Book Lists

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

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****n.com — is grossly conventional.

The Emissary Cover Image
By Yoko Tawada, Margaret Mitsutani (Translated by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9780811227629
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: New Directions - 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 (Translated by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9780811227346
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: New Directions - 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 Armonía Somers, Kit Maude (Translator), Elena Chavez Goycochea (Afterword by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781936932436
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Feminist Press - November 6th, 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)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781593766788
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
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)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781612196619
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
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
$16.00
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)
$19.95
ISBN: 9781517904906
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
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)
$16.95
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
$24.99
ISBN: 9781944700553
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
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
$21.99
ISBN: 9781250178138
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
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
$26.00
ISBN: 9780802128171
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
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
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566895255
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
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
$16.95
ISBN: 9781941920671
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Deep Vellum Publishing - October 2nd, 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
$27.00
ISBN: 9780812988635
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
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 Badge
Kolyma Stories Cover Image
By Varlam Shalamov, Donald Rayfield (Translated by)
$24.95
ISBN: 9781681372143
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
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 Badge
Friday Black Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781328911247
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
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
$22.00
ISBN: 9780735216105
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
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
$30.00
ISBN: 9780316259613
Availability: Hard to Find
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 Badge
Sexographies Cover Image
By Gabriela Wiener, Jennifer Adcock (Translated by), Lucy Greaves (Translated by)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781632061591
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
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: A Novel Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780393635522
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
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)
$16.95
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)
$16.00
ISBN: 9781939810069
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Archipelago - October 23rd, 2018

Staff Pick Badge
The Changeling Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781941040898
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Tin House Books - April 10th, 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
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143128793
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
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)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780300224368
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
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 Ríos (Artist)
$9.99
ISBN: 9781632157829
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
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)
$24.99
ISBN: 9781684053377
Availability: Backordered
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
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062408884
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
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)
$19.99
ISBN: 9781684150557
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
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
$18.99
ISBN: 9780525577942
Availability: Backordered
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
$14.95
ISBN: 9781941040638
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
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
$25.95
ISBN: 9780525520375
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
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
$25.00
ISBN: 9781616958879
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
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
$17.95
ISBN: 9781551527253
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
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
$17.99
ISBN: 9781534413504
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Gallery / 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
$28.99
ISBN: 9780062694058
Availability: Backordered
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.


What Makes Brazos Bestsellers So Special

As you might know, we keep a running updated list of bestselling books each week. A lot of bookstores and organizations do this –– obviously there's a New York Times bestseller list, Publishers Weekly's list, and way, way more. But if you check out our bestselling books, often there's something very special to each title. Below, check out a few of this week's bestsellers and why we're so proud to share them.

Proud: My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780316518963
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Hachette Books - July 24th, 2018

Ibtihaj was the first Muslim-American woman to medal at the Olympic games, and has been named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People. If that alone isn't enough to thrill you, think about this: on the heels of starting her own clothing line, organization, AND inspiring the first hijabi Barbie (modeled after her likeness), Ibtihaj came to Brazos for a packed event, sharing both this title and the Young Readers version (also on our bestsellers list). Plus, she's on the SABER fencing squad. Now, that should thrill you.


Bluebird, Bluebird (A Highway 59 Novel #1) Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316363273
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Mulholland Books - August 28th, 2018

Don’t know about Attica Locke? You should. She's the award-winning author of Pleasantville, Black Water Rising, and The Cutting Season, along with being a writer and producer for the show Empire. We've hosted her multiple times for her releases, at Brazos and in other locations (including our local library). Though Attica lives in LA now, she’s a Houston native, and we adore her smart, Houston area-based mystery fiction.


In Another Time Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062459916
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: HarperTeen - August 28th, 2018

Caroline Leech is another locally-based author on our bestseller list, and we couldn’t be more proud! Though she’s a beloved Houston writer now, Caroline Leech grew up in Scotland, which informs the setting of her gorgeous, romantic historical fiction. We recently interviewed her about In Another Time, which is her second book. Check it out here.


After the Winter Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566895255
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Coffee House Press - September 4th, 2018

We are thrilled to have Guadalupe Nettel’s After the Winter on our bestseller list for multiple reasons.

1. Most generally: we prize indie presses at Brazos (as you may know, based on our obsessive posts and recommendations). These presses do huge work representing independent thought and intellect, and as an indie bookstore, we share values with many of these fabulous folks. Coffee House Press is high on that list.

2. Our staff members are all big fans of Guadalupe Nettel’s work, from her short story collection, Natural Histories, to her last novel, The Body Where I Was Born

3. We interviewed her a few years ago, but now we’re actually bringing her to Houston! She will be at Brazos Bookstore later this month in conversation with Rodrigo Hasbun (author of The Affections). Check out the event page here, preorder a book to get personalized, and geek out with us on September 18!


Ticker: The Quest to Create an Artificial Heart Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780804138000
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Crown - August 7th, 2018

While you may think of Houston merely as the city with the best bookstore in the world (har har), it’s home to so many integral industries and barrier-breaking individuals. Mimi Swartz, one of the editors at Texas Monthly, does a wonderful job of encapsulating the research process that went into creating the first artificial heart. This book is dazzling, featuring an array of characters (many of whom walk among us). Be still our hearts.


August Is Women In Translation Month: A Book List

Welcome to August –– or as it's designated in my bullet journal, #WITMonth! Women In Translation Month is a relatively new term, started in 2014 by translator Meytal Radzinski to share the fairly dismal statistics around the percentage of female-authored books translated into English (read a great interview with her here).

Little Beast Cover Image
By Julie DeMers, Rhonda Mullins (Translator)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781552453667
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Coach House Books - May 22nd, 2018

Little Beast is a singular, beautiful novella; its protagonist, a girl who is hidden away by her family. She knows she is different. Her parents argue about her monstrosity. When it seems the villagers have found her out, she escapes and makes her way into the forest. This book is a fairytale, but one turned on its head in order to question agency, groupthink, and forced normalcy of female bodies.


Pretty Things Cover Image
By Virginie Despentes, Emma Ramadan (Translator)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781936932276
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Feminist Press - August 14th, 2018

I'm thrilled to see the English release of another Despentes book! Emma Ramadan has done so many amazing translations, and this one is no different. When one Paris twin, on the verge of musical stardom, commits suicide, the other must take her place in the world. Now alone, she takes on the role of a sexual icon, but all the while questioning what a woman is, and how she should act, to the public. Pretty Things is gritty and angry and all the things I wanted from an early-2000's feminist novel. 


Ms Ice Sandwich (Japanese Novellas #4) Cover Image
By Mieko Kawakami, Louise Heal Kawai (Translated by)
Unavailable from Brazos Bookstore
ISBN: 9781782273301
Availability: Out of Print - Not Available for Order
Published: Pushkin Press - January 23rd, 2018

Sometimes novellas take the opportunity to grapple with huge cultural ideas, and sometimes they are just marvelous vignettes of one little life. This book is the latter. This little nugget concerns a boy's first love: the woman making sandwiches behind the counter at his local grocery store. It's funny, it's precious, and it's thoughtful. The Pushkin Japanese Novellas series can't seem to do wrong, so check out the rest of them, too. 


The Iliac Crest Cover Image
By Cristina Rivera Garza, Sarah Booker (Translator), Elena Poniatowska (Foreword by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781558614352
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Feminist Press - October 10th, 2017

I hope you didn't miss Cristina Rivera Garza's 2017 visit to Brazos for THE ILIAC CREST's release! If you did, fear not –– this strange, dark tale is still on our shelves and continues to be a staff favorite. One stormy night, two strangers invade a man's home and harass him endlessly, claiming to know a secret –– that he isn't a man at all, but in fact, a woman. THE ILIAC CREST is timely and ferocious. Plus, Garza is a Houstonian! We host her again on October 1st for the release of her STUPENDOUS next book, THE TAIGA SYNDROME. Be there.


Poso Wells Cover Image
By Gabriela Alemán, Dick Cluster (Translator)
$14.95
ISBN: 9780872867550
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: City Lights Books - August 21st, 2018

This book has had my heart for months. In a thrilling political noir, a corrupt group of politicians, led by a suave political candidate, suddenly go ablaze when the electricity shorts out. Meanwhile, the real social struggles of the area are able to come to light, thanks to a journalist and a dogged local woman: that women have been disappearing from the Poso Wells settlement without notice, and that the area's forest reserves are being plundered by a mysterious magnate. Alemán rounds up ecoterrorism, corruption, political action, journalism, and a hefty dose of humor in this slim book. POSO WELLS is NOT to be missed. 


There are a few more books I simply have to mention that haven't come out yet, but that are already on my list of top books for the year.

Keep an eye out for AFTER THE WINTER, a gorgeous novel by Guadalupe Nettel that seems to exceed every standard for fiction. We host Nettel September 18, so if you are in Houston, please mark your calendars!

THE NAKED WOMAN, by Armonia Somers, is coming out from Feminist Press in October. After being published in Ecuador in 1950, critics doubted the gender of its author due to the shocking content. It's a fabulist little fever dream, feminist, biblical, bodily and strange, and definitely worth a look.

THE LONESOME BODYBUILDER is a collection of short stories by Yukiko Motoya, and it's out in November. It already has fabulous reception with the likes of Kenzaburo Oe and Hiromi Kawakami, so, hello. This is a splendid book for fans of the playful, the fabulist, and the alien.

Last but not least, I am shrieking about the release of REVOLUTION SUNDAY, by  Cuban author Wendy Guerra. Her main character, Cloe, explores the ins and outs of poetry, surveillance, and private/public absurdities in 2000s Cuba. Plus, it's been translated by Achy Obejas, a marvelous author in her own right. 


Sara's June Pride List

Happy Pride Month, y'all! While we can all appreciate the "queer canon," so to speak, that is popularized year after year, the new releases are what really thrill me. I am so excited to see the new titles coming out from queer authors, or featuring queer characters from across the LGBTQIA spectrum. As we progress through June, keep an eye out for more literary pride spotlights!

The House of Impossible Beauties: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062676979
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Ecco - February 6th, 2018

With the reemergence of the documentary Paris is Burning and a new wave of ballroom culture, check out Cassara's novel about the subject. The House of Impossible Beauties focuses on the house of Xtravaganza, a ballroom house that featured Latinx and POC individuals. Angel, Hector, Venus, and more come to life with this unflinching narrative of New York in the 80s and 90s.

This is a fictionalized version of their stories, but even that fact pinpoints something we should pay attention to: trans histories have been erased, and continue to be erased. Books like Cassara's preserve these icons instead of allowing them to disappear into history.


Trenton Makes: A Novel Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780385543385
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Doubleday - March 20th, 2018

This book is fairly slim but just brilliant. After a woman kills her husband, she assumes his identity as Abe Kunstler and pursues the American dream of a job, a car, a wife –– and hopefully, a son. Koelb interrogates desperation, lineage, and the power of gender in this novel spanning from the 40's to the 70's. Unlike so many, this book pursues a long-term narrative of trans identity and aging, and I appreciate that so strongly.


How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9781328764522
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Mariner Books - April 17th, 2018

Okay, so I cried a few times reading this book. And wrote down a few quotes that made my heart tremble. After Joseph Osmundson wrote a gorgeous article about about Chee's recreation of a queer lineage in the wake of the HIV/AIDS crisis, how could I skip this gem? From tarot to moving across the country for writing to ACT UP protests, Chee pours out thoughtful advice and personal anecdotes galore.


Junk Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781941040973
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Tin House Books - May 8th, 2018

Tommy Pico is a prolific Native writer who has become integral to our contemporary sense of what queer poetry can be. He started with the epic poem IRL and hasn't stopped yet. Your heart will be absolutely wrenched out by his thoughtful, intellectual, yet grounded verse. Plus, check out the raunchy but hilarious podcast he runs with three other fantastic queer writers. 


Queer City: Gay London from the Romans to the Present Day Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781419730993
Availability: Backordered
Published: Abrams Press - May 8th, 2018

I love London. After reading this book, I love London more. Ackroyd runs through the gay history of the city seemingly in a single breath, from Romans to the present-day. His writing is sharp and often witty, and the contents of this book elucidate so much about the history of queer culture that I'd never heard of. I like to think of this book as Foucault plus disco. Plus, who doesn't want to walk around with this book jacket? Hardcore. 


So Lucky: A Novel Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780374265922
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: MCD x FSG Originals - May 15th, 2018

Nicola Griffith has long been a favorite of mine, and I was so thrilled to hear that she would have a new book out this year. Something I love about Griffith's books is her ability to alternately put a heavy weight on the sexuality of her characters or barely mention it at all, blending their romantic identity into the greater maelstrom of the plot progression.

This book is utterly personal and emotional; the main character, Mara, runs a multimillion-dollar AIDS foundation but must step down when she has to suddenly come to terms with her own chronic illness. Griffith tackles the identity politics of being sick: being treated like a "victim" and "inspiration" and breaking harmful narratives about sickness, all while recognizing one's own shortcomings and weaknesses. 


Happy Birthday Larry McMurtry!: A Book List

Larry McMurtry's birthday is June 3, so we're celebrating with a list of a few of our favorite Westerns! Not all of these are traditional Westerns –– some subvert the setting, some the cowboy archetype, some the purpose of the protagonist. But they have a sense of landscape that is unique to the Western genre and typified by Larry McMurtry's many novels.

Staff Pick Badge
In the Distance Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566894883
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Coffee House Press - October 10th, 2017

If you've been in the store in the past six months, you've heard us talk about IN THE DISTANCE. Hernan Diaz's novel takes tropes of the Western genre and turns them on their heads, while maintaining elegance and a unique clarity of vision. Hakan and his brother ship to the US from Sweden, but are separated in England –– one of them ends up in New York, as planned, and the other in San Francisco. What results is a seemingly endless trek as Hakan attempts to reach New York and find his brother against the landscape of 19th century America.


News of the World: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062409218
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - June 20th, 2017

No cowboy protagonist here; the main character of Paulette Jiles' captivating book is a professional itinerant who moves around the Texas countryside to read the news to curious audiences. He is paid to transport a young woman back to her family after she has been captured by the Kiowa tribe, and both the landscape and the girl herself prove to be unfamiliar and uncivilized. The duo's resulting bond is tenuous but touching. 


The Gloaming Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781937512477
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Two Dollar Radio - September 20th, 2016

Melanie Finn's protagonist, Pilgrim Jones, must find something out of nothing. After a divorce and a terrible accident, she is ostracized and attempts a safari in Africa as a means of escape. Instead of staying with the group, she sets out on her own in an attempt to cope with a shockingly empty future and a past that has receded from familiarity. This book merges high drama, loss, and violence with the possibility of redemption in an alien landscape.


Train Dreams: A Novella Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781250007650
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Picador - May 22nd, 2012

A haunting and surreal portrait of a man’s entire life as it interacts with a troubled American century. Johnson’s masterwork is irrefutable proof that no book need be longer than 90 pages.


Thalia: A Texas Trilogy Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9781631493751
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Liveright - September 19th, 2017

We couldn't complete the list without including one by the icon himself! Or rather, three; Thalia collects his first three novels, written at a time when McMurtry was first arriving on the literary scene with his voice already fully formed. Never read McMurtry? This is the perfect place to start. Read everything he's ever written? This striking volume will have you obsessed again.


Mother's Day at Brazos

Take a look at a few of our mother's day picks. Though these books may not be obvious choices, they explore motherhood in deeply thoughtful, evocative, and multifaceted ways.

And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780316393843
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Little, Brown and Company - April 10th, 2018

Filled with explicit candor and hilarious, biting wit, these essays provide a record of modern motherhood for the new generation. And while this will absolutely resonate with the women who read it, young fathers (and would-be parents) will also benefit from O’Connell’s insights into their partners’ experiences. This is the book about parenting I wish I’d had.

–Keaton


The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977498
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Graywolf Press - September 6th, 2016

A favorite of mine from the recent explosion in literary nonfiction. Boggs writes with beauty and precision about motherhood—not only personally (though yes, personally), but also culturally, historically, artistically. I didn’t think this book would be for me; boy, was I wrong.

–Ben


Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781501126062
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Scribner - September 5th, 2017

In rich, lyrical prose, Ward reckons with the relationship 13-year-old Jojo has with his biracial family, but most of all his mom Leonie and her relatives. She’s an inconsistent presence, but she’s the mother figure he has. Jojo learns from the past, present, and future, living and dead, humans, plants, and animals; for this text, all are necessary to tell Jojo (and the reader) the story of America from slavery to chain gangs to Jim Crow to Trayvon Martin.

–Sara


Staff Pick Badge
The Changeling Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781941040898
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Tin House Books - April 10th, 2018

Joy Williams pursues motherhood in its darkest form, and I’m so glad to see this book republished. When we meet Williams’ main character, Pearl, she’s drunkenly attempting to escape her abusive ex-husband with her new baby. As the novel unwinds, it expands into a paranoid postpartum fairy tale, full of children who aren’t Pearl’s but whom she loves, and her own kid, Sam, who takes on a haunting role entirely estranged from normal childhood.

–Sara


The Desert and Its Seed Cover Image
By Jorge Barón Biza, Camilo Ramirez (Translated by)
$15.95
ISBN: 9780811225809
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: New Directions - April 24th, 2018

The Desert and Its Seed is an autobiographical novel that focuses on Mario, moments after his father has thrown acid on his mother’s face (a true story). The novel follows Mario and his stoic mother, Eligia, as she moves from a clinic in Argentina to a clinic in Milan. The descriptions of her face and the changes it undergoes are both harrowing and strangely beautiful. Mario attempts to deal with the violence upon his mother (by his own father, no less) as he navigates the provincial streets of a small Italian town, drinking with strangers and getting lost (both literally and figuratively).

–Mark


Tomb Song: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977993
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Graywolf Press - March 6th, 2018

This book tells of Julián’s unconventional life as he sits at the bedside of his mother who is fighting leukemia. In fiery and often hallucinogenic prose Herbert describes his struggles as a child, his desire to be a writer and the traveling circus of his youth moving from city to city. At the root of this novel is a young man troubled by the mixed feelings he has for his mother, the courage Guadalupe had to fight for herself and her son. The writing is stunning and always brutal.

–Mark


The Days of Abandonment Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781933372006
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Europa Editions - September 1st, 2005

Elena Ferrante is known for her Neapolitan Quartet, but this visceral book is truly unforgettable. After a woman is abandoned by her husband, she must care for two children on her own. Days of Abandonment is personal, fiercely intelligent, and self-aware.

–Ülrika


Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780679781585
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Vintage - January 10th, 1999

It’s not a traditional mother-daughter relationship, but Sayuri’s relationship with the Mother of her ryokan is as formative as it is tense. Later on, Mameha is another mother-figure who helps Sayuri to grow into a mature woman. So, it’s a non-traditional look at the mother-figures in our lives and how they create a sense of family.

–Alexis


On Immunity: An Inoculation Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977207
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - September 15th, 2015

This book-length essay explores the realm of public health through an attempt to understand the anti-vaccine movement, Dracula, Biss’ own experience as a new mother, and herd immunity, etc. An incredible insight into a contemporary moment.

–Nathan


Men and Their Mothers: Mark Talks Two New Releases

Often when reading I’ll conflate the books I’ve recently read with the ones I’m currently reading, making connections, finding similarities and resemblances that may (or may not) be there. This could be the consequence of being a voracious reader, having an active imagination or, put quite simply, sometimes the similarities are just there, undeniably present and impossible to avoid, books like distant cousins or siblings.

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