Staff Picks by Tag

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To Keep the Sun Alive Cover Image
ISBN: 9781948226769
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Catapult - January 21st, 2020

It is 1979, and the Islamic Revolution is at the doorstep of one family's fruit orchard in Northeastern Iran. The simplicity of family life becomes more difficult to maintain as each character's path becomes more complex by the risk of losing love, duty, traditions, and their safety. Not necessarily a light read, but a rich, lyrical story. 


Review by Kelly

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The Book of Lost Saints Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250185815
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Imprint - November 5th, 2019

I could not put this book down. Marisol's spirit visits her nephew Ramon in modern-day New Jersey and prompts him to unearth painful family history and discover what happened to her after she disappeared during the Cuban Revolution. This story is many things - funny, heart-warming, captivating - and it is one of the few books that can make me laugh and cry while reading the same page.

Review by Kelly

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Serenade for Nadia: A Novel Cover Image
By ZÜLFÜ LIVANELI, Brendan Freely (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781635420166
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Other Press - March 3rd, 2020

How we influence each other every day! Maya Duran, an Istanbul University administrator, meets Max Wagner, an elderly German Catholic who returns to Istanbul to bring closure to his past. An unexpected story of deep love unfolds amid glimpses of Turkish political, cultural, and religious life. It’s easy to see why Livanelli is one of Turkey’s most popular writers and cultural figures.

Review by Elisabeth

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Deep River Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802125385
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - July 2nd, 2019

Amazing characters and regional history. One of my top 10 books of the year.

Review by Robert

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The Nickel Boys: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345804341
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Anchor - June 30th, 2020

Whitehead lined up the plot of this novel as meticulously as dominos and then with a flick tore everything down in moments.

I sobbed at the end. Read it read it read it.

Review by Allie

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The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics: Feminine Pursuits Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062931795
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Avon Impulse - July 23rd, 2019

This gorgeous book is a historical, Sapphic, friends-to-lovers romance between a tenacious astronomer and a wealthy widow (who happens to be skilled in embroidery). AMAZING COVER ASIDE, this is an excellent "gateway" book for Romance: readers will enjoy how Waite draws parallels between women's experiences in the 19th century and the 21st. 

Our heroines get to work translating a new astronomical text despite rebuffs from London's Scientific Society. As their friendship flourishes and their pursuits war against societal gatekeepers, they ask each other: who determines Art? What is the difference between Scientist and Hobbyist? And best of all -- can ladies have happy endings?

Review by Danielle

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Paris in the Present Tense: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781468316681
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: The Overlook Press - November 6th, 2018

At heart a "romancer" of the medieval variety, Helprin here delivers with panache a difficult, larger-than-life, great-hearted quest novel.  His trademark penchants for oddball humor and tall-tale adventuring are tightly focused, and perhaps in no other novel does his unabashed devotion to the Ideal and to Beauty shine with more intensity.  Finishing this novel, I was troubled by Helprin's delicate, surgical prick to the heart (and, yes, I knew it was coming). But at the same time, for some hours I floated a few inches above the ground, buoyed by the aesthetic generosity, the irrepressible vision of this novel, the banquet of its gifts.

Review by Adam

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Laurus Cover Image
Unavailable at this time.
ISBN: 9781780748719
Availability: Unavailable
Published: Oneworld Publications - September 13th, 2016

Like much great fiction, Laurus compresses a particular vision of human life into the person of a flawed but worthy individual. Here are moments of intense horror, of joy, and of despair. During periods when existence seems to have stalled for our hero--that nothing will ever again improve or change--the reader is led into transcendent meditation and reflection on Time and on the soul's dreadful-and-glorious progress. It is no small bonus that this book is free of trendy political and social agendas and is oblivious to what Owen Barfield termed "chronological snobbery" (the imperious disdain which modernity showers on the "ignorant" past). Finally, this is one of a precious few books which has reinforced my sense that Time is neither linear nor cyclical, but spiraling -- curved in its horizontal direction, but always with an inevitable, vertical tension.

Review by Adam

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Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I Cover Image
ISBN: 9781328567659
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - October 2nd, 2018

At first glance, this is a well researched series about an order of medieval assassin nuns sired by Death Himself, so I was pretty much already sold. But THEN I started reading it, and could not stop. For weeks. I burned through all 3 books (and the related upcoming February 2019 release Courting Darkness) in like a week and a half. 

The series takes place in 15th century Brittany, a time when everyone is at war, the duchy has been inherited by a 12 year old girl, and the Catholic Church chose to actively subsume pagan beliefs in order to gain acceptance among a reluctant populace. It is one of these old pagan gods, Mortain, now considered the patron saint of death, that our heroines worship and struggle and fight for. But they are also fighting for themselves. 

The history is fascinating, the trauma is brutal but very well handled, the romance is the healthy and supportive (but fuuun) kind that you want your teens reading about, and the weapons are historically accurate. Don't you want to read about young women finding self actualization and liberation through violence and subterfuge and epic battles? DON'T YOU?



Review by Anje

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The Seventh Cross Cover Image
By Anna Seghers, Margot Bettauer Dembo (Translated by), Thomas von Steinaecker (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9781681372129
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: NYRB Classics - May 22nd, 2018

After being driven into exile by the rise of the Nazis, communist writer Anna Seghers wrote this heartfelt and hopeful thriller that combines the suspense of a Hitchcock movie with the real tragedy of a community in the grip of a collective madness.

Review by Stephen