Book Lists

This category is for lists of books (example: Top 10 Books for Summer Reading)

LitHaus: A Goethe Pop-Up Houston Reading List

Brazos Bookstore is excited to partner with the Goethe-Institut's Houston pop-up for a year of cultural events in our city.

The Goethe Pop Up Houston presents LitHAUS, a monthly reading series for contemporary German literature. Each month’s selection will be accompanied by a talk or discussion around the work and its wider themes. Reading the work is encouraged but not required. Everyone is welcome to join in! Find more information about Goethe Pop Up Houston here.

Memoirs of a Polar Bear Cover Image
By Yoko Tawada, Susan Bernofsky (Translator)
ISBN: 9780811225786
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - November 8th, 2016

Memoirs of a Polar Bear stars three generations of talented writers and performers. Famous stars of the literary world, the circus, and the zoo, they happen to be polar bears who move human society. In part one, the matriarch, enjoying “the intimacy of being alone with my pen,” accidentally writes a bestselling autobiography in the Soviet Union. In part two, her daughter Tosca moves to East Germany and pioneers a thrilling circus act. And Tosca’s son—the last of their line—is Knut, born in part three and raised by a human keeper in relatively happy circumstances in the Berlin zoo.

Before the Feast Cover Image
By Sasa Stanisic, Anthea Bell (Translator)
ISBN: 9781941040393
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Tin House Books - June 14th, 2016

It’s the evening before the feast in the village of Fürstenfelde. The village is asleep. Except for the ferryman—he’s dead. And Mrs. Kranz, the night-blind painter, who wants to depict her village for the first time at night. A bell-ringer and his apprentice want to ring the bells—the only problem is that the bells have gone. A vixen is looking for eggs for her young, and Mr. Schramm is discovering more reasons to quit life than to quit smoking. Someone has opened the doors to the Village Archive, but what drives the sleepless out of their houses is not that which was stolen, but that which has escaped. Old stories, myths, and fairy tales are wandering about the streets with the people. They come together in a novel about a long night, a mosaic of village life, in which the long-established and newcomers, the dead and the living, craftsmen, pensioners, and noble robbers in football jerseys bump into one another. They all want to bring something to a close, on this night before the feast.

Bricks and Mortar Cover Image
By Clemens Meyer, Katy Derbyshire (Translator)
ISBN: 9781910695197
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Fitzcarraldo Editions - May 2nd, 2018

Bricks and Mortar is the story of the sex trade in a big city in the former GDR, from just before 1989 to the present day, charting the development of the industry from absolute prohibition to full legality in the twenty years following the reunification of Germany. The focus is on the rise and fall of one man from football hooligan to large-scale landlord and service- provider for prostitutes to, ultimately, a man persecuted by those he once trusted. But we also hear other voices: many different women who work in prostitution, their clients, small-time gangsters, an ex-jockey searching for his drug-addict daughter, a businessman from the West, a girl forced into child prostitution, a detective, a pirate radio presenter…

The Fox and Dr. Shimamura Cover Image
By Christine Wunnicke, Philip Boehm (Translator)
ISBN: 9780811226240
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - April 30th, 2019

The Fox and Dr. Shimamura toothsomely encompasses Japan and Europe, memory and actuality, fox-possession myths and psychiatric mythmaking. The novel begins near the story’s end, in Dr. Shimamura’s retirement. A feverish invalid, he’s watched over by four women: his wife, his mother, his mother-in- law, and a nurse (originally one of his psychiatric patients). As an outstanding young Japanese medical student at the end of the nineteenth century, Dr. Shimamura is sent—to his dismay—to the provinces: he is asked to cure scores of young women of an epidemic of fox possession. He considers the assignment a joke, believing it’s all a hoax, until he sees a fox moving under the skin of a beauty. He comes to believe not just in fox possession, but also that he in fact “cured” the young woman with a kiss, by breathing in the fox demon (the root of his lifelong fever). Next he travels to Europe and works with such luminaries as Charcot, Breuer and (briefly) Freud himself.

All Russians Love Birch Trees Cover Image
ISBN: 9781590515846
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Other Press - January 7th, 2014

Set in Frankfurt, All Russians Love Birch Trees follows a young immigrant named Masha. Fluent in five languages and able to get by in several others, Masha lives with her boyfriend, Elias. Her best friends are Muslims struggling to obtain residence permits, and her parents rarely leave the house except to compare gas prices. Masha has nearly completed her studies to become an interpreter, when suddenly Elias is hospitalized after a serious soccer injury and dies, forcing her to question a past that has haunted her for years. With cool irony, Grjasnowa’s debut novel tells the story of a headstrong young woman for whom the issue of origin and nationality is immaterial—her Jewish background has taught her she can survive anywhere. Yet Masha isn’t equipped to deal with grief, and this all-too-normal shortcoming gives a particularly bittersweet quality to her adventures.

River Cover Image
By Esther Kinsky, Iain Galbraith (Translator)
ISBN: 9781945492174
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Transit Books - September 4th, 2018

A woman moves to a London suburb near the River Lea, without knowing quite why or for how long. Over a series of long, solitary walks she reminisces about the rivers she has encountered during her life, from the Rhine, her childhood river, to the Saint Lawrence, and a stream in Tel Aviv. Filled with poignancy and poetic observation, River is an ode to nature, edgelands, and the transience of all things human.

Sand Cover Image
By Wolfgang Herrndorf, Tim Mohr (Translated by), Michael Maar (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9781681372013
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: NYRB Classics - June 12th, 2018

North Africa, 1972. While the world is reeling from the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, a series of mysterious events is playing out in the Sahara. Four people are murdered in a hippie commune, a suitcase full of money disappears, and a pair of unenthusiastic detectives are assigned to investigate. In the midst of it all, a man with no memory tries to evade his armed pursuers. Who are they? What do they want from him? If he could just recall his own identity he might have a chance of working it out. . . .

I Called Him Necktie Cover Image
ISBN: 9781939931146
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: New Vessel Press - September 9th, 2014

Twenty-year-old Taguchi Hiro has spent the last two years of his life living as a hikikomori—a shut-in who never leaves his room and has no human interaction—in his parents’ home in Tokyo. As Hiro tentatively decides to reenter the world, he spends his days observing life around him from a park bench. Gradually he makes friends with Ohara Tetsu, a middle-aged salaryman who has lost his job but can’t bring himself to tell his wife, and shows up every day in a suit and tie to pass the time on a nearby bench. As Hiro and Tetsu cautiously open up to each other, they discover in their sadness a common bond. Regrets and disappointments, as well as hopes and dreams, come to the surface until both find the strength to somehow give a new start to their lives.

Go, Went, Gone Cover Image
By Jenny Erpenbeck, Susan Bernofsky (Translator)
ISBN: 9780811225946
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - September 26th, 2017

Go, Went, Gone tells the tale of Richard, a retired classics professor who lives in Berlin. His wife has died, and he lives a routine existence until one day he spies some African refugees staging a hunger strike in Alexanderplatz. Curiosity turns into compassion and an inner transformation as he visits their shelter, interviews them, and becomes embroiled in their harrowing fates. Go, Went, Gone is a scathing indictment of Western policy toward the European refugee crisis, but also a touching portrait of a man who finds he has more in common with the Africans than he realizes.

My Father Was a Man on Land and a Whale in the Water Cover Image
By Michelle Steinbeck, Jen Calleja (Translator)
ISBN: 9781850773184
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Darf Publishers - October 18th, 2018

A child attacks Loribeth with an iron while she is sleeping. In retaliation Loribeth throws the iron onto the child from an upstairs window, packs the damaged body into a suitcase and sets off on her travels. Thus starts Steinbeck’s unusual, poetic novella about a young woman’s transition from childhood to adulthood. Loribeth and her suitcase begin an odyssey through nightmarish locations in search of her absent father. What ensues is a Freudian adult fairytale.

The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine Cover Image
By Alina Bronsky, Tim Mohr (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781609450069
Availability: Backordered
Published: Europa Editions - April 26th, 2011

Rosa Achmetowna is the outrageously nasty and wily narrator of this rollicking family saga. When she discovers that her seventeen-year-old daughter, “stupid Sulfia,” is pregnant by an unknown man she does everything to thwart the pregnancy, employing a variety of folkloric home remedies. But despite her best efforts the baby, Aminat, is born nine months later at Soviet Birthing Center Number 134. Much to Rosa’s surprise and delight, dark eyed Aminat is a Tartar through and through and instantly becomes the apple of her grandmother’s eye. While her good for nothing husband Kalganow spends his days feeding pigeons and contemplating death at the city park, Rosa wages an epic struggle to wrestle Aminat away from Sulfia, whom she considers a woefully inept mother. When Aminat, now a wild and willful teenager, catches the eye of a sleazy German cookbook writer researching Tartar cuisine, Rosa is quick to broker a deal that will guarantee all three women a passage out of the Soviet Union. But as soon as they are settled in the West, the uproariously dysfunctional ties that bind mother, daughter and grandmother begin to fray.

Playing Around in the Spaces Between: Improvising Poems

In improvising poetry, aka a live-action cento, aka fashioning a poetry jam band, I start with a makeshift canon. Like throwing a party, you put different poets, different styles at play with/in each other, and see if it takes off. Like throwing a party, I try to be well-rested and hydrated before I host. I spend time thinking of who to invite. I light a candle. I open the space up. I have party games ready in case it gets awkward. There is some noise, which starts out steady and comforting, before we trust each other enough to get real weird.

The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 (American Poets Continuum #134) Cover Image
By Lucille Clifton, Toni Morrison (Foreword by), Kevin Young (Editor)
ISBN: 9781934414903
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: BOA Editions - August 28th, 2012

A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon: New (Soma)Tics Cover Image
ISBN: 9781933517599
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Wave Books - April 3rd, 2012

Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375701290
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - July 27th, 1999

Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems 1965-1990 Complete Cover Image
ISBN: 9780156028615
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - May 17th, 2004

Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds Cover Image
ISBN: 9781849352604
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: AK Press - April 18th, 2017

Other recommended texts include Sun Ra's This Planet is Doomed: The Science Fiction Poetry of Sun Ra and CA Conrad's Ecodeviance: (Soma)tics for Future Wilderness.

Elena Gonzales Melinger is a poet and writer. Her work has appeared in the Texas Review, Glass Mountain and Dangerous Constellations. She has performed most recently with Public Poetry and Poetry Fix. Her chapbook, Write What You Know, and zine, Light Skinned Tears, will be available at Brazos Bookstore on February 8th, 2019 for her event.


Books We're Looking Forward To in 2019

We can't wait for the new releases 2019 will bring! There are many undiscovered treasures to be read, but in the meantime, here are a few 2019 books we just can't wait to share!

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524732714
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - January 15th, 2019

This new memoir from Shapiro is part detective novel and part family history. It's all about finding a place where you belong after your life is turned upside down.


The Remainder Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566895507
Availability: Not Yet Published
Published: Coffee House Press - August 6th, 2019

A road trip of two young friends, Felipe and Iquela, in modern-day Chile that casts light on the past generations and the dictatorship. Darkly comic, sad and profound. With a brilliant translation by Sophie Hughes.


Sweety Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525580003
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order Now
Published: Schwartz & Wade - March 26th, 2019

In picture books, I can hardly wait for SWEETY by Andrea Zuill, the quirky and delightfully charming story of an awkward but lovable naked mole rat who is looking for her people and finding out that she is awesome.


Lost Children Archive: A novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525520610
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - February 12th, 2019

Two professional archivists/sound recorders -- a documentarist and a documentarian -- set out on a road trip across the US with their two kids. This book is a meditation on loss, family, borders, and human rights that only Valeria Luiselli could accomplish.


Sea Monsters Cover Image
ISBN: 9781936787869
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Catapult - February 5th, 2019

A stunning and lyrical coming-of-age novel Mexico City, the 1980's, a young girl runs away from home with another boy to find a group of Ukrainian dwarves who have escaped a Russian circus. As strange as the plot may sound, this novel is moving and urgent and my favorite of Aridjis' three novels in English. Ideal for fans of Guadalupe Nettel and Roberto Bolaño.


On the Come Up Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062498564
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - February 5th, 2019

Angie Thomas' second book comes out in February, and I cannot wait to see what she's got in store for us next!


Lot: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525533672
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order Now
Published: Riverhead Books - March 19th, 2019

Finally, we have a seminal work of contemporary Houston literature! This is the book I can put into people's hands when they want to know what it's like to live in our city. What's more, it is a stunning story collection heralding a big new talent from Texas.


Figuring Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524748135
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon - February 5th, 2019

I am beyond excited for Figuring by Maria Popova, which comes out in February. With the same boundless curiosity that makes her website and newsletter Brainpickings so fascinating, Popova examines the wildly different lives of several artists, writers, and scientists, from Emily Dickinson to Rachel Carson. From the lives of these fascinating people come questions about the universe, the search for knowledge, and what it means to live a meaningful life.

-Laura M

Song for a Whale Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524770235
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Delacorte Books for Young Readers - February 5th, 2019

I'm really excited for the middle grade novel, SONG FOR A WHALE, by Lynne Kelly, coming on 2/5/19 from Delacorte. It's a luminous and triumphant story of a deaf girl's fascination with Blue 55, the loneliest whale in the world and her journey to find a way to communicate with him.


Children of Virtue and Vengeance (Legacy of Orisha #2) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250170996
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) - June 4th, 2019

The first book ended on such a cliffhanger; I need to know what happens next!!



I think one of the few things we can all agree on lately is that it’s been a tumultuous year for our fiery and often tragic political and social landscape. This is what kept sticking in my head as I worked to come up with my top ten list, which originally was going to be droll and lighthearted and then, well, wasn’t. The timely and moving YA books below vary in perspective, tone, and genre, but all of them have one thing in common: They are on some level about girls claiming their place, fighting back, speaking up, commanding space, and being heard.

Damsel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062742322
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - October 2nd, 2018

A powerful and visceral, feminist anti-fairy tale. This one takes no prisoners. As well it shouldn’t. A masterpiece.

Sadie Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250105714
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wednesday Books - September 4th, 2018

A dead girl. A sister’s revenge. A podcast. A powerhouse and now bestselling novel with two narrative strands from an author you should all be reading.

Hole in the Middle Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616959562
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Soho Teen - September 4th, 2018

Body positivity. Being who you are regardless of the world’s judgments. A sharp feminist read from one of Austin’s newest voices.

The Hate U Give Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062498533
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - February 28th, 2017

Technically this one came out last year, but the movie arrived a few weeks ago. If you haven’t read it, read it. A girl with a foot in two worlds. A senseless shooting. Our sadly pervasive racial divides. Standing up for the truth. Starr’s story is so much more than a ‘ripped from the headlines’ read.

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316310277
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - January 2nd, 2018

Black’s back to her faerie story roots with this tale of Jude, fully human but taken away by her stepfather to grow up in Faerie. The result is a story of political machinations, a girl finding her power among dangerous creature, and a bit of a twisted love story to spice things up. The human girl who would be king. I loved it. And the soon to arrive sequel is even better.

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062795328
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - October 2nd, 2018

Felicity Montague is going to achieve her dream of becoming a physician-- even if it’s the 1700s and the world expects nothing more of her than to be a wife and raise a brood. Adventure. Lady Pirates. Girl power. And organically seamless LGBTQ representation in this companion to last year’s GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE.

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250170972
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) - March 6th, 2018

Black Lives Matter meets Nigerian folklore-based fantasy. Women whose magic has been forcefully repressed and ripped away… until it begins to return. A story of protest, identity and female power. I’d call this one a solid companion piece to Thomas’s Hate U Give. Jimmy Fallon even made it his first book club pick. Plus, it's first in a series.

Moxie: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250104267
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Square Fish - September 18th, 2018

Another title that’s been out since last year, but which had to be on this list, both for its brilliance and for Houston author Mathieu’s own tireless political advocacy work. A teen girl fights institutional misogyny through her initially anonymous Moxie zine. A feminist primer.

The Belles Cover Image
ISBN: 9781484728499
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Freeform - February 6th, 2018

I’d love to see readers pair this one with Hole in the Middle. But it stands strong on its own. A dark fantasy version of New Orleans setting. And a post-2016 election inspired deep dive into our perceptions of beauty and a confrontation of the effects on women of color of both white feminism and the patriarchy. Clayton’s one of the co-founders of We Need Diverse Books.

A Room Away From the Wolves Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616203733
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Young Readers - September 4th, 2018

No one writes twisty disturbing , angry girl stories quite like Nova Ren Suma, who like Elana K. Arnold and Margo Lanagan and others goes fearlessly after her themes. This one’s a little Gothic, a lot mysterious, and a willingness to create flawed girls whose determination to break free makes them beautiful.

Ülrika's Top Ten Gifts of 2018: Vendors Who Give Back!

Each year, when asked to compile our 10 top list, I try to narrow down the focus on the items that managed to stand out over the past year. As the gift buyer I wanted to strictly focus on the gift items and, more importantly, the vendors we carry that give back to the community. It’s important for me to buy from smaller companies and companies that focus not only on supporting the communities around them, but on being socially responsible as well.

Calyan Candles were brought to my attention by Thu and Mark while they visiting Fort Worth. Besides the fact these wonderful soy candles fill the room (as well as the entire store, which you will notice if you stop by during the holidays), 10% of their profits help to fight human trafficking. They partner with local nonprofits to provide funding for prevention, prosecution, or restoration.

Each of their scents is amazing and it was difficult to find one for the list; however the lavender & bergamot tumbler ended making it to my #1. Each of their tumblers burns for approximately 45 hours and the glass tumbler can be recycled or used again as a cocktail glass or regular drinking glass.

SKU: 704907495692

Brazos has been carrying Out of Print before I even became the gift buyer. Established in 2010, with every purchase they donate books to support literacy programs around the world. One of my favorite items from Out of Print is their incredible socks. This year they have expanded the line to include kids' sizes! 

Two of my favorites are the adult Book Nerd and kids Library socks. For the kids' socks, the "return dates" on the bottom are actually grips.

SKU: 617353292626

Thu and I discovered Musee while we were in New York for the gift expo NY. I not only fell in love with their amazing line of bath balms, soaps, and candles but also their philosophy regarding helping their community. Musee Bath is a natural bath and candle company in Madison County, Mississippi. Mussee Bath hires women in recovery, individuals with disabilities, and people that haven’t had the opportunities to receive an education. Each of their bath balms features either a fun surprise or a reusable water activated light. The candles come in amazing packages that features a great quote; when burned, the scent fills a room. The soaps are made from essential oils that not only smell great but also leave your skin moisturized.

SKU: 617353291940

SKU: 617353292473

SKU: 810078030157

For years Ooly has created some of our favorite gift items and we’re always excited to see what’s coming out each year. Besides being a woman-owned business, Ooly works on a national level with AdoptAClassroom, which helps to empower teachers in providing supplies and classroom materials. The Radiant Writers Glitter Gel Pens gives anything you're writing a little sparkle, from letters to your journal entries. The Girl Power Journal features 8 lined pocket journals featuring empowering statements that are wonderful for anyone at any age. Fab Fountain Pens are a great everyday fountain pen, as well as a wonderful starter for anyone who has wanted to add fountain pens to their collection.

SKU: 810078030782

SKU: 810078030393

SKU: 689196506413

eeBoo is a woman-owned and -run company that features educational games and gifts. They have 100% original artwork, which means they’re able to commission the artwork from well-known children’s book illustrators! Crazy Kitten Puzzle is by far my favorite item of the holidays for kids. Featuring artwork by Monika Forsberg, this portable puzzle contains 20 jumbo pieces –– a perfect size for little hands. The cord handle makes it easy to take anywhere, anytime.

Sara's Top Ten Dystopias That Are More Exciting Than Ours

*Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking. “Exciting? You think our systemic issues aren’t exciting enough?” I don’t mean to sound blasé about our current situation. But the day-to-day dystopia of middle class America — advertisements nested within advertisements, phones that listen to your conversations so you’ll have a perfectly-timed video of the grill you were thinking of buying from A**** — is grossly conventional.

The Emissary Cover Image
By Yoko Tawada, Margaret Mitsutani (Translator)
ISBN: 9780811227629
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - April 24th, 2018

In Tawada’s newest novel (now the first National Book Award Winner for Literature in Translation), Japan has cut itself off from the rest of the world. Xenophobia has affected everything: language, lifestyle, mortality... all are subtly different from the world we know. Tawada manages this uncanny imagined landscape with grace, a surprising amount of warmth, and a very delicate touch.

Autobiography of Death Cover Image
By Kim Hyesoon, Don Mee Choi (Translator)
ISBN: 9780811227346
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - November 27th, 2018

I love Kim Hyesoon’s poetry. Her spectacular, grotesque book All the Garbage of the World, Unite was a favorite of mine in 2011, when it came out. In Autobiography of Death, Kim Hyesoon has compiled 49 poems, each of which represents a day a soul experiences on earth between death and reincarnation. Again, Hyesoon delves into the gross squall of bodily decomposition (in the first poem, the spirit watches as the body dies and has her personal belongings burgled), while also mourning the way society responds to major structural crises.

The Naked Woman Cover Image
By Armonia Somers, Kit Maude (Translator), Elena Chavez Goycochea (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9781936932436
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Feminist Press - November 13th, 2018

A woman in Uruguay attempts suicide on the eve of her 30th birthday, but instead of dying she becomes hyper-aware of her surroundings — enlightened, even— and wanders the woods and village outside her apartment. The sight of her form throws the village into chaos, as they are forced to confront the rocky religious morality and misogyny their lives are based on. This small book is allegorical but still a page-turner. It was written in 1950! In Uruguay! Critics complained that it was impossible that a woman might be the author of such an explicit text. TOUGH. Get used to it.

The Lonesome Bodybuilder: Stories Cover Image
By Yukiko Motoya, Asa Yoneda (Translator)
ISBN: 9781593766788
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Soft Skull Press - November 6th, 2018

My favorite thing about these stories is that they’re all set in mundane every day places — homes, supermarkets, boutiques — and yet form a bridge between the familiar and the alien. These characters are tied together by a sense of longing or frustration that cannot be satisfied by their typical rigamarole. The Lonesome Bodybuilder’s vignettes will appeal to lovers of the surreal, but also to people who never stopped seeing magic in the everyday. Motoya allows the strange and mystical to become an often joyous part of life; without judgement, the abnormal and normal are able to merge.

Revolution Sunday Cover Image
By Wendy Guerra, Achy Obejas (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781612196619
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Melville House - December 4th, 2018

Revolution Sunday accesses a deeply troubled facet of Cuba’s struggles with censorship and surveillance. In the wake of the repeated jailing of artists such as Tania Bruguera, Wendy Guerra does a spectacular job of laying out the troubles and paranoias of living in Cuba as a radical artist. Main character Cloe’s day-to-day life includes disappearing documents, international fame versus local anonymity, and her family’s secret agent (who often comes over for meals).

The Taiga Syndrome Cover Image
ISBN: 9780997366679
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dorothy a Publishing Project - October 1st, 2018

All of the paranoia that Yukiko Motoya renounced is here, in this book. An unnamed ex-detective comes out of retirement to venture deep into a strange forest an with eerie pull. Her intent is to find a man’s ex-wife, but once inside the forest her mission becomes splintered. This book is a freak show, a Little Red Riding Hood story, a fairy tale. It’s all wrapped up into a slim package that will immerse you and leave you desperately confused but thrilled.

Hybrid Child: A Novel (Parallel Futures) Cover Image
By Mariko Ohara, Jodie Beck (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781517904906
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Univ Of Minnesota Press - June 15th, 2018

Mariko Ohara’s book was initially published in the 90’s, but didn’t make it to the US until this year, thanks to the translation of Jodie Beck. This one immediately made it into the “sci fi classics” category for me. When a cyborg escapes a lab, he eludes his hunters by shapeshifting (and he’s able to do so with any form he’s encountered and of which he's cataloged the DNA). He shapeshifts into a small girl, a plane, a plant… this book stretches the definition of “living organism” and is highly empathetic even throughout its grisly fight scenes. I would consider it a deeply feminist work, with as many ties to mythology and fairy tale as it has to the sci fi tradition.

Comemadre Cover Image
By Roque Larraquy, Heather Cleary (Translator)
ISBN: 9781566895156
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - July 10th, 2018

This little book accomplishes so much in 150 pages. The book ricochets from a failed, morally-dubious experiment in a 1907 asylum to the performance art scene in the early 2000s. If you’re looking for a wild ride, this might be your dream novel. Mixing lowbrow and highbrow, science and art, Comemadre has everything from frog figurines to talking heads to identical artists, all of which culminate in investigating the questions: do we have a soul? When does the body die? What is transcendence?

Mem Cover Image
ISBN: 9781944700553
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Unnamed Press - May 22nd, 2018

1920’s speculative fiction about trauma, agency, and MONTREAL. How cool is that? This book does an incredible job of giving the scope of a whole culture through the lens of a single individual. Elsie, the protagonist, is a fantastic, fully-realized personality who moves around Morrow’s created world with curiosity and thoughtfulness. Morrow’s book definitely made waves when it came out in hardcover, and it’s soon to be released in a gorgeous paperback version.

See my interview with Bethany here!

On a Sunbeam Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250178138
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: First Second - October 2nd, 2018

Tillie Walden always does a spectacular job with world-building. In her newest graphic novel, a girl crosses space and time to find her long-lost lover. The narrative is deeply moving, but the best thing about ON A SUNBEAM is how INCREDIBLE it is as a visual object. Walden uses rich colors to share emotion and atmosphere in frames where characters are fairly quiet.

See my interview with Tillie here!

Keaton’s Year End Best List: The 2018 Brazos Buyer’s Book Awards

It’s that most special time of the year again! Awards season! Year-end list season! For the next couple of magical months, you, dear reader, will be regaled with just about everyone’s opinion on the best whatever of 2018. Now, it’s been a horrific year to be sure, but there was still so much great art and beauty created. And to that end, it’s been a banner year for books! So why not begin your year-end round up right here with good ol’ Keaton? For 2018, I’ve put together a combination top 10 list/award show for y’all.

The New Inheritors Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802128171
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - July 10th, 2018

A complete reimagining of what is possible with historical fiction. Wascom’s third volume in his Gulf Coast Quartet is absolutely stunning in concept, prose and ambition.

After the Winter Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566895255
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - September 4th, 2018

This quiet yet incisive, death-tinged love story explores how even the briefest relationships can affect us utterly and forever. Nettel’s best yet to find its way into English translation.

Oraefi: The Wasteland Cover Image
By Ofeigur Sigurosson, Lytton Smith (Translator)
ISBN: 9781941920671
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Deep Vellum Publishing - March 13th, 2018

Part adventure, part history, and part madness! Sigurdsson’s nested rant of a narrative swept the literary awards in his native Iceland and is now one of the best books translated into English this year.

and the winner is...ORAEFI: THE WASTELAND!!!!

...and the nominees for Best Short Story Collection of 2018 are:

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812988635
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - January 16th, 2018

An unintended swan song for a true American original. Johnson was still at the height of his powers when he died just before the release of this collection. There is no barrel scraping here. Just whip smart, funny, heartfelt, perfectly crafted short fiction.

Staff Pick Logo
Kolyma Stories Cover Image
By Varlam Shalamov, Donald Rayfield (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781681372143
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: NYRB Classics - June 12th, 2018

The first volume of Shalamov’s prison stories is one of the most affecting works of autobiographical fiction I’ve ever come across. This is an unheralded classic of world literature, and a harrowing look into the horrors of death and survival in a Siberian prison camp.

Staff Pick Logo
Friday Black Cover Image
ISBN: 9781328911247
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - October 23rd, 2018

A full throttle debut collection that reads like a hybrid of Vonnegut and Paul Beatty. Adjei-Brenyah writes piercing, darkly satirical tales for our troubled times. Just read the first story, and see if your jaw doesn’t drop.

and the winner is...FRIDAY BLACK!!!!!

...and the nominees for Best Nonfiction Book of 2018 are:


The Order of Time Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735216105
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - May 8th, 2018

Italian theoretical physicist, Rovelli, continues to blow minds with this illuminating and lyrical exploration of the concept of time. Read it once, and you’ll never look at the world around you the same again.

The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316259613
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - April 3rd, 2018

This is not an addiction memoir. Although, Jamison does recount her trials with alcoholism, this stunning work is instead a learned and experienced critique of the perceived link between substance abuse and creative genius.

Staff Pick Logo
Sexographies Cover Image
By Gabriela Wiener, Jennifer Adcock (Translated by), Lucy Greaves (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781632061591
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Restless Books - May 29th, 2018

What Peruvian essayist and “gonzo” journalist, Wiener, does in this collection is endlessly fascinating. Whether experiencing sexual subcultures or an ayahuasca trip, she uses herself as the point of departure to delve into the infinite manifestations of being human.

and the winner is...THE RECOVERING!!!!!

Now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for… The Best Overall Book of 2018 is:


The Overstory Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393635522
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 3rd, 2018

A singular work of fiction from one of America’s most undersung authors. Powers has achieved something no other writer has before. He’s written a truly environmental novel where humans are not the most interesting thing about it. Instead, the multiple characters are envisioned as part of a larger, more inclusive system of life. Spanning centuries and crisscrossing the country, the devastation of the last virgin forests is the backdrop of a climatic struggle for the future of the natural world. An absolute masterpiece.

Honorable Mentions: 

Comemadre Cover Image
By Roque Larraquy, Heather Cleary (Translator)
ISBN: 9781566895156
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - July 10th, 2018

An Untouched House Cover Image
By Willem Frederik Hermans, David Colmer (Translated by), Cees Nooteboom (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9781939810069
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Archipelago - October 23rd, 2018

The Changeling Cover Image
ISBN: 9781941040898
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tin House Books - April 10th, 2018

Brazos Bestsellers

Here's a list of the top selling books at Brazos Bookstore this week!

Becoming Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524763138
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown - November 13th, 2018

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399592522
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - October 9th, 2018

Astroball: The New Way to Win It All Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525576648
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown Archetype - July 10th, 2018

Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062440518
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Custom House - November 13th, 2018

Staff Pick Logo
Milkman: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781644450000
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - December 4th, 2018

Almost Everything: Notes on Hope Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525537441
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - October 16th, 2018

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812995848
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - September 12th, 2017

Leadership: In Turbulent Times Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476795928
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - September 18th, 2018

How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals Cover Image
By Sy Montgomery, Rebecca Green (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780544938328
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - September 25th, 2018

Milk Street: Tuesday Nights: More than 200 Simple Weeknight Suppers that Deliver Bold Flavor, Fast Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316437318
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - October 16th, 2018

Frankenstein in the 21st Century: A Book List

It’s October 30th; are you feeling spooky yet? Not only is Halloween tomorrow, but this year is also the 200th anniversary of FRANKENSTEIN, by Mary Shelley.

If you haven’t read this heart-stopping tale of science and horror, now’s a better time than ever. But if you have read it, and are hungry for more, check out these contemporary books along the same theme.

Frankenstein in Baghdad: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143128793
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - January 23rd, 2018

Frankenstein gets a contemporary Middle Eastern take with Sadaawi’s book. Hadi, an oddball and city scavenger, takes on the role of Dr. Frankenstein as he collects body parts from the war-torn streets of Baghdad. He sews them together — not for science, but to push the government into recognizing the hewn-together corpses as people, thus giving them the right to a proper burial. In a shocking plot twist (well, it’s a Frankenstein story, so maybe you’re expecting this), a corpse goes missing from his shed. And a monster is created.

Sadaawi’s take on Frankenstein is steeped in cultural tradition, all the while pointedly referencing the contemporary political state in Iraq. It’s dark and funny, with singular characters — everything we want for a good, thought-provoking halloween read.

Desirable Body (The Margellos World Republic of Letters) Cover Image
By Hubert Haddad, Alyson Waters (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780300224368
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Yale University Press - August 21st, 2018

While Frankenstein in Baghdad is a darkly humorous side-eye at our political situation, Hubert Haddad’s book takes on the ethical and psychological ramifications of body transplants. In Desirable Body, our protagonist is the “Frankenstein’s Monster” himself, a journalist named Cédric Allyn-Weberson.

When Cédric is paralyzed from the neck down, he becomes a perfect candidate for a full-body transplant. While he physically survives the surgery, he comes out with a new set of troubles, both physical and existential. This book has all the gory details you need, plus a good helping of provocative philosophical musings.

I.D. Cover Image
By Emma Rios, Emma Rios (Artist)
ISBN: 9781632157829
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Image Comics - June 28th, 2016

Dig deeper into body woes with Emma Rios’ touching and thoughtful graphic novel, I.D. This slim volume focuses on several individuals who consider a body transplant the solution to their struggles. This remarkable read digs into dystopia, dysphoria, and more.

Emma uses the visual format to dig deeper into her theme with a totally monochromatic layout: “Choosing the reds was basically because this kind of palette on one hand feels very delicate and on the other nastily fleshy. I wanted to work in an emotional level from within these characters but I also wanted to slice brains and make some images uncomfortable, so pink and red felt quite accurate of that.” (check out the rest of her Multiversity interview here).

Frankenstein Alive, Alive: The Complete Collection Cover Image
By Steve Niles, Bernie Wrightson (Illustrator), Kelley Jones (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781684053377
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: IDW Publishing - October 30th, 2018

If you’re a comics fan, there are some incredible Franken-options. FRANKENSTEIN ALIVE, ALIVE is the product of a collaboration between Steve Niles, horror writer, and Bernie Wrightson, iconic comic illustrator for both DC and Marvel. This edition collects all four issues of ALIVE, ALIVE, with images scanned from the original art. At Wrightson’s untimely passing, artist Kelley Jones stepped in to complete the illustrations for the final issue.

This volume, including an extended gallery of never-before-seen layouts and pencils, is perfect for the comics connoisseur.

Spare and Found Parts Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062408884
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Greenwillow Books - October 4th, 2016

Frankenstein is often considered the first science fictional novel. With Sarah Maria Griffin’s new book, she pushes Frankenstein further with developed technology and biomechanical limbs.

After an epidemic, all survivors are missing body parts. Luckily, a famed scientist pioneers mechanical limbs. Nell, our main character, is his daughter — and she’s also the only one with her machinery on the inside. She has a biomechanical heart that ticks, and it’s made her an outsider all her life. The world of SPARE AND FOUND PARTS brings dystopia to a coming-of-age Young Adult novel.

Victor LaValle's Destroyer Cover Image
By Victor LaValle, Dietrich Smith (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781684150557
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: BOOM! Studios - March 6th, 2018

Victor Lavalle combines the science fiction of Frankenstein with very contemporary US issues. Dr. Jo Baker is the descendant of Dr. Frankenstein. After losing her young son, Akai, to senseless police brutality, she seeks justice in science: she creates a Frankenstein’s Monster figure who, instead of craving affection, craves the total destruction of humanity.

Victor Lavalle merges history, technology, and fantasy; he uses script from the 911 phone call that occurred before Tamir Rice’s death and inspiration from Michael Brown’s autopsy. The cybernetic body parts on Frankenstein-Akai are where Akai was injured. DESTROYER is a dynamic portrayal of Frankenstein with a deep political weight.

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525577942
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Delacorte Press - September 25th, 2018

Elizabeth Lavenza hasn't had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her "caregiver," and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything –– except a friend. If you're looking for a spooky Halloween horror that will get your heart pounding (whether you typically read YA or not), this is it.

As our Children’s Specialist Laura says, “It’s so good… and it’s DARK.” So take that as you will.

Book List: Top Six Books by Indigenous Writers to Read Right Now

Nature Poem Cover Image
ISBN: 9781941040638
Availability: Backordered
Published: Tin House Books - May 9th, 2017

Nature Poem follows Teebs--a young, queer, American Indian (or NDN) poet--who can't bring himself to write a nature poem. For the reservation-born, urban-dwelling hipster, the exercise feels stereotypical, reductive, and boring. He hates nature. He prefers city lights to the night sky. He'd slap a tree across the face. He'd rather write a mountain of hashtag punchlines about death and give head in a pizza-parlor bathroom; he'd rather write odes to Aretha Franklin and Hole. The closer his people were identified with the "natural world," he figures, the easier it was to mow them down like the underbrush. But Teebs gradually learns how to interpret constellations through his own lens, along with human nature, sexuality, language, music, and Twitter.

There There: A novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525520375
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - June 5th, 2018

The New York Times called THERE THERE “groundbreaking” and “extraordinary.” People Magazine calls it “brilliant and propulsive.” Tommy Orange’s novel — linked narratives of various individuals attending the Big Powwow in Oakland, California –– shows how multifaceted, intergenerational, and complex the American Indian experience is. He visits the Inprint Margarett Root Brown reading series in February. We can’t wait to see what Tommy does next.

Where the Dead Sit Talking Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616958879
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Soho Press - February 20th, 2018

Longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award!

Set in rural Oklahoma during the late 1980s, Where the Dead Sit Talking is a startling, authentically voiced and lyrically written Native American coming-of-age story.

With his single mother in jail, Sequoyah, a fifteen-year-old Cherokee boy, is placed in foster care with the Troutt family. Literally and figuratively scarred by his mother’s years of substance abuse, Sequoyah keeps mostly to himself, living with his emotions pressed deep below the surface. At least until he meets seventeen-year-old Rosemary, another youth staying with the Troutts. Sequoyah and Rosemary bond over their shared Native American background and tumultuous paths through the foster care system, but as Sequoyah’s feelings toward Rosemary deepen, the precariousness of their lives and the scars of their pasts threaten to undo them both.

Jonny Appleseed Cover Image
ISBN: 9781551527253
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Arsenal Pulp Press - May 15th, 2018

Off the reserve and in the big city, two-spirit (Indigiqueer) Jonny Appleseed must figure out a way to make a living in the week before he must return to the reservation to attend his stepfather’s funeral. The seven days are like a fevered dream: stories of love, trauma, sex, kinship, ambition, and the heartbreaking recollection of his beloved kokum (grandmother). Jonny's world is a series of breakages, appendages, and linkages--and as he goes through the motions of preparing to return home, he learns how to put together the pieces of his life. Jonny Appleseed is a unique, shattering vision of Indigenous life, full of grit, glitter, and dreams.

Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781534413504
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Saga Press - June 26th, 2018

Rebecca Roanhorse is a remarkable writer, known for her speculative, digital, wrenching short story “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience” (Hugo and Nebula Short Story Winner). In TRAIL OF LIGHTNING, she returns to a fantasy landscape of indigenous gods, heroes –– and monsters. This book is an impeccable apocalypse story featuring two great characters: Maggie Hoskie, a Dinétah monster hunter, and a medicine man named Kai Arviso. Love this one? It’s the first of a series; the next installment comes out early next year.

Future Home of the Living God: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062694058
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - November 14th, 2017

This book covers several topics — struggles to control reproductive rights, viral disease, governmental abuse of control, and many other disastrous situations that we currently don’t have to grapple with. As a strange epidemic sweeps the country affecting newborns, our main character, a pregnant woman named Cedar Hawk Songmaker, must find her birth mother — an Ojibwe living on the reservation — to understand her roots and her baby’s future. FUTURE HOME OF THE LIVING GOD interrogates lots of timely political issues, but also deeper, fundamental struggles about personhood and agency.