Asian heritage.


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Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781451666175
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Touchstone Books - October 29th, 2013

There is not a dull story in this book. Brosh had me cackling & ugly laughing in public with this one. She tackles everything from childhood antics to crippling depression. She addresses these with great humor & transparency.


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Rubyfruit Jungle Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101965122
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bantam - June 23rd, 2015

This book is a classic for a reason. I've read it 3 times. You will find love, heartbreak, and sass 3x over in this book. Unpopular Opinion: Molly Bolt could kick Katniss Everdeen's ass.


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Bingo Love Ogn Cover Image
By Tee Franklin, Jenn St Onge (Artist), Joy San (Artist)
$9.99
ISBN: 9781534307506
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Image Comics - February 20th, 2018

This story will reach into your chest and wring out your heart like a rag. The illustration is dazzling, and the story is heart-melting & heart-wrenching in turns. It contains all the magic and romance of "San Junipero" (Black Mirror) with its own unique style and wit. Can't rave enough about it!


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Sugar Town Cover Image
By Hazel Newlevant (Illustrator)
$10.00
ISBN: 9781681485874
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Alternative Comics - October 17th, 2017

This comic had me blushing & giddy right alongside Hazel. A charming & sexy story with lovely illustration. Newlevant's realistic portrayal of queer & poly dating, with all its cuteness, awkardness, & charms, is refreshing. My only complaint is that I want more!


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Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781594486630
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - October 27th, 2015

For music lovers, for fans of Brownstein or Portlandia, or for anyone who loves a great memoir. Brownstein dives into childhood, rebellion, dating, touring, and much more. She has a way of getting to the raw, hidden truth of each of these, exposing her heart to the reader in a way that will expose some of your own hidden truths.

 


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The Big Bed Cover Image
By Bunmi Laditan, Tom Knight (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780374301231
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - February 6th, 2018

A universal dilemma: Who gets to cuddle with Mommy at night? This precocious kid has a reasonable, and well-researched solution to present to Daddy. Just hear her out.

 


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Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass & Sorcery Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781607069454
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Image Comics - April 8th, 2014

An Elven Mage, a Hipster Dwarf, a Human Cleric, and a Hippy Smidgen Thief walk into a bar... Rat Queens is a fun, bloody adventure shared between 4 sarcastic, badass friends who happen to work as mercenaries for beer money.

 


Jim

What you think your job is at Left Bank Books: To startle people who walk by the window to my office at the back of the store.

If you had a super power, what would it be? Teleportation.

Favorite smell: Old comic books.

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Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781610396004
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: PublicAffairs - November 10th, 2015

A fascinating look at modern Russia focusing on the use of popular television programming to advance the political and social agenda of the state by the Russian president, and the network of Oligarchs whose influence shape the culture and economy. The author draws on his own experience working in Russian television, interviews with a former gangster turned Oligarch/action movie producer, a fashion model/aspiring trophy wife, and a fabricated "opposition party" that is used to provide the veneer of fair elections, but in reality serves to reinforce the image of stability and power of the ruling party. The book illustrates a nation where post-Soviet new-money elites revel in gilded opulence, while everyone else is afforded cold, often brutal institutional nihilism. 


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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780316013697
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - April 1st, 2009

Hilarious, and hitting me right in the feels.


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The No Meat Athlete Cookbook: Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes to Fuel Your Workouts--And the Rest of Your Life Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781615192663
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Experiment - May 16th, 2017

Although this cookbook satisfies my particular niche dietary needs and is very helpful for my athletic aspirations, I think most people will find that you don't have to be athletically inclined, or even strictly vegetarian to benefit from the recipes in No Meat Athlete. The recipes are largely uncomplicated, and designed to help simplify meal planning with a focus on fresh ingredients, meatless protein alternatives, and a wide range of flavor profiles that make for filling, healthy, and flavorful eating.


Jenn

Typical reading: Humor, Essays, Memoir

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever been for Halloween? When I was eight, I demanded to be Dolly Parton for Halloween. My parents finally conceded. 

Do you collect anything? Receipts, lint, crumbs, dust, gum wrappers (so many gum wrappers! I don't even chew gum), paper clips, earring backs. Ya'll, purses are dumb.

If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose? Mr Tiger

 

 

 

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The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781501139895
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery Books - August 8th, 2017

You guys! Amy Schumer is just like me! And, maybe, she's a lot like you, too!

And I don't mean in that tabloid-stars-are-just-like-us kind of way. I'm not talking about the fact that there is photographic evidence of her makeup-less face, or that she pumps her own gas, or that she walks her dog. 

I'm talking about the fact that she's an eccentric, neurotic, bombastic introvert. That the world's perception of her may be a little skewed because she's not willing to ignore or suppress the uncomfortable — yet completely normal and prevalent — things in life.

Humor and comedy are my wheelhouses, so I was pretty familiar with Schumer before I ever picked up the book. I still found myself surprised. Some comedians and personalities are willing to revel in the raunch merely to shock, or in a mistaken attempt to be perceived as raw and vulnerable. There are passages here that get down to the quick, that shake you (me). That leave you (me) in tears. The kind that hurt your heart, not your sides. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of funny. But life is not limited to chuckles. 

Comedy, tragedy. Heartache, side ache. Same coin, two sides.


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How to Be a Woman Cover Image
$10.00
ISBN: 9780062564740
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Harper Perennial - October 11th, 2016

But Jenn! This is an older title!

It is. It is. But! It's a new cover, so I'm doing this.

And it's the book I wish I'd had 20 years ago.

And it's the book I gave to my teenage step-daughter as she warred the tumult of high school.

And it's the book I recommended to my mother when she was JUST. SO. SICK. OF. IT. ALL.

Moran tackles the day-to-day struggles and joys of being woman with strident, subversive laughter. And I love her guts for it.


Devin

I generally read adventure and young adult fiction. 

 

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The Lonely Hearts Hotel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780735213739
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - February 7th, 2017

The Lonely Hearts Hotel is a dynamic, beautifully written novel. Heroes stand as young Pierrot and Rose, circus performers who enchant their crowds and serve as the beating heart of the Montreal great depression. Heather O'Neill manages to break my heart and enhance my desire to run away to the circus that much more as she weaves breathtaking phrases with bizarely wonderful similes. O'Neill will make you believe in magic in a painfully real way.


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The Vacationers Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781594633881
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - June 2nd, 2015

A dysfunctional family feigns normalcy as they take a beach vacation. 

Full of odd quirks, painstaking unconditional love, and superb writing by Emma Straub.

Very highly recommend.


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A Gentleman in Moscow Cover Image
$21.60
ISBN: 9780670026197
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking - September 6th, 2016

A beautifully written novel chock full of dynamic characters which exist in an epic setting (The Metropol Hotel in Russia, while civil war rages on). Will not disappoint those who are fans of novels that are both brimming with humor and insight to one's morality.


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The Mysterious Benedict Society Cover Image
By Trenton Lee Stewart, Carson Ellis (Illustrator)
$9.99
ISBN: 9780316003957
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - April 1st, 2008

I grew up with The Mysterious Benedict Society series, so I may be a bit biased, but his childhood adventure stories will enchant and delight you. There is no magic involved, but I still swear that sometimes the adventures that are attainable are the greatest to watch unwind. A bookworm, a trickster, a former circus performer, and a contrary poet (all children with incredible cleverness) work together to uncover the truth of a boarding school for the wise and eccentric Mr. Benedict. YOU WILL FALL IN LOVE!


Stephanie

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Letters to a Prisoner Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9781771472517
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Owlkids - September 15th, 2017

Without using words, this book points to the profound power of human connection in the most trying of circumstances. A beautiful ode to hope and love, Letters to a Prisoner is bound to be cherished by those of all ages. Stephanie's Staff Pick, November 2017


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Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780525434436
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - May 2nd, 2017

Originally a long-form piece filling an entire NYT Magazine issue, Anderson's account of the invasion of Iraq and its devastating aftermath is one of the few humanizing accounts of the region and its people that I've encountered in the genre. Following the lives of six individuals facing various circumstances and clinging to various allegiances, one can trace the unfolding of a world and its innocents. Stephanie's Staff Pick, June 2017


Alyssa

Store staff Alyssa

What you think your job is at Left Bank Books: Trying to get Spike to like me
 

If you had a Super Power, what would it be? All cats instantly like me or maybe teleportation 
 

What’s your sign? Leo and I am living proof that astrology is fake news

What’s in the trunk of your car? Miscellaneous garbage, hiking boots, more garbage

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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780316213097
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - August 12th, 2014

Could not put this book down.  It's a rare thing to find a teen vampire novel with a strong female lead and a plot not entirely driven by a creepy romance.  And it's not a trilogy!


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How to Set a Fire and Why (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101911754
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - June 13th, 2017

This book was hard to put down, not because of a thrilling plot or suspenseful tone, but because the words just felt so good.  The narrator is a highly intelligent yet somewhat delinquent teenage girl living in a remodeled garage with her elderly aunt.  She copes with the recent traumatic loss of her parents by setting things on fire in attempts to join her school’s Arson Club. This unique novel is wrought with jagged, off-beat humor and subtle devastation that will almost convince you to become an arsonist yourself.      


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The Glass Castle: A Memoir Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780743247542
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner Book Company - January 17th, 2006

I kept having to remind myself that this was a memoir and not a work of fiction.  Jeannette Walls's recounting of her childhood of poverty and neglect blurs the lines between parental love and child abuse.  Walls's narrative starts as a young child, blissfully ignorant to the fact of her family's poverty and enjoying the freedom and excitement of living in the wild desert.  However, as she gradually gets older and the veil of fun and innocence falls away she  begins to see and feel the debilitating emotional and physical damage of growing up in poverty. She soon realizes that her parent's love and good intentions are not enough to keep her and her siblings safe.  This book will thaw your heart and freeze it over, often at the same time.   


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Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780735224803
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking - October 24th, 2017

For the middle aged men in your life. Or people who like laughing at middle aged men. Or just laughing in general.


The Cruel Prince (Folk of the Air #1) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780316310277
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - January 2nd, 2018

Holly Black has a knack for taking stale fantasy tropes and presenting them in the most charming, refreshing ways. Her characters are strong and imperfect and wrought with moral ambiguity.  If you're a fan of dark fantasy, political intrigue, badass heroines, and the occasional angsty teenage drama, then this is the book for you.


Cory

Store staff Cory

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? I lost my favorite toy airplane, a little die cast metal F-16 Falcon painted like the Thunderbirds, when I was about 8 years old. I never forgot about it. I loved that thing. When I was 30 years old, for my birthday that year, my stepfather replaced it for me. He scoured ebay looking for the EXACT same one. I was blown away.

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Stephen Shore: Selected Works, 1973-1981 Cover Image
By Stephen Shore (Photographer), Wes Anderson (Contribution by), Quentin Bajac (Contribution by)
$80.00
ISBN: 9781597113885
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Aperture - May 15th, 2017

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The Threat Matrix: Inside Robert Mueller's FBI and the War on Global Terror Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780316068604
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Back Bay Books - February 9th, 2012

Garrett Graff must've put his entire life on hold to put this book together. The sheer scope of its research, sourcing, and analysis is incredibly impressive. Beyond that, the context in which it places the FBI, not only in the perpetual "war on terror" but also in the ethical trajectory of modern American history, is vital to understanding our current Trumpian crises. The detailed workings of Robert Mueller (his mindset, his scruples, his dedication to a non-partisan constitutionality, his honor) should prove reassuring to anyone who doubts that there could be honest Americans in law enforcement. You'll finish this book sobered by the burden of responsibility on the men and women of the FBI and confident in the investigatory rigor of the former FBI Director and now Special Counsel.


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The White Album (FSG Classics) Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780374532079
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - November 10th, 2009

"We tell ourselves stories in order to live." In 1979, Joan Didion released this collection of essays that re-contextualized the tumultuous events of the preceding two decades and forced everyone who read it to ask themselves which stories they had told in order to live with the world they'd wrought. The White Album is perfect from start to finish, much like The Beatles record which inspired its name, and similar as well are the disparate pieces of a generation racked by drugs, war, poverty, sex, and race, that come together to form a cohesive and incisive narrative about America sucking in the 70's.


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All That Is Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781400043132
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - April 2nd, 2013

Upon completion, a mere 27 hours after I began, I set this book down and thought, "That was one of the finest books I've ever had the pleasure to read."

Salter's last novel spans a lifetime, from the last days of WW II where our main character is about to land in Okinawa, through the hey day of the Manhattan publishing industry, through to his lonely twilight years. Imagine all the pensive, novelistic aspects of Mad Men, except, you know, an actual novel.

The author passed away the year after he published All That Is and it can absolutely stand as one of the best representations of his incredible legacy of letters.  The sentences are simple and emotionally incisive. The tracing of the characters as they change, bruise, and bitter over the years is gorgeous. And Salter does not shy away from highlighting the darker, borderline despicable, acts of a lonely, heartbroken man.  People rarely write books like this anymore, or maybe books like this are just rare in general.  That what makes it so resonant and beautiful. 


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Quantum Lyrics: Poems Cover Image
$13.95
ISBN: 9780393333121
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - February 1st, 2009

A. Van Jordan happens to love poetry, comic books, theoretical physics, stand up comedy, and classic cinema all at once. That breadth of knowledge mixed with a mastery of stylistic form means that his poems aren't mere verse and meter, they are short films, one act plays, splash pages, and hot button bits all at once. In Quantum Lyrics, Jordan writes about love, the theory of relativity, and DC Comics characters with equal expertise and ease. He leaves you laughing and with emotion caught in your throat within the space of a stanza. On top of it all, you know not only is this a poet of many, many interests, but also a poet who is unabashedly full of heart.


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Odes Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780451493644
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - September 20th, 2016

Sharon Olds has made a long, illustrious career for herself by standing naked in front of all the world to see. She has used her poetry to confront the physical and psychic abuse she endured at the hands of her parents, her sexual independence in the 60's and 70's, the rise and fall of her marriage, or the highly criticized intimacy with which she discussed her children's lives. Now, entering the elder stateswoman era of her career as America's foremost "confessional poet" (I sure do hate that reductive term), Old's creates a book both whimsical and lite through its chosen poetic form, but also one which see's her soberly owning up to previous criticism and shifting certain attitudes about her Mother, Motherhood, and what it means to be a woman of a certain age. This book is simultaneously vintage Olds and something stylistically fresh, a beautiful collection for a poet who has never failed to be herself.


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Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays (FSG Classics) Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780374531386
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - October 28th, 2008

Joan Didion's first collection of essays gave us this incredible passage, from On Keeping A Notebook, "I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not." She writes with such confidence and such a sharp morality (and not preachy self-righteousness, I mean ACTUAL MORAL JUSTNESS) that she cuts through all of society's B.S. Published in 1968, the words in this book are as relevant as the day they were written and will continue to be as years go by. We may find that Didion ends up being the foremost woman of American letters in the 21st century as well.


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So Much Synth Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9781556594878
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Copper Canyon Press - May 3rd, 2016

Shaughnessey has made, in my opinion, the best collection of poetry 2016 had to offer. It was almost impossible to force myself to slow down and savor each piece in this book. Her writing is so kinetic, truthful, heartwrenching, and fun, that you never want it to end. So Much Synth is soaked in the colors, sounds, and attitudes of the recent past. The 80's and 90's coming of age of the poet on full display; homages to Annie Lennox, Depeche Mode, and more mixtape classics, shitty apartments in the San Francisco lesbian grunge scene, and then in conclusion, an impassioned plea for the future to be slightly more easy on the generation we're leaving it to. It's a tall order to have a poet engage your head, heart, and humor all at once, but that's exactly what you get with So Much Synth.


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The Phenomenon: Pressure, the Yips, and the Pitch That Changed My Life Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781610396868
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: PublicAffairs - April 18th, 2017

Ankiel writes about the bizarre twists and turns of his already well documented career. But there is nothing like hearing it straight from the source. On the page, he is far more emotionally open and vulnerable than any HBO or ESPN documentary could possibly get. He doesn't hold back on his troubled upbringing, his fragile psychic state as he struggled to maintain his career and sanity, and his use of substances, self-help books (and pretty much anything he could think of) to try and deal with the repercussions. Ultimately though, below all the hub bub of the Yips and getting back to the majors, this is a book about healing old wounds and learning to trust and love again, trust and love of others and yourself. Ankiel takes on this issue with surprising candor for a major leaguer.


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Done Dirt Cheap Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781419723681
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Amulet Books - March 7th, 2017

This is the first young adult novel I've ever read, partly because, from the premise alone, I had no idea it was a young adult novel. This is not to say that I think YA is bad and I neglect it intentionally. I just have never had much interest. But Sarah Nicole Lemon's novel caught my interest fast and did not relent. This novel reads like a Joan Jett record. Dingy, crass, fun, but also expertly crafted and far smarter than first glances let on. Hidden below the narrative of biker gang intrigue, mismatched southern gal pals, and nefarious drug dealers is sly, subtle social commentary. Lemon's characters play out scenarios that take on progressive matriarchal roles, millennial frustration with outmoded racial stereotypes, and quick but important analysis of the cost of combat for our young veterans returning from the Middle East. Oh and a lot of sex. Cause, you know, biker gangs and southern gals. Needless to say, this is a definite edge of PG-13/R rated book. It's for teen readers who have already seen some things. Best bestowed with the aforementioned Joan Jett record. maybe also AC/DC if you want to bridge any generation gaps.


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You, Too, Could Write a Poem Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143128199
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - February 7th, 2017

This book is essential reading for anyone concerned with contemporary poetry. And by that I mean anyone who has read any contemporary poetry. And by that I mean anyone who reads. At all. David Orr is dark humored and sharp, but not cynical. He's a realist and a skeptic, but not bitter. He writes about poetry (an art form he knows full well is neglected to the point of near hatred) so that all might benefit, even if no one chooses to. He believes greatly in the democracy of poetry, even if actual poets, MFA program faculty, and the publishing industry do not. He trusts that the literary world, the regular everyone world at that, has a certain sense of morality, a faith in right or wrong, good or bad, and a need for words to foster that faith, even if we as a society refuse to acknowledge it.


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Charms Against Lightning (Lannan Literary Selections) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781556593871
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Copper Canyon Press - November 6th, 2012

James Arthur's first full length collection of poetry reads like an X-Ray, making flesh invisible so all the inside bits can be seen so clearly that you'd almost wish not to have seen at all. He writes of a very specific time of early adulthood, the coming to terms with a past weighing heavy so that forward momentum can take hold. Encompassing emotions and actions that aren't always so virtuous or characteristically poetic, I appreciate that Arthur's narrative voice isn't afraid to admit failings of character in order to grow past them. Composed over long walks and endless recitations, Arthur's poems achieve an unvarnished honesty, not a hint of pretense. That in and of itself is an accomplishment, but thankfully, also, the poems are just that good.


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The Heart Is Strange Cover Image
By John Berryman, Daniel Swift (Introduction by), Daniel Swift (Editor)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780374535780
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - April 5th, 2016

John Berryman was a really "complicated" man. The go to euphemism for any alcoholic, mid-20th century, lecherous, confessional poet who simultaneously lifts your soul with his art but kind of grosses you out with his personality. The Heart Is Strange collects the best poems from his experimental and influential career. His early more formal works, his adultery love letter Sonnets series, the "Henry" Dream Songs greatest hits, and most wonderfully his later works from Love & Fame and Delusions, Etc., not as widely discussed but probably his finest poems. Berryman became harder on himself in the last years of his life. While that self-critique inspired his tragic leap from the Washington Avenue bridge, it also led to the most empathetic poetry he'd ever written and hopefully this beautiful book can help promote analysis of those forgotten works. Each of these FSG editions is beautifully put together with insightful introductions and gorgeously minimal design, but this one makes for the perfect overview of one of the 20th centuries finest poetic voices.


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Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780307947901
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - January 24th, 2017

Jane Mayer's incredible reporting provides context for our current Post- Citizens United political system by showing the skeletons in the closet of the American Right. While Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Hearst, and Carnagie are household names synonymous with the greed and exploitation of the Industrial Revolution, Jane Mayer shows us how the uber rich got wise to public displays of excess and went underground in their efforts to roll back 20th century protections of the average American. This book details the manipulation of the American psyche through billions of dollars of strategic spending by the new generation of robber barons; Olin, Scaife, Koch, and Bradley. It also details the hypocritical roots of their wealth, with riches accumulated through support of totalitarian governments and massive corporate welfare. This is the kind of in depth reporting that makes sense of the current state of things but also crystallizes just how massive a task systemic reform will be.

 


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Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9780307389008
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor Books - May 20th, 2008

Tim Weiner details the grotesque history of the CIA, from it's off the books and unauthorized financial origins to the continued paranoia inducing civil rights violations and war mongering throughout the Cold War and through to the post 9/11 torture of civilians in the name of counter-terrorism. Weiner's level of access to former agents and declassified and/or leaked documents means this isn't some sort of tin foil hat, paper pants activist pandering. This is, unfortunately, the truth. And more people need to know about it. The CIA has always let flawed ends justify reprehensible means and this well researched book shows the level of corruption and failure baked into their very founding.


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Enemies: A History of the FBI Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780812979237
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade - February 26th, 2013

This no hold's barred examination of the FBI is a frustrating chronicle of both their inexcusable missteps and their misunderstood heroism. The propaganda pushed out during the J. Edgar era that saw the FBI as comic book & film serial heroes led down a dark path of civil rights violation as the FBI became an instrument of the Right during the tumultuous Johnson/Nixon/Ford administrations. However, during the later 20th century, rigorous and active reform from within the rank and file and leadership of the FBI transformed the agency into a crucial resource of international law enforcement. It's no coincidence that the FBI is now targeted by the very same people that used to wield the agency as a weapon. This book goes a long way to explaining why.


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Hothouse Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781941411452
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sarabande Books - June 13th, 2017

Karyna McGlynn's poetic voice is so sharp and searingly sexual that this book feels dangerous in some moments. She is not messing around. Whether its drunken desire or desperate destruction, she paints all the detail with quick, biting lines that will stick with you long after you finish a poem. A lot of people try to write about sex and relationships and the unflattering aspects of adult life in a vibrant poetic fashion. Most of them fail. McGlynn not only succeeds but she transcends. By the end of this book you realize that she was using all that erotic bluster to paint a far, far broader picture. And it's so much more beautiful and intimate than mere sex.


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