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Jarek

What do you think your job is at Left Bank Books? staff handyman and bookkeeper at your service

If you had a Super Power, what would it be? Invisibility (But I think I already have that superpower)

What's your sign?  

What sound do you love? Wind through pine needles

Staff Pick Badge
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. 


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Loner: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781501107900
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 1st, 2017

I like to think about whether a book is good or bad based on judging if the writing did what the writer wanted it to do (not just "did I like the story"). If Teddy Wayne wanted to completely creep me out we have a winner. This one's unsettling. It's told from the point of view of David, an incoming freshman at Harvard. It's told in second person - that second person being the young woman on whom he has become fixated. I wanted to stop midway through but soldiered on until the end. I need a shower now.


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The Girls: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812988024
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - May 9th, 2017

On the surface, this is a novelization of the Manson murders, which is why I hesitated before reading it. I have enough murder and suffering in my Facebook feed. I don't need to be entertained by it. But this isn't really about that. It's really a story of a 14 year old girl lost in a disintegrating family and stormy adolescence who finds a connection with an older woman (and by older I mean, like 20) who is part of a free thinking, drug fueled group of young women led by a severely f'ed up male leader. Parts of this - the obligatory sex, the desperation for intimacy, the anger and shame- were so familiar to me as a teenager I was left wondering if I would have made some of the same decisions as the narrator. That's what works about this book (and any good book) - unfamiliar struggles of a character are drawn so that they are universal struggles recognizable to nearly every reader - in this case, every reader who grew up female. Excellent storytelling.-Jay's September Staff Pick, 2016


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The Whale: A Love Story: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780399562334
Availability: Special Order
Published: Viking - June 14th, 2016

The Whale by Mark Beauregard is a novel based on the love between Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Kris put it in my hands and I made my way through it - a tale of frustrated love and a feverish, soul torturing inspiration in the form of a marrow deep bond between two men that inspired a masterpiece. It was a fitting parallel reading for a week where the indefinable and unanswerable question of our human souls was writ large in media in every moment in the form of circular repeating death scenes. Melville's and Hawthorne's souls were on trial at an equally feverish pitch, but the sexual tension, humor and human pace cut the old testament brimstone. In the end this story, as our story is now, is a love story where human beings love, resent and inspire each other into salvation and damnation equally. -Jay's September Staff Pick, 2016


Staff Pick Badge
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780399184765
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - October 25th, 2016

Whether your point of reference for Carry Brownstein is her role opposite Fred Armisen (Portlandia) or her Riot Grrrl roots (Sleater –Kinney) you’ll love this memoir that gives us something celebrity memoirs usually don’t offer – a truly intelligent and fierce look into what makes a young girl looking for an identity grow through a childhood fraught with turmoil to become a formidable feminist badass. -Jay's Holiday Staff Pick, 2015


Staff Pick Badge
A Little Life Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780804172707
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - January 26th, 2016

Jay's October Staff Pick, 2015


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Forgiveness 4 You: A Novel Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781468310238
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Harry N. Abrams - March 17th, 2015

Gabriel is an ex-priest haunted by a past that is (to him) unforgivable.  While rebuilding his life working his quiet job at a bookstore he meets an advertising executive who finds his uncanny ability to comfort the guilty and absolve sins marketable.  Soon begins a global campaign targeted at guilty souls without faith who wish to confess and be forgiven – and Gabriel is at the center of the forgiveness revolution.  This book is a satirical contemplation of the American need to both embrace and reject faith. -Jay's May Staff Pick, 2015


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How to Build a Girl: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062335982
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - June 30th, 2015

This is my official book recommendation for pretty much everyone except those who don't like strong female leads, excruciatingly funny coming of age stories or sharp British wit from a working class/poor girl who reinvents and sort of collages herself into a brutal rock critic at age17 circa 1990. Fast read, spot on riot grrl feminism. -Jay's pick


The Girl on the Train: A Novel Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780735219755
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - April 4th, 2017

Rachel is a raging alcoholic.  She also narrates this Hitchcockian thriller.  Be ready for blank spaces in time, horrible decisions, questionable motives and behavior surrounding the murder of a woman whose life Rachel watches from seat on a commuter train.  Rachel soon becomes entangled in the investigation and finds herself at the center of the danger.  This is a fast, furious and fun read.  Don’t expect to put it down before bedtime. -Jay's April Staff Pick, 2015