Book Lists

This category is for lists of books (example: Top 10 Books for Summer Reading)

Visual Literature

Cinema can quite rightly be considered visual literature. The sheer emotional power behind the performance of a gifted actor or an expertly composed scene is undeniable. Film and literature enjoy an almost symbiotic relationship that is unique among the arts. Think of how many great movies started off as great books! Or how aspects of cinematography have influenced narrative structure! Needless to say, the Brazos film section is a perennial favorite among the staff. We're excited to host two great events this week that are all about the movies!  

Stella! Mother of Modern Acting Cover Image
ISBN: 9781480355538
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Applause Theatre & Cinema Book Publishers - April 1st, 2014

Stella Adler is an unquestioned legend of the acting profession. She was the first great Stanislavski disciple to introduce the Russian master’s method to American dramatists, and a mentor to a veritable who’s who of Hollywood royalty--Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, and Judy Garland just to name a few. In Sheana Ochoa’s new biography, STELLA! MOTHER OF MODERN ACTING, the incredible story behind this fascinating figure comes to light! Ochoa charts Adler’s life from her appearance as a toddler in the Yiddish Theatre of New York, to her battles against McCarthyism, and her ultimate triumph as one of the most influential acting coaches of all time. Sheana Ochoa presents STELLA! at Brazos Wednesday, November 5.

The newest offering from Austin publisher A Strange Object, OUR SECRET LIFE IN THE MOVIES blends fiction, memoir and film criticism into a highly entertaining collection of stories. After viewing several classic and cult films, co-authors Michael McGriff and JM Tyree each wrote short stories inspired by what they watched. By turns funny, cathartic and heartbreaking, OUR SECRET LIFE IN THE MOVIES illuminates just how much of a cultural impact cinema has on us. Join Brazos and A Strange Object at Grand Prize Bar this Thursday, November 6 at 6PM for a night of readings, screenings and cocktails!

Here are some other fantastic titles from our film section to check out next time you stop by: 

Martin Scorsese: A Retrospective Cover Image
ISBN: 9781419710629
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: ABRAMS - October 7th, 2014

Martin Scorsese is hands down the greatest filmmaker of his era. Now, finally, there’s a complete overview of his iconic oeuvre. In MARTIN SCORSESE: A RETROSPECTIVE, more than 300 film stills, candid behind-the-scenes photographs, insightful interviews with the director, and expert essays provide unprecedented access into the process and philosophy of this cinematic genius. An indispensable volume for any film buff!

What I Love about Movies Cover Image
ISBN: 9781623160623
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Opus Books - September 1st, 2014

This terrific book will leave any tapehead drooling! Brought to you by ubercool British film magazine Little White Lies, WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THE MOVIES presents fifty profiles of the biggest filmmakers and actors in which they answer the titular question. Wes Anderson, Park Chan-wook, Helen Mirren, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman all make appearances. Accompanied by sumptuous illustrations, the brief biographies and quotes in WHAT I LOVE ABOUT MOVIES are peepholes into the minds of those artists responsible for some of the most vibrant cinema being made today.

Film in Five Seconds Cover Image
By H-57
ISBN: 9781623658335
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Quercus Books - October 7th, 2014

FILM IN FIVE SECONDS is quite possibly the most fun time-waster you’ll come across this year! Hilarious infographic-style summaries of famous movies will leave you scratching your head in confusion and busting your gut laughing. This is such a visual book, it’s hard to describe exactly how awesome it is. But take our word for it--if you love movies and pop culture, FILM IN FIVE SECONDS is for you.

Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters: Defending the Earth with Ultraman, Godzilla, and Friends in the Golden Age of Japanese Science Fiction Film Cover Image
ISBN: 9781452135397
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Chronicle Books - April 1st, 2014

What do Ultraman, Godzilla, and all his enemies have in common? Eiji Tsuburaya created them all! More than any other filmmaker, Tsuburaya is single-handedly responsible for the aesthetic and content of mid-century Japanese science fiction films. EIJI TSUBURAYA: MASTER OF MONSTERS covers all of this cult icon's creations, and explores why in a post-atomic age his monsters resonated so much with moviegoers all around the world. Look out! There goes Tokyo!!!

Spine-Chilling Stories on Display

Shivers from a delightfully turned phrase, goosebumps from a great image: these are the chills books can give you year-round. But late October, the spookiest season, is for books that give you a numb tingle in your fingertips as you clench the covers so hard your hand cramps, and you feel an itchy pressure on the back of your neck as you force yourself not to turn around, because it’s just in the book, it’s not behind you, get a grip. Late October is the time to tuck your book under your arm as you walk to the kitchen for a refill of your tea, because you’re a little worried about what might slip out from between the pages if you don’t keep your eye on it. Each of these books on our Halloween display is just the thing to induce shakes, shivers, and wide-eyed late-night paranoia.


Staff Pick Logo
The Penguin Book of Witches Cover Image
By Katherine Howe (Editor), Katherine Howe (Introduction by), Katherine Howe (Notes by)
ISBN: 9780143106180
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - September 30th, 2014

Think all witches are like the ones that knock on your door on Halloween, trick-or-treating with pointy hats, long noses, and brooms? If so, you’ll want to learn about their rich historical tradition, at last brought to life in this new collection edited by Katherine Howe (author of witchy YA hit CONVERSION). THE PENGUIN BOOK OF WITCHES tours witch lore and legend from 1582 to 1813, including texts like King James I’s DAEMONOLOGIE, stories of possession from early America, and actual transcripts of the Salem Witch Trials. Reading these conversations, full of severe judges and the interjections of the “afflicted” girls, it’s easy to understand how the frenzy of these trials has captivated our collective imagination for so long. Howe’s introductions to and notes on each text (really, read the notes at the end!) add incredible depth and little-known witchcraft knowledge to these stories. With centuries worth of real experiences here to plumb, it’s clear that truth is far more fascinating than fiction.

Horrorstor Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594745263
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Quirk Books - September 23rd, 2014

We all agree: enormous soulless home stores are creepy, right? In this inventive horror story set in a haunted Ikea knockoff, the supernatural seems all the more frightening when placed within the sterile surroundings of a massive home goods showroom. When a group of employees stays overnight to determine the cause of some mysterious inventory damages, HORRORSTÖR takes the typical haunted house and closed-asylum narratives and smashes them against the maybe-too-normal backdrop of Orsk’s picture-perfect home displays. It’s a startling contrast that’ll make you shiver in your own Ikea-decorated living room. The design of this book adds a visual touch to Hendrix’ already-evocative, highly sensory writing style: pages of ads for the store, employee files, and chapters prefaced with catalog pages of the home goods items about to be destroyed (items that become steadily less normal-furniture and more terrifying-torture-device as the book progresses). HORRORSTÖR has all the horror fixtures you could want: a resilient heroine, a terrifying villain, and amazing set design and atmosphere. And on your next Ikea trip, remember to check for ghosts in every polished cabinet and modular bookshelf.

Dark Aemilia: A Novel of Shakespeare's Dark Lady Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250048134
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Picador USA - May 27th, 2014

This (literally!) spellbinding tale of passion, poetry, and a mother’s love will enrapture you from the start. Aemilia Bassano Lanyer, a historical contender for the “Dark Lady” of Shakespeare’s later sonnets, comes vividly to life in this bewitching novel. Famed for her intelligence and “dark” looks, Aemilia lives comfortably at court as the mistress of Lord Henry Hunsdon—until a young William Shakespeare ensnares her, heart and soul. Their passionate, violent affair, short-lived though it may seem at first, binds them together for the rest of their lives, as Aemilia strives for recognition as a poet and playwright in a world where women can be no such things. Despite the odds against her, Aemilia’s powerful voice refuses to be silenced by the betrayal of lovers, the despair of plague, and more. Sally O’Reilly paints Aemilia in enchanting, lyrical prose, making her a Lady Macbeth who swings between lucid fury and a daze of pain. There’s plenty here for Shakespeare fans to love: though the man himself doesn’t exactly come off as a prince (probably rightfully), a reverence for his work above all else shines through in dozens of tidbits and treasures, including a brilliant origin story for “The Scottish Play” (and its curse). With wonderful detail and agonizing sensuality, DARK AEMILIA spins a compelling tale of a literary affair that might have been.

Bird Box Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062259653
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco Press - May 13th, 2014

This claustrophobic dystopia grabs you at page one and doesn’t let go. Marjorie lives in a boarded-up house with her two children, who have never seen the outside world. Something outside has driven everyone who’s seen it completely mad, and in the years since the first sighting, humanity has become isolated pockets of terrified shut-ins, never daring to trust each other or grow attached to anything--even Marjorie refuses to care for her children enough to name them anything but “Boy” and “Girl.” After mercilessly training her children’s precise hearing since birth, Marjorie finally decides to make their escape--all blindfolded, stumbling through a landscape they have never seen. The story of their escape, interwoven with the story of Marjorie’s arrival at their house and the community of survivors that once lived there, shows both the darkness and resilience in humanity.

Staff Pick Logo
The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780140178210
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Penguin Books - January 1st, 1990

This creepy and, yes, bloody collection of fairy tale retellings will draw you in with its sensual, graphic prose and its brave and brilliant cast of heroines. Angela Carter turns the damsel-in-distress tradition of fairy tales on its head in THE BLOODY CHAMBER: all her stories invert the power structure handed down from the Grimm brothers, and her characters are sharp, cunning, and unafraid to get their hands dirty. Fierce and wild transformations abound in this gorgeous collection, all written in luminous prose by turns both dreamlike and viscerally real. Try “The Company of Wolves,” a play on werewolf and Red Riding Hood stories, for a perfect example of the shifting landscapes of violence and sexual power Carter invokes. We’re not going to tell you what the protagonist does with the wolf who impersonates her granny, but we can promise you’ll--dare we say--devour it.

Come in and browse the rest of our Halloween display before it’s gone--and before sunset, just in case!

The Supernatural Enhancements Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385538152
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Doubleday Books - August 12th, 2014

The Poet and the Vampyre: The Curse of Byron and the Birth of Literature's Greatest Monsters Cover Image
ISBN: 9781605986142
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Pegasus Books - September 15th, 2014

The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft Cover Image
By H. P. Lovecraft, Leslie S. Klinger (Editor), Alan Moore (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780871404534
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation - October 13th, 2014

The Witch: And Other Tales Re-Told Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399170584
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Blue Rider Press - September 25th, 2014

Changing Clothes: Great Guides for Men's Fashion

Men in This Town: London, Tokyo, Sydney, Milan, New York Cover Image
ISBN: 9781742707815
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Hardie Grant Books - September 2nd, 2014

This book seeks out everyday men from five fashion cities around the world--New York, Milan, Sydney, Tokyo, and London--and each man speaks to the sense of dress in the city where he lives. Santamaria photographed a handful of men from each city, showcasing their approach to fashion and their style in regards to modern menswear. (The book also includes a profile of each male subject.) This collection not only shares wonderful photography but also gives the reader a glimpse into fashion and the street-style that influences men across the world.

Why Fashion Matters Cover Image
ISBN: 9780500517376
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Thames & Hudson - June 17th, 2014

A great introduction to fashion, and an inside look at how it touches and influences our lives from perspectives of design, the use of technology, creating sustainability, and business. In our current culture, what we wear tells a story of who we are or who we want to be.

100 Years of Menswear Cover Image
ISBN: 9781780670218
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Laurence King - October 3rd, 2012

Looking for a comprehensive overview of menswear packed with images that capture the changing zeitgeist throughout the last 100 years? This is it. With over 380 pages featuring not only designers like Ralph Lauren but also the influence of punk and street culture, this book will be an indispensable resource for fashion lovers and fashion historians.

The Fashion Resource Book: Men Cover Image
ISBN: 9780500291320
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Thames & Hudson - May 20th, 2014

Leach divides his book into three sections: The first section delves into the research process. The second section discusses research and inspiration. The third section presents case studies in particular garments. With each section, the reader gains insight into the study of men’s fashion, along with illustrations filled with inspiration for designers and students alike.

The Mr. Porter Paperback, Volume 1: The Manual for a Stylish Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9780500291269
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Thames & Hudson - November 12th, 2013

A must-have title for anyone interested in the stylish lives of modern men. This collection features interviews with style icons and profiles of well-known men, all providing advice on how to master the current trends. Beautifully packaged, this book covers it all.

A Hit Parade of Music History

Books, music...these are the important things in life! It’s no secret that the booksellers at Brazos are also certifiable music geeks as well as book nerds. Not too long ago, we gave you a list of our favorite music-centric novels. But the actual history behind the music is intriguing enough on its own, and we couldn’t be more excited about two tuneful author events coming up in the next couple of weeks! 

The Next Elvis: Searching for Stardom at Sun Records Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807157985
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: LSU Press - August 11th, 2014

First up, Barbara Barnes Sims stops by on September 25 to discuss THE NEXT ELVIS, her amazing memoir of working at the legendary Sun Records in the late 1950s. Her tales of rubbing shoulders with icons such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and (of course) the King himself, will delight any music lover. Sims was lucky enough to be an eyewitness to popular music history. Now, with THE NEXT ELVIS, the reader can share her behind-the-scenes perspective and see these legends as never before!

Austin City Limits: A History Cover Image
ISBN: 9780199812417
Availability: Backordered
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - October 2nd, 2014

Then, on October 2, Tracey Laird presents AUSTIN CITY LIMITS: A HISTORY. For decades, Austin has been known as “the live music capital of the world,” and the TV series Austin City Limits has been there to chronicle it all. Now, Laird recounts the story behind the beloved series that has showcased acts from Willie Nelson to Stevie Ray Vaughan to Arcade Fire. Austin City Limits is a living testament to Texas and American music, and Laird’s history is essential reading for anyone who appreciates its lasting impact.

But the hits don’t stop there! Here are some more great titles from our music section to check out on your next visit.

The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs Cover Image
ISBN: 9780300187373
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Yale University Press - September 2nd, 2014

Greil Marcus is hands down the greatest rock critic/historian of our era. He knows American popular music the way most people know their parents. His newest release, the astonishing THE HISTORY OF ROCK ‘N’ ROLL IN TEN SONGS, is destined to become a modern classic. Eschewing the obvious canonical choices and traditionally-accepted master narrative of rock history, Marcus instead opts for deep cuts and b-sides in charting a free-flowing, non-chronological take on this most American of art forms. His idea is that you can find the “DNA” of rock ‘n’ roll in any song. So garage rockers, doo-wop groups, and even Beyoncé (as Etta James) make the cut, in an always entertaining and illuminating read. Of course, everyone wants to know who makes the top ten, but Marcus’ painstakingly detailed alternative lives of Buddy Holly and Robert Johnson are worth the price of admission alone. The what-could-have-beens are almost enough to make you cry...or sing.

I'll Take You There: Mavis Staples, the Staple Singers, and the March Up Freedom's Highway Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451647853
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Scribner Book Company - January 21st, 2014

Mavis Staples is without a doubt one of the most important American recording artists of all time. Whether leading the Staples Singers from gospel glory to the top of the charts or out on her own, few musicians have had such an impact as the great Miss Mavis. In I’LL TAKE YOU THERE: MAVIS STAPLES, THE STAPLES SINGERS, AND THE MARCH UP FREEDOM’S HIGHWAY, Greg Kot delves into her history-making career, though the most amazing facet of the story is how Mavis and the Staples Singers inspired and empowered the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Hits like the title song “I’ll Take You There” served not only as the soundtrack to the struggle for racial equality in America, but also as a rallying cry in the darkest of times. Staples is proof that music can help make the world a better place in this triumphant story of a true living legend.

Blues People Cover Image
ISBN: 9780688184742
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - January 20th, 1999

The book that started the career of the late great Amiri Baraka (aka LeRoi Jones) was not a collection of poems or a play but his insightful study of African-American musical heritage, BLUES PEOPLE: NEGRO MUSIC IN WHITE AMERICA. Focusing on the music as both a product and a chronicle of African-American cultural history, Baraka traces the evolution of blues and jazz from call-and-response slave songs to the gospel spirituals of the black church, and on to the secular works of early bluesman and jazz pioneers who laid the foundation for all of American popular music. Quite simply put, BLUES PEOPLE is a classic.

Do Not Sell at Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World's Rarest 78 rpm Records Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451667059
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Scribner Book Company - July 8th, 2014

Many of our customers are dedicated collectors of books. Some just want to amass a personal library. But others carefully speculate on first editions and diligently search for rare books that have great historical and financial value. The same can be said for record collectors, and none are as intense as those who collect 78s--very old, incredibly rare 78rpm recordings of early American music, most of which is on the verge of being lost forever. In Amanda Petrusich’s DO NOT SELL AT ANY PRICE: THE WILD, OBSESSIVE HUNT FOR THE WORLD’S RAREST 78RPM RECORDS, enthusiasts and conservationists scour the countryside from garage sales to conventions for these prized finds that can ultimately be valued at tens of thousands of dollars. Filled with quirky, real-life characters and a bevy of knowledge about the obscure history of early American recording, DO NOT SELL AT ANY PRICE is the perfect read for music lovers and obsessives alike!

Not Just for Kids

“Comic books? Those are for kids.” The next time someone in your life tells you this, gently berate them for their close-mindedness and hand them one of these incredible works. Graphic novels cover as many different topics as traditional novels, and they’re nothing if not literary, challenging, and--as these new releases show--definitely for adults. The recent boom in graphic novel-inspired films has created a huge resurgence of interest in the genre, and fans of non-traditional storytelling have a plethora of choices available to captivate them. Whether you’re new to the genre or a longtime fan, here are five of the most thought-provoking, exciting, and straight-up weird graphic novels on our shelves.

Kill My Mother: A Graphic Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780871403148
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation - August 25th, 2014

Jules Feiffer’s career has spanned decades. Since getting his start in comics working with Will Eisner, grandfather of the form, he’s written numerous books, plays, and screenplays. He won an Academy Award in 1961 for his animated short film MUNRO, and a Pulitzer Prize in 1986 for cartooning. His newest graphic novel, KILL MY MOTHER, brings all his talents to bear in this funny, frantic noir. Feiffer’s figures--all your favorite noir tropes, including the femme fatale and the cigar-chomping bruiser--move with outrageous expressions and chaotic lines that feel incredibly classic, yet still completely fresh. The vintage style of Feiffer’s art lends great atmosphere to this complicated story. Don’t miss it if you’re a fan of the classics brought to life in new, wonderful ways.

Lena Finkle's Magic Barrel: A Graphic Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143125242
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - July 29th, 2014

Anya Unlinich’s emotional story of family, immigrant identity, and the ups and downs of online dating comes to life in rough, powerful black and white drawings. LENA FINKLE’S MAGIC BARRELL is hilarious and in-your-face, confronting the emotional rollercoaster of defining oneself, in relationships and out of them, with perfect wit and a lot of heart. Ulinich fills her story with free-form text and speech bubbles that flow around and over pages. You'll need to do a lot more reading than you might expect in a graphic novel, but written by hand, the words are cathartic and confessional; you can feel how heartfelt Lena’s story is.

The Undertaking of Lily Chen Cover Image
ISBN: 9781596435865
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: First Second - March 25th, 2014

When Deshi accidentally kills his brother Wei, his mother sends him to find Wei a corpse bride--a recently deceased young woman to be buried with him, to accompany him into the afterlife. What Deshi finds is a woman named Lily Chen, who seems perfect: she’s beautiful, spirited, and--unfortunately for Deshi--very much alive. Novgorodoff paints Deshi’s conflict in gorgeous watercolors--the art seems simple at first, but the power of her incredibly complex uses of color and expression capture the painful, complicated emotions of this story without needing to be as literal as a traditional novel would be. THE UNDERTAKING OF LILY CHEN has a great sense of individual and cultural history, of personal desperation and conflicting motives. The humor and humanity of this story blend as seamlessly as the colors and lines of the art.

Seconds Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345529374
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Ballantine Books - July 15th, 2014

This full-color and gorgeous story is Bryan Lee O’Malley’s first standalone graphic novel after his epic series SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD. There are a few shout-outs to the series for fans, but they’re not related works, which makes SECONDS perfect if you want to sample this artist’s work. In SECONDS, Katie's life is falling to pieces--she's losing control of the restaurant she helped start, and her personal life is a shambles. When a mysterious girl gives her some literally magic mushrooms with the power to give her unlimited do-overs, Katie gets the second chances she's always wanted. The madness that follows unfolds in O’Malley’s trademark cartoonish style, with panels full of action and emotion. O'Malley mixes some more traditional narrative elements with his own chaotic twists, making this graphic novel a wonderful hybrid of storytelling that’s sure to resonate with twenty-and-thirty-somethings, still trying to figure out what the heck they’re doing in life.

Nijigahara Holograph Cover Image
By Inio Asano, Matt Thorn (Translator)
ISBN: 9781606995839
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Fantagraphics Books - March 19th, 2014

Manga has always been one of the great innovators of the graphic novel form, and NIJIGAHARA HOLOGRAPH is no exception. Asano is one of the great manga-kas of the current crowd, and this manga is a great example of how graphic novels use the freedom of their form to be nonlinear. This psychological horror story takes place in two timelines, has a huge cast of characters, and uses its incredible art to balance amazing atmosphere and excruciating close-ups. Asano’s level of detail is insane, compared to the looser comic styles of American artists, and it lends a crushing sense of reality to this strange story of the end of the world. Dealing with the choices humans make in difficult moments, NIJIGAHARA HOLOGRAPH is cyclical and multilayered--definitive proof that comic formats are NOT just for kids. This story is complex, challenging, and confronts incredibly powerful themes of sexual abuse, suicide, and the darkest things of which humanity is capable. It’s a difficult book to read, but one of the best examples of how graphic novels have matured over the years. This book is a full sensory experience you'll have to pick up to understand.

Perfect Pairings: Books to Read with Your Kids

As summer winds down and the kids head back to school, don’t think you have to give up time with your family, parents! If you’re missing the time you spent together over the summer and looking for ways to keep conversation going with your children over the school year, we’ve got a solution: read together! Our kids specialist Mary-Catherine has put together a list of perfect books to read simultaneously with your kids, along with suggestions for discussion topics and fun related outings. You’ll have great things to talk about over dinner, and maybe get your kids sharing about their lives in addition to the books.

Lost for Words Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374280291
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - May 20th, 2014

I Kill the Mockingbird Cover Image
ISBN: 9781596437425
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Roaring Brook Press - May 20th, 2014

You read: LOST FOR WORDS by Edward St. Aubyn

Your child reads: I KILL THE MOCKINGBIRD by Paul Acampora

Bond while discussing: Bookish inside jokes, buzzy topics in the world of books like book banning and the politics of who wins awards, reading and books as a social force and community builder.

Quality time idea: A reading at Brazos! Perhaps Jasper Fforde on October 15 at 7PM?

The Infatuations Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307950734
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 22nd, 2014

We Were Liars Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385741262
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Delacorte Press - May 13th, 2014

You read: THE INFATUATIONS by Javier Marias

Your child reads: WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart

Bond while discussing: How it’s impossible to really know someone by their appearance or perceived lifestyle, the dangers of assuming that someone’s life is perfect, the excitement of reading thrillers and how satisfying you found the endings of each book.

Quality time idea: People watch together at a mall, park, or restaurant and create stories for the people you see.

A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal Cover Image
By Ben Macintyre, John le Carre (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9780804136631
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - July 29th, 2014

Spy School Cover Image
ISBN: 9781442421837
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - April 2nd, 2013

You read: A SPY AMONG FRIENDS by Ben Macintyre

Your child reads: SPY SCHOOL by Stuart Gibbs

Bond while discussing: The cool and not so cool parts of spying, highlights of cold war and espionage history, various trench coat styles.

Quality time idea: Pick up one of our awesome spy kits and unravel the mysteries of your neighborhood!

Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation's Treasures from the Nazis Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393348804
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - February 3rd, 2014

Under the Egg Cover Image
ISBN: 9780803740013
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Dial Books - March 18th, 2014

You read: You read: SAVING ITALY by Robert M. Edsel

Your child reads: Your child reads: UNDER THE EGG by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

Bond while discussing: Bond while discussing: The forgotten history of the Monuments Men and their role in WWII, the importance and value of art, the different artists discussed in both books.

Quality time idea: Field trip to one of Houston’s many art museums together!

The Undertaking Cover Image
Unavailable from Brazos Bookstore
ISBN: 9780802122452
Availability: Out of Print - Not Available for Order
Published: Grove Press - August 19th, 2014

Prisoner of Night and Fog Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062278814
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen - April 22nd, 2014

You read: THE UNDERTAKING by Audrey Magee

Your child reads: PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG by Anne Blankman

Bond while discussing: WWII and the Holocaust, the factors that compel people to be complicit with evil, the power of cross-cultural friendships.

Quality time idea: A trip to Houston’s powerful and moving Holocaust museum.

Night Film Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812979787
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade - July 1st, 2014

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616953607
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Soho Teen - August 12th, 2014

You read: NIGHT FILM by Marisha Pessl

Your child reads: THE UNFINISHED LIFE OF ADDISON STONE by Adele Griffin

Bond while discussing: The different reading experience of books with multimedia and art included along with text, the pressure of fame--especially as it impacts young stars or prodigies.

Quality time idea: Create art together! Film a movie in the backyard, paint a ceramic pot, create collages of your favorite family photos.

The Last Days of California Cover Image
ISBN: 9780871405883
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation - January 20th, 2014

What We Lost Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316232180
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - April 2nd, 2013

You read: THE LAST DAYS OF CALIFORNIA by Mary Miller

Your child reads: WHAT WE LOST by Sara Zarr

Bond while discussing: The ways both teenage girl protagonists explore their relationship to God in the face of crisis, the impact of fear quickly spreading throughout a community, the too-common disconnect between parents and teens.

Quality time idea: A road trip! Enjoy having each other as a captive audience for a while.

The Other Side Cover Image
ISBN: 9781935639831
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Tin House Books - July 15th, 2014

The Truth about Alice Cover Image
ISBN: 9781596439092
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Roaring Brook Press - June 3rd, 2014

You read: THE OTHER SIDE by Lacy Johnson

Your child reads: THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE by Jennifer Mathieu

Bond while discussing: Sexual consent and why it’s vitally important, bullying and how it contributes to rape culture.

Quality time idea: Volunteer at the Houston Area Women’s Center together (visit their website for more information)!

Modern China

The cover design of Xiaolu Guo's new novel is quite striking. A woman faces a snowy forest with deer horms strapped to her back. The title, I AM CHINA in boldface across the sky. This image runs counter to my imagining of China. The old ideas of China are fading while on the other side of the world a modern industrial revolution is transforming the lives of 1 billion+ people.

Warhol in China Cover Image
By Andy Warhol (Artist), Ai Weiwei (Foreword by), Michael Frahm (Text by (Art/Photo Books))
ISBN: 9783775736626
Availability: Backordered
Published: Hatje Cantz - February 28th, 2014

WARHOL IN CHINA documents Andy Warhol’s 1982 visit to Hong Kong and Beijing. At the height of his fame in the West, he landed in China, where no one knew his name or face.

The collected photographs show the Chinese landscape on the verge of transformation--final views of cities still largely free of Western businesses and influence.

The People's Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited Cover Image
ISBN: 9780199347704
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - June 4th, 2014

The transformation has not always gone smoothly. Seven years after Warhol visited Beijing, the Tiananmen Square massacre was broadcast worldwide. Journalist Louisa Lim revisits the pivotal moment in Chinese history and explores why the people of China have mostly forgotten it.

China's Second Continent: How a Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307956989
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - May 20th, 2014

Rural Chinese people are leaving the countryside in favor of cities, but they're also leaving China entirely as well! The migration of Chinese workers to Africa is happening right now, and their involvement in the development of that contintent may pre-figure another industrial revolution. 

China Style Cover Image
By Sharon Leece, Michael Freeman (Photographer)
ISBN: 9780794607357
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Periplus Editions - February 4th, 2014

But the most visible changes in a society can be observed in the ways people live at home. This book features contemporary interiors of Chinese families in China and abroad. The styles presented always feature influences of the past, but invariably they pitch to the future with beauty and grace.

Coming in from the Cold

Spies and geopolitical intrigue make for inherently interesting stories. Novelists from Graham Greene to John Le Carre and beyond have regaled readers for years with heart-pounding tales of espionage. Yet, when it comes to cloak-and-dagger shadowplay, truth is always stranger than fiction. From World War II to the War on Terror, here are a few of the most incredible real-life spy stories on our history shelves right now.


Double Agent: The First Hero of World War II and How the FBI Outwitted and Destroyed a Nazi Spy Ring Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451667950
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Scribner Book Company - July 22nd, 2014

The story behind the FBI’s first ever double agent, William Sebold, and his remarkable takedown of a massive German spy ring in the early days of World War II remains the largest such case in American history. DOUBLE AGENT is a simply riveting espionage tale, replete with a colorful cast of international characters, secret codes and sophisticated technology. A fascinating look at a lesser-known yet incredibly important chapter of WWII.

A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal Cover Image
By Ben Macintyre, John le Carre (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9780804136631
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - July 29th, 2014

From acclaimed DOUBLE CROSS author Macintyre comes the infamous true story of the greatest double agent in Cold War history. While head of British counterintelligence with MI6, Philby secretly colluded with the Soviets and greatly hindered Western operations for more than two decades. Even his closest friends and colleagues had no idea of what he was doing behind their backs. This incredible tale of betrayal brings to life one of the towering figures of spy lore.

Good Hunting: An American Spymaster's Story Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374130329
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Sarah Crichton Books - June 3rd, 2014

Charlie Wilson’s War, the death of Pablo Escobar, Iran-Contra--Jack Devine had a hand in it all. Now, looking back over his three decade career with the CIA, he gives an insider’s account of geopolitical espionage history, sets straight myriad misconceptions about the agency, and puts forth his views on how to correct its misuse in our era of global extremism and endless war. Part memoir, part history, part political science--a terrific read.

The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307889751
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - May 20th, 2014

THE GOOD SPY is an intimate portrait of one of the most respected company men in CIA history as well as a revealing exploration of a key turning point in West/Arab relations--the 1983 Beirut bombing of the American embassy. Pulitzer Prize winner Bird charts Ames’ rise through the intelligence ranks, his promising successes in the Middle East, and the infamous attack that killed him and 62 others. Great page-turning nonfiction!

Agent Storm: My Life Inside Al Qaeda and the CIA Cover Image
Unavailable from Brazos Bookstore
ISBN: 9780802123145
Availability: Out of Print - Not Available for Order
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - August 19th, 2014

AGENT STORM is the thrilling memoir of a contemporary terrorist and double agent spy. Storm, a Dutch man who converted to Islam and joined al-Qaeda, eventually flipped for the CIA, MI6 and Dutch intelligence. His work directly led to the controversial killing of American-born Anwar al-Awlaki. Storm already has a permanent exhibit dedicated to him at the International Spy Museum in Washington DC. Providing unprecedented insights into the culture and structure of both terrorist and intelligence organizations, this memoir is a must-read!

A Scalzi Primer

We're delighted to welcome science fiction master John Scalzi back to Brazos Bookstore for the release of his new novel, LOCK IN, on Tuesday, August 26 at 7PM, after having him here for the release of his Hugo Award-winning novel REDSHIRTS in 2012. Since his last visit to Brazos, Scalzi's certainly been busy: he had great success releasing the newest novel in his OLD MAN'S WAR series, THE HUMAN DIVISION, as episodic ebooks (now available in paperback from Tor), and he has two television series in development, based on his OLD MAN'S WAR series and REDSHIRTS. He's also been a frequent convention guest and emcee, and regularly posts on his website and blog, Whatever, with the same sharp-eyed intelligence and clever phrasing that make his novels so enjoyable. That down-to-earth awareness and sense of humor have made him not only a popular writer, but one of the pillars of the genre fiction community--for just a few examples, he's served as president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, has taught at the Clarion workshop, and sponsors a series of guest posts called "The Big Idea" on Whatever, giving authors a space to explain the "big ideas" behind their latest works.

It's clear from his successes in multi-format work and the popularity of his commentaries and blogs that Scalzi has an eye on the future--fittingly, for a science fiction writer. Some writers who live in the future become bogged down in the technology and worldbuilding of their works, but Scalzi's work always revolves around the humanity of his characters, and the idea of humanity pushed out into worlds unlike our own. If you've never read any Scalzi, you're in luck: his Creative Sampler lists all the work he has available to read free online. Take a look, dip your toes in, and check out some of these favorites in anticipation of LOCK IN and John Scalzi at Brazos Bookstore on August 26. 

Agent to the Stars Cover Image
ISBN: 9780765357007
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Tor Books - November 30th, 2010

This hilarious novel about a Hollywood agent, hired by aliens to improve their image before making first contact, was the first novel Scalzi ever wrote--and he candidly admits that it didn't sell, at all; publishers weren't willing to take a chance on "humorous science fiction" in the late 1990s. Since his goal was mostly just to prove to himself he could write a book, Scalzi wasn't too bothered, and published it online as a "shareware novel" in 1999, selling for whatever price point readers wanted to give him. Now, years later, the novel's totally free, and the full version is available online. Check it out, and you'll get sucked into an incredibly out-there and bitingly funny look at humanity's own foibles, held up in the mirror of outsiders trying to learn what's appealing to us. If you want a more tactile version, Tor published a paperback in 2010.

Old Man's War Cover Image
ISBN: 9780765315243
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Tor Books - December 27th, 2005

Scalzi's Heinlein-inspired space opera, OLD MAN'S WAR, was the first novel he published, and quite rightly made his fortune. This tightly-plotted and incredibly diverse universe hails from the oldest school of science fiction: there's gadgetry galore, interstellar politics and battles, and the fates of star systems hanging in the balance--but as its title would imply, OLD MAN'S WAR is more about the people. The titular old man, John Perry, joins the Colonial Defense Forces at age 75, as all recruits do--they're given new bodies, new lives, new everything, and the human concerns of the story hinge on these people in their new lives, trying to connect and reconnect after leaving everything in their world behind. Scalzi announced last week that OLD MAN'S WAR has been picked up as a television series by SyFy, signaling louder than any words that this fascinating, immersive universe appeals to science fiction fans of any experience level, whether they're cracking the spine of speculative fiction for the first time or have been there since Asimov. The five-book series (soon to be six, with a sequel to THE HUMAN DIVISION already in the works) has an incredible amount of supplementary material--check out "After the Coup", a short story set in the universe, available on

Lock in: A Novel of the Near Future Cover Image
ISBN: 9780765375865
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Tor Books - August 26th, 2014

LOCK IN marks a departure from Scalzi's previous work: it's set in the near-future, only a few decades out from present-day. It's also a thriller about a pair of FBI agents investigating murder, mind-hopping, and the very human desire to feel connected in a world where a steadily-growing number of the population is "locked in" to their own minds. With that in mind, you might expect him to struggle with LOCK IN--but you wouldn't be more wrong. LOCK IN is brilliantly paced, with Scalzi's signature zippy dialogue and incredible sense of the ways human life changes as the world moves on around us. Since LOCK IN takes place in a world incredibly altered by the spread of a virulent disease, Scalzi introduced LOCK IN with UNLOCKED, a WORLD WAR Z-style oral history, part medical thriller and part devastatingly human recollection, detailing the outbreak and immediate aftermath of what the world came to call Haden's Syndrome. UNLOCKED is available to read free online at, and if you enjoy it, buy the ebook through our store via Kobo, DRM-free and available on any device through Kobo's reading app (Subterranean Press will release a limited edition hardcover in September). And while you wait for August 26, you can read the first five chapters of LOCK IN on, then preorder your copy of LOCK IN and get ready to read the rest!

Writers Read | Chris Tomlinson

In TOMLINSON HILL, Houston Chronicle columnist Chris Tomlinson investigates his family's past as slaveowners and tracks the history of those slaves, also named Tomlinson, many of whom still live in the same area where the white Tomlinson family owned its plantation. It's a powerful investigation of heritage and race that points toward a future of healing. He will read at Brazos Bookstore on July 30, at 7pm.

For this installment of #writersread, Tomlinson recommends four books that influenced his staggering work.

Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385722704
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor Books - January 13th, 2009

Blackmon takes a deep dive into the Jim Crow era from Reconstruction through World War II to reveal the extent of involuntary servitude that pervaded the South. His research into how the states used forced prison labor is especially illuminating. His work helped inform me as I looked into the history of Falls County and needed to read between the lines.

The New Jim Crow Cover Image
By Michelle Alexander, Cornel West (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781595586438
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Press - January 16th, 2012

Taking a more academic approach, Alexander painstakingly dismantles any illusions that the American legal system treats minorities fairly. Starting with discriminatory policing, manipulative prosecutors and a brutal prison system, Alexander uses social science to not only reveal the devastating statistics, but demonstrates how the system works to produce them. This book is particularly important in Texas where, in the name of discipline, we have created a school-to-prison pipeline for African American boys that is decimating that community.

Gone to Texas: A History of the Lone Star State Cover Image
Unavailable from Brazos Bookstore
ISBN: 9780199779406
Availability: Out of Print - Not Available for Order
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - April 11th, 2012

There is certainly more to Texas history and society than the racism that general history books have long ignored. In this imminently readable book about our state, Campbell sheds the neo-Confederate bias that older books carry and still tells a story we can take pride in. Particularly for our most recent arrivals, Gone to Texas provides a straight up, rollicking story of why we are who we are today.

Are We Born Racist?: New Insights from Neuroscience and Positive Psychology Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807011577
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Beacon Press (MA) - June 29th, 2010

This collection of essays about the latest neurological experiments into racism was perhaps the most fascinating title I read, and led me to read many of the scientific papers cited. The more we understand how our brains work, and how they can mislead us, the easier it is to understand where racism comes from and to show compassion for those afflicted with this horrible behavioral problem. This book gives me hope that one day we can get past our prejudices.