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Kea's Reading List

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Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781620972250
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: New Press - September 6th, 2016

If you have a liberal on your list who's looking to understand the deep divide in our country at a foundational level--or if *you're* someone who's anticipating some difficult family conversations this holiday--you need this book. Sociologist Hochschild critically but compassionately examines the worldview of tea party conservatives in the most environmentally devastated regions of Louisiana, and then gives her analysis back to her subjects to get their take. What results is a meaningful and rare look into America's divergent realities, moralities, and more, that is not at all prescriptive, but will get you thinking about how the country might move forward. -Kea's Holiday Staff Pick, 2016


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You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain Cover Image
By Phoebe Robinson, Jessica Williams (Foreword by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780143129202
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Plume - October 4th, 2016

You know that person your list who reads THE hot new humor memoir every year? Buy them this. Just trust me. You may not have heard of Phoebe Robinson yet, but you certainly will--she's one of the freshest and funniest voices I've read in ages, not to mention one of the keenest voices on racism, feminism, pop culture, Solange's hairstyles, and other really important things. I'm going to say names like Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and Issa Rae and the TV show Broad City (she's one of Ilana Glazer's BFFs and you can see why they'd get along), and you'd love this if you like any of those, but really: this is one to read for its own sake. -Kea's Holiday Staff Pick, 2016


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My Private Property Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781940696386
Availability: Special Order
Published: Wave Books - October 4th, 2016

Mary Ruefle has long been known as one of our best prose-poets (lyrical essayists? weird micro-fiction-writers? what is she, and who cares?). My Private Property extends her legacy in this new collection, which spans everything from shrunken heads to ritual bathing to the most cutting forms of loss. For all her bizarre dazzle, though, what's most striking about Ruefle's work is her rigor: she lights off sparklers so that you can better see the exact shade of the dark when they've faded, and she consistently surprised me not just with her language, but with her depth of inquiry. A must for any adventurous reader. -Kea's November Staff Pick, 2016


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The Voynich Manuscript Cover Image
By Raymond Clemens (Editor), Deborah E. Harkness (Introduction by)
$50.00
ISBN: 9780300217230
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Yale University Press - November 1st, 2016

For the reader who has everything, why not give them the world's most mysterious book? The Voynich Manuscript was written in the fifteenth century, in a mysterious alphabet that hundreds of years later, still no one been able to decipher--and full of mysterious otherworldly illustrations that everyone who encounters it can't help but become a little obsessed with. This reproduction is as close as you can get to holding the real thing in your hands, and anyone who loves books not just as stories but as portals to other worlds will want this in their library. -Kea's November Staff Pick, 2016


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Private Citizens: A Novel Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780062399106
Availability: Backordered
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - February 9th, 2016

This is the book you should try if you like Franzen’s arch social commentary but you want even just a *few* diverse characters in your books (see: believable portrayals of women + people of color.) Tulathimutte’s (that’s TOO-la-tim-OO-tee) debut novel follows four friends in 2008 San Francisco, recently out of college and striving desperately to stamp themselves on the world. Will is a tech wizard surfing on an endless ocean of silicon valley money while trying to keep hold of his relationship with the out-of-his-league Vanya, who’s making her own fame and fortune with a start-up directed towards the disability community; Henrik is a manic-depressive grad student trying to decide who he is when the research money dries up; Linda is a newly minted addict who finds herself stranded back in the town where she went to college when a relationship dissolves; and Cory inherits an idealistic non-profit when her boss abruptly dies, and has to decide how idealistic she really has it in her to be. Tulathimutte’s character’s strive and pose and brand themselves in many ways throughout this novel, but it’s his ability to humanize them while still flaying them with satire that signals his significant talent. -Kea's November STaff Pick, 2016


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Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear . . . and Why Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781612195636
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Melville House - September 20th, 2016

It's kind of astonishing that we didn't already have a comprehensive feminist critique of how the celebrity gossip industry treats women who behave badly, but maybe it's just that Sady Doyle needed to come along to write it. Her ultra-incisive analysis and expertly-aimed humor are the perfect tools to dissect our cultural obsession with ruined women, and shape those stories into a propulsive, skewering read to boot. Intersectional, grounded in history, and insanely readable, I'll read anything Sady Doyle writes next. -Kea's November Staff Pick, 2016


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You Will Know Me: A Novel Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780316231077
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - July 26th, 2016

For a literary fiction reader, Megan Abbott is a true diamond in the rough of the mystery section: all of her books use crime as a Trojan horse to explore the much more complicated ways our culture harms (and sometimes, are harmed by) women and girls, and You Will Know Me elevates those questions to a new height. Ostensibly, the novel centers on a teenage gymnastics prodigy, Devon, who hopes to redeem herself after a mid-career misstep (at the ripe old age of thirteen) forces her off the Olympic track. But where this book actually finds its heart is in Devon's mother, Katie, a reluctant gymnastics parent who has never fully accepted what her daughter's talent seems to demand of their family, and how it might be shaping Devon herself. When a young man in their gym dies violently and Devon might be somehow implicated, Katie gets sucked into finding out the truth--and ultimately, has to decide what her daughter's ambition might be worth, and what it might have cost them. The rare mystery that rewards even if you spy the twist, and stays with you in echoes. -Kea's November Staff Pick, 2016


Suite for Barbara Loden Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780997366600
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dorothy a Publishing Project - October 17th, 2016

You may not know who the actress Barbara Loden was, or you may not have seen her film, Wanda. I hadn’t either when I picked this atypical ode to a forgotten work of art, and I didn’t love this book even a tiny bit less for it. What started, for Nathalie Leger, as an assignment to write a brief entry for a film encyclopedia turned into a book that strains and warps the limits of both its genre and subject. A skillful meditation on our relationships to the stories we love and the stories we make, the icons and the dead we crave to know, our memories, our selves, and any urgent territory that we never have total access to. Try it if you like Dana Spiotta or Rachel Kushner. -Kea's October Staff Pick, 2016  


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Float Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781101946848
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - October 25th, 2016

Anne Carson's fans won't need to be persuaded to buy this one, but for any readers of poetry, experimental prose,cultural criticism or the Greek classics who have yet to be converted, you need this. (And if you happen to be shopping for a fan of one of the above for Christmas: they *really* need this.) Presented as a series of chapbooks of poems, essays, dramas, and writings that hover somewhere between genres, all of which can (really!) be read in any order, Float would succeed if it were only a shuffled collection of Carson's astounding, ever-surprising words. What makes it extraordinary, though, is how very much *one thing* this book is. As you craft your own reading experience, the text slyly builds an amazing, personal argument *about* argumentation, how thoughts are formed and stories are told, what makes a work of art or an identity or reality cohesive, and the total joy of exploding that fiction by looking just a bit closer. Exploring everything from Ancient Greek translation to Alzheimers to French New Wave to the silences of Joan of Arc, Float is a substantive experiment in thought and form from a true original. -Kea's October Staff Pick, 2016


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Land of Love and Ruins Cover Image
By Oddný Eir, Philip Roughton (Translated by)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781632060723
Availability: Special Order
Published: Restless Books - October 25th, 2016

If you love the kind of novel that lets you wander with a fascinating mind for a while, this is your pick. Icelandic author Oddny Eir gives us the eponymous Oddny, an emerging novelist who's recently separated from a lover and is recording her thoughts piecemeal as she ambles through a new relationship and across countries. Part diary, part philosophy (think Pascal and Montaigne), always keen and true and delightfully smart, this is a book that I related to deeply and loved consuming in in small bites. Fans of Nell Zink's The Wallcreeper and perambulating literary memoirs like Patti Smith's M Train should give it a look.-Kea's October Staff Pick, 2016


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Calamities Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781940696270
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Wave Books - September 6th, 2016

I can’t remember the last time I became so instantly obsessed with a book as I did with this one. Renee Gladman’s Calamities are, ostensibly, a sequence of small essays (stories?) that detail the process of writing the book you hold in your hands. But what’s most amazing about it is how it dismantles that process, fluidly exposing the paradoxes of trying to record a story when the process of writing and its sometimes-accoutrements (see: academic bureaucracy) tend to alter your brain in a way that throws the elements of any story into question (time, event, consciousness, people, words when you say them too many times). That is a maybe too opaque way of saying that this book is hilarious,  and bizarrely concise, and if you write or teach or have ever felt a little displaced in your daily reality, you will see yourself in it. -Kea's September Staff Pick, 2016


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The Sleeping World: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781501131677
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Atria Books - September 13th, 2016

Set in the immediate wake of Franco's violent regime in Spain, The Sleeping World takes on the story of Mosca, a university student and sometimes-punk whose youthful nihilism has collided with a country-wide crisis that has shaken everything she knows to its core. Her parents long dead, her brother disappeared, she throws herself into the dizzying world of illegal basement bars, student protests, and a circle of friends-cum-lovers who are all painfully tied up with the rawest questions of her past. When Mosca and her friends' furious rebellion lands them in real trouble, they flee the city where they all grew up, and end up on a journey that takes them closer and closer to the loss and danger they're trying to push away. A wonderful voice and a beautifully surprising third act. -Kea's September Staff Pick, 2016


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The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977498
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Graywolf Press - September 6th, 2016

Even if you don't have or don't want or are just plain not sure about having kids (or becoming a parent in any other way), you'll be fascinated by Belle Boggs' The Art of Waiting. Part memoir of her own experience with infertility, part natural/cultural history of our relationship to reproduction and child-raising in its many, ever-changing forms, this is a book that asks powerful questions about supposedly innate biological desires, our relationship to our own bodies, and how medical science has complicated (and enriched) both.  Compassionate, thoughtful, and far-reaching in its inquiry, full of beautiful and surprising moments. -Kea's September Staff Pick 2016


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Eileen: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780143128755
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - August 16th, 2016

If you like unique, voice-driven fiction, I’d love to introduce you to Eileen. Moshfegh’s risky, strangely-shaped, and utterly riveting novel is told by an old woman looking back on a mysterious, decades-old crime that took her out of her tiny life caring for an alcoholic father and working in a juvenile prison in 1960’s Maine and landed her...we don’t quite know where. It takes the bulk of the novel to reveal just what Eileen has done, but her agile, obsessive, mildly-perverted mind is one that’s a pleasure to follow into the dark. A fresh, weird, and terrifyingly skillful take on noir mystery. -Kea's September Staff Pick, 2016


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Fates and Furies: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781594634482
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - September 13th, 2016

New in paperback, Lauren Groff's Fates and Furies made a huge splash when it was released last year, but like me, you may have skipped it because of a lazy description of its premise (two attractive privileged white people get married, and it's complicated.) I urge you to give it another look. Told in two voices--husband and then wife--this story explores the many forces that can shape a marriage: love, yes, and sex, and sometimes deception (fans of Gone Girl should try this on), but also the thronier side of class and gender differences, and the private questions of individual identity that can hold two people apart even as they cling together across years. Lotto is a disinherited heir to a Florida fortune and a maybe-brilliant playwright; Mathilde is an ex-model with a shadowy past and hidden talents of her own; their secrets, and those of the people around them, are as powerfully alive as if they were a third character in the book, and they will keep your mind spinning. -Kea's September Staff Pick, 2016


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A Modern Way to Cook: 150+ Vegetarian Recipes for Quick, Flavor-Packed Meals [A Cookbook] Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780399578427
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ten Speed Press - August 30th, 2016

You should definitely pick up Anna Jones' first cookbook, A Modern Way To Eat, if you haven't already, but A Modern Way to Cook is no less wonderful of a follow up. Focused, again, on vibrant, vegetable-based recipes that are incidentally vegetarian, the book distinguishes itself as the rare cookbook-arranged-by-cooking-time that is *actually accurate,* and that serves a legitimate purpose: to show you how to make a healthful, seasonal meal in under 15 minutes, or really savor a longer preparation and enjoy working with great ingredients. Bursting with surprising flavor combinations that you won't believe work (plantains and avocados and pea shoots in one recipe--trust me!), this is the rare cookbook that really and truly requires zero technical skill but generates beautiful, tasty food that looks like a photo spread every time. Magic! -Kea's September Staff Pick, 2016


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Reputations Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781594633478
Availability: Special Order
Published: Riverhead Books - September 20th, 2016

Who are we in secret, and who are we to the world outside? In his most elegant and provocative novel to date, Juan Gabriel Vasquez  poses these questions through the character of Javier Mallarino, a celebrated political cartoonist who's dismantled the reputations of the powerful and helped shape his country through his art--not to mention his access to the private lives of  politicians in his social circle. When a young woman from his past re-enters his life in an unexpected way, Mallarino is forced to confront a long-ago decision that may upend his undestanding of ethics, his responsibilities as an artist, and his sense of self. A swift, page-turning read that will appeal to fans of Ian McEwan, J.M. Coetzee, or any literary novelist that wrestles with the thorniest questions of political society and human nature. -Kea's September Staff Pick, 2016


The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781501126345
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - August 2nd, 2016

Whether you’ve been deeply engaged in our recent national (and local) conversation about what it means to be black in America or you’re looking for a place to start, this is your book. From the legacy of James Baldwin to racial disparities in policing to loving ATLiens to (in my favorite piece) Rachel Dolezal, these essays and poems both interrogate and celebrate, provoke and create powerful silence. A great jumping off point for many vital conversations that will send you scattering to other corners of the bookstore to read everything these writers have published. -Kea's August Staff Pick, 2016


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The Queen of the Night Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780544925472
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - November 1st, 2016

For fans of All The Light We Cannot See or any sweeping historical fiction with some serious literary heft, this is your next book. Spanning a extraordinary lifetime that takes its protagonist from a dark past in the American colonies to Paris’ high society opera houses in the Belle Epoque, this is a book that balances is glitter with dark themes of power, ambition, and how women survive. Operatic, atmospheric, and romantic in the true, complex sense of the word, this is a book for so many kinds of readers. -Kea's November Staff Pick, 2016


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Innocents and Others: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781501122736
Availability: Backordered
Published: Scribner - November 15th, 2016

Reading this book is like watching raw film footage: it’s a little raw, but weirdly gorgeous, cool, and thrilling as a secret. Focusing on two women filmmakers, Meadow and Carrie, and the women who serve as the subjects of their documentaries--catfishers, phone phreakers, falsely (?) accused arsonists--this novel takes a sideways approach to exploring female relationships, art-making, and identity. For fans of Rachel Kushner, Jennifer Egan, and Maggie Nelson. -Kea's November Staff Pick, 2016


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In Other Words Cover Image
By Jhumpa Lahiri, Ann Goldstein (Translated by)
$26.95
ISBN: 9781101875551
Availability: Special Order
Published: Knopf - February 9th, 2016

A fascinating and longing look at a writer’s relationship to language--not just in her native tongue, but in the ones she wishes she spoke. Tri-lingual author Jhumpa Lahiri wrote this book in Italian, her weakest language, and what results is beautiful, subtly changed prose that is uniquely equipped to explore the way the words we have available to us can alter our experience of memory and self. Gorgeous. -Kea's August Staff Pick, 2016


M Train Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781101910160
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - August 23rd, 2016

A lighter but no less satisfying follow-up to her bestselling memoir Just Kids, Patti Smith’s M Train wanders through the stations in her life (marriage, visits to French penal colonies, meetings with Bobby Fischer) with the comforting rhythm of a cross-country night train. A total joy to be inside this mind again. -Kea's September Staff Pick, 2016


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Ninety-Nine Stories of God Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781941040355
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tin House Books - July 12th, 2016

Wry and weird and blasphemous and perfect, the microfictions in Joy Williams’ 99 Stories of God  are the ideal companion to summer on a planet that, lately, might feel just a bit too bizarre to exist. If you’ve read her before, you know what to do. If you haven’t, I’m jealous of you--the feeling you get from reading a Joy Williams story is simply unlikely anything else. (I can imagine it’s not unlike how four German Shepherds would feel on a canoe.)  -Kea's July Staff Pick, 2016


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Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781580056229
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Seal Press - March 8th, 2016

Fascinating, challenging, and at times polemic, this updated edition of Whipping Girl is essential reading for anyone who wants more language for how gender in its many forms both shapes our lives--and is shaped by it. Though written by a transwoman and focused on a specific MTF-spectrum experience, this is a book that will make anyone think more deeply about how we perceive and define ourselves and others. -Kea's July Staff Pick, 2016


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The Last Samurai Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9780811225502
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions - May 31st, 2016

To get it out of the way: this book has nothing to do with the Tom Cruise movie, very little to do with Japan or its elite military castes, and even the (very fine!) summary on the back doesn't *really* manage to sum up everything this novel accomplishes. It's just one of those books that keeps exceeding its own premise in staggering, surprising ways, and it's not a hyperbole to say it gets more and more brilliant with every single page. The Last Samurai is, ostensibly, about a young single mother in London raising a young boy who's slowly revealing himself to be a prodigy, and the quest that boy eventually goes on to find the father he never knew. But if that premise turns you off, and you're not really one for child narrators or family sagas, oh my god, just trust me and read a few pages. Incredibly original, layered, hilarious, insanely well crafted and shockingly readable, Helen DeWitt became an instant favorite for me with this book, and if you're a big reader of literary fiction, she *will* be one of yours, too. -Kea's June Staff Pick, 2016


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The Hatred of Poetry Cover Image
$12.00
ISBN: 9780865478206
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: FSG Originals - June 7th, 2016

A slim but riveting dissection of our culture's contempt for poetry and maybe reading in general, Lerner's essay is smart, weird, and (a pleasant surprise!) an intersectional examination of how and which voices we marginalize, discount or mark as irrelevant. Spanning traditions as diverse in spirit and distant in time as Whitman and Claudia Rankine, this book will speak most directly to poets themselves, but there are some fascinating questions about language's relation to politics, here, that should appeal to all of us. -Kea's June Staff Pick, 2016

 


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Sex Object: A Memoir Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780062435088
Availability: Special Order
Published: Dey Street Books - June 7th, 2016

If you’re someone who reads online feminist journalism, Jessica Valenti’s story will sound sadly familiar: editor of prominent women’s publication gets violently harassed and threatened on the internet. Far more surprising, though, is Valenti’s prose, which is stark, unsparing, and honest about how objectification and dehumanization can change your way of being in the world, especially as a writer and mother. A necessary corollary to Lindy West’s Shrill or Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist. -Kea's June Staff pick, 2016 


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Homegoing: A novel Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781101947135
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - June 7th, 2016

This is one of those rare novels that is stuffed with characters but feels like one well-hewn thing, that contains the weight and complexity of our darkest moral questions but is, in another way, buoyed by joy. Beginning with long-lost sisters in 18th century Ghana and tracing their descendants all the way to present day, Homegoing wrestles with the long echoes of the trans-Atlantic slave trade--a sin committed both by white and black characters--and the ways families are torn apart and brought together under brutal circumstances. What's most interesting, though, is the sheer dimensionality of both her landscapes (Antebellum Alabama, an Asante village, the streets of modern day Accra, so many more) and the way her imperfect, beautiful characters move through them. Layered, clean-lined, and deserving of the substantial pre-publication buzz.

 


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Joe Gould's Teeth Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781101947586
Availability: Special Order
Published: Knopf - May 17th, 2016

In her follow up to her equally bizarre and wonderful The Secret History of Wonder Woman, Jill Lepore again takes on the unseen origins of a work of literary legend--this time, Joe Gould's infinitely long Oral History of Our Time, which purported to document the vast minutiae of modern life, via a transcription of nearly every conversation the author had or overheard. What sets this origin story apart, though, is that Joe Gould's masterwork may have never actually existed--and what follows from Lepore's search for it raises immense questions about the nature of writing itself, the power of literary persona, and the devastation of mental illness. Gould, it turns out, was a graphomaniac who may never *completed* a book; a eugenicist in love with a black sculptress; a cult figure of the modernists whose shattering of the norms of realism had more to do with brain chemistry than the avant garde. Complex, spare, and intentionally slim, this is a book that stares into the gaps in its own history and ask the reader what they see. Kea's May Staff Pick 2016

 


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Mongrels: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780062412690
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: William Morrow - May 10th, 2016

A gritty, ultra-cool literary novel for a smart horror reader (or a cool horror novel for litfic readers, or a *perfect* novel for weirdos like me who are both,) Mongrels is a fresh take on both a werewolf story and a family saga, which is not something I think can be said of any other book, maybe ever? Jones tells his story through the eyes of a young boy who's waiting to find out whether he's inherited the family werewolf gene--a gene that's killed most of his relatives and doomed the rest to a desperate, itinerant life of literally chasing down scraps. Partly a raw commentary on how society treats the disenfranchised, partly a story about how families survive, 100% packed with surprising, razor-edged sentences. Mongrels is somewhere between a picaresque and a linked short story collection, but the ferociousness of Jones' prose makes it read like taut thriller. -Kea's May Staff Pick 2016

 


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Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780316348409
Availability: Special Order
Published: Hachette Books - May 17th, 2016

It is a vomitous cliche to say that a book is "hilarious and brilliant at once!", but: oh my god, guys. Lindy West's long-awaited first book is far and away the best humor writing I've read in years, and also the freshest take on feminism I've read in forever. Whether she's writing a send up of the vanishingly small number of fat female role models in the media (e.g. that bear in The Jungle Book dressed up in a gypsy costume) or dissecting the astonishing fallout of an essay she wrote about rape jokes in stand-up, West's writing is vital, uncompromising, and totally new. When you add in the sucker-punch of a few astoundingly touching personal memoirs (you might remember her This American Life piece about being trolled on twitter by a stranger pretending to be her dead father), you'll leave this book convinced that there isn't a genre of nonfiction that West can't tackle, and no realm of the modern female experience that doesn't need her voice. Fat-positive, intersectional, bonkers-great writing from a radically good person. -Kea's May Staff Pick, 2016

 


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Proxies: Essays Near Knowing Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781937658458
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Nightboat Books - January 4th, 2016

Written under a single constraint--to not reference any outside sources, conduct any research, or confirm any facts (until the end, at least)--Brian Blanchfield's proxies asks some immediate questions about the definition of non-fiction. What makes these essays marvelous, though, is the way they move straight past categories and into a space where the fallibility of memory and the conviction of knowing and way shame re-makes things all work in one flux--or, where truth is queered and revels in it. Told in small, "single subject" essays that bleed out into greater territory, I loved the way Proxies volleyed between a collection and an autobiography, from frottage to the academic labor market to the most tender and barbed memories of childhood to a hotspring outside Tucson, newly in love. Beautiful, toothy, layered, just great. -Kea's April Staff Pick, 2016

 


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The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trial Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977368
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Graywolf Press - April 5th, 2016

A true crime narrative that questions our ability to tell true stories about the dead (and the shameful secrets of the living), this is the book that's going to open Maggie Nelson's work up to the wider audience she deserves. Ostensibly about the re-opening of a cold case--the murder of Nelson's aunt, 36 years ago--but reaching beyond it into much bigger questions of grief, violence, voyeurism and how we tell our family stories, this book just packs so much into its 224 pages. Tightly paced but beautifully ponderous, this is a new and deeply necessary entry into the true crime genre, and one of the best memoirs on any topic I've read in years. -Kea's April Staff Pick, 2016


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

17th century author Margaret Cavendish was one of the first in many ways--one of the first women to publish under her own name, one of the first writers of what we, today, identify as science fiction, one of our earliest women philosophers and naturalists and playwrights whose work has surived to present day. But in this novelization of her life, Danielle Dutton reaches beyond Cavendish’s dazzling biography to create an extraordinary inner landscape, every bit as original on a molecular level as her historical legacy has become. Slim but overflowing with keen insight and lush strangeness, you will want to live in Cavendish’s head for longer than this novel’s pages--and the quietly subversive questions it asks  will stay with you long after it’s done. -Kea's March Staff Pick, 2016

 


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A Doubter's Almanac Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781400068265
Availability: Special Order
Published: Random House - February 16th, 2016

This is one of those pick-it-up-and-get-lost-in-it- for-a-long-weekend books; immersive, propulsive, all the -sives. Ethan Canin gives us the life story of mathematical genius Milo Andret and the extraordinary proof that marks his legacy (and the extraordinary toll his obsession takes on his life, and those he loves). If you’re meh on the idea of another novel that bemoans the sad, tragic life of a brilliant, privileged white man: please, just hang with me on this one. The characters here are so fully human and true, it will make you put aside every one of your reservations and fall headlong. -Kea's March Staff Pick, 2016

 


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Thief in the Interior Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781938584176
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Alice James Books - January 12th, 2016

Phillip B. William's debut collection gives you the kind of writing that makes you feel like you've been struck: by fists, by awful truths, by language's own astonishing ability to wound and alter. Exploring narratives of violence, desire, and their intersections--a particularly moving cycle at the center of the collection is a kind of elegy for the victim of an anti-black, anti-queer hate crime, told in part from the perspective of the trash bag in which his body was found--Williams' poems are impossibly visceral and musical at once, and he can write the kind of line that can knock you out for a solid day, sometimes with their gentleness alone. (From "Misericord": "O to wear you/like a gown,/a freshly dug grave/over which bees/weave the scent of wet grass,/wet as though expecting—"). A crucial, astounding read. -Kea's February Staff Pick, 2016


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Multiply/Divide: On the American Real and Surreal Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781941411049
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Published: Sarabande Books - August 11th, 2015

This came out late last summer, but what’s the new year for but catching up on great books you might have missed? For fans of Eula Biss, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Maggie Nelson and (curveball) the Oulippo, you need Wendy Walter’s genre-bending collection of stories, essays, prose poems, and not-quite-any-of-those(s). Walters mulls the intersections of race, class, gender and other power and identity structures as a way of exploring the “psyches of American cities”, as well as the author’s own. A provoative, fresh, formally unsettling take on many of the questions most crucial to this moment in our national dialogue. -Kea's January Staff Pick, 2016

 


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Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780761184997
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Published: Workman Publishing Company - July 14th, 2015

For the person in your life who isn’t into holiday consumerism (or just likes good, cheap home-cooked meals), this is your ticket. For every book you buy, the publisher donates a copy to someone in need. If the store sells 16, they’ll donate another 16 to a local St. Louis food bank! Amazing! This would be cool enough on its own, if the recipes weren’t also designed to be accessible, affordable (all ingredients are SNAP eligible), and oh yes, crazy delicious on any budget. Come for the shrimp and grits recipe (trust me,) stay for the warm holiday feeling of helping others gain access to healthful, sustainable, tasty food. -Kea's Holiday Staff Pick, 2015


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Boy with Thorn (Pitt Poetry Series) Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780822963813
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Published: University of Pittsburgh Press - September 9th, 2015

The poems in Wash U graduate Rickey Laurentiis'  debut collection are, in some ways, a set of physics problems: they are fascinated with what bodies do and what is done to them, how violence is a vector that can move us in so many directions. Inspired by influences as wide as Hurricane Katrina (Laurentiis is a survivor), anti-homosexuality bills in Africa, religious mortification, the bloody history of Southern lynchings, and a deep engagement (and sometimes contention) with canonical poets and artists, this book has a scope that is startling among new voices, and so manages to braid questions of race, sexuality, place and power with an elegance that astonishes. -Kea's November Staff Pick, 2015


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Vertigo Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780989760751
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dorothy a Publishing Project - October 1st, 2015

Fans of Clarice Lispector, Lydia Davis, and experimental fiction of all stripes, you need to check out Joanna Walsh. The stories in Vertigo are linked by speaker and can be read like a novel, but each stands alone as an example of just how many boundaries the short form can push in a few pages. Walsh handles the seismic events of life--a child in intensive care, a pregnancy morphing the body--with a sort of alien bluntness and mania for category that forces her language into bizarre, thrilling new shapes. A mind-blowing must-read. -Kea's October Staff Pick, 2015

 


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Gold Fame Citrus: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781594634239
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Riverhead Books - September 29th, 2015

A cool, lyrical new entry into the cannon of literary post-apocalypses, Gold Fame Citrus imagines a waterless California ovewhelmed by massive sandstorms that have settled into an endless sea of sand dunes, and the type of people who try survive there anyway (cults, dowsers, ex-models, military deserters with no other choice.) When Luz and her boyfriend, Ray, find a toddler wandering in the waste, they're forced to find a new way to live, and if possible, a way out. Told in a kind of fuel-injected, psychedelic language that's completely unique to the genre, this book is a shimmering, brutal portrait of what the American West could easily become, and how human desire persists like thirst, even in the absence of even a mirage. -Kea's October Staff Pick, 2015


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The Story of the Lost Child: Neapolitan Novels, Book Four Cover Image
By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Translated by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9781609452865
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - September 1st, 2015

Story of the Lost Child is the last novel in the Neopolitan Novels series, and to get my big grandiose statement out of the way: if there’s any justice in the world at all, these books are destined for the global cannon. Starting with their childhood in 1950’s Italy and ending, here, in their old age, Ferrante uses the lifelong friendship of Elena and Lila to examine the complexities of the female experience at a depth I have simply never seen before, in a novel or anywhere else. These books made me feel like I was struck by a lightning bolt: you will simply do not know what you’ve been missing until you pick them up. Start with My Brilliant Friend and I’ll see you soon for this one. -Kea's September Staff Pick, 2015


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Loving Day Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780812993455
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Spiegel & Grau - May 26th, 2015

If you liked Americanah, try this one on next. Warren Duffy used to be a lot of things, until recently: the owner of a comic book store, a husband in a childless marriage, a mixed-race man who's confident that the world sees him as simply black. But when his marriage explodes and his recently-deceased father leaves him what might be a haunted house in the middle of Philadelphia, Warren starts to question everything--and even more so when he meets the daughter he never knew he had, who, until recently, was confident that the world saw her as simply white. Forced to build a new life when he's not sure he wouldn't rather burn it all down, Warren enrolls his daughter in an experimental high school for mixed-race teenagers, and ends up being forced to confront his own complex notions of identity, race, legacy and love. A whip-smart, hilarious book that's at once satirical and refreshingly candid, page-turny and make-you-stop-and-think. -Kea's August Staff Pick, 2015


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Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780812997668
Availability: Special Order
Published: Random House - August 4th, 2015

Anyone who's already a fan of Shirley Jackson will know how outrageously exciting this collection is, but if you think you're not: remember reading "The Lottery" in English class? Of course you do! Everything Jackson writes is just as sharply paced, haunting and brilliant as her most famous story, and every piece here is a reminder of literary horror's unique power to expose and explore the anxieties of the human experience. Jackson is among America's most important literary voices, in the horror genre and beyond it, and we're so lucky to have this last book. -Kea's August Staff Pick, 2015


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The Seven Good Years: A Memoir Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781594633263
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Published: Riverhead Books - June 16th, 2015

Ira Glass, Salman Rushdie, Jonathan Safran Foer, me, and basically everyone else are huge fans of Etgar Keret's short stories, but even if you're not a diehard yet, you should consider picking up this memoir. Told in a sequence of mini-essays and spanning the seven years between the birth of his son during a Palestinian suicide bombing and the death of his father of an aggressive form of tongue cancer, this book is--no, trust me!--a hilarious, irreverent, but never flip account of what it's like to live in modern Israel as a secular, not-particularly-conservative Jew. Take five minutes to read the essay "Fat Cats" if you need further convincing. -Kea's June Staff Pick, 2015

 


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The Argonauts Cover Image
$23.00
ISBN: 9781555977078
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Published: Graywolf Press - May 5th, 2015

The Argonauts is a story about queer love, and also a review of a few dozen art exhibitions, and also a poem about giving birth, and occasionally an essay on Foucault.  The book is ostensibly anchored in Nelson's relationship with her partner, the fluidly gendered artist and filmmaker Harry Dodge, and particularly Nelson's experience of Harry's transition and the birth of their son Iggy. But this is one of those paradoxical books that manages to insist, in 160 pages, just how wide and huge and uncontainable a love story can be. I took such enormous pleasure in charting Nelson's divergences (art porn, graduate seminars, the limits of the gay rights movement) that I ultimately didn't think of them as divergences at all. A lot of critics like to call Nelson's books "auto-theory," for their blend of criticism and memoir, but to me her work is such a singular thing: one singular mind, writing one thing, and so writing it all. -Kea's June Staff Pick, 2015

 


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A Modern Way to Eat: 200+ Satisfying Vegetarian Recipes (That Will Make You Feel Amazing) [A Cookbook] Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781607748038
Availability: Backordered
Published: Ten Speed Press - April 21st, 2015

I got an advanced copy of this cookbook way back in December, cooked almost everything in it with off-season grocery story produce, and got excited to cook everything again when my CSA starts in May. Anna Jones' food is declicious, ingredient-driven, not intimidatingly cheffy and often quick and easy to prepare. But don't think of this just as a collection of recipes--every few pages, there's a guide to seasonal produce or a blueprint for the perfect salad based on whatever's in your fridge or advice on how to stock your pantry. An incredibly useful, flexible, and tasty guide to vegetarian eating. -Kea's May Staff Pick, 2015

 


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Fourth of July Creek: A Novel Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062286468
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Published: Ecco - March 10th, 2015

Fourth of July Creek was a lot of critics' favorite for 2014's underappreciated-book-of-the-year, and if you missed it in hardcover, you owe yourself to pick it up in paperback. Pete Snow is a social worker in rural Montana who seems, at first, like a kind of superman to his strung-out, violent, and universally traumatized clients. But within about a chapter it becomes shockingly clear how much Pete and those clients have in common, and how his own alcoholism and crumbling personal life might threaten the families he's charged to protect. That might sound like a seedy dime-store novel premise, but trust me: Henderson's writing is both strong enough and weird enough to carry it off. The story never stops surprising you, from the entrance of a hyper-religious survivalist family that's attracting the attention of the FBI, to the disappearance of Pete's own daughter, to the Pete's escalating benders themselves. The way the novel's threads braid together feels like a marvelous feat, and the questions the novel raises about freedom and civilization will stay with you. -Kea's April Staff Pick, 2015

 


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Get in Trouble: Stories Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780804179683
Availability: Special Order
Published: Random House - February 3rd, 2015

Kelly Link's stories are full of robot/ghost boyfriends and haunted nudist colonies and superhero sidekick conventions, but that's not what's so fantastic about her work. It's the incredible ways she takes the best ingredients of genre and literary fiction uses them to concoct something bigger and more delicious than them both. There isn't a weak link (ha!) in this collection; each story is intensely human and superhuman at once, and I recognized myself as often as I was dazzled. I've been a fan for years, but this one is her best so far. -Kea's March Staff Pick, 2015

 


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Hall of Small Mammals: Stories Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781594632525
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Published: Riverhead Books - January 8th, 2015

Fans of George Saunders would do well to check out Thomas Pierce's debut. The stories in Hall of Small Mammals are funny and big-hearted and a little bizarre in much the same way, but Pierce's voice is totally his own and I'd bet money he'll distinguish himself as one of our most talked about young short fiction writers in the next few months. From a mother who gets stuck taking care of her son's wooly mammoth clone to to a boyfriend who goes on a quest to find the imaginary husband his girlfriend is married to in her lucid dreams, every piece in this collection is both entertaining and beautifully crafted, perfect for deep-winter reading. -Kea's February Staff Pick, 2015

 


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The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781937512231
Availability: Special Order
Published: Two Dollar Radio - November 1st, 2014

When you burn every copy of every frame of a film, does the movie somehow still exist? And if you could somehow find a way to watch it, would what you see make you go mad?  In the mid-90s, a film librarian named Roberto Acestes Laing suddenly snaps, burns an entire collection of rare shorts by the likes of Lynch, Antonioni and Jodorowsky, and disappears into middle America--until he is found in the first pages of Nicholas Rombes' startling new novel. Told from the perspective of a mysterious journalist who's trying to reconstruct Laing's ruined collection through a series of motel room interviews, this book is a dissociative and cryptic and weirdly terrifying exploration of what happens when stories (or the people who tell them) are destroyed, and how we confront annihilation. For fans of Bolano and Borges, or anyone game for a challenging and fascinating read. -Kea's January Staff Pick, 2015

 


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Lila: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780374187613
Availability: Special Order
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - October 7th, 2014

Those familiar with Marilynne Robinson’s novels will know to look past the flowery cover, but for those who aren’t, this is a book that proves excellent fiction simply can’t be gendered. Part portrait of female itinerant worker in the midwest, part intimate and complex portrait of a marriage, Lila is brutal and gentle at once, and yeah, I know, that shouldn’t work. But Robinson’s prose is so astounding that those contradictions feel make her characters feel somehow more real than life. Part of a trilogy, though it fully stands on its own--but trust me, you’ll want to stay in this world for longer than just one book. An excellent gift for any literary fiction reader in the family.  -Kea's Holiday Staff Pick, 2015

 


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Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London's Ottolenghi [A Cookbook] Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781607746218
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ten Speed Press - October 14th, 2014

Ottolenghi's cookbooks exist at that rare intersection between food porn and functionality, and Plenty More is no exception. Like its predecessor, Plenty, Ottolenghi's latest focuses on beautiful, healthful, vegetable-centric food that is incidentally vegetarian but mostly just delicious (and he'll often give you protein options if meat is truly non-negotiable.) Divided by cooking method (braised, roasted, cracked--yes, there is an entire chapter devoted to gourmet egg-iterations!), this book provides an original and shockingly intuitive answer to the perennial "what do I feel like eating tonight" problem. I'm still cooking my way through this, but so far I can give my highest praise to: brussel sprout risotto, cauliflower cake, tomato and pomegranate salad.  -Kea's December Staff Pick, 2015