General blog posts

Valentine's Day: Love Stories & Heartbreaks

This Valentine's Day, celebrate the Love Stories and the Heartbreaks with these titles, specially selected by the Brazos Staff! Enjoy!


Chosen Ones, Vampire Slayers, and a Return to the Buffyverse: An Interview with Kendare Blake

I often tell people that I taught myself to write novels by watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon’s cult TV show that premiered in 1997. BTVS won my heart from the first episode when it flipped every horror story trope on its head, added quippy humor, had the best library ever, and still managed to be a story about life, epic, star-crossed love, sacrifice, and the horrors of high school as metaphor for pretty much everything (and, of course, being chosen to save the world when you’d rather be doing anything else). Oh, and also vampire slaying.

In Every Generation (Buffy: The Next Generation, Book 1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781368075022
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Disney-Hyperion - January 4th, 2022


We couldn't be more proud or excited for our very own Mark Haber to publish his next novel, Saint Sebastian's Abyss! Click below to preorder your copy today to receive a signed copy!

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

"What I wanted more than anything was to be standing beside Schmidt, in concert with Schmidt, at the foot of Saint Sebastian's Abyss along with Schmidt, hands cupped to the sides of our faces, debating art, transcendence, and the glory of the apocalypse."

Former best friends who built their careers writing about a single work of art meet after a decades-long falling-out. One of them, called to the other's deathbed for unknown reasons by a "relatively short" nine-page email, spends his flight to Berlin reflecting on Dutch Renaissance painter Count Hugo Beckenbauer and his masterpiece, Saint Sebastian's Abyss, the work that established both men as important art critics and also destroyed their relationship. A darkly comic meditation on art, obsession, and the enigmatic power of friendship, Saint Sebastian's Abyss stalks the museum halls of Europe, feverishly seeking salvation, annihilation, and the meaning of belief.

Amy's Top 10 Books I Would Like to Live In


Some of my best friends and favorite places are in books. Have you ever had such a connection with a character or a location that you wanted desperately to actually be there, with them? These are those books for me. Lucky for me, some of them are actually real places, or based on real places, and I have been able to visit them! I count going to the west coast of Ireland, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Mankato, MN, and the New York Public Library as pretty darn to close to actually getting inside these stories. 

Betsy Was a Junior/Betsy and Joe Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061794728
Availability: BACKORDERED
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - September 29th, 2009

The semi-autobiographical Betsy-Tacy book series has been my favorite escape since I was a child. Following the friendship of Betsy and Tacy from Betsy’s fifth birthday in 1897 through World War I and the girls’ marriages, these books are sweet, simple tales of friendship and growing up. Betsy and Joe is probably my favorite, covering their senior year in high school in 1909-10, but the entire series is a treat and should be enjoyed in its entirety. 

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From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler: Special Edition Cover Image
By E.L. Konigsburg, E.L. Konigsburg (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781534436459
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - March 19th, 2019

Siblings Claudia and Jamie run away from home for an adventure living in New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. There they discover a mystery surrounding a small statue and set about to discover its true origins.  Who wouldn’t want to tag along?

Mandy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061207075
Availability: UNAVAILABLE
Published: HarperCollins - August 15th, 2006

A girl who has grown up in an orphanage discovers an abandoned miniature house and garden and makes them her own special places. 

A Little Princess (Puffin in Bloom) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780147513991
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Puffin Books - August 28th, 2014

Sara Crewe is a privileged student at Miss Minchin’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies until her father dies and leaves her penniless. Sara is reduced to living in an attic as a servant and her life is miserable, until an unknown new friend begins to comfort her with magical surprises!  

In Kiltumper: A Year in an Irish Garden Cover Image
ISBN: 9781635577181
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - August 31st, 2021

Thirty-five years ago Irishman Niall and his American wife Christine moved into her grandfather’s old home in west County Clare in Ireland, to write and farm the land. Their peaceful life there is threatened by a windfarm installation nearby and they spent 2019 documenting and joyously embracing the changes in their garden through a calendar year. It sounds like an ideal place to spend a year.

The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780142001806
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - February 25th, 2003

The first in the wonderful Thursday Next Literary Detective series that take place in alternate 1980’s reality, where there is a much thinner line between literature and the real world and people and characters can jump that line into each other’s realms. It is full of fun literary references, weekly performances of Richard III in the style of The Rocky Horror Picture Show cult tradition, WillSpeak vending machines that recite Shakespeare quotes, and genetic engineering has resurrected the dodo.

The Library: A Fragile History Cover Image
ISBN: 9781541600775
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Basic Books - November 9th, 2021

I’ve always loved libraries and this book showcases some of the best and most beautiful, as well as the history of libraries. It is a lovely place to get lost for a while. 

The Cafe by the Sea: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062662972
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - June 27th, 2017

Flora reluctantly returns to the remote Scottish island where she grew up, but only for a temporary assignment from her job in a London legal office. But while there Flora re-discovers family, a passion for cooking, and love for the island that she had not been able to recognize in her youth. The first in the Mure series. 

84, Charing Cross Road Cover Image
ISBN: 9780140143508
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Penguin Books - October 1st, 1990

Told in letters between rare book collector Helene and the London bookshop who fills her orders, this is the true story of a twenty-year friendship between two very different people (and by extension the staff of the store) who share a love for old and unique books.  

The Lions of Fifth Avenue: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524744632
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Dutton - May 25th, 2021

The New York Public Library is the setting for this dual-timeline story. In 1913 the Lyons family actually lives in the library, as the patriarch is the superintendent and an onsite apartment is part of the employment package. In 1993 Sadie Donovan is a curator at the library and hidden in the library is a lost secret that links their stories. 

Ülrika's Top Ten Books of 2021

I spent many days trying to find a theme for this year’s reading list. Finally I realized that I read what I read and loved what I loved. Frequently, I’m drawn to the darker themes and undertones in both fiction and nonfiction. When compiling this list I realized that nothing changed this year. That isn’t always a bad thing. Here are my favorites for 2021. 

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Magma Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802157393
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Grove Press, Black Cat - July 13th, 2021

This short and compulsive debut novel from Icelandic poet Thora Hjörleifsdóttir, gives you a glimpse into a young woman’s blind, passionate relationship that is highly toxic, cruel, with subtle violence. Filled with short chapters, you won’t realize that you are at the end until the final turning on the page.

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Burnt Sugar: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781419752926
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: The Overlook Press - January 26th, 2021

A fearless debut novel about a mother-and-daughter relationship with deep resentments, betrayal, and hidden truths of family history which brings them together in unexpected ways. Asking the profound question: will you be there for your mother in her time of need, when they were never there for you growing up? 

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Childhood: The Copenhagen Trilogy: Book 1 Cover Image
By Tove Ditlevsen, Tiina Nunnally (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780374722937
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: FSG Originals - January 26th, 2021

Book One of the Copenhagen Trilogy memoir is a brave look at Tove Ditlevsen’s childhood in working class Copenhagen where she knows that she is a misfit in her family and her neighborhood. This is where she discovers that she wants to be a poet and a writer. Told with complete honesty and a vivid portrait of girlhood, it is a brave and beautiful memoir. 

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Youth: The Copenhagen Trilogy: Book 2 Cover Image
By Tove Ditlevsen, Tiina Nunnally (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780374539405
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: FSG Originals - January 26th, 2021

Youth follows Tove after she is forced to leave school early, and has to embark on a string of unfulfilling low-paying jobs. All Tove wants is for her life to start like her older brother’s, to leave home, find love, and most importantly, independence from her parents. The second volume is vulnerabile, with small glimpses of humor and shows Copenhagen as it slid into War World II. 

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Dependency: The Copenhagen Trilogy: Book 3 Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374539412
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: FSG Originals - January 26th, 2021

The last installment in The Copenhagen Trilogy finds Tove as a famous published poet and married to an older literary editor. All of her years escaping the life that she was born into finds Tove in unwanted pregnancies, failures, and an addiction that will stay with her throughout the rest of her life. This is by far the most honest, raw, and dark account of Tove’s life.

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Edie Richter Is Not Alone Cover Image
ISBN: 9781951213176
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Unnamed Press - March 9th, 2021

Rebecca Handler’s debut novel follows Edie Ritcher, a woman with a shocking secret whose father just died, leaving her family in San Francisco. When her husband relocates his job to Perth, Australia she becomes isolated, carrying a secret that will haunt her in a foreign country that mirrors her own life. Something has to give in both her marriage and her life. 

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The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555978273
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - February 5th, 2019

Esmé Weijun Wang’s collection of essays is a vivid portrait of what it means to be living with mental illness all while navigating the myriad attempts to find a diagnosis. Written in a brave voice that doesn’t shy away from the effect the disease has on the person, as well as the people close to them. 

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Learning to Talk to Plants Cover Image
By Marta Orriols, Mara Faye Lethem (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781782275770
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Pushkin Press - June 15th, 2021

In Marta Orriols debut novel Paula Cid’s long-term boyfriend dies hours later just as he informs her that he is leaving her for another woman. Orriols navagiates grief, betrayal, obsession, and what it takes to rebuild your life when it all falls apart. 

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Made in China: A Memoir of Love and Labor Cover Image
By Anna Qu
ISBN: 9781646220342
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Catapult - August 3rd, 2021

Anna Qu was sent by her mother as a teen to work in the family’s garment factory in Queens. At home she was treated as a maid, punished for doing her homework, and suffered abuse at her family's hands. Qu does something that most people would only dream of: she alerts the Office of Children and Family Services, the act and consequences impact the rest of her life. Twenty years later, after an estrangement from her mother, she requests to see the report that changed her life only to find key details wrong. Qu asks uncomfortable questions about trauma, the meaning of work, and survival in immigrant families.

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Girlhood Cover Image
ISBN: 9781635572520
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - March 30th, 2021

Melissa Fobes' writing has always been fearless, raw, truthful, and precise. This collection doesn’t shy away from what it means to transition from girlhood to being one's true self in adulthood. This collection blends essay, memoir, and cultural reporting seamlessly. 

Laila's Top 5 (with Noodle the Cat)

As someone who loves reading emotionally exuberant and thrilling books, who also has a cat named Noodle with a wide array of facial expressions (to the point where I think there's a little human trapped inside him), I’ll be matching some of my favorite books of the year with pictures of my cat to express how the books made me feel. I hope you enjoy!

Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062968791
Availability: BACKORDERED
Published: Harper Perennial - February 9th, 2021

This book sent me through a journey of every emotion, even ones I didn't know I had. From laughing to crying, feeling nostalgic to embracing the present, feeling young and then old, Dolly Alderton makes you feel it all. An incredible memoir of growing up, navigating relationships, and self-discovery that will leave you with expressions like below, but also wrap you in a warm hug from someone who feels like an older sister or wise godmother. 

Me laughing at Dolly Alderton's wit:          Me looking into oblivion reflecting on her anecdotes:     Me feeling impressed by how relatable this book is:


In the Dream House: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781644450383
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - December 1st, 2020

This bone chilling account of domestic abuse will leave you on the edge of your seat with your mouth hanging open. This was one of the biggest page-turners I've ever read. With her lyrical composition, unique metaphors, and brilliant tropes, Carmen Maria Machado is filled to the brim with talent and an eye for storytelling in such a way that you feel physically drawn to every word.

Me shocked by the creative prose and drama:     Me creeping around every page with suspense:     Me feeling angry about the abuser's behavior:


Hangsaman Cover Image
By Shirley Jackson, Francine Prose (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780143107040
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Classics - June 25th, 2013

Shirley Jackson’s irrefutable ability to convey the inner monologue of an adolescent girl is the reason why this book is on the list. This is the first Shirley Jackson book I've ever read and it definitely won’t be the last. Her detailed and articulate descriptions of everything, specifically womanhood, had me annotating every other page, wanting to keep it in my memory forever. Although a thriller, this book is somehow comforting as it makes you feel as though you’re understood.

Me examining every sentence with utter awe:    Me feeling caught by how well Shirley Jackson gets me:        Me hiding under the covers for what's about to come next:


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Crying in H Mart: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525657743
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - April 20th, 2021

Another gut wrenching memoir that'll bring you through all the stages of grief that the wonderful Michelle Zauner experienced during her mothers cancer diagnosis. It’s heartbreaking but hilarious, terrifying but reassuring, and above all, uncomfortable but necessary. The anticipation was addictive and the recipes were mouth watering.

Me knowing what's coming but not wanting to accept it:      Me licking my lips at all the mouthwatering Korean dishes:       

Me feeling sad for days but knowing it was worth it:


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Convenience Store Woman Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802129628
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Grove Press - September 17th, 2019

At first read, this novel seemed mundane and simplistic, but I found that as I kept reading I was blown away by the feelings that arose. An extremely introspective and captivating portrayal of non-conformity, status, and societal pressures on a woman who just wants to do what makes her happy and has to choose between the comfort of others or her own. I highly recommend this book to anyone because I guarantee you’ll find parts of yourself that you didn’t know were there. 

Me thinking hard about the underlying meaning of life (and the book):     

Me completely shocked by the unexpected plot line and relatability:                     

Requiring Me Time to truly absorb what this book meant to me:


Patrick's Top 10 Books Where Characters Go Down the Rabbit Hole

An oddly specific trope I love in books is when there are characters who start out the story knowing how the world works and knowing who they are, only to descend slowly and gradually into a world that is foreign, disturbing, and unknowable. Whether it be literally transporting to some new place or simply learning truths about the world that shatter their perception of reality, there is something compelling about watching a character descend into the unknown.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Cover Image
By Lewis Carroll, Júlia Sardà (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781509897605
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Two Hoots - June 1st, 2021

What better way to start off the list than with the big one? Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is what spawned the phrase "down the rabbit hole" and is literally all about Alice going down a rabbit hole and ending up in a bizarre and nonsensical world that she does not understand. It is a classic for a reason, the story is fun and the world of Wonderland is unlike anything else. 

The Trial: A New Translation Based on the Restored Text (The Schocken Kafka Library) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780805209990
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Schocken - May 25th, 1999

One day, an ordinary man named Joseph K. is accused of a crime he did not commit and he is forced to undergo an absurd trial process. Although it is not as fantastic as Wonderland, the surrealism of the bureaucracy and arbitrary rules of this society creates a feeling of being alone in an unknownable world. Watching Joseph K.'s character change as the process of trial endlessly continues is mesmerizing. 

I Am Not A Serial Killer (John Cleaver #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780765327826
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Tor Books - March 30th, 2010

The first book in the John Cleaver series follows the titular sociopath John Cleaver as he tries to catch a serial killer. It is a dark and suspenseful book that goes in surprising directions. Cleaver's story starts as a simple thriller but as the main character goes down a dangerous rabbit hole, everything shifts to something unique and terrifying. Once it starts to grip you, it is very difficult to put down.

The Phantom Tollbooth Cover Image
By Norton Juster, Jules Feiffer (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780394820378
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Yearling - October 12th, 1988

The Phantom Tollbooth is a book full of magic and pure wonder. I read it for the first time as a child and I have been going back to it ever since. It has so much to say about the world and about life. As Milo journeys out of his apartment through the Phantom Tollbooth and into the Lands Beyond, he experiences a vibrant world that acts as a mirror to our own. This book is an absolute classic that everyone should read. 

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Mordew Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250817211
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - September 14th, 2021

One of the highlights of Mordew is the strange and fascinating world in which the book takes place. Although it already starts out being dark and magical, everything transforms into something even more surreal as the plot advances. The protagonist, Nathan, thinks he understands how the world works at the start of the book but as he gets entangled with things that he cannot comprehend, the world he grew up in is suddenly unfamiliar and terrifying. 

The Shining Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345806789
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - August 27th, 2013

Jack Torrance and his small family move to the historic Overlook Hotel for Jack's job as the winter caretaker. Their stay at the Overlook begins a slow and gradual decline in sanity and rationality, and as supernatural phenomena start to take place everyone is put into danger. King is a master at building tension and it makes the buildup and climax of the book unforgettable. 

Dracula (Vintage Classics) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307743305
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Vintage - June 14th, 2011

Told through letters and journal entries, you watch as the most infamous vampire wrecks havoc on the small English town of Whitby. Dracula stands out because the emphasis of the book is about how the main characters' worlds are turned upside down by the titular vampire. Their psychology, their rationality, and their fear are all played against each other by the unknown force of Dracula. Dracula is written in a way that makes you feel that you are descending down the rabbit hole along with the main characters, and it leaves quite an impression on you. 

Coraline Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063088238
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - September 21st, 2021

Reminiscent of Alice's Adventures in WonderlandCoraline also features a young protagonist who goes through a hole and winds up in a strange and interesting world. At first this Other World seems to be perfect and much better than boring reality, but it doesn't take long for Coraline to see what is really going on. This book is full of eerie fun and charm and it is something that will really stay with you.

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

Night Film is about a journalist who is obsessed with a mystery and it is this obsession that takes him down the rabbit hole. This desire to know what really happened in the death of a young girl forces the main character to descend into a world that he does not understand and it changes his worldview permanently. The mystery in this book will leave you hooked and you will want to know the answers just as badly as the main character.

Annihilation: A Novel (The Southern Reach Trilogy #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374104092
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: FSG Originals - February 4th, 2014

To me, there is no better rabbit hole story than VanderMeer's AnnihilationThe story follows a nameless biologist and her team as they explore the mysterious Area X, observing how it changes the natural landscape and how it changes them. It is tense, gripping, and beautifully written. The world of Area X seems so familiar and yet so disturbing at the same time. It is one of those books I wish I could read again for the first time. 

Keaton's Top 10 Just Plain Good Books

I’m not gonna lie. This year has been a dumpster fire for me personally. Between raising a young child in this ongoing pandemic and trying to maintain the shelves here at the B, I had a helluva time focusing on reading for myself. Suffice it to say, I read far fewer books this year than at any point previous in my bookselling career. Call it exhaustion, I guess.

Helgoland: Making Sense of the Quantum Revolution Cover Image
By Carlo Rovelli, Erica Segre (Translated by), Simon Carnell (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780593328880
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Riverhead Books - May 25th, 2021

The cutting-edge Italian physicist returns to recount the odyssey of quantum mechanics, beginning on a small island in the North Sea where a young man has an astounding idea with the power to destroy the world, redefine consciousness, and ultimately upend the very notion of reality itself. This is where truth really does become stranger than fiction...  

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

But why should the truth have all the fun?! Labatut’s debut novel takes several key (and very real) scientific discoveries as its starting point to examine what happens to society and the individual mind when the world as we know it changes irrevocably. A page-turning feat of imagination, featuring some of the greatest minds of the 20th century, including some very interesting crossover with Helgoland. Consider reading both together!

Murder Maps USA: Crime Scenes Revisited; Bloodstains to Ballistics, 1865 -1939 Cover Image
ISBN: 9780500252598
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Thames & Hudson - December 7th, 2021

This is not for the squeamish. Replete with grisly, actual crime scene photos, this second installment in the Murder Maps series is a grand tour through American bloodlust and infamy. From outlaw icons like Bonnie and Clyde to long forgotten crimes of passion and opportunity, consider this an illicit treasure trove of true crime!

Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? Cover Image
ISBN: 9781949889048
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Albatross Funnybooks - August 24th, 2021

Back in the 1950s, Ed Gein’s notorious crimes and house of horrors in rural Wisconsin became the archetype for the modern American monster-next-door. This graphic novel explores his macabre legacy through stark black and white images accentuating Gein’s warped psychological state and the abject terror lying just beneath America’s sanitized mid-century image of itself.     

This Thing Between Us: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374539238
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: MCD x FSG Originals - October 12th, 2021

The first great 21st century ghost story involves a young couple whose lives are being terrorized by a possessed smart speaker. What may sound kitschy at first blush turns out to be a dark tour through our inability to connect with one another in our hyperconnected world. Timely, horrifying, and psychologically intense.

Bewilderment: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393881141
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 21st, 2021

A beautiful, tragic ode to the love between a father and son that spans from the deepest recesses of the human heart to the farthest reaches of the universe in a search for hope in a dying world. What would you do with boundless emotional intelligence? How would you cope? Could you? These are the questions posed by one of America’s greatest living authors in his latest offering. 

Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness (Pantheon Graphic Library) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524748067
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon - July 13th, 2021

A revelatory work. Proof positive that graphic novels are every bit as powerful as any other form of literature. Radtke’s words and images form a cultural, personal, and critical excavation of loneliness that perfectly captures our moment in time. Sad and yet full of hope, this is the book we need right now. 

The Annotated Arabian Nights: Tales from 1001 Nights Cover Image
By Yasmine Seale (Translated by), Paulo Lemos Horta (Editor), Paulo Lemos Horta (Introduction by), Omar El Akkad (Foreword by), Robert Irwin (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9781631493638
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Liveright - November 16th, 2021

I’ve been waiting for this book for five years, and now it is finally here! Norton’s annotated classics are total literary candy, full of background info and historical context, not to mention tons of amazing images. This newest translation of The Arabian Nights -- the first ever translated by a woman -- is a thing of beauty. It’s an indispensable addition to any library of world classics.

Lady Joker, Volume 1 Cover Image
By Kaoru Takamura, Allison Markin Powell (Translated by), Marie Iida (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781616957018
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Soho Crime - April 13th, 2021

This first volume from one of Japan’s seminal works of contemporary literature is based on true events surrounding a corporate kidnapping that remains unsolved to this day -- the case of “the Monster with 21 Faces.” But this epic crime drama only begins there, spinning out to expose the ethnic tensions, corruption, and greed hidden beneath the sheen of the country’s late 20th century success. Get started now, because the concluding volume is set to release in 2022!

The Glassy, Burning Floor of Hell Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566896115
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - August 3rd, 2021

Simply put, Brian Evenson is the most terrifying writer working today. His skill for compression and psychological suspense is unparalleled, so that each of his stories becomes its own suffocating capsular nightmare. He has already made a believer out of horror luminaries like Stephen King and RL Stine. If you are a fan of the spookies, read every word this man writes. 

Joy's Top 10 Books That Moved Me

Here are ten books that have stuck in my brain this year. Most of them are children’s books. If you’re not reading children’s lit, you should be. Kidlit authors are (in my humble opinion) far more dedicated than much of adult lit to representing the full spectrum of the world and the people in it. Also, even the most literary of kidlit generally has a plot, which I can’t say for all adult literary fic. Not that a slice of life fic with no discernable scaffolding other than stream of consciousness is a bad thing. I just prefer a narrative arc.

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People Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunted Present Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393531565
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 7th, 2021

A searing and sometimes darkly funny set of essays on anti-Semistism that is a must read for everyone. There’s also a podcast that’s equally brilliant called Adventures with Dead Jews. Dara Horn is a brilliant scholar with a keen sense of both history and the absurd.

All These Bodies Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062977168
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Quill Tree Books - September 21st, 2021

When the ‘bloodless murders’ come to a small town in the 1950s, the sheriff’s son finds himself in the midst of the investigation. And the blood-soaked survivor he meets that one fateful night? She may not be what he thinks. Think: vampires meet Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood.

One Last Stop Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250244499
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - June 1st, 2021

This one’s a love story with a time slip. What if you saw the girl of your dreams on the NYC subway? What if she’d been stuck there since the 70s? What would you do to be with your true love? Romantic and wonderful. Think Kate and Leopold meets LGBTQ fiction.

The Adventure Is Now Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374314712
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) - May 4th, 2021

Milton P. Greene has had the worst school year ever. All he wants to do is hide in his room all summer and play his handheld game but his parents send him to Lone Island with his eccentric scientist uncle. Milton P. Greene is about to have the best summer of his life. Maybe. This is a happy, wonderful middle grade novel that will leave you cheering.

The House That Wasn't There Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062937063
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Walden Pond Press - March 30th, 2021

A boy named Alder and a girl named Oak. Two families with a connection that will slowly reveal itself. Stir in magic universal mysteries, time-portal kittens, and knitting, and you’ve got a heartwarming classic of a middle grade novel by one of the best authors writing today. 

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Vampenguin Cover Image
ISBN: 9781534466982
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - July 20th, 2021

This picture book is for everyone. An infinitely clever ‘switcheroo’ as the Dracula family visits the zoo and baby Drac and baby penguin change places -- and no one notices... except the reader! The clever narration tells one story and the clever illustrations tell the real story. Love. Love. Love.

Inside Cat Cover Image
By Brendan Wenzel (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781452173191
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Chronicle Books - October 12th, 2021

Exquisitely and whimsically illustrated, Wenzel follows the perspective of a cat peering at the world outside its window. Simple yet profound. A picture book for all ages.

Amos McGee Misses the Bus Cover Image
By Philip C. Stead, Erin E. Stead (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781250213228
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Roaring Brook Press - November 23rd, 2021

Zookeeper Amos is back again in this follow up to Stead’s Caldecott winning A Sick Day for Amos McGee. This time Amos misses the bus and loses his hat, but the faithful zoo animals are there to help. The illustrations by Stead’s wife Erin E. Stead are simply stunning. Kind and gentle -- a perfect balm these trying times. 

Zorrie Cover Image
ISBN: 9781635575361
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - February 9th, 2021

Spare and moving and wonderful, Laird Hunt’s Zorrie is nuanced and layered. If like me (see my intro above) you like your literary-ish fiction with a plot line, you will love this story of a woman named Zorrie whose life unfolds against the backdrop of historical events from the Depression on up over the decades. Filled with hope and tenacity and longing.

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Pablo Cover Image
By Rascal, Rascal (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781776573240
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Gecko Press - May 4th, 2021

Pablo is a chick about to hatch from its egg. The book is lovely and clever, the artwork swoony. I bought this one for my four-year-old grandson. We read it together, he loved it, and I said, “Hey. Since Pablo the chick eats a croissant and drinks some hot chocolate to get ready for hatching, why don’t I take you to Starbucks and we’ll split a croissant and sip some hot chocolate?” So we do just that, and he says, “I’m thirsty,” so I get him an ice water and say “Sip it slowly,” but of course he sucks down 12 ounces. If you’re a parent you know where this is going. Back to the car (his mother’s car because I’m babysitting and that’s where the car seat is) I buckle him in and as soon as I click that belt tight I hear a stomach gurgle. I try to unbuckle him. Not fast enough. Luckily his mother is a smart woman and keeps a change of clothes and cleaning supplies in the trunk. But still. You should all buy Pablo

Laura M's Top 10 Books to Make You Forget You Live in 2021

I have always been a fan of historical fiction, but this year that love came out in full force. I'm fascinated by the way people of the past lived, and how their daily lives were different or similar to our own. If you also found yourself wanting to escape our current timeline this year, look no further than this list!


Matrix: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594634499
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - September 7th, 2021

In her first novel since Fates and Furies, Lauren Groff transports us to an impoverished Medieval abbey where Marie de France will carve out a safe haven for her sisters and forge her own path in the process. A story about one woman's transcendent vision and the tenacity with which she strives to realize it.


She Who Became the Sun (The Radiant Emperor Duology #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250621801
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Tor Books - July 20th, 2021

This is the sweeping historical fantasy I didn't know I needed! We follow Zhu, a female monk destined for greatness, and Ouyang, a eunuch general ostracized by his own people. As their two stories collide, they must each come to their own reckonings with war, gender, destiny, and love.


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Hamnet Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984898876
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - May 18th, 2021

This is a book to read slowly and savor every line. O'Farrell effortlessly brings 16th century England to life, and even though we follow Shakespeare's family, every character feels as human as if they lived today. This tender story of family, grief, and the healing power of art deserves all of its acclaim.

A Tip for the Hangman: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385546713
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Doubleday - February 9th, 2021

A delightful page-turner about Kit Marlowe, playwright and troublemaker, who gets recruited to be a spy for the queen. It's not often that a historical novel is this funny and suspenseful, AND has an ending that will rip your heart out!!!


Margaret the First: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781936787357
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Catapult - March 15th, 2016

This is a swirling, atmospheric portrait of Margaret Cavendish: a 17th century Duchess, writer, and general oddity. Margaret's imagination is placed right up against her vanity, her intellect against her insecurities. Dutton offers a fascinating glimpse of a complex 17th century woman who was both ahead of her time and very much a product of it.


Reputation: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250832832
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - April 5th, 2022

I had (arguably too high) expectations going into this one - I wanted a fun regency romp that was perfectly balanced between historical accuracy and modern sensibilities. Well, this book exceeded my expectations on ALL accounts, and also delivered complex, interesting characters, a diverse ensemble cast, regency excess in the extreme, and a line about cheese that made me laugh out loud! You're going to want to run, not walk, to your nearest bookstore (aka Brazos :P) when this baby comes out in April 2022.

Down Comes the Night: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250623638
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Wednesday Books - March 2nd, 2021

Down Comes the Night is a gothic fantasy full of political intrigue, an enemies to lovers romance, and all of the spooky, snowy, candlelit atmosphere you could ask for! I was so impressed by the uniqueness of Saft's world, and by her main character's emotional heart.

A Dowry of Blood Cover Image
ISBN: 9781916366930
Availability: UNAVAILABLE
Published: Nyx Publishing - January 31st, 2021

I'm not usually one for vampire stories, but this book instantly won me over with its lush Victorian setting and its utterly compelling narrator. Caught under the spell of infamous Dracula, we follow his first wife Constanta as she struggles to free herself from his terrifying grip and come to terms with her immortal fate. Haunting yet full of hope, this book pulled me in and wouldn't let go.


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The Death of Jane Lawrence: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250272584
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: St. Martin's Press - October 5th, 2021

If you loved Mexican Gothic, you need to read The Death of Jane Lawrence. What begins as a marriage of convenience between Jane and the town doctor quickly morphs into a sinister, gruesome story about power, magic, desire, and all the ways we can be haunted by the past.

The Chosen and the Beautiful Cover Image
By Nghi Vo
ISBN: 9781250784780
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Tordotcom - June 1st, 2021

This gorgeous book is a sophisticated, magic-filled reimagining of The Great Gatsby, told through the eyes of Jordan Baker, a Vietnamese adoptee who is swept up in the undertow of 1920s New York. With lush prose, sparkling banter, and a bubbling darkness just below the surface, this book will enchant you before it pulls you under.