Ulrika's Favorite Books and Gifts of 2016

Article by Ulrika

It’s that time again when everyone is compiling top ten lists for 2016. As Brazos Bookstore’s gift buyer, my lists usually center on my favorite gift items of the year. However, this year, I have decided to mix it up a bit. This is a combination of my favorite gift items along with some of the best books that I read this year. This list isn’t in chronological order; it’s just ten of my favorite gifts and books of the year.


The Vegetarian: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101906118
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Hogarth - August 23rd, 2016

This novel was originally published in Korea in three separate novellas then compiled into a novel. THE VEGETARIAN is a daring book that focuses on its central character from three different points of view. It begins when she forsakes meat, and the novel follows her descent into madness. You will have feelings of shock, unease, and wonder. It will grip you from the first page to the last.


The Natural Way of Things Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781609453626
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Europa Editions - June 28th, 2016

There are novels that take you to places you don’t want to forget, as well as books that never leave you. THE NATURAL WAY OF THINGS is one such book. It takes the reader through a rural dystopia (the Australian outback) that leaves one in disbelief. Each female character has been kidnapped by two men. Imprisoned, they are marked for their own public scandal, a link that eventually binds them together. Scandal might link them in the beginning, but determination is the sole reason for their survival. When discussing this book with others who’ve read it, I’ve heard it rightly described as a mix of Margaret Atwood’s THE HANDMAID'S TALE and William Golding’s THE LORD OF THE FLIES.


American Housewife Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9781101970997
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Anchor - October 18th, 2016

I usually don’t read collections of short stories, but working in a bookstore, there are times that you see a book and find yourself picking it up over and over again. This was true of Helen Ellis’ collection of short stories, AMERICAN HOUSEWIVES. This collection is laugh-out-loud funny, packed with dark and twisted tales ranging from a reality show with celebrity antique hunters, to best bra fitter of the South, to a book club that is more (much more) than a book club. It is an commentary on the dark, at times unsettling, world of womanhood and domesticity.


Quiet Creature on the Corner Cover Image
By João Gilberto Noll, Adam Morris (Translator)
$9.95
ISBN: 9781931883511
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Two Lines Press - May 10th, 2016

One of Brazil’s most celebrated author’s delivers a spare and surreal novel surrounding a young unemployed poet, Kurt, who, after being placed in jail for an unseeable act, is released into another kind of captivity. Is this new captivity better or worse than the earlier one? The poet is unsure what exactly is being asked of him. Moving through this novel, one wonders if we'll ever know why his new captors took him from jail, why Kurt is aging so quickly, and whether he will be lost forever in this new life.


Justine (Danish Women Writers) Cover Image
By Iben Mondrup, Kerri A. Pierce (Translator)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781940953489
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Open Letter - November 15th, 2016

Isben Mondrup’s novel JUSTINE starts from the end while working its way to the beginning. The story unfolds in flashbacks and fragmented memories, focusing on her time at the Art Academy, her influential grandfather, friends, and lovers, both long-term and short term. Mondrup was trained as a visual artist at the Royal Academy of Art, and her take on the creative process, regardless of discipline, is illuminating. The feelings of having your work shown, as well as being a woman, carries a lot of weight in this novel. JUSTINE is dark, erotic and stunning; uneasy at times, but a book I was unable to put down.


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