Randy's Reading List

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Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions Cover Image
$12.95
ISBN: 9781566894951
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - April 4th, 2017

Fleeing the threat of death in Central America, thousands of undocumented children seek asylum each year. In this essay, you will see how dangerous their journey through Mexico is and that this is only the beginning of their ordeal. As an immigrant and court translator, Luiselli is able to share their stories. She also challenges us to take responsibility for our role in creating such dangerous circumstances instead of simply building a wall. - randy


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Mikhail and Margarita Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781609453756
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - March 14th, 2017

Set in 1930's Russia, Mikhail and Margarita is a story about love and trust and survival in the Moscow literary community. A community closely watched by Stalin himself. Ostensibly, this is about a love triangle, but its true strength and pleasure comes from how well each character's own story stands alone. I loved it! - randy


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The Lost Time Accidents Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781250117984
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - February 14th, 2017

The Lost Time Accidents is Waldy's letter to a woman with whom he is obsessed. The letter is his family's history with the Lost Time Accidents, and the experimentation by Waldy's great uncle, The Black Timekeeper, with Holocaust victims. Along the way we meet his two reclusive aunts, his father - a science fiction writer who unwillingly becomes inspiration for a new religion based on the Lost Time Accidents, and Mrs. Haven, wife of the founder of this religion, and the intended recipient of this letter. This is not about time travel. It's about the hold families have on one another. And it's a great read! - 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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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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Sweetbitter Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781101875940
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - May 24th, 2016

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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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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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.

Check out Volume 2: Machine Moon - http://www.left-bank.com/book/9781632156761


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The Ghosts of Belfast Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781616957698
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Soho Crime - January 12th, 2016

The Ghosts of Belfast is what a crime novel should be. Gerry Fegan is a former contract killer in Northern Ireland during The Troubles. He drinks a lot and has conversations with people who aren't there. But these are not voices in his head. These are the ghosts of his contracts tormenting him. They want justice and they want Gerry to get it for them. I couldn't put it down! -Randy's July Staff Pick, 2016


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A Man Lies Dreaming Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9781612195049
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Melville House Publishing - March 15th, 2016

A Man Lies Dreaming is the story of Wolf, a down on his luck P.I. in 1939 London. Hired by Isabella Rubinstein to find her sister Judith, Herr Wolf is drawn into a world he once ruled over with an iron fist. Such a great idea for a crime novel! Lavie Tidhar creates a world that surprises page after page. And each time you start to feel empathy towards Herr Wolf, you are not so subtly reminded of who he really is. If you love detective stories, 20th Century history, or simply a great story, you’ll love this! -Randy's June 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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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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Tuesday Nights in 1980 Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781501121043
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Gallery/Scout Press - April 5th, 2016

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


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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


 


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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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Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage Cover Image
$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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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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Harrow County Volume 1: Countless Haints Cover Image
By Cullen Bunn, Tyler Crook (Illustrator)
$14.99
ISBN: 9781616557805
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dark Horse Books - December 15th, 2015

I like witch stories and Harrow County doesn’t disappoint. Emmy is about to turn 18 and after “healing” a calf the townsfolk decide she must die. The chances are too great that she is the witch Hester Beck returned from the grave they put her in. Already creepy, the innocent feel of the artwork makes it super creepy! - randy

 


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Harrow County, Volume 2: Twice Told Cover Image
By Cullen Bunn, Tyler Crook (Illustrator), Mike Allred (Illustrator)
$14.99
ISBN: 9781616559007
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dark Horse Books - April 26th, 2016

Emmy's story continues with a surprise visit from her long lost twin Kammi. Just keeps getting creepier with each issue. I love it!  - 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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Pegasus Bridge Cover Image
$14.00
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: Special Order
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