Give a Book and a Rose to Someone You Love on St. George's Day

Article by Jeremy

In Spanish Catalonia, April 23: St. George’s Day is known as the Day of the Rose and the Day of the Book. Lovers celebrate by exchanging a book and a rose! We don't have the roses, but the Brazos booksellers have selected books they love to offer each of you. While these are none of these are exactly...romantic, we do think they're exceptional. Read our recommendations below.

In addition to being St. George's Day, April 23 is also World Book Day and the anniversary of Shakespeare's and Cervantes' death. Come in and browse the selections and visit with the staff to find your perfect book.



Staff Pick Logo
I Am an Executioner: Love Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307743411
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - January 22nd, 2013

In these wildly inventive, thoughtful love stories, Parameswaran explores the relationship between love and power. Offering up unusual perspectives, these stories delight and shine in their juxtaposition of emotions. Funny, unforgettable, and unlike anything I've read before, I AM AN EXECUTIONER is a great short story collection to share with someone you love.



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Mating (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679737094
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - September 1st, 1992

The immediate, erudite and funny voice of its narrator drives MATING. Our narrator washes up in Botswana with an exploded thesis. She’d intended to study the effects of a hunter/gatherer diet on fertility, but by 1980, hunter/gatherers were pretty thin on the ground. So instead of returning stateside, she hangs around in Gaborone, drifting and unemployed.

During her stint of unemployed decadence in Gaborone, our narrator meets an elusive American activist, Nelson Denoon, who is rumored to have started an experimental, all-female village in the Kalahari. Its location is secret, but driven by desire and an admirable dose of brass, the narrator sets off into the desert with only a pretty good idea of where she’s going. So begins her love affair with Denoon. Like all great fiction, MATING allows you to pal around with someone really great who you could never meet otherwise. Reading this book is like drinking an endless pot of tea while your super-cool aunt tells you the story of her life.



The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679724636
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - March 17th, 1990

The first thing worth noting about THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ALICE B. TOKLAS is that it’s not actually an autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Stein’s lifelong partner and muse. Instead, Stein tells the story of her own life through Toklas’s eyes, melding their distinctive conversational styles into a brilliant hybrid voice that allows her to capture herself in action much more honestly than she perhaps could have in a more straightforward memoir.

Why go to all that fuss? Well, friends of the couple reported that Stein usually engaged in serious, literary discussion with the mostly male artists who attended her famous salons, while Toklas, an expert cook and slightly more traditional hostess, was confined to polite conversation with the artists’ wives and mistresses. While it might seem that Stein got to have all the fun talking shop with luminaries like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Braque and Picasso, Toklas was busy soaking up all the juicy gossip about everyone who was anyone in the American community in Paris. The result of this merging of their two perspectives is the single best group portrait we have of nearly every creative American living in the City of Light for more than a decade.



The Intuitionist Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385493000
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - January 3rd, 2000

In the world of Elevator Operators, there are two factions: the Empiricists, who diligently seek out and analyze issues and flaws in the mechanism, and the Intuitionists, who can feel the problems without having to look at anything. Author Colson Whitehead takes this idea and extends it into a world at once familiar and strange.

Lila Mae is an Intuitionist. She's also the first black female Elevator Operator, and an elevator has crashed on her watch. Like a grainy flickering image, this novel entices and reveals great wonders. It's no wonder that Colson Whitehead has become one of his generation’s most innovative authors.



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Coming Through Slaughter (Vintage International) 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.



Henry IV, Part 1 (Modern Library Classics) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812969245
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Modern Library - August 25th, 2009

If you only read one Shakespeare play in your life, read HENRY IV, PART 1. Don’t be put off by the title--it's really more about the future Henry V, and despite the “Part One,” this gem of a play stands alone. It’s the story of three Henrys: King Henry IV faces a rebellion led by heroic Henry “Hotspur” Percy, while his oldest son Prince Henry, called Hal, spends his days in taverns avoiding his responsibilities and committing various (hilarious) petty crimes with his best friend, the roguish old mischief-maker Sir John Falstaff. Hal purposefully cultivates his terrible reputation, to make his eventual "reform" that much more meaningful, but Hotspur’s rebellion forces Hal into growing up sooner than he’d anticipated.

HENRY IV, PART 1 has every genre you can ask for. You want tragedy? Hotspur's pride and devotion to his cause back him into a corner there's no escape from. Here for the broad comedy? Those famous “Shakespearean Insults” all come from Act II, Scene IV, as Hal and Falstaff one-up each other with over-the-top banter and practical jokes. It's laugh-out-loud funny, but more than that, Hal and Falstaff’s relationship forms the emotional heart of the play. Hal and Falstaff tug at your heartstrings almost as much as Hal’s emotional scenes with his father, or Hotspur’s painfully difficult scenes with his semi-estranged wife, Lady Percy.

The histories are full of wonderful, flawed people who all just did what they thought was best. HENRY IV, PART 1 is something for everyone: young adults trying to figure out what they want from life, heroes trying to stay true to their ideals, and the older crowd who've watched the world change and aren't sure if they've changed with it. It's also a pure example of dramatic pacing at its finest: this play flows from the austerity of court to the rollicking taverns of Cheapside and the wilds of Wales, to the inevitable conclusion where two armies clash on the plains of Shrewsbury. Inevitability is the heart of this play--war are death are inevitable, and as Hal's royal duties clash with his tavern games, maybe the breakup of Hal and Falstaff’s friendship is inevitable, too. Nothing in this play will last, so everyone fights, laughs, and lives fully while it does.



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The Loser (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400077540
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - October 17th, 2006

THE LOSER was my first experience with Bernhard, and the optimal starting place for anyone wanting a "Bernhard experience." No one writes sentences like Thomas Bernhard. His novels teem with page-long rants, bursts of language that somersault, backflip, turn in circles and repeat. He quite literally riffs. There’s a music, a cadence, a madness to Bernhard’s writing. It may seem daunting at first, but if a reader allows themselves inside, an entire world reveals itself. A place with all the manias, digressions and humors of a magnificent mind.

Labeling a writer like Bernhard a stylist does him a disservice, for although what he is creating is unquestionably stylish, he is doing other things as well; he is philosophising, telling a story, showing the inner workings of a brilliant but claustrophobic psyche. If the reader wants to delve into the internal they could do no better than Bernhard’s brilliant novels.



Kindred (Bluestreak) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807083697
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Beacon Press - February 1st, 2004

It’s 1976 in California when Dana, a 26-year-old African-American writer, is suddenly “summoned” through time to save Rufus, a plantation owner’s son, from drowning. In a series of fascinating journeys back to the antebellum South, Dana discovers that her fate and Rufus’s fate are tightly intertwined. To keep them both alive, she must make hard decisions based on the “morals,” legal systems, and traditions of the time.

KINDRED is one part scifi, one part slave narrative, and two parts an amazing read. (PS: Don’t let the lackluster cover fool you!)



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Sloppy Firsts: A Jessica Darling Novel (Jessica Darling Novels) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780609807903
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Broadway Books - August 28th, 2001

SLOPPY FIRSTS, a book about friendship, family, and how damn confusing high school can be, will both break and warm your heart in equal measure. Jessica Darling tries to be smart around dumb friends, tries to get out of New Jersey, tries to figure out Marcus Flutie (the perfect book boyfriend), tries to get by after her best friend moves away, tries to convince her dad that she just isn’t into running... This is a book about trying to do all the things: high school in its simplest form. In case you aren’t convinced yet, I’ve pinpointed why you, yes, you, must pick up this book immediately:

If you are a teenager: Megan McCafferty gets you. She just does! Jessica Darling is a smart, funny nonconformist, who stands out in a world full of books about smart, funny nonconformists. This book is effortlessly cool and doesn’t resort to “hip teen talk” to be relatable.

If you are in your twenties: Jessica grew up with you. This book was published in 2001, and there are just enough pop culture references to make you nostalgic without feeling dated. The series also follows Jessica into her twenties, so you’ll see her make lots of college mistakes and give her particular brand of sarcastic wisdom to the mayhem that inevitably accompanies all quarterlife crises.

If you are a parent or actual adult: Do you want to get inside the mind of your teenager or young adult? Did you love high school and want to relive the politics, the snark, and the lame summer jobs? Or, did you hate high school and want a friend with whom to commiserate about the politics, the snark, and the lame summer jobs? Check, check, and check.

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