Staff Selections

The Dreamers

Karen Thompson Walker

"I absolutely could not put this book down. “The Dreamers” is a triumph in imagination and the art of storytelling. Karen Thompson Walker slowly unfolds her disturbing plot in an entirely creepy yet thrillingly delicate way. A strange sleeping sickness begins to spread through a small southern California town—those affected do not wake up. With a running wildfire as metaphor, the sickness begins small, an ember, but with flying sparks and lack of attention it becomes an epidemic. As scientists, the government and the town’s inhabitants try to cure the mysterious contagion, the balance of community comes into question: what does it mean to share this world with others? Are we ever truly alone? With a combination of perspectives and a blending of imagination and reality, I found my experience reading this book to be absorbing, disorienting and all too fleeting, much like a dream. "

I Miss You When I Blink: Essays

Mary Laura Philpott

"“Who were you when you weren’t wondering who you were?” It’s stunning questions like these that pepper Mary Laura Philpott’s funny, delightful and fearless essay collection. Her intended audience is anyone who’s reached a road block or a crisis of identity however, her charming and easy writing speaks to everyone as it captures the absurdity of life itself and reaches through the pages to assure you we all wonder, how did I get here? Philpott humbly chronicles an entire life through vignettes, from her self-diagnoses as Type A+ in first grade to regrettable college boyfriends with even more regrettable tattoos to the horror of PTA fundraisers to the pride of a career forged out of passion, all the while thoughtfully answering questions about love, family and time. This is a book I will doubtless return to again and again throughout my life and still discover something new."

Enchantée

Gita Trelease

"This YA fantasy novel is Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette” meets “Les Miserables” meets “Harry Potter” and it’s amazing! Set during the French Revolution, Gita Trelease weaves a story so charming and compelling I could not put it down. Apparently the love, magic and revolution don’t stop here, the author has also confirmed she’s writing a sequel!"

The Idiot

Elif Batuman

"This is a gentle, humorous novel about a young girl coming of age at the onset of email. I was stunned by the elegant way it not only pulled me into the story but also made me question the way we communicate in our everyday lives and what we’re really saying. Elif Batuman has written a quiet but powerful story that I continuously recommend to avid readers and to non-readers. After all, everyone one of us is looking for a way to be heard."

Juliet the Maniac

"A debut novel that’s engrossing from the very first page, Juliet Escoria’s “Juliet The Maniac” is a semi autobiographical account of a teenage girl’s struggle with her bipolar disorder. Reminiscent of “Girl Interrupted”, “The Girls” and “The Virgin Suicides”, Escoria’s writing is haunting yet delicate as she manages to capture the terrifying heaviness and confusion of the onset of mental illness in a young person. I was shocked, heartbroken and humbled by the protagonist I got to know through the short, journal-like chapters. Juliet wasn’t like any other fictional character I’ve read, she was real."

Interior States: Essays

Meghan O'Gieblyn

"An incredible compilation of thought provoking ideas and opinions. Each of the essays in this collection provides a deep and delicate analysis of faith, writing, economics and happiness in a part of America that most of us on the East Coast know nothing about yet consider the “heartland” of our country. I kept thinking about O’Gieblyn’s words long after I finished the book."

El Salvaje

Guillermo Arriaga

"GUILLERMO ARRIAGA guionista de las películas Amores perros, 21 gramos y Babel. Director de “Lejos de la tierra quemada”.

En su novela utiliza una narrativa espejo en donde dos historias se entrelazan de una manera extraordinaria al leerla sin cambiar de página o capitulo. En sus palabras y escritura se puede expresar lo que el escritor quiere decir de manera libre en su puntuación y lenguaje. Interesante aprender de mitología, tradiciones, y recordar a filósofos y escritores ilustres. Tuve la suerte de preguntarle directamente como podría promover su libro y su respuesta fue: “Empiézalo no dejándote impresionar por el número de páginas. Te aseguro que no lo vas a dejar ya que he buscado que el lector sienta que le salpica sangre, saliva, semen, etc al seguir la experiencia de Juan Guillermo, un muchacho de 14 que necesita sobrevivir porque todos en su familia mueren y decide buscar venganza. Paralelamente hay una historia de un lobo y lo dedica con la esperanza de que todos se puedan encontrar a sí mismos, siendo auténticos y fieles a nuestra naturaleza y reconociendo la fuerza interior que tenemos."

El Alquimista

Paulo Coelho

"Uno de los libros mas vendidos y traducidos. Es la historia de un pastor Santiago que te lleva a traves de su viaje y experiencias a pensar de manera similar a lo que cada uno de nosotros vivimos al ir creciendo queriendo descubrir el mundo sin tener idea de lo que nuestra vida nos presentara en un futuro. De las relaciones con personas que forman parte de nuestro aprendizaje: algunos como maestros, otros disfrutando o sufriendo con nosotros y algunos recibiendo de nuestros conocimientos, sentimientos y de nuestro ejemplo. La historia es una guia inspiracional que cada vez que se lee dara u sentido diferente dependiendo de la etapa y situaciones en que nos encontramos y nos cuestiona a buscar el sentido y significado para cada uno de nosotros sin complacer a los demas. Me recordo lo importante que es confiar en nuestra intuicion, nuestras pasiones y deseos porque cuando estemos preparados para ellos empezaremos a vivirlos."

Más Allá del Invierno: Spanish-Language Edition of in the Midst of Winter

Isabel Allende

"Inspirada en la frase de Albert Camus: “ En medio del invierno aprendi por fin que había un verano invencible.” Nuevamente Isabel Allende narra una historia romántica que comparte su Sentir personal y su denuncia a temas de origen políticos, de Inmigrantes y refugiados asi como los problemas sociales en Guatemala, Chile y Brasil con tres personajes que se ven forzados a convivir juntos durante una tormenta aprendiendo a resolver la situación que los obliga a descubrir que tendrán una oportunidad y que todo puede cambiarles."

The Man in the High Castle

Philip K. Dick

"Not only a huge fan of this Sci-Fi superstars work, I'm obsessed with this novel of his. An alternate reality in which the Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan took victory in WWII and have taken over the country. The whole eastern seaboard and surrounding states have become under Nazi control and the western seaboard is under Japanese rule. Slavery is legal again and any remaining Jews hide under different names. Its a historical nightmare, and PKD nailed it!"

No Country For Old Men

Cormac McCarthy

"This book takes place near the Texas-Mexico border which to be honest, westerns never really caught my attention. But this book reeled me in right away. McCarthy's way of describing the environment, modern day border life and its surroundings captivated me so much I couldn't stop reading. The story is Llewellyn Moss finds 2 Million dollars in a briefcase after a drug deal gone south situation. He takes the money which in doing so sets off chaos. A chain reaction that nobody, not even Llewellyn, the law, could ever have expected. A mix of some old and some new themes, a great book!"

Lincoln in the Bardo

George Saunders

"Wow... just wow! This book may or may not have turned me into a huge Saunders fan. I'm also a huge fan of Historical Fiction so this book really took the cake. Taking place only a year after the Civil War had begun, Lincoln who had become grief-stricken after the death of his eleven-year-old son visits his crypt several times just to hold his lifeless body. This story is beautifully told through a symphony of voices both and alive and dead, breaking away from history and creating a story worth its Man Booker Prize. They tell the story of love and grief, its affects and how to live with the inevitable."

Welcome to Night Vale

Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor

"A very friendly desert community out in the middle of nowhere, or at least somewhere in the America Southwest. This book was and is originally a podcast that truly blew my mind. Nightvale is a desert town where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are part of everyday life. It's so eerie, and when I found out that they had made a book based off of the podcast I knew I had to read it! The podcast is in the form of a radio show in the town, the book is much better. It's the story of the Pawnshop proprietor Jackie Fierro who misses her old routine life, and mother Diane Crayton who is trying to reconnect with her shape-shifter son who keeps asking questions about his estranged father. Both searching for something in this town that brings them closer to each other. Creepy and funny and wall breaking, and I mean just all the walls! This book is crazy in all the best ways."

You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir

Sherman Alexie

"The most incredible book I’ve read in years.  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll fall in love with Alexie’s brain.  78 essays and 78 poems – one for each year of his later mother Lillian Alexie’s life – become a grief song honoring her memory."

City of Thieves

David Benioff

"Before he became the show-runner for HBO’s Game of Thrones, Benioff wrote two damned fine novels.  City of Thieves is an absolute page-turner.  If you’re looking for something so compelling the pages turn themselves, this is your tipple.  Also good for fans of historical fiction."

The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel

Amy Hempel

"“Sister has her eye on the fellow from the post office.  When you buy a sheet of stamps from him, he rubs the gluey side of the sheet across his hair.  He says that the oil from human hair will keep the stamps from sticking to one another in your purse.  It’s a handy tip, and a gesture you want to remember when you go to lick a stamp.”   That’s from Murder, and everything Hempel writes is just that clever and fun.  She’s criminally under read for the level of her talent, so feel special about your taste by adding her work.
"

NOS4A2

Joe Hill

"Maybe you like horror thrillers, but when was the last time a book genuinely scared you?  Take a ride with Charlie Manx to Christmas Town, dear reader, and you’ll no longer trust the landscape inside your head."

Ghostwritten

David Mitchell

"David Mitchell is the Hattori Hanzo of novelists; his novels are so perfect you don’t compare them to other novelist’s work, you compare them to every other David Mitchell novel.  Everyone has their favorite but mine is his first; read it and welcome to fandom."

American Born Chinese

Gene Luen Yang

"If you are from any Diaspora, then this book will sing to you.  From trying to reconcile who you are with the images of your people on TV, to distancing yourself from more recent immigrants to try and fit in, to navigating your traditions and the modern world, Yang’s work is spot on.  I will be buried with this book."

The Good Daughters

Joyce Maynard

"I’ve never been disappointed by a Maynard book; how many authors can you say that about?  Over the course of several decades, Maynard weaves together the lives of two New Hampshire women born on the same day.  Beguiling, page-turning, and just damned satisfying.
"

Stitches

David Small

"When someone says they “don’t like graphic novels,” I lay David Small’s memoir on them.  His had tumors removed at a young age, tumors caused his physician father’s obsession with  x-rays, and the resulting scars run more than skin deep.  More like a short film than a novel, and one you’ll never forget."

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Elizabeth Gilbert

"Not a how-to or a list of tasks to spark your creativity, but an inspirational self-help memoir that will change how you think about being creative.   Like the best guidebooks to a new place, you can explore the parts that interest you and leave the rest to someone else.
"

Bad Feminist

Roxane Gay

"Easily my favorite writer (if you’re asking today), Gay navigates from fiction to nonfiction with a virtuoso command of language and understanding of human nature.  You can do no wrong with any of her work, but I picked her essay collection Bad Feminist because it feels like it’s important at the moment.  Every essay is a knockout."

Little Tree

"Breathtaking illustrations. Readers of all ages will love this gentle picture book. The only thing constant in life is change, and Little Tree helps us to learn not to be afraid of change, but to let go… to move on."

Mother Bruce

Ryan T. Higgins

"An amazing book, fun to read out loud. Mother Bruce is a grumpy bear we all love! Parents will relate to Mother Bruce’s challenges and kids will laugh."

Lucky Broken Girl

Ruth Behar

"A powerful story of perseverance, hope and forgiveness. This book is full of teachable moments. Should be required reading for every middle school student."

Unwind

Neal Shusterman

"Neal Shusterman at his best. If you like reading dystopia, you will love reading Unwind. Once I started reading, I could not stop until I completed the book, wow!  Read it with a friend, and let the conversations begin. "

His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick MacRae (Man Booker Prize Finalist 2016)

Graeme Burnet

"In the Autumn of 1869, calm, sensitive and intelligent Roderick Macrae brutally murders his neighbors. The 'why' depends entirely on a local psychiatrist, and a defense lawyer's ability to prove him insane. Given the horrific details of the murders, how will they prove him not to be a calculated, cold-blooded monster bent on revenge?"

The North Water

Ian McGuire

"If 'shady' can spin a yarn, look no further than a very shady Yorkshire Whaling ship, expedition-bound, awash in filth, danger and degradation, en route to the Arctic. On board, a shady Irish ex-Army surgeon with a questionable past, and a viciously evil harpooner out for blood. If you can get beyond the foul and offensive language, it is a riveting tale of survival and struggle."

Restless

William Boyd

"A wonderfully addictive book that catapults the author into the realms of Graham Green and John Le Carre. A gripping and smart spy thriller told in the shadows by a woman far too independent to marry, and way too intelligent for her own good."

Stoner

John Williams

"Tells the tale of William Stoner, a mid-western farm boy seduced by English Literature, who becomes a second-rate college lecturer. In his marriage to an exquisite malcontent who makes his life a lonely hell, his career is destroyed by office politics. Subtle, moving, luminous and deeply-tender, this book deserves the title of a classic."

The Snow Leopard

Peter Matthiessen

A Little Life

Hanya Yanagihara

Circe

Madeline Miller

A Confederacy of Dunces

John Kennedy Toole

Calypso

David Sedaris

H is for Hawk

Helen MacDonald

Exit West

"With a nod toward magical realism, Exit West presents the moving story of Saeed and Nadia, and in the process gives us heartbreaking insight into the plight of political refugees. This novel is full of humanity and I dare anyone finishing it not to feel compelled to raise a voice in support of solving the crisis of people fleeing the chaos now plaguing the world."

The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story

"A gorgeous, moving meditation on how we contemplate death. Edwidge illuminates the common experience of the loss of a mother with her own insights, the dignity with which her mother faced her own mortality, and with wisdom from some of our great writers writing about end of life. I found this compelling and intimate, as I do with everything written by Edwidge Danticat."

4 3 2 1

"I celebrate whenever there’s something new by Paul Auster. I wasn't prepared, though, for just how awed and astonished I found myself while immersed in his inventive and grand new novel. About a life lived fully, about possibility in love and finding a path to take that’s the right one, this is a large novel in all respects, but, most importantly, in spirit. In its writing, Paul Auster has created nothing short of a masterpiece."

Drunks: An American History

"Chris Finan’s new history is an eye opening, humanistic account of those millions of Americans who have struggled, are now struggling or who are in long-term recovery from the effects of alcoholism. He colorfully presents the journey that’s been taken to where we are now, finally able to recognize alcoholism as a treatable disease and not a moral failure. By giving us this sweeping, entertaining narrative, covering the social history of alcoholism from the seventeenth century to today, Chris Finan’s Drunk fills a hole in our understanding of the flip side to the glitz and glamour of alcohol, a side so pernicious that its ill effects have been an integral part of the social history of the United States since its founding."

El Manual del Estilista

Irma Martínez

"Irma Martínez, reconocida como una de las mujeres latinas más influyentes en Estados Unidos, nos cuenta su trayectoria profesional en este libro dedicado no sólo a los estilistas, sino al público en general, amante de la moda y el estilo."

Nicaragua, June 1978-July 1979

"Originally published in 1981, this book is a seminal contribution to the literature of concerned photojournalism. An extraordinary narrative of a nation in turmoil starting with a chilling evocation of the Somoza regime to the triumph of the Sandinista revolution in 1979. "

Preso pero libre

"Auto-biografía del líder venezolano, preso político y preso de consciencia, escrita desde la cárcel militar de Ramo Verde"

Tacopedia

"This book is an encyclopedic tribute to the Mexican taco culture. It explores one of Mexico's most popular culinary traditions"

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

Erik Larson

"The true story of the sinking of the ill fated Lusitania, is almost anti-climactic compared to the study Larson pursues about the lives of the passengers, the ships captain and the U-boat commander that ultimately sank the passenger liner, hastening the US’s entry into WWI. Reads like a murder mystery."

One Summer: America, 1927

Bill Bryson

"An impeccably researched study of the United States, and indeed the world’s, major and minor events, all taking place in a six month period in 1927. Lindbergh, anarchists, Babe Ruth and Wall Street, Mid-west flooding and the seeds of the depression. Insightful, especially compared to what came after."

When Breath Becomes Air

Paul Kalanithi

"It took me 3 tries to get through this heartbreaking memoir of a brilliant surgeon felled at the height of his career by the very disease he treated in others. Tough to absorb, but uplifting in the end. The work ultimately being completed and compiled by his loving wife and family. "

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

Michael Finkel

"In 1986, 20 year old Christopher Knight, desiring to escape modern life, disappeared into the harsh Maine woods near his home. He did not stay anonymous for long. In order to stay alive, he stole what he needed to survive from the cabins scattered around the small idyllic summer vacation lake where he had made his camp in the woods not 50 yards away. Becoming a local legend to residents because of his stealth and daring, and an embarrassment to the police, who could not seem to apprehend him, the young man lived through many seasons as The Hermit of North Pond. When he was finally caught, 27 years later, he was charged with thousands of felonies, and put under psychiatric evaluation. The brilliant telling of this story by Michael Finkel reads like fiction, but as the author interviewed the reluctant Knight, and tried to understand his life and motives, a fascinating story emerged. Giving new meaning to the term “getting away from it all”, one cannot help but put themselves in Knight’s boots, wondering how they would, or even could, ever survive having voluntarily put themselves into such a position. I read it in one sitting. I see matt Damon in the role of Knight in the sure to be made film."