Bookseller at Lake Forest Park
Anje enjoys reading fiction that makes her cringe, comic books that make her cry, political science that makes her furious, and medical history that makes her gag. She also enjoys gardening, listening to old Canadian hardcore bands, attempting to fix things on her truck, and hanging out with her dog.
Like Harry Potter, if Harry Potter was a teenage Nigerian girl with albinism who discovers that she has latent magical abilities and ends up not only saving Nigeria, but the entire world! Imagine if instead of picking out a wand, you got to pick out a juju knife...
Ghost Busters meets Gilmore Girls, Fangirl meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Maggie Cunningham comes from a long line of monster hunters, but before she can get her journeymans monster hunting license, she has to lose her virginity, because DUH virginity is like catnip for vampires.
Like if Leigh Bardugo rewrote Cormac McCarthy's "The Border Trilogy", replaced the horses with hippos, and it was just perpetually set in that hippo attack river scene from "Congo".
The sequel comes out this fall. You're welcome.
Like a Hayao Miyazaki movie on a bad acid trip. "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind" meets "Resident Evil". In Jeff VanderMeer's mind, the wreckage of our civilization will be teeming with life that is both benign and threatening.
Spoiler: most of it is threatening.
There are so many reasons to love this series, from the bizarre and irreverent gallows humor to the amazing variety of obscure mythical creatures represented; the fact that romantic love is not the only kind of love displayed or sought by the main characters; the value placed on multi-generational and non-conventional family units; the fully conceptualized female and queer characters; the insane action sequences; the witty banter, OH, THE WITTY BANTER. Did I mention the heavily-researched-and-cleverly-modified-to-make-them-even-more-appealing-but-also-terrifying-obscure-mythical-creatures? Because there are a lot of them. They are legion.
An extremely approachable overview of Nordic economic policy and Scandinavian views on the social safety net, with an excellent if brief history of the labor struggles that got them there. Though it was especially painful to read during the opening days of 2017, it ultimately served as a tangible reminder of what is possible when a society chooses to embrace solidarity over selfishness.
By far my favorite guide to NW vegetable gardening (it's the only one I continue to use). It has easy to navigate month by month breakdowns of exactly what you should be doing and what things you're able to plant. For someone with an attention span like mine, it's a no-brainer.
Jessa Crispin is not interested in signing a no-strike clause with the patriarchy, and she's here to argue that YOU shouldn't be, either. In Why I Am Not a Feminist, she pulls no punches as she delivers a pitch perfect rebuttal to the uber-approachable milquetoast lifestyle feminism we've all become accustomed to hearing about.
It's hard to grasp just how important the public hospital system is until you read a book like "Bellevue". I was already in awe after reading about them implementing the country's first ambulance service, but as I read about their staff's utterly selfless response during the emergence of the AIDS crisis, my breath caught in my throat. The staff accounts of responding to the September 11th attacks and of hauling buckets of fuel up to the 13th floor emergency generator during hurricane Sandy nearly brought me to my knees.
Paul Offit wants people to understand that alternative medicine vs. conventional medicine is a false dichotomy - there is just medicine that works, and medicine that doesn't. In this fascinating overview of the massively lucrative and horrifyingly underregulated alternative health industry, Offit beseeches us to think critically, and provides ample evidence that lives depend on it.
Based on interviews the author conducted in an Italian refugee center, this timely book explores the excruciating decision to leave everything you know behind in the face of war. With beautiful illustrations and haunting prose, Sanna illuminates the terrifying journey that so many families are forced to make, and gracefully examines the heartbreak and fear experienced by families who are told "We don't want you here.".
This is Sadie being a mermaid. This is Sadie hiding in a cardboard box. This is Sadie being a hero. This is Sadie picking out her favorite dress. This is Sadie being a boy raised by wolves.
This is a childrens book about a girl who does WHATEVER SHE WANTS. Read it to your little ones. Read it again, and again, and again.
This book SLAYED ME. Never before have I seen the mundane details of everyday life illustrated so lovingly. I already bought a copy for my nephew, who is too young to read, let alone appreciate the subtle humor in this book. It is just that good.
It's hard to describe how much of an impact this series had on me as a young adult. In what is often considered a retelling of "Paradise Lost", Pullman envelopes us in sparkling, luminescent language and plunges us into a world so lush and intricate that by the end it is painful to leave. Do yourself a solid and just read the whole series in one gorgeous volume.
Deciding to have children is completely and without qualification one of the most consequential, life altering decisions you can make. In most cultures, it is also blithely assumed that all people, particularly women, want to do it. In this fantastic collection of essays, 16 writers from all over the spectrum share why they chose not to.
Do you ever wish that woodland creatures such as badgers and rabbits and boars could talk and bake pastries and have a tea party with you?
"We need to see abortion as an urgent practical decision that is just as moral as the decision to have a child - indeed, sometimes more moral.," Katha Pollitt writes. "Abortion is part of being a mother and of caring for children, because part of caring for children is knowing when it's not a good idea to bring them into the world.". You will not find a more compassionately written or meticulously researched book about reproductive rights.
"The Swan Riders" picks up shortly after "The Scorpion Rules" ends, and as a series it continues to be some of the finest, most thought provoking science fiction I've read. Erin Bow explores the dichotomy of being both human and AI, and deftly navigates the politics of an insurgency that arises from the dispossession of both bodies and minds. This series is a perfect rebuttal to all parents that think science fiction or fantasy turns kids' brains into mush.
It's always nerve wracking to start reading the follow up to a book that you truly adore. The fear that it won't meet the high standards set by the first one can feel crushing. Well, you don't need to worry about this book. Everything is there. The subterfuge, the razor sharp wit and dialogue, the sweet, hard earned revenge. My heart was in my throat the whole time.
This novel holds the prestigious honor of being the only book that ever caused me to have a nosebleed, while reading it in a very public place, no less. I can't say I've had such a physical reaction to any other book.
Best read on a canoe trip.
Lauren Beukes has perfectly woven themes of femicide, time travel, and the occult into one of the grimmest and most relevant thrillers I've come across. Really, this book is SO smart and SO creepy. Want a terrifying detective book that also examines how our culture values women? This is it.
Evie Wyld's writing about rural Australia is so lush and raw that you can smell the breeze that whips through the eucalyptus groves, and hear the butcherbird's call. The shredded internal terrain that her characters traverse is written with such astute empathy that by the middle of the novel you begin to physically feel the gaze of monsters both real and imagined. You begin to wonder what could be lurking at the edge of that eldritch sugarcane field.
It started a decade ago, a pandemic that's killing adults and causing children to be born as human/animal hybrids. Gus, a young boy/deer, lives a simple life in a secluded cabin with his dad. Until a day arrives when Gus must put his trust in a stranger in order to survive, and sets out across this great and terrifying nation of ours. Because kids like Gus now have a price on their head.
Dustin Nguyen's illustrations swim through frequencies, and Jeff Lemire writes characters that will make your heart fold in on itself. "Descender" is an epic, gut wrenching saga for the ages. It is stunning.
Jeff Lemire's graphic novels move me to tears with such regularity that I'd be embarrassed were it not for the fact that he is a GENIUS who exudes the kind of empathy we should all aspire to. Plutona combines all the best elements of "Freaks and Geeks", "Stand by Me", and your favorite childhood superhero series.
I was sold on this series as soon as I saw who wrote it, but Cliff Chiang's illustrations definitely sealed the deal. Imagine "Stand by Me" with an all girl cast, throw in "Saga" and some time travel, and you end up with a brilliant coming of age story that begins in suburbia, but looks like it has some very big plans...
This book is textured by the same kind of desperate, isolated atmosphere that you find in movies like "The Proposition" by Nick Cave or in paintings like "Christina's World" by Andrew Wyeth. Throughout all there runs a deep vein of understated, abject horror. In empathizing with the characters I found myself alternating between feeling unclean, and fearsome.
Whoa. Ann Leckie meets Harlan Ellison meets Lydia Millet. It's 400 years in the future, humanity has nearly done itself in via war and water scarcity, and we find ourselves under the violent rule of an artificial intelligence who has the sense of humor of John Scalzi, and our best interests at heart. Mostly.
This series sucked me in much the same way that Harry Potter did when I was 11, except with more swearing and dead people. Do you ever see me zoning out at the info desk? I'm imagining what kind of were-creature I would be, and it's because of these books.
Deconnick and De Landro have created a brutal, unapologetic mashup of Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” and the 1975 dystopian sci-fi action film “Rollerball”. They have taken the struggle of marginalized people everywhere, that daily struggle to insist that others recognize our humanity, and channeled it into the cerebral, violent feminist exploitation comic of my dreams. Buy it for the 16 year old girl in YOUR life.
This story (based on a true one) about a 13 year old girl living off the grid in the Oregon woods with a man who may or may not be her father is both deeply unsettling and absolutely stunning. Written with a perfect mixture of restraint and bluntness, it manages to be both a heartbreaking portrayal of a relationship based on utter dependence, and a tribute to the grit and gristle of teenage girls.
A czarist Russia influenced mashup of the Golden Compass, Ocean's Eleven, and Peaky Blinders.
This gang of cutthroat teenage criminals will sneak, steal, and sabotage their way into your heart. And maybe your wallet. Probably your wallet.
Some of the most beautiful, intricate, and sophisticated science fiction I've read in years. Set against the backdrop of an imperialist, rapacious empire, Leckie forces her readers to consider what it would be like to inhabit hundreds of bodies simultaneously, and what it would feel like to suddenly have that vast consciousness reduced down to one.
The long awaited sequel to "The Rook" is finally here, and I have to say, well played, O'Malley. I came for the witty dialogue and the hilarious supernatural bureaucracy, but I stayed for the stomach churning medical implants and the bathtub full of ectoplasm.
X-Files meets James Bond meets the more bureaucratic elements of Harry Potter. Eh, maybe with a little League of Extraordinary Gentleman and Rick & Morty thrown in there. I could not stop reading, not even after laughing so hard that I choked while riding the bus.
This simply yet beautifully illustrated book is essentially the story of a clever girl who uses her ingenuity and crafting skills to overcome seasonal affective disorder.
It. Is. Great.
Three small-town witches band together to stop a corporate big-box store from demolishing the market square in order to build a new shopping complex, because only they know it will open a gateway to the netherworld.
Yes, you totally read that right.
Oh Eileen. You are antisocial, you are untrustworthy, you are selfish and self-hating at the same time. You are obsessive, you are put-upon. The way you live your life makes my skin crawl.
So why do I love you so much?
The last sentence of this book gave me shivers. In addition, it contains a short chapter written from the perspective of a small bat that is so achingly, hauntingly beautiful it made my heart hurt.
And now I want to go to Nigeria, but I think I'll stay away from the water.
Ann Leckie writes sci-fi with the same sense of justice as Octavia Butler and Ursula Le Guin, with the addition of action sequences and space battles that I can only pray I will one day get to see on the big screen. Already read and loved the first two, but concerned that Leckie won't stick the landing? Don't worry, she does.
This is an epic and eloquent story about a chronically underestimated boy, a fierce bandit girl, a brave young wolf, and an ancient feral magic. Kelly Barnhill writes about magic in a way that I've never seen before, and it is utterly spellbinding.
Hands down the best writing I've ever found on hoarding. Written with respect, empathy, and wit, this book is a must read for anyone affected by hoarding or merely interested in the pull that physical objects have on all of us. Frost and Steketee obviously hold their patients in high regard, and it shows in the frank self-examinations that make up so much of this phenomenal book.
Jesse Bering has written possibly the best book about human sexuality that I've ever read. Copiously researched, scientifically solid, and written in eminently accessible (and entertaining) language, this book is a must read for anyone who has ever felt even a twinge of shame about sex. Yes, that means you.
Snowman spends his days remembering a world dominated by multinational corporations. Ever since the pandemic his only companions are dangerous genetically engineered hybrid animals, and a tribe of herbivorous humans created in a lab that look to him for guidance.
Nate Powell makes comics for all those whose hearts this world is too small to hold. "Any Empire" is an uncomfortable yet all too familiar coming of age tale that examines war and the youthful fantasies of violence that it inspires.
"Who can say I'm not a good mother? Who can say I don't read the subject heading in the books? The HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR CHILD IF THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO ONE WITH ANY PRIMAL KNOWLEDGE AROUND TO GUIDE YOU GUIDES. WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN THERE IS NO RECEIVED WISDOM WHATSOEVER. I keep them in an out-of-the-way drawer, like porn."
Smart. Scathing. Terrifying. A must read.
Possibly one of the best portrayals of schizophrenia that I've ever seen. (At least from someone who isn't schizophrenic.) This story of two step-siblings, both of whom are dealing with mental illness, is as frustrating and heartbreaking as they come. Channelled through the prism of Powell's stark yet smothering illustrations, this book is perfect.
Though it is a slim volume, I recommend resisting the urge to read this book in one sitting. Originally written as individual arguments, Solnit's essays are a pleasure to read and sift through. Her writing about the silencing of women is sure to fill some readers with a kind of nauseous recognition, but in the end Solnit's is a voice that lights up the darkness.
Having to patiently endure your child's potty talk phase is agonizing enough, but there is nothing worse than UNINFORMED POTTY TALK. Shinta Cho believes that knowledge is power, and that it should be conveyed via ultra-cute drawings.
As a former pre-school teacher, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of teaching your child how their body actually works. With clear language and adorable illustrations, this book is ingenius in its simplicity.
Carol Ruckdeschel is a woman who has never allowed her heart to be crushed into submission, who faces off with powerful people that seek to desecrate Cumberland Island, and who refuses to let their success echo through her compliance.
A totally gripping, intelligently written sci-fi police procedural/mystery that explores the themes of physical disability and bodily autonomy. I cannot recommend this enough. Never read sci-fi or Scalzi? Start with this.
Lydia Millet notices everything. Her tersely cogent observations about our culture stopped me in my tracks over and over again as I read this darkly hilarious book. I want to be her best friend.
This book is pithy, satisfyingly stressful, and has made me want to study math and chemistry more than any class or lecture I've ever attended. Read it, then have your kid read it.
You've done it again, McBride. I thought I'd reached my snarky/irreverent/cleverly-modified-to-meet-my-bizarre-tastes magical creature quota after your second book, BUT NO! You had this hidden up your sleeve just waiting to distract me from daily responsibilities...
A richly written heroine's journey. Employing beautiful, exhuberant language, Valente introduces us to a girl who builds a ship, saves a boy, frees a dragon, and liberates a world from the tyranny of a despotic queen. ALL children must read this.
A compellingly written, painstakingly researched history of one of the most ubiquitous weapons ever made. A fascinating comparison of Soviet vs. American approaches to weapons development, and their very human consequences.
Do you like witty banter, scathing pop culture references, and vengeful supernatural entities with both class and style? Of course you do, read this book.
A fascinating true tale of bravery, adventure, and the social contract between humans and animals. There are passages in this book that made my heart sing.
I picked this up while lurking at another bookstore, and ended up having to buy it because I could not live with myself if I didn't finish it that night. Meticulously researched (with footnotes!), totally over the top, and not for the easily squeamish (unless you're into that).