Staff Picks by Tag

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A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781984856029
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Random House - January 12th, 2021

Tolstoy + Chekhov + Gogol + Turgenev + Saunders = a crash course in good writing! My favorite chapter was on "The Nose" by Nikolai Gogol for the pure absurdity of the story and the great clarity Saunders brought to understanding it.


Review by Emily

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Sarahland Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9781538735060
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Grand Central Publishing - March 9th, 2021

Sarahland is an acid road trip with writhing bodies stuck together by lip gloss and bodily fluids I can't mention here. The little connections and pop culture references - BUFFY! - made me beam in delight, and one story in particular made me dream of becoming a Sarah who turns into a tree. The fluidity of gender and sexuality, as well as all the different shapes and sizes a body can be, are all celebrated in this collection of messy queer Sarahs. 


Review by Sarah C.

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The Dangers of Smoking in Bed: Stories Cover Image
By Mariana Enriquez, Megan McDowell (Translated by)
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593134078
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Hogarth - January 12th, 2021

Mariana Enriquez brings the senses alive with her descriptions of the putrescent. Her addicting stories read like freshly unearthed urban myths and legends, full of yearning, filth and witchcraft. They make me feel gross and I love them for it. Her voice demands your attention. I haven't been this excited about a book in quite some time, and I will greedily consume anything she produces in the future.


Review by Dean

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Her Body and Other Parties: Stories Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977887
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Graywolf Press - October 3rd, 2017

This short story collection was unlike anything I've ever read. I've never seen women and queerness so front and center in this way and Machado does it all with a breezy air of magical realism. From a retold fable with parenthetical asides to reimagined Law & Order plotlines to an inventory of lovers set against a global virus (which may hit close to home, eesh). I hope it sticks with you like it has stuck with me.


Review by Emily

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Black Light: Stories Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780525563501
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Vintage - August 13th, 2019

The language in this is gorgeous!! In her debut collection, Parsons can write of the ugliest things we don't want to show a black light to like our secret longings, deep-seated self-loathing, or our bodies up close. Then she'll pull a: "Where I'm from, falling asleep is easy. You can hear your eyelashes swipe the pillow. There's so much nothing pouring in, you drift off listening to your choice." Or: "A girl like that can't last. A fleeting gleam. I don't know if there's a word for the ache of missing something when you still have it. I'd kiss her and taste my doom." Wow!  

 


Review by Emily

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Things We Lost in the Fire: Stories Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9780451495112
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Hogarth - February 21st, 2017

This brilliant collection of short stories is Mariana Enriquez's English language debut. In some ways, these stories could easily fit into the horror genre, but they would be more appropriate in a category simply labeled Unsettling. The story "The Neighbor's Courtyard" still haunts my dreams, in a good way.

Weird dark stories for weird dark times.


Review by Mark B.

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The Dominant Animal: Stories Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780374538293
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: MCD x FSG Originals - April 7th, 2020

Bananas.
These tightly-compressed stories feel tied to some even more mysterious, elliptical tale that's been lying dormant in the reader's imagination for eons. Like some kind of ancient truth. 
I don't know that a book has ever left me feeling so vulnerable, like it knew me deeply. In my bones or some other new age nonsense. 
I'd wager this is what DMT feels like.


Review by Wesley

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Clive Barker's Books of Blood 1-3 Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780425165584
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Berkley - October 1st, 1998

"There is no delight the equal of dread"

Clive Barker's artistic range is on full display in this toothsome collection of shorts: from haunted shrouds bent on revenge to possessed pigs, each tale is an allegory wrapped in viscera. Along with Angela Carter's 'The Bloody Chamber', 'Books of Blood' rests atop my list when it comes to short story collections. A truly bloody affair. 


Review by Dean

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Heathcliff Redux: A Novella and Stories Cover Image
$23.00
ISBN: 9780802147592
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - February 4th, 2020

Tuck is a master of minimalist refinement. Her prose is pared down and looks almost skeletal on the page but the mood and keen observations that swims in the blank spaces are shrewd and seductive.

Pure grace.


Review by Wesley

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A Lucky Man: Stories Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555978433
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Graywolf Press - June 4th, 2019

One of the best books I read this year. Brinkley can illuminate and expose seemingly any corner of humanity, with equal compassion and precision. His writing is so powerful and graceful at once that it feels balletic, with a dancer's way of making an incredible feat seem simple and easy.


Review by Christina

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