Ravenna

Latest Staff Picks

The Diabolic is true SF for young adults and was terrific fun. It felt like a breath of fresh air and I raced through it. Nemesis was made to serve and protect only one. Bound to a single human, she is thought incapable of loving anyone or anything else. When she must hide her true nature and dupe the emperor himself she discovers a new capacity to explore how truly human she really is. The Diabolic is full of amazing tech, political intrigue, and characters that I grew attached to. This is one that adults and teens alike will eat up!

Picked by Patti H.

In 2014 Peter Miller owner of the eponymous book shop gave us Lunch at the Shop, a fresh, simple and delicious book devoted to creating lunch for those of us at work. Now he is back with a second effort, Five Ways to Cook Asparagus. If Lunch at the Shop was about eating well at work, Five Ways is about creating interesting, delicious and often simple meals at the end of the work day. Organized around groups of five (admittedly more than a bit arbitrary) Peter takes the reader through the week proceeding from simple to complicated (weekend meals). Five things to have in the larder, five ways to cook vegetables, and on. There are enough lip smacking recipes here to take the cook through many, many weeknights.

Picked by Michael

I was reading the last twenty pages, while wiping tears away from my eyes. This is a brave and thoughtful book -- an elegy really. I grew up in nearby Massachusetts, so many of the settings are familiar to me. What is also familiar to me is the underlying sense of struggle that goes along with being working class in that neck of the woods. "Down City" is a heartbreaking and yet a simultaneously loving tribute to Leah Carroll's parents and their lives.

Picked by Mark B.

Non-traditional families have become more prevalent, but we still don't have a full children's literature for these sorts of families. "My New Mom and Me" is a wonderful book for families of all kinds, but especially adoptive or interracial families-- and cute animal illustrations are a major plus! Perhaps the most important Mother's Day book you can find.

Picked by James

Here's the basic premise of this book: doorways begin opening up all over the world allowing migrants of war torn nations to flee, instantly, to anywhere else in the world. Hamid does a great job of not letting this fantastical premise interfere with his lyrical yet gritty portrayal of war ravaged places or the camps to which the civilians caught in between eventually flee. But the heart of this terrific novel is actually a love story, told with beauty, grace and more than enough heartbreak, that examines what it takes to remain in love while living in a world in the midst of constant, world-altering turmoil.

Picked by J.P.

Do you like fairytales? Do you like retellings? Do you like those things combined with a healthy dose of feminist and Gothic undertones? News flash: this might be the collection for you. I especially enjoyed the title story, but every story had a refreshing take on the classics we love. Angela Carter's descriptions were lush and read like poetry. Although it's a small volume, I spent over a month reading it story-by-story just because every retelling was strongly written and offered a unique perspective to the stories I thought I knew.

Picked by Halley

The Just So Stories are integral to the inner landscape of my childhood; I am always surprised to hear that a new friend has never read them. Forever I have understood "The Cat That Walked by Himself," in my own cats, and, when life events get the best of me, I have held my nose and said, "This is too much for me," so I sound like the Elephant's Child with his (then short) nose in the mouth of the Crocodile. My Uncle Harold read these stories of transformation to my mother when she was small, my mother read them to me, and my mother and I read them to my daughter, now 22. There is a silly logic to them, an appeal to the imagination, and a true seeing into the fact of existential alchemy. Enjoy!

Picked by Dana

This bitingly funny, stark book of feminist essays is like watching a patient, skilled boxer making a relentless assault in the ring. Moore's target is the intersection of capitalism and misogyny and its effects on women's bodies, from labor rights and healthcare to high fashion modeling. Her work is rooted in research and cultural criticism, and draws on her experiences as a journalist, disabled person, and comics anthologist. I don't read a lot of nonfiction, but lately I'm craving work like Moore's, which has no interest in sugarcoating anything but confronts the complexity of oppressive systems with blunt humor and equally complex analysis. My favorite essays in Body Horror? The patent history of tampon disposal boxes (trust me!), and the 19th century railroad magnate-origins of standardized time in North America.

Picked by Christina

This book was laugh out loud fun with action and high jinx at every turn. I read it with my 8 year old and we both just loved it! Once we were done he wanted me to start it again. While following bright blue Isaiah on his escape from a lab we learned lots about mice, being brave, and never giving up. I can't recommend this enough!

Picked by Patti H.