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A Chronicle of Images: Efrén Ordoñez Interviews Scott Esposito

A few days ago I visited New York City. On my first night there, I was lucky enough to attend the launch event for Scott Esposito’s new book of essays, The Doubles. He was to be in conversation with Mexican writer Álvaro Enrigue at Community Bookstore in Brooklyn.

The Doubles Cover Image
ISBN: 9781937865917
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Civil Coping Mechanisms - September 18th, 2017

Buyer's Corner: Upcoming Fall Favorites!

September is here! And while that doesn't quite promise cooler temperatures for our very soggy city just yet, it does mean we have a literary plethora to look forward to over the next few months. So, for this edition of the Buyer's Corner, I've enlisted the help of my fellow Brazos booksellers to lay out some of the amazing releases we're excited to share with you this Fall. This is only the smallest of samples of what Houston readers have in store for them, but each of these carefully chosen titles are among our favorite reads remaining to come this year.

Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977917
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - November 14th, 2017

The best cultural history of the year. Poet, critic and historian, Young, has compiled a monumental work centering on the great American pastime of the hoax. Starting with the legendary humbug artist, PT Barnum, Young traces a red thread through the history of fakery in entertainment, science and culture directly to the heart of the greatest American hoax of all time--the concept of race. Impeccably researched and astounding in its depth, here is the historical precedent--from sideshows, to eugenics, to Rachel Dolezal--for the "post-facts" and "fake news" of today.

They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us Cover Image
ISBN: 9781937512651
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Two Dollar Radio - November 7th, 2017

These essays will break your heart and give you strength. Heavily rooted in music journalism, Abdurraqib's writing scratches beneath the surface of American pop culture and finds the hidden connections between subjects as seemingly disparate as a Bruce Springsteen concert and the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Through the music of our lives, we are made to confront racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and more. This is a special book that can do some real good in the world. I can't wait to put it into as many hands as I can.

Themystery.Doc Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802124913
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - October 3rd, 2017

This is an ambitious, sprawling, excessive, even obsessive attempt to capture the true nature and spirit of our times. It is a highly experimental postmodern take on life in post-9/11 America and the internet age. There are images--personal photographs, screen captures and film stills--as well as myriad esoteric symbols, computer code, mock chat sessions, and recorded conversations, all strewn throughout no less than four different yet intertwining and/or layered storylines. It's the literary equivalent of a Terrence Malick film. A puzzle in novel form. A book that is not for everyone but that will be talked about for years to come.

Five-Carat Soul Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735216693
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - September 26th, 2017

The first collection of stories from two-time National Book Award winner and American treasure, James McBride. Here, he stretches his literary legs with a diverse set of tales that covers everything from the hunt for a Civil War artifact, to the exploits of a teenage soul band, to a group of strangers facing judgment in the afterlife. Every word McBride commits to paper is a joy to read, and his stunning run of quality work continues with this newest offering.

In the Distance Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566894883
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - October 10th, 2017

A tremendous debut novel and an epic American story. A young immigrant from Sweden gets separated from his brother and winds up in San Francisco when his destination was New York. Over countless years, this foreigner travels across the continent having adventures with criminals, scientists, settlers, prospectors, and more. Without knowing English and sticking out due to his immense physical size, Hakan or "The Hawk" as he becomes known, is unable to fit in anywhere and lives a hermetic existence among the great varied expanses of the American wild. However, this does not keep him from becoming a frontier legend when news of his exploits reaches others. Just a flat out great book.

Swallowing Mercury Cover Image
By Wioletta Greg, Eliza Marciniak (Translator)
ISBN: 9781945492044
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Transit Books - September 12th, 2017

Told in brief, episodic chapters, this subtle yet stunning work of autobiographical fiction perfectly distills the universal wonder of childhood while also capturing the particular experience of growing up under Communist rule during the 80s. Wiola is a precocious young girl trying to find her place in rural Poland and often finds herself in trouble--with her family, her teachers, even the Communist Party. Through it all she remains indomitable, learning about love, loss, sexuality, death, and the myriad forms of ugliness that run rampant in the world. A vital contribution to the literature of childhood.


Belladonna Cover Image
By Dasa Drndic, Celia Hawkesworth (Translator)
ISBN: 9780811227216
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - October 31st, 2017

This ferocious novel by Croatian author Drndić is an unforgettable blend of fact and fiction, history and the present. The writing is superb and deals with themes of history, illness, academia and all without flinching. A modern masterpiece.

The Book of Disquiet: The Complete Edition Cover Image
ISBN: 9780811226936
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - August 29th, 2017

An existential classic, this edition finally brings together all the work of Pessoa's semi-heteronym Bernardo Soares together. A stunning and profound book to be flipped through or read cover to cover. Pessoa was Portugal's answer to Franz Kafka. Additionally, the book is simply a gorgeous object.


Moxie Cover Image
ISBN: 9781626726352
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Roaring Brook Press - September 19th, 2017

Talk about timing the zeitgeist! Houston author Jennifer Mathieu's newest YA novel, MOXIE is the story of Vivian Carter, who--tired of the rampant sexism in her high school, takes a page from her mother's Riot Grrrl, 90s, zine-making past, and starts a feminist revolution in her small Texas town! This one has already been optioned for film by none other than Amy Poehler and has been generating tons of well-deserved buzz!


The Strange World of Willie Seabrook Cover Image
ISBN: 9781943679058
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Spurl Editions - October 25th, 2017

First published in in 1966, this memoir is now being republished by Spurl Editions. Strange World follows two writers in their turbulent relationship and marriage. Seabrook, a renowned writer of the occult, and Worthington, a novelist and short story writer, find themselves caught in Seabrook’s sadist world and his alcoholic, destructive downward spiral. This intense memoir is also a self-reflecting piece on Worthington's life while married to Seabrook.


Smile Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735224445
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking - October 17th, 2017

The great Irish novelist Roddy Doyle's new work, SMILE, contains his trademark wit and dialogue. But here, Doyle, as ever, also cuts deep, telling the story of a man reexamining his life after a breakup and a mysterious encounter in a pub that sends him spiraling into past traumas best left forgotten. The ending contains a whopper of a twist too – no mere "gotchya" moment, but something that adds new resonance to the novel, one of the year's best. Don't miss Doyle in Houston on October 26.


The Poems of Dylan Thomas Cover Image
By Dylan Thomas, John Goodby (Editor)
ISBN: 9780811221146
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - October 31st, 2017

New Directions is putting out what's sure to be a beautiful addition to any library. I'm very excited to own a hardbound collection of these wonderful verses from one of the 20th century's greatest poets.

American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101902783
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - October 17th, 2017

This is spectacular nature writing. Written almost like a novel, Blakeslee's story of wolves in Yellowstone National Park presents a fascinating look into the history of these magnificent creatures.

Christopher Kimball's Milk Street: The New Home Cooking Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316437288
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little Brown and Company - September 12th, 2017

Fantastic new cookbook by the great Chris Kimball (former Cook's Illustrated editor). This book is jam-packed with sensible and high-quality recipes, as well as expert tips on how to cook like a pro. The kind of book that may just forever change the way you think about home cooking.


Madonna in a Fur Coat Cover Image
By Sabahattin Ali, Ureen Freely (Translator), Alexander Dawe (Translator)
ISBN: 9781590518809
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Other Press (NY) - November 7th, 2017

Translated into English for the first time, Other Press brings to us this 1930's Turkish author's beautiful little masterpiece of interwar relations. An office worker finds the handwritten memoir of his dying coworker; in it, his coworker's memoir of a love affair in Berlin. Compared to THE GREAT GATSBY, its incredible portrayal of smart, disaffected youth and they ways in which they grow up adds so much to our selection of translated literature from Turkey.

Her Body and Other Parties: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977887
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - October 3rd, 2017

Look forward to this spectacular collection of short stories from Carmen Maria Machado, out in October through Graywolf. Machado dual-wields the speculative and the erotic with ease. Many of these stories are (post-)apocalyptic; when they are, they have a strong focus on moments of bodily disintegration, disease, and epidemic. Machado is a force to be reckoned with. 

Review: AFFECTIONS, by Rodrigo Hasbún

Bolivian writer (and Houston resident) Rodrigo Hasbún is a writer with startling skills. In 2010 he was listed by Granta as one of the twenty best writers in Spanish under the age of 35. His English-language debut, AFFECTIONS, is coming out this month and we’re all excited to see Rodrigo read and discuss this remarkable novel on Tuesday September 12th at 7 PM.

Affections Cover Image
By Rodrigo Hasbun, Sophie Hughes (Translator)
ISBN: 9781501154799
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - September 12th, 2017

Gift Spotlight: Get School Year-Ready with Sara and Ülrika!

Sara: Today we’re going to be talking about a variety of things, all pertaining to getting yourself organized for back to school, and for the fall. We’ve got several events coming up, we’ve got some new items in the store, and we are ready!

First up, I want to talk about the new things we have in the store that I’m really excited about. We’ve been doing a lot of reorganization, and one of the most beautiful displays is a new pen bar that’s gone up along the wall you see when you first walk into the store. Ülrika, tell us more!

Writing Close to the Heart: Joy Interviews Kim Turrisi

Today I have the honor of sitting down, laptop to laptop, with debut author Kim Turrisi, whose YA novel JUST A NORMAL TUESDAY (KCP Loft, an imprint of Kids Can Press, 2017) is based on the suicide of her sister when Kim was just fifteen. JUST A NORMAL TUESDAY is sensitively written and also uplifting, despite its very serious subject matter.

Cinematic Time-Traveling: Ben Talks Film with Marian Luntz of the MFAH

Ending one of our summer programs at Brazos always leaves me with a bittersweet feeling. For the past few years, we have dedicated the entirety of summer to one author/artist—Marcel Proust in 2014, William Shakespeare in 2015, Stanley Kubrick in 2016—and we have such fun planning these programs that we can hardly believe summer will end. Happily, I was able to end our 2017 program—Summer of Jane Austen—in one of my favorite Houston spots, surrounded by friends.

Gift Spotlight: Day Designers

It is about that time when we begin to look ahead to the next year! We start looking at the calendars and planners that we want to use (and are hoping that we actually will use). Each year I would look at planners and try to decide which planners I wanted for the new year, and how I was going to plan out that particular year. Each year I had such high hopes... And each year I my poor planner would end up in my night table drawer.

That changed last year when a friend introduced me to the Day Designer.

Texas Independent Bookstore Day is Coming Up This Saturday

When I first moved to Texas, I had a lot of assumptions. As a born-and-bred New Englander, it was hard for me to understand that lots of things drive people to Texas. It’s not just the cliché reasons, tied to notions of independence, business, modern-day cowboys. It’s also the state’s thriving arts scene. The New Englander in me sniffed at the notion that Texas could be progressive. As soon as I spent some time here, though, I learned my mistake.

Book List: An Ode to Open Letter Books

This week, we are highlighting a small press we love: Open Letter Books. Based at the University of Rochester, Open Letter is a nonprofit that specializes in translations.

The Brother Cover Image
By Rein Raud, Adam Cullen (Translator)
ISBN: 9781940953441
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Open Letter Books - September 13th, 2016

"When was the last time you read a contemporary Estonian spaghetti Western? Recounted in sparse yet provocative prose, this is the story of a mysterious stranger who arrives in town to take revenge on the corrupt officials that cheated his sister out of her inheritance. Menacing, funny, dreamlike, and philosophical, this allegorical page-turner reads like the love-child of Cormac and Camus." –– Keaton

Tomas Jonsson, Bestseller Cover Image
By Guoberger Bergsson, Lytton Smith (Translator)
ISBN: 9781940953601
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Open Letter Books - July 11th, 2017

Justine Cover Image
By Iben Mondrup, Kerri A. Pierce (Translator)
ISBN: 9781940953489
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Open Letter Books - November 15th, 2016

Frontier Cover Image
By Can Xue, Karen Gernant (Translator), Chen Zeping (Translator)
ISBN: 9781940953540
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Open Letter Books - March 14th, 2017

"Frontier is an epic dreamscape of a novel. It starts with the point of view of Liujin, a single woman who has decided to stay in Pebble Town even after her parents move across the mountains. She sells goods in the market, ruminates on the lives of those around her, interacts with characters that may or may not be real. As the book moves through the viewpoints of various characters in the city, it unites all the individuals through similar sense of the placid, illuminating curiousity we find only in our dreams." –– Sara

The Things We Don't Do Cover Image
By Andres Neuman, Nick Caistor (Translator), Lorenza Garcia (Translator)
ISBN: 9781940953182
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Open Letter Books - August 25th, 2015

War, So Much War Cover Image
By Merce Rodoreda, Martha Tennent (Translator), Maruxa Relano (Translator)
ISBN: 9781940953229
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Open Letter Books - November 10th, 2015

"I have so much love for this amazing, slim novel – the last published during influential Spanish writer Rodereda's lifetime. Charting the adventures of a young runaway by traversing the wartorn countryside of his homeland, it reads like a Catalonian CANTERBURY TALES by way of THE ROAD. A thrilling, uncanny, and haunting rumination on finding one's place in the world and the reality of evil. You won't be able to put it down."  –– Keaton

Street of Thieves Cover Image
By Mathias Enard, Charlotte Mandell (Translator)
ISBN: 9781940953014
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Open Letter Books - November 11th, 2014

A Greater Music Cover Image
By Suah Bae, Deborah Smith (Translator)
ISBN: 9781940953465
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Open Letter Books - October 11th, 2016

"Bae Suah is one of my favorite writers right now. She is able to create layers upon layers of narrative and texture in such a small book. Pick it up and it will carry you for an impressively long period of time. Not a quick read, but a compelling one for sure!" –– Sara 

The Invented Part Cover Image
By Rodrigo Fresan, Will Vanderhyden (Translator)
ISBN: 9781940953564
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Open Letter Books - May 16th, 2017

Chronicle of the Murdered House Cover Image
By Lucio Cardoso, Margaret Jull Costa (Translator), Robin Patterson (Translator)
ISBN: 9781940953502
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Open Letter Books - December 13th, 2016

"Have you ever read a book and felt that you were holding in your hands a classic, something indipsensable to a language and a culture? Chronicle of the Murdered House is such an example. This book has hints of Dostoyevsky, Garcia Marquez and Antonio Lobo Antunes. Already a classic in Brazil - this book is not only beautifully written and profound, but a joy to read. The dysfunction of a prestigious family in a provincial Brazilian jungle, complete with gossip, backstabbing, cross-dressing and suicide attempts.There’s a fully-formed universe taking place in a run-down mansion rotting away in the jungle. Despite having the weight and breadth of a classic, its 600 pages fly by. I dare anyone to read it and not appreciate its artistry and breadth." –– Mark

Salki Cover Image
By Wojciech Nowicki, Jan Pytalski (Translator)
ISBN: 9781940953588
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Open Letter Books - June 13th, 2017

The Future Is Not Yours Cover Image
By Diego Trelles Paz (Editor), Janet Hendrickson (Translator)
ISBN: 9781934824641
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Open Letter Books - July 17th, 2012

Staff Chat: Cormac McCarthy Book Club

This summer, Brazos Bookstore is hosting a Cormac McCarthy-themed Book Club. We sat down as a staff to discuss the highs and lows (and more lows, and more lows) of Cormac McCarthy's work. 

Mark: Alright, Cormac McCarthy. An American icon. Today we’re talking about our book group this summer: we’ll be reading three different books, a variety of books that trace the career of Cormac McCarthy, one of America’s best living contemporary writers.

Keaton: Consummate prose stylist.