Ravenna

Latest Staff Picks

John Boyne, author of my favorite book of last year, The Heart's Invisible Furies is back with a deliciously twisted tale of a not very talented, but incredibly ambitious novelist, one Maurice Swift. If you are a fan of Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley you will love this. Maurice is a master at seducing more talented writers both male and female and purloining their work, leaving damaged, destroyed lives in his wake. By turns hilariously funny and horribly cruel A Ladder to the Sky is a great read.

Picked by Michael

Ok -- This is a really strange book. It's one part bildungsroman, one part natural history, and one part declaration of the individual rights of all humans. It definitely could be much weirder -- but it's also a madcap adventure with a ton of food for thought.

Picked by James

I read Hello Universe with my 10 year old and we both fell in love with it. This amazing, wonderful, big-hearted book won the Newbery Medal and it definitely deserves it! We didn't want it to end. It's the story of three kids struggling to find their voice. Discovering the strength to speak up and say what you need is not always an easy path. Finding friendship where you least expect it can give you the leg up you didn't realize you needed. This book is a gift and prompted some wonderful conversations between my son and I. Young and old alike will find value and joy in this beautiful story.

Picked by Patti H.

I finished Pam Houston's Deep Creek in late November, the holiday season was in full swing, and my reading time was at a premium. Thank you Pam for this book. I read it swiftly and by the end I desired to flee to the mountains with Irish wolfhounds of mine own.

Picked by Alex

I have been a dedicated fan of Edward Carey since reading his Heap House series. So when I heard he'd written a novel about Madame Tussaud, my TBR pile was quickly forgotten. After finishing it, I can say with strong conviction that only Edward Carey, with his macabre illustrations and Dickensien characters, could so wonderfully bring to life a figure as complex as Madame Tussaud. Little is a magnifying glass centered on a country caught in a revolution and a small, seemingly insignificant girl named Marie who would make radical history moving from poverty in Germany to the royal house of Versailles, meeting character after sordid character along the way. Rest assured, wax heads will roll.

Picked by Halley

Chris Power made his literary bones as a critic, writing the long-running series "A Brief Survey of the Short Story" for the Guardian. It's no surprise, then, that the stories in his debut collection are marked by a quiet mastery of the form, as assured as it is unassuming. They tend to center on characters who could be described as searchers: travelers and tourists driven by mysterious motives, looking to cure some elusive lack in their lives. All this enigma rewards careful reading; the more you strain to understand these variously broken people, the more apparent the quality of the prose becomes. And as if all that wasn't enough, the book gets extra credit for having one of my favorite dust jacket designs in recent memory.

Picked by Theo

Craig Grossi signed up for the Marines soon after the attack on 9/11. Upon arrival in Afghanistan he was told three unofficial rules: No beer, no porn and no dogs. With dogs, there was some concern about rabies, but mainly it was about the danger of distraction. Within days Craig had met Fred, a happy-go-lucky stray, who scrounged for food around the encampment. Craig started to feed him scraps and a vital friendship was born. The only question was how to get Fred out of Afghanistan and back to the states. This book is a dog story and a road trip, but it's also an exploration into the long road back to normal for our veterans.

Picked by Mark B.

Ari Folman and David Polonsky's reworking of The Diary of a Young Girl is an exemplary case of adaptation done well. Polonsky's art is as expressive as it is meticulous; meanwhile Folman always knows when it's appropriate to break up and interpret Frank's writing and when to leave long passages intact, preserving their import and depth. Like its indispensable source material, this is a work to be studied and cherished in equal measure.

Picked by Theo

Confessions is a book that deserves not to have a single plot point given away, so I'll just restate the blurb on the cover: If Albert Camus had written the movie "Heathers", you'd have Kanae Minato's Confessions. It's smart, it's intense, and it's got twists even the more astute reader of thrillers couldn't predict. Every time I thought I had the plot all figured out, another twist would leave my jaw on the floor and my brain screaming in white noise. So settle down and get ready for a twisted suspense thriller that might just give you narrative whiplash (in the best way).

Picked by Halley