Ravenna

Latest Staff Picks

I read The Phantom Tollbooth as a kid, in fact it was released within months of my own arrival in the world. I loved it then for the witty wordplay and lovable characters. As an adult, I have come to appreciate the philosophy of Norton Juster's classic. "The most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what's in between," seems a fine motto for living. The story follows a bored boy who accepts an invitation to a world of adventure filled with quirky friends. Participation in this journey requires him to be curious, to pay attention, and to care, excellent skills for humans of every age. It's a fun read and Jules Feiffer's illustrations are a perfect accompaniment. Enjoy.

Picked by Dana

For my money, Jack Spicer is the best American poet of the 20th century. A forefather of the Beat movement (though his work doesn't share many of the maddening qualities of Beat poetry), his work is at times emotionally cathartic, surreal, and imagistic. Spicer's personal history is also fascinating and is presented at the beginning of the book. A truly genius poet who unfortunately doesn't get his due-- read this and weep.

Picked by James

This is such a special book. I wanted to hug it when I was done reading it and wanted to start again. It gave me goosebumps and made me smile. Knowing who you are and where you belong is sometimes a struggle and this sweet book deals with this issue in such a wonderful and precious way. Give it a read. I think you'll want to hug it too.

Picked by Patti H.

Donald Ray Pollock is one of the best writers to come down the pike in a long, long time. His first book of short stories, Knockemstiff knocked me over. Powerful, funny, deranged; they are some of the best stories this side of Flannery O'Connor. His new novel is the best book I have read this year. Set in Appalachia in 1917, it tells the story of a hapless trio of brothers, Cane, Cob and Chimney, the most unlikely desperadoes you will ever encounter as they make their way north from Georgia hoping to make it to Canada and safety. Laugh-out-loud funny, violent, and oddly moving, The Heavenly Table is unforgettable.

Picked by Michael

This is the graphic novel you've been seeking, but didn't know existed. Alt-history earth, populated by ghosts of Gods, Ancients, Arcanics, Humans, and Maika; the Wolf-girl who wants some answers. Monstress is that great mix of natural storytelling of Liu with the stunning artwork of Takeda. Treat yourself.

Picked by Alex

Strange. Creepy. Funny? Well, yes. Funny, but not funny ha-ha. This first novel by Kleeman is a dark satire on our society's obsession with body image and consumerism, and how closely the two are tied together. Her prose is fascinating, describing bodies and their functions in a clinical and yet alluring fashion. You may not have read anything like this before.

Picked by Mark B.

I picked up Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi for a very superficial reason: I liked the cover. I didn't know what it was about, but when I started reading I knew I was in for something different. Set in the 50s, the story mainly follows Boy Novak, who moves away from the city to escape her evil father. She meets and marries a widower, adopting the role of stepmother to his young daughter. But while Boy, Snow, Bird may feel like a fairytale, don't expect this to be a run-of-the-mill retelling. This is a complex novel with powerful commentary about race, identity, and our perception of beauty. As soon as I finished this book, I was ready to start it over again. I'm not exaggerating

Picked by Halley

NK Jemisin is known for exceptional world-building that's drawn devoted science fiction and fantasy genre readers, but anyone not reading her work is missing out on an amazing stylist and user of narrative technique. This book scared the pants off me. It beings with a lone saboteur creating a natural disaster that splits the entire continent, and Jemisin leads the reader in time through the eyes of several characters as we try to figure out what's going on. It's got huge plot twists, complex protagonists, and really fun magic. Her characters are fighting for justice (or revenge) as their world falls apart around them, and you can't help but root for them. The second title in the series, The Obelisk Gate, is out already, and I hope you'll pick it up!

Picked by Christina

Fans of Stranger Things, look no further for a way to satisfy your newfound craving for that retro sci-fi vibe. Paper Girls is an atmospheric and ripping comic series that has all of the trappings that make Stranger Things so good: it's the 80's, we're in a lonely small town, things are starting to get really weird really fast, and we've got four young protagonists to find out why. I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment.

Picked by Owen