Staff Picks by Tag

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The Skin and Its Girl: A Novel By Sarah Cypher Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780593499559
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Ballantine Books - April 23rd, 2024

A family saga and a poetic tale about a young, queer girl coming to terms with her inner and outer identities. Elspeth/Betty is born in a Portland hospital with cobalt blue skin. From her 0-10 year-old perspective, she watches her thrown-together parents become parents, unravels the folklore of her Palestinian ancestors, and discovers her great aunt has more in common with her than she thought. With language so rich you'll want to savor it with a spoon!

 


Review by Emily

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How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures By Sabrina Imbler Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780316540506
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Back Bay Books - January 9th, 2024

Are you scared of what lies below the surface? Don't be! Or do. I don't know your life. But Imbler is able to make the creatures that live there so reachable (you'll learn something!) while not reaching too far to liken them to their own life (you'll feel something) on their mission toward identity, love, beauty, community, survival. We're more alike than we seem. 

This is like the nonfiction equivalent to Our Wives Under the Sea.


Review by Emily

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Thin Skin: Essays By Jenn Shapland Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780593317457
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Pantheon - August 15th, 2023

Looking to have your mind shaken and soothed simultaneously by sheer beauty and complexity and care for every word and sentence? Look no further! Shapland seamlessly explores poisonous toxins, toxic white womanhood, the safety of solitude, motherhood, queerness, capitalism, and her own family's medical misgivings. It's a treatise on being human and being realistically cynical in a world filled with poison, and yet she isn't afraid to point out that there's a beauty within it all despite the sheer shit of things. 


Review by Sofia

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Thin Skin: Essays By Jenn Shapland Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780593317457
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Pantheon - August 15th, 2023

If 'My Autobiography of Carson McCullers' didn’t convince you that Shapland is one of the most exciting, subversive, and inventive of American writers, a writer with nerve and wide-ranging interests, then the essays in 'Thin Skin' will surely demand your attention like they demanded mine. Shapland has written more than just essays—these are eruditely-researched works of journalism tangled with deeply personal memoir, connected and cohesive like a mycorrhizal network. These essays about reproductive rights, poison in America, our many failures to out-engineer climate change, and the literal meaning of life will challenge and educate those seeking a way to articulate the discontents of the Anthropocene. 'Thin Skin' is also a masterclass in pandemic-era writing, swimming in the moment without succumbing to it. You’ll find Adrienne Rich, Eula Biss, David Graeber, and Audre Lord in these pages, in-depth frameworks for a subversive queer history, and something that resembles a My Autobiography of Rachel Carson (if we can be so lucky). Shapland grows into her own as a nature writer, and with this new collection, claims her place as a major writer of the Southwest. Not only should this book last; it should be taught.


Review by Spencer R.

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Thin Skin: Essays By Jenn Shapland Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780593317457
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Pantheon - August 15th, 2023

You know that thing when you learn a new word and then suddenly you see it everywhere? Like it had been there all along you just skipped over it because you didn't know what it meant.  That's what this collection was like for me.  Explorations and musings on many issues that touch my life: what is love, loss? what is home?, how do we define work as women?, how do we find meaning for our lives?, what can we do to be better stewards of our planet? 

Thoughtful, readable and relatable.


Review by Charlotte

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The Adult: A Novel By Bronwyn Fischer Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781643752723
Availability: Out of stock, usually available in 3-10 days
Published: Algonquin Books - May 23rd, 2023

This is the closest a writer can get to sharing every thought a character has -- the interior voice of our main character, Natalie, is so unique just in its presence but also its frankness and believability. We see her go back home on break from school where her parents run a lodge, where they were busy caring for others and trusted her to care for herself. She then starts up a relationship with an older woman, trying to be the adult she was taught to be but doesn't actually believe she is.


Review by Emily

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Leg: The Story of a Limb and the Boy Who Grew from It By Greg Marshall Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781419763601
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Harry N. Abrams - June 13th, 2023

Greg Marshall is super smart, and super funny, and some super shitty things have happened to him. So get ready for some truly hilarious grief. 

Fresh and original, I really, really recommend this funny, insightful, uplifting memoir. You'll laugh and cry, and maybe even blush a little. 

Hands down, my favorite book of the year. And definitely my new favorite author. 


Review by Erin

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The Argonauts By Maggie Nelson Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977351
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Graywolf Press - January 26th, 2016

This book is messy, Maggie is messy, we're all messy. Maggie doesn't claim to know motherhood, but actively searches for how to fit such a role within one's ever fluid identity. She becomes a mother, just as she continues becoming a wife, a stepmother, a writer, a scholar with each sentence on the page. She has a special way of finding the role of love in sadness, confusion, crisis, identity, etc. that simply breaks and mends my heart. This is a beautiful ode to the queerness of self, relationships, and family; how to navigate change amidst permanence and love; and how to replace what craves replacing. 


Review by Sofia

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The Fifth Wound By Aurora Mattia Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781643621487
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Nightboat Books - March 7th, 2023

This might be the most honest and glorious thing I've ever read. I love this book so much, I want to eat it. 


Review by Kit

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Something Wild & Wonderful By Anita Kelly Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781538754887
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Forever - March 7th, 2023

Oh man. This is the perfect romance novel! Anita Kelly writes fantastic characters here. It's funny, heartwarming, thrilling (spicy!) It has it all. And it fulfilled my deep desire for everything to include birding!

 


Review by Zack

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