Ravenna

Latest Staff Picks

This has got to be the sweetest book I've read. My son and I have been working our way through it at bedtime and each story is incredible. The kindness, acceptance, and friendship portrayed was invaluable to see and a wonderful reminder of how to be in the world. Besides being super cute with amazing photos, this book caused my son and I to giggle and wonder at these beautiful animals. Kids often have difficulty socializing and this book offered a shift in thinking about what it means to be a friend. Sometimes that's all it takes to make a new friend.

Picked by Patti H.

2016 came and went. :deep breath: 2017 stands before us. :second deep breath: I invite you to read a bit of Simone Weil's philosophy from her slim little book On the Abolition of All Political Parties. Weil makes sense of politics and the reasons why we can't look away. Simone influenced her generation by her stalwart pursuit of truth and justice, as related in Milosz's afterward. She gives us a center from which we may move and work today. :third breath:

Picked by Alex

This poignant memoir by northwest punk icon Carrie Brownstein is most notable for its ability to situate you in a place and time. Brownstein evokes the pre-tech boom northwest through scenes in a drab telemarketing office in the University District and dilapidated DIY venues in Olympia--scenes from a world venture capital has decided are better left in the past. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl should, by rights, eventually be considered a classic of Seattle and Pacific Northwest literature.

Picked by James

This beautifully written book is a multi-generational epic. It's full of Latvian folklore, magical thinking, eels and plenty of heartbreak. It's set in the modern era but has the feel of a lost folktale. Ochsner is an Oregon native, but she spent years traveling to and from Latvia to get this story just right.

Picked by J.P.

Sefia lives on the run with her Aunt Nin. But when her aunt is kidnapped, Sefia's quest to rescue her takes her deep into a world full of mysteries. Young boys are being kidnapped and branded, pirates are sailing west for treasure, and an assassin is stalking Sefia through the woods. Sefia is also protecting something even Aunt Nin didn't know about: a book. In a world without readers, Sefia teaches herself to read, leading her to uncover a great secret. This book was such a surprise! With its complex world building and interesting characters, I was engrossed from start to finish.

Picked by Halley

It's always good to use your best manners, especially among other cultures, such as the wild with its population of carnivores. The young wolf in our story is hungry, but - as his parents have taught him - he must honor his prey's last wish, before devouring them. He finds out quickly that not everyone keeps their word, as he does.

Picked by Mark B.

A half a million glass photographic plates hold the only visual record of the night sky between 1885 and 1992. This dazzles me and I'm not an astronomer. It dazzles me even more to learn that a group of dedicated women (mostly unpaid) spent decades attending to these glass slides with utmost dedication well before women were allowed to attend Harvard. These women helped count the stars, helped astronomers learn what the stars are made of, created the classification system astronomers still use, and inadvertently helped measure our Universe. I didn't have to be an astronomer to love this book, and neither do you.

Picked by Dana

Rabih Alameddine is the author of An Unnecessary Woman, a staff favorite here and a 2014 National Book Award finalist. If that book was blackly funny and melancholic, this (his newest) is as angry and beautiful as a lit match. Flirtatious, ribald Satan and severe Death try to sway Jacob, a gay Yemeni-born poet who's tormented by memories, to their respective rhetorical positions over the course of one night spent in a San Francisco psychiatric clinic. Satan wants Jacob to remember every painful moment from his life, and Death thinks Jacob should forget them. As Jacob revisits his past while considering each argument's merits, the novel brings its intense focus to bear on political and social issues--the 80s AIDS crisis, tech industry-fueled gentrification, the ongoing US-armed Saudi Arabian bombings in Yemen--that are urgently relevant to the present. It's ambitious, spellbinding, and related in a lyrical style that's easy to sink into.

Picked by Christina

Frog and Toad have been a part of my family's book world for many years. Now at 8 my son still asks for them at bedtime. We each have our favorites but love them all. This collection is too wonderful. Having them altogether whenever you want or need them is a joy. Frog and Toad give examples of kindness, understanding, tolerance, and acceptance. They make me happy and I hope they do the same for you.

Picked by Patti H.