#BrazosBest Picks for July

Article by keaton

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Brazos Bookstore

In July: a family history of drowned mermaids; surfing the swells of gender fluidity; ruination and renewal in the wake of unwelcome truths; assuaging grief through rocket science; occupied New Orleans as the Southern heart of darkness; literature, travel and the search for a meaningful life.

The Book of Speculation: A Novel Cover Image
Unavailable from Brazos Bookstore
ISBN: 9781250054807
Availability: Out of Print - Not Available for Order
Published: St. Martin's Press - June 23rd, 2015

An old, handwritten book, delivered to a house perched precariously on a cliff over the sea—I got chills every third page reading THE BOOK OF SPECULATION. It’s a debut novel, but it feels like a classic: obsessions, mermaids, carnivals, and card-readers fill this story, as family secrets spill out and flood the pages like the oncoming sea that hammers throughout the book. A fantastic page-turner about the bonds between siblings, breathing underwater, and living side-by-side with a past that’s never quite gone. 

-- Liz

Becoming Westerly: Surf Legend Peter Drouyn's Transformation Into Westerly Windina Cover Image
ISBN: 9781937402747
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Outpost19 - July 1st, 2015

In BECOMING WESTERLY, retired surfer and active journalist Jamie Brisick pens the transformation of young charismatic Aussie surf legend Peter Drouyn into bubbly, Marilyn Monroe-inspired entertainer Westerly Windina, age sixty-four. Brisick follows Windina to Thailand and back as she pursues her long coveted gender reassignment surgery and prepares for what she considers her greatest performance yet: a special appearance at the Fiftieth Anniversary Surfing Awards Ceremony. There, she will reveal herself not as the ghost of Drouyn (whom she claims is deceased) but her own woman. In this book, Brisick tells the story of Westerly, his close friend, with memoir-like intimacy.

-- Annalia

Among the Ten Thousand Things Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812995220
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Random House - July 7th, 2015

In the first fifteen pages of AMONG THE TEN THOUSAND THINGS, a box addressed to the matriarch of the Shanley family arrives at her home in New York City. Inside the box? Page after page of dirty emails exchanged between patriarch Jack Shanley and his mistress. However, when the box falls into the hands of his teenaged daughter and not his wife, the Shanley family is ripped from their tenuous roots and thrown into a tailspin of self-discovery and self-destruction. This book was so compelling I couldn’t stop reading it throughout our meeting to choose this month’s favorites. 

-- Mary-Catherine

The Last Pilot: A Novel Cover Image
Unavailable from Brazos Bookstore
ISBN: 9781250066640
Availability: Out of Print - Not Available for Order
Published: Picador - July 7th, 2015

Jim Harrison is a test pilot in the U.S. Air Force who gives up his astronaut hopes—in the midst of the Space Race, no less—when his wife welcomes their long-awaited daughter. But when tragedy hits, their lives are thrown into tumult and neither knows what they want or who they are anymore. Pulled in a million emotional directions, Jim and Grace navigate one of life’s most dire griefs while trying to maintain their grasp on themselves, their marriage, and the changing world around them.

-- Mary-Catherine


Secessia Cover Image
Unavailable from Brazos Bookstore
ISBN: 9780802123619
Availability: Out of Print - Not Available for Order
Published: Grove Press - July 7th, 2015

Beautiful poetic writing, an unsettling Southern Gothic atmosphere, a dark undercurrent of sexual obsession—Kent Wascom’s second novel is another macabre feast of impeccably researched historical fiction. Set against the Union occupation of New Orleans, SECESSIA follows five very different characters clawing their way to power and prominence amid the waning days of the Confederacy. There are lies, murder, manipulation, and—in the guise of General Benjamin “The Beast” Butler—a steelfisted tyrant hellbent on breaking the will of the South’s largest, proudest, and unruliest city.

-- Keaton

The Journey Cover Image
By Sergio Pitol, George Henson (Translator), Álvaro Enrigue (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781941920183
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Deep Vellum Publishing - August 18th, 2015

Winner of the prestigious Cervantes Prize, acclaimed Mexican author Sergio Pitol’s second book in his Trilogy of Memory is a firsthand account of living in Soviet-era Prague and Moscow. Told in intelligent and warm prose, Pitol once again shows the reader the profound importance of literature and travel in living a meaningful life. Bursting with wisdom and memories, THE JOURNEY is another unforgettable trip with a masterful guide.

-- Mark

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