Ravenna

Latest Staff Picks

If you haven't read Octavia Butler's Kindred, this is a very compelling introduction. If you have, this graphic novel will add a new layer of understanding for this classic text. 

Picked by James

William Tyce is a young boy, who has been cast adrift in his life. In an attempt to make sense of his world, he creates a glossary, which becomes A Key to Treehouse Living. This is a poignant coming of age tale with its narrative hidden in between the lines of the glossary entries. An inventive and moving debut.

Picked by Mark B.

Hakan Soderstrom and his older brother leave Sweden with the intention of boarding a ship that will take them to New York. Hakan loses track of his brother and ends up on a ship that takes him around Cape Horn and drops him on the California coast. Determined to reunite with his brother in New York, he departs California, swimming against the tide of immigrants heading west. This first novel is an epic adventure that is at times gruesome and heartbreaking, but always compelling. Hakan is a larger-than-life character, who -- by the end of the book -- has become a mythological creature in the land that he ceaselessly roams.

Picked by Mark B.

In the introduction to Blood in the Water, historian Heather Ann Thompson worries about reopening old wounds. Is it right to ask those who experienced the Attica Prison Uprising--the hellish living conditions of the inmates, their rebellion and the ensuing crisis, the state's violent crackdown and subsequent coverup--to relive those traumas? Can a wound be reopened that has, by design, never been allowed to heal?

A meticulously researched and expertly written account of justice denied, Blood in the Water is by turns a painful, engrossing, heartbreaking and enraging read. As this summer's prison strikes have illustrated, the wound that Attica represents is still very much in need of treatment. To that end, Thompson's book is an indispensable resource.

Picked by Theo

Homophobia is an ugly place to live; some people grow up there and never leave. Asher Sharpe, an evangelical preacher in small-town Tennessee, is moved to shelter two gay men during a terrible flood, but his wife refuses out of fear for their son. Meanwhile Sharpe can't stop thinking about his estranged gay brother. His conflict with his wife, and eventually with his work and community, leads to desperate actions, making this book as suspenseful as it is tender. Take this book home with you, you won't regret it.

Picked by Dana

This book has a special place in my heart. The illustrations and the language go perfectly hand-in-hand to tell the story of a gardener named Evan who goes through his own personal rough patch as he mourns the death of a friend. It's about love, grief, loss. It's about giving yourself time to heal and knowing when to start anew. It's about new growth. It's a lesson and reminder to all of us who have ever been in or come out of a rough patch.

Picked by Halley

This is not a screed about the destruction and moral decay of society. Lanier argues that individuals have a right to be authentic and that a way to do so is to unplug from social media. Lanier's arguments aren't without holes, but they do a great job explaining what social media is, how it functions, where its led us, and that there's another way. The Internet is a public good best experienced by the individual on their own terms. As Lanier states early on: "This book is about how to be a cat."

Picked by Alex

I loved Be Prepared. It brought me back to summers when I was a kid. It deals with important stuff in such a wonderful way. Vera struggles to fit in at school. She hopes that summer camp with other kids who have the same Russian background as she does will be help her finally feel like she belongs somewhere. Of course things don't go as planned and she has difficulty navigating new friends and what it really means to be a friend. We've all stepped into these muddy waters and it was such a refreshing and sweet look at ways to overcome struggles with belonging. Young, old, and everyone in between will fall in love with Vera's big heart.

Picked by Patti H.

This book is a meditation, a philosophical treatise, an interrogation of the way humans experience time. And let me tell you, we've got it all wrong. With carefully balanced blocks of reasoning and scientific theories, Rovelli builds a new understanding of the way we hold memory, history, each moment. You don't have to be a scientist or a philosopher to embrace this book, you only have to be human.

Picked by Dana