General blog posts

Staff Chat: Our Narco-Fairytale #BrazosBest

Keaton: It’s Keaton here with Mark and Sara to discuss our Brazos Best pick for July 2017: KINGDOM CONS by the inimitable Yuri Herrera, translated by Lisa Dillman (also incomparable).

This is the third in a thematic trilogy by Herrera, also including SIGNS PRECEDING THE END OF THE WORLD and THE TRANSMIGRATION OF BODIES, which was the Best Translated Book Award winner of 2016. Definitely one of the most vital and talked-about writers from the remarkable Mexican literary scene of today.

Kingdom Cons Cover Image
By Yuri Herrera, Lisa Dillman (Translator)
ISBN: 9781908276926
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: And Other Stories - June 13th, 2017

The Transmigration of Bodies Cover Image
By Yuri Herrera, Lisa Dillman (Translator)
ISBN: 9781908276728
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: And Other Stories - July 5th, 2016

Signs Preceding the End of the World Cover Image
By Yuri Herrera, Lisa Dillman (Translator)
ISBN: 9781908276421
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: And Other Stories - March 10th, 2015

Jeffrey Eugenides Comes to Houston November 3

Jeffrey Eugenides, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and author of the upcoming story collection FRESH COMPLAINT, will be coming to Houston on November 3rd! Tickets can be purchased through Brazos Bookstore and will be available for pickup in-store starting July 10th. Each ticket will come with a hardcover copy of the book FRESH COMPLAINT.

You are welcome to visit the store or call 713-523-0701 to purchase a ticket. You can also purchase tickets online.

Gift Buyer Spotlight: Ethereal Confections Chocolates

It’s always great to find a new company that will fit with the store, especially one that is a small business. There are those times as a buyer that a company will reach out to you in the hopes that they will be a good fit. This was the case with our new chocolate vendor Ethereal Confections out of Woodstock, IL. It started with an email and a link to their company’s site, as well as the offer of sending samples. Like a small child anticipating a present in the mail, I waited to taste the samples that they were sending.

Intern Laura Talks Reading YA as An Adult

Observation of the Week: Reticent (YA) Readers

Yes, I see you, not even touching the YA section with a ten foot pole. And I’ll admit, I used to be guilty of this too. Sometimes the only way I bought YA novels was if they were hidden subtly between some hefty classics. I had a literary reputation to uphold, after all!

Buyer's Corner: The Denim Edition!

I'm a Texan. So, of course I love a good Western. In fact, the running gag at Brazos is that I will read anything with a horse on the cover. This is mostly true. The rest is legend. Like Westerns. But the Western genre is more than broncos, denim, six shooters, and great hats. The locale and the conceits of this school of fiction allows to the author and reader to observe the heart of the American saga laid bare.

Train Dreams: A Novella Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250007650
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - May 22nd, 2012

This magnificent novella from the recently passed Johnson is an epic in miniature and proof that a literary masterpiece need not break 100 pages. It's the story of an ordinary man who lives through the quickening changes of early 20th century America. Sounds simple, but Johnson turns this premise into a stunning portrait of a nation in flux. Out of the three finalists for the Pulitzer for fiction that was not awarded in 2012, this is the one that should have won.

The Collected Works of Billy the Kid Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679767862
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - March 19th, 1996

The first novel from the great Ondaatje is a tremendous hybrid genre feat of imagination, centering on the timeless tale of Billy the Kid and his nemesis, Pat Garrett. Like any legend, this work is part fact, part fiction. Blending a captivating experimental prose style, actual historical accounts, pseudo diary entries, poetic stream-of-consciousness narration, as well as paintings and photographs, this slight book creates a haunting, mesmerizing death song for an iconic American anti-hero.

Close Range: Wyoming Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780684852225
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner Book Company - February 10th, 2000

And Westerns aren't only for men or male writers. This amazing collection of "Wyoming Stories" from Pulitzer and National Book Award winner, Annie Proulx, are some of the most vivid and engrossing portrayals of cowboy life, both past and present. And there is no overstating the heartwrenching beauty of her classic novella, "Brokeback Mountain," contained herein. It is quite simply one of the most moving and tragic love stories I've ever read. The movie--with a screenplay co-written by Texas legend, Larry McMurtry--ain't too shabby either.

Ema the Captive Cover Image
By Cesar Aira, Chris Andrews (Translator)
ISBN: 9780811219105
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - December 6th, 2016

And Westerns aren't only for Americans. Prolific Argentine storyteller, Aira, has put out several novels over his long career that can be classified as Westerns of the Southern hemisphere. Set in the 19th century, as horrific atrocities are commited by and against both soldiers and natives in the surreal landscape of the Pampas, this curious novel follows the travels of Ema, a woman who has lived as a captive of the local tribes for many years, as she is returned to a civilization that proves to be even more brutal than the life from which she's been "rescued."

Country of the Bad Wolfes Cover Image
ISBN: 9781935955030
Availability: Backordered
Published: Cinco Puntos Press - January 31st, 2012

This first installment in Blake's international Western saga that straddles the border between Texas and Mexico charts the rise of an amoral familial clan with a nefarious impact on the histories of both countries. It's a raw, violent take on the manifest destiny of individuals and nations. A rollicking adventure ride and a powerful indictment of the legacy of corruption and greed plaguing the borderlands. Subsequent volumes in the series follow the Wolfes as their power continues to grow through the decades, eventually becoming entangled with the drug cartels of today.

June #BrazosBest: César Aira

To read any one of Argentine writer César Aira’s highly imaginative and compact novels is to subject oneself to the whims of an authentic mind, a writer who appears to make it up as he goes along. Indeed, I’ve often described Aira as a children’s writer for adults. And that’s no criticism.

The Little Buddhist Monk & the Proof Cover Image
By Cesar Aira, Nick Caistor (Translator)
ISBN: 9780811221122
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - May 30th, 2017

Ema the Captive Cover Image
By Cesar Aira, Chris Andrews (Translator)
ISBN: 9780811219105
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - December 6th, 2016

The Musical Brain: And Other Stories Cover Image
By Cesar Aira, Chris Andrews (Translator)
ISBN: 9780811220293
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - March 3rd, 2015

Shantytown Cover Image
By Cesar Aira, Chris Andrews (Translator)
ISBN: 9780811219112
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - November 20th, 2013

Ghosts Cover Image
By Cesar Aira, Chris Andrews (Translator)
ISBN: 9780811217422
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - February 1st, 2009

An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter Cover Image
By Cesar Aira, Chris Andrews (Translator), Roberto Bolano (Preface by)
ISBN: 9780811216302
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - May 25th, 2006

Conversations Cover Image
By Cesar Aira, Katherine Silver (Translator)
ISBN: 9780811221108
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - June 26th, 2014

Intern Laura Judges Books by Their Covers

Observation of the Week: Judging Books by Their Colors

I’ve given a lot of thought as to what I want my career to be. It has evolved quite a bit over the years (I’ve come a long way since my space pirate days) and while I’m thrilled with my current goals to own and operate a bookstore, there will always be dream careers that catch my fancy. This week it’s graphic design, specifically for book covers.

What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735211025
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - April 4th, 2017

Rich People Problems Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385542234
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday Books - May 23rd, 2017

Modern Lovers Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594634680
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - May 30th, 2017

Brazos Staff Summer Picks


We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.: Essays Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101912195
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - May 30th, 2017

Out today!

Hilarious essayist! Reads like you are gossiping with your best girlfriend. I read her book MEATY a few years ago at the suggestion of a friend and I laughed until I cried. Blurbed by many well-respected lady authors so looking forward to this great summer read.

Slow Boat Cover Image
ISBN: 9781782273288
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pushkin Press - June 6th, 2017

Magical realism! Japanese novella! Pushkin Press! These are a few of my favorite things!

The Followers Cover Image
ISBN: 9781609454012
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Europa Editions - July 25th, 2017

This suspenseful cult novel from Europa had me on the edge of my seat. It starts off with one of the main characters in prison so you know some crazy stuff is going to happen. This is a great summer read -- dark and compelling with a shocking twist.


Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062362599
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - June 13th, 2017

I've been a fan of Roxane Gay's work for years, back when her books were coming out on micro-presses; her success seemed inevitable, even then. Her new book, HUNGER, is her most honest, devastating, and moving work yet: an account of her lifelong battle with weight. But this is no pro forma memoir, full of teary confessions. Instead, HUNGER probes the psyche of a culture obsessed with weight, and how that reflects back of Gay's own life, shattered early on by a traumatic incident. Her tone is varied--from humorous pop cultural exploration to focused anger--and the book, ultimately, never wallows, ending instead with a sense of profound hope.

We're lucky to be hosting Roxane Gay herself in partnership with Houston Public Libraries on July 10. You can buy tickets here. Each ticket comes with a hardcover copy of HUNGER!


Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get on the Mat, Love Your Body. Cover Image
ISBN: 9780761193111
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Workman Publishing - April 4th, 2017

When Jessamyn Stanley visited the Houston Public Library for her book tour EVERY BODY YOGA, I was enamored by her charm and her intelligence on the topic of yoga and loving oneself. For those who recognize Jessamyn via Instagram, she reiterates her aura in her book with fifty basic yoga poses and ten sequences.

The most spectacular component about this book is the way it addresses body acceptance and beauty with her Jessamyn tone and vibrant images of yoga poses (from the variety of body shapes). This book offers another facet to yoga, how yoga is a practice for your wellbeing regardless of exhibiting the template aesthetic of a yogi. Jessamyn’s yoga book goes beyond the individual’s body positivity and lengthens the individual’s body positivity experience with the backdrop of current social and political climate.

It has been a while since I practiced yoga (in home and studio set) and listening to Jessamyn voice how self care really is a form or resistance, Jessamyn reminds me that I need to project the attitude that is for both personal and political practice. JESSAMYN STANLEY is an internationally recognized yoga teacher and award-winning Instagram star (@mynameisjessamyn). She has been profiled and/or featured in a wide range of media outlets, including Good Morning America, New York, Glamour, Shape, People, and the Huffington Post, among others.

THE PROPELLER GROUP @ BLAFFER Yes! The Propeller Group show will be in Houston - in Blaffer Art Museum to be precise! The Propeller Group—an artist team based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam—blurs the boundaries between fine art and media production. My first encounter of the The Propeller Group was about half a year ago at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and I was in awe, captivated by the show. In particular the twenty-one minutes-and-fifteen- seconds video work, The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music (2014) is absolutely incredible especially with the visual installation. The Propeller Group states: “The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music is a visual and musical journey through the fantastical funeral traditions and rituals of south Vietnam.” A breathtaking experience for me and I cannot wait to see it again.

The Propeller Group in Houston is beyond meaningful. Apart from the strong Vietnamese scene in Houston, the show in Blaffer Art Museum, an art institution located in University of Houston, practically guarantees conversation that dissects binary forces such as life vs death, fine art vs commercial/media, poetry vs documentation, etc. The opening at the Blaffer Museum is June 2, 2017.


Once and for All Cover Image
ISBN: 9780425290330
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - June 6th, 2017

Two of the YA books I’m looking forward to this summer couldn’t be on more opposite ends of the spectrum! I can’t wait to read the finished version of Sarah Dessen’s ONCE AND FOR ALL, coming in June. Dessen’s novels are always a lovely, romantic treat, one with a substantive character journey--and always set in the summer. I’ve been a huge fan for years and this latest has the main character working in her mother’s wedding planner business, but (of course!) not believing in true love. And yes, that changes. And yes, it’s a grand pool-read page turner. Just what I need for the summer.

The Sandcastle Empire Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062484871
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Teen - June 6th, 2017

But I’m also looking forward to the more grim climes of Kayla Olson’s gritty, post-apocalyptic debut THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE, where a group called the Wolfpack has taken over and imprisoned everyone who was against them into work camps. And then a girl named Eden manages to escape... Given our current political climate, it’s no wonder this was already optioned for a film by Leonardo DiCaprio. Full disclosure, I’ve known Kayla for a few years now as part of an ongoing writing retreat group I’m part of. So I’ve heard snippets of this book for awhile and I am more than thrilled that we’ll be hosting an event with her on Saturday June 17th at 3 PM! She and I will be ‘in conversation’ about her book, writing, and all sorts of things, so I hope you can join us!

As for other media, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how I cannot wait for Season 4 of YOUNGER to begin on June 28th. If you haven’t been watching this TVLAND series, catch up immediately! The basic premise is that main character Liza--40 and newly divorced and in need of a job--has to pretend to be 26 in order to get hired in publishing where she used to work. Sutton Foster totally carries this off, trust me. And trust me that this show is nuanced and layered and much more than a guilty pleasure. In fact, it accurately and cleverly skewers everything about the frequently ageist (among other issues) world of publishing! Seriously, I adore this show and its spot on satire.


In a Lonely Place Cover Image
By Dorothy B. Hughes, Megan Abbott (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9781681371474
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New York Review of Books - August 15th, 2017

I love crime fiction, and this summer you should not miss this overlooked 1940s detective noir classic. Centering around the investigation of an apparent serial murder spree in the years following WWII, IN A LONELY PLACE is a timely and ahead-of-its-time novel that tackles themes of violence towards women, PTSD, and feminism. This vintage crime story--once adapted by Nicholas Ray into a Humphrey Bogart film--is a surprisingly modern take on the genre!

Movie - BABY DRIVER out 6/28 I am very much looking forward to this star-studded action comedy crime caper from Edgar Wright, director of SHAUN OF THE DEAD! This high octane thriller follows a young man conscripted as a heist getaway driver, but of course absolutely nothing goes as planned. Featuring everyone from Jon Ham to Jamie Foxx, and with a tremendously bumping soundtrack to boot, this is the flick I'm most likely to gorge myself to death on popcorn while watching!


Music - DANIEL ROMANO, "MODERN PRESSURE" ("When I Learned Your Name" music video) Canadian alt country singer-songwriter, Daniel Romano, has turned out one of my favorite albums of the year in any genre. Largely leaving behind the nostalgic retro trad country leanings of his earlier work, these new songs hearken back to Bob Dylan's delightfully off-kilter years--think "John Wesley Hardin" or the infamous Rolling Thunder Revue concert tour. Fully versed in rock and country, the expressionistic lyrics and unexpected song structures of these tracks will keep you hitting repeat all summer!




Infinite Jest Cover Image
By David Foster Wallace, Tom Bissell (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780316306058
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Back Bay Books - February 23rd, 2016

First off: INFINITE JEST. Trying for the fourth time to finish this monster of a book. Summer is an excellent time for this, as it will probably take me three months to finish.

As a fan of heavy metal, some great shows are coming up this summer, two I'm especially looking forward to are: Nails - June 23rd White Oak Music Hall, brutal tough as nails (pun intended) hardcore. Big Business- July 11 Walter's Downtown, lyrically one of my all time favorite bands. Atmospheric, gargantuan sound from these two heroes of sludge.




Lastly: baseball! Summer time is baseball time. Get out to Minute Maid and take in a ball game.

The Rum Diary Cover Image
ISBN: 9780684856476
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - November 1st, 1999

Bonus: one of my favorite summertime beach reads: THE RUM DIARY by Hunter S. Thompson. Surreal, biting, full of rum and mischief.


The Little Buddhist Monk & the Proof Cover Image
By Cesar Aira, Nick Caistor (Translator)
ISBN: 9780811221122
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - May 30th, 2017

César Aira is a magician; he spins strange and wonderful tales out of thin air and makes delightful diversions that often turn into the stories themselves. He has an imitable imagination and is equally prolific. Every time New Directions publishes a new book by Aira (usually twice a year) I'm tickled and thrilled and reminded of the boundaries Aira has now problems pushing. This most recent book is actually two novellas packaged in a single book. The first is the story of a Korean monk who dreams of moving to the west. With the help of a pair of French tourists he thinks he's found his way. The second story takes place in Aira's native Argentina and involves a group of thugs who take hostages in a supermarket. These two novellas couldn't be more different, but then again, this seems symbolic of César Aira.

My Heart Hemmed in Cover Image
By Marie Ndiaye, Jordan Stump (Translator)
ISBN: 9781931883627
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Two Lines Press - July 11th, 2017

Dark, strange, oppressive, Kafkaesque. These are just a few of the words I would use to describe the new novel by French author Marie N'diaye. A middle-aged couple who teach in a provincial French town are suddenly ostracized by the entire community. Their crime? They don't know and can't seem to find out. Add to this dilemma, the husband receives a grievous wound that won't seem to heal. Larger ideas are are work, but I'll merely say this is a devastating, visceral and harsh book dripping with paranoia. Not for the faint of heart, but beautifully written.

LCD SOUNDSYSTEM - TBA: I love dance music and when LCD Soundsystem came onto the world stage around 2005 I thought there was nothing like them. There was of course: New Order, The Velvet Underground and lot's more influential bands. Yet, somehow, LCD Soundsystem made it wholly their own. Frontman James Murphy is roughly my age so when he sings and laments about getting older I somehow relate to it more then when a young kid is singing. They famously annoucned they were retiring, famously played three final nights at Madison Square Garden and famously announced they were back together a few years later. Their new album, supposedly coming this summer, has been years in the making and something I will be listening to on repeat.


Found Audio Cover Image
ISBN: 9781937512576
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Two Dollar Radio - July 11th, 2017

Another hit from a hometown publisher (for me), Two Dollar Radio out of Columbus, Ohio! FOUND AUDIO falls into the same reality-bending genre as favorites HOUSE OF LEAVES by Mark Danielewszki and PALE FIRE by Nabokov. The size of this book keeps it from being as daunting a literary dask as other similar reads might be, but the style is remarkably clever and Campbell retains the ability to traverse many landscapes in these brief pages.

I’m excited for everyone to see the CAMH summer show: A BETTER YESTERDAY, comprised of the works of JooYoung Choi, Jack Early, and Lily van der Stokker. All three of these artists engage the theme of childhood while managing a diversity of representations. Lily van der Stokker nudges a bit at the boundary of twee with her pastel colors and line drawings, while Jack Early confronts childhood sexuality with references to burgeoning masculinity and the human body. I’m MOST excited about JooYoung Choi’s contribution to the exhibition, a series of technicolor paintings and sculptures that shift between this universe and another she’s built from scratch containing a myriad of characters and science fictional landscapes (some of which might be familiar from her last show at Project Row Houses). While JooYoung Choi’s art absolutely draws strong inspiration from childhood nostalgia, Her work tackles sometimes dark, complex concepts with a radical tenderness I wish I saw more often in visual art. I’m in love. Houston is lucky to call her a resident.


The Nakano Thrift Shop Cover Image
ISBN: 9781609453992
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - June 6th, 2017

This wonderful book is a portrayal of human relationships by one of Japan’s most beloved authors. Objects for sale at the Nakano thrift shop appear as commonplace as the staff and customers that handle them. But like those same customers and staff, they hold many secrets. If examined carefully, they show the signs of innumerable extravagancies, of immeasurable pleasure and pain, of the deep mysteries of the human heart. Strange and fun and highly original, this is a book I've only just begun but already love.

A Catalog of Birds Cover Image
ISBN: 9781609454036
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - July 11th, 2017

Set in 1970, this novel is the portrait of a family in the midst of recovery, the mysterious disappearance of a young woman, and of a brother and sister whose love of the natural world just might save their lives. With the backdrop of the Vietnam War, this is a stunning novel about family and the lengths to which love will take people.

The Flight of the Maidens Cover Image
ISBN: 9781609454050
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - August 1st, 2017

Another wonderful novel by the incredible Jane Gardam. It's Yorkshire in 1946, a moment in time for three young women on the cusp of adulthood. With keen perception, the novel charts the course of this trio as they boldly face their uncertain futures. This novel follows the three young women as they try and make a path in life in post-World War II England.

Gift Buyer Spotlight: This Book is Something Else!

One of the best things about summer is that we spend more time outside, either on vacations, in our yards or at summertime events. With all of this time outside we tend to take more pictures or videos of our experiences. This month I have chosen two of my favorite items that go hand in hand with the summer: This Book Is a Camera: A Pop-Up Camera by Kelli Anderson and Smartphone Movie Maker by Bryan Michael.

This Book is a Camera: A Pop-UP Camera is an amazing 4x5” pinhole camera that pops up from the pages of the book. Kelli Anderson wonderfully explains and demonstrates how this pop up, along with light, can produce fun photographs. Using a pinhole camera brings out childhood memories and all the fun that a simple device can be. This book includes: a folded piece of paper that transforms into a working 4x5” camera, a lightproof bag, 5 sheets of photo-paper and development instructions from your household DIY to creating your own darkroom.

Smartphone Movie Maker Cover Image
ISBN: 9780763694111
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - March 14th, 2017

Smartphone Movie Maker takes the ease of your smart phone and gives you everything you need to make your own movies. The guide gives you all kinds of tips, techniques, and instructions on how to edit and even how to add special effects to your film. You will find easy-to-follow advice on everything from building your own narrative to having clear concepts. This gives everyone, from young budding film buffs to adults, just what they need to have fun. Just like the This Book is a Camera, this book transforms into a lens-fitted projector to slot into your smartphone. Special features also included a popcorn box, fully illustrated, hands-on director’s handbook and a storyboarding book. One of the best parts? There’re also pre-printed tickets to invite friends and family to your screening.

Each of these great kits is a creative way to have fun with friends or family. As summer starts and the sun stays out longer, it’s time to get out there and be creative and share your summer experiences.

Meet Laura!

Brazos Bookstore has a new face! Laura is a student at Rice University who will be interning with us for the duration of the summer. We're excited to teach her the ins and outs of bookstore life!

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you like to read. What draws you to books?