Augusta's List of Ten

Article by Augusta

I had a harder time than usual coming up with a top 10 list this year—Ülrika and I often trade our favorite books back and forth and have similar taste when it comes to gift items, so many of my favorites were the same ones that she has already discussed in her top 10. Fortunately, there were a lot of exciting things that came out this year, both books and gifts, and in no specific order, here are ten items that captivated my attention in 2016.

The Veins of the Ocean Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780802124890
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - May 3rd, 2016

I visited Key West with my family this past spring and this was the perfect book to take along for the trip. After a shocking act of violence and the subsequent aftermath that rocks Reina’s family, she struggles to rebuild her life and learn how to exist without her brother in the Florida Keys. She meets a Cuban immigrant, Nesto, and the two, scarred from painful remnants of their previous lives, develop a friendship, exquisitely rendered in Engel’s beautiful prose. The complexity of the characters and powerful descriptive language left this one lingering in my mind for months after I finished it.


Love and Ruin: Tales of Obsession, Danger, and Heartbreak from the Atavist Magazine Cover Image
By Evan Ratliff (Editor), Susan Orlean (Introduction by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9780393352719
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - July 26th, 2016

The Atavist magazine, to those who are unfamiliar, publishes one longform narrative nonfiction piece each month and has, previously, only been available in digital format. I was one of those who was unfamiliar with The Atavist but as a lover of good narrative storytelling, thought I would give LOVE AND RUIN, a collection of some of the best pieces from the website, a try. I am now a convert. The topics are diverse, the styles are wide ranging and like any good narrative nonfiction, the author starts off investigating a particular theme of interest but end up somewhere entirely different and unexpected. By deeply exploring one very specific fascination, the essayists end up speaking to the much larger universal human condition and I feel greatly enriched by their words. If there is one essay collection not to miss this year, this is the one.


The Mothers Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780399184512
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - October 11th, 2016

I find myself, over and over, gravitating towards debut novels, especially by women writers. I’m not sure if it’s the excitement of fresh voices wrangling the human experience or my desire to see women succeed and validated as capable of writing Literature, but with all the buzz around THE MOTHERS (and its beautifully designed cover), I knew it was one that I wanted to check out. It didn’t disappoint. Told by a chorus of voices, the narrative follows three African-American teenagers as they mature into adulthood and work through the interrelated complexities that life throws at them. Bennett possesses a perceptive and delicate approach to race, religion, family and love and I couldn’t put THE MOTHERS down. She has set the bar high with her debut and I can’t wait to read whatever comes next.


Appetites: A Cookbook Cover Image
$37.50
ISBN: 9780062409959
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco Press - October 25th, 2016

I’ve always been a big fan of Bourdain’s attitude—towards food, towards life, towards cooking as a universal human experience. His latest cookbook is a more intimate look into where Bourdain is at this point in his life no longer the raucous, hard partying chef but a father and husband. The recipes are less focused on being of a particular style but more reflective of what he likes to make at home, with his daughter, for his family and friends. Some of the recipes are more complex than others, some don’t seem to fit a particular cuisine or style, but they all are representative of who Bourdain is, flaws and all, and that makes this all the more interesting. The awesome Ralph Steadman cover art doesn’t hurt either.


Vampire in Love Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780811223461
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - September 27th, 2016

I am a recent convert to (and lover of) books in translation but I must admit: I had never read any Enrique Vila-Matas. Recently translated into English for the first time, this collection spans his whole career and was filled with gems. Intellectual and witty, I found myself laughing out loud in waiting rooms over these brilliant stories. If you are looking for a way to get into translated fiction, this collection by arguably one of Spain’s greatest writers is an enjoyable introduction.


Have a Little Pun: Oh Snap! / Dill with It Tea Towels Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781452149653
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Chronicle Books - March 22nd, 2016

I’m a sucker for adorable kitchen accessories for the holidays so these punny tea towels are right up my alley. Literature nerds will love them and they make perfect gifts for the hosts of all those holiday parties you will inevitably be attending. Everyone will be bringing the requisite bottle of wine so why not bring something thoughtful that can be enjoyed year round?


$14.00
SKU: x3073

The new year is a time for starting fresh and what better way to do that than with these adorable clipboard weekly planner pads? They look great on your desk and are sure to keep you focused on the week ahead. Give the (pretty) gift of organization this holiday season.


$20.00
SKU: 846680028473

Yes, I’ll admit it—I am one of those people who organizes their books by color. This set of mini notebooks, arranged in a rainbow of colors (!) in a shiny gold slipcase (!!), immediately jumped out at me and I covet them daily. These will make the perfect stocking stuffer for those special colorful people in your life.


$15.00
SKU: X1326

I love everything Rifle Paper Co. makes. If I could style my entire home around Anna Bond’s beautiful designs, I would. The Joie de Vivre notebook set is no exception. The stripes and watercolor patterns are so striking and high quality, you may be tempted to just stare at them all day long. Treat yourself or someone you love to these gorgeous notebooks.


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