Articles

This is for any kind of written article like a blog post about a certain topic.

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 4-7 Business 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
$17.00
ISBN: 9781594485367
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business 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
$15.95
ISBN: 9780345806406
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business 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 4-7 Business 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: Unlikely to Be Available
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 4-7 Business 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: On Our Shelves Now
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 (The Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry) Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9780803290631
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business 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)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062427663
Availability: BACKORDERED
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: UNAVAILABLE
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: Unlikely to Be Available
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)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780763665302
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Candlewick - 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 (The Broken Earth #1) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316229296
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
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: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Outpost19 - August 2nd, 2016

Surveys: A Novel (Semiotext(e) / Native Agents) Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781584351788
Availability: UNAVAILABLE
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: UNAVAILABLE
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 Badge
How to Set a Fire and Why: A Novel Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781101870570
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Pantheon - 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 Clézio (Introduction by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781941920404
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
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: Unlikely to Be Available
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: UNAVAILABLE
Published: Pantheon - 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: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
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 4-7 Business 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: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780399184512
Availability: UNAVAILABLE
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 4-7 Business 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: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781501128318
Availability: UNAVAILABLE
Published: Scribner - 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 4-7 Business 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 (Photographs by)
$50.00
ISBN: 9781580934732
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: The 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
$40.00
ISBN: 9781477310892
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
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
By Sylvia Casares, Oscar Casares (Contributions by), Dotty Griffith
$32.50
ISBN: 9781250082916
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
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 Series) Cover Image
By Steven R. Strom, Bob Bailey Studios (By (photographer))
$45.00
ISBN: 9781477310946
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
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.


Books for Adventurers and Explorers

The Lost Property Office (Section 13 #1) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781481467094
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
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: UNAVAILABLE
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: Unlikely to Be Available
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 4-7 Business 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 Badge
How to Set a Fire and Why: A Novel Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781101870570
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Pantheon - 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: A Novel Cover Image
By Sjón, Victoria Cribb (Translated by)
$22.00
ISBN: 9780374212438
Availability: UNAVAILABLE
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: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
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 (Translated by)
$23.95
ISBN: 9781616955922
Availability: UNAVAILABLE
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 Badge
A Collapse of Horses Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566894135
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
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: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
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
$18.00
ISBN: 9780812983739
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Random House - 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: A novel Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781101947135
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Knopf - 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: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
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 Badge
The Underground Railroad (Pulitzer Prize Winner) (National Book Award Winner) (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780385542364
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Doubleday - 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: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101906118
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
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 4-7 Business Days
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 4-7 Business Days
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 4-7 Business 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 4-7 Business 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.


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: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Knopf - 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: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781594633164
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
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.


SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781631492228
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Liveright - 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: A Novel (Book Three of The Passage Trilogy) Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780345505002
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
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: A Novel Cover Image
Unavailable from Brazos Bookstore
ISBN: 9781250062239
Availability: OUT OF PRINT - Not Available for Order
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: A novel Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780307700674
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Knopf - 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: A Novel Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781476792002
Availability: UNAVAILABLE
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: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
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
Unavailable from Brazos Bookstore
ISBN: 9781612196329
Availability: OUT OF PRINT - Not Available for Order
Published: Melville House - 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.


#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: A novel Cover Image
By Javier Marias, Margaret Jull Costa (Translated by)
$27.95
ISBN: 9781101946084
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Knopf - November 1st, 2016

The Last Wolf & Herman Cover Image
By László Krasznahorkai, John Batki (Translated by), George Szirtes (Translated by)
Unavailable from Brazos Bookstore
ISBN: 9780811226080
Availability: OUT OF PRINT - Not Available for Order
Published: New Directions - 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 4-7 Business Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - August 23rd, 2016

Annalia Runs Down Her Top Ten

Prince died in April, and that was enough for me. Add to that the Orlando shooting and Christina Grimmie’s murder in June, plus three parts election-induced insomnia...This grief has long since been a fever that takes hold of everything.

In lucid moments, though, there have been books and friends and Twitter. This year, for my top ten list, I chose books by authors and activists that both challenge me to rise and remind me to rest.

The Queen of the Night Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780544925472
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Mariner Books - November 1st, 2016

Many times, if there is hype about someone or something, I tend to fall back. When Alexander Chee came to the store in February, the buzz was that he has twenty thousand Twitter followers—and he does! Based on that data, I assumed that Chee did not require or desire our attention, that he would be contained and rescued from the oft-romanticized artist’s struggle.

Now, I have no idea how I could have thought this. When he read, his gentle tone and the decadence of QUEEN reminded me of when I was a girl and would listen to The Nutcracker on cassette tape. I’d imagine what it would be like to see the ballet—the ladies in their flowing costumes, the food and presents and candy, everything large, everything colorful.

After the event, when we were picking up chairs, Chee said hello and asked me how I was or thanked me for working. It’s a small thing but also something many authors do not do, and not the way he did. Leaning against the table at the front of the store where we stage our readings, Chee gave me a long look and listened to whatever it is I managed to chirp in his direction. He did not check his phone, ask about where to get a good drink. It had flipped somehow, where perhaps he had come to meet us rather than the other way round.

I added him on Twitter that night and have never regretted it.


The Surrender Cover Image
Unavailable from Brazos Bookstore
ISBN: 9781939781291
Availability: OUT OF PRINT - Not Available for Order
Published: Anomalous Press - March 31st, 2016

For many moons, I admired Scott Esposito not for his CV but for the way he handles himself on Twitter—enthusiastic about the good things, unapologetic about the bad things. There’s never the fear that his reputation could be ruined, or his brand disrupted, and I always liked that. Not knowing what he would say, I sent him a few questions for the Literary Hub feature I wrote about our break-in this past September. He sent answers back to me the same day. Since then, Esposito has remained a constant source of light in my world. He reminds me my weirdness is valid and beautiful.


Knives & Ink: Chefs and the Stories Behind Their Tattoos (with Recipes) Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9781632861214
Availability: UNAVAILABLE
Published: Bloomsbury USA - October 18th, 2016

On both his hands below the second knuckle, Isaac Fitzgerald has a tattoo that reads COME HOME. I saw it for the first time in maybe January or February, when Nick Flynn was telling me about a recent party in New York. He asked if we knew each other. We didn’t (and still don’t—hi, Isaac, if you’re reading this) but that was enough to convince me. Through Instagram, I discovered that the tattoo is a copy of one that belonged to a close friend of Fitzgerald’s that had passed away, which only added another layer to my admiration—grain upon grain. KNIVES & INK is Fitzgerald’s second book about tattoos. In this incarnation, chefs share stories about their ink alongside signature recipes. (It’s on my Christmas list.)


A Bestiary Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780996316743
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Cleveland State University Poetry Center - April 15th, 2016

Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows that Lily Hoang and I are scab sisters. How it came to be that way is that we played phone tag while she finished her eleven-week escapade around Europe then ate dinner together over Skype. In Boston, she ordered so much Indian food that they gave her silverware for at least two people while I ate a personal pan pizza on a stool at my kitchen counter in Houston. Call it the jet lag, blame the comfort food—Hoang talked to me like we were old friends having a sleepover. (When we met in person two months later, she hugged me.)

The thing A BESTIARY showed me is how terrified I am of failing, and admitting when I do. Hoang, though, wears her shame like a tattoo—a symbol that is there and marks time and does not need to be explained unless you’re in the mood to tell. (I am trying to be better about it.)


Umami Cover Image
By Laia Jufresa, Sophie Hughes (Translator)
Unavailable from Brazos Bookstore
ISBN: 9781780748917
Availability: OUT OF PRINT - Not Available for Order
Published: ONEWorld Publications - September 13th, 2016

Truth: UMAMI came to me by way of The Rumpus. I volunteered to review it on the basis of Sophie Hughes as translator. As has been well-documented, UMAMI became my favorite novel of the year. Yes, there’s a style; yes, there’s Mexico City. What I want to highlight here is Jufresa’s goal to write her female characters as fully-dimensional women, and the relief I felt as a female reader to see that embodied. In other words, sometimes the absence of something—in this case, the trope of woman as the whore or the mother—emphasizes how much pain it produces.


Prelude to Bruise Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781566893749
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - September 9th, 2014

The thing Saeed Jones taught (and continues to teach) me is that there are some things that I will never understand, that will never belong to me, and that a large part of being a decent human being includes finding ways to cope with that fact. I don’t get a cookie or a free pass from the black community for being Korean. No matter what, there is always more work that can be done.


Voyage of the Sable Venus: and Other Poems Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781101875438
Availability: UNAVAILABLE
Published: Knopf - September 29th, 2015

Like Saeed Jones, Robin Coste Lewis never needed your permission or the invention of a hashtag to write her pain. And it’s easy to acknowledge the work that went behind the title poem, a seventy-two page piece composed entirely of descriptions and captions of art about black women from international art spaces. What has always gotten me, though, is the way Lewis writes about black women who owned slaves. If that idea breaks your brain, that’s all the more proof that the system needs to change: slavery was always complex.


Odes Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780451493620
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Knopf - September 20th, 2016

Sharon Olds was supposed to read with Tony Hoagland for Inprint earlier this year but then there was a flood in a series of floods that was so bad the mayor shut down the metro. At that time, I had not yet read any of her work but knew enough to attend because a legendary poet is a legendary poet. Then I read STAG’S LEAP. I wanted to include ODES here because it’s important to remember that everything—everything, even the worst things—is temporary.


Blackacre: Poems Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977504
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Graywolf Press - September 6th, 2016

If my e-mail interview with author Laia Jufresa and translator Sophie Hughes was the ideal composed interview, chatting with Monica Youn was the ideal phone interview. I asked her about BLACKACRE thinking she would teach me something about what it means to be a recovering lawyer. Instead, she told me about the five years her and her husband spent in fertility treatment hell. The hope? That sharing her story will allow other infertile women to feel less ashamed. I have nothing but respect for her.


The Pedestrians Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781933517896
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Wave Books - April 1st, 2014

Even working at a bookstore, there’s no way to be familiar with everything by everyone. Rachel Zucker has written nine books but I discovered her through her brain child Commonplace Podcast. It’s pretty self explanatory—Zucker interviews poets and other artists. What makes it a stand-out production to me is that people talk to Zucker. Concrete example: since 2009, Nick Flynn has been part of my life in some form or another but the Flynn she conjures in the second episode is not the one I know. It’s true that you can never learn everything there is to know about a person, and that knowing it all doesn’t mean you understand them, but I liked the idea of taking someone I thought I knew and discovering how much there is left to be seen.

 


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