Dispatches from the Girl Cave

Article by staff

We all know about Man Caves, those oases of masculinity in the predominately female domestic space, equipped with stereotypically macho decor and entertainment. The gender geography of Brazos Bookstore has turned this cultural idea on its head with the Girl Cave, our tongue-in-cheek name for the back-of-store nerve-center run by Augusta, Brooke, and Ülrika. Augusta manages inventory, Brooke oversees returns and shipping, and Ülrika covers everything from gift buying to various programs for our many young readers. And somehow, despite all the hours they put in to keep the bookstore’s blood pumping, they find time to do some serious amounts of reading. In this week’s Brazos Book List, we’re doing some literary spelunking, rappelling into the learned depths of our beloved Girl Cave. Check out these recent recommendations, on our shelves now!

Augusta recommends:

Wreck and Order: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101903261
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Hogarth - February 9th, 2016

Elsie is your typical unmoored twenty-something, unlucky in love and her career. Too much family money and no self-direction leads the narrator on a quest out of her self-destructive tendencies. A journey through Sri Lanka provides both a spiritual resurgence as well as a deep personal development and purpose. Transformational and enlightening, this coming-of-age story shows raw emotion and depth that is encouraging to anyone who feels lost or unmoored in our age of constant connection.

American Housewife: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385541039
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Doubleday - January 12th, 2016

Being a housewife is anything but boring! Ellis’s collection of domestic short fiction is outrageously funny and dark, with a little Miss Manners thrown in for good measure. Equal parts silly and serious, AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE is a completely farcical romp that accurately represents the inner lives of many women. For fans of lady comediennes, Real Housewives and revenge, I highly recommend this book.

Brooke recommends:

My Name Is Lucy Barton: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400067695
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Random House - January 12th, 2016

The entire time I was reading this book I kept thinking, ‘She shouldn’t be pulling this off!’ but she does. And it’s magnificent. At the heart of MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON is a quiet story of redemption between Lucy and her mother, who comes to look after her while she recovers from surgery. What makes this book so compelling? Probably Lucy’s strong narrative voice and her firm claims like, for example, if the conditions are exactly right you can hear the corn grow. Can you hear the corn grow? I don’t know, but this book really good.

Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307962089
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Knopf - March 1st, 2016

First, a disclaimer: I am only halfway through this splendid biography. However, I think I how it ends. Two hundred years after her birth, I suspect Charlotte Brontë is dead. Spoiler. Even if you have read all the Brontës’ books, you may still find some surprises here. Okay, nobody can prove this, but it seems that some of Charlotte Brontë’s behavior is consistent with opium-eating. Isn’t that cool? Charlotte Brontë might have been a drug-addict. Or at the very least, a drug-dabbler. Branwell usually steals all the bad behavior thunder in the family, but watch out—Charlotte, Emily, and even the oft-forgot Anne were all pretty spicy.

Ülrika recommends:

The Vegetarian: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553448184
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Hogarth - February 2nd, 2016

This is one of our recent staff favorites, a new novel translated from Korean that is getting a lot of attention. A woman starts having eerie dreams and they inspire something unconventional by Korean standards—to become a vegetarian. But this sets off a bizarre downward spiral, and it’s creepy to watch her slip into madness and how her family reacts to that. THE VEGETARIAN is broken into three sections, each focused on a different family member watching her lose her mind. From a cultural perspective, vegetarianism is not very big in Korea, so by not eating meat, she’s dishonoring her husband, her family, on and on, which adds onto her another layer of guilt. As you turn the pages, you watch her spiral out of control and never come back.

The Lost Daughter Cover Image
By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781933372426
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - March 1st, 2008

THE LOST DAUGHTER begins as a story about a woman finding freedom in middle age. After her daughters leave Italy to go live with their father in Canada, the protagonist is surprised to feel relief, rather than sadness. She decides to celebrate by taking a vacation to the south. For a few days, she is relishing her new life, but when she meets a strange family her trip takes a dark turn. Elena Ferrante is the it-woman of contemporary international fiction, and this is one of her best books. I love it.

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