Staff Picks

On of the best things about bookselling is recommending a favorite (and there's always a new favorite)! Take a look at what we're reading now. Click on the bookseller's name for more recommendations from them. Enjoy!

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Clare

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Wicked Like a Wildfire Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062436832
Availability: Special Order
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - August 15th, 2017

I saw this book reviewed as "Guillermo del Toro's version of Practical Magic," and I can't think of a better or more fitting description. Everything that Lana Popovic writes is a burst of insane, wild creativity, with a darker edge that lingers intriguingly throughout. An insanely good book from start to finish, I've been excited to share this book for months.


Jim

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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 Young Readers - April 1st, 2009

Hilarious, and hitting me right in the feels.


Shane

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Quicksand Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9781590518571
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Other Press (NY) - March 7th, 2017

For everyone who wants more behind the scenes of a courtroom, this is the book. The narrator keeps you so involved in the story.  I could not put this book down. I had to find out the rest of the story. There were several points where I audibly gasped because I was so surprised. For fans of Law & Order: SVU and so much more.


David

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Pocket Full of Colors: The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781481461313
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - August 29th, 2017

A delightful introduction for children to Mary Blair, Walt Disney's favorite artist, who contributed color styling and inspirational artwork for many of the classic Disney animated films of the 40's and 50's and then returned to the studio in the 60's as an Imagineer. Walt said Mary used colors he didn't know existed. This book's charming illustrations capture not only Mary's color sense but her evolving fashion sense as well.


randy

With incredibly well-developed characters and an absorbing story that often reads like a thriller, Manhattan Beach is amazingly beautiful. Anna works in the Brooklyn Naval Yard as a diver during WWII. She’s lost her father, and as she becomes entangled with Dexter, a club owner, her mother moves back to the Midwest. She is fiercely independent and is one of the best characters I’ve read in a long time! There’s a reason Jennifer Egan won the Pulitzer. - randy's October Staff Pick, 2017


Mark

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The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062444134
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Voyager - July 5th, 2016

A debut novel that evokes the best of old- fashioned science fiction adventure and adds smart elements of satire, humor, and social commentary.  The crew of the Wayfarer, a bore ship that "punches" holes through subspace to connect distant locales in interstellar space via wormhole, is a collection of humans, aliens, alien humans, and an overseeing AI named Lovey.  Rosemary, who is fleeing family and hiding a secret, joins them and quickly discovers a new life that is both demanding and accepting in ways she never before imagined. The dialogue alone sets this novel a cut above. The characters are all fully realized, smart, and revealing in ways that bring us into their curious family, matching a wide and crowded universe as distinctly imagined as any in the genre.  An unexpected treat, built of equal parts intelligence, sensitivity, and an adult appreciation of the 12-year-old SF fan in all of us.


Cory

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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: On Our Shelves Now
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.


Devin

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The Lonely Hearts Hotel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780735213739
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
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.


Cliff

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The End of the Day Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780316316743
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Redhook - April 4th, 2017

Claire North is not of this world. There is more heart in her pen than in the chest cavity of any person I've met.


Kris

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The Wrong Way to Save Your Life: Essays Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062429209
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - August 2017

I loved this book! I could read Megan discussing paint drying. Wait, I think I DID read her discussing paint drying! Honestly, I have come late to her work and I am so impressed with her smart, big-hearted, personal, ironic, politically-engaged, messy, funny, surprising, unorthodox but always oddly comforting approach to the art of the essay. When I heard her speak about the book, I was moved to tears. I did, in fact, introduce myself to her afterwards and promptly burst into tears. Her words are just, well, timely and hopeful.


Lauren

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Grace and the Fever Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781524720841
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - May 16th, 2017

If you've ever been part of an online fandom, you will fall absolutely head-over-heels for this book. Like "Fangirl" before it, "Grace and the Fever" dives into the world of fandom with such clarity, honesty, earnestness and affection, I was ear-marking every other page, wanting to come back and read passages over and over again because they rang so true. But "Grace and the Fever' isn't just a book for the modern fangirl; it's for anyone who's ever felt like outsider, even with their own friends; anyone who's ever loved something so passionately, it became a permanent—at times all-consuming—part of their life; anyone who's struggled with growing-up and moving on; and anyone who's ever dared to care about something with their whole heart. This book is for you.


Alyssa

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How to Set a Fire and Why 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.      


Drew

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Locked in: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration?and How to Achieve Real Reform Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780465096916
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Basic Books - February 7th, 2017

I'm shocked and disappointed that this book hasn't been talked about more, given how prevalent the issues of crime and imprisonment are today. While challenging the popular ideas reformers have about the causes and responses of mass incarceration, Pfaff provides fascinating insight and novel ideas for addressing our flawed criminal justice system(s). A totally necessary read.


Shualee

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Smokefall: A Play Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781468314229
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Overlook Press - April 25th, 2017

Seeing this play in Chicago two years ago pushed all my buttons - moved me emotionally, challenged me intellectually, made me laugh, cry, and awed me with its insanely imaginative examination of the changing nature of the American family. A bold, ambitious, but still very human work for our times, this is my favorite new play of the decade.


Shualee's Reading List

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The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 1: Squirrel Power Cover Image
By Ryan North (Text by (Art/Photo Books)), Erica Henderson (Illustrator)
$15.99
ISBN: 9780785197027
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Marvel Comics - September 1st, 2015

Searching for a superhero comic that's actually, well, comical? Look no further! Ryan North's tale of college student/mutant crime fighter Doreen Green is laugh-out-loud funny, the artwork by Erica Henderson is a brightly colored retro delight, and Squirrel Girl herself is an immensely likable heroine who's actually capable of solving problems instead of just punching them really hard. A quirky, refreshing treat for all ages. (P.S. make sure to read the hilarious footnotes at the bottom of the pages - full of bonus laughs at no extra cost!)


Bill

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The Trouble with Reality: A Rumination on Moral Panic in Our Time Cover Image
$8.95
ISBN: 9781523502387
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Workman Publishing - May 16th, 2017

READ THIS BOOK!  Brook Gladstone's take on the current political and social environment is scary, blunt, and appropriate.  Her historical perspective is insightful and necessary.  From Philip K. Dick and Ursula K. Le Guin to Jonathan Swift and John Milton, from Arthur Schopenhauer and Walter Lippmann to Neil Postman and Ned Resnikoff, Gladstone draws observations and conclusions from a wide variety of sources to bring clarity to the world situation and especially Trump's America. The Demagogue danger to Democracy can not be understated or left to someone else to fix.  We must all be AWARE!


Jarek

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Rabbit Cake Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781941040560
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tin House Books - March 7th, 2017

18 months in a 12-year old girl named Elvis' life after her mother drowns while sleepwalking. Her father copes by wearing his wife's clothes and lipstick, her sister's sleepwalking escalates. The title comes from a tradition of rabbit shaped cakes her mother baked for special occasions. Funny. Gut punch. Tender. 


Spike

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The Little Grumpy Cat That Wouldn't Cover Image
By Golden Books, Steph Laberis (Illustrator)
$4.99
ISBN: 9780399553547
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Golden Books - July 26th, 2016

"A new classic" --Spike


Shualee's Most Anticipated Plays 2017

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Smokefall: A Play Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781468314229
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Overlook Press - April 25th, 2017

The next great American play. A father decides to leave his family on the eve of his wife's giving birth to twins. His preteen daughter mutates herself in order to please him and keep him close. The twins begin to have varying opinions about whether it's safe to leave the womb, and their mother is left with the hard task of holding everything together. A stunning, imaginative examination of the changing nature of the American family, suffused with magical realism and hints of Thornton Wilder's Our Town used in fresh new ways.


Sarah

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A Super Upsetting Cookbook about Sandwiches Cover Image
By Tyler Kord, William Wegman (Illustrator)
$22.99
ISBN: 9780804186414
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Clarkson Potter Publishers - June 14th, 2016

This book should not exist. And yet it does. This is an addictive read, both hilarious and thought-provoking. Just when you think you've got a real handle on this whimsical and quirky narrative, it starts dropping truth-bombs about ethical consumerism and endangered species. Right now you are thinking this staff pick has been assigned to the wrong book. This is a sandwich cookbook. You're damn right it is. It's a sandwich cookbook I read cover-to-cover before ever entering the kitchen, and I would have been happy if I stopped there. But then I did enter the kitchen, and the magic started. This is not really a book for casual chefs. You're usually going to make three or four separate recipes before you start assembling the sandwich. And it is so. worth. it. The flavor combinations are unlikely, but delicious. These are both looks and tastes to impress without being fancy or fussy. This is a wonderful gift for people with an oddball sense of humor, foodies who don't take themselves too seriously, and collectors of the unconventional. -Sarah's Holiday Staff Pick, 2016


Jonesey

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Girl Trouble: An Illustrated Memoir Cover Image
By Kerry Cohen, Tyler Cohen (Illustrator)
$15.95
ISBN: 9780997068337
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Hawthorne Books - October 11th, 2016

This slim work cuts like a knife. Kerry Cohen offers deeply moving portraits of the girls and women who have been her friends. Her sister, Tyler, is her first friend and also the artist who gives us beautiful images of these women and girls. Kerry is relentless in her storytelling - it is sometimes cringe-inducing. Here is humor, loss, heartbreak, betrayal, confusion and love. Boys are mentioned, and while they were a focus of Cohen's life, it is clear that she, like many of us, was invested in her friendships in a way that is unique and fundamentally life-altering. She shows us what it is to try to be friends in a world where friendship is a useless currency, and it is difficult, but not ever impossible. A magnificent read! -Jonesey's October Staff Pick, 2016