Ravenna

Latest Staff Picks

This book has been so much fun to do with my son! It's full of amazing facts about each blunder plus info about what engineers understood at the time. The experiments are super fun, easy, and are done with items found at home. For any history buff, budding scientist, or inquisitive mind, this book was heaps of fun!

Picked by Patti H.

Lauren Wolk has become a favorite author of mine. I just love her. Her earlier book, Wolf Hollow, I savored and loved. Her quiet, powerful, and effecting stories sit deep with me and I find myself revisiting them. Beyond the Bright Sea follows the story of a 12 year old girl named Crow on her quest to discover where she came from and who she is. Found as an new born baby, washed up on the coast of one of the Elizabeth Islands, she looks and is treated differently. Crow's inner strength, determination, and kind heart are astounding. I can't wait to see what Lauren Wolk will do next.

Picked by Patti H.

This is hands down my favorite book of the year. Boyne has written a story that is heartbreaking, rage inducing, and often laugh-out-loud hilarious. The story covers 70 years in the life of one unforgettable Cyril Avery whose life mirrors the development of Ireland from near-medieval Catholic clergy control to the modern, more accepting country it is today. Characters you will love, characters you will hate, all of them will rattle around in your head for months, if not longer.

Picked by Michael

Dinner at the Center of the Earth is a real tour de force with an unforgettable cast of characters: Prisoner Z who has gone from being a Mossad agent to traitor, a comatose general (who may be Sharon), the guard's mother who could star in her own story.

Many questions are posed and the answers, if there are any, are diffuse. What does it mean to be a traitor to a country who has betrayed your ideals? What is the future of Israel?

Englander describes himself as an optimistic pessimist or a pessimistic optimist and that confusion perfectly describes this amazing book.

Picked by Michael

A mouse thinks its the end when he's swallowed whole by a lone wolf. But much to his surprise, a duck has set up shop and is living quite comfortably in the wolf's stomach. Jon Klassen's beautiful illustrations collide with Mac Barnett's unique mind to create one of my favorite childrens illustrated books of this year. Parents and kids will both find something to laugh at in this charming fable with a macabre twist.

Picked by Halley

Jeannie Vanasco has deconstructed the concept of memoir and offers us not just her memories, but her evolving "guiding intelligence" which is, she suggests, "the real plot of memoir." Vanasco's story centers on her father's death, a half-sister who died before she was born, and her spin into madness as she struggles to tell the story she promised her father she would write in his honor. What shines throughout this book is her stunning generosity of spirit. Enjoy.

Picked by Dana

Between her two latest books — this story collection and her similarly excellent 2015 novel Eileen —Ottessa Moshfegh has become one of my favorite fiction writers working today. The stories in Homesick for Another World are dark and unredemptive; they find humor in misery and relish abjection. They are peopled with characters riddled with shame and self-loathing, leading to bizarre and sometimes cruel behavior. They are, in short, probably not for everyone. But readers with a taste for the bitter stuff will find Moshfegh’s writing delightfully distasteful and full of surprising moments and incisive commentary.

Picked by Theo

Sing, Unburied, Sing opens with thirteen year-old Jojo and his grandfather, Pops, killing a goat for the boy's birthday dinner. The scene, like all those in Jesmyn Ward's excellent new novel, is beautifully rendered; brutal and matter-of-fact in its violence, yet touched with a mythic quality that elevates it, turns it into something more. Ward's view of her characters is deeply compassionate and symbolically rich while always remaining honest and naturalistic in showing how the intergenerational effects of racism and poverty shape their lives.

Picked by Theo

Dive in to the science of jellyfish, a.k.a. the spineless ones. Berwald documents the oft misunderstood jellyfish and their contributions to the sciences: from engineering (how to make a better submarine), to genetic research (thank you lectin), and as an incredible source of protein (move over energy bars) to name a few. Whether younger or older, Spineless makes excellent holiday reading for the armchair scientist in your life.

Picked by Alex