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Idaho Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780812994049
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Random House - January 3rd, 2017

Idaho is the best novel I have read in years. It follows more than fifty years in the lives of Jenny, who performs a terrible act early in the book, and the family she leaves behind. The prose is truly insightful, with metaphors that leap off of the page-- memory scatters like "dozens of blackbirds, startled at nothing." This novel is a powerful testament to human resiliency and forgiveness, and should join the canon of lasting Northwest literature, alongside Marilynne Robinson and Sherman Alexie.



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I'm Fine, But You Appear to Be Sinking Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781943888085
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Featherproof Books - February 14th, 2017

A beautiful and strange short story collection by a northwest author. Reading this book is a jarring experience: it forces you to imagine Seattle post-earthquake, for example. But it's also very funny, and at times downright weird. My favorite story of the collection is about a Californian woman who is convinced that a man at an auto factory in Detroit is pushing a button to make the items in her kitchen drawers fall to the ground in the morning.

Get lost with octopuses in space, time travelers (or immortal people, it's unclear) at the end of the world, and memories so vivid you couldn't have made them up-- except you did.



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My New Mom & Me Cover Image
By Renata Galindo, Renata Galindo (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780553521344
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Schwartz & Wade Books - March 22nd, 2016

Non-traditional families have become more prevalent, but we still don't have a full children's literature for these sorts of families. "My New Mom and Me" is a wonderful book for families of all kinds, but especially adoptive or interracial families-- and cute animal illustrations are a major plus! Perhaps the most important Mother's Day book you can find.



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Selected Poems Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780871401540
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation - August 17th, 2007

From 'somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond' by e.e. cummings: 

"nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals the power of your intense fragility:whose texture compels me with the colour of its countries, rendering death and forever with each breathing...

nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands"

In spite of it all, there is always poetry. Happy National Poetry Month! (let's hope that doesn't get taken away, too)



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Citizen: An American Lyric Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9781555976903
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Graywolf Press - October 7th, 2014

Part poetry, part essay, part art book- Citizen is a synthesis of so many things that it is hard to adequately describe. You don't need my persuasion to read this book- the awards and conversation around it are probably enough to convince you. But if there were one small thing I would add to that discussion, it is that this book is as purely needed as it was when it was published a few years ago. Racism persists and has been embraced by swaths of the country in increasingly visible ways. Citizen is a great entry point for understanding the social and sociological conditioning involved in racist behavior. That, and it's a hell of a read.



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Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780553447439
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - March 1st, 2016

If you think your landlord is screwing you, they are. Evicted shows how. The book itself is a novelistic account of the lives of people often ignored by literature, and Desmond is such a great writer that this falls in the realm of Between the World and Me, non-fiction that is unignorable on the level of craft. During this election cycle we have bemoaned the decisions we believe are made by people in trailer parks, without any deeper understanding of their plight. Republicans use violence in impoverished communities as a knee-jerk response to questions of gun control, without rhetorically attaching that violence to the the poverty endemic in these neighborhoods. Evicted is a plea for empathy with the impoverished. It may feel difficult to read about subjects like this right now, but refusing to do so comes at a real human cost.



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Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780399184765
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Riverhead Books - October 25th, 2016

This poignant memoir by northwest punk icon Carrie Brownstein is most notable for its ability to situate you in a place and time. Brownstein evokes the pre-tech boom northwest through scenes in a drab telemarketing office in the University District and dilapidated DIY venues in Olympia--scenes from a world venture capital has decided are better left in the past. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl should, by rights, eventually be considered a classic of Seattle and Pacific Northwest literature.



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All the King's Men Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780156004800
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Harvest Books - September 1996

For your consideration this holiday season, a highly diverting novel about a simpler time in America-- one in which a political scandal could end your career. Gather round the yule log and read this heartwarming tale to the whole family. Remember the days, long past, when corruption and graft were shocking? When scandals originated from the desire to provide services and infrastructure (like a badly-needed hospital) to the citizenry? When public leaders of good intention would break bad because of the all-consuming nature of power, rather than because of their fundamentally repugnant personalities? This novel makes those reminiscences feel real. If only we could go back to those times and Make America Great Again



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Mayakovsky's Revolver: Poems Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393348798
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 5th, 2014

Mayakovsky's Revolver is a collection of poems of loss and hope. Matthew Dickman exhbits a passion for life and an ecstatic poetic voice in the tradition of Walt Whitman, a high-wire act given that the book was written in part as a tribute to his recently deceased brother. The poems simply feel vital and energetic in the face of grief. Take a look at the first poem in the collection-- works like these enrich the soul.



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Flaubert's Parrot Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780679731368
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Vintage - November 27th, 1990

"Flaubert's Parrot" blends real biographical facts about the life of Flaubert, literary criticism, travel writing, and stream of conscience-style narration at points to create a singular work that is a breath of fresh air. One of those books that you have to keep reading because the voice and style are so surprising and consistently funny, yet meditative. And don't worry, you don't need to have already read Madame Bovary- though this book will probably make you want to.



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My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer Cover Image
By Jack Spicer, Peter Gizzi (Editor), Kevin Killian (Editor)
$27.95
ISBN: 9780819570901
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Wesleyan University Press - August 15th, 2010

For my money, Jack Spicer is the best American poet of the 20th century. A forefather of the Beat movement (though his work doesn't share many of the maddening qualities of Beat poetry), his work is at times emotionally cathartic, surreal, and imagistic. Spicer's personal history is also fascinating and is presented at the beginning of the book. A truly genius poet who unfortunately doesn't get his due-- read this and weep.



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Navel Gazing: True Tales of Bodies, Mostly Mine (But Also My Mom's, Which I Know Sounds Weird) Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9781476748825
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Gallery Books - January 5th, 2016

Get your mom a Hallmark card if you want, but this Mother's Day I'll be sending mine this bracingly funny collection of short essays. These essays ostensibly revolve around an aspect of Black's physicality, like his failed attempts at long-distance running, or an injury sustained by unwittingly breaking up a Three-card Monte, but these are really just an excuse to talk about the broader issues of family and belonging. What David Sedaris is to NPR, Michael Ian Black is to DVR, and his humor translates perfectly to the page as well. A real treat.



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Cassandra at the Wedding Cover Image
By Dorothy Baker, Deborah Eisenberg (Afterword by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781590176016
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: New York Review of Books - August 21st, 2012

Dorothy Baker's Cassandra at the Wedding is an ideal summer read. It's a somewhat forgotten classic that is simultaneously high comedy and tragedy. When her twin sister Judith intends to get married at their childhood home, Cassandra does everything in her power to sabotage the wedding. But this isn't a schlocky, Matthew McConaughey-starring rom-com. Cassandra's attempts are funny, yes, but also call to mind questions of identity and sexuality. Simply the most fun you'll have this August.



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Housekeeping Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781250060655
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Picador USA - November 3rd, 2015

Everything that should need to be said about Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping has already been said more eloquently in other places. But let me say again, if there exists a certain group of books that one must feel compelled to read, Housekeeping is among those books. Especially here, especially now. While being the story of a transient family in Northern Idaho, Housekeeping also very much feels like a cultural history of the Inland Northwest. Its release in this beautiful pocket edition only makes it more enticing.



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Hip Hop Family Tree Book 1: 1975-1981 Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781606996904
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Fantagraphics Books - December 6th, 2013

You can't go wrong with a Biz Markie blurb! I'll read anything he tells me to. Ed Piskor's Hip Hop Family Tree is a beautifully illustrated history that clearly tells the complex story of an organic movement's rise to prominence. Piskor's writing and illustrations really convey the energy and electric feel that must have surrounded early 80's New York hip hop culture. The book takes a wide view of what hip hop culture can mean, and provides history lessons on graffiti artists and record store owners, as well as DJ's and MC's. Come for the classic depictions of favorites like Fab Five Freddy, Melle Mel, and Grandmaster Flash, but stay for the well-researched, compelling history.



Flies Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781556593772
Availability: Out of stock, usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Copper Canyon Press - May 10th, 2011

It's the perfect time to take a chance on a book of poetry, and I wouldn't be able to justify walking out of the store without this great collection by Michael Dickman. There's no better way to say "buy this!" than to take a quote from the book itself:

"Everyone alive is alive / everyone dead is / again / Through the new green / they come back / they can't / come back / but they come back"



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This Earth of Mankind Cover Image
By Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Max Lane (Translator), Max Lane (Afterword by)
$17.00
ISBN: 9780140256352
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Penguin Books - May 1996

While kept as a political prisoner in Indonesia for ten years, Pramoedya worked on a series of four historical novels. His working papers were taken upon his arrest, so he 'wrote' these novels by telling stories to other prisoners based on his recollection of those notes. The result, in this first book, is a sort of revolutionary, mirror-world version of Cormac McCarthy's 'All the Pretty Horses.' A beautiful tale of young love, obligation, and intrigue.



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The First Bad Man Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781439172575
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Scribner Book Company - September 8th, 2015

Seriously funny, and, funny enough, it's serious. Simultaneously hilarious, deeply revolting, and heart-warming, this novel features the most memorable narrator you'll have read in years. It has become my favorite debut novel of recent years.



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The Complete Cosmicomics Cover Image
By Italo Calvino, William Weaver (Translator), Tim Parks (Translator)
$15.95
ISBN: 9780544577879
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Mariner Books - September 8th, 2015

Know someone who loves science but won't pick up any fiction? This slim volume is an ideal place for casual fiction readers to start, but experimental and beautifully-written enough to keep fiction die-hards entertained. Each story in the collection takes a scientific law or theory and turns it on its head-- characters guide the reader through the orbit of the moon, or the implications of light-years on interplanetary communication. It is science fiction that doesn't invent anything "new," instead toying with our conceptions of scientific knowledge to expand the idea of what fiction can do.



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Girl with Curious Hair Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393313963
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - February 17th, 1996

In celebration of the success of "The End of the Tour," the movie based on author David Lipsky's conversations with David Foster Wallace, I think it's only fitting to recommend a work of Wallace's this month. While Infinite Jest is of course Wallace's best-known and best-loved work, I have always been partial to his short fiction. The stories in this collection are most memorable for me because of the precision with which Wallace treats the distinct narrative voices in each piece. If that doesn't sell you, the principle setting of the novella-length final story is a massive reunion for anyone who ever appeared in a McDonald's commercial, and involves a helicopter crash, archery, and not-so-sly jabs at the contemporary literary canon. A must-read.



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Surrounded by Friends Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781940696034
Availability: Out of stock, usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Wave Books - April 7th, 2015

Matthew Rohrer's poetry is bittersweet. His poems careen from wry observation, raw sentiment, and oddball humor, often in the space of a few lines. Do yourself a favor and check out his newest, "Surrounded by Friends," which includes one of my favorite poems of recent memory as its first poem.



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Get in Trouble: Stories Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780812986495
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Random House Trade - February 9th, 2016

When Kelly Link's stories in this collection, Get in Trouble, succeed, they feel cinematic and surrealistic, broad in scope, yet hazy. The best comparison for these stories is the sensation of falling asleep with the TV on, as science fiction, sci-fi, and magical realist tropes are toyed with and built into a compelling collage.



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War of the Foxes Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781556594779
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Copper Canyon Press - April 28th, 2015

Richard Siken's "War of the Foxes" is a book of poetry about painting. I know what you're thinking - Pretentious? No. Boring? No. The collection is kept afloat by an insistent, darkly humorous voice which balances the often-brooding ruminations on the nature of art and representation. "I cut off my head and threw it on the ground...My head just sat there. Fair enough." With lines like that, it's hard not to laugh.

Gallows-esque humor with an eye for landscapes and ekphrasis. Highly recommended.