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Keaton's Haunted Corner of Horror: New Year, New Fear

Hello all you boils and ghouls out there! It is my devilish pleasure as your host and Brazos resident curator of creep to welcome everyone back to this latest installment of our semi-regular newsletter of literary terror--Keaton’s Haunted Corner of Horror! This time around, we look forward to the thrills and chills coming soon to our shelves in 2023.

How to Sell a Haunted House By Grady Hendrix Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593201268
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - January 17th, 2023

Horrorstor: A Novel By Grady Hendrix Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781594745263
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Quirk Books - September 23rd, 2014

My Best Friend's Exorcism: A Novel By Grady Hendrix Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781594749766
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Quirk Books - July 11th, 2017

Things We Lost in the Fire: Stories By Mariana Enriquez Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9780451495112
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Hogarth - February 21st, 2017

The Dangers of Smoking in Bed: Stories By Mariana Enriquez, Megan McDowell (Translated by) Cover Image
By Mariana Enriquez, Megan McDowell (Translated by)
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593134092
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Hogarth - February 1st, 2022

Our Share of Night: A Novel By Mariana Enriquez, Megan McDowell (Translated by), Pablo Gerardo Camacho (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Mariana Enriquez, Megan McDowell (Translated by), Pablo Gerardo Camacho (Illustrator)
$28.99
ISBN: 9780451495143
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order Now
Published: Hogarth - February 7th, 2023

The Cabin at the End of the World: A Novel By Paul Tremblay Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062679116
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - July 2nd, 2019

Ülrika's Top 10 Books by Women

Age of Vice: A Novel By Deepti Kapoor Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780593328798
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - January 3rd, 2023

Deepti Kapoor’s second novel is literally impossible to put down. Ajay, the watchful servant to the wealthy playboy Sunny, and Neda, a curious journalist, find their lives and stories intertwined. An epic, face-paced novel that weaves the Wadia family and those that find themselves attached to them into a world of intrigue. Wealth, corruption, violence, and family are at the core of this novel, equal parts crime thriller and generational family saga.


Saturnalia By Stephanie Feldman Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781951213640
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Unnamed Press - October 11th, 2022

A novel that takes place within 24 hours during the Saturnalia carnival in Philadelphia. A suspenseful novel that combines debauchery, the occult, alchemy, friendship, manipulation, and betrayal. When Nina is asked a favor from her friend and former elite Saturn Club member to steal a box, it begins an evening of horrifying secrets and betrayals from those who were once close to her taking her to parades, worship houses, museums, cemeteries, and hidden mansions while she is forced to confront her past decisions and friendships.


1,000 Coils of Fear: A Novel By Olivia Wenzel, Priscilla Layne (Translated by) Cover Image
By Olivia Wenzel, Priscilla Layne (Translated by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781646220502
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Catapult - July 5th, 2022

A powerful and disturbing debut novel about a mixed-raced young woman as she considers her identity as a Black German, recalling her past, the estrangement with her family, and 21st century Germany. A timeless novel about what it means to discover one’s self.


Identitti: A Novel By Mithu Sanyal, Alta L. Price (Translated by) Cover Image
By Mithu Sanyal, Alta L. Price (Translated by)
$27.00
ISBN: 9781662601293
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Astra House - July 26th, 2022

A ruthless satire, Identitti delves deep into academica, identity, social media, and scandals. When a celebrated college professor of South Asian studies is discovered to actually be white, an outrage follows. Following the uproar, the narrator is forced to reflect on the key moments in her life, when she doubted her identity and her place in the world. It is a thought-provoking novel about the outsized power of social media in the current debates about identity politics and the power of claiming your own voice.


No Touching By Ketty Rouf, Tina Kover (Translator) Cover Image
By Ketty Rouf, Tina Kover (Translator)
$17.00
ISBN: 9781609456917
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Europa Editions - August 10th, 2021

Ketty Rouf’s debut novel takes an erotic approach to the relationship between one’s body and the freedom to explore one’s life that you never thought existed without judgement even when there might be consequences. Josephine is a high school philosophy teacher trying to balance her existence between Xanax and the daily routine of life. Her life will never be the same once she walks in a strip club on the Champs-Elysée.


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Bad Fruit: A Novel By Ella King Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781662601491
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Astra House - August 23rd, 2022

Lily is waiting to attend Oxford while living under the scrutiny of her Singaporean mother and distant English father. When her mother suspects her father of having an affair she begins to become unhinged. The only way to calm her down is spoiled glasses of orange juice that Lily must taste first. Beautiful and shocking, it's an explosive story of mothers and daughters.


Woman, Eating: A Literary Vampire Novel By Claire Kohda Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780063140882
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: HarperVia - April 12th, 2022

Claire Kodha’s debut novel is a fresh take on the vampire story that is both insightful and an exploration of hunger, delving into becoming an artist, and finding your true self. Lydia’s mixed-raced heritage tackles both common and difficult themes of race, social isolation, family, heritage, food, art, and the longing to connect.


Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative By Melissa Febos Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781646220854
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Catapult - March 15th, 2022

Brave, daring, as well as an insightful guide for writers and non-writers alike, Melissa Febos’ Body Work, is a marvel. A candid examination of the self and the act of writing, Forbes seamlessly blends memoir, craft, and the profound effort of looking into oneself. A book ranging from addiction to trauma to issues of privacy, Body Work is an urgent and profound book.


Sam: A Novel By Allegra Goodman Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593447819
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: The Dial Press - January 3rd, 2023

Both heartbreaking and hopeful, Allegra Goodman's Sam is a tender, brave, and original book about coming of age. Deftly balancing family, loss, self-discovery, and all their inherent complexities, Sam will have readers rooting for the titular character even after they've finished. A brilliant, nuanced novel.


Corrections in Ink: A Memoir By Keri Blakinger Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781250272850
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Press - June 7th, 2022

Keri Blakinger’s memoir is brave, brutal, and truthful about what it means to survive life's trials, from an eating disorder, to addiction, to imprisonment in the American judicial system, all while navigating life inside, recovery, and redemption. Inspiring and relevant, a true story that will stay with you long after you finished.


Laila's Top 10 Art Books

Staff Pick Badge
Women Holding Things By Maira Kalman Cover Image
$32.50
ISBN: 9780062846679
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Harper Design - October 18th, 2022

Women Holding Things is my all time favorite art book of the year. Not only is the style gorgeous, I found myself laughing at all the bizarre ways women were captured holding miscellaneous objects. With a striking cover, Maira Kalman presents a timeless exploration of the intricacies in a woman's life and all the many things we hold, metaphorical and literal. This is a beautiful and moving collection, perfect for any woman with a fondness for art and its storytelling. This will be my new favorite coffee table book.


Great Women Painters By Phaidon Editors, Alison M. Gingeras (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Phaidon Editors, Alison M. Gingeras (Introduction by)
$69.95
ISBN: 9781838663285
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Phaidon Press - October 6th, 2022

My second favorite art book of the year! Some of my newfound favorite pieces of art are laying in the pages of this book. Women's history is one of my favorite things to learn about and I’m so glad this book combines fun and funky art with the lost information of the women behind them. Each turn of the page brings striking pieces of work paired with fascinating excerpts on how women's art has evolved in the past 500 years.


Wild Flowers of North America: Botanical Illustrations by  Mary Vaux Walcott By Pamela Henson (Editor) Cover Image
By Pamela Henson (Editor)
$65.00
ISBN: 9783791388892
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Prestel - October 11th, 2022

Mary Vaux Walcott brings us the most luminous artwork of North American plants and flowers. Each page is absolutely breathtaking, filled with vibrant colors and great composition. This is my favorite botanical art book of the year and it’s amazing for collages or posters, but honestly feels too beautiful to cut up. Each picture needs to be put on display.


Frida Kahlo and Arte Popular By Frida Kahlo (Artist), Layla Bermeo (Text by (Art/Photo Books)) Cover Image
By Frida Kahlo (Artist), Layla Bermeo (Text by (Art/Photo Books))
$50.00
ISBN: 9780878468881
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: MFA Publications - November 8th, 2022

This list wouldn't be complete without a Frida Kahlo feature. In this stunning bilingual collection, MFABoston walks us through the life of Frida Kahlo and all her mixed media. There was truly nothing she couldn’t do. This book has one of my favorite covers on the list, with a stunning shade of blue and an eye-catching picture of Frida illuminating the journey ahead into her work and representation of Mexican culture. 


Wild Things Are Happening: The Art of Maurice Sendak By Maurice Sendak (Artist), Jonathan Weinberg (Editor), Lynn Caponera (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Maurice Sendak (Artist), Jonathan Weinberg (Editor), Lynn Caponera (Introduction by)
$55.00
ISBN: 9781636810522
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Delmonico Books - September 6th, 2022

As someone who adored Where the Wild Things Are as a kid, I loved this detailed voyage into Maurice Sendak's life and career as one of the most infamous illustrators. This adorable collection walks you through the art of stories like Where the Wild Things Are and more. As an art and illustration lover, seeing the evolution of someone who painted the life of your childhood is magical.


Art Against Despair: Pictures to Restore Hope By The School of Life Cover Image
$32.99
ISBN: 9781912891900
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: School of Life - October 11th, 2022

From artistic scenes all the way from the 1600’s until 2022, the tagline of this book is “pictures to restore hope” and it does just that. My favorite medium in this book is the photography. It captures such an intense yet subtle gloom as the focal person in the photo usually displays despair, disbelief, or utter numbness. All of the elements in the pictures come together to create incredible storytelling, whether accidental or intentional. This book has a special ability to make you feel less alone in whatever you’re feeling.


Art Is Life: Icons and Iconoclasts, Visionaries and Vigilantes, and Flashes of Hope in the Night By Jerry Saltz Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780593086490
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - November 1st, 2022

As someone who really enjoyed How to be an Artist, Jerry Saltz has produced a sister book that’s just as good, if not better. He uses his own creativity to inspire others and show that art is for everyone, even those whose inner creative hasn't been awakened yet. In Art Is Life, he celebrates the lives of a wide range of artists, all from different cultures and communities with different styles, techniques, and messages to let us know that art and life are interchangeable.


Rendezvous in Paris: Picasso, Chagall, Modigliani & Co. (1900-1939) By Christian Briend (Editor) Cover Image
By Christian Briend (Editor)
$40.00
ISBN: 9786148035333
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Kaph Books - September 27th, 2022

With a very abstract and eye-catching cover, this is a super cool look into the artistic evolution in Paris, including the works of many talented artists and a timeline of the school of Paris, important studio and museum openings, and historical pinpoints. The artwork ranges from dark and gripping to light and vibrant. A very cool collection.


Collecting Nature: The History of the Herbarium and Natural Specimens By Clive Aslet, Svante Helmbaek Tirén Cover Image
$40.00
ISBN: 9789189425644
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Bokforlaget Stolpe - July 5th, 2022

This book is simply one of the best elemental collections ever. Featuring a range of earthly discoveries such as seashells, stones, flowers, and insects, Collecting Nature will remind you of how you felt as a little kid exploring a new place and picking up rocks and any new thing you could find. It’s a fascinating assortment of nature's coolest things.


The Fashion Book: Revised and Updated Edition By Phaidon Editors Cover Image
$59.95
ISBN: 9781838665708
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Phaidon Press - September 21st, 2022

Straying a little from art on a canvas, my last favorite art book of the year is all about fashion. From era to era, The Fashion Book encompasses the world of high end fashion with radiant photography of runways, famous actresses, photoshoots, and campaigns. Each turn of a page is a brief transportation into another period of time and how that period was defined by what they wore.


Amy's Top 9 Books with Characters Named Amy (Plus One Elizabeth)

Ever since I was a little girl I have loved running across characters in books that share my name, so in 2022 I set about to find the best books with characters named Amy. Or Elizabeth. Bonus points for any Amy Elizabeths! All interested Amys read on…

Horrorstor: A Novel By Grady Hendrix Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781594745263
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Quirk Books - September 23rd, 2014

An absolutely genius parody of a well-known chain of Swedish furniture stores. Bizarre and ugly things are happening after store closing and Amy and a co-worker agree to spend the night to get to the bottom of the chaos. Watch the dark progression of the catalog products at the beginning of each chapter…


Apples Never Fall By Liane Moriarty Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250220271
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Holt Paperbacks - July 19th, 2022

The tension develops slowly and deliciously as you get to know the six members of the Delaney family and their somewhat mysterious houseguest Savannah after the disappearance of the matriarch, Joy. My favorite character was, not surprisingly, eldest daughter Amy, who is a little off and struggling to find her way through life. Great family drama with some mystery!


The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig (A Love Story) By Don Zolidis Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781368010061
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - September 17th, 2019

High school D&D nerd Craig dates senior class superstar Amy--until she breaks up with him. Seven times. I love this story because: 1) my senior year boyfriend was named Craig; 2) Amy is the cooler one in the relationship; and 3) pretty much everything else about the book. I started to read this book because the characters were named Amy and Craig and that made me laugh. I loved this book because Amy and Craig were wonderful characters who made me laugh. And cry. Highly recommended for teens, Amys, and fans of good books.


The Overdue Life of Amy Byler By Kelly Harms Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781542040570
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Lake Union Publishing - May 1st, 2019

Amy Byers is a librarian and has been a single mom to her two kids for three years. When her husband returns from his mid-life crisis and wants to spend the summer with his kids, Amy goes to NYC and relaxes, blooms, and figures out a lot about herself and her relationship with her kids. A fun jaunt with a lady I'm proud to share a name with!


Staff Pick Badge
Book Lovers By Emily Henry Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593334836
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - May 3rd, 2022

Rom-com with all the best tropes, tweaked just a bit to be fresh and new. Great story of sisters, people who love books, and of course romance! Very fun, and with some actual wisdom to keep it from being ordinary.


Suburban Hell By Maureen Kilmer Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593422373
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - August 30th, 2022

If you like your horror mixed with fun, friendship, and cocktails, this is your book. Desperate Housewives meets The Exorcist!


Red, White & Royal Blue: Collector's Edition: A Novel By Casey McQuiston Cover Image
$29.99
ISBN: 9781250856036
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - October 11th, 2022

The son of the first female American president falls in love with England’s Prince of Wales and heir to the throne and they must pretend to be best friends to throw the frenzied journalists off the trail. Featuring a sympathetic secret service agent named Amy! Pure fun romance. 


Night Film: A Novel By Marisha Pessl Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780812979787
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - July 1st, 2014

The daughter of a reclusive film producer has died and a journalist looks for the real story. Darkly satisfying, loads of details and twists and turns and I loved the extra material interspersed throughout the book that give a very intense realism to the story. And yes, there is an Amy, but don’t blink or you’ll miss her!


Little Women: 150th-Anniversary Annotated Edition (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) By Louisa May Alcott, Patti Smith (Foreword by), Anne Boyd Rioux (Editor), Anne Boyd Rioux (Introduction by), Anne Boyd Rioux (Notes by) Cover Image
By Louisa May Alcott, Patti Smith (Foreword by), Anne Boyd Rioux (Editor), Anne Boyd Rioux (Introduction by), Anne Boyd Rioux (Notes by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780143106654
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Classics - April 24th, 2012

No list of books with Amy's would be complete without Little Women! I was, in fact, named for both Amy and Beth from this classic story. I didn’t love that Amy was a bit of a brat, but as I’ve gotten older I understand her more and appreciate her artistic temperament. I find myself somewhere between Amy’s selfish and spoiled tendencies and Beth’s saintliness. This is still a beautiful story of sisters and family and deserves a place in your bookshelf.


Lessons in Chemistry: A Novel By Bonnie Garmus Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780385547345
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday - April 5th, 2022

This was hands-down one of my favorite reads of 2022.. The characters--Mad, Elizabeth, Calvin, Harriet, 6:30, the love story, the new mom struggle, the friendship between Elizabeth and Harriet, the empowering of women through chemistry--I loved it all. It is the early 1960's and Elizabeth Zott is a chemist. And a single mom. And the reluctant star of a cooking show that awakens the minds and spirits of the women who watch it. “Cooking is chemistry and chemistry is change.” 


HONORABLE MENTION


Amy Elizabeth Explores Bloomingdale's By E.L. Konigsburg, E.L. Konigsburg (Illustrator) Cover Image
By E.L. Konigsburg, E.L. Konigsburg (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780689317668
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - October 31st, 1992

Amy Elizabeth lives in Houston (!!!) and travels to New York City to visit her grandmother. Bloomingdales is at the top of their list of places to visit, but they keep getting sidetracked--will they ever get to Bloomie’s? They have a wonderful time just being together, even if they never actually make it to the iconic store.  A lovely grandmother-granddaughter story. 


Joy's Top 10 Books That Made Me Ponder Humanity

Frances and the Monster By Refe Tuma Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780063085763
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins - August 23rd, 2022

This upper middle grade retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein simply blew me away. It’s nuanced and layered, and oh so very clever, with a proto-android tutor named Hobbes, references (some obvious; some subtle, Easter egg-ish treats) to not only Shelley’s original, but also to the various film incarnations from the Boris Karloff classic to Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein and tidbits from Shelley’s life and the people around her. 11-year-old Frances (nicknamed by some as Frankie) is a clear homage, as is her father being named Viktor. Dad’s shadowy, possibly nefarious friend is named Mr. Byron, clearly referencing Mary Shelley’s husband Percy’s profligate poet friend. The setting is late 30’s in Bern, Switzerland, so WWII is brewing in the background, adding to the underlying tensions as Frances follows in her grandfather’s footsteps and unleashes a monster that she must catch. But who are the real monsters and who are the heroes? A good question in the 1700s. A great question in our own tumultuous, increasingly violent times.


A Duet for Home By Karina Yan Glaser Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780544876408
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Clarion Books - April 5th, 2022

Another middle grade that I can’t stop thinking about, Duet for Home is about so many things: homelessness and the struggles of being unhoused. It’s about grief, the power of both friendship and music, found families, and lots more. Karina Yan Glaser has managed to craft a story about all of this for middle graders, making it hopeful but not tied up in a pretty bow at the end. Say what you want about all the Booker prize winners and the like, then read Duet and see a gentle master at the height of her craft. Also, the main character, June, is a violist, and as I also played the viola all through high school and a bit beyond, let me say it’s a gorgeous alto key instrument that people often think is just a weirdly large violin, which it is NOT. Yup, 1st chair viola. My claim to fame. But Duet for Home is absolutely lovely and moving and gently but firmly questions how we treat our unhoused citizens and how we can do much, much better.


When We Cease to Understand the World By Benjamin Labatut, Adrian Nathan West (Translated by) Cover Image
By Benjamin Labatut, Adrian Nathan West (Translated by)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781681375663
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New York Review Books - September 28th, 2021

This book is absolutely NOT something I’d have picked up on my own. Colleagues kept nattering on about how it’s like a ‘fever dream,' a phrase that generally makes me NOT want to read something. But they wore me down, and so I dug in. I don’t know if I’d call it a fever dream. But it’s a highly disturbing, densely packed page-turner that mixes real life fact with fiction in ways that are almost impossible to unpack as it delves into the lives of people whose creations and inventions were ultimately used for evil, destructive purposes (like the guy who was inventing some sort of agricultural something or other that ended up as Zyklon B in the Nazi extermination camp gas chambers), and the rabbit holes of self-destruction and madness that followed. It’s mesmerizing and overwhelmingly sad and depressing and awful. It is a book I keep thinking about, but not one I’ll ever re-read. I don’t need extra reminding about how much we humans are capable of creating both wonders and terrors.


Home Is Where the Eggs Are By Molly Yeh Cover Image
$32.50
ISBN: 9780063052413
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Cookbooks - September 27th, 2022

If you don’t know about Molly Yeh, her newest cookbook is a perfect way to discover her charm, appeal, and supremely workable recipes. Her Food Network series, Girl Meets Farm, is a charming, quietly subversive delight. Subversive in part because Molly can be impishly salty talking to the audience from her adorably cute farm house on the Minnesota/North Dakota border where her husband Nick farms (they met at Julliard, by the way, in case you have a different image) and to a larger degree because Molly is Jewish and Chinese and she cheerfully and casually celebrates both of those identities with the food she makes. I’d bet no one else in Grand Forks is hosting a cooking show that has had episodes for Shabbat, Purim, and Sukkot in addition to Chanukah! Where the Eggs Are is Molly’s recipes and chit chat and it makes me immeasurably happy!! Noodles! Kugels! Challah with potato flour added! Salads and handhelds and more. Plus a nifty Insta you can follow.


The Mosquito Bowl: A Game of Life and Death in World War II By Buzz Bissinger Cover Image
$32.50
ISBN: 9780062879929
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper - September 13th, 2022

Bissinger made me fascinated about Texas football in Friday Night Lights (the non-fiction book about the Permian Odessa football team, although the fictional TV series is also spiffy. See: Coach Taylor. See: Tim Riggins. Oh,Tim Riggins. Dear Tim Riggins. See: “Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t Lose)

Now in The Mosquito Bowl, Bissinger has penned another amazing true story look at men and football and life and death, only this time in WWII, Christmas even 1944, with the 4th and 29th Marine regiments playing a football game just prior to the bloody battle for Okiwana. Their stories are both ordinary and moving. The knowledge that many of them did not survive the battle is heartbreaking.  That they were young and full of life, athletic and promising, makes it even more tragic. So yes, it belongs in this list I’ve created. The best and the worst all in one phenomenal read. 


Lessons in Chemistry: A Novel By Bonnie Garmus Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780385547345
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday - April 5th, 2022

It’s probably enough if I just say that Elizabeth Zott is one of my favorite characters of 2022. But if that alone isn’t enough, Lessons in Chemistry, set in the early 60’s, is the story of a female chemist and her all male team who definitely don’t believe in equality of the sexes. And when through a series of circumstances Zott becomes not only a bereft single mother but also the host of an odd daytime cooking show called Supper at Six, the story speeds along from there. It’s funny. It’s irreverent. It’s deeply truthful and wonderfully readable. We all need an Elizabeth Zott in our corner. The world would be an infinitely better place. A true delight! 


Violet and Jobie in the Wild By Lynne Rae Perkins, Lynne Rae Perkins (Illustrator) Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062499691
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greenwillow Books - September 13th, 2022

Violet and Jobie in the Wild is a delight of a book--the perfect early middle grade, full of bravery and wonder, true friendship, and just the right amount of danger as the titular two house mice journey into the wider world, searching for home. In short, it’s the best of humanity, except with mice. It’s the perfect antidote for the world’s current state of mouth-foaming anger.


The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen By Isaac Blum Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780593525821
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Philomel Books - September 13th, 2022

As most people know, I’m always on the lookout for sharply written, authentic Jewish rep in novels, especially for children and teens. I’m not always fond of diverse books having to be about ISSUES (I mean, can’t a Jewish character just be Jewish and solving a mystery or whatever?), but I’ll forgive this one because it’s not like anything else I’ve read. Hoodie Rosen has an ultra-Orthodox teen, begins on the obscure Jewish holiday of Tu B’Av (kind of a Jewish Valentine’s Day, but not really), a mayor who is openly antisemitic, or at least has never known Orthodox Jews before, and the mayor’s daughter who is not at all like her mother. It’s quirky and authentically voiced and the two teens work to combat hate. You’ll like Hoodie (Yehuda) Rosen. You’ll really like his older sister, who’s both devout and subversive in the best of ways. Hoodie has a giant family. They’re all great characters. Read this one. Trust me.


The Underpants By Tammi Sauer, Joren Cull (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Tammi Sauer, Joren Cull (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781338740271
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Scholastic Press - October 4th, 2022

Okay, so this was where I was originally going to have John Irving’s The Chairlift. I’ve loved John Irving since I read The World According to Garp, and there was that line, “Beware the undertoad”--which if you’ve read Garp you probably remember, too, because while it was a character’s mishearing of the word undertow, it’s really, really true, that the cosmic anvil can drop on our heads at any moment. John Irving gets that about the universe and the life of people in it. That no one is ever protected, not really.

But as much as I adore John Irving, Tammi Sauer’s picture books always make me laugh and always make me smile, and these are two very valuable experiences in our endless trash fire of a world these days. The Underpants is about what happens when Kitty paws through Farmer’s fresh laundry and decides that his tighty whiteys are a coat, and then the rest of the farm animals squeeze in with her. It’s clever. It’s funny. It makes you forget that the Acme safe of life might crash on your noggin at any second. It’s a stellar read aloud. Really, what more do you need?


Creepy Crayon! (Creepy Tales!) By Aaron Reynolds, Peter Brown (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Aaron Reynolds, Peter Brown (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9781534465886
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - August 23rd, 2022

If you’re looking for another super fun read-aloud, Aaron Reynolds has you covered with Creepy Crayon, which is possibly my favorite of the Creepy trilogy that began with Creepy Carrots, followed with Creepy Underwear (a title that ensures purchase for every little boy in the universe), and now has little Jasper Rabbit finding himself in quite the school conundrum in this very Twilight Zone-esque story. On his own, he’s been getting answers wrong, spelling words incorrectly. But the purple crayon (so purple! So pointy!) insidiously inserts itself into Jasper’s work. At first it’s great! A+! But soon the guilt begins to consume him, and something must be done. Peter Brown’s art work soothes things humorously, but the deeper question is underneath--weirdly not dissimilar to a very grown up novel I just read called The Plot. How far will we go for success that isn’t ours? And at what cost? And because it’s a picture book, it’s FUNNY. You all need this one.


Keaton's Top 10 Books of 2022

BEST OVERALL BOOK

The Twilight World: A Novel By Werner Herzog, Michael Hofmann (Translated by) Cover Image
By Werner Herzog, Michael Hofmann (Translated by)
$25.00
ISBN: 9780593490266
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press - June 14th, 2022

At the age of 80, the legendary and idiosyncratic German filmmaker has now turned to writing fiction as only he could do it. Mingling history, imagination and memory, this astounding novel recounts the real life odyssey of Hiroo Onoda--the Japanese soldier who infamously waged a one man guerrilla war in the Philippines jungle for decades after the end of WWII. It’s a character study like no other by one of the world’s foremost storytellers in any genre…or medium.


THE OBVIOUS CHOICES


Saint Sebastian's Abyss By Mark Haber Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566896368
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - May 10th, 2022

This choice is not only obvious because Mark is my boy and fellow Brazosian. Although, that’s probably part of it. But the main reason is that his second novel is just so damn good! It’s a ludicrous and poignant takedown of academic criticism told through the relentless rivalry of two ex-friends obsessed with the work of an obscure painter. Oneupmanship and pettiness abound! You’ll come for the dark humor and whirlwind storytelling, but you’ll stay for the holy donkey!


The Passenger By Cormac McCarthy Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780307268990
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - October 25th, 2022

There was no way The Mac’s first novel in 16 years (after The Road) would not make this list. It doesn’t matter that it’s only the first of two companion novels and completely different from the now classic books he’s written before. The exacting minimalist prose, profound ruminations on the human experience, and a pitch perfect sense of place (mostly New Orleans) are all here. This time around, though, the tragic lives of a brother and sister offer up a more Faulknerian exploration of the tension between a haunted past and an uncertain future. It’s a fitting coda to a remarkable literary career. IMHO, Cormac deserves the Nobel.


LET'S GO TO THE MOVIES...AND READ


It Came from the Closet: Queer Reflections on Horror By Joe Vallese (Editor), Carmen Maria Machado (Contribution by), Bruce Owens Grimm (Contribution by) Cover Image
By Joe Vallese (Editor), Carmen Maria Machado (Contribution by), Bruce Owens Grimm (Contribution by)
$25.95
ISBN: 9781952177798
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Feminist Press - October 4th, 2022

This collection of queer critics’ takes on horror movies--from The Exorcist to Us and beyond--is indispensable for lovers of the spookies, as well as anyone who likes taking deep dives into the fetid depths of pop culture. Spanning decades of cinema, the complicated relationship between horror and its LGBTQIA+ fans is dissected here into the good, the bad, and the terrifying. It’s an illuminating and entertaining read about all our favorite nightmares.  


My Life as a Godard Movie By Joanna Walsh Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781945492648
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Transit Books - October 18th, 2022

Intelligent. Probing. Melancholy. This thin volume uses the films of the celebrated French New Wave auteur as a jumping off point for a soul searching inquiry into the nature of beauty. Who decides what/who is beautiful? What does our attraction to beautiful people and our own attempts to become more so say about us? Part film criticism, memoir, and feminist theory, it’s a book-length essay to unpack over many readings.


Cinema Speculation By Quentin Tarantino Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780063112582
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper - November 1st, 2022

Arguably one of the greatest filmmakers of the past 30 years, Quentin Tarantino delves into the movies that shaped him. Bullitt (Steve McQueen!), Deliverance (Ned Beatty!), The Funhouse (Tobe Hooper!), and many more get their own close readings, along with Q’s views on Hollywood culture during the mid 20th century and his own moviegoing memories. Manic, insightful, and undoubtedly cool. What more is there to say?  


THE THROWBACKS


The Ballad of Black Tom By Victor LaValle Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781250817556
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tordotcom - September 6th, 2022

Re-released just this year in a snazzy new hardcover edition (and originally published in 2016), LaValle’s cult novella reimagines HP Lovecraft’s story "The Horror at Red Hook" from the perspective of a Black character. It is one of the finest examples of the recent trend in “reclaimed” literature, most notably for its tandem condemnation of Lovecraft’s virulent racism and adulation for the particular brand of eldritch horror he unleashed upon the world. Read it now in preparation for LaValle’s newest novel, Lone Women coming next March!


Norse Mythology By Neil Gaiman Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393356182
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 6th, 2018

Adventure, humor and magic abound! The stories of Odin, Thor, Loki, and all the other gods of the ancient North made for great bedtime reading with my son this year. Although coming from famously fragmented sources, Gaiman’s masterful retelling weaves these myths together into a flowing prose narrative that is just the perfect introduction to these thrilling tales. It’s always a pleasure to revisit Asgard.


FOR THE KIDS


The Ogress and the Orphans By Kelly Barnhill Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781643750743
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Young Readers - March 8th, 2022

 

Another great bedtime read for my boy and me! I thoroughly enjoyed Newbery winner Barnhill’s latest middle grade novel. It’s a heartwarming work of fantasy but also a thinly veiled critique of the forces that can make or break a community. The generous Ogress only wants to find a welcoming home of her own, but the nefarious mayor of the nearby town directs the simmering anger of the unhappy citizens against her. Now, only a retinue of enterprising orphans and a talkative murder of crows can help her. It’s a socially conscious fantasy everyone can enjoy. 


Shuna's Journey By Hayao Miyazaki, Alex Dudok de Wit (Translated by) Cover Image
By Hayao Miyazaki, Alex Dudok de Wit (Translated by)
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250846525
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: First Second - November 1st, 2022

While not purposely written for children, this graphic novel/manga from the legendary creator of Studio Ghibli’s panoply of anime classics, can be read and cherished by any reader. Originally published in 1983 but only now finding its way into English translation, this is an epic quest adventure told through sparse narration and sumptuous illustrations. A young prince leaves his home in search of a sacred grain that can change his people’s fortune. However, what he finds will test the very fabric of his heart and mind. A timeless tale to share for generations.


Mark's Top 10 Book Covers

Book design is a big deal for me. It’s also a big deal for the staff here at Brazos; on any given day you may hear us discussing (or arguing) over the pros and cons of this or that specific book cover. To me, one of the most vital aspects of a book is its cover. Think about it: it’s the sole visual cue a reader is given when reading--there’s nothing else. If you’re reading Don Quixote or War and Peace or Beloved, you’re given one single image for the book: the cover.

Staff Pick Badge
Jawbone By Mónica Ojeda, Sarah Booker (Translator) Cover Image
By Mónica Ojeda, Sarah Booker (Translator)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566896214
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - February 8th, 2022

I saw this cover months before the book was published and was in awe. I thought there was no way the novel itself could equal the design. I was wrong. A dark, visceral, masterpiece about youth, trauma, ritual, and horror. The cover speaks for the book without giving anything away.


The Famous Magician (Storybook ND Series) By César Aira, Chris Andrews (Translated by) Cover Image
By César Aira, Chris Andrews (Translated by)
$17.95
ISBN: 9780811228893
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions - September 27th, 2022

Strange, abstract, colorful, like all of Cesar Aira’s fantastical and philosophical stories. The cover perfectly encapsulates the story in unspoken ways. I also love the vibrant colors.


Yesterday By Juan Emar, Megan McDowell (Translated by), Alejandro Zambra (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Juan Emar, Megan McDowell (Translated by), Alejandro Zambra (Introduction by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9780811231572
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions - April 5th, 2022

This cover of this slim Latin American classic (in English for the first time) is dazzling in its simplicity. The cover art references a scene in the book and I’ll leave it at that. Strange, eye-catching, and seemingly effortless.


Nights of Plague: A novel By Orhan Pamuk, Ekin Oklap (Translated by) Cover Image
By Orhan Pamuk, Ekin Oklap (Translated by)
$34.00
ISBN: 9780525656890
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Knopf - October 4th, 2022

I have not yet read this book, however the cover is stunning. The right half encroached by darkness, symbolizing a plague, is clever and effective. A striking and original cover.


Staff Pick Badge
A Horse at Night: On Writing By Amina Cain Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781948980135
Availability: BACKORDERED
Published: Dorothy, a publishing project - October 11th, 2022

There’s a reference to the cover image in Amina Cain’s wonderful book, a quiet, profound love letter to reading, writing and books. Much like the cover, there’s something thoughtful, timeless, and reassuring about the design. Lovely and a bit mysterious.


Valleyesque: Stories By Fernando A. Flores Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780374604134
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: MCD x FSG Originals - May 3rd, 2022

Like the stories in Fernando’s collection, there’s an abstract and surreal game at play. I love this cover and all the imagery that feels akin to a work by Salvador Dali replete with a smirk.


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If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English: A Novel By Noor Naga Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781644450819
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - April 12th, 2022

I love the blend of old photos or artwork with contemporary fonts. The coloring of the letters stands in lovely contrast to the painting.


I Will Die in a Foreign Land By Kalani Pickhart Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781953387080
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Two Dollar Radio - October 19th, 2021

I mean what a cover! Great title, great design and marvelous novel.


New and Selected Stories By Cristina Rivera Garza, Sarah Booker (Translated by), Lisa Dillman (Translated by), Francisca González Arias (Translated by), Alex Ross (Translated by) Cover Image
By Cristina Rivera Garza, Sarah Booker (Translated by), Lisa Dillman (Translated by), Francisca González Arias (Translated by), Alex Ross (Translated by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9781948980098
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dorothy, a publishing project - April 12th, 2022

It’s a given that any book by Rivera Garza will be incredible; this one covers decades of her short stories, the reader invited into an exciting and vibrant range of a singular talent. The cover is absolutely stunning. A photograph with an explosion of red from a scarf or a sheet.


Carnality: A Novel By Lina Wolff, Frank Perry (Translated by) Cover Image
By Lina Wolff, Frank Perry (Translated by)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781635420746
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Other Press - July 19th, 2022

I’m an enormous fan of Lina Wolff and her new book is no exception. Dark, literary, and a psychological page-turner. The cover alludes to the story without giving anything away.


Sara's Top 10 Books Reimagined, Adapted, and Expanded

The Last White Man: A Novel By Mohsin Hamid Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780593538814
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - August 2nd, 2022

In Hamid’s newest novel, people are changing overnight. Reminiscent of Kafka’s Metamorphosis, this book follows Anders, a white man who wakes up one day to discover that his skin has grown several shades darker. We follow Anders as he grapples with identity in a world where one’s outward appearance impacts every aspect of everyday life. Mohsin skillfully manipulates the lens of this novel, bringing us into the depths of Anders' conscience then situating his attitudes into the larger social dynamics he inhabits. This is a quick, intense read. Modern allegory at its finest.


The Song of Achilles: A Novel By Madeline Miller Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062060624
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - August 28th, 2012

Anyone who knows me will nod knowingly seeing this retelling of The Iliad right near the top of my list (which is in no particular order). A tattoo of the cover adorns my left arm. I love this book. I cannot get enough. In this masterful novel, Patroclus, the companion of Achilles during the Trojan War, is given a voice. And the beautiful things he sings will live in your heart for the rest of your life. This is a story of sacrifice, power, and, above all, love, at its purest and most devastating. As much as I love this book, I will warn you: Miller knows how to pull forth every tear in your body. And she does. Get ready to crack your heart open.


This Is Why I Came: A Novel By Mary Rakow Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781619028289
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Counterpoint - November 15th, 2016

This is a unique little book. In Rakow’s novel, a woman who has lost her faith in God and religion has rewritten the Bible in such a way as to give its characters a voice. One of my favorite books I’ve read this year, if not my favorite. The writing is distilled in vivid, poetic images. The characters of the Torah and New Testament come alive on the page as people, rather than figures. If you want a compulsive, accessible read that also feels deeply ancient, this is the book for you.


The Vegetarian: A Novel By Han Kang Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781101906118
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hogarth - August 23rd, 2016

For anyone who has read the short story Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville, they will recognize the devolution of Yeong-hye. I don’t want to say too much about this bizarre, thrilling little book, but I will say: it’s divided into three sections, all of which centralize the voices of those closest to Yeong-hye, which contribute to or exploit, in some way, her decline. A disturbing, visceral tale with a dash of body horror, this is a perfect book for anyone desiring a controlled confrontation with the inexplicable and a twisted adaptation of a classic story.


Staff Pick Badge
Coming Through Slaughter (Vintage International) By Michael Ondaatje Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780679767855
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - March 19th, 1996

Very little is known about the life of Buddy Bolden, a jazz pioneer in early 20th century New Orleans, but Michael Ondaatje takes that teaspoon of information and runs. What results is a lively and three-dimensional portrait of a time, place, and artistic movement. Ondaatje’s use of jazz-influenced prose to thrust us into Buddy’s world is intoxicating, and tragically mirrors Bolden’s descent into mental illness. This is a tight, skillfully rendered book. An example of true craft. Reading this book is like eating a four course meal from a Michelin star restaurant. It’s an experience–sometimes interesting, impenetrable, but always delectable and awe-inspiring.


The Guest List: A Novel By Lucy Foley Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780062868930
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: William Morrow - June 2nd, 2020

This thriller draws inspiration from the classic mystery novels of Agatha Christie’s and her iconic reader-as-detective style. What results is a page-turning, rapid read that pulls you through and to the end of the book before you can say “Whodunit?!” A perfect book for anyone who wants to log more books on their yearly log, or someone who wants to feel their pulse race a little. Or someone who has just had their heart ripped out by a different book on this list (take your pick!) and needs a palate cleanse.


Felon: Poems By Reginald Dwayne Betts Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393542035
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 30th, 2021

In this collection of poems, Betts redacts lines from documents filed by the Civil Rights Corps to distill the injustice being done in the American legal system. The documents he redacts and adapts into poems are documents previously filed by the Civil Rights Corps to challenge the incarceration of people who cannot afford to pay bail. This poetry collection is a direct challenge to the complacency of the bail system, as well as a larger examination of the speaker’s life within a system that has deeply affected him and those around him. The poems are vulnerable and raw. This is one of the most important and striking collections I’ve read this year.


Know My Name: A Memoir By Chanel Miller Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780735223721
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - August 18th, 2020

Many of us are familiar with Chanel Miller’s story, though when we first encountered her it was under the pseudonym “Emily Doe.” In this heart-wrenching memoir, Miller walks us through the aftermath of her assault, from the trial, to her journey of healing. This book is beautifully written, much like her original “Victim Impact Statement.” Necessary reading for anyone and everyone.


The Sandman Book One By Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth (Illustrator)
$29.99
ISBN: 9781779515179
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: DC Comics - April 12th, 2022

This glorious graphic novel collects the first ten volumes of Neil Gaiman’s iconic series, including the award winning A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I refuse to watch the Netflix show because I do not possibly believe this series could be better in any form. A reimagining of the various myths associated with The Sandman, a deity who controls our dreams with magic sand, Gaiman’s comics are dark, beautiful, and incredibly profound. A wonderful gift for anyone over the age of 18 who is looking to get into the luscious world of graphic novels.


Elegy: Poems By Mary Jo Bang Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555975401
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - September 29th, 2009

In this poetry collection, Mary Jo Bang reimagines the poetic form “the elegy” as a series of poems pondering the death of her son. This slim volume speaks in resonant tones to anyone who has lost a beloved. Deeply raw and a prosodic tour-de-force, anyone interested in poetry and its immense power must read this book.


Laura's Top 10 Books About Isolation (and Connection)

Isolation is such an interesting experience. At certain points in my life (admittedly more often than not) I crave solitude. I'm an introvert by nature and while I can "turn it on" to be outgoing and boisterous, I'm most at peace when I'm by myself in a quiet place. However, that's not to say that isolation can't be a curse. Human connection is important. It's part of what makes us, well, human.

How We Are Translated By Jessica Gaitán Johannesson Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781950354825
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Scribe Us - February 1st, 2022

This is such a fascinating tale of language, particularly the ways in which language can connect or isolate us. A young, Swedish immigrant's boyfriend decides he will only speak in Swedish in the hopes of learning her language. What should have been a kind gesture that brings them together actually turns into a strain on their relationship. How We Are Translated is such a tender story handled with soft, deft hands.


Staff Pick Badge
The Bear Woman By Karolina Ramqvist, Saskia Vogel (Translator) Cover Image
By Karolina Ramqvist, Saskia Vogel (Translator)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781552454312
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Coach House Books - February 8th, 2022

The Bear Woman is a chimera: part exploration of modernity, part historical research and retelling, and always written through a feminist lens. We follow the narrator as she hunts down the story of Marguerite de la Rocque, a young, French noblewoman who was abandoned on an island in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence during an Atlantic crossing. Both Marguerite and the narrator must navigate isolation from their families and the world.


Staff Pick Badge
A Far Wilder Magic By Allison Saft Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250623652
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wednesday Books - March 8th, 2022

Hauntingly atmospheric, Maggie and Wes' story is a nuanced parable of loss and connection, exclusion and community, and the aching hope--and fear--that someone will see us exactly as we are. This romance is set in a magical, fictional world with painful similarities to our own. A Far Wilder Magic will consume you.


Staff Pick Badge
In a Garden Burning Gold: Book One of the Wind-up Garden series By Rory Power Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593354971
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Del Rey - April 5th, 2022

Set in a gloriously atmospheric Greek-inspired fantasy world, In a Garden Burning Gold follows two siblings as they fight to keep their family safe, even from each other. There is a particular pain as we watch Rhea and Lexos become more and more diametrically opposed, isolating themselves from their family while trying desperately to gain allies. In this world there is no love without loss, no trust without betrayal, and no magic without pain.


Staff Pick Badge
If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English: A Novel By Noor Naga Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781644450819
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - April 12th, 2022

Naga's experimental sophomore novel is filled with pithy yet sensual prose. This is an exploration of power, abuse, and the eternal question: who deserves to own the narrative? It's fascinating to watch the two protagonists lose trust in each other until they are completely cut off from one another. If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English is set on a knife's edge. It's a horrific kind of pleasure to watch the scales tip.


I Who Have Never Known Men By Jacqueline Harpman, Ros Schwartz (Translator), Sophie Mackintosh (Afterword by) Cover Image
By Jacqueline Harpman, Ros Schwartz (Translator), Sophie Mackintosh (Afterword by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781945492600
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Transit Books - May 10th, 2022

This is perhaps the most straightforward book for this list's theme. Jacqueline Harpman's novel is strange, tragic, and will leave you with more questions than answers. Forty women must battle for survival when they may, in fact, be the last humans on earth. Our narrator shows us the ultimate reality of true isolation.


Staff Pick Badge
Hell Followed with Us By Andrew Joseph White Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781682633243
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Peachtree Teen - June 7th, 2022

There's a certain joy in watching a lonely, abandoned person discover a community for himself. White's speculative horror takes us to a world filled with grotesque monsters--both human and not--and furious teens fighting for their right to live. Just as Benji sheds his skin to become a dark creature of wrath, Hell Followed With Us warps our own world inside out, showing the ugliest and brightest parts that humanity has to offer.


Staff Pick Badge
The Emperors of Byzantium By Kevin Lygo, Robert Peston (Foreword by), Bettany Hughes (Introduction and notes by) Cover Image
By Kevin Lygo, Robert Peston (Foreword by), Bettany Hughes (Introduction and notes by)
$39.95
ISBN: 9780500023297
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Thames & Hudson - June 7th, 2022

This is perhaps a bit of a stretch for the list, but I found Lygo's anecdotes and knowledge of the Byzantine emperors fascinating. There truly is nothing so isolating as power: there is always the question of who will betray you, who is a true ally, and which enemies will return when you thought them dead (a hint: many, some with a golden nose!).


Staff Pick Badge
Days Come and Go By Hemley Boum, Nchanji Njamnsi (Translator) Cover Image
By Hemley Boum, Nchanji Njamnsi (Translator)
$24.95
ISBN: 9781949641356
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Two Lines Press - November 1st, 2022

Days Come and Go is an aching chronicle of Cameroon, told through the eyes of three generations of women. In it, Anna and her family become almost mythic archetypes, crafting a pattern of tragedy and hope. Boum expertly maneuvers between their intimate moments of joy and losses of innocence, all handled with tender care. It's fascinating to see how one country's history ties its people together, no matter how far apart they've travelled.


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Ordinary Wonder Tales By Emily Urquhart Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781771965057
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Biblioasis - November 1st, 2022

An absolutely enchanting collection of essays exploring our connection to stories and magic. Urquhart is gifted with such a keen eye, not only for hidden details, but connecting these esoteric elements to our own quotidian lives. It's incredible to get a glimpse at her interior world through her thought processes. I adore how she frames solitude in a positive light: in many ways, it is when we are alone that we become most in tune with our creative selves.


Kiarra's Top 10 Books with Characters in the Literary World

I will admit that some of the titles on here are testing the boundaries of this list’s description. Here is what I can say on behalf of this theme. For each of these protagonists’ lives, books are at the forefront, whether that be writing books, editing books, or simply reading books.

Staff Pick Badge
Educated: A Memoir By Tara Westover Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780399590528
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - February 8th, 2022

Educated represents everything books have always given me, which is a new perspective and empathy through which I can see the world. Tara Westover tells her story of never being allowed to step foot in a classroom and the growth she experienced on her journey to gain an education. This is a sad, powerful, and beautiful memoir about self-transformation.


Love and Other Words By Christina Lauren Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781501128011
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery Books - April 10th, 2018

A love story told in alternating timelines between a growing friendship as teenagers and a chance reunion as adults a decade later. This is a childhood best friends to lovers to second chance romance and it is so good!


Staff Pick Badge
Seven Days in June By Tia Williams Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781538719091
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - June 7th, 2022

These two Black authors fell in love during high school, each dealing with their own traumas. Having only written books that are inspired by the other, they meet again years later to find that they still have love for each other.


Conversations with Friends: A Novel By Sally Rooney Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780451499066
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hogarth - August 7th, 2018

Sally Rooney has a way of having her characters embody the characteristics and intrusive thoughts that many of us have but never say, making them equally infuriating and relatable. 

Frances, an aspiring writer, and her friend Bobbi are two flawed characters who become recklessly drawn into the world of a sophisticated married couple who have problems of their own. Frances is forced into a deep sort of self-examination as she dives head first into the messiness of intimacy in both her friendships and romantic relationships.


The Roughest Draft By Emily Wibberley, Austin Siegemund-Broka Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780593201930
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - January 25th, 2022

Katrina and Nathan are contracted to complete their third co-written book. Sadly, after a falling out three years ago, they are less than thrilled to be working together again. When they return to the beach house where their previous bestsellers were written, they can’t help that their hostile emotions are bleeding into their writing. But, as their romance novel continues to unfold, they start to remember why they cared for each other in the first place. All the while, there is something in the way that the protagonists talk about writing that reminds you what is so special about books.


Verity By Colleen Hoover Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781538724736
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - October 26th, 2021

Verity left me reeling while waffling between what I believed to be true. I imagine it will take at least two more reads of this book to come to a conclusion about whose side to take in this story. Part love story and part mystery, we follow Lowen who is tasked with completing the book series of famed author, Verity Crawford after a paralyzing injury. But, when she gets to the Crawford home, Lowen finds that not everything is as it seems.


Swear on This Life: A Novel By Renée Carlino Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781501105791
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - August 9th, 2016

Emiline is struggling with her own stalled writing career when she reads a new bestseller that is not only entrancing, but eerily similar to her own life. The story chronicles the love story that she shared with her childhood best friend before a tragic separation over a decade prior. Swear on This Life is a second-chance romance that reads like a beautiful book within a book.


Staff Pick Badge
Book Lovers By Emily Henry Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593334836
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - May 3rd, 2022

This book made me reconsider whether I should move to New York City and become a book editor. Nora and Charlie are rivals in the publishing world but find that they actually might make a good team. This is a love story from the perspective of the girl who is usually left behind, while also being a love letter to older sisters.


One True Loves: A Novel By Taylor Jenkins Reid Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781476776903
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Washington Square Press - June 7th, 2016

Years after losing her husband when his flight was lost over the Pacific, Emma has finally started a new life. She quit her job, moved back home to work in her parents’ bookstore, and falls in love with someone new. However, she is soon confronted with the question of who her “one true love” is when her husband is found to be alive. A weekend away with her husband, who she no longer recognizes, makes her question everything she thinks she knows about herself and who she loves.


The Dead Romantics By Ashley Poston Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593336489
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - June 28th, 2022

Think the 2005 Rom-Com Just Like Heaven! Florence Day believes that romance is dead which is quite the predicament for her given that she is the ghostwriter for one of the most famous romance novelists. Through the help of her family and a ghostly source, Florence finds that love may be more alive than she thought. One really interesting aspect to the story is that the Days’ family owns a funeral home. Because of that, death and grief is explored in a completely new way even when it hits close to home.


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