I'm a bookseller and a sidelines buyer. I read all kinds of things, but I gravitate toward sci-fi, victorian novels, and essay collections.
The popularity of the superhero genre has been hard to ignore for the past decade or so, but have you ever stopped to think about the lives of the villains they fight? Natalie Zina Walschots' novel is a hilarious and thoughtful look at the life of a "Hench" named Anna. She's a low-level data entry temp for whichever villain is hiring. As her remarkable skill for finding and exploiting behavioral patterns causes her to rise through the ranks of evil-doers, she exposes the vast expanse of gray area that exists between "good" and "evil." It doesn't take long for readers to start rooting for Anna's success, and questioning their own black-and-white ideas of the way the world works.
If you (or someone you love) has amassed more books than seems reasonable, you may want to take a moment and flip through Nina Freudenberger's beautiful new coffee table book. In a series of short essays and beautiful photographs, she explores the different ways people collect, organize, and live among their books. Perfect for the bibliophile in your life.
Tuesday Mooney does not like social occasions; she prefers reruns of the X-Files to the company of other people. But when Boston's most eccentric billionaire dies leaving a literary treasure hunt through the city, she's drawn out of her shell and into an adventure that will require her sharpest wits and quickest thinking. If you have a book lover or a fan of puzzles on your list, Tuesday Mooney offers a satisfying combination of humor, adventure, and substance.
Though each of the novellas in this trilogy were released over the past four years, the complete collection was released in one volume earlier this year. It follows the title character as she runs away from her tribe to attend a prestigious university off planet. As soon as she boards her ship, however, she learns that warring species and aliens with vendettas make for a dangerous journey. It's a thrilling, socially conscious, and thought-provoking trilogy. Bonus: Check out her YA novels Akata Witch and Akata Warrior; they're both wonderful and immersive.
15-year-old Vanessa’s affair with her English teacher is an all-consuming obsession that continues to haunt her into adulthood. This book lets us peer into the mind of a survivor of sexual assault and understand the complexities and far-reaching consequences of this kind of abuse. Beautifully written, heartbreaking, and completely gripping.
I picked this up on a whim and was instantly hooked. Binti runs away in the middle of the night to hitch a ride on a spaceship to attend a prestigious intergalactic university. When her ship is hijacked by an enemy species called the Meduse, she must call on the culture she left behind to help her survive.