This is for an in-depth review of a book, this is not to be confused with the staff recommendations page.

The Noble Hustle (Colson Whitehead)

The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky and Death Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345804334
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor Books - March 3rd, 2015

In THE NOBLE HUSTLE, Whitehead focuses his prodigious talents on nonfiction, with an incredibly funny and insightful look at American culture through the lens of one of its strangest sporting spectacles--the World Series of Poker. "I have a good poker face because I am half dead inside," and so begins an existential odyssey of self-deprecating humor, piercing social commentary and delicious delicious beef jerky. Actually, it's less about poker than the lengths Americans will go to find excitement, diversion and success. You will laugh out loud and awkwardly cringe, quite often on the same page. It's the perfect read for sports fans, as well as fans of cultural criticism and just plain good writing. I can't recommend THE NOBLE HUSTLE enough.

Coming Through Slaughter (Michael Ondaatje)

Coming Through Slaughter Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679767855
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - March 19th, 1996

Inspired by a single faded photograph and set in the notorious Storyville district of early 20th century New Orleans, Ondaatje blends history and myth in COMING THROUGH SLAUGHTER “to suit the truth of fiction.” The result is a surreal, nightmarish tale that scars the reader as if it were written with battery acid. THE ENGLISH PATIENT it is not!

Utilizing sparse, fragmented prose evoking the music and madness of all-but-forgotten jazz pioneer Buddy Bolden, Michael Ondaatje's second novel is a haunting read unlike anything else he has ever published.

Orfeo (Richard Powers)

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Orfeo Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393349849
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 2nd, 2014

In his latest novel, ORFEO, National Book Award winner Powers has crafted a moving rumination on life, regret and the search for transcendence. An aging composer who hears music in everything forays into amateur biochemistry, attempting to encode a song in bacterial DNA. However, his experiments draw the attention of Homeland Security, and he suddenly finds himself on a fugitive quest into his own past. Sound ludicrous? Well, Powers pulls it off brilliantly. His prose is achingly beautiful. Extended descriptions of music--both real and imagined--are rendered in entrancing flights of language. And the story unfolds in a continuous succession of memorable characters and scenes, ultimately ending on a note of climatic emotional resonance that is at once breathtaking, heartbreaking and damn near perfect.

Civilization and Its Discontents (Sigmund Freud)

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Civilization and Its Discontents Cover Image
By Sigmund Freud, Christopher Hitchens (Introduction by), James Strachey (Translator)
ISBN: 9780393304510
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - August 9th, 2010

If you only ever read one book by the father of psychoanalysis, make it Civilization and its Discontents! Drawing on elements of Freud's theories from throughout his career, Civilization is most notable for applying psychoanalyic thought to a larger context--namely, "civilized" society. Freud deftly explores why unhappiness is so prominent in modern times, how social groups form and define themselves against others, and the precarious relationship between love (Eros) and death (Thanatos). An incomparable, controversial classic, this new edition includes a great introduction by Christopher Hitchens.

Pass Through Fire: The Collected Lyrics (Lou Reed)

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Pass Thru Fire: The Collected Lyrics Cover Image
ISBN: 9780306816307
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Da Capo Press - December 1st, 2008

Lou Reed was more than an innovative rock-n-roll icon. He possessed a uniquely poetic voice that had as much in common with the literary underground of his beloved New York as with the popular culture of the late 20th century he helped forge. And his influence still resounds in both spheres. PASS THRU FIRE brings together all the lyrics of this modern genius--from the groundbreaking albums of The Velvet Underground through his chameleon-like solo career. A definitive collection and a must-own for any fan!

The Skin (Curzio Malaparte)

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The Skin Cover Image
By Curzio Malaparte, Rachel Kushner (Introduction by), David Moore (Translator)
ISBN: 9781590176221
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: New York Review of Books - November 5th, 2013

In this pitch-black war satire, author/character, Malaparte, recounts the horrendous moral degradation infecting American-occupied Naples--rampant prostitution, starvation and crime abound--in the wake of its “liberation” at the end of WWII. It is by turns hilarious, disturbing, revealing, and reprehensible. Like a CATCH-22 written by the bitter losing side.

White Girls (Hilton Als)

White Girls Cover Image
ISBN: 9781940450254
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: McSweeney's - August 5th, 2014

Hilton Als' essays in WHITE GIRLS are provocative works of cultural criticism that ultimately reveal as much about their author as they do about their varied subjects, including Truman Capote, Richard Pryor, Malcolm X and Flannery O'Connor, just to name a few. A collection that is by turns quietly moving and wholly devastating in its honesty and insight, WHITE GIRLS is the perfect gift for the astute reader who's fascinated by the ways in which popular culture influences our lives.

In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods (Matt Bell)

In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616953720
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Soho Press - May 27th, 2014

I guarantee IN THE HOUSE UPON THE DIRT BETWEEN THE LAKE AND THE WOODS is like no other novel you’ve ever read. Revolving around the deceptively simple premise of a husband and a wife trying to start a family and a life of their own, Matt Bell has crafted a surreal fable that is at once ancient, modern and timeless. It is an incantatory work begging to be read out loud, more epic poem than novel, steeped in allegory and mythic imagery that is both haunting and revelatory. And like all great myths, IN THE HOUSE always manages to straddle the line between otherworldly weirdness and universal truth.

1913: The Year Before the Storm (Florian Illies)

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1913: The Year Before the Storm Cover Image
By Florian Illies, Shaun Whiteside (Translator), Jamie Lee Searle (Translator)
ISBN: 9781612193915
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Melville House Publishing - October 7th, 2014

An international bestseller just translated into English for the first time, 1913: THE YEAR BEFORE THE STORM is like no other history book I’ve ever read. As Illies charts the eponymous year month by month, he evokes a rich cultural panorama of a world full of possibility and blissfully ignorant of the impending nightmare of war. Instead of focusing on the actions of governments, Illies creates intimate, evocative snapshots of famous events. Proust’s creation of In Search of Lost Time, Freud’s development of psychoanalysis, the Armory Show, and even Kafka’s love life take center stage one by one. 1913 is one of the most interesting and compulsively readable history books you are likely to discover this year. Another great offering from our friends at Melville House!

Five Days at Memorial (Sheri Fink)

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Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307718969
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - September 10th, 2013

Pulitzer Prize-winner Sheri Fink’s latest is a dark journey through an imperiled New Orleans hospital in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. For five days after the storm, doctors, nurses and patients were marooned at inundated Memorial Hospital and forced to survive as best they could without water, power and adequate medical supplies. When rescue services finally arrived, almost two dozen patients were dead, and it soon became apparent that many had been euthanized by their caregivers. But was it murder or mercy? And who, ultimately, is to blame? A haunting examination of bureaucratic breakdown and how fragile our ethics and values can become in the face of disaster, FIVE DAYS AT MEMORIAL portrays humanity at its worst and asks how we can be better--and more prepared--next time.