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Artists are Troublemakers: Alexandra Fuller and the Art of Memoir

Alexandra Fuller is not even fifty, but seems to have lived several lifetimes—born in England, raised in Africa, married to an American, divorced, now she primarily resides in a yurt in Wyoming. When she calls me from the Denver airport to talk about her newly released in paperback LEAVING BEFORE THE RAINS COME, there is a beep and she tells me, “That’s my baby calling me from Cuba!” After she talks to her child who is on a trip there, we resume our conversation.

Leaving Before the Rains Come Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143128427
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - January 12th, 2016

Alexandra Fuller reads at the Brazos Bookstore on Thursday, 14 January at 7 pm.



Dr. Doni Wilson is Professor of English at Houston Baptist University and also teaches for Writers in the Schools. She has written for The Millions, The Awl, The Federalist, Houston Press, An Open Book: The Inprint Blog, and Houstonia Magazine. She is a frequent contributor to Houston Chronicle, and recently had three of her essays selected for "The Best Reads of 2015" in Gray Matters, the award-winning online magazine of Houston Chronicle.


Sculpting a Texas Literary Magazine

So, have you heard about Dallas? If you follow literary news—especially the stuff focused on the world of indie presses—you likely know something about Deep Vellum, Will Evans’ translation publisher which cropped up in 2014 with Carmen Boullosa’s THE GREAT TEXAS THEFT. Since then, there has been coverage—like this Literary Hub piece—anointing Dallas as a burgeoning book mecca, and Evans has even opened his own boutique bookstore, Deep Vellum Books.

Hilarious, Brave, Surreal, and Badass: An Interview with Carly J. Hallman

Crawl before you walk, they say. Break through then follow your muse once you’ve got everyone’s attention. Carly J. Hallman wants none of that. Her debut novel, YEAR OF THE GOOSE, takes us to a version of contemporary China where tycoons are throwing tantrums, obese children are getting slaughtered to improve the country’s overall demographic, and UFOs are taking over night clubs. The talking goose is talking and one of China’s finest organic hair models has gone missing. It’s hilarious. It’s insane.

Year of the Goose Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781939419514
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Unnamed Press - December 22nd, 2015

Brazos Best: Ben and Mark, Down in the Well...

The Book: THE BOY WHO STOLE ATTILA’S HORSE by Ivan Repila, our January Brazos Best pick, published by Pushkin Press

The Chatters: Mark Haber (Floor Manager and Cult-of-Mark Guru) and Benjamin Rybeck (Marketing Director)

The Setting: Mark and Ben, stuck at the bottom of a well, have largely given up hope of ever being found, and with their stomachs stuffed with tasty maggots, they discuss the last book they both read…


Ben: Do you know anything about Repila?

The Boy Who Stole Attila's Horse Cover Image
By Ivan Repila, Sophie Hughes (Translator)
$16.00
ISBN: 9781782271017
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pushkin Collection - November 24th, 2015

Best of the Best - 2015

All holiday season, we’ve showcased our individual staff picks for our favorite books of the year. We laughed! We cried! We ranted and raved, vouched for books that deserved the hype and rescued books that did not make the New York Times bestseller lists. But enough about our favorites—you want the best, right? So, here they are, the best books of 2015: just for you, hand-chosen by the entire Brazos staff.


Hausfrau Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780812997538
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Random House - March 17th, 2015

#8

Anna is not about domesticity. She is thirty-something, married to a Swiss banker, has three children, lives in Zurich—and she is bored as shit. In search for something that keeps her attention, she tries psychoanalysis, German lessons, and an extramarital affair. Shifting between the story proper and Anna’s sessions with her psychiatrist, Dr. Messerli, Jill Alexander Essbaum’s debut novel HAUSFRAU provides a neurotic, claustrophobic narrative and an ending that left Augusta desperate for a hot bath and a hug. Maddening and addictive.


Multiply/Divide: On the American Real and Surreal Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781941411049
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Sarabande Books - August 11th, 2015

#7

Though there are many important, life-changing, thought-shifting books about race that came out this year, we have special love for MULTIPLY/DIVIDE because it inspires more questions than answers. It is a contemplation rather than a manifesto. In essays and stories—some composed of facts and others extrapolations based on her experience, Wendy S. Walters examines the American real and surreal. She makes makes the argument that rather than locate the dividing line, we should recognize that both exist at once, and not at all. Dreamy and personal.


Our Souls at Night Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9781101875896
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - May 26th, 2015

#6

A mere 192 pages, OUR SOULS AT NIGHT as a physical object is just as quiet, sparse, and unassuming as its prose. Kent Haruf brings us back to Holt, Colorado, and presents Addie and Louis, widows in their twilight years. Their spouses are dead; their children are gone; their connection is simple: they are lonely neighbors that have always known each other, always lived in the same small town. The thing about small towns, though, is that they’re small, and Addie and Louis’s neighbors have opinions about the couple’s behavior. Heartbreaking, captivating, worth your while.


War, So Much War Cover Image
By Merce Rodoreda, Martha Tennent (Translator), Maruxa Relano (Translator)
$13.95
ISBN: 9781940953229
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Open Letter Books - November 10th, 2015

#5

Long considered to be most important Catalan novelist of the postwar period, WAR, SO MUCH WAR is the last book Mercè Rodoreda published before she died. In short vignettes, we follow a young boy as he leaves Barcelona in search of freedom. Always, there is the presence of the effects of an unnamed war—in the adventures he encounters, in the strange characters he meets—but it never dominates. Lyrical and surreal, both Mark and Keaton championed this one.


The Art of Memoir Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9780062223067
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - September 15th, 2015

#4

When it comes to the modern-day memoir, Mary Karr is essential. With her debut memoir, THE LIARS’ CLUB, she secured herself as a strong Southern voice that would rather saw off her arm than tell a lie. As memoir often gets attacked in favor of fiction, Karr offers THE ART OF MEMOIR, a collection of lessons and pitfalls that she’s experienced in her writing her own memoirs as well as the years she’s spent teaching students to write their own. Entertaining and accessible—as always!


Fates and Furies Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781594634475
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - September 15th, 2015

#3

Lotto and Mathilde are that couple you both genuinely admire and secretly love to hate, one of those deals where both people are disarmingly good-looking and ridiculously talented and hopelessly in love. In 2001, after ten years of marriage, Lotto has become a world-famous playwright, with Mathilde as his loyal counterpart. But is that the whole story? With her third novel, FATES AND FURIES, Lauren Groff paints the portrait of a marriage over twenty-four years, exploring the idea that there are always at least three sides to every story: yours, mine, and what others see. Complex and shocking.


The Story of My Teeth Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566894098
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - September 15th, 2015

#2

Seriously, this book is cool as hell. Commissioned for an exhibition at Galería Jumex, THE STORY OF MY TEETH was originally an essay written in joint collaboration between Valeria Luiselli and Jumex factory workers. The story? Auctioneer Gustavo “Highway” Sanchez Sanchez sells teeth and not just any teeth—the coveted food munchers of famous dead people, including those of Petrarch! Impossible, you say, but for Highway, the art is in the storytelling. Strange on the surface, TEETH is also an expansive tribute to American art, literature, and politics. Funky and fun.


The Door Cover Image
By Magda Szabo, Len Rix (Translator), Ali Smith (Introduction by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781590177716
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New York Review of Books - January 27th, 2015

#1

What is there to say about THE DOOR that we haven’t already said? It’s our bestselling novel of the year. (At the time of writing this article, we had sold 165 copies, with more on the way!) It was number one on the New York Times Notable Books of 2015. Five of us voted for it as our best of the best picks for this year. But, in case it bears repeating: Magda Szabó’s THE DOOR illustrates the relationship between young writer and academic Magda and her aged housekeeper Emerence, women opposite in every way except for their fierce love (and fierce need) for each other. Except it’s so much more than that! Compelling and psychologically intense, Corby described it as Michael Haneke and Lars von Trier’s Hungarian love-child. Just buy it.


Season's Readings

'Tis the season of giving, and books make great gifts. But we understand that matching the perfect book to the person can, on occasion, be a daunting task. We are ready to meet that challenge!

Every year, we compile our recommendations by the type of person we think you might want to give great books. Over the next few weeks, we'll feature each of these types and our best picks for them. Browse the complete lists below, or drop by the store. The books are all on full display in the bookstore now. Any of our booksellers will be thrilled to help you make your decision.

Best of 2015: Augusta

Fates and Furies Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781594634475
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - September 15th, 2015

There are always three sides to every story—yours, mine, and the truth. This notion serves as the crux for Lauren Groff’s latest work, but to say it’s merely a relationship novel is to be dismissive of the greater truths uncovered in the course of this book. Lotto and Mathilde get married at a young age and live a seemingly idyllic life together while Mathilde supports Lotto in his playwriting career. Of course, things are deeper and more complex than initially meets the eye, and I raced to the end of this book, blown back by the transformation in tone when the other side of the story is revealed. Can we ever really know someone? Truth is more complicated than that.


The Door Cover Image
By Magda Szabo, Len Rix (Translator), Ali Smith (Introduction by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781590177716
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New York Review of Books - January 27th, 2015

Here at Brazos, we have a Cult of Mark phenomenon happening: anything that floor manager Mark Haber reads and raves about becomes an instant classic. THE DOOR is no exception. We can’t keep this book in stock! To say it’s about the relationship between two women would be an understatement; the complexity of their emotions and inner lives is unlike anything that I’ve read before. There is an eeriness that pervades the whole book, and the feeling will stick with you long after the last page. This is one you don’t want to miss.


Our Souls at Night Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9781101875896
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - May 26th, 2015

In order to find a place on the year end top ten list, most books need to be explosive, to stand out in a memorable way. This quiet, beautiful book is unassuming—brief enough to read in one or two sittings, but it will knock you back emotionally. Told in sparse, clear-cut prose, the simple tale of love between two elderly people is captivating and heartbreaking. And yes, I cried at work while reading it—don’t judge me.


The Shore Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780553417739
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Hogarth Press - May 26th, 2015

This debut novel by a young author completely captivated me when it came out earlier this year. Set in the same small island communities off the coast of rural northern Virginia, but spanning many decades—even centuries—the author demonstrates the vise grip that a place can often have over our soul, even long after we’re gone. The way she captures the sense of place of this wild, remote area of America had me riveted, and I’m looking forward to reading her subsequent work.


The Indian Cover Image
By Jon Gnarr, Jaon, Lytton Smith (Translator)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781941920121
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Deep Vellum Publishing - May 5th, 2015

Jon Gnarr, former mayor of Reykjavik, had an unusual childhood. Diagnosed with a severe intellectual disability as a child, he spent years institutionalized in a psychiatry ward to treat ADHD and dyslexia. THE INDIAN is the first part of a memoir trilogy being published by Deep Vellum, and it is a wildly hilarious but sensitive look at the difficulties of childhood, fitting in, and ultimate perseverance over adversity.


Speak Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062391193
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco Press - July 7th, 2015

Told entirely in the form of primary source materials, SPEAK looks deeply into the relationship that we have with technology. Communicating is crucial to our species, and with the rising influence of technology, the ways in which we interact change over time. The five interconnected narratives in this novel are all shaped by previous technological advances and how those advances ultimately affect the outcomes of relationships. A poignant look on an increasingly urgent topic.


On the Move: A Life Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780385352543
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - April 28th, 2015

I studied cognitive science in college, and the reason I became interested in the topic in the first place is because I read a book called AN ANTHROPOLOGIST ON MARS by Oliver Sacks. The way he mixes science and narrative to create a story of people’s life experience was so fascinating to me, I had to know more. I’ve read all of his books over the years, and ON THE MOVE is one of the last books published before he passed away from cancer earlier this year, which makes it even more special to me. This title is more personally revealing than his previous memoirs, and I enjoyed walking through his rich, interesting life one last time, appreciating all the scientific advancements he instituted, lives he affected, people he knew. He will truly be missed.


The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science Cover Image
$49.95
ISBN: 9780393081084
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 21st, 2015

Food science nerds rejoice! For fans of Harold McGee and all of you who want to know the science behind making your food more delicious comes this no-nonsense, straightforward book from Lopez-Alt. Chock full of scientific charts and photos, you can learn how to become a better cook with basic ingredients and equipment simply by using the food’s innate properties and chemical processes to extract the best flavors. THE FOOD LAB has become a new staple in my kitchen—get it for all the food lovers on your list today!


Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9780062415837
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Dey Street Books - October 27th, 2015

Tribute should be paid where it is due, and I can’t think of a more deserving candidate. This funny, fresh look at Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her rise to the Supreme Court is full of photos, handwritten letters, important court cases, and other awesome ephemera from your favorite lady of justice. The perfect gift for feminists, young and old.


Hausfrau Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780812987294
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade - August 4th, 2015

Jill Alexander Essbaum’s background as a poet is evident in this modern day ANNA KARENINA retelling. Beautiful, cutting prose set the anxiety laden tone of Anna’s simple little life in Switzerland as a housewife who is cheating on her husband. Well paced and claustrophobic, I found myself emotionally wrapped up in Anna’s interior world as it spun out of control until the bitter end, after which I needed a hot bath and a hug.


Best of 2015: Jeremy

One should never underestimate the appeal of a beautiful book. As the threat of e-books spread over the past several years, publishers have reacted by creating objects that don't quite work on a screen. We are always proud and happy to have a wide selection of gorgeous books on the shelves at all times. These are a few of my favorites from 2015.

American Qur'an Cover Image
By Sandow Birk (Artist), Reza Aslan (Preface by), Iftikhar Dadi (Other)
$100.00
ISBN: 9781631490187
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation - November 2nd, 2015

Artist Sandow Birk has illuminated the Qur'an in English. Taking his cues from traditional Islamic design, the book includes handwritten text and scenes from American life throughout. The strange juxtaposition makes this oversized tome something to see. Includes a fantastic introduction by Reza Aslan.


Gregory Crewdson Cover Image
By Gregory Crewdson, Jonathan Lethem (Text by (Art/Photo Books)), Nancy Spector (Introduction by)
$150.00
ISBN: 9780847840915
Availability: Backordered
Published: Rizzoli International Publications - October 29th, 2013

This retrospective of photographer Grewgory Crewdson's work is extraordinary. If you don't know already know his work, please come and see. His images are hyper cinematic in their ambition. They are at once familiar and strangely unsettling. Pregnant moments that are preludes to something dangerous or exciting. This book documents his evolution as an artist and brings together the full body of work.


Frank Stella: A Retrospective Cover Image
By Michael Auping, Adam D. Weinberg (Contribution by), Jordan Kantor (Contribution by)
$65.00
ISBN: 9780300215441
Availability: Backordered
Published: Yale University Press - November 17th, 2015

Frank Stella's sublime color fields of the 1960s were a revolution. His later work exploded in chaotic complexity, baffling many of his critics. This catalog of Frank Stella's work (from the show currently on display at the Whitney in New York) tracks his evolution as an artist and is essential for any lover of modern art.


Transit Maps of the World: Expanded and Updated Edition of the World's First Collection of Every Urban Train Map on Earth Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780143128496
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - November 3rd, 2015

Transit maps are inherently interesting to me. I admire the way complicated information can be conveyed visually. And as a monolingual traveler who uses the subway wherever I go, whenever possible, that visual communication is essential. This book collects every urban train map on Earth. This is a beautiful and ideal book for jetsetters or armchair travelers.
 


The Wonder Garden: Wander Through 5 Habitats to Discover 80 Amazing Animals Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781847807038
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Wide Eyed Editions - September 3rd, 2015

There is no shortage of amazing illustrated books for kids, but THE WONDER GARDEN is really something special. The book tours readers through a garden, complete with wild animals and spectacular flora. But what really makes the book are the psychadelic colors and gold foil stamped illustrations. The strong graphic design will make kids (and adults) fall in love with this book.


Jutaku: Japanese Houses Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9780714869629
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Phaidon Press - October 12th, 2015

Contemporary Japanese architecture is really something to behold. The homes in JUTAKU are often severe concrete blocks, but they are simultaneously delicately textured and designed. And because they're Japanese, they take full advantage of every square inch of space. This beautiful book inspires you to do a lot with a little.


The Kinfolk Home: Interiors for Slow Living Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781579656652
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Artisan Publishers - October 20th, 2015

THE KINFOLK HOME takes readers inside 35 homes around the world, each one carefully designed and decorated. Lush pictures of U.S., Japanese and Scandinavian interiors serve as inspiration to create your own more perfect living space.

Oh, how I wish I could live like this.


$45.00
SKU: 9782264065117

If only Paris had its own version of The New Yorker magazine....

This book collects dozens of contemporary French artists and illustrators takes on what their cover designs might be. Charming, lovely, and oh, so French, THE PARISIANER isn't available anywhere in Texas, except Brazos Bookstore.


A Little Life Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780385539258
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday Books - March 10th, 2015

I have to mention two novels that struck me visually this year:

A LITTLE LIFE is a love it or hate it book. Its distinctive cover supports that notion. The book is intense, emotional, and (dare I say) somewhat melodramatic. The cover image perfectly supports the text and has become iconic. I hope they keep it for the paperback.


Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780385539838
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday Books - October 6th, 2015

And finally, BATS OF THE REPUBLIC is one of the more extraordinary books we have on the shelves this year. A naturalist travels from Chicago to the frontier of the Texas Revolution in 1873, carrying a secret letter. Three hundred years later, that mysterious letter holds the key to peace after another revolution. But the story isn't what makes this book beautiful: page after page of illustrations, maps, journals, and more make this a feast for the eyes. BATS OF THE REPUBLIC is one of the most stunning books of 2015.


Best of 2015: Ülrika

Enough with the books! Our sidelines expert Ülrika gives her rundown of the year’s best gift items.

 

First up: Stocking Stuffers!

$22.00
SKU: 061152221378

New from Germany! Semikolen Ballpoint pens have a nice weight and rubberized texture. Available in five colors.


Meditate: A Guided Journal Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781592336265
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Fair Winds Press (MA) - February 1st, 2014

And last, but not least, be inspired to meditate more! Whether you meditate 5 minutes a week or 45 minutes a day,  this guided jorunal gives you helpful tips on meditation and it's a great way to log your progress.


Best of 2015: Ben

Typically I prefer to settle work-related feuds in private, but in this instance, I feel compelled to use a more public platform. I always enjoy reading the annual “best of” lists that my coworkers write, but I’ve noticed a troubling trend: some of my colleagues don’t actually seem to read many books.

My Feelings: Poems Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977108
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - June 2nd, 2015

#10

America’s favorite blind poet returns with his newest, most personal work yet. Ever since he lost his sight in a terrible zoo accident, Flynn has seen the world through his verse, turning his poetic eye on the ills of our era (the financial collapse of 2008, the 2000 presidential election, the career of Jonah Hill). Now, with MY FEELINGS, he looks inward, creating a crushing portrait of what it’s like to be unable to see. In this book-length poem, Flynn takes inventory of everything he has ever touched: stray Pepsi can tabs, peacock feathers, variously-textured walls. In so doing, the book becomes a kaleidoscopic treatise on the power of feeling things. Flynn removes these objects from their usual visual context, and by raising the actual text off the page (the design of this book is magnificent!), he asks those who can see to instead feel their way through his life, as he has. A truly brave and groundbreaking work.


Hausfrau Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780812997538
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Random House - March 17th, 2015

#9

When elderly Gertrude Braun leaves her small Bavarian village for New York, she doesn’t know what to expect. The mission: to make money and send some across the Atlantic to her impoverished grandson, afflicted by a rare form of Klein’s Disease. But this is the late 1980s, and Manhattan’s club scene is booming. Through a series of chance encounters—most notably with vain, privileged party kid Adrian Sinclair (nicknamed by his friends and enemies “The Hopper”)—Granny Gertrude ends up knickers-deep in a scene full of drugs, lights, and beats. Essbaum’s novel deftly weaves this personal story with the house music (or haus music?) culture of New York in the 80s (look for cameos from Andy Warhol and Michael Alig), imagining the unlikely but wholly believable tale of an old German woman who, by mixing the Bavarian folk music of her hometown with the tempos of a modern era in flux, becomes the hottest DJ in town. And what does she call herself? The Hausfrau.


The Art of Memoir Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9780062223067
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - September 15th, 2015

#8

The small town of Memoir, Georgia, may not have much going for it—the opening of the a new Olive Garden grabs front-page headlines!—but thanks to the eccentric interests of millionaire art lover Virginia Tully, Memoir has one prized possession: a sizable collection of original Joan Miró paintings, housed in a quaint farmhouse for everyone to enjoy. But then, a visitor comes to town: Paulette Strayhorn, arts editor for a prestigious Chicago magazine, who has distant ties to the town of Memoir—and who also has a decades-old feud to settle with Tully. Strayhorn makes an offer to buy up the collection of rare paintings, and the townsfolk begin scheming about what to do with all that money. But Tully sees through the lure of wealth; she knows Strayhorn wants the paintings to pad her own society-page cred, not to preserve the past and give great art to the people. Karr’s fun, uplifting novel succeeds on how it marries its archetypal conflicts—big cities vs. small cities; altruism vs. selfishness; wealth vs. poverty—with a convincing portrait of the rhythms of smalltown life; after the book’s slim 200 pages, you’ll feel like you grew up in Memoir too. At the center of this novel is Virginia Tully, who narrates the book in a colloquial, folksy way—but don’t let that fool you. She’s no rube; instead, she’s a flawed but quietly heroic woman who believes in the power of the close connections only a small town can provide, and who won’t let any big city snob come into her town and steal the art of Memoir.


The Witches: Salem, 1692 Cover Image
$32.00
ISBN: 9780316200608
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Little Brown and Company - October 27th, 2015

#7

Nicolas Roeg is one of world cinema’s most esoteric filmmakers. Born in London, he rose to prominence through a series of experimental films: Performance, Walkabout, Don’t Look Now, and The Man Who Fell to Earth are all classics of 70s cinema, and he captured the unease of an era perfectly through his inventive techniques of montage and his mingling of fact and fiction. But what happened to him? Why did his career seem to go sideways? And is his 1990 adaptation of Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES a film worth your time? Stacy Schiff seems to think so, and in THE WITCHES, she edits together an oral history of what’s often considered an insignificant film by a great director. Through a series of intimate interviews with the cast and crew (Roeg himself declined to be interviewed for this project, lending an intriguing absence to the proceedings), Schiff deconstructs this “minor” film, showing that sometimes one doesn’t unlock a career as enigmatic as Roeg’s by looking at his masterpieces—one does so by looking at his failures.


Multiply/Divide: On the American Real and Surreal Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781941411049
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Sarabande Books - August 11th, 2015

#6

Finally, a smart spy novel with a female protagonist! Walters’ MULTIPLY/DIVIDE is a taut thriller about world-class secret agent Sara Bond (or, as she introduces herself, “Bond, Sara Bond”—remind you of anyone?), snatched away from a much-needed vacation when an international crisis strikes. In this case, the villain is Dr. Jurgen Radtke, a crazed nuclear physicist, obsessed with multiplying and dividing atoms. As step one of his nefarious plan, he hijacks the Large Hadron Collider and threatens to do some multiplying and dividing that may bring on the nuclear apocalypse if his demands aren’t met. Walters has a great deal of fun with the conventions of the spy novel: yes, her hero makes numerous quips (“Divide this,” she says before dispatching a henchman), but this version of Bond is in a monogamous relationship, never drinks, and detests using violence. Yet she’s no pushover: this is a smart, feminist reinvention of a genre many people have given up on, considering it as old-fashioned as the Cold War dinosaurs who started the whole thing.


Delicious Foods Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780316284943
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Little Brown and Company - March 17th, 2015

#5

French fries, chicken parmesan, nachos: everyone knows these foods are delicious—but what happens when you smash them between the pages of a book? This is the question conceptual artist Hannaham seeks to answer in his innovative coffee table tome, DELICIOUS FOODS. Hannaham started simply: with 1,000 books full of blank pages. Then between each of those pages, he smashed (by hand, mind you, into every single book—no phony reproductions here!) some of America’s favorite foods—in some instances (like with various hamburgers) even going so far as to sit on the book for hours to make sure the food was perfectly smashed. The result is an anarchic and beautiful look at what we put into our body from the analytic perspective of everything being smashed real good. Buy the book early, and some of the foods might still be edible; but if you wait, the book becomes a survey of smells, as time takes over and begins to rot the various meats. (Each book also comes with a complimentary can of ant spray so you can keep those feisty buggers away from your bookshelf.) And make sure you check out the accompanying YouTube videos of Hannaham actually making each book. My favorite clip? The one in which he sets scoops of ice cream between the open pages, then looks saucily into the camera before saying, “Bet you wanna see me smash this, huh?”


The Story of My Teeth Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566894098
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - September 15th, 2015

#4

Each day, we see so many teeth—the teeth of friends, the teeth of a significant other, the teeth of the mailman smiling as he drops that battered Amazon package on your front stoop. But with all of these teeth around us, do we ever really notice them anymore, or do we just take them for granted? In her probing work of nonfiction, Luiselli takes a closer look, profiling ten of her own teeth over the course of a decade (she began this work when she was twenty-two). In the tradition of the Up documentaries and Linklater’s Boyhood, THE STORY OF MY TEETH checks in with the same set of teeth each year, thus surveying the puzzling movements of time. Consider Jeff, one of her incisors, who in 2004 was young and ambitious, wanting to chew into the world’s toughest meats, but who, by 2014, is defeated by a life of vegetarianism, unable to realize his dreams. And then there’s Abby, the dainty molar who’s the life of the tooth party, until one fateful day in 2010 when she gets some spinach stuck on her that Luiselli fails to notice during an important work meeting, thus forever ruining Abby’s reputation. In this way, Luiselli’s profound story of her own teeth is actually the story of all of us—the story of our hopes and dreams, and how time, in all its briskness and brutality, often makes for us other plans. (Luiselli plans to continue this project, releasing a new volume about her teeth each decade.)


The New and Improved Romie Futch Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781941040157
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tin House Books - October 1st, 2015

#3

Things aren’t going so hot for Southern boy Romie Futch: the love of his life has left him for an art snob; his taxidermy business is struggling; and the only people he surrounds himself with are dimwits who drink, smoke, and shoot. Facing bankruptcy, he signs up for an experimental procedure in which he has the entirety of the humanities uploaded into his brain. Back home in his trailer, what can he do with all this knowledge of Derrida, Foucault, and centuries of great art? Well, step one: win back his love by building the most elaborate and imaginative taxidermy-based dioramas the art world has scene. And step two? Hunt down the wild boar, “Hogzilla,” currently terrorizing the area. What to do with a plot so wild, characters so imaginative? You play it straight, as Elliott does here, drawing surprising emotional depth from such insane struggles. When Futch, at one point, decides to adorn himself with the skin of a boar for a Halloween costume, calling himself Lord Tusky, most readers will have three options: laugh at man’s boldness, cry at the man’s loneliness, or cheer at the man’s determination. Elliott isn’t happy until you have all three reactions at once to her novel, the strangest of the year.


Don't Suck, Don't Die: Giving Up Vic Chesnutt Cover Image
By Kristin Hersh, Amanda Petrusich (Foreword by)
$22.95
ISBN: 9780292759473
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Texas Press - October 1st, 2015

#2

Who says vampire stories are only for teenagers? In Hersh’s lyrical novel, she considers a love different from the love between Bella and Edward, but no less strong: the love between business partners. Sensing that public opinion of the vampire way of life is on decline, Harold and Jasmine, who grew up together in Transylvania, decide to do something about it. Their solution? To form Transylvania’s first vampire support group, with one motto: “Don’t suck, and don’t die.” After all, what happens when vampires try to do the unthinkable—to stop sucking the blood of humans? Will they, in fact, die, or will they find ways to stay alive? Enter Cornelius, a rakish Dracula-descendent with a penchant for fast cars and faster women. He believes that sucking is the, ahem, blood right of vampires everywhere. Will he derail the good efforts of the support group with his charm and joie de vivre? Like all great genre fiction, Hersh’s novel works as allegory: in telling the story of vampires changing their ways, she also tells the story of addiction, and what it takes to overcome one’s internal demons. Plus, Harold and Jasmine—from different sides of the Transylvania tracks, though both quick-witted and full of compassion—make a sassy, well-matched pair (one scene where they flirtatiously bicker over whether or not to return lost blood to the Red Cross is particularly charged); and yes, for you romantics out there, a love starts to form, though maybe not the love you’re expecting. This is an empathetic work that, in addition to telling a great story, tries to bring the reader closer to understanding a subculture so frequently observed in fiction, yet so infrequently portrayed realistically.


Fortune Smiles: Stories Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780812997477
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Random House - August 18th, 2015

#1

For a list so heavy with fiction, literary nonfiction, and poetry, it might surprise you to learn that my number one pick of the year is a biography—but one that provides a much-needed boost of optimism to our troubled political and financial times. In his astonishingly comprehensive work, Adam Johnson studies the life of Toby Elgin, affectionately called “The Happy Billionaire.” Even if you’re not familiar with the name, you’ve certainly heard about his good deeds: repainting the entirety of the Empire State Building in rainbow hues after the legalization of gay marriage; installing thousands of high-powered electric fans across America to help facilitate wind turbines; spending untold millions to resuscitate Matthew McConaughey’s career. But author Johnson, through countless interviews with Elgin’s friends and a deep look into primary sources, reveals the many smaller accomplishments of this great man, including sending hundreds of smiling “donation bots” into the streets of America’s biggest cities to drop fifty-dollar bills into the hands of homeless people everywhere. In his efforts to make people happy, Elgin has earned many enemies (Donald Trump recently called him “a danger to American capitalism”), but in this inspiring book, we understand what truly motivates a man with fantastic wealth toward altruism—to help others by wielding his fortune for good, always with a smile on his face.


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