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Joy Picks Ten You May Have Missed

The thing about publishing is that not every book gets the publicity it needs or deserves. This is simply the way the business works, and it has little if anything to do with the quality of the writing and pretty much everything to do with months, if not years, of advance marketing decisions about what will sell the most copies and why. Even books that get a bigger push may still fly under readers’ radars.

Lion Island: Cuba's Warrior of Words Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781481461122
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - August 30th, 2016

Set in Cuba in the nineteenth century, a time when the country was fighting for freedom from Spain, LION ISLAND is a middle-grade historical fiction novel-in-verse by award-winning author Margarita Engle. It’s the story of Antonio Chuffat and his journey to become an advocate of civil rights.

But it’s not just Antonio’s story. Told in multiple points of view, LION ISLAND starts in 1871, the year of the anti-Chinese riots in Los Angeles, and it’s also the story of Wing and Fan, a brother and sister who escaped those riots. It’s the tale of indentured servant and slaves and the overthrow of the Spanish sugar cane empire.

The verse format and multiple narrators makes this a page turner and a story set in a Cuba that few of us know makes it a must read for middle-graders who love history and based-on-truth stories. A great way to introduce social justice.


Lily and Dunkin Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780553536744
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Delacorte Press - May 3rd, 2016

From award-winning author Donna Gephart, LILY AND DUNKIN is a compelling dual narrative about two remarkable young people: Lily, a transgender girl, and Dunkin, a boy dealing with bipolar disorder. When they meet, their lives change forever. In lesser hands, this middle grade novel would digress into an “issues” book Instead, it’s powerfully crafted and a must-read for every middle-grader and adults, too.

And if you want to know more about Donna Gephart—and of course you do!—and how she’s also an amazing teacher of the craft of writing, check out this podcast from her time at Austin author Bethany Hegedus’s Writing Barn.


Just My Luck Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062330659
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - February 23rd, 2016

Oh how I love Cammie McGovern’s writing. She gets the complexities of teens and children, especially those struggling with illness, just right. I’m a huge fan of her young adult novel SAY WHAT YOU WILL. And now comes her middle grade debut—and it’s a gorgeous, moving book. There’s fourth grader Benny, whose life is sucking hugely. He doesn’t have a best friend and he wants one desperately. He can’t do tricks on his bike even though his autistic brother George can. And he’s worried that his dad’s recent accident might be his fault. And then things get worse. But Benny has a big heart and it’s going to help him get through tragedy and figure out that he was more to offer the world than he thinks he does.

McGovern’s writing is strong and sure and gentle. I am such a huge fan and I hope you will be, too! I’d recommend for age eight or nine on up, for readers who enjoy a quieter, thoughtful story.


Read Between the Lines Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780763691028
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - October 11th, 2016

If you aren’t reading Jo Knowles’ amazingly crafted novels for young people, then you need to be. READ BETWEEN THE LINES came out in hardback last year, but is on our shelves now in paperback and so it’s a perfect time to become a fan of the author of such books as SEE YOU AT HARRY’S (one of my absolute favorites!) and more. RBTL is a novel—moving, gritty, unflinching, and humorous—of interlocking stories that follow nine teens and one teacher through a seemingly ordinary day. Everything begins with Nate, who, thanks to a bully in gym class, suffers a broken finger. Of course it’s the middle one and it’s splinted to give ‘the finger’ to the world. But that’s not the only middle finger that will be raised that day in that small town. The cover says it all. For age thirteen and up, particularly teens who like contemporary fiction.


The Great Shelby Holmes: Girl Detective Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781681190518
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books - September 6th, 2016

Just named to the Texas Library Association’s Bluebonnet List, this adorable middle-grade debut from internationally bestselling YA author Elizabeth Eulberg gives Sherlock Holmes a fun, sweet twist with delightful young heroes and black and white illustrations throughout. You’ll love this tale of Shelby Holmes, who is definitely not your average sixth grader, not only because she’s tiny and only nine years old but also because she is the best detective in Harlem! And when eleven-year-old John Watson (you knew that was coming, didn’t you?) moves in downstairs, they end up teaming together for a dognapping case. Friendship and mystery-solving ensue. For age ten and up, mystery lovers or not!


Afterward Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781626722385
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Roaring Brook Press - September 20th, 2016

Friend of the store and one of our very favorite Houston authors of contemporary young adult fiction such as THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE, Jennifer Mathieu tells AFTERWARD, a wrenching story of the aftermath of a tragic kidnapping in her trademark steady, solid, and authentic teen voice. Like Donna Gephart’s work, Mathieu is able to elevate an “issue” book to something much deeper and more profound—a story of kidnapped and rescued Ethan and Dylan and Dylan’s older sister Caroline and the scary awful truths of what happened and how they will all get beyond it. As I mentioned when she made us all laugh with her reading of the BFG during Roald Dahl Day, I am such a huge fan of Mathieu’s work and you should be, too! A definite recommend for all teens, particularly those who enjoy stories inspired by real events.


A Fierce and Subtle Poison Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781616205218
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Young Readers - April 12th, 2016

What more can you ask for in a debut novel than to be a stunning retelling of Hawthorne’s “Rapaccinni’s Daughter,” but set in Puerto Rico?  Dallas author Samantha Mabry’s A FIERCE AND SUBTLE POISON is a story where legends collide with reality when a boy is swept into the magical, dangerous world of a girl filled with poison. It’s stunning prose, magic realism, and star-crossed romance.

Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl—Isabel, the one with green skin and grass for hair, who feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family's Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill. Seventeen-year-old Lucas is about to find out whether the stories are just stories, or maybe some strange kind of truth. But will he survive this weird new world? Mabry’s written a story on many levels—from fairy tale, to warning of cultural appropriation, to crazy love. For teens and up, especially readers who like something different and strange and wonderful.


More Happy Than Not Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9781616956776
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Soho Teen - April 26th, 2016

MORE HAPPY THAN NOT debuted in 2015 and quickly hit the New York Times bestseller list while garnering numerous awards and starred reviews. It’s on our shelves this year in paperback with a gorgeous new cover and if you haven’t read this gritty, twisty, wrenching, set in a dangerous near-future New York, haven’t discovered Bronx native Adam Silvera, then now is a good time to do so! His voice is one of the most authentic of any author for young adults, and I don’t say that lightly. It’s the story of sixteen year old Aaron Soto, struggling to recover from his father’s suicide. He’s got support from his girlfriend and from his loving but overworked mom, but he’s also got sadness and a smile-shaped scar on his wrist. But when Aaron’s feelings for a new boy named Thomas turn into something he isn’t expecting, complications stir. And the existence of a shadowy hospital called the Leteo Institute offers the possibility of surgically altering painful memories. But the question becomes, Does Aaron want to forget, or has he already forgotten? An important read that confronts race and sexuality with unflinching honesty.


The Serpent King Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780553524024
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Crown Books for Young Readers - March 8th, 2016

Oh this story! Oh Jeff Zenter’s writing!! Oh THE SERPENT KING! This debut young adult novel is a story about friendship and family and forgiveness and casts an unflinching eye on growing up and finding your true self in the Bible Belt. It’s the story of the son of a Pentecostal minister, of extreme faith, of friendship and love and forgiveness. Like Zentner himself, it’s witty and funny and moving and different. Your teens will love it. So will you. And then you can all wait with me for March, 2017, when Zentner’s next YA novel, GOODBYE DAYS, arrives!!


The Memory of Things Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250095527
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - September 6th, 2016

With the proliferation this year of 9/11 fiction, you might have missed this one. I’m here to tell you that you need to read it! THE MEMORY OF THINGS is a beautiful young adult novel of friendship and first love, and the impossible yet possible ability to carry on with day-to-day living in the midst of horrific, unspeakable tragedy. It’s a hopeful, wonderful, wholly original story about sixteen-year old Kyle Donohue, fleeing the danger of the falling towers by running to safety across the Brooklyn Bridge. But when he meets a girl covered in ash, inexplicably wearing a pair of costume wings, a mystery unravels along with tragedy and survival. For teens who want an unconventional love and survival story. Once they’ve read it, they’ll want to read Gae Polisner’s other titles, like THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO.


What is KidLit Author Jennifer Mathieu Giving for the Holidays?

We’re excited to continue our feature about what books Texas kidlit authors are giving for holiday gifts this year! Because who better to recommend books than authors? And we have a huge, diverse and amazing community of writers for young people in Texas, many of them right here in Houston-- so many wonderful voices and stories and points of view. I hope you continue enjoy reading their choices as much as I did!

Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History . . . and Our Future! (City Lights/Sister Spit) Cover Image
By Kate Schatz, Miriam Klein Stahl (Illustrator)
$14.95
ISBN: 9780872866836
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: City Lights Books - April 7th, 2015

What a delicious and necessary book this is, especially in light of our recent election. As some try to normalize misogyny, those who know better should be sure to get this colorful, inspiring book into the hands of the young people they care about. With bright colors and informative text, Rad American Women A-Z shares the stories of such trailblazers as Angela Davis, Dolores Huerta, and Sonia Sotomayor. Although this primer is intended for younger readers, adults are sure to enjoy reading about women who truly made America great.


Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781594485367
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - September 6th, 2011

It's tricky to find a short story collection where every single narrative delivers, but Danielle Evans's compilation is a like an album full of number one hits. These stories - most of them focus on teenage girls and young women of color - are full of heart and aching authenticity, and they tackle race, friendships, and female sexuality with a bold and unique voice. I had the pleasure of teaching "Virgins" to my eleventh graders and they went crazy for it, debating its gut-wrenching ending until the bell rang. "Snakes" - about two young cousins whose summer spent with grandma has lasting ramifications on their lives - chilled me to my core. A must read.


The Book of Unknown Americans (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780345806406
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - March 3rd, 2015

Full disclosure.  The author of this novel is an old college classmate and dear friend, but I would recommend this novel even if she were a stranger on the street.  Set in a Delaware apartment complex that is home to Spanish-speaking immigrants from all over Latin America, Henriquez's novel centers around a teenage romance and a family that has recently emigrated from Mexico to the United States.  Using interchapters narrated by a variety of immigrants, this story shines a light on new Americans - both documented and undocumented - who play an integral part of our American story.  A beautiful book, but get the tissues handy.


The Best Ten Books Lydia Hasn't Talked About Enough This Year

The title pretty much says it all: for someone who talks about books for a living (and for fun), I still have not managed to shout about these ten books enough. In an ideal world, it wouldn’t be considered socially unacceptable for me to wander the streets, asking if you’d heard the Good News about my current favorite book yet, and in an even more ideal world, I’d have an unlimited supply of these books to press feverishly into your hands.

Him, Me, Muhammad Ali Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781941411315
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Sarabande Books - October 11th, 2016

#10

Jarrar switches easily from the brightly whimsical to the painfully real in this collection following Arab and Arab-American women as they struggle through love, lust, and longing. Whether rooted in fable or realism, whether following the journey of an Egyptian woman grieving her father or a woman with mountain goat legs searching for love, these stories hold truth.


Private Citizens: A Novel Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780062399106
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - February 9th, 2016

#9

Knife-blade-sharp social satire with deft characterization (as well as deft caricaturization, if I may), this debut novel set in the Bay Area is the greatest Feel-Bad Read of the year. Deliciously mean-spirited in tone but refreshingly equal-opportunity in scope, Tulathimutte spares no one, eviscerating the self-righteous, the branding-obsessed, the insecure navel-gazer, and the narcissistic in turn. You might end up hating many of the characters you come across in the book, but you'll also find yourself groaning in empathy and—let's be honest—in painful recognition. Mostly, you’ll find yourself laughing and turning page after page.


Another Brooklyn: A Novel Cover Image
$22.99
ISBN: 9780062359988
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Amistad - August 9th, 2016

#8

The quiet coming-of-age story of four young black women "growing up Girl" in the frenetic, sharp-clawed Brooklyn of the 1970s. With her hazy, dreamlike narrative, her prose clear and resonant as struck crystal, Woodson perfectly evokes four talented girls scrabbling to take hold of their futures, trying to hold onto themselves and each other, filled with fear and despair and hope, so much hope.


Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977597
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Graywolf Press - October 18th, 2016

#7

Equal parts personal essay and writing instruction, THRILL ME breaks away from Percy’s mountain-bear gruff-n-tuff persona to reveal the perfectionist nerd he really is—and writers and readers alike benefit from his generosity in doing so. Written with hilarity and clear-eyed, no-frills insight, THRILL ME is a quick read you’ll come back to again and again.


Cannibal (Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry) Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9780803290631
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Nebraska Press - September 1st, 2016

#6

A gorgeous, weighty debut collection, CANNIBAL explores Sinclair’s homeland of Jamaica, wrestling with the nation’s fertile land and turbulent history. Both the author’s home and her female body are war-torn, foreign, and post-colonial—the poet is an exile from both.  Evoking THE TEMPEST and Old Testament mythology, these brutal, ravishing poems bring forth a landscape at times raw with anger, at times lush with longing and beauty.


The Other Boy Cover Image
By M. G. Hennessey, Sfe R. Monster (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062427663
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - September 20th, 2016

#5

A sweet, sometimes painful but ultimately triumphant story about first love, true friendship, and the greatest game ever played: baseball. Shane, a white transgender boy in middle school, has settled into his new school, made the team with his best friend, developed a crush on the cutest girl in his class, and has almost forgiven his dad for his parents’ divorce, but of course things can’t stay simple for long. Though Shane struggles with discrimination, the story stays lighthearted and upbeat without sacrificing realism. THE OTHER BOY is as enjoyable a book as it is important.


What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781594634635
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Riverhead Books - March 8th, 2016

#4

Helen Oyeyemi may have started her career as the prodigy darling of the literary world, but she’s published her seventh book now and shows no sign of plateauing. Oyeyemi effortlessly injects fantasy into the social and political realities of these stories, loosely centered on the theme of keys and the literal and metaphorical doorways they lead to. Playful and mysterious, often queer and always fun, these are stories you can escape into.


Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube: Chasing Fear and Finding Home in the Great White North Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780062311566
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco - July 5th, 2016

#3

At the time of my writing this, Blair Braverman’s Twitter handle is “Feminist Jack London”—a more perfectly apt description of the contents of her brilliant memoir than I could write myself (but of course I’m going to try). WELCOME TO THE GODDAMN ICE CUBE is ostensibly about the author’s experience learning to race sled dogs in the coldest parts of the world, but like the best of memoirs, it’s about a lot more—it’s about fear, about being the perpetual outsider, about her great longing for the North and her desire to test herself, and we can’t help but hold our breath for her as she throws herself into the dangerous, dark winter to pursue a lifestyle dominated by men. Her story, told with a measured, even voice, is exciting, contemplative, gritty, and so, so real—this a book of a woman’s triumph over the discrimination we all face but in a place most of us will never see.


Du Iz Tak? Cover Image
By Carson Ellis, Carson Ellis (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780763665302
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - October 18th, 2016

#2

Yet another gem from my favorite can-do-no-wrong publisher, Candlewick Press. A sweeping drama of life and death played out by fancifully-anthropomorphic insects speaking a non-existent but still understandable language, DU IZ TAK? is an “empires rise, empires fall” tragicomedy for all ages. Seriously: no matter who you’re reading to, you won’t get tired of Carson Ellis’ gorgeous, intricate watercolor illustrations or her simple, perfect story anytime soon. 


The Fifth Season (Broken Earth #1) Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780316229296
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Orbit - August 4th, 2015

#1

I admit, including these two books is somewhat of a cheat—first, because I’m using one slot for two books that both deserve awards in their own right, and second, because I have already spent a good part of this year telling everyone I know about this brilliant, un-put-downable series by N.K. Jemisin, but I argue it fits the theme because I truly can't praise her work enough (and besides, it's my top ten list).

There have been many, many books, both recently and not, about the end of the world and what comes after. I have read many of these books, and enjoyed many of these books, but N.K. Jemisin’s brilliant new series managed to do something wonderful—surprise me.

Part fantasy, part prophetic warning of our possible future, THE FIFTH SEASON and its equally sharp sequel THE OBELISK GATE are set in a far-future world, so desiccated and wracked by earthquakes that its people carry emergency “runny-sacks” in anticipation of “fifth seasons,” the environmental aftermath of world-breaking quakes. Ecstatically imaginative in scope, with the most meticulous world-building a sci-fi/ fantasy nerd could ever hope for, this series is a finely-polished mirror for our own broken society, with our history of racism and imperialism, our cavalier disregard for an environment we’ve largely wrecked. Jemisin’s characters are superb, achingly human and each as complicated and angry and imperfect as the last, their battles set against the backdrop of a world in its death-throes, a civilization eating itself from the inside out.

If you only read one more book this year, make it two and make it these.


Ben Picks His Favorites

Making a “best of” list for 2016 is, I confess, either an act of self-aggrandizement or self-pity (I’m not sure which yet, because I haven’t gotten to the end of this paragraph). See, when I’m honest with myself, my favorite novel of the year was my own, THE SADNESS, which came out in June. Was it actually the best novel of the year? I can’t say (except, no, obviously it wasn’t--it was maybe somewhere near the middle). But it was the book in my life that needed the most help.

The Well-Stocked and Gilded Cage: Essays Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781944853013
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Outpost19 - August 2nd, 2016

Surveys (Semiotext(e) / Native Agents) Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781584351788
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Semiotext(e) - February 12th, 2016

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Since 2009, I have spent many nights skirting the edge of trouble with Natasha Stagg and Lawrence Lenhart. No, not actual trouble, but MFA-style trouble: too much drinking, awkward confessions and admissions, arguments that start friendly then slow-boil for hours, late nights that lead to bad freshman composition teaching at 8am. Recently, I gave a reading with both of them in Tucson and was surprised to learn that they’d never met each other before: their time at University of Arizona never overlapped (I was there longer than either of them). Here’s my point: I’m not qualified to objectively review either of these debut books. Stagg’s short novel is simultaneously sly and grim, a terse and lovely look at the pitfalls of youthful aimlessness and living a life online. Lenhart’s essay collection consists of erudite, form-shattering pieces about animals, Greek mythology, painful childhood memories. Do I sound biased if I say that bother books are terrific? I do, and they are. I couldn’t be prouder of my friends.


Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think about Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781594204838
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Penguin Press - February 9th, 2016

#5

Here’s a cliche: everyone’s a critic. This--often said derisively--sort of gets as Scott’s argument in this book, but for him, the notion of criticism being a communal cultural project is an optimistic one. This is the best book on the philosophy of criticism--as vocation, as art, as essential practice--I’ve ever read. Scott is one of the lead film critics at the New York Times, oftentimes a fierce canine in print, but in this work, he ranges far from cinema, sniffing around in the gardens of ancient texts, literature, performance art, returning the the reader with a historical map of the discipline between his teeth. Nothing arrogant or pretention here. Scott proves with this book that he’s not only a great critic--he’s a great writer, period. One day, a family member saw this book and its title and asked if it was a book about how to better your life through being able to take criticism. At first, I scoffed inwardly. Then I realized I was wrong, and my family member was kind of right.


Staff Pick Logo
How to Set a Fire and Why Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781101870570
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Pantheon Books - July 5th, 2016

#4

Will this novel be known as the moment when Ball--one of the most formally inventive avant-gardists of his generation--went “mainstream?” Hell, it almost qualifies as young adult fiction. His narrator is a teenage girl at odds with her life, too eccentric for her peers, to perceptive to fit in. Her response? Be sassy, and set some fires. The first-person narration recalls the brash, blunt elegance of, you guessed it, Holden Caulfield, but Ball is even more unforgiving in what he puts his protagonist through, and his novel feels less like a sustained narrative (though it is) than a litany of the fragmented and often contradictory thoughts fighting for attention in a young person’s brain. So see? Still experimental--but more human.


Eve Out of Her Ruins Cover Image
By Ananda Devi, Jeffrey Zuckerman (Translator), J. M. G. Le Clezio (Introduction by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781941920404
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Deep Vellum Publishing - September 13th, 2016

#3

This novel pulverized me, and more than nearly any other book I can think of, it demands to be read in one sitting. Set in Port Louis, a tourist town on the island of Mauritius, its four narrators are all looking into mirrors and not liking what they see. All are trying to realize a different version of themselves in their impoverished neighborhood, trying to be sexier, tougher, smarter. As their stories intersect, they all learn the ways that these other lives are impossible to live, and they glimpse truths about one another. So what the heck is this book actually about? No way am I telling you here, except to say that halfway through, something happens that changes everything. At that point, you realized Devi’s strategy, making you focus so much on character, voice, and setting that you haven’t noticed the tense thriller uncoliningling in the background. Why read this in one sitting? The book is short, yes, but the couple sustained hours you’ll spend with it make you realized just how far Devi gets in such a short space.


The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977498
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - September 6th, 2016

#2

Here’s the thing: I’m an idiot, often stubborn, not wanting to read outside my comfort zone. When I first was given a copy of this book, I buried it in my stack. Maternity? I will never give birth to a baby, nor am I even thinking right now about becoming a father. How would this book speak to me? Like I say, I’m an idiot, because I finally picked it up, it became one of the most engrossing reading experienced so of my life. In this memoir, Boggs recalls her experience trying to become pregnant, but “memoir” should be in quotes, because her book is also a study of infertility from artistic, economic, and cultural perspectives. Every wondered why Martha’s childlessness in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Seems deployed to make her appear even more monstrous? What cultural expectations underpinned that decision? I think I had wondered, but it took Boggs to make me realize it--to realize that, specifically, and to realize many other things.


White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781101870853
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Pantheon Books - May 3rd, 2016

#1

More and more often, my barometer for great literature is whether or not I hear the author’s voice in my head long after I’ve finished the book. To put it mildly: Dyer changed the way I see the world. In these travel essays--or are they short stories? memoristic blips? ekphrastic exercises?--Dyer uses his signature wit and urbanity to craft limber pieces that remind us of all the ways our lives intersect with art, culture, politics, you name it. Hell, why do I say “us” here? I mean me--me--and the “me” in Dyer’s pieces goes to the desert to look at installation art, travels to Asia to find unexpected personal connection, picks up a hitchhiker who may be murderous, visits the former home of Theodor Adorno, and confronts his own mortality in a very “Los Angeles” way. Travel essays, sure--but Dyer would be the ideal travel companion, smart and perceptive and curious. But then again, why would you need to actually travel with him? Read this masterpiece, and you’ll hear his voice in your head wherever you go.


Those five, and these five, in alphabetical order:


A Bestiary Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780996316743
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Cleveland State University Poetry Center - April 15th, 2016

Hoang, a shape-shifting writer, breaks out with a shape-shifting essay collection, a raw-nerved examination of race, family, sex, abuse, and the shapes we’re all expected to shift into over the course of a lifetime in order to survive.


Good People Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781942658023
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Bellevue Literary Press - January 12th, 2016

Do you need me to tell you that this title is ironic? Well, maybe it is. Lopez writes stories about characters who spin themselves into self-destruction spirals of self-delusion, and he has a better ear for interior monologues than nearly any contemporary writer I can think of. Great stuff--dark, funny, brutalizing. These “good” people are me, and they’re you.


The Mothers Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780399184512
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - October 11th, 2016

Rumors ripple through a community Southern California--rumours about a young woman’s pregnancy and her family’s response. A great debut novel about gossip told from the point of view of the gossip itself. A pernicious game of telephone between two covers.


Of This New World (Iowa Short Fiction Award) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781609384432
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Iowa Press - October 1st, 2016

A debut short story collection, but no navel-gazing here. Hyde embodies cults, outlaws, even life on Mars. Her interests and talents feel infinite. I have no idea how much of herself is in these stories, and I don’t want to know.


We Eat Our Own Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781501128318
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner Book Company - September 6th, 2016

Another debut--this one a novel about a tortured film production in the middle of the jungle (based on the notorious found-footage forbearer Cannibal Holocaust). A tyrannical horror filmmaker intersects with guerrilla warfare. Totally original, and scary storytelling so smart if feels high-def.


Made in Texas

At Brazos, we think of ourselves as having something for everybody, wherever they’re from, but of course we cannot escape a key part of our identity: Texas. Good thing for us that Texas means a lot more than just cowboys and ranches. It also means great food, natural beauty, art, and multiculturalism. If you’re in love with all things Texas, or if you just want to give a taste of the Lone Star State to somebody else, we have some great books and gifts for you.


Pretty Paper Cover Image
$23.00
ISBN: 9780735211544
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Blue Rider Press - October 25th, 2016

Nothing says Texas like Willie Nelson, and his song “Pretty Paper” is a holiday classic. Now, Nelson brings us a companion piece to his song: a charming book that imagines the life of the Texas street vendor who inspired his song. An inspirational holiday tale, and perhaps another classic by Nelson.


Marfa Modern: Artistic Interiors of the West Texas High Desert Cover Image
By Helen Thompson, Casey Dunn (Photographer)
$50.00
ISBN: 9781580934732
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Monacelli Press - October 25th, 2016

It’s hard to argue with the fact that Marfa, TX, is one of the nation’s most renowned artistic getaways. This photography book takes another look at Marfa and the West Texas desert: by looking at the region’s beautiful artistic interiors of the people who live there. A perfect way to take a trip to Marfa any time you want!


Seeing Texas History: The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum Cover Image
By Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, Victoria Ramirez (Introduction by), Jan Bullock (Introduction by)
$40.00
ISBN: 9781477310892
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum - November 29th, 2016


Texas has a rich and varied history, one that remains tied to its present identity. The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum has been presenting artifacts of Texas history of years, and this volume brings together some of the most striking items. This beautiful book is perfect for lovers of Texas history, and also a great way to get newbies acquainted with the state.


The Enchilada Queen Cookbook: Enchiladas, Fajitas, Tamales, and More Classic Recipes from Texas-Mexico Border Kitchens Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250082916
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - November 1st, 2016

Food! That’s right, no Texana list would be complete without it. We’re crazy about enchiladas here, and Sylvia Casares has been dubbed “The Queen of Tex-Mex Cuisine.” This new cookbook reveals some of her secrets of how to make delicious Tex-Mex dishes, and just flipping through and looking at the images will make your mouth water.


Houston on the Move: A Photographic History (Focus on American History) Cover Image
$45.00
ISBN: 9781477310946
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Texas Press - October 25th, 2016

America is figuring out what Houstonians have always known: that H-Town is one of the nation’s leading cities for food, culture, and architecture. This delightful coffee table book presents a photographic history of the Bayou City, which makes it the perfect gift to give someone who wants to understand all the ways Houston has developed, and continues to develop, into a great American city.


$12.00
SKU: GeotoysHOU

Do you know a Texana geek who needs a fun way to pass the time? Pick up this magnetic Hosuton puzzle. It contains 100 pieces and comes in a beautifully designed canister that is itself a work of art.


Last but not least, check out our exclusive t-shirts that map out Houston’s bayous. Exclusive because, well, we made it ourselves! Houston is nicknamed “Bayou City” for a reason, and this shirt shows the intriguing and evocative shape of Houston’s water.



Exclusively in store:

TEXAS POETRY CALENDAR 2017
The poetry of Texas is on display in the Texas Poetry Calendar! An always popular item, the new edition keeps it simple: clean calendar pages paired with great Texas poems. A wonderful way to acknowledge Texas art and culture while planning your new year!

NOSTALGIC VIEWS OF HOUSTON 2017
Another calendar, this one for a desk or easel. The title says it all! Here are twelve great views of old-fashioned Houston, from the state flag to the San Jacinto Monument to city hall and downtown. A great piece of nostalgia to remind you of the past while you move into the future.

Call us at 713-523-0701 to reserve your Texas calendars


Books for Adventurers and Explorers

The Lost Property Office (Section 13 #1) Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781481467094
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - November 8th, 2016

From Houston-based author James R. Hannibal comes the story of thirteen year old Jack Buckles, a boy who can find anything, particularly the things normal people have given up on. But Jack’s father has disappeared in London while searching for something called the Ember, and turns out dad is a member of a secret society of detectives. Can Jack find his father and best the bad guys? LOST PROPERTY OFFICE is a grand middle grade mystery with secrets and fun and magic.
Ages 8-12


Journey's End Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780399169601
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - October 25th, 2016

Nollie Stanhope has come to tiny Journey’s End, Scotland with her scientist father to study the Boundary, this mysterious offshore fog bank. She makes friend with townie Bel. But then Albert, a boy who mysteriously disappeared into the fog in 1914 reappears, not having aged a day. And the girls and Albert stumble across an ancient Scottish spell. Bestselling author Rachel Hawkins’ JOURNEY’S END is a terrific fantasy- adventure with magic and quests and friendship.
Ages 8-12


Every Hidden Thing Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781481464161
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - October 11th, 2016

The quickest way to describe Kenneth Oppel’s EVERY HIDDEN THING is Romeo and Juliet meets INDIANA JONES in the Badlands with dinosaurs! Two teens, their fathers rival archaelogists, fall hard for each other as danger, and the prospect of unearthing a legendary T-Rex called Black Beauty, loom large. A page-turning YA with love and adventure!
Ages 14 and up


Maps Poster Book Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9780763688356
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Big Picture Press - February 23rd, 2016

All the little adventurers in your life will relish this large-size poster book that lets them travel the world and all its wonders. Perfect for opening those young eyes to the wide, wide world!
Ages 7-9


This One Goes to Eleven: Keaton's Top Reads

There are too many books. Too many to read. Too many to fit on any year end top ten list. So, I’ve decided to add an additional spot this year, just because I couldn’t bring myself to leave off even one more of the fascinating reads published in 2016.

Staff Pick Logo
How to Set a Fire and Why Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781101870570
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Pantheon Books - July 5th, 2016

#11

A fast-paced, stylized novel featuring a genius teenage misanthrope looking for her place in the world and finding it in destruction. Lucia Stanton is a Huck Finn or Holden Caulfield kind of character—wise beyond her years, acerbic, funny, always getting into trouble. After a family tragedy, she finds purpose in her high school's secret Arson Club. That’s right...Arson Club. Ball’s rendering of adolescent alienation and thought processes is spot on. Lucia is alive on the page—one of my favorite protagonists of the year. Through her unforgettable voice, Ball makes bald social critiques and raises complex moral questions. It’s a hell of a ride. I can see HOW TO SET A FIRE AND WHY becoming a cult classic—being passed among precocious high schoolers reading beyond their years and fed up with ineffectual system around them—for a long time to come.


Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was Cover Image
By Sjon, Victoria Cribb (Translator)
$22.00
ISBN: 9780374212438
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - August 2nd, 2016

#10

Another sparse, dreamlike, near-perfect gem of a novel by the great Icelandic author, Sjón! Translated by Victoria Cribb, MOONSTONE weaves together a young gay hustler’s coming-of-age in isolated and conservative Reykjavík, with the world-changing birth of cinema, and the cataclysm of the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918. The result is a minimalist epic masterpiece. It is sexually explicit, psychologically daring, and at times nightmarish. And in true Sjón fashion, the ending of the strange tale completely flips the entire book on its head, making of it something magical and almost beyond comprehension in its imaginative beauty. Nobody writes like this guy.


Seeing Red Cover Image
By Lina Meruane, Megan McDowell (Translator)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781941920244
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Deep Vellum Publishing - February 23rd, 2016

#9

"Visceral" is the one word I’d use to describe this autobiographical novel out of Chile. Translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell, the story centers around a medical ordeal in which the author, Meruane, nearly lost her vision. When weak blood vessels, stemming from her diabetes, burst and fill her eyes with blood, the protagonist of SEEING RED is suddenly forced to live as a blind woman with a dwindling chance of recovery. Meruane’s writing is direct, crackling with a kinetic energy, and imbued with no small amount of bitterness. The prose is so immediate, it seems like she wrote the entire book in one go. The result is a propulsive, no-frills character study, darkly erotic, and unsettling in its depiction of bodily illness and the resulting psychological effects. And it has a great ending!


The Kingdom Cover Image
By Fuminori Nakamura, Kalau Almony (Translator)
$23.95
ISBN: 9781616955922
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Soho Crime - July 12th, 2016

#8

A taut, lurid and deliciously dark potboiler from the reigning king of Japanese noir. Comprising a "sister" novel to Nakamura's English-language debut, THE THIEF, THE KINGDOM is a psychological thriller with philosophical leanings. Translated by Kalau Almony, it follows a remorseless prostitute and set-up artist, who uses her sexuality to entrap important men in blackmail schemes. She is a detached loner, but nevertheless gets dragged into a situation well beyond her abilities to control. At the center of it all is the villain, Kizaki—a seemingly omnipotent underworld boss whose dedication to the art of cruelty is unrivaled. Imagine him as a cross between Michael Corleone, the Marquis de Sade and The Joker. He is one of the most frightening characters in contemporary literature. All in all, this is a brilliant pulp crime novel. I read it in a single day, almost nonstop. It's vicious, depraved, contemplative, and above all FUN! Long live Fumi.


Seven Brief Lessons on Physics Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780399184413
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - March 1st, 2016

#7

Did you know that space is not emptiness, but is actually made of infinitesimally small “grains” of matter? Or how about that the very concept of time is a product of the laws of thermodynamics? One of the world's preeminent theoretical physicists lays out seven succinct overviews of the most momentous ideas in modern physics, ranging from the cosmic to the subatomic scale. Translated from the Italian by Simon Carnell and Erica Segre, Rovelli's summaries of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, quantum mechanics, particle physics, and more are conveyed in concise yet lyrical essays that make extremely complex concepts completely accessible. All in all, a perfect introduction to the field of physics for any reader. I read it in just two days, but it's changed my entire perception of reality. Utterly fascinating.


Staff Pick Logo
A Collapse of Horses Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566894135
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Coffee House Press - February 9th, 2016

#6

From sadistic childhood games, to amnesiac arsonists, to vacation resorts on the edge of insanity, A COLLAPSE OF HORSES is an absolutely terrifying collection of literary horror stories from a “writer’s writer" who is a master of exploiting the inherent suspense of the unknown. Evenson’s stories remind me of The Twilight Zone or SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK...for adults. They comprise top notch offerings of psychological horror, suspense and science fiction. He is of the same ilk as Poe and Shirley Jackson. This scratches an old itch for me. I loved it. But first, a warning: you’ll want to turn on all the lights in your house before reading this one.


The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trial Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977368
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - April 5th, 2016

#5

I will read anything Nelson writes—poetry, memoir, grocery lists. Easily one of our greatest living nonfiction writers and one of our finest cultural critics, she is simply put a most vital voice for our day and age. This recently republished work of prose is a masterful amalgamation of genres. A brave, intensely personal memoir, a true crime account of a cold case murder, and an incisive study of our society's relationship with violence, misogyny, justice, and loss, THE RED PARTS recounts the trial of a man charged with the murder of Nelson’s aunt decades earlier (first explored in her debut, JANE: A MURDER) after advances in DNA testing finds new evidence. But her real focus is the resulting psychological toll it takes on her and her family. THE RED PARTS is a powerful and necessary work. Everyone should be reading Maggie Nelson.


Kill 'em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812983739
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Spiegel & Grau - November 1st, 2016

#4

Contemporary Renaissance man and National Book Award-winner McBride gives us yet another astonishing work. This time, it’s a searching, heartfelt and honest biography of the late great James Brown. KILL ‘EM AND LEAVE is an immersive work of nonfiction, equal parts personal memoir of a fan, cultural critique of race in America, and a reassessment/reclamation of the Godfather of Soul as both a man and an artist. McBride performs a literary autopsy on Brown's legacy, cutting through the myth and legend surrounding JB in order to find the real man, flaws and all. Easily the most enlightening study of an enigmatic and profoundly influential American icon from a writer who is nothing less than a national treasure.


Homegoing Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781101947135
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - June 7th, 2016

#3

This debut novel by an amazingly talented young author from Ghana follows two branches of an African/African-American family, spanning seven generations and almost 300 years. Told in unadorned and unflinching prose, HOMEGOING is a marvel of historical fiction, a breathtakingly ambitious family saga, and a novel of true social importance. Gyasi's narrative skill belies her twenty-six years. Each of her characters is wholly and vibrantly alive. She conveys inhumanity, suffering, sorrow, love, resilience, and triumph with equal force. Her nuanced look at the history and ongoing legacy of the slave trade is simply stunning. One of the more impressive debuts I've ever read.


Ninety-Nine Stories of God Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781941040355
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tin House Books - July 12th, 2016

#2

A potent collection of (very) short fiction from a longtime master finally getting her due. Recalling the parables of Kafka and Borges, the tiny works in Williams’ NINETY-NINE STORIES OF GOD can be endlessly unpacked. You will want to revisit this book again and again, and you’ll find something new every time. Alternately, odd, humorous, macabre, straightforward, and totally inscrutable, these stories remind you what can be done with fiction: anything. Absolutely tremendous stuff.


Staff Pick Logo
The Underground Railroad Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780385542364
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday Books - August 2nd, 2016

#1

THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD is hands down the best book I read all year. A life-changing, endlessly imaginative historical novel from one of America's best young authors, THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD is an escaped slave narrative that doubles as a true American epic—the continuing origin story of Africans in America. The major conceit that sets this work apart, a surprisingly obvious twist that allows the novel to transcend and become something else entirely, is that the titular network of slave emancipation is a literal railroad. Sounds simple, but it is in fact a profound literary device. And, interestingly, as an actual railroad, Whitehead is able to use the Underground Railroad as a much more powerful metaphor for the black American odyssey. Moreover, despite this sole fantastical element, the rest of Whitehead's portrayal of Southern slavery is unvarnished, graphically violent, and works as a critique of contemporary race relations as well as an indictment of the duplicitous "American imperative" that has allowed for slavery, brutality and genocide in the name of freedom, progress and purity throughout our country's history. This is a near-perfect novel. Nothing seems out of place. There are echoes of everything from GULLIVER'S TRAVELS, to INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF A SLAVE GIRL, to THE LOTTERY, and more that only serve to heighten the almost mythic quality of this work of fiction. It's astounding how good this book is. I can't say enough about it. A masterpiece.


Ulrika's Favorite Books and Gifts of 2016

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 Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9781101906118
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hogarth Press - 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: On Our Shelves Now
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: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor Books - 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 Joao Gilberto Noll, Adam Morris (Translator)
$9.95
ISBN: 9781931883511
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
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 1-5 Days
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.


$70.00
SKU: LamyG

To say that I have a love for all things fountain pens would be an understatement. I’m the person who went out and purchased other pens just in case someone needed to borrow a pen from me. For the past year I have been on a quest to find a reasonably priced gold fountain pen and, to my surprise, just this year, Lamy released the Lamy LX with a matching anodized aluminium case. As with all Lamy pens, the German craftsmanship is impeccable. The Lamy LX has an aluminium anodized finish with a metal clip feature that is the same color as the fountain pen. 


$14.00
SKU: 846680044251

Anything that can also hold something else always is a personal favorite. I first came across Poppin a year and half ago at the Las Vegas Summer Market, and we just began carrying their products this year. As metallics have gained more popularity over the past few years, we rarely find them in the darker tones, so I wanted to highlight this great color. One of the great features of Poppin’s pencil pouch is that is can be more than just a carrying case for your writing utensils. The interior is fully lined in cotton with a contrasting pop of color that brings an added touch of class to the pouch. The metallic exterior is durable and water-repellent. We also have the pencil pouches in gold and copper.


$120.00
SKU: 4895169100809

I first fell in love with these recycled leather totes last year. At the time I wasn’t sure about carrying them in the store. Personally I love bags: handbags, tote bags, and really anything that can carrying something else. These totes are made from recycled leather, which is easier to clean and more durable. The leather is sturdy and stands on its own when placing your items in it, hence it won’t fold over on itself. It has a flat bottom which makes it great for carrying a laptop or paperwork. It has an interior zipper pocket along with a side pocket for storage of smaller items you might need to carry. This is definitely one of my favorite, if not very favorite, items of the year. Sadly, I still can’t figure out which one I want to add to my collection.


Bestselling Event Books 2016

Anyone who follows us online or in-store knows that we host A LOT of events—more and more each year, it seems. We love the community these events help create, and we’re always looking ahead to more exciting stuff (including Zadie Smith visiting in January to discuss her just-released novel, SWING TIME).

Below, find our list of our bestselling events of 2016, which includes two we hosted offsite at the Christ Church Cathedral, Episcopal. This list of ten books speaks to the diversity of the events we host at Brazos Bookstore, and each one makes a great gift this holiday season!

On My Own Cover Image
$23.95
ISBN: 9781101875285
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - February 2nd, 2016

#1

The beloved NPR radio host visited us in February to discuss her memoir, ON MY OWN; needless to say, tickets sold out pretty quickly. Everyone loves Rehm—her intelligence, her bravery—and this book is perfect for people who have been following her career all these years.


The After Party Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781594633164
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Riverhead Books - May 17th, 2016

#2

DiSclafani set THE AFTER PARTY in a voluptuous milieu: Houston’s own River Oaks neighborhood in the 1950s. The novel has glamour, suspense, and humor as it tells the story of the lifelong bond between two wealthy women. For people who want to learn about Houston’s past and also read a great page-turner.


S.P.Q.R: A History of Ancient Rome Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781631492228
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation - September 6th, 2016

#3


SPQR was one of our featured titles last year, and this year we hosted Beard as she toured around the country for the paperback release. In this book, she provides a nuanced and lucid history of Rome, so history buffs and lovers of the ancient world will rejoice.


The City of Mirrors (Passage Trilogy #3) Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780345505002
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Ballantine Books - May 24th, 2016

#4

We’re lucky to call Cronin a Houston writer, and in this conclusion to his acclaimed trilogy of horror novels, he ends a rich and textured story of vampires and apocalypse. The whole trilogy makes a great gift for people who love horror fiction.


The Adventurist Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9781250062239
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Press - April 26th, 2016

#5

Another Houston writer! Hipps’ debut novel of workplace mundaneness and the search for release recalls the style of Walker Percy’s THE MOVIEGOER. Here is a book of bureaucratic humor, and readers of smart, snappy literary fiction will eat it up.


A Friend of Mr. Lincoln Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780307700674
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - February 2nd, 2016

#6

Harrigan’s novel tells the story of a young Abraham Lincoln during his days as a lawyer in Illinois—a different look at one of America’s most looming historical figures. A lot of fun for lovers of historical fiction, and for people who want to probe our nation’s past for answers to our present.


Before We Visit the Goddess Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781476792002
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 19th, 2016

#7

Divakaruni is a beloved professor at the University of Houston, and a prolific author. This new novel—one of her best—follows an Indian-American family through its ups and downs over three generations. It’s a sly and heartwarming read.


The Sadness Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781939419705
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Unnamed Press - June 14th, 2016

#8

The debut novel from our own marketing director! Rybeck’s book tells the story of two misanthropic siblings reunited in Portland, Maine, to solve the mystery of a missing girl and how it connects to a famous cult film. Perfect for cinephiles and also people who like smart literary mysteries!


The Making of Donald Trump Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9781612196329
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Melville House Publishing - August 2nd, 2016

#9

Good lord, what to say about this one? At Brazos, we try to keep ourselves above the political fray, but this book increasingly seems like a must-read. In it, Johnston—who has reported on Trump for decades—reveals some of the more unsettling truths about our next president. Get this book for any family member who doesn’t understand why you can’t stop crying.


Never Look an American in the Eye: A Memoir of Flying Turtles, Colonial Ghosts, and the Making of a Nigerian Amiercan Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781616957605
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Soho Press - October 11th, 2016

#10

Iconic Nigerian author Ndibe—a heroic cultural commentator in his own country—visited us to discuss this collection of essays. This is a work of great empathy, and a must-read for people who want to open their eyes to other cultures.


Mark Recommends Books for the Holidays


Thus Bad Begins Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781101946084
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - November 1st, 2016

The Last Wolf & Herman Cover Image
By Laszlo Krasznahorkai, John Batki (Translator), George Szirtes (Translator)
$15.95
ISBN: 9780811226080
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - September 27th, 2016

The Book: A Cover-To-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9780393244793
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - August 23rd, 2016

Pages