Ravenna

Latest Staff Picks

This is one of my favorite books! It's creepy and exciting with a protagonist you can't help but get behind. Alice's father goes missing and finds herself in the care of an older guardian. She discovers an amazing labyrinthine library on his property. While exploring it's strange and moving stacks she finds that she can read herself into books! The adventure that ensues will have you gripping your seat and turning pages as fast as you can. Luckily there are two more in the series out already and you are going to want all three!

Picked by Patti H.

Scott is a British Chuck Klosterman for the digital age. Smart as a whip and culturally adept, his take on the evolution of our "four-dimensional selves" since the dawn of the internet is an erudite exploration of what it means to exist online (and in our pockets), how we present ourselves online, and how our perceptions of what the internet is now and how we use it have changed -- and still are changing. A fun and necessary read.

Picked by Owen

Part survial story, part love story, part survivalstory Wintering is totally engrossing. It is set in northern Minnesota in the fictional town of Gunflint along the shore of Lake Superior. Though the story covers about 60 years in the history of the family and the town most of it takes place during one late fall, early winter when 18 year old Gus' father takes him into relatively unmapped wilderness. What begins as a sort of father/son trek rapidly turns into an ordeal of survival. Gus relates this story to the woman who was his father's lover and the caretaker of his grandmother. She in turn enlightens Gus on the missing parts of his family history. Beautifully written, full of incredible description of life.

Picked by Michael

The narrator in Cold Skin is given a year's assignment as a weather official on a seemingly deserted island. The only other human on the island is a crazed Australian, manning the lighthouse. We learn quite quickly that the small island is overrun nightly by amphibious creatures. And then things really get weird. Cold Skin is compelling, creepy, and will stick with you long after you close the cover.

Picked by Mark B.

"Flaubert's Parrot" blends real biographical facts about the life of Flaubert, literary criticism, travel writing, and stream of conscience-style narration at points to create a singular work that is a breath of fresh air. One of those books that you have to keep reading because the voice and style are so surprising and consistently funny, yet meditative. And don't worry, you don't need to have already read Madame Bovary- though this book will probably make you want to.

Picked by James

"Giant Days" is a slice of life comic about three girls in their first year of university. After three weeks as roommates, Daisy, Susan, and Esther become fast friends despite their differing personalities. Together they deal with such troubling woes as cyber creeps, unexpected visits from grandma, and a particularly bad case of the flu. Funny, honest, and at times a bit manic, I was completely caught up in the character's lives and their evolving friendship. I found myself relating to a lot of the challenges they faced. I also laughed loud enough to be heard through a wall, so I'd say this book has something for everyone.

Picked by Halley

When my family flew to Greece to visit cousins I had never met, my mother brought a small pocketbook edition of Durrell's classic My Family and Other Animals and read it aloud to my then 5-year-old daughter. On a small sailboat winging across the Mediterranean we learned about 10-year-old Gerald, a budding naturalist, his brother Lawrence, and the rest of their quirky family during the years they lived on the Greek island of Corfu. This book is a love letter to the natural world, laugh-out-loud funny, touching, and replete with characters that are at once familiar and bizarre. It was my daughter's favorite bedtime story until she fired me from reading to her before bed, and seventeen years later this is still our favorite read aloud.

Picked by Dana

By keeping its focus tight on its four main characters and their lives in contemporary San Francisco, Private Citizens gets closer to an accurate depiction of the lives of certain subset of the Millennial generation than any other book I've read. If you're a tech worker, aspiring activist, writer, or self-identified failure, you'll wince in uncomfortable recognition. Tulathimutte takes every aspect of Bay Area culture that's ripe for think-piece coverage--personal brands; social media; the (corporate, commercial) non-profit industry--to its goriest depths. It's hilarious, bleak, ambitious, and thrilling.

Picked by Christina

Spooky October is better with a book. Particularly one with dinosaur leads, whimsy, wordplay, and monsters. Take a break from frightful ghouls and noxious cauldrons to follow Optimus Yarnspinner as he seeks the author of an anonymous work in Bookholm, the City of Dreaming Books.

Picked by Alex