Articles

This is for any kind of written article like a blog post about a certain topic.

The Connoisseur

Some call them snobs; we call them connoisseurs! How do you identify a connoisseur in the wild? They’re the kind of exacting, serious-minded folks who simply want the best of everything. After all, as long as they’re going to do something, they might as well do it right! And who can blame them, really? We feel exactly the same way.

The Last Banquet Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781609451387
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Europa Editions - October 1st, 2013

Jean-Marie d’Aumout, a French Revolution-era chef, is so fascinated by flavors both delicious and disgusting that he is driven by a madness to experience them all. Along the way, d’Aumout becomes involved in a series of picaresque adventures that revivify his turbulent historical moment.


Sauces & Shapes: Pasta the Italian Way Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780393082432
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - October 14th, 2013

Attention carb-addicts! We all love a good bowl of pasta, but is your spaghetti or farfalle the very best it could be? Oretta Zanini de Vita, Italian pasta expert, is here to teach you a thing or two about how to prepare the perfect pasta & sauce, down to the very last authentic detail. You’ll be amazed by the difference it makes in your dinner!


Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780307718341
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Clarkson Potter Publishers - October 22nd, 2013

Barr, M.F.K. Fisher’s great-nephew, pinpoints the winter of 1970 as the dawn of what we consider to be contemporary American cuisine. During that season, a group of proto-foodies, including Julia Child and James Beard, gathered together in the South of France to cook, eat, and discuss the future of food. Each left Provence with a renewed sense of culinary purpose, and went on to influence the way we think about food.


To the Letter: A Celebration of the Lost Art of Letter Writing Cover Image
$27.50
ISBN: 9781592408351
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Gotham Books - November 14th, 2013

This book presents a passionate case for the revival of traditional letter writing. Garfield examines the letter from a variety of perspectives, including its various forms and fashions, its famous historical aficionados, and the use of letter-writing in literature.


Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938 Cover Image
By Rene Magritte (Artist), Anne Umland (Editor), Stephanie D'Alessandro (Text by (Art/Photo Books))
$65.00
ISBN: 9780870708657
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Museum of Modern Art - September 30th, 2013

This monograph, produced in conjunction with a major exhibition staged by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, examines surrealist Rene Magritte’s most productive artistic period. The exhibition was curated with the cooperation of Houston’s own Menil Collection, which boasts one of the largest permanent holdings of Magritte’s work in the world.


Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9780385534574
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Doubleday Books - October 22nd, 2013

This surprising history of Amsterdam takes readers beyond the familiar canals, brick architecture, strip clubs and hash bars of the modern city in order to explain how the world’s most intellectually, culturally, economically, and politically free metropolis got to be the way it is today.


Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9780871407160
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation - September 9th, 2013

Award-winning historian Mary Beard brings the world of antiquity to life. She not only retells the tales of emperors, philosophers, gods and queens in new, fresh ways; she also examines the habits, occupations, concerns and interests of common people living in ancient Greece and Rome.


The Signature of All Things Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9780670024858
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - October 1st, 2013

This novel follows the fortune and fate of Alma Whittaker, the brilliant, strong-willed daughter of James Whittaker, one of the richest men in late 18th-century Philadelphia. Alma’s two great loves are botany and artist Ambrose Pike, who teaches her to use her passion for the natural world to understand spiritual truths. Alma’s long, accomplished life provides readers with an incomparable perspective on a swath of American history that stretches from the Age of Enlightenment to the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.


The Art of Lying Down: A Guide to Horizontal Living Cover Image
By Bernd Brunner, Lori Lantz (Translator)
$19.95
ISBN: 9781612193090
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Melville House Publishing - November 26th, 2013

We spend, on average, a third of our lives lying down, but most of us wish we could do so even more! This odd little book explores how living horizontally can change your perspective on life, often for the better. Brunner’s passionate defense of the lazy life is essential reading for anyone who really just needs to relax.


The Color Master Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780385534895
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Doubleday Books - August 13th, 2013

This hilarious, heartbreaking, wondrous collection of short fiction will appeal even to those readers who rarely gravitate toward stories. Bender’s lush, off-kilter and magical prose lends her stories a quality that is usually only found in the very best fairy tales.


Great Books for the Happy Homebody

It often seems like the world revolves around business, but it’s important to remember that the domestic sphere is where lots of people find the most joy. The domestic gods and goddesses in your life are the glue that keeps the people you love together, not just by caring for them physically but by making a warm and welcoming environment for them to enjoy. Celebrate the unsung heroes of your home this holiday by choosing a book for them to snuggle up with.

 

A Reader's Book of Days: True Tales from the Lives and Works of Writers for Every Day of the Year Cover Image
By Tom Nissley, Joanna Neborsky (Illustrator)
$24.95
ISBN: 9780393239621
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - November 4th, 2013

This is the perfect literary companion for every day of the year! Nissley compiles famous dates from both the lives of celebrated authors and their most famous literary works, as well as a variety of book reviews and recommendations that will keep you well-read all year long.


Someone Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780374281090
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - September 10th, 2013

McDermott’s latest proves that a novel doesn’t have to be small just because it’s quiet. This is the beautifully rendered story of one ordinary Irish-American woman’s life, defined by her place within her close-knit Brooklyn neighborhood and her compromised eyesight, which makes it difficult for her to see the world, both literally and figuratively, for what it truly is.


Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780679644057
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - October 22nd, 2013

This two-time Poet Laureate of the United States is one of our most accessible versifiers, but that fortunately doesn’t mean his poetry is simplistic or unserious. Whether you’re a poetry aficionado or a first-time reader of verse, you’ll delight in the surprising, conversational, and ingenious poems collected here.


This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062236678
Availability: Backordered
Published: Harper - November 5th, 2013

Patchett, celebrated author of novels like STATE OF WONDER and BEL CANTO, has been writing nonfiction for decades. This is a collection of her best essays, speeches, and articles, including pieces on her tumultuous love life, the joys and pains of writing, the perils of bookstore ownership, and her relationships with her friends, both human and canine.


Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the Nineteenth Century to Modern Times Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780393241099
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - November 18th, 2013

As anyone who’s seen an episode of Downton Abbey can attest, British history looks very different when it’s viewed from the perspective of the servant classes. Lethbridge uses letters, interviews, and memoirs from servants employed by all sorts of British households in order to understand a crucial part of British history that has been often overlooked.


Living Well Is the Best Revenge Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780870708978
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Museum of Modern Art - December 31st, 2013

Originally published in 1971, this stylish biography examines the lives of Gerald and Sara Murphy, an influential American expatriate couple. Between living the Bohemian life in 1920s Paris and Antibes and hosting lavish house parties for the likes of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso, Gerald Murphy also cultivated his own artistic side, enjoying a short-lived but influential career as a cubist painter.


The Flower Recipe Book Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781579655303
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Artisan Publishers - April 2nd, 2013

This innovative book from the founders of Studio Choo, San Francisco’s most sought-after floral design studio, shows readers how to make stunning, professional-quality flower arrangements using simple, step-by-step instructions and readily available blooms.


Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780307958341
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - October 1st, 2013

Jane Franklin was smart, curious, and unusually bookish, just like her celebrated brother Benjamin. However, instead of becoming a famous politician, Jane was the poor mother of twelve children. By bringing Jane’s unique perspective to light, Lepore has created a new way of looking at early American history, as well as the project of history itself. A 2013 National Book Award Finalist.


The Breakfast Bible Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781408804810
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Bloomsbury USA - May 28th, 2013

If you have a breakfast fanatic on your gift list, search no further. This book examines the cultural history of breakfast and includes a miscellany of little-known breakfast facts and figures, as well as recipes for morning meals from all over the world.


The Taste of America Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9780714865829
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Phaidon Press - October 14th, 2013

This one-of-a-kind guide to American cuisine is a comprehensive collection of the best regional food products made and enjoyed in the USA. Whether you’re looking for the finest grits, the best Wisconsin cheese, or the hottest hot sauce in Texas, Colman Andrews will show you how and where it’s made, and, better yet, how you can get your hands on some of your own.


Books to Inspire the History Buff

There’s a whole subset of our customers who consistently make a beeline straight from our front door to the history and biography nook. If you’ve got someone on your list whose bedside table is stacked with thick biographies of statesmen, postmortems of famous battles, and historical epics, we can recommend a few recent releases that are sure to surprise and delight.

 

One Summer: America, 1927 Cover Image
$32.50
ISBN: 9780767919401
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday Books - October 1st, 2013

One of America’s best-loved nonfiction writers investigates the tumultuous year of 1927, which he defines as the year America truly entered the modern world, and breathes new life into its key players, including Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, Al Jolson, Al Capone, Herbert Hoover and Calvin Coolidge.


Nostalgia Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780307908346
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Pantheon Books - October 1st, 2013

In this gripping work of historical fiction, a young Brooklyn man leaves his quiet life behind to join the Union Army in 1864 and takes part in some of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. When he is hospitalized for what we today would call PTSD, he forges unlikely bonds, both with his fellow soldiers and with an unlikely advocate for his recovery, poet Walt Whitman.


The Daylight Gate Cover Image
Unavailable from Brazos Bookstore
ISBN: 9780802121639
Availability: Out of Print - Not Available for Order
Published: Grove Press - October 1st, 2013

Alice Nutter, a wealthy and respected Englishwoman who has dabbled in magick, attempts to save the lives of a group of women accused of witchcraft by a local magistrate. Set during the decidedly paranoid reign of James I, Winterson’s perceptive and gripping historical novel brings the 1612 Pendle witch trials to life.


Staff Pick Logo
The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780393088809
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - November 4th, 2013

Just in time for the centennial of the First World War, acclaimed graphic novelist Joe Sacco illustrates the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest clashes in world history, in one 24-foot long, astonishingly detailed panel. A short booklet is included that situates this remarkable work of art in its historical context.


The Smithsonian's History of America in 101 Objects Cover Image
$50.00
ISBN: 9781594205293
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Penguin Press - October 29th, 2013

This fascinating book examines 101 objects--old and new, large and small--that are part of the Smithsonian’s extensive collection of American artifacts. The book contains full-color photos throughout, but what sets this book apart is its text by Richard Kurin, the Smithsonian’s most sought-after tour guide.


The Nazi and the Psychiatrist: Hermann Goring, Dr. Douglas M. Kelley, and a Fatal Meeting of Minds at the End of WWII Cover Image
Unavailable from Brazos Bookstore
ISBN: 9781610391566
Availability: Out of Print - Not Available for Order
Published: PublicAffairs - September 10th, 2013

Capt. Douglas M. Kelley, an ambitious Army psychiatrist, was chosen to monitor the mental health of a group of prominent Nazis, including Hermann Göring, during their imprisonment in Luxembourg after World War II. This book details Kelley’s attempts to find common traits in the imprisoned men that would explain what enabled them to perform such horrific crimes against humanity.


Heretics and Heroes: How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests Created Our World Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9780385495578
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Nan A. Talese - October 29th, 2013

Cahill’s ambitious book, part of his sprawling Hinges of History series, takes readers through the story of Europe from the Black Death, through the scientific and artistic innovations of the Renaissance, all the way to the religious and cultural upheaval of the Protestant Reformation of the early seventeenth century.


The Discovery of Middle Earth: Mapping the Lost World of the Celts Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9780393081633
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - November 4th, 2013

This groundbreaking history of ancient Europe revives the forgotten world of the Celts, whose culture was almost completely annihilated by the Romans. Robb expertly explores the complex sacred geography the Celts used to situate their settlements and holy places.


Alternate Histories of the World Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780399162947
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Perigee Books - October 1st, 2013

This beautiful volume brings together myriad paintings, engravings, maps and photographs that explore humans’ evolving relationship with the idea of monsters and the supernatural. This is a perfect gift for history buffs and science fiction fans alike!


Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9780385532921
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday Books - August 6th, 2013

The Arab Revolt against the Turks went largely unnoticed by Westerners caught up in the chaos of World War I, so European efforts to control the Arab world during that time were largely the work of a few adventurous souls, each with his own agenda. This book outlines the fortunes of four such men--including Lawrence of Arabia--and sheds new light on our current stake in the Middle East.


Terrifying Reads Are In Your Future!

This Halloween, we put our psychic abilities to the test in hopes of guessing your new favorite horror book. Below are a few of our best-loved chillers, but never fear! There are plenty more scary stories to choose from at Brazos if you don’t find what you’re looking for here.

The Purple Cloud Cover Image
By M. P. Shiel, John Sutherland (Introduction by), John Sutherland (Notes by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780141196428
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - November 27th, 2012

This bleak, macabre post-apocalyptic novel was written in 1899! THE PURPLE CLOUD tells the story of Adam Jeffson, the last man alive on earth. A deadly cloud has devastated the world, not that Jeffson would know; he was on his way to reach the North Pole when the cloud hit. After his crew is lost and the ice breaks, Jeffson heads back to civilization alone, only to realize that the rest of the world is gone. He begins to journey the earth in search of survivors, but it isn’t long before he slips into madness. Part Edgar Allan Poe, part Herman Melville, THE PURPLE CLOUD is a recovered classic. -Mark


Cabal Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780743417327
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Gallery Books - January 1st, 2001

Cabal is Barker at his best. It oozes imagination and terror. Boone, a troubled mental patient, is framed for murder by his less-than-scrupulous psychiatrist. On the run and suicidal, he is led by hallucinatory visions to Midian, a sprawling cemetery shrouded in myth. It doesn’t take long for Boone to realize that the legends are true. Underground, there exists a sprawling city of monsters, creatures that have been persecuted, killed and driven into hiding over the centuries by humans. After Boone’s arrival, the monsters’ sanctuary is uncovered, and once again the humans come to destroy Midian. As the climactic battle looms, it is left for you to decide who the real monsters are. This is one of the first novels that made me want to be a writer. -Keaton


Me and the Devil Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780316120975
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Little Brown and Company - December 4th, 2012

Blending memoir and fiction, Tosches takes his readers on a journey through the darkest regions of human desire. What at first seems like a modern day vampire novel, quickly becomes something entirely different and far more frightening. But make no mistake, there will be blood! Me and the Devil brims with depraved, violent sex acts, the most misanthropic (and dare I say funniest) diatribes against consumer culture I have ever read, and numerous cameos by rock and roll luminaries such as Keith Richards. A disturbing, obscene, sacrilegious, and incredibly fun read, Me and the Devil is not for the easily offended! -Keaton


The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories Cover Image
By H. P. Lovecraft, S. T. Joshi (Introduction by), S. T. Joshi (Notes by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143106487
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - September 27th, 2011

Arguably the most influential work of twentieth century horror, HP Lovecraft’s Cthulhu story cycle revolutionized the genre. Eschewing the traditional vampires and ghosts one finds in many horror tomes, Lovecraft instead creates cosmic, interdimensional beings whose incomprehensible existence could shatter the human psyche. Truly frightening and incredibly imaginative, these stories are a must have for any horror aficionado. Of course, you have no choice in the matter anyway. Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn! Bow before the destroyer of worlds, and pay tribute to the mighty Cthulhu! You are his slaves! -Keaton


Hangsaman Cover Image
By Shirley Jackson, Francine Prose (Foreword by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780143107040
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - June 25th, 2013

It’s three books in one! Fifty pages of murky father-daughter psychodrama, a hundred pages of deranged all-girls campus novel, &, to top it off, fifty pages of witchy nightmare. Sure, it’s not the most cohesive of novels: HANGSAMAN, like its young, disturbed protagonist, is coming apart at the seams. However, Jackson’s prose is eerie and seductive and her plot has the lurching rhythm of a fever dream. At the center of this book is a yawning void. Enter at your own risk. -Danielle


Reconsidering Norman Mailer

With J. Michael Lennon’s exhaustive new biography, NORMAN MAILER: A DOUBLE LIFE, scheduled to be released October 15th, it seems like the right time to revisit the work and legacy of this polarizing literary icon.

Mailer casts a long shadow over post-WWII American literature. Indeed, beginning with the seminal war classic, THE NAKED AND THE DEAD, in 1948, his career spanned the entire second half of the twentieth century. However, Mailer’s prodigious talent as a writer is often overshadowed in turn by his outrageous---and very public---behavior. Since he came to prominence at almost the exact moment televisions started to appear in homes across America, everything Mailer said and did reached millions. Each of his arrests for political dissent, every incendiary sexist comment he made, every physical altercation he got into (headbutting Gore Vidal or brawling with Rip Torn are personal favorites) was broadcast across the nation, not to mention recorded for posterity.

Norman Mailer: A Double Life Cover Image
$40.00
ISBN: 9781439150191
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - October 15th, 2013

All of this and much more is recounted in A DOUBLE LIFE. And even though he was a close friend, Lennon doesn’t give Mailer a free pass on his shortcomings. But where this biography really shines is in its detailed chronicle of Mailer’s writing and publishing battles. This kind of behind-the-scenes access to the creative process of a genius and the tension Mailer’s public persona brought to his art make A DOUBLE LIFE an absorbing read. So, was Mailer a nice guy? Absolutely not. He is the quintessential example of having to separate the man from the art. But no matter what you think of Norman Mailer, his ability, ingenuity and influence as a writer are undeniable. Here are a few of his best.


The Naked and the Dead: 50th Anniversary Edition, with a New Introduction by the Author Cover Image
$23.00
ISBN: 9780312265052
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - August 5th, 2000

One of the greatest war novels of all time and still his top selling book, THE NAKED AND THE DEAD propelled a twenty-five year old Mailer to instant celebrity when it debuted at number one on The New York Times bestseller list. Set in the Philippines and based on Mailer’s own wartime experiences, The Naked and the Dead skillfully renders the effects of war on the soldier’s psyche and exposes the arrogance and incompetence of commanding officers. No one comes out looking good in this novel, let alone heroic. It’s unvarnished portrayal of combat life was unparalleled upon its release, simultaneously garnering critical praise and condemnation. But if it wasn’t controversial, it would be Mailer! Any way you look at it, THE NAKED AND THE DEAD, is a classic not to be missed.


The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, the Novel as History Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780452272798
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Plume Books - January 1st, 1995

Earning Mailer his first Pulitzer and a National Book Award, ARMIES OF THE NIGHT is a work of historical as well as literary importance (as the subtitle implies). Along with Truman Capote’s IN COLD BLOOD, it was part of the “new journalism” vanguard that brought novelistic techniques to nonfiction writing in the mid-1960s. Chronicling the 1967 March on the Pentagon, ARMIES OF THE NIGHT is also stylistically avant garde in Mailer’s use of the third-person to describe his own experience as an observer and participant at the protest. While he often gets lambasted for the perceived arrogance of this creative choice, aesthetically it affords Mailer a point-of-view of both immediacy and detachment. The effect is startling and puts the reader right in the middle of the political turmoil that suffused the Vietnam War protests. Simply a great book!


The Executioner's Song Cover Image
By Norman Mailer, Dave Eggers (Foreword by)
$22.00
ISBN: 9780446584388
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Grand Central Publishing - May 8th, 2012

This mammoth novel (1,086 pages!) further straddles the line between fact and fiction like much of Mailer’s work. THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG is an incredibly nuanced and engrossing portrait of Gary Gilmore, the habitual criminal who became the first person executed in the United States in a decade when he demanded the death penalty for two murders he committed in 1976. In Mailer’s adept hands, however, this book became a major touchstone in the debate over capital punishment in America. Don’t be put off by it’s size! THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG is a furious page-turner and an important historical record you’ll find hard to put down.


The Fight Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812986129
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade - October 15th, 2013

Mailer’s eye witness account (again written in the third person) of “The Rumble in the Jungle”---Muhammad Ali’s historic championship bout against Houston’s own George Foreman---is a classic of sports reportage. Mailer’s celebrity and press access allowed him to capture in THE FIGHT the pensive mood permeating both boxers’ camps, the beauty and poverty of Kinshasa where the fight was held, and the frenetic media storm surrounding this highly publicized sporting event. Every subtle aspect of the spectacle comes through. You will feel like you are there. A new edition of THE FIGHT is set to come out this month!

-- Keaton


Banned Book Staff Favorites

Each year, we celebrate Banned Books in September. It's one of our favorite times of year because it reminds us that we trade in 'dangerous' merchandise from time-to-time.

School and public libraries across the United States continue each year to challenge or ban books for a variety of reasons ranging from the obvious (profanity in CATCHER IN THE RYE, adult situations in THE COLOR PURPLE) to the not-so-obvious (Satanic influence in the HARRY POTTER books, promotion of homosexuality in THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK). Fortunately the government has stopped banning books as a matter of policy, but in the 1920s, the U.S. Postal Service regularly burned copies of ULYSSES by James Joyce because it violated obscenity regulations set forth by the Supreme Court.

I love books that challenge the status quo. I want books to challenge my basic notions and force me to reconsider my own ideas about the world. When I browse our Banned Book display table, I see at least a dozen titles that did just that and have made me a better human as a result. 

Our favorite banned books will be displayed through the end of September. We hope you'll come in, take a look, and tell us about your favorite 'dangerous' title.

 

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Cover Image
By Alvin Schwartz, Brett Helquist (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780060835194
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperTorch - July 27th, 2010

Many silly rationales have been cited for the censure of this contemporary kid’s classic, violence and glorification of the occult chief among them. However, the real reason that parents have been wary of this collection of ghost tales for more than a decade is that the original Stephen Gammell illustrations were so genuinely terrifying. In 2010 HarperCollins released new editions of each volume of Schwartz’s SCARY STORIES with still-creepy but sanitized drawings by Brett Helquist in an attempt to pacify nervous parents. If you need some great tales to tell around a campfire, I can recommend a copy of the updated SCARY STORIES, but I can’t help but suggest you search out used copies of the originals if you really want a fright! -Danielle


Staff Pick Logo
Tropic of Cancer Cover Image
$14.00
ISBN: 9780802131782
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove/Atlantic - January 6th, 1994

Sexually explicit, amoral and ingenious, Tropic of Cancer not only broke new ground for American literature with its sui generis mix of fiction and memoir, it also sparked an overturn of US censorship standards and the definition of “obscenity” after being banned for nearly thirty years. Like an American Rimbaud, Henry Miller used his own hedonistic experiences while living in 1930s Paris as the inspiration for this visceral novel. And although his style has often been imitated, nothing is quite like the ribald, insouciant profanity of Miller’s narrative voice. -Keaton


Green Eggs and Ham Cover Image
By Seuss
$9.99
ISBN: 9780394800165
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Children's Books - August 12th, 1960

Dr. Seuss’s evergreen classic GREEN EGGS AND HAM is the first books many kids remember reading. But did you know the book has been banned, both in California for Sam I Am's "homosexual seduction" of his friend and in China for "early Marxism"? I personally think the book is perfect just the way it is, but I wouldn't mind a ban on green eggs and ham itself. Yuck. -Mary


Slaughterhouse-Five: Or the Children's Crusade, a Duty-Dance with Death Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780385333849
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Press - January 11th, 1999

SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE was a revelation to me when I read it in high school. Before then, I didn't know that 'literary' books could be funny and ironic and could even--gasp!--contain drawings. This book has been banned countless times in numerous school districts. When the book was stricken from the public schools of Oakland County, Michigan in 1972, the circuit judge called it “depraved, immoral, psychotic, vulgar, and anti-Christian.” Ironically, SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE makes a powerful argument about how we humans keep repeating the same fatal mistakes over and over. Hmm… -Mark


Naked Lunch: The Restored Text Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802122070
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - July 16th, 2013

Do you enjoy dwelling in a world of heroin-soaked surreality filled with shady characters and foul language? I sure do, which is why I think NAKED LUNCH is a must-read for any banned book "junkie". -Chris


Henry Darger, Throw Away Boy (Jim Elledge)

Henry Darger, Throw Away Boy: The Tragic Life of an Outsider Artist Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9781590208557
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Overlook Press - September 12th, 2013

Henry Darger, a Chicago artist and writer completely unknown during his life, is the focus of this illuminating biography. Darger wasn’t just an ‘outsider artist’ in the sense of being undiscovered. During his seemingly uneventful life, he wrote a beautiful and demented 15,000 page magnum opus about a group of magical sisters known as the Vivian Girls, supplied thousands of illustrations for their adventures, and managed to tell absolutely no one about them. These manuscripts and drawings were all discovered upon his death in 1973. Darger’s art is disturbing in many ways and Elledge spends considerable time exploring the motivations behind it. THROWAWAY BOY is a well-researched and fascinating examination of the internal and isolated life of an eccentric artist, as well as a considered snapshot of Chicago during the first half of the 20th century.


Back To School Goodies For Reluctant Scholars

Here are some of our favorite kid's room treasures for your little egghead! -Mary

Splat and the Cool School Trip Cover Image
By Rob Scotton, Rob Scotton (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062133861
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperTorch - June 25th, 2013

Monstergarten Cover Image
By Daniel J. Mahoney, Jef Kaminsky (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781250014412
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Feiwel & Friends - July 2nd, 2013

Letters from an Alien Schoolboy Cover Image
$12.95
ISBN: 9781620875360
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Sky Pony Press - April 9th, 2013

Llama Llama and the Bully Goat Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780670013951
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking Children's Books - August 6th, 2013

The Apple Cover Image
$7.95
ISBN: 9781849762144
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Tate Publishing(UK) - August 6th, 2013

The School Cover Image
$7.95
ISBN: 9781849762151
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Tate Publishing(UK) - August 1st, 2013

Wayside School Is Falling Down Cover Image
By Louis Sachar, Adam McCauley (Illustrator)
$6.99
ISBN: 9780380754847
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - January 9th, 1996

Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger Cover Image
By Louis Sachar, Adam McCauley (Illustrator)
$6.99
ISBN: 9780380731497
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - December 28th, 2004

The Worst Years of My Life Cover Image
$8.00
ISBN: 9780316101691
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Little Brown and Company - November 6th, 2012

A Day at School Cover Image
By Severine Cordier (Created by), Cynthia LaCroix (Created by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781926973951
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Owlkids - August 13th, 2013

Great film titles now available at Brazos!

Just because we’re all book people at Brazos doesn’t mean we don’t want to sit back and relax with a great film every now and then. When we can read about our favorite films, all the better. In particular, Glenn Frankel’s recent book THE SEARCHERS (9781608191055) actually managed the rarest of all feats: it made us like the film it examines even more than we did before! Mr. Frankel will be presenting his book, which discusses both the making and the reception of the film and the true story upon which it is based, on Thursday, July 18th at 7pm. Here is a selection of other great film titles available now at Brazos. -Danielle

A Book on the Making of Lonesome Dove Cover Image
By John Spong, Jeff Wilson (Illustrator), Bill Wittliff (Photographer)
$50.00
ISBN: 9780292735842
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Texas Press - October 1st, 2012

The Big Screen: The Story of the Movies Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780374191894
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - October 16th, 2012

Do the Movies Have a Future? Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781416599470
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - October 2nd, 2012

Zona: A Book about a Film about a Journey to a Room Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780307390318
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage Books - November 13th, 2012

Sergio Leone: Something to Do with Death Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9780816646838
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Minnesota Press - January 26th, 2012

The Genius of the System: Hollywood Filmmaking in the Studio Era Cover Image
By Thomas Schatz, Steven Bach (Preface by)
$24.95
ISBN: 9780816670109
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Minnesota Press - March 12th, 2010

The State of the Union

Let’s face it: things have been a bit turbulent in America lately. No matter how you feel about the many issues of the day, one of the best things about being part of a democracy is that we’re able to engage in constructive debates. We encourage you to take a look at our current events and politics sections for some of the best books available on every facet of our changing cultural climate. Here are some of our favorites to get you started. -Danielle

The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781610390330
Availability: Backordered
Published: PublicAffairs - February 5th, 2013

Although Mahbubani’s latest is not specifically about the United States, it contains a powerful optimistic message for a West that has begun to despair of its changing position on the world stage. Mahbubani, a former UN ambassador, believes that we have every reason to be excited for the future, especially if we can begin to repair diplomatic and economic rifts that have developed between Asia and the West. In addition to its optimistic message, this book offers practical solutions to some of our greatest problems on the global stage.


Simpler: The Future of Government Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781476726595
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 9th, 2013

Cass R. Sunstein is the ‘administrator of the most powerful White House office you’ve never heard of’, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. His job, in a nutshell, is to clear away the mess that government bureaucracy can create, streamlining rules and regulations while preventing waste and mismanagement. While Sunstein acknowledges that our government is far from perfect, his approach, which blends behavioral economics and good old common sense, could be just the thing to help us solve our country’s most pressing problems with a minimum of cost and fuss.


The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780812993561
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Spiegel & Grau - April 9th, 2013

Graeber, an anthropology professor lauded by the Occupy Wall Street movement, presents a rousing call for a renewed, reconfigured form of popular democracy that truly empowers all people. Graeber reexamines key moments from the history of democracy in both the United States and abroad as he builds a case for why our democracy has become dysfunctional and what we, as ordinary Americans, can do to change it.


The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9780385536479
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Doubleday Books - April 16th, 2013

Nasr worked in the State Department during the first Obama administration and came away from the experience frustrated with powers that be for what he saw as a series of devastating fumbles in their treatment of foreign policy. We’re taken behind the scenes to see exactly how the administration was thwarted in their efforts to encourage democracy and development in the Middle East and Asia, mostly because of a fear of terrorism and political reprisal at home.


Staff Pick Logo
The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780374102418
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - May 21st, 2013

Packer’s nonfiction masterpiece is a deeply troubling, pessimistic look at the direction American society has taken over the last several decades. Unlike the other books on this list, Packer’s book is written in an innovative narrative style that waves several stories of Americans struggling to get by and get ahead with biographies of notable cultural figures, headlines, song lyrics, and ad copy for a kaleidoscopic look at our culture today. Packer offers no easy solutions to the problems we face; his genius is in diagnosing the our societal ills with laser precision.


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