Randy's Reading List

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Ghachar Ghochar Cover Image
By Vivek Shanbhag, Srinath Perur (Translator)
$15.00
ISBN: 9780143111689
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - February 7th, 2017

Beautifully written, Ghachar Ghochar is a wonderful novella with moments of familial affection as well as shocking moments of meanness. What happens when a family’s fortune turns for the better? Of course, there’s the better house in the better neighborhood, the better prospects for marriage, and the better job which isn’t really a job at all. But there’s also a shift in the family dynamic that muddies the water and leads to a disastrous ending. - randy


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Maisie Dobbs Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781616954079
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Soho Crime - June 3rd, 2014

Private detective Maisie Dobbs is Sherlock Holmes with a soul. During an investigation, she stumbles across some gravestones with no surnames. This leads her to Major Jenkins of The Retreat, an estate for wounded veterans of The Great War. Struggling with her own ghosts, Maisie is determined to find out why these veterans are dying. A great mystery written with some of the best prose I’ve read in quite a while. Maisie Dobbs is wonderful! - randy


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Cocaine Blues: A Phryne Fisher Mystery Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781590583852
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Poisoned Pen Press - April 2007

Phryne Fisher is awesome! She takes what she desires and is always looking for an adventure. It's 1920's Melbourne and Phryne has returned from Europe to find out who's poisoning the aristocratic daughter of acquaintances back in England. A wonderful cast of characters, both competent and not, who follow Phryne anywhere she takes them to solve the case. Such a delightful mystery. - randy


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Nutshell Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525431947
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - May 30th, 2017

This is the story of a separated couple and their unborn child who also happens to narrate. It's mother is having an affair and planning the murder of it's father. The characters are richly developed, the perspective is totally original, and it is wonderfully quirky! - randy


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The Sunlit Night Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781632861146
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury USA - May 3rd, 2016

Frances heads to Norway looking for some space. She’s just been dumped, graduated from college, and can’t bear the idea of moving back to the one bedroom, Manhattan apartment she grew up in. Yasha heads to Norway to honor his father’s last request - to be buried as far north as possible. Of course, they meet and fall in love but that’s a small bit of the story. They’re looking for their own piece of the world and there is no better place to start than the boundless sunshine and wide open space of Norway in the summer. - randy


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Raven Black Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780312359676
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Thomas Dunne Books - June 24th, 2008

A young girl is found strangled on a beach. Magnus, accused in the disappearance of another young girl several years earlier, is the number one suspect but Inspector Jimmy Perez doesn’t want to jump the gun. Set in the Shetland Islands, Ann Cleeves weaves a wonderfully dark and intimate mystery befitting of the environs. If you like In the Woods by Tana French, you’ll love Raven Black! - randy (And the follow up, White Nights, is great too!)


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Tuesday Nights in 1980 Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781501121050
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery/Scout Press - May 2nd, 2017

Brilliant! A beautiful story. A sad story. A real story. Brilliant! -Randy's April Staff Pick, 2016


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Sweetbitter Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101911860
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 4th, 2017

There are a lot of books about moving to New York to make it. Sweetbitter fits this description, however, it’s refreshing to have a protagonist who isn’t looking to “make” it. Tess just wants to start her life. And, of course, her first job is in a restaurant. She falls into many of the cliches of restaurant work but she knows it and that’s what makes Sweetbitter so fun and Tess a wonderful character. Read it. You won’t be disappointed. - randy


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Eleanor Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101903537
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books - March 7th, 2017

What a wonderful book. The characters' lives are so tragic, but you feel their strength and resilience throughout. And the worlds created are magnificent in both their beauty and their dread. Very Murakamiesque. - randy


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Universal Harvester Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780374282103
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - February 7th, 2017

It’s impossible to heap too much praise on John Darnielle! After Wolf in White Van, I tempered my expectations for his second book. Shouldn’t have! Someone is splicing graphic images into VHS tapes at the Video Hut. Stephanie wants to know who’s doing it and Jeremy, hesitantly, agrees to help her find out who. Darnielle’s writing creates a perfectly pitched tension that puts you in the story from the get go. And once he has you, his most beautiful prose carries you through to the end. - randy


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Sputnik Sweetheart Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780375726057
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 9th, 2002

Perhaps there are better Murakami novels, but Sputnik Sweetheart is my favorite. K and Sumire are friends from university. K stoically pines for Sumire but Sumire is only interested in writing until she meets Miu. One day, while Miu and Sumire are vacationing in Greece, Sumire just disappears. Such a beautiful story summed up best by K -


When the orbits of these two satellites of ours happened to cross paths, we could be together. Maybe even open our hearts to each other. But that was only for the briefest moment.

- randy


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The Gate Cover Image
By Natsume Soseki, William F. Sibley (Translator), Pico Iyer (Introduction by)
$15.95
ISBN: 9781590175873
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New York Review of Books - December 4th, 2012

In a time of great cultural upheaval in Japan, Sosuke and Oyone marry without their parents’ consent.  Sosuke’s younger brother comes to join them creating a bit of an existential crisis for Sosuke.  The Gate is a story about understanding one’s lot in life even if you may not be able to accept it. The prose is beautiful. It’s easy to feel the influence Soseki has had on Haruki Murakami.  No hyperbole here, this is one of my favorite books of all times. - randy


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The Trees Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781632862839
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury USA - August 2nd, 2016

What a wonderfully original book! What do you do if one night trees erupt from the ground destroying all infrastructure, making all of England a forest, a dense forest? Adrien wants to wait for the army and the government to fix everything. Hannah wants to take her son, Seb, west to find her brother, who shares her love of all things nature, and celebrate the earth's victory. Fate brings these 3 disparate characters together and they head west ultimately ending up in Ireland looking for Adrien's wife but more importantly finding Adrien's destiny. Along the way, Shaw creates a great supporting cast including some creatures that may or may not actually exist. I loved it! -Randy's September Staff Pick, 2016


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The Insides Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781612195469
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Melville House Publishing - June 14th, 2016

A deliciously crazy adventure! The chase is fun but it's Ollie's and Maja's internal struggles with their pasts and futures that are really at the heart of this story. I love the use of magic as a window into the insides, the very metaphorical insides. -Randy's June Staff Pick 2016


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Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage Cover Image
By Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel (Translator)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780804170123
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - May 5th, 2015

We meet Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki in high school where he is part of an inseparable group of friends. After leaving home for college, for a reason unknown to Tsukuru, his friends abandon him, never wanting to hear from him again. This traumatic loss haunts Tsukuru for years as he watches life go by - until he meets Sara. Murakami takes us on Tsukuru's journey from suicidal devastation to survival, and ultimately forgiveness. And all the elements of a Murakami story are there - cats, cooking, dreams, music (of course), trains and beautiful prose. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is simply wonderful. -Randy's September Staff Pick, 2014


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Wolf in White Van Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781250074713
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - September 1st, 2015

Wolf in White Van is Sean's story. Disfigured at 17, he lives a solitary life supplementing his insurance checks guiding people through Trace Italian, a role-playing game played through the mail that he created while in recovery. When two players take the game a little too seriously, Sean is held to account. As we move forward through Sean's experience, we're taken further back to the night that changed his life. John Darnielle does a masterful job weaving the present into the past. Another title long listed for the National Book Award that I love. -Randy's November Staff Pick, 2014

Universal Harvester is great too!


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South of the Border, West of the Sun Cover Image
By Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel (Translator)
$15.00
ISBN: 9780679767398
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - March 14th, 2000

I first read this several years ago. I had just discovered Murakami and raced through all of the novels awestruck by the worlds he created. This one didn't stand out at the time. I'm sure I was impatient with the anticipation of being blown away by another magical place where life is lived in dreams and wells and amongst talking cats. That was my mistake. This is a beautiful story. Possibly his most beautiful. How do we live the life we have if we've lost the life we had? -Randy's May Staff Pick 2016


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Descender, Volume 1: Tin Stars Cover Image
By Jeff Lemire, Dustin Nguyen (Artist)
$9.99
ISBN: 9781632154262
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Image Comics - September 22nd, 2015

The nine Core Planets are attacked by large robots called Harvesters. How do the humans react? Robot Genocide. Ten years later, android TIM-21 wakes up on a moon that was once a mining colony. The race is on to kill TIM-21. The race is on to save TIM-21. Beautiful coloring and a wonderfully original story. - randy

Check out Volume 2: Machine Moon.


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Margaret the First Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781936787357
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Catapult - March 15th, 2016

Typically, I stay away from historical fiction unless it's about the 20th century. I'm very happy I overcame my bias. Margaret Cavendish was shy, a bit insecure, loyal, creative, brave and many more wonderful things. Dutton's prose is beautiful and I fully enjoyed the creative way she tells Mad Marge's story. A definitive recommend. -Randy's March Staff Pick, 2016


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Station Eleven Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780804172448
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - June 2nd, 2015

Let me start by saying Station Eleven was the best book I read in 2014. Arthur, a famous actor, dies on stage while playing King Lear the same night a pandemic begins that kills 99.9% of the population. We follow Kirsten, who shared the stage with Arthur that night, 20 years in the future. But, through flashbacks, we meet a paparrazo-paramedic, 2 ex-wives and a son, and a best friend. It's in these characters that the novel finds its strength. Normally, I can't wait to get through chapters vacant of the lead but not so with Station Eleven. Emily St. John Mandel gives us 6 characters we become totally invested in. It's long listed for the National Book Award for good reason! -Randy's October Staff Pick, 2014


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Let the Great World Spin Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812973990
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade - December 2009

Set against the backdrop of Philippe Petite’s amazing high-wire jaunt between the Twin Towers, Let the Great World Spin is a look into the lives of a disparate group of New Yorkers in the early 1970’s. Rich or poor, saved or damned, black or white, American or immigrant - McCann does a wonderful job of showing the connection we all have with one another. - randy


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The Crane Wife Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780143126171
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - December 17th, 2014

The Crane Wife is a wonderful tale about love. Not syrupy, sappy love but rather the myriad of necessary bonds people create and destroy with one another. George is the father of Amanda, grand pere of JP, ex-husband of Clare, and fiance of Kumiko. Ness wraps these relationships in a wonderful folk tale about the destructive and creative powers of a Volcano and it’s need to be forgiven by the Crane Wife who in turn is bound by the forces of the Volcano. Five stars for sure! - randy


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Welcome to Braggsville Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780062302137
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow & Company - September 8th, 2015

Daron (or D'aron or Da'ron depending on who's speaking) never feels comfortable in Braggsville, Georgia, so he heads to the University of California - "Berzerkley" where he joins an assorted group of personalities who refer to themselves as the "4 Indians". Daron finally finds a place that feels like home. And then they all decide to return to Braggsville for spring break to protest the annual Civil War reenactment. Johnson's satire is pitch perfect as he tackles the all to common stereotypes of the grand ole US of A. This book is funny. This book is unsettling. This book is important. -Randy's March Staff Pick, 2015


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Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780743299640
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - November 7th, 2006

Lincoln's final response to Stephen Douglas, The Cooper Union speech is one of the most important pieces of oratory in our history. In the winter of 1860, Lincoln traveled east to court the abolitionists whose support he would later need to win the Republican nomination for President. The first stop of many on his visit to New York and New England, at Cooper Union he solidified himself as everyone's second choice ensuring the nomination would be his. Holzer gives us a tangible feel for Lincoln's oratory skills that would later give us his first and second inaugural speeches and of course The Gettysburg Address. -Randy's April Staff Pick, 2015

 


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Pegasus Bridge Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780671671563
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - November 15th, 1988

The first and most crucial operation of D-Day took place at Pegasus Bridge where a small group of British airborne troops landed in wood gliders and took the bridge. But that was just hour one. Now they had to wait for the landings and keep the Germans off the beaches. Fascinating story! - randy


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The Illumination Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780307387776
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage Books - February 21st, 2012

A wonderful read and original idea for a story. It's a great exploration of what it means to be human and how we related with one another. - randy