Michael's Staff Favorites

Michael staff photo

 

I'm the store's events coordinator and publicist. A writer and musician in my spare time, I'm the author of the novel All Her Loved Ones, Encoded. I live in Southwest Portland with my wife and two cats.

I'm a fan of contemporary novels and short stories. Here are some of the latest books I've loved, followed by some of my all-time favorites:

 

 

 

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Biography of X: A Novel By Catherine Lacey Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9781250321688
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Picador - March 19th, 2024

Catherine Lacey has crafted an astonishing novel with Biography of X, a fictional account of  grieving widow CM's quest to discover the true life history of her enigmatic wife, who was known simply as X. Much of X's past is tied to her upbringing in the Southern Territories. I'm not usually a fan of alternate history, but Lacey constructs a richly imagined and believable revision of Post-World War 2 America, one in which the South seceded behind a Berlin-like wall and fostered a Luddite, Evangelical society from which its residents rarely escaped. Teenage X was among the few who did. From then on, she constantly reinvented herself, creating works of confrontational performance and installation art. As CM interviews X's friends, enemies, gallerists, and even her original family in the recently opened Southern Territories, what CM discovers about her wife changes her conception of their entire relationship, and herself.


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The Hunter: A Novel By Tana French Cover Image
$32.00
ISBN: 9780593493434
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Viking - March 5th, 2024

One of Tana French's very best. She has almost entirely transcended the mystery genre with this one. A beautifully written, psychologically rich, and deeply tender novel about loyalties and love. In her first novel to use multiple points of view, French hits it out of the park, creating layers of tension from the conflicting needs of her characters. Just brilliant.


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Anita de Monte Laughs Last: Reese's Book Club Pick (A Novel) By Xochitl Gonzalez Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781250786210
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Flatiron Books - March 5th, 2024

This fascinating novel takes place in two timelines. In the 1980s, rising-star artist Anita de Monte narrates her life, death, and afterlife. A Cuban-American in New York, she is married to Jack Martin, an older and more established white, male artist––a true "art monster" whose narcissism knows no bounds, including murder. In the late 1990s, Raquel Toro is a Latina art history major at Brown whose thesis is on Jack Martin. In a parallel to Anita's story, Raquel falls for Nick, a wealthy, white grad student nepo baby whose art, though mediocre, is gaining notice. Of course, the women's tales eventually converge, but not in wholly obvious ways. Author Xochitl Gonzalez creates rich worlds for both timelines and renders her characters with heart (well, of those who have hearts to begin with). Anita de Monte Laughs Last is a compelling read!


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Ordinary Human Failings: A Novel By Megan Nolan Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780316567787
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Little, Brown and Company - February 6th, 2024

Both heartbreaking and psychologically sophisticated, Ordinary Human Failings is a deeply intimate portrait of a family on the brink of ruin and their unlikely shot at redemption. I loved this novel.


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I Have Some Questions for You: A Novel By Rebecca Makkai Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9780593490167
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Penguin Books - February 20th, 2024

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In Ascension By Martin MacInnes Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780802163462
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Grove Press, Black Cat - February 27th, 2024

An incredible amalgam of literary fiction and sci-fi, In Ascension is the story of Leigh and her journey from abused child to budding young scientist to one of the principle figures planning the first manned expedition to the edge of our solar system. What is the connection between a recently discovered deep sea trench, a distant spaceship, and algal food crops? How will Leigh reconcile her lofty career ambitions with the pull of her fractured family's needs? This novel contains multitudes.


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Wild Houses By Colin Barrett Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780802160942
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Grove Press - March 12th, 2024

I loved this debut novel from wonderful Irish short story writer Colin Barrett. Dev is a big, introverted small-town gangster with a heart of gold. He's pretty unhappy when the Ferdie brothers show up with Doll, the teenage brother of a drug dealer who's in debt to the gang Dev belongs to. Nicky is Doll's girlfriend. She's smart and thoughtful and overworked. The last thing she needs is her boyfriend being taken hostage. Barrett dives deep into Dev and Nicky's souls in this tense, funny, dark, and surprisingly sweet novel.


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All Fours: A Novel By Miranda July Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780593190265
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Riverhead Books - May 14th, 2024

Miranda July's All Fours is a crazy-beautiful roller coaster ride through one woman's midlife breakdowns, epiphanies, and rebirths. No one but July could pull off so much delightful zaniness and heartrending vulnerability in a single novel. I loved it!


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Bitterroot By Suzy Vitello Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781960573964
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Sibylline Press - May 21st, 2024

Portland author Suzy Vitello's latest novel, Bitterroot, is a wonderful mix of characters with emotional depth and a brisk-yet-intricate plot full of high jinks and twists. I really enjoyed this uniquely captivating novel!


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Exhibit: A Novel By R. O. Kwon Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593190029
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Riverhead Books - May 21st, 2024

Exhibit is the wonderful second novel from R.O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries. Centered on a Korean American art photographer in San Francisco, this is a tender and heartbreaking story of love, art, sex, identity, marriage, deceit, and the pursuit of personal truth.


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Bear: A Novel By Julia Phillips Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780525520436
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Hogarth - June 25th, 2024

Wonderful second novel from Julia Phillips. As a huge fan of Disappearing Earth, I appreciate how Phillips employs a different way of storytelling in Bear: a story focused solely on the perspective of one character, Sam. She is the younger sister of Elena, who manages the household since their mother became ill, when the girls were in their teens. Now, their mother is dying, their finances are in ruins, and a bear has swam ashore onto the island in Washington where they live. And Elena has become dangerously obsessed. A riveting family drama!


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Northwoods: A Novel By Amy Pease Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781668017265
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Atria/Emily Bestler Books - January 9th, 2024

In her debut mystery, Amy Pease has written a highly atmospheric rural-set police procedural with a strong emphasis on compelling characters. Deputy Eli North is losing the battle against the psychological demons from his tour of duty in Afghanistan. His mother, Marge, is also his sheriff. Their dynamic, as told through alternating points of view, is tender and complex. Oh, and there's also a murder to solve! And it involves a wide web of players, from small-time ex-cons to pharmaceutical reps. A young FBI agent arrives to assist the understaffed county sheriff's office, but she might have her own agenda. This is an intricate and assured novel from newcomer Amy Pease. I'm looking forward to more!


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Bright Young Women: A Novel By Jessica Knoll Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781501153228
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: S&S/ Marysue Rucci Books - September 19th, 2023

A riveting feminist takedown of the mythologizing of serial killers; in particular, Ted Bundy, whose killing of two FSU sorority girls is the inciting incident for this novel. But this story is more about the bonds between women as they join together to make sense of the aftermath of male violence and battle against a patriarchal justice system. One of the year's best novels.


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Death Valley: A Novel By Melissa Broder Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781668024867
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Scribner - May 7th, 2024

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Singer Distance By Ethan Chatagnier Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781959030164
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Tin House Books - December 5th, 2023

My favorite book of 2022, this brilliant and heartfelt novel blew me away. The central conceit: there's life on Mars, and they've been communicating with Earth via enormous, glowing mathematical puzzles since the 19th century, testing our intelligence. The latest equation from Mars has stumped the greatest minds on Earth for decades when, in 1960, a van full of American PhD candidates set ablaze a possible solution across miles of the desert Southwest. The obsessive genius behind the solution is Crystal Singer. Our narrator, Rick, is the practical man who loves her. Their success causes years of tumult for Crystal and Rick, driving them apart. Will Crystal solve the next Martian equation? How will heartbroken Rick manage life on his own? It's rare for a novel of big ideas to also excel at small, tender moments. In Singer Distance, Ethan Chatagnier displays great intelligence and, more important, a depth of humanity, skilled craft, and a wonderful gift for storytelling. This novel will live inside me for a very long time.


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Day: A Novel By Michael Cunningham Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780399591341
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Random House - November 14th, 2023

From the author of The Hours, Michael Cunningham's Day is another empathetic novel of quietly powerful domestic drama. The story unfolds over three very compact periods of time: April 5 of 2019, 2020, and 2021. Pre-pandemic, married Brooklynites Isabel and Dan are too absorbed in their busy lives––Isabel's magazine job, Dan's songwriting and the rearing of their kids––to pay attention to their disintegrating marriage. The glue of the family is Isabel's brother, Robbie, who is preparing to move out after years of living in their attic. During lockdown, Dan and Isabel's marriage is barely hanging on, the kids are struggling, and Robbie is alone in a cabin in Iceland, his only companion the fictional Wolfe whose Instagram life he's created. One year later, in the fallout from the pandemic, everyone's life has changed. And, as in real life, is continuing to evolve. By the end of Day, you'll feel as if you know and appreciate these deeply realized characters as actual people. For me, that's what good literature is all about.


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Fire Exit: A Novel By Morgan Talty Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9781959030553
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Tin House Books - June 4th, 2024

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Let Us Descend: A Novel By Jesmyn Ward Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781982104498
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Scribner - October 24th, 2023

Jesmyn Ward's previous novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing, was both devastating and beautiful beyond compare. Her new novel, Let Us Descend, is much the same. This is the story of Annis, a young slave in the 19th-century American South. First her mother is sold, and then Annis. Her harrowing journey includes a weeks-long march to New Orleans, followed by deprivation and hard labor on a sugar plantation. Though Annis's circumstances are bleak, the world that Ward creates is rich and vibrant and shot through with fantastic images of bees, wild mushrooms, and an African spirit who keeps Annis connected to her maternal roots and propels her toward a brighter future.


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The Memory of Animals By Claire Fuller Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781953534873
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Tin House Books - June 6th, 2023

Claire Fuller's beautiful and enthralling The Memory of Animals is a different breed of pandemic novel. Neffy is one of several twenty-something Brits who volunteer to take an experimental treatment during the early days of a rapidly spreading disease. When Neffy awakens from her post-inoculation fever-dream, she finds herself locked into the largely abandoned clinic with four other volunteers and zero staff. Meanwhile, the world outside has been devastated by the pandemic. Is it safe to go outside? How long will their food last? Can Neffy trust the other volunteers? Amid these concerns, Neffy mines her memories of her Greek father, her former career working with octopuses, and her love affair with her nominal stepbrother (they met not long ago, as adults). Fuller dexterously weaves these narrative strands together into a quietly heartbreaking portrait of Neffy at this most vulnerable time of her life, all while tugging at the tense strings of the apocalypse looming outside the clinic's doors.


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The Candy House: A Novel By Jennifer Egan Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781476716770
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Scribner - March 7th, 2023

The Candy House is Jennifer Egan's sequel to her incredible 2011 novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad. Here, minor characters from the previous work become major figures. While their stories vary widely--in setting, in time, in feel--they're all connected, both through personal bonds and through "Own Your Unconscious," a technology that allows for the uploading and sharing of memories. Egan is both an estute social critic and, more important, a wonderfully observant writer of the small moments between people that make fiction feel natural and real and true. The big ideas are fascinating, but it's the perfectly inhabited characters and their messy lives that propel this excellent novel.


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Tell Me What I Am: A Novel By Una Mannion Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780063314771
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Harper - August 15th, 2023

Una Mannion's second novel, Tell Me What I Am, is just as fiercely beautiful and heart-wrenching as her debut, A Crooked Tree. The new novel centers on Nessa and her niece, Ruby. Nessa's sister, Deena, went missing years ago. Ruby's father then broke off contact with Nessa and moved Ruby away to rural Vermont. The story unfolds in alternating points of view. While Nessa searches for Ruby and for clues about her sister's disappearance, Ruby grows from child to teenager and struggles more and more with her controlling father and the family secrets he keeps from her. Gorgeously written and deeply moving, Tell Me What I Am, is a triumph.


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Mercy Street: A Novel By Jennifer Haigh Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780061763328
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Ecco - February 7th, 2023

Mercy Street is the name of a women's clinic in Boston, where the novel's main protagonist, Claudia, is a veteran counselor. Just outside the clinic, protestors set up camp daily. Haigh's generous and sympathetic novel introduces us to one of those protestors, Anthony, a devoutly religious loner with connections to a man from a message board, a survivalist and former truckdriver who makes it his mission to publicly shame women seeking abortions. We also get to meet Claudia's (and Anthony's) pot dealer, Timmy, who seeks to reconnect with his son in Florida. Mostly, we become deeply attached to Claudia herself, whose impoverished trailer home childhood has left her ashamed of her past and keeps her from being more connected to those around her. Mercy Street is a tender, complicated, and intimately lived novel. These characters will stay with you!


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Sea of Tranquility: A novel By Emily St. John Mandel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593466735
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Vintage - March 28th, 2023

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An Island: A Novel By Karen Jennings Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593446546
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Hogarth - June 13th, 2023

This novel from South African author Karen Jennings is a wonderfully written meditation on the long-term effects on a single person of imperialism, fascism, and persecution. When Samuel, a solitary lighthouse keeper, discovers a man washed ashore on his tiny island, his carefully tended life is upended. The situation evokes in William a cascade of memoires from his previous life on the mainland of the unnamed African country where he was born and raised--memories of homelessness, rebellion against tyrrany, and the 25 years he spent in prison. Because William doesn't speak the same language as the shipwrecked refugee, communication is strained, intentions misunderstood. William becomes increasingly paranoid, testing the two men's ability to share the humble cottage and tiny island. Psychologically riveting and emotionally complex, An Island is a marvel.


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A Map for the Missing: A Novel By Belinda Huijuan Tang Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780593300688
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Penguin Books - August 8th, 2023

I really enjoyed this novel about a Chinese-American college professor who's called back to his homeland when his elderly father goes missing from their small village. While searching for his domineering father, Yitian reuintes with former crush Hanwen, a city girl who'd been "sent down" to work the fields in Yitian's village during the Cultural Revolution. The major themes are intellectual ambition, family of origin, and the compromises one makes across a lifetime.


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Meet Us by the Roaring Sea: A Novel By Akil Kumarasamy Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781250872852
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Picador - August 22nd, 2023

Wonderful, inventive, empathetic, and so beautifully written I paused many times to marvel at the author's sentences. The novel alternates between two perspectives. The first is a woman in the near future who works in artificial intelligence and, while grieving the recent death of her mother, takes on the project of translating a text written in Tamil in the collective voice of a group of female medical students in 1990s India, near Sri Lanka, during a time of starvation and genocide, and who form rival groups based on their studies not of medicine but of radical compassion. Meditative, sad, sometimes funny, dreamily peculiar, fiercely intelligent, and just gorgeous, this is among the very best novels of 2022.


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How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water: A Novel By Angie Cruz Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250208460
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Flatiron Books - September 5th, 2023

I immediately fell in love with the voice of Cara Romero. An unemployed and undocumented middle-aged Dominicana in New York City, she narrates her life story to her jobs counselor. And what a rich and vivid life it is. The author, Angie Cruz, wrote a previous staff favorite of mine, Dominicana. This new novel, How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water, is just as wonderful. I was rooting for Cara every step of the way!


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The Faraway World: Stories By Patricia Engel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781982159535
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster - January 16th, 2024

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August Blue: A Novel By Deborah Levy Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780374602048
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - June 6th, 2023

In this slim but astonishing novel, Deborah Levy writes beautifully and empathically about a British classical pianist, Elsa, who's recently suffered a breakdown during a concert hall performance. Humiliated, she accepts jobs instructing young pianists across Europe. In Paris, she encounters a woman she believes is her double and, immediately obsessed, steals the woman's trilby hat. At the same time, Elsa's piano teacher/surrogate father falls ill in Sardinia. As Elsa ping-pongs through her new life, she also reckons with her past: a childhood in foster care, her mother a mystery. Levy masterfully interweaves repeated images throughout: horses, doorbells, articles of clothing, the sea. Her writing is exquisitely poetic, but never precious. August Blue is both heartbreaking and life-affirming. And all too brief. What a lovely read.


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Livid By Cai Emmons Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9781636280752
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Red Hen Press - September 27th, 2022

This novel is a fascinating and moving portrait of love, sex, grief, feminism, morality, fortitude, and the complexities of human character. When Sybil returns from Boston to the West Coast town where she once lived, she's immediately empaneled on a jury for a murder trial. Also on the jury is her ex-husband. Sybil's sympathy for the woman on trial imperils her objectivity, as does her locked-away memory of the tragedy that prompted her to leave Boston. Riveting!


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The Wild Hunt By Emma Seckel Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781953534224
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Tin House Books - August 2nd, 2022

Set on a small Scottish isle after World War 2, this is a lovely and spooky novel about a young woman, Leigh Welles, who returns home following the death of her father. It's October, which means everyone is alert to the presence of the sluagh: raven-like creatures of folklore who have been known to attack and kill livestock ... and even humans. Is that what happened to the boy who went missing on Bonfire Night? Leigh joins up with young widower and air force pilot Iain McTavish to explore the misty, rocky isle and uncover the haunting truth.


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Singing Lessons for the Stylish Canary By Laura Stanfill Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781941360613
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Lanternfish Press - April 19th, 2022

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The Night Always Comes: A Novel By Willy Vlautin Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780063035096
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Harper Perennial - May 17th, 2022

I was deeply moved by The Night Always Comes, Willy Vlautin's novel about two days in the life of a person on the brink. Lynette is in her early thirties and lives with her mother and her developmentally disabled brother. She's been working three jobs so that she and her mom can buy their ramshackle house in Portland, Oregon. But, when her mom threatens to back out of the deal, Lynette spends one desperate night driving all over town, trying to collect the money owed to her by friends and clients. At every turn, people lie to her. They throw her troubled past in her face. They threaten to kill her. Vlautin's Hemingway-esque prose keeps the pages turning, as did my great sympathy for Lynette. She's had such a hard life and is trying her best to build a better future. This is also a story about how gentrification in Portland has pushed longtime residents to the margins. The odds are heavily stacked against Lynette. I rooted for her throughout every heart-pounding page of The Night Always Comes, and so will you.


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Klara and the Sun: A novel (Vintage International) By Kazuo Ishiguro Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780593311295
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Vintage - March 1st, 2022

A wonderful and deeply empathic novel about humanity, from the point of view of an android: an artificial friend of a sickly teenage girl. Driven by the interactions of Ishiguru's fully realized characters, this is both a quiet family drama and a subtly-drawn sci-fi dystopia that is nonetheless brimming with hope and kindness. A wonderful read.


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Migrations: A Novel By Charlotte McConaghy Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250204035
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Flatiron Books - July 6th, 2021

After writing YA books early in her career, Charlotte McConaghy leaps into the work of adult fiction with Migrations, her stunning novel about Franny and her obsessive quest to follow the world's last Arctic terns across the hemispheres. Set in a near future in which almost all animal life is extinct, Franny hitches a ride aboard one of the last remaining fishing boats. Its captain, Ennis, is a fellow obsessive: he's looking for one last "golden catch" before he retires. As we follow this ill-fated oceanic journey, Franny reveals more and more of her troubled past: her father's in prison, her mother left her as a child, her impulsive marriage to an ornithology professor is complicated by her restless soul, and Franny herself has spent time behind bars. McConaghy weaves these storylines brilliantly, her writing is poetic, and her characters are emotionally rich and deeply inhabited. This novel is breathtaking.


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Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism By Amanda Montell Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780062993151
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Harper - June 15th, 2021

This thoroughly researched and very readable book is a fascinating exporation of how people use words to gain authority over others. From literal cults such as the Manson Family and NXIVM to borderline cults (multi-level marketing schemes) to merely cultish institutions (certain fitness centers), Montell is a smart and entertaining guide to the power language has to lure in followers and, sometimes, do real harm.


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Wayward: A novel By Dana Spiotta Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593312490
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Vintage - June 21st, 2022

In Wayward, Eat the Document author Dana Spiotta once again deftly mixes the personal and the political. In the post-election malaise of late 2016, fifty-something Samantha Raymond leaves her stagnant marriage to purchase her dream home: an old fixer-upper in Syracuse. Sam is forced to balance her liberal ideals with the very real homeless population in her new neighborhood. She is also deeply worried about her mother's failing health. Meanwhile, Sam's teenage daughter, Ally, refuses to reply to her mother's texts. Feeling both abandoned and liberated by Sam's departure, Ally deepens her relationship with an older man. Sam and Ally remain incommunicado until a series of escalations throws mother and daughter back together again. Both women are strong and individual characters. Spiotta has painted a highly nuanced portrait of a contemporary family on the brink, and her poignant observations on politics, social issues, middle class, midlife, and love provide an added spark to Wayward that only Dana Spiotta could ignite.


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Sharks in the Time of Saviors: A Novel By Kawai Strong Washburn Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9781250787316
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Picador - March 2nd, 2021

Sharks in the Time of Saviors, the debut novel from Hawaiian author Kawai Strong Washburn, is a wonderful novel about family that also deftly tackles issues of race, poverty, and culture. Told from four points of view––siblings Noa, Dean, and Kaui, and their mother––this is largely the story of how the extraordinary abilities of one family member impacts the fates of everyone else in the family. As a child, Noa acquires healing powers after being spared during a shark attack. But getting treated as the golden child drives a wedge between Noa and his siblings. Despite Dean's basketball skills and Kaui's academic prowess, both struggle mightily with self-esteem, along with the displacement that comes from attending college on the mainland. Noa has his own struggles: as a healer, how does he balance his obligations to humanity, to family, to himself? Back in Hawai'i, their mother does her best to cope with her own problems and to guide her children from afar. When tragedy occurs, will it bring them closer together or drive them further apart? Washburn inhabits each of his characters deeply. He puts them through the wringer, but treats them lovingly as well. This is a beautiful story that is unlike any other while also exploring universal themes. A triumph!


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Volcanoes, Palm Trees, and Privilege: Essays on Hawai'i By Liz Prato, Cole Gerst (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Liz Prato, Cole Gerst (Illustrator)
$15.95
ISBN: 9781732610309
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Overcup Press - April 16th, 2019

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Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead: A Novel By Olga Tokarczuk, Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Translated by) Cover Image
By Olga Tokarczuk, Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Translated by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9780525541349
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Riverhead Books - August 11th, 2020

Olga Tokarczuk won the Booker Prize for her intricate and sprawling Flights. This newly translated novel is a completely different kind of work. Taking place entirely on the outskirts of a small Polish village, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead is narrated by Janina, a schoolteacher, astrologer, staunch vegetarian, and resident crank living among a largely patriarchal community. One by one, men begin dying in mysterious circumstances. According to Janina, they've been murdered by animals who are exacting revenge. What's really going on here? This is a wonderful sort-of mystery that's propelled more by its quirky characters than any kind of whodunit plot. Tokarczuk is an astonighly observant writer--perhaps the strongest unifying trait between her diverse works--making this novel a singular joy to read.


Rebecca By Daphne du Maurier Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316575201
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Back Bay Books - September 5th, 2023

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The Story of a New Name: Neapolitan Novels, Book Two By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Translated by) Cover Image
By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Translated by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9781609451349
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Europa Editions - September 3rd, 2013

The entire Neapolitan Quartet is wonderful, but this second book is my favorite. Ferrante captures so well the struggles of this period of the characters' lives: young adulthood.


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There There By Tommy Orange Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780525436140
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Vintage - May 7th, 2019

In his kaleidoscopic debut novel, Native American author Tommy Orange captures the "urban Indian" experience through a large cast of characters, all of whom are heading to a massive pow wow in Oakland. Orange writes with deep compasion about his complex characters, flaws and all. This is a wonderful novel.


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Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel By Jesmyn Ward Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781501126079
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Scribner - May 8th, 2018

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Baby's on Fire: Stories By Liz Prato Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781941209158
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
NON-RETURNABLE. May take longer to arrive. Please confirm this is the edition you want.
Published: Press 53 - May 3rd, 2015

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Normal People: A Novel By Sally Rooney Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781984822185
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Crown - February 18th, 2020

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A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories By Lucia Berlin Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9781250094735
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Picador - August 2nd, 2016

Written over the last four decades of the 20th century, the forty-plus stories collected here are both vivid and lived-in. Lucia Berlin moved all over the Western United States, married twice, raised four sons, experienced wealth and poverty, worked a wide variety of jobs, and battled assorted illnesses. All of these pieces of her life play out in her stories, many of which seem intimately autobiographical. Berlin possessed a rare ability to capture scenery, characters, and emotional states with an economy of language that nonetheless feels rich. These are wonderful slices of life from a master writer finally receiving the accolades she deserves.


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All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel By Anthony Doerr Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781501173219
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Published: Scribner - April 4th, 2017

In this beautiful and bittersweet novel set during World War II, Anthony Doerr tells the parallel tales of  Marie Laure, a blind girl living in occupied France, and Werner, a young German radio enthusiast in the Hitler Youth program. Doerr's portrayal of Marie Laure's relationship with her father, the locksmith at Paris's Museum of Natural History, is tender and true. Werner's journey across Europe, where he helps ferret out resistors, is unflinching and richly detailed. Through these characters, Doerr encapsulates the great horrors of war. Moreover, he weaves a deeply compelling story of lives torn asunder and united.


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Tenth of December: Stories By George Saunders Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812984255
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Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - January 7th, 2014

One of today's very best story writers returns with Tenth of December, his fourth collection of short fiction. George Saunders builds off the minimalism of Raymond Chandler, but wields far more vibrant and darkly comic tools. The litrtle worlds he creates are vivid, as are the characters who populate them. Whether writing of ordinary suburban pre-teens or convicts in a bizarre psychiatric research facility, Saunders digs into both the pathos and the joy of life.


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A Visit from the Goon Squad: Pulitzer Prize Winner By Jennifer Egan Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780307477477
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Published: Anchor - March 22nd, 2011

Told in a series of linked stories, Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad follows a web of lives across the span of several decades. From late '70s San Francisco to a safari in Africa and back to a near-future America, Egan explores her characters through a variety of voices and perspectives. Whatever the scene or stance, these people come vividly alive one chapter at a time, and then echo throughout the novel. A study of inter-connectedness and human nature, this novel is a triumph.


In the Woods: A Novel (Dublin Murder Squad #1) By Tana French Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143113492
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Published: Penguin Books - May 27th, 2008

Bel Canto: A Novel By Ann Patchett Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9780060838720
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Published: Harper Perennial - February 7th, 2023

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A Constellation of Vital Phenomena: A Novel By Anthony Marra Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780770436421
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Published: Hogarth - February 4th, 2014

This is a sad, funny, beautifully written, and informative novel about the lives of a few ordinary people struggling to survive during the recent wars in Chechnya.


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Cloud Atlas: A Novel By David Mitchell Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9780375507250
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Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - August 17th, 2004

David Mitchell might well be my favorite author of the 21st century. His third book, Cloud Atlas, shows off his masterful command of the English language. Comprised of six related stories spanning hundreds of years, each is convincingly told in the style of the era. From the journal of a man aboard a ship somewhere in Oceania in the 19th century to a tale of escape by an artificially intelligent restaurant worker in a future Japan, Mitchell explores his characters with depth and uncovers hidden patterns in the world at large. This novel is a stunning achievement and a great read from one of literature's new masters.


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Zeitoun By Dave Eggers Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780307387943
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Published: Vintage - June 15th, 2010

In his wonderful portrait of the Lost Boys of Sudan, What Is the What, Dave Eggers bridged the gap between fiction and biography. With Zeitoun, he fully embraces the real, chronicling one man's experience of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Abdulrahman Zeitoun was a middle-aged contractor, loyal husband, loving father, and devout Muslim. When Katrina struck, he stayed in New Orleans to care for his house and business, never anticipating the surreal nightmare that would become of his city. Eggers's keen eye for personal detail amidst a large-scale disaster renders Zeitoun a vivid and mesmerizing portrait of the astonishing conditions in which the residents of New Orleans survived (and perished) in the wake of calamity.


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I Only Cry with Emoticons By Yuvi Zalkow Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781636280370
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Published: Red Hen Press - June 7th, 2022

This second novel from Portland author Yuvi Zalkow is funny, sweet, melancholy, light, deep, absurd, and also endearingly real. Saul, a middle-aged tech worker, is separated from his wife, coparenting their child, trying to date, struggling to write a novel about his grandfather, and wrestling with an increasingly surreal software bug that threatens to destroy the company he begrudgingly works for. Acutely observed and uproariously funny, I Only Cry With Emoticons is an absolute delight.


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Infinite Jest By David Foster Wallace Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9780316066525
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Published: Back Bay Books - November 13th, 2006

One of my all-time Top 5 favorite books, David Foster Wallace's massive Infinite Jest is a totally original take on family dysfunction, a gut-wrenching treatise on the horrors of addiction, and a dark comedy about the terrifying power of entertainment to possess our lives. And the writing is amazing.


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The Far Field By Madhuri Vijay Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780802147967
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Published: Grove Press - October 15th, 2019

In this gorgeously written debut novel, Shalini is a young woman living in upper class Bangalore when her mother--a complicated figure in her life--dies. Adrift in her grief, Shalini travels north to Kashmir to try to find Bashir Ahmed, a charming traveling salesman who frequently visited their home when Shalini was a girl, spinning tales and winning her mother's heart. Shalini is, however, terribly naive about the complicated interplay of religion, class, and militancy at play in the region of Kashmir that she visits. When she finally tracks down Bashir Ahmed's family in a small mountainous village, her presence disrupts the delicate balance of their lives, with grave consequences. Seen through the intimate lens of Shalini's interpersonal interactions, The Far Field is a bittersweet examination of privilege and selfishness, of longing and sorrow, of awakening to the world as it truly is.


The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel (Vintage International) By Haruki Murakami Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9780679775430
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Published: Vintage - September 1st, 1998

Nine Stories By J. D. Salinger Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316767729
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Published: Back Bay Books - January 30th, 2001

All Quiet on the Western Front: A Novel By Erich Maria Remarque, Arthur Wesley Wheen (Translated by) Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780449213940
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Published: Ballantine Books - March 12th, 1987

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Underworld: A Novel By Don DeLillo Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9780684848150
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Published: Scribner - July 9th, 1998

Writteen at the close of the millennium, Don DeLillo's Underworld is a masterful meditation on America, from our great national pasttime, baseball, to our nation's consumptive terminus: trash. A rich and absorbing novel, don't let the length intimidate you.


Brave New World By Aldous Huxley Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780060850524
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Published: Harper Perennial Modern Classics - October 17th, 2006

Lolita (Vintage International) By Vladimir Nabokov Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780679723165
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Published: Vintage - March 13th, 1989