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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Beartown Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501160769
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - April 25th, 2017

By now, you probably recognize the name Fredrik Backman as one of the world's favorite emerging authors. This book holds up to his canon of fantastic works, but it is quite different from his others. It has the usual Backman qualities in that it will make you laugh and cry, but this one seems deeper and more complex. Beartown deals with the struggles of an entire town trying to become significant again. This is a book about hockey much like how Friday Night Lights is a series about football. It is there, but the human aspect of the story is much more important than the sport. Beartown will break your heart.


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Stephen Florida Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566894647
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - June 6th, 2017

At its core, Stephen Florida is a coming of age story. Losing his parents at 14, Stephen goes to live with his grandmother. Orphaned again when his grandmother dies of heart disease, he promises her that he’ll go to college and win a national championship. Stephen is an obsessive and Habash puts us in his mind and takes us for a wonderful, bumpy ride through his final season - a final season where family, love, and friendship begin to take their proper place in Stephen’s life…maybe. Randy's June Staff Pick, 2017


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Locked in: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration--And How to Achieve Real Reform Cover Image
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.


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Smokefall: A Play Cover Image
ISBN: 9781468314229
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
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.


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The Glass Castle: A Memoir Cover Image
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.   

Shualee's Reading List

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The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 1: Squirrel Power Cover Image
ISBN: 9780785197027
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
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!)


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The End of Summer Cover Image
ISBN: 9781910395264
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avery Hill Publishing - February 15th, 2017

love Tillie Walden, and this did not disappoint! Insanely creative, atmospheric, and accompanied with breathtaking art, The End of Summer is an emotional landscape that feels a bit out of Game of Thrones, where a royal family must shut themselves inside their home during a horrific, three-year winter. Car-sized cats, tin soldiers, and secret nooks. This graphic novel digs deep and keeps going.


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The Vacationers Cover Image
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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The Trouble with Reality: A Rumination on Moral Panic in Our Time Cover Image
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!


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Spaceman of Bohemia Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316273435
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little Brown and Company - March 7th, 2017

Jakub Procházka is not your ordinary spaceman: selected by the Czech Republic for a (potential suicide) mission to collect samples from a cloud of mysterious space dust, Jakub has traded his quiet scientist's life in Prague with his wife, Lenka, for the eternal glory that comes with being his country's first astronaut. But when Lenka falls off the map, not showing up for one of their schedule video chats, Jakub falls into an existential crisis that involves a Nutella-loving alien spider named Hanuš, a trip back into his troubled past, and revelations about what exactly makes life worth living. The Martian by way of Kafka, The Spaceman of Bohemia is funny, beautifully written, poignant, and mind-bending in the best way.


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Celestial Mechanics: A Tale for a Mid-Winter Night Cover Image
ISBN: 9781941110560
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Three Rooms Press - April 11th, 2017

William Least-Heat Moon has taken a story of people making choices incompatible with their own desires and natures and given us a travelogue of the spirit. The trajectories of these three people, each one trying to find their place in a cosmos crowded with distraction and uncertainty, reveal the geography of the self and the gravity of choice. In the end we're offered a map of roads oft-traveled and too little remarked on the journey to hope.


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Disney A to Z: The Official Encyclopedia Cover Image
ISBN: 9781484737835
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Disney Editions - November 15th, 2016

Finally, Dave Smith, founder and Chief Archivist Emeritus of the Disney archives, columnist, and author of multiple volumes of Disney trivia has brought us the long-awaited 5th edition of Disney A to Z: The Official Encyclopedia, arriving in time for holiday gift-giving. This edition has been even more eagerly anticipated since many fans missed out on the last edition which was not widely distributed. This exhaustively comprehensive guide to the entire Disney universe includes coverage of feature films, short subjects, parks and park attractions, television, Imagineers and performers, as well as coverage of recent additions to the Disney family including the Muppets, Star Wars, and Marvel. With more than 800 B/W illustrations. -David's Holiday Staff Pick 2016


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Rabbit Cake Cover Image
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. 


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What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735211025
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - April 4th, 2017

The complexities of the lives of girls and their mothers are explored through a Nigerian lens in this remarkable debut collection. Strains of magical realism enlarge some of the stories to modern folktale. Yet throughout, Lesley Nneka Arimah delivers a sharp observations on the frought relationships between mothers and the young women they must mentor as they all navigate what is still a very patriarchal world.


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The End of the Day Cover Image
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.


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All That Is Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400043132
Availability: Special Order
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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The Little Grumpy Cat That Wouldn't Cover Image
By Golden Books, Steph Laberis (Illustrator)
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
ISBN: 9781468314229
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
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.


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A Super Upsetting Cookbook about Sandwiches Cover Image
By Tyler Kord, William Wegman (Illustrator)
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


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Girl Trouble: An Illustrated Memoir Cover Image
By Kerry Cohen, Tyler Cohen (Illustrator)
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