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Kris

"The scandalous truth about me is that I am an unruly reader. I don't keep a methodical list, I often have more than one copy of the same book in piles I forget about, and I read somewhat randomly, and can be motivated by a book cover or how it smells alone.  I gravitate towards books by or about disenfranchised folk everywhere:  literary fiction that takes me somewhere I could never otherwise go, literary nonfiction--memoir and essays especially-- noir and thinking person's mysteries, poetry, and the occasional straight-up book of history.  But my first requirement is almost always good writing." 

Read the rest of Kris' picks here.

 

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Heavy: An American Memoir Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781501125669
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - March 5th, 2019

This is a devastatingly beautiful portrait of a son and his mother, and what it is like to grow up big, black, and male in America. Kiese reads the audio himself and it is mesmerizing. I could not stop listening.


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Rough Magic: Riding the World's Loneliest Horse Race Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781948226196
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Catapult - May 7th, 2019

Rough Magic is a terrific adventure memoir from an unlikely source: a 19-year old woman at odds with human society, whose malaise at the threshold of adulthood and conformity sends her on a spur of the moment competition in the longest and hardest horse race ever, one she ultimately wins. Lara Prior-Palmer's account of the adventure--the horses, the Mongols she meets, the weather, and her competitors-- is absolutely engaging, but it is her sharp, introspective, wry musings, her surprisingly mature grasp of history and philosophy, her gorgeous prose, that sets this book in a class of its own. Highly recommended!


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Searching for Sylvie Lee: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062834300
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow - June 4th, 2019

I love everything Jean Kwok writes and Searching for Sylvie Lee is no exception. A mystery wrapped in a family drama that spans continents it is old in alternating voices of two sisters, one who has disappeared, and the other who must confront her fears to find her. Compulsively readable with a "I didn't see that coming" ending.


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Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781400069996
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - April 2nd, 2019

Save Me the Plums ends as Ruth Reichl is about to board a plane for St. Louis, where she had an event with my bookstore. This I knew before I read the book. What I didn't know was the amazing and compulsively readable story of the decade that lead to that point. Ruth's account of her "rags to riches" rise from her California hippy days to the editor of the venerable Gourmet magazine, complete with a Conde Nast wardrobe allowance, driver, luxury office and jet-setting assignments is delicious. But by the end, it's not the personality playhouse of big stakes magazine publishing in its last days that you remember as much as Ruth's impressive genius for all things culinary-the food, the people, the places, the politics. She is a Hall of Famer in the food world and I am in awe of her. What I came a way loving was her immense intellect for food, her wide knowledge of food history, her transparency when she shares how she came of age in the cutthroat world of corporate publishing, her incalculable contributions to the way we think about food, and her deep humanity.


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If I Had Two Lives Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781609455217
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - April 9th, 2019

Abbigail's sparely told novel of dislocation, identity, and belonging, both geopolitical and familial, is achingly beautiful. While the story of a young Vietnamese girl's journey from an internment camp to America may feel foreign to many, the story of an emotionally unavailable mother and the complexities of friendships among the disenfranchised strike universal notes. I loved this book!


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The Map of Salt and Stars: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781501169052
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - March 12th, 2019

Incredible, lushly-written double tale in the best weaving of ancient myth and present day reality I have ever read. I absolutely loved that our two heroines were a 12 year old girl and a 17 year old young woman whose daring heroism was not only equal or superior to the male protagonists, it was the driving force of the plot.  Girls never get to be the heroes. This book was deeply satisfying on so many levels. - Kris


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Beloved (Vintage International) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781400033416
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - June 8th, 2004

Deeply moving richly written novel about the life of an African American woman just after the Civil War. Possessing the drama and breadth of a Greek tragedy, Beloved is truly a Great American Novel.

 


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

When Eva Rose Babbitt, mother of daughters Lizzie, 15 and Elvis, 10, drowns sleepswimming, her daughters are left to fend for themselves emotionally while their father tends to his grief. Elvis doesn’t trust the circumstances of her mother’s death. Annie Hartnett has created endearing and memorable characters in a delightfully original story in what is sure to be a beloved favorite of readers everywhere.


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Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to a Tribe Called Quest Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781477316481
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of Texas Press - February 2019

I am not a black man. I didn't come of age in the 80s with Hip Hop as my personal soundtrack. But I was absolutely captivated by Hanif Abdurraquib's memoir in the form of a tribute "album," paying homage to the rocket-to-fame brilliance of the forces behind A Tribe Called Quest. Gorgeously written, deeply considered, this deceivingly brief book threads biography, memoir, and social commentary into a perfect and satisfying read.


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In Pieces Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9781538763025
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grand Central Publishing - September 18th, 2018

Sally Field's poignant and well-written memoir so far transcend the genre of celebrity tell-all as to stand in a class of its own. It is deeply personal and self-reflective, yet not afraid to speak truth to the very flawed power of the world in which she grew up and makes her living. In Pieces is a moving and deeply satisfying read. - Kris


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Heart Berries: A Memoir Cover Image
$23.00
ISBN: 9781619023345
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Counterpoint LLC - February 6th, 2018

Powerful memoir about loving and being loved, about obsession and the ways in which we damage and use the ones we love, but most importantly told from an indigenous woman's perspective in a white man's world. Mailhot writes with a searing honesty that almost hurts to read sometimes. Beautiful, at times heart-breaking, a necessary read. - Kris


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Her Body and Other Parties: Stories Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977887
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - October 3rd, 2017

Each story in this debut collection is more astonishing than the last. I was utterly riveted by Carmen's quirky, masterful and unique approach to story-telling. Every story stayed with me, and sometimes I had to just put the book down and catch my breath after finishing one. I absolutely loved this book and want more. - Kris


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Braiding Sweetgrass Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781571313560
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Milkweed Editions - September 2014

I don't know why it took me so long to get around to reading this gorgeous, hopeful, inspiring book. The author is an indigenous woman, a poet and a botanist. Her eclectic wisdom filled my heart. Readers of Barbara Kingsolver and Wendell Berry will find much to savor in this beautiful meditation on what once was and could be again. - 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.


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What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780735211032
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - April 3rd, 2018

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. - Kris


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Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780316386555
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Lee Boudreaux / Back Bay Books - October 18th, 2016

I don't know what took me so long to get around to reading Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist. What a gorgeous, urgent, appeal to love and justice, disguised as a passionately rendered story about the fates of 5 people on the day Seattle activists shut down the WTO's opening meeting in 1999. I cannot remember when I have ever read a novel of this length in one sitting, almost breathless from the drumbeat pacing, like a heartbeat for our time. Timeless, timely. Read this if you march for justice. Read this if you don't. It is all here.