Staff Picks by Tag

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The Magical Language of Others: A Memoir Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781951142278
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Tin House Books - January 19th, 2021

As children, it is so difficult to understand the decisions our parents make, or how they love us. Koh’s rediscovery and subsequent translation of her mother’s letters is the rediscovery of a mother’s love. The interspersed memories provide a hard-hitting perspective, but it is balanced by such lyrical delivery. 


Review by Madison

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All My Rage: A Novel Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780593202340
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Razorbill - March 1st, 2022

This beautifully crafted, inter-generational story follows two childhood friends during their final year of high school in a small Mojave desert town. I was instantly drawn into the lives of Salahudin and Noor as they navigate grief, the unpredictability of their parental figures, racism, isolating secrets and fears. Told in alternating perspectives, you cannot help but rage against all the obstacles they face. Sabaa Tahir tells their story so eloquently, you will not be able to put it down and it will stay with you long after you’ve read the final page.


Review by Rene

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Fight Night Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9781635578171
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - October 5th, 2021

To the chagrin of plenty, when people ask me about Miriam Toews (and when they don't), I often say her name in the same breath as "greatest novelist writing in English today" and "the best writer on grief and loss living on this continent," superlatives that surely test my credibility and raise eyebrows, but I stand by them. So help me. It's easy for me to articulate what makes Toews so compelling: her acidic humor, her total inability to play by the rules, always one eye on the specter of death. Rivaling some of Toews's best novels (All My Puny Sorrows, Women Talking, A Complicated Kindness, to name a few), FIGHT NIGHT is the most invigorating work of art in Toews's oeuvre thus far. Come for Toews's unparalleled knack for writing sour grandmothers; stay for Swiv, the precocious child narrator who says things like this: "I don't know why saying bowel movement and stool is better than vag and piehole. It doesn't matter what words you use in life, it's not gonna prevent you from suffering."

 


Review by Spencer R.

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Learning to Talk to Plants Cover Image
By Marta Orriols, Mara Faye Lethem (Translated by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781782275770
Availability: Out of stock, usually available in 3-10 days
Published: Pushkin Press - June 15th, 2021

A stunning exploration of loss and grief. 100% on my top books of 2021!


Review by Rosa

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Somebody's Daughter: A Memoir Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250305978
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Flatiron Books: An Oprah Book - June 1st, 2021

Powerful, honest, and sharp. Ford tells her story on her terms, refusing to compromise or shy away from how the absence of her incarcerated father and tense relationship with her mother defined her formative years. Her work is a gift that allows us to glimpse her fraught journey through hardship and loss towards love and self-acceptance. Simply beautiful.



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Everything Sad Is Untrue: (a true story) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781646140008
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Levine Querido - August 25th, 2020

If "every story is the sound of a storyteller begging to stay alive..." as Daniel says, then he and his family deserve to live forever--purely off the crackling energy of these tales and the way they will echo in your mind long after the words have been read.  Part musings on truth and memory, part memoir of a young immigrant trying to find his place in midwest America, this book will captivate and resonate with a wide variety of readers.  

To anyone who has ever wondered about their history, struggled to understand their family, or been a victim of bureaucracy; to the children of strong mothers, the parents of observant children, and the family members of angry adults that should know better; to lovers of poetry and folklore and far off places; to anyone (so everyone!) with flaws--you will find a kindred spirit here.


Review by Katelynn

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Red at the Bone: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525535287
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Riverhead Books - September 1st, 2020

Told in sparse paragraphs but with full language, like only the best bits you underline in a book. Woodson weaves together the many stories of a multi-generational black family as, across time, everyone navigates their own relationship with identity, gentrification, parenthood, class, and that red-to-the-bone feeling that comes with love.


Review by Emily

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Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062248572
Availability: Out of stock, usually available in 3-10 days
Published: Ecco - July 28th, 2020

Trethewey comes at writing a memoir like the poet that she is. Her words will break your heart almost as much as her story does, told from a daughter's perspective of her mother suffering through domestic violence. She really shows the thin line between love and hate, passion and anger, especially in the bone-chilling recorded phone calls between her mother and ex-husband. Through her efforts to learn more about the woman she lost when she was 19, Trethewey will take your breath away.


Review by Emily

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Tokyo Ueno Station: A Novel Cover Image
By Yu Miri, Morgan Giles (Translated by)
$25.00
ISBN: 9780593088029
Availability: Out of stock, usually available in 3-10 days
Published: Riverhead Books - June 23rd, 2020

I picked up this slender but powerful book on the last day of the year and read into the night, into the new year. Days later, I find it unfurling like a banner in my mind as 2021 lurches forward. The story of Kazu, a deceased laborer whose ghost haunts one of Tokyo's busiest train stations, is as much social commentary as it is character study with its examination of poverty, homelessness, grief, and regret. Miri deftly weaves events of Kazu's life that led to his homelessness with Japanese history with conversations from station passengers who float into view and then bob away, unaware, on their own streams. Miri's writing feels almost painterly at times: repetition feels like brushwork, vivid colors flash behind the lids, texture shapes the geography of loss. A beautiful ache of a book. 



Staff Pick Badge
Greenwood: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
Unavailable at this time.
ISBN: 9781984822000
Published: Hogarth - February 25th, 2020

This book is quietly nuanced in its message and slow to unfold, but never boring. It's a mystery grown from a family drama, which builds on a dust bowl history lesson, all surrounding the Lorax's stump--with drops of irrepressible hope leaking between each regretful and foreboding ring. Christie skillfully draws eerie parallels between generations and environmental catastrophes, but what's even more impressive is how he will simultaneously warm your heart and make it ache with each of the 4 points of view. 


Review by Katelynn

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