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Best of 2015: Augusta

Fates and Furies Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781594634475
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - September 15th, 2015

There are always three sides to every story—yours, mine, and the truth. This notion serves as the crux for Lauren Groff’s latest work, but to say it’s merely a relationship novel is to be dismissive of the greater truths uncovered in the course of this book. Lotto and Mathilde get married at a young age and live a seemingly idyllic life together while Mathilde supports Lotto in his playwriting career. Of course, things are deeper and more complex than initially meets the eye, and I raced to the end of this book, blown back by the transformation in tone when the other side of the story is revealed. Can we ever really know someone? Truth is more complicated than that.


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The Door (Nyrb Classics) Cover Image
By Magda Szabo, Len Rix (Translator), Ali Smith (Introduction by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781590177716
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New York Review of Books - January 27th, 2015

Here at Brazos, we have a Cult of Mark phenomenon happening: anything that floor manager Mark Haber reads and raves about becomes an instant classic. THE DOOR is no exception. We can’t keep this book in stock! To say it’s about the relationship between two women would be an understatement; the complexity of their emotions and inner lives is unlike anything that I’ve read before. There is an eeriness that pervades the whole book, and the feeling will stick with you long after the last page. This is one you don’t want to miss.


Our Souls at Night Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9781101875896
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - May 26th, 2015

In order to find a place on the year end top ten list, most books need to be explosive, to stand out in a memorable way. This quiet, beautiful book is unassuming—brief enough to read in one or two sittings, but it will knock you back emotionally. Told in sparse, clear-cut prose, the simple tale of love between two elderly people is captivating and heartbreaking. And yes, I cried at work while reading it—don’t judge me.


The Shore Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780553417739
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Hogarth Press - May 26th, 2015

This debut novel by a young author completely captivated me when it came out earlier this year. Set in the same small island communities off the coast of rural northern Virginia, but spanning many decades—even centuries—the author demonstrates the vise grip that a place can often have over our soul, even long after we’re gone. The way she captures the sense of place of this wild, remote area of America had me riveted, and I’m looking forward to reading her subsequent work.


The Indian Cover Image
By Jon Gnarr, Lytton Smith (Translator)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781941920121
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Deep Vellum Publishing - May 5th, 2015

Jon Gnarr, former mayor of Reykjavik, had an unusual childhood. Diagnosed with a severe intellectual disability as a child, he spent years institutionalized in a psychiatry ward to treat ADHD and dyslexia. THE INDIAN is the first part of a memoir trilogy being published by Deep Vellum, and it is a wildly hilarious but sensitive look at the difficulties of childhood, fitting in, and ultimate perseverance over adversity.


Speak: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062391193
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco - July 7th, 2015

Told entirely in the form of primary source materials, SPEAK looks deeply into the relationship that we have with technology. Communicating is crucial to our species, and with the rising influence of technology, the ways in which we interact change over time. The five interconnected narratives in this novel are all shaped by previous technological advances and how those advances ultimately affect the outcomes of relationships. A poignant look on an increasingly urgent topic.


On the Move: A Life Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780385352543
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - April 28th, 2015

I studied cognitive science in college, and the reason I became interested in the topic in the first place is because I read a book called AN ANTHROPOLOGIST ON MARS by Oliver Sacks. The way he mixes science and narrative to create a story of people’s life experience was so fascinating to me, I had to know more. I’ve read all of his books over the years, and ON THE MOVE is one of the last books published before he passed away from cancer earlier this year, which makes it even more special to me. This title is more personally revealing than his previous memoirs, and I enjoyed walking through his rich, interesting life one last time, appreciating all the scientific advancements he instituted, lives he affected, people he knew. He will truly be missed.


The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science Cover Image
$49.95
ISBN: 9780393081084
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 21st, 2015

Food science nerds rejoice! For fans of Harold McGee and all of you who want to know the science behind making your food more delicious comes this no-nonsense, straightforward book from Lopez-Alt. Chock full of scientific charts and photos, you can learn how to become a better cook with basic ingredients and equipment simply by using the food’s innate properties and chemical processes to extract the best flavors. THE FOOD LAB has become a new staple in my kitchen—get it for all the food lovers on your list today!


Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780062415837
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dey Street Books - October 27th, 2015

Tribute should be paid where it is due, and I can’t think of a more deserving candidate. This funny, fresh look at Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her rise to the Supreme Court is full of photos, handwritten letters, important court cases, and other awesome ephemera from your favorite lady of justice. The perfect gift for feminists, young and old.


Hausfrau Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780812987294
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade - August 4th, 2015

Jill Alexander Essbaum’s background as a poet is evident in this modern day ANNA KARENINA retelling. Beautiful, cutting prose set the anxiety laden tone of Anna’s simple little life in Switzerland as a housewife who is cheating on her husband. Well paced and claustrophobic, I found myself emotionally wrapped up in Anna’s interior world as it spun out of control until the bitter end, after which I needed a hot bath and a hug.


Best of 2015: Jeremy

One should never underestimate the appeal of a beautiful book. As the threat of e-books spread over the past several years, publishers have reacted by creating objects that don't quite work on a screen. We are always proud and happy to have a wide selection of gorgeous books on the shelves at all times. These are a few of my favorites from 2015.

American Qur'an Cover Image
By Sandow Birk (Artist), Reza Aslan (Preface by), Iftikhar Dadi (Other)
$100.00
ISBN: 9781631490187
Availability: Backordered
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation - November 2nd, 2015

Artist Sandow Birk has illuminated the Qur'an in English. Taking his cues from traditional Islamic design, the book includes handwritten text and scenes from American life throughout. The strange juxtaposition makes this oversized tome something to see. Includes a fantastic introduction by Reza Aslan.


Gregory Crewdson Cover Image
By Gregory Crewdson, Jonathan Lethem (Text by (Art/Photo Books)), Nancy Spector (Introduction by)
$150.00
ISBN: 9780847840915
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Rizzoli International Publications - October 29th, 2013

This retrospective of photographer Grewgory Crewdson's work is extraordinary. If you don't know already know his work, please come and see. His images are hyper cinematic in their ambition. They are at once familiar and strangely unsettling. Pregnant moments that are preludes to something dangerous or exciting. This book documents his evolution as an artist and brings together the full body of work.


Frank Stella: A Retrospective Cover Image
By Michael Auping, Adam D. Weinberg (Contribution by), Jordan Kantor (Contribution by)
$65.00
ISBN: 9780300215441
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Yale University Press - November 17th, 2015

Frank Stella's sublime color fields of the 1960s were a revolution. His later work exploded in chaotic complexity, baffling many of his critics. This catalog of Frank Stella's work (from the show currently on display at the Whitney in New York) tracks his evolution as an artist and is essential for any lover of modern art.


Transit Maps of the World: Expanded and Updated Edition of the World's First Collection of Every Urban Train Map on Earth Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780143128496
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - November 3rd, 2015

Transit maps are inherently interesting to me. I admire the way complicated information can be conveyed visually. And as a monolingual traveler who uses the subway wherever I go, whenever possible, that visual communication is essential. This book collects every urban train map on Earth. This is a beautiful and ideal book for jetsetters or armchair travelers.
 


The Wonder Garden: Wander Through 5 Habitats to Discover 80 Amazing Animals Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781847807038
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Wide Eyed Editions - September 3rd, 2015

There is no shortage of amazing illustrated books for kids, but THE WONDER GARDEN is really something special. The book tours readers through a garden, complete with wild animals and spectacular flora. But what really makes the book are the psychadelic colors and gold foil stamped illustrations. The strong graphic design will make kids (and adults) fall in love with this book.


Jutaku: Japanese Houses Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9780714869629
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Phaidon Press - October 12th, 2015

Contemporary Japanese architecture is really something to behold. The homes in JUTAKU are often severe concrete blocks, but they are simultaneously delicately textured and designed. And because they're Japanese, they take full advantage of every square inch of space. This beautiful book inspires you to do a lot with a little.


The Kinfolk Home: Interiors for Slow Living Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781579656652
Availability: Backordered
Published: Artisan Publishers - October 20th, 2015

THE KINFOLK HOME takes readers inside 35 homes around the world, each one carefully designed and decorated. Lush pictures of U.S., Japanese and Scandinavian interiors serve as inspiration to create your own more perfect living space.

Oh, how I wish I could live like this.


$45.00
SKU: 9782264065117

If only Paris had its own version of The New Yorker magazine....

This book collects dozens of contemporary French artists and illustrators takes on what their cover designs might be. Charming, lovely, and oh, so French, THE PARISIANER isn't available anywhere in Texas, except Brazos Bookstore.


A Little Life Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780385539258
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday Books - March 10th, 2015

I have to mention two novels that struck me visually this year:

A LITTLE LIFE is a love it or hate it book. Its distinctive cover supports that notion. The book is intense, emotional, and (dare I say) somewhat melodramatic. The cover image perfectly supports the text and has become iconic. I hope they keep it for the paperback.


Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780385539838
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday Books - October 6th, 2015

And finally, BATS OF THE REPUBLIC is one of the more extraordinary books we have on the shelves this year. A naturalist travels from Chicago to the frontier of the Texas Revolution in 1873, carrying a secret letter. Three hundred years later, that mysterious letter holds the key to peace after another revolution. But the story isn't what makes this book beautiful: page after page of illustrations, maps, journals, and more make this a feast for the eyes. BATS OF THE REPUBLIC is one of the most stunning books of 2015.


Best of 2015: Ülrika

Enough with the books! Our sidelines expert Ülrika gives her rundown of the year’s best gift items.

 

First up: Stocking Stuffers!

$22.00
SKU: 061152221378

New from Germany! Semikolen Ballpoint pens have a nice weight and rubberized texture. Available in five colors.


Meditate, a Guided Journal: Beat Stress, Improve Health, and Create Happiness Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781592336265
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Fair Winds Press (MA) - February 1st, 2014

And last, but not least, be inspired to meditate more! Whether you meditate 5 minutes a week or 45 minutes a day,  this guided jorunal gives you helpful tips on meditation and it's a great way to log your progress.


Best of 2015: Ben

Typically I prefer to settle work-related feuds in private, but in this instance, I feel compelled to use a more public platform. I always enjoy reading the annual “best of” lists that my coworkers write, but I’ve noticed a troubling trend: some of my colleagues don’t actually seem to read many books.

My Feelings: Poems Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977108
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - June 2nd, 2015

#10

America’s favorite blind poet returns with his newest, most personal work yet. Ever since he lost his sight in a terrible zoo accident, Flynn has seen the world through his verse, turning his poetic eye on the ills of our era (the financial collapse of 2008, the 2000 presidential election, the career of Jonah Hill). Now, with MY FEELINGS, he looks inward, creating a crushing portrait of what it’s like to be unable to see. In this book-length poem, Flynn takes inventory of everything he has ever touched: stray Pepsi can tabs, peacock feathers, variously-textured walls. In so doing, the book becomes a kaleidoscopic treatise on the power of feeling things. Flynn removes these objects from their usual visual context, and by raising the actual text off the page (the design of this book is magnificent!), he asks those who can see to instead feel their way through his life, as he has. A truly brave and groundbreaking work.


Hausfrau Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780812997538
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Random House - March 17th, 2015

#9

When elderly Gertrude Braun leaves her small Bavarian village for New York, she doesn’t know what to expect. The mission: to make money and send some across the Atlantic to her impoverished grandson, afflicted by a rare form of Klein’s Disease. But this is the late 1980s, and Manhattan’s club scene is booming. Through a series of chance encounters—most notably with vain, privileged party kid Adrian Sinclair (nicknamed by his friends and enemies “The Hopper”)—Granny Gertrude ends up knickers-deep in a scene full of drugs, lights, and beats. Essbaum’s novel deftly weaves this personal story with the house music (or haus music?) culture of New York in the 80s (look for cameos from Andy Warhol and Michael Alig), imagining the unlikely but wholly believable tale of an old German woman who, by mixing the Bavarian folk music of her hometown with the tempos of a modern era in flux, becomes the hottest DJ in town. And what does she call herself? The Hausfrau.


The Art of Memoir Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9780062223067
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - September 15th, 2015

#8

The small town of Memoir, Georgia, may not have much going for it—the opening of the a new Olive Garden grabs front-page headlines!—but thanks to the eccentric interests of millionaire art lover Virginia Tully, Memoir has one prized possession: a sizable collection of original Joan Miró paintings, housed in a quaint farmhouse for everyone to enjoy. But then, a visitor comes to town: Paulette Strayhorn, arts editor for a prestigious Chicago magazine, who has distant ties to the town of Memoir—and who also has a decades-old feud to settle with Tully. Strayhorn makes an offer to buy up the collection of rare paintings, and the townsfolk begin scheming about what to do with all that money. But Tully sees through the lure of wealth; she knows Strayhorn wants the paintings to pad her own society-page cred, not to preserve the past and give great art to the people. Karr’s fun, uplifting novel succeeds on how it marries its archetypal conflicts—big cities vs. small cities; altruism vs. selfishness; wealth vs. poverty—with a convincing portrait of the rhythms of smalltown life; after the book’s slim 200 pages, you’ll feel like you grew up in Memoir too. At the center of this novel is Virginia Tully, who narrates the book in a colloquial, folksy way—but don’t let that fool you. She’s no rube; instead, she’s a flawed but quietly heroic woman who believes in the power of the close connections only a small town can provide, and who won’t let any big city snob come into her town and steal the art of Memoir.


The Witches: Salem, 1692 Cover Image
$32.00
ISBN: 9780316200608
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Little Brown and Company - October 27th, 2015

#7

Nicolas Roeg is one of world cinema’s most esoteric filmmakers. Born in London, he rose to prominence through a series of experimental films: Performance, Walkabout, Don’t Look Now, and The Man Who Fell to Earth are all classics of 70s cinema, and he captured the unease of an era perfectly through his inventive techniques of montage and his mingling of fact and fiction. But what happened to him? Why did his career seem to go sideways? And is his 1990 adaptation of Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES a film worth your time? Stacy Schiff seems to think so, and in THE WITCHES, she edits together an oral history of what’s often considered an insignificant film by a great director. Through a series of intimate interviews with the cast and crew (Roeg himself declined to be interviewed for this project, lending an intriguing absence to the proceedings), Schiff deconstructs this “minor” film, showing that sometimes one doesn’t unlock a career as enigmatic as Roeg’s by looking at his masterpieces—one does so by looking at his failures.


Staff Pick Logo
Multiply/Divide: On the American Real and Surreal Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781941411049
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Sarabande Books - August 11th, 2015

#6

Finally, a smart spy novel with a female protagonist! Walters’ MULTIPLY/DIVIDE is a taut thriller about world-class secret agent Sara Bond (or, as she introduces herself, “Bond, Sara Bond”—remind you of anyone?), snatched away from a much-needed vacation when an international crisis strikes. In this case, the villain is Dr. Jurgen Radtke, a crazed nuclear physicist, obsessed with multiplying and dividing atoms. As step one of his nefarious plan, he hijacks the Large Hadron Collider and threatens to do some multiplying and dividing that may bring on the nuclear apocalypse if his demands aren’t met. Walters has a great deal of fun with the conventions of the spy novel: yes, her hero makes numerous quips (“Divide this,” she says before dispatching a henchman), but this version of Bond is in a monogamous relationship, never drinks, and detests using violence. Yet she’s no pushover: this is a smart, feminist reinvention of a genre many people have given up on, considering it as old-fashioned as the Cold War dinosaurs who started the whole thing.


Delicious Foods Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780316284943
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Little Brown and Company - March 17th, 2015

#5

French fries, chicken parmesan, nachos: everyone knows these foods are delicious—but what happens when you smash them between the pages of a book? This is the question conceptual artist Hannaham seeks to answer in his innovative coffee table tome, DELICIOUS FOODS. Hannaham started simply: with 1,000 books full of blank pages. Then between each of those pages, he smashed (by hand, mind you, into every single book—no phony reproductions here!) some of America’s favorite foods—in some instances (like with various hamburgers) even going so far as to sit on the book for hours to make sure the food was perfectly smashed. The result is an anarchic and beautiful look at what we put into our body from the analytic perspective of everything being smashed real good. Buy the book early, and some of the foods might still be edible; but if you wait, the book becomes a survey of smells, as time takes over and begins to rot the various meats. (Each book also comes with a complimentary can of ant spray so you can keep those feisty buggers away from your bookshelf.) And make sure you check out the accompanying YouTube videos of Hannaham actually making each book. My favorite clip? The one in which he sets scoops of ice cream between the open pages, then looks saucily into the camera before saying, “Bet you wanna see me smash this, huh?”


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The Story of My Teeth Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566894098
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - September 15th, 2015

#4

Each day, we see so many teeth—the teeth of friends, the teeth of a significant other, the teeth of the mailman smiling as he drops that battered Amazon package on your front stoop. But with all of these teeth around us, do we ever really notice them anymore, or do we just take them for granted? In her probing work of nonfiction, Luiselli takes a closer look, profiling ten of her own teeth over the course of a decade (she began this work when she was twenty-two). In the tradition of the Up documentaries and Linklater’s Boyhood, THE STORY OF MY TEETH checks in with the same set of teeth each year, thus surveying the puzzling movements of time. Consider Jeff, one of her incisors, who in 2004 was young and ambitious, wanting to chew into the world’s toughest meats, but who, by 2014, is defeated by a life of vegetarianism, unable to realize his dreams. And then there’s Abby, the dainty molar who’s the life of the tooth party, until one fateful day in 2010 when she gets some spinach stuck on her that Luiselli fails to notice during an important work meeting, thus forever ruining Abby’s reputation. In this way, Luiselli’s profound story of her own teeth is actually the story of all of us—the story of our hopes and dreams, and how time, in all its briskness and brutality, often makes for us other plans. (Luiselli plans to continue this project, releasing a new volume about her teeth each decade.)


The New and Improved Romie Futch Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781941040157
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Tin House Books - October 1st, 2015

#3

Things aren’t going so hot for Southern boy Romie Futch: the love of his life has left him for an art snob; his taxidermy business is struggling; and the only people he surrounds himself with are dimwits who drink, smoke, and shoot. Facing bankruptcy, he signs up for an experimental procedure in which he has the entirety of the humanities uploaded into his brain. Back home in his trailer, what can he do with all this knowledge of Derrida, Foucault, and centuries of great art? Well, step one: win back his love by building the most elaborate and imaginative taxidermy-based dioramas the art world has scene. And step two? Hunt down the wild boar, “Hogzilla,” currently terrorizing the area. What to do with a plot so wild, characters so imaginative? You play it straight, as Elliott does here, drawing surprising emotional depth from such insane struggles. When Futch, at one point, decides to adorn himself with the skin of a boar for a Halloween costume, calling himself Lord Tusky, most readers will have three options: laugh at man’s boldness, cry at the man’s loneliness, or cheer at the man’s determination. Elliott isn’t happy until you have all three reactions at once to her novel, the strangest of the year.


Don't Suck, Don't Die: Giving Up Vic Chesnutt (American Music) Cover Image
By Kristin Hersh, Amanda Petrusich (Foreword by)
$22.95
ISBN: 9780292759473
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Texas Press - October 1st, 2015

#2

Who says vampire stories are only for teenagers? In Hersh’s lyrical novel, she considers a love different from the love between Bella and Edward, but no less strong: the love between business partners. Sensing that public opinion of the vampire way of life is on decline, Harold and Jasmine, who grew up together in Transylvania, decide to do something about it. Their solution? To form Transylvania’s first vampire support group, with one motto: “Don’t suck, and don’t die.” After all, what happens when vampires try to do the unthinkable—to stop sucking the blood of humans? Will they, in fact, die, or will they find ways to stay alive? Enter Cornelius, a rakish Dracula-descendent with a penchant for fast cars and faster women. He believes that sucking is the, ahem, blood right of vampires everywhere. Will he derail the good efforts of the support group with his charm and joie de vivre? Like all great genre fiction, Hersh’s novel works as allegory: in telling the story of vampires changing their ways, she also tells the story of addiction, and what it takes to overcome one’s internal demons. Plus, Harold and Jasmine—from different sides of the Transylvania tracks, though both quick-witted and full of compassion—make a sassy, well-matched pair (one scene where they flirtatiously bicker over whether or not to return lost blood to the Red Cross is particularly charged); and yes, for you romantics out there, a love starts to form, though maybe not the love you’re expecting. This is an empathetic work that, in addition to telling a great story, tries to bring the reader closer to understanding a subculture so frequently observed in fiction, yet so infrequently portrayed realistically.


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Fortune Smiles: Stories Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780812997477
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Random House - August 18th, 2015

#1

For a list so heavy with fiction, literary nonfiction, and poetry, it might surprise you to learn that my number one pick of the year is a biography—but one that provides a much-needed boost of optimism to our troubled political and financial times. In his astonishingly comprehensive work, Adam Johnson studies the life of Toby Elgin, affectionately called “The Happy Billionaire.” Even if you’re not familiar with the name, you’ve certainly heard about his good deeds: repainting the entirety of the Empire State Building in rainbow hues after the legalization of gay marriage; installing thousands of high-powered electric fans across America to help facilitate wind turbines; spending untold millions to resuscitate Matthew McConaughey’s career. But author Johnson, through countless interviews with Elgin’s friends and a deep look into primary sources, reveals the many smaller accomplishments of this great man, including sending hundreds of smiling “donation bots” into the streets of America’s biggest cities to drop fifty-dollar bills into the hands of homeless people everywhere. In his efforts to make people happy, Elgin has earned many enemies (Donald Trump recently called him “a danger to American capitalism”), but in this inspiring book, we understand what truly motivates a man with fantastic wealth toward altruism—to help others by wielding his fortune for good, always with a smile on his face.


Best of 2015: Liz

So the thing about kids books, right, is that everybody reads them. Okay, you may not still be reading them, but you definitely did, at some point in your past, read them. Pretty much everyone starts with picture books, then chapter books, then maybe some nice advanced middle-grade readers and boom, hey, young adult fiction, if you still want to read about protagonists your own age. Maybe you thought you were done with “kids stuff” and wanted to move on. That’s fine! I get it! But, really, why?

The Princess and the Pony Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780545637084
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Arthur A. Levine Books - June 30th, 2015

Who doesn’t love a farting pony? Or Kate Beaton, for that matter? The creator of HARK! A VAGRANT and now-famed illustrator, known for her sharp send-ups of history and literature, debuted her first picture book this year! True to Beaton form, THE PRINCESS AND THE PONY is the story of a fighting princess who can’t wait to have a steed of her own—only the bug-eyed, goofy-faced pony she’s given isn’t quiiite the noble mount she’d hoped for. Never fear: it all turns out all right, flipping fairy tale stereotypes on their heads and delivering utterly aww-worthy moments in the process.

Great for: The vicious fighters who secretly love fluffy kittens
The moral of the story: Learn to make the best of your goofy-faced disappointments.


Staff Pick Logo
Waiting Cover Image
By Kevin Henkes, Kevin Henkes (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062368430
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Greenwillow Books - September 1st, 2015

My gosh, this book is calming. Everything from the texture of the pages to the colors of the art screams Don’t worry, I’m here to help. Put your feet up. Have you made a cup of tea? You should have a cup of tea. Caldecott-winner Kevin Henkes tells the simple story of five toys sitting on a windowsill and watching the world outside, just waiting for something to happen. They watch the weather, they enjoy each other’s company, and they simply...wait. I felt so relaxed reading this book, I wish I could have waited with them for longer.

Great for: Anxious adults, busy collegians, and anyone who still needs to learn a little patience
The moral of the story: Remember that waiting can be the best part of an experience.


George Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780545812542
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Scholastic Press - August 25th, 2015

GEORGE got a ton of buzz on its release—and rightly so! This debut novel brings a new kind of voice—and a much-needed one—to middle-grade literature. See, George is a girl. Everyone around her thinks she’s a boy, but she’s a girl. And she really wants to be Charlotte in the school play of Charlotte’s Web, but boys can’t audition. With the help of her supportive best friend, George decides she’s going to do it anyway—and from there, this sweet story of friendship, love, and being yourself unfolds in the most heartwarming way imaginable. GEORGE is important to me, and to a lot of its reviewers, because of how very authentic it is: how it makes George’s struggle such a day-to-day thing, with compassion and care.

Great for: The friend who’s never fit in—or the one who’s finally found themselves
The moral of the story: We’ve all got a secret person inside us. Some of them are just louder than others.


The Marvels Cover Image
By Brian Selznick, Brian Selznick (Illustrator)
$32.99
ISBN: 9780545448680
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Scholastic Press - September 15th, 2015

Like his multiple-award-winning THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET, Brian Selznick’s THE MARVELS is told half in pictures and half in prose. The first part of the book is a wordless array of continuous pictures, and it’s up to the reader to figure out how the prose of the second part connects to the first. This type of storytelling isn’t common once you grow past picture books, and I think my adult brain needed some practice to get back into it, at first. But once I did—y’all. Y’all. I think my sense of wonder has atrophied a little since growing up. This brought it right back.

Great for: Artists, doodlers, or anyone who’s obsessed with narrative structure
The moral of the story: Just...just look at the dang pictures and appreciate them. Come on.


Dumplin' Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062327185
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Balzer + Bray - September 15th, 2015

I’ll stop talking about this book when everyone in my vortex of contact has read it. Until then? WHY ARE YOU NOT READING THIS BOOK. I’m closer to it than most folks, I’ll admit, but still—nothing has made me so viscerally remember being a teenager like reading this book. And that was good for me! Because no one really completely grows out of feeling awkward in their skin, or like they don’t match what they’re “supposed” to be. The difference is, when you’re living that in a book, there’s someone there to experience it with you—and you’re gonna figure it out together. That helps a lot. And having a fearless, sharp, smart-mouthed friend like Willowdean to watch your back? There’s nothing like it.

Great for: Folks who feel like they need a kick-start of badassery
The moral of the story: Dolly Parton believes in you. You can believe in yourself, too.


The Last Leaves Falling Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781481430654
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - June 2nd, 2015

This book is about assisted suicide. If that’s gonna bother you, skip on down to the next thing, but before you do, let me assure you that this book treats the issue with the deep consideration it deserves—not in spite of, but because it’s about, and for, teenagers. Japanese teenager Abe Sora finds some normalcy in making friends online, as the progression of his ALS slowly confines him further and further to his home. Finding inspiration from samurai death poems, Sora asks his friends to help him leave life on his own terms. THE LAST LEAVES FALLING is as complex as anything you’ll read that’s ostensibly “for adults”—its only concession to being for teens is that it’s far more straightforward with much less navel-gazing.

Great for: The philosophers fascinated with ethics, friendship, or morals
The moral of the story: Written for teens doesn’t mean “underwritten.”


Lizard Radio Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780763676353
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - September 8th, 2015

Are you bored of dystopia? GUESS AGAIN. Pat Schmatz’s LIZARD RADIO brings dystopia back more to the classic 1984-style, and in so doing really shows that YA literature is the place to push the boundaries of what coming-of-age narratives can be. Fifteen year-old “bender” (as in “genderbender”) Kivali has never been quite sure how she fits—not only is she uncertain of where she fits in the whole girl/boy thing, she’s been raised by a nonconformist who insists Kivali’s actually part-lizard person. In a scheduled and regulated Gov-run CropCamp, Kivali makes her first friends, and gets in touch with the “lizard radio” inside herself. It’s a fantastic story of self-discovery, first love, and being yourself in a sometimes-hostile world.

Great for: The cynic who thinks there’s nothing new under the sun
The moral of the story: Fight the Man and embrace the lizard person inside of you.


Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir Cover Image
By Maggie Thrash, Maggie Thrash (Illustrator)
$19.99
ISBN: 9780763673826
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - September 8th, 2015

Ah, young love. So impulsive, so passionate, so completely incomprehensible in every single way. And that doesn’t noticeably change the older one gets. Reading HONOR GIRL made me feel so...understood—even though I never had a completely unexpected same-sex crush on my older counselor at sleepaway camp. (Not at camp, at least.) There’s a wonderful urgency to Thrash’s graphic novel memoir—the emotions are real and powerful, and Thrash’s simple, beautiful drawings present them without any pretension or artifice. Recapture all that excitement and angst of youth with this book. It’s a vibrant, exciting, and necessary entry into the both the young adult memoir and graphic novel genres.

Great for: Baby gays, aspiring memoirists, and hopeless romantics
The moral of the story: First love is world-changing.


I Crawl Through It Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780316334099
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - September 22nd, 2015

I don’t even really know how to describe I CRAWL THROUGH IT to you. It’s a masterpiece of surrealism and multiple narratives, telling the story of four students struggling to push through their trauma, anxieties, and losses. It’s nonlinear, it’s visceral, and while it’s as difficult to untangle as real experiences of trauma and pain, it’s just as rewarding in the end. It’s dreamlike and mesmerizing. It doesn’t talk down or condescend to its readers. It wants to be a struggle. It’s really freaking good.

Great for: Anyone who loved HOUSE OF LEAVES or ULYSSES
The moral of the story: Even if you have to crawl through your pain, you will make it through.


Staff Pick Logo
Out of Darkness Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781467742023
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Carolrhoda Books - September 1st, 2015

Ashley Hope Perez is a wizard. OUT OF DARKNESS is one of the most sophisticated uses of multiple narrators I’ve ever seen. This immensely skilled novel is a love story set against the backdrop of the New London school explosion—a 1937 gas explosion that killed nearly 300 students and teachers, and the worst school disaster in American history. It’s a lot of darkness to claw its way out of, and nearly every single page of this book gave me chills—but its bright points are so incredibly bright. A love affair across racial lines in 1930s East Texas seems doomed from the start, but Naomi and Wash’s love and hope makes you want to believe everything will be okay. This book is set less than a generation ago, and Perez’s writing makes you feel how immediate and real the racism, abuse, and pain its characters experience still is. It’s an incredibly important—and timely—book, and we’ll have Perez here in January to sign and discuss it with us. I'll probably cry.

Great for: Eager weepers who re-read THE BOOK THIEF and Romeo & Juliet for fun
The moral of the story: Love may not always be enough, but hope matters more.


Best of 2015: Corby

My year-end list is plump with non-fiction, which is a strange generic label, kind of like calling photography “non-painting.” And speaking of photography—my favorite book of the year, which I’m simultaneously shocked and not shocked is still sitting unsold on our shelves, is a gorgeous photo book on Mongolians and their trained eagles. And I have to admit I cheated by sneaking in a book from 2014, but it’s that good. See y’all in 2016!

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781451697391
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 4th, 2015

Real, muckraking journalists are few and far-between these days, replaced by placating talking-heads and a parade of “contributors” who are usually former-something-or-others who substitute plausible theories in place of real information. Naomi Klein is one the most brilliant of the dwindling ranks of true journalists, and THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING (first paperback edition 2015) is her most startling book yet—a behind-the-scenes look at why no real progress is being made in the fight against our biggest common enemy, climate change, and its primary enabler, unconstrained capitalism. If you’ve been putting off understanding why climate change is happening, and what needs to happen to stop it, this is the book for you. Klein has an easy command of the science, the politics, and the economics, and a writing style that rockets you along like a eucalyptus-powered jet aircraft (this was actually one of Richard Branson’s abortive ideas for the greening of the travel business; see chapter seven).


The Same City Cover Image
By Luisge Martin, Tomasz Dukanovich (Translator)
$14.95
ISBN: 9788494349683
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Hispabooks - September 1st, 2015

Translated fluidly from the Spanish by Tomasz Dukanovich, this short novel sweeps you up in its strange, existentialist arms and then never stops to take a breath. Like a post-9/11 COUNT OF MONTE CHRISTO, reinvented by Camus and spiked with a shot of Borges, this is the story of a lawyer who works at the top of the North Tower who is spared while all of his colleagues die. He abruptly decides to revolutionize his life—he leaves New York, telling no one, and reinvents himself under a false name and identity in Boston. A well-motivated, sober thought-experiment in the lust for, and limits of, reinvention.


The War Came Home with Him: A Daughter's Memoir Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9780816698776
Availability: Backordered
Published: University of Minnesota Press - September 1st, 2015

Not a book that has got a lot of attention this year, but one that definitely should. This is how we need people to write about American wars and the families of our soldiers—not in ham-fisted generalizations and trite stereotypes but in fine-grained, sympathetic detail, without an ulterior motive. This is a book that intertwines the horror-story of her father’s experience as an American POW in Korea with her own coming-of-age story growing up in his home. It’s deceptively smart and on-point, opening a window onto the entangled nature of public service and private life. See my review and interview with the author here.


Staff Pick Logo
The Door (Nyrb Classics) Cover Image
By Magda Szabo, Len Rix (Translator), Ali Smith (Introduction by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781590177716
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New York Review of Books - January 27th, 2015

Look, sometimes Mark Haber just knows what he’s talking about, and this is one of those times. THE DOOR is exactly what a modern novel should be—a page-turner that delivers on plot, characterization, and psychological nuance. Szabó’s style is limpid but her characters and her ideas are always engagingly off-balance—you never know exactly what’s going to happen next. If Michael Haneke and Lars von Trier had a novel-writing, Hungarian love-child.


Strangers Drowning: Grappling with Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Overpowering Urge to Help Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781594204333
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Penguin Press - September 29th, 2015

I love books that take on dangerous thinking, that confront ideas about the way the world could be, that dare to ask, Why not? In STRANGERS DROWNING, New Yorker writer MacFarquhar profiles what she calls “do-gooders,” people from various parts of the world who are driven by an uncommon, often self-injuring sense of responsibility to help others (also called extreme altruists). I’ve done some volunteer work, but I’m nothing next to these fanatics, the kind of people who make Ghandi look a lazy putz. What drives them to abandon lives of relative comfort and put their families at risk to do things like start leper colonies, or adopt dozens of children? Whether you find them compelling or crazy, these case-studies will at least convince you that carrying on with the status quo requires, for better or worse, a willed ignorance of the suffering of strangers. Unsettling and thought-provoking.


Guantanamo Diary Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316389259
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Back Bay Books - December 1st, 2015

When Obama campaigned in 2007, he made a point of promising the closure of Guantánamo, and as we know that never happened. This book is the best, most shocking testament to the meaning of that failure, the personal account of an uncharged, untried prisoner named Mohamedou Ould Slahi who, more than thirteen years after his capture, is still sitting in Guantánamo. Just the fact that this book exists is enough to demand a wide audience, and the story that he tells—written from his prison cell, redacted by the United States government, published with the help of his lawyers—puts a specific human face on the collateral damage of the war on terror. Slahi, a Mauritanian, seems to have been caught up in a series of unlucky coincidences which have led to his imprisonment and torture, and the loss of more than a decade of life in captivity. This is Kafka in contemporary America, and you will shudder at the cruel contingencies of fate.


Green on Blue Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781476778556
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Scribner Book Company - February 17th, 2015

Ackerman is a former marine who earned a Silver Star and Purple Heart in the Battle of Fallujah as well as a Bronze Star for Valor in Afghanistan in 2008. And, oh yeah, he’s also a brilliant, sensitive novelist whose debut GREEN ON BLUE is a lyrical, empathetic portrait of a young man trying to carve out a life for himself and his brother in post-Taliban Afghanistan. This book shows, more than anything else I’ve read, the complexities of political and personal alliances in contemporary Afghanistan. It’s also a plot-driven war novel, constantly on a low-boil, leaving the reader on tenterhooks until the last page.


Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9780385538732
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday Books - April 21st, 2015

There’s a knotty problem that most Americans would rather not talk about—sexual assault, and specifically its place in the sexual culture of universities. Krakauer brings his top-rate novelistic journalism from INTO THE AIR and UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN to Missoula, Montana, home of the University of Montana and its locally-revered football team, which becomes the backdrop for cultural and legal battles that embroil university students, football stars, administrators, local cops, and the DA. The assault cases profiled by Krakauer become emblematic of larger cultural debates playing out from coast to coast and getting high-profile treatment in recent documentaries like THE HUNTING GROUND.


Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781612194912
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Melville House Publishing - August 18th, 2015

Published in 2014, but gosh-darn-it, I’m putting it on my list because I just discovered it this year and it’s the most important book I read. I had dreamt of writing this book a few months ago, and I was glad to find a much better informed, much more talented writer had already done it for me. This is a gem of dangerous thinking, a manifesto against professional football from a deeply devoted fan. Suffice it to say, after writing the book, he decided not to watch the sport anymore. If any other industry had the shameful safety track-record of pro football it would be regulated in a heartbeat, but the power of the League, the money involved, the sheer joy the orchestrated violence brings to millions of fans, not to mention to beauty of the athleticism—all of this conspires against acknowledging an open secret: that football eats up and spits out its hobbled, brain-damaged warriors.


Hunting with Eagles: In the Realm of the Mongolian Kazakhs Cover Image
By Palani Mohan (Photographer)
$50.00
ISBN: 9781858946436
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Merrell - October 13th, 2015

A truly unique book from an internationally renowned photographer. The photographs—of Kazakh nomads and their hunting-trained golden eagles—will transport you to a place on earth you never dreamed could exist. The immaculate duotone images blend the majesty of the animals, the nomadic culture, and the landscapes of unearthy presence. This book will make you gasp, knit your brows in a form of positive consternation, and cry at the beauty of a part of world culture few of us will ever glimpse in person.


Best of 2015: Annalia

The best thing about living writers is that they’re not dead. Let me rephrase: I love meeting the strange, charming creatures responsible for the books we carry, lend to friends, pile on our nightstands. I like seeing the person separate from the page. So this year for my top ten list, I decided to share not only great books but stories about the kind, lopsided writers who wrote them—a Brazos Bookstore behind-the-scenes featurette, if you will.

Spoiler alert: no divas here. That is a different list for another day.


The Water Knife Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780385352871
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - May 26th, 2015

Pub Date: May 26, Author Event: November 2

I wear many hats at Brazos Bookstore, but one of the most prominent is that of Offsite Captain. This means that there are times I go on bookselling adventures outside the bookstore to sell books for conferences, benefit lunches, books fairs, private parties—you name it.

For Paolo Bacigalupi, the venue was the chapel at Rice University. I was staged outside in a strange hovel between buildings and Bacigalupi, whom I had never met, invited me inside. He helped me lug the books from the chill patio air into the warm empty cathedral, and I got to hear him say “fuck” in church. He was nervous and kind, a considerable contrast to THE WATER KNIFE, a dystopian sci fi novel where water is scarce and what water remains is dealt in (literal!) cutthroat deals.


Jam on the Vine Cover Image
Unavailable from Brazos Bookstore
ISBN: 9780802123343
Availability: Out of Print - Not Available for Order
Published: Grove Press - February 3rd, 2015

Pub Date: February 3, Author Event: March 31

There’s some back-story to this one. We interviewed Jill Alexander Essbaum, Texas native and author of HAUSFRAU, in anticipation of her in-store event. When she saw that LaShona Katrice Barnett was visiting soon after, she gave us a message to pass along: hi and thanks for everything you’ve done. As I discussed in my interview with Atticus Lish, writers love secrets! We waited and we hoped for something good—an inside joke, maybe. What Barnett gave us? Essbaum’s author origin story.

Barnett and Essbaum met at a party in New York. At this time, Essbaum had some poetry published but felt like a breakthrough was some shore she’d never reach, out to sea forever while seagulls pecked her curly hair. She relates this to Barnett, who understands with a depth that doesn’t require acknowledgement. Rather, Barnett says, with so much confidence I wrote the damn thing down and it sits at my own writing desk to this day: “I saw all of it and I said, ‘You are so close. It’s not poetry, though. You have a best-selling novel in you.’”

As we now know, that novel, the one that Barnett could see before Essbaum could fever dream about it—she was a poet, remember—is HAUSFRAU, an international bestseller that has often been compared to MADAME BOVARY. Ask Essbaum herself and she will insist that HAUSFRAU would not exist without Barnett’s belief.

Like Barnett herself, JAM ON THE VINE is lovely and edges on profound. The historical novel follows Ivoe Williams, a young black woman in the Jim Crow South whose passion for journalism inspires her to found Jam! On The Vine, a female-run African American newspaper.


Whisper Hollow Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781590517116
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Other Press (NY) - March 17th, 2015

Pub Date: March 17, Author Event: March 24

One of my favorite things about Brazos Bookstore is that the store itself has many friends, from customers who come every week (here’s looking at you, Barbara and Pablo Ruiz) to writers and publicists. Houston author Chris Cander, of course, is on this list. Her arrival always inspires warm greetings, conversations about books and family; she is someone that does not need an occasion to say hello.

When we had the launch party for her novel WHISPER HOLLOW, I was ecstatic to finally see Cander in the spotlight. Centered in West Virginia, the historical novel explores the Catholic faith through three different women over two generations in a coal-mining town and the tragedies that unite them.

Picture this: the store floor packed to the gills including a camera crew, marketing guru Jeff Waxman (who flew in from New York!), balloons, Cander at the center in a coral blouse. But the real treat was going to Beckrew Wine House afterward, chatting and hugging and taking selfies. (Which is basically a long way of saying that I hope if I ever put a book out that my first reading only goes even half as well.)


The Clasp Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780374124410
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - October 6th, 2015

Pub Date: October 6, Author Event: October 16

Fact: not everyone wants to read slow, sad books that span, like, 700 pages. Fact: we all need to laugh sometimes. Fact: if you want to write comedy, you need extra hustle, and Sloane Crosley has it. In the snarky spirit of her essay collections I WAS TOLD THERE’D BE CAKE and HOW DID YOU GET THIS NUMBER, Crosley’s debut novel, THE CLASP, charms with its portrayal of estranged friends Kezia, Nathaniel, and Victor who team up to hunt down a lost (read: valuable!) necklace.

Sure, it happens that on the way, the friends find each other again, question authenticity, etc etc. But if you only get to meet five authors before you die, Crosley deserves to be on that list because for small readings (like ours), she will read sex scenes. Because she says such amazing and relatable statements as, “I cry a lot and eat too much cheese.” Because she never says “I’m sorry” if she laughs too loud. We need more of that.


My Feelings: Poems Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977108
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - June 2nd, 2015

Pub Date: June 2, Author Event: October 19

Anyone who has met me in the last six years will not be surprised that this book is on this list. To that end, I won’t say much about MY FEELINGS except that it’s my favorite collection by Nick Flynn since his debut, SOME ETHER. What I want to talk about is meeting Rachel Eliza Griffiths, author of LIGHTING THE SHADOW; Pulitzer Prize Winner Gregory Pardlo, author of DIGEST; and Jonathan Moody, author of OLYMPIC BUTTER GOLD.

We caught Flynn, Griffiths, and Pardlo toward the end of a nation-wide tour they’d been doing for weeks, including Texas Book Festival in Austin. On October 18, Flynn showed a movie at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the latest documentary by French filmmaker Hubert Sauper, We Come As Friends, and it’s there I first meet Griffiths and Pardlo. They asked me if I, too, am a poet and were happy enough when I said yes, as tends to be the case with published authors. For whatever reason, published authors don’t need proof, unlike grad students who would rather quiz you all day on where you’ve been published, who you read. You meet a Pulitzer Prize Winner and he just nods in recognition.

After Flynn, Griffiths, and Pardlo’s joint reading at the store on October 19, we all went to dinner at a Thai restaurant in Midtown, with Moody and another friend of Flynn’s whose name I’ve forgotten. Though we’re all poets, we were there as friends, talking about anything but poetry. Moody showed us some pictures of his son on his phone. We talked about movies, India, local coffee shops. Flynn showed us some stickers his daughter Maeve made for him that he had put on the back of his phone case.

Later that week, Moody read with fellow poet Kyle Dargan, author of HONEST ENGINE. Unlike most readings, theirs was interactive, where they shared stories about hip hop, their adolescence, masculinity, poetry, and what it means to be a black male poet.

That week made me realize that doing hundreds of events in the same place with the same people transforms the space into sort of a disembodied living room, and I was happy to have Flynn, Griffiths, Pardlo, and Moody as guests.


Year of the Goose Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781939419514
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Unnamed Press - December 22nd, 2015

Pub Date: December 22, Author Event: January 2016

Besides events, the joy of being a bookseller has been discovering independent presses, and Unnamed Press is one of my favorites. We featured THE PAPER MAN by Gallagher Lawson back in May, and I’ve followed the press and editor extraordinaire Olivia Taylor Smith ever since. When she asked me if I’d be interested in reading an advanced copy of YEAR OF THE GOOSE, I said yes. I would’ve said yes no matter what it was, but I’m so, so glad it was Carly J. Hallman, whose debut novel is so strange and brutal that I tend to think of it in terms we usually use to describe food: bitter, sour, pungent.

As the cover implies, the book is about China, modern-day China whose elite dwarf even the most sought-after American starlets. You know, the “more money than God” sort of situation. In sections, YEAR OF THE GOOSE details a government-sanctioned fat camp, the mental breakdown of a neurotic organic hair farmer, and a monk whose current reincarnation is that of a turtle. So, yes, the subject matter is a little wild, but Hallman is thoughtful, never veering into pure nonsense.

And I know, I know—her in-store event isn’t until January 2016, but I don’t want this book to be left out.


Staff Pick Logo
Get in Trouble: Stories Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780804179683
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Random House - February 3rd, 2015

Pub Date: February 3, Author Event: N/A

For Kelly Link, I don’t really have any excuses except that I love her and that GET IN TROUBLE is my favorite book of 2015. (True, I did interview her for our website, but it was so long ago, my questions were so dumb, and she does so many Q&As to begin with that I bet I’m probably the only one that remembers it.) From “I Can See Right Through You,” a story about some codependent movie star vampire ex-lovers who can’t seem to escape each other, to “Light,” a story about estranged siblings and pocket universes, GET IN TROUBLE does the exact thing short fiction is supposed to do: shake you around, wake you up, and plant you here.


Pleasantville (Jay Porter Series #2) Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062259400
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - April 21st, 2015

Pub Date: April 21, Author Event: April 25-April 27

When Attica Locke came home to Houston for her new novel PLEASANTVILLE, her parents went all out. Over a weekend, they threw two parties then Locke’s friends and family trekked over to our store to watch her greet her public.

It was a lot of time to be together, but as someone from a big family and a TV writer for Empire, maybe Locke is used to this. I have to believe that because she never complained about being tired (though she must have been), never snapped at anyone for asking her to talk about the show instead of her book. She was always in communication with us about where we needed to be and when, always generous.

We brought almost two hundred books to the party her father hosted at a local golf club. Even so, we sold out. Usually when that happens, we go home early. Because it was Locke, we stayed to help her put sticky notes in everyone’s books. That way, when people met her they could actually say hello instead of spelling and repeating their names.

Locke is nothing but lovely. Her darling PLEASANTVILLE is punchy and intense. Set in the eponymous Houston neighborhood, Locke’s thriller deals with a woman’s disappearance, a shady local election, and the return of lawyer Jay Porter, her protagonist from her 2010 debut BLACK WATER RISING.


The Things We Don't Do Cover Image
By Andres Neuman, Nick Caistor (Translator), Lorenza Garcia (Translator)
$13.95
ISBN: 9781940953182
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Open Letter - August 25th, 2015

Pub Date: August 25, Author Event: September 15

Any friend of Brazos Bookstore knows that our floor manager Mark Haber has good taste. Take, for example, Magda Szabó’s THE DOOR, which has sold over 125 copies since Mark adopted it. Behind the counter—and sometimes on Twitter, we call it the Cult of Mark. Because Argentine writer Andrés Neuman had achieved the Haber seal of approval, I should have known that I would adore his work. Alas, before Neuman’s reading, all I had ever read was Neuman’s story “A Terribly Perfect Couple,” which was featured in the PEN America Center flash fiction newsletter days before the event. Mark sent it to me with a reassurance: “You can read it in about 90 seconds.”

And it’s true: Neuman’s collection THE THINGS WE DON’T DO luxuriates in the minutiae when it comes to form. Its content, though, lassoes those big feelings that we recognize first in our reaction to them (crying, screaming, etc) than our understanding of them. For me, the experience of reading them is what I imagine having an espresso is like: you shouldn’t have too many shots at once.

Neuman himself is not like that. He could’ve stayed in Houston for ten days and I think we would’ve been ok with that. Everyone was surprised to discover it was close to midnight when we were walking back to the bookstore from our meal at Antica Osteria. We miss him.


The Unraveling of Mercy Louis: A Novel Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780062319098
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - March 10th, 2015

Pub Date: March 10, Author Event: March 10

Keija Parssinen is the first author that I interviewed then got to meet in person! Her event was on her pub day and I will never forget what it felt like to sit at the front counter and watch Parssinen’s face change when she recognized me. At the time, I had been at Brazos for close to a year, but that evening was one of the first nights I actually felt like I was part of the bookstore, instead of someone who just works there.

Parssinen knows a lot about home. Her first novel THE RUINS OF US is an homage to her mother country Saudi Arabia, the second THE UNRAVELING OF MERCY LOUIS a tribute to her second home in Texas. Though the town in MERCY, Port Sabine, is fictional, the dank Southern air is thickened by secrets, oil spills, and suspicions about the future—a thriller for adults and teens alike!


Staff Pick Logo
Multiply/Divide: On the American Real and Surreal Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781941411049
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Sarabande Books - August 11th, 2015

Pub Date: August 11, Author Event: October 30

There are four books that I’ve had signed—two by Nick Flynn, one by Mary Karr, and one by Wendy S Walters. I wasn’t there the night Walters came to read at the store, but she wrote one of my favorite phrases as the inscription in my copy of MULTIPLY/DIVIDE: Thank you for everything.

Last summer, I spoke to Walters and managing editor Kristen Radtke for a profile I was writing on Sarabande Books, MULTIPLY/DIVIDE’s publisher, but I thought for sure that she would have forgotten. After all, Walters is not on Twitter, has multiple books to her name, lives and teaches in New York. Not so! Walters is one of my favorite type of writers, the kind that remembers everything.

The full title of MULTIPLY/DIVIDE is MULTIPLY/DIVIDE: ON THE AMERICAN REAL AND SURREAL. Much of it is dedicated to memory: reflections on events true and could-be true, recollections of spoken and unspoken conversations. It’s about race and sexism and being seen and being heard, but I don’t want to say it’s a political book because that might make certain people avoid it. Don’t. Read this book with your eyes open and your phone off.


Best of 2015: Mark

Nightstand, holding place of our ambitions. For me, it carries the books I plan to read as well as the-books-I-want-to-read-next-if-it-wasn’t-for-the-other-books/galleys-I-have/need/want-to read-next and, yes, it also shoulders the burden of books I was dying to read for months that now seem kind of, well, at a glance, mundane. The nightstand, endlessly morphing and changing shape, its only resemblance at any moment the fact that upon it rests stacks and stacks of books. For me, literally stacks.

Lovers on All Saints' Day: Stories Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781594634260
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Riverhead Books - July 21st, 2015

A few years back, THE SOUND OF THINGS FALLING was one of my favorite novels. This new collection of short stories sat on my nightstand for months. I actually read the first story and it was incredible. However, life happened, as they say, and I just didn’t make it back to this collection. Juan Gabriel Vásquez is a phenomenal writer and I would suggest anything by him, sight unseen.


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Fortune Smiles: Stories Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780812997477
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Random House - August 18th, 2015

I loved THE ORPHAN MASTER’S SON. Johnson even read at our store a couple years back—super gracious, brilliant, and obviously a fantastic writer. This collection has been mocking me for months.


M Train Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781101875100
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - October 6th, 2015

I’m not a fan of Patti Smith’s music or the NY punk scene of the 70’s and 80’s; it’s simply not a subject of interest. However, Smith is a brilliant writer and loves all the same things that I love. She’s a big fan of Roberto Bolaño and Cesar Aira, and I hear the book discusses her travels in Mexico City too.


The Book of Aron Cover Image
$23.95
ISBN: 9781101874318
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - May 12th, 2015

This book is SO getting read in 2016. End of story.


Gold Fame Citrus Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781594634239
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - September 29th, 2015

I’ve wanted to read this book so badly! Flip to any page and the writing is just jaw-droppingly good. I just haven’t found the time. Next year, next year.


'I' (Seagull Books - The German List) Cover Image
$27.50
ISBN: 9780857422347
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Seagull Books - August 15th, 2015

I read Wolfgang Hilbig’s short story collection THE SLEEP OF THE RIGHTEOUS this past year and was knocked sideways. It was a brilliant collection that introduced a master writer to the English-reading public. His novel ‘I’ is large and filled with Communist paranoia


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The Wake Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977177
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - September 1st, 2015

To invent a new language in your novel is novel in itself. This book looks amazing.


The Boatmaker Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781935639985
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Tin House Books - March 3rd, 2015

This book has attracted me all year—part parable, part fable, about a carpenter who wakes from a dream with the intention to build a ship and go towards the mainland. Looks amazing.


Between the World and Me Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780812993547
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Spiegel & Grau - July 14th, 2015

Timely. Brilliant. Important. And a whole bunch of other adjectives have been used to describe this book, a memoir in the form of a letter to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ adolescent son following the death of close friend.



AN IMPERFECT BROOM by Jacek Bogusławski : Last on my list is Polish master Jacek Bogusławski’s only novel AN IMPERFECT BROOM. Supposed to be published this past April, the book was pushed back indefinitely. Said to be a precursor to Borges and Bruno Schulz, this labyrinthine opus takes the reader from China’s Qin Dynasty to the heart of the opium trade prior to the Chinese Revolution. It follows the misadventures of an unnamed Wood Nymph, or “spirit,” of the Hainian Forest attempting to establish not only a sovereign Chinese state but a single living humanity.

What follows is a dense, almost claustrophobic tale involving oriental metaphysics, animal husbandry, Gulag prison breaks, explicit orgies with gods and goddesses and a sequence of fever dreams lasting one thousand years. Strangely, it foretells the future of the graphic novel, complete with vivid reproductions of the novel’s original illustrations by Turkish surrealist Emirhan Burakgazi. Coming in at just over 1,000 pages, every bookseller I know was excited for its release.

Perverse, fecund, endlessly grotesque, with dense chapters meandering into sparse valleys of Haiku-like stanzas, including chapter introductions in Tibetan script, invented languages, and even braille, AN IMPERFECT BROOM is a seminal text, devoid of punctuation and singular in its fan base. Haruki Murakami insists he reads a page every night before going to sleep to remind him of the purpose of literature. Umberto Eco has claimed he owes his calling to a two-day binge-reading of BROOM while on holiday in the Lesser Antilles. Critic James Wood calls the book “more universal than Quixote.” I’ve heard rumors of this book for over fifteen years and only hope its English publication will be not be delayed much longer.


Best of 2015: Keaton

Reading affords few pleasures more satisfying than discovering an author for the first time. Whether I was coming across a stellar debut from some future great, or finally delving into the oeuvre of an established master, 2015 has been the year of “first timers” for me. From fiction to history, memoir to sportswriting, here are the top ten books by authors I’d never read before.

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I Am Radar Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9781594206160
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Penguin Press - February 24th, 2015

This amazing novel was the very first book I read this year, and it’s still one of my favorites. Larsen’s sophomore effort is an experimental, decades-long globetrotting adventure that brings together puppetry, quantum physics, war crimes, and art as a form of political protest. Funny, profound, and strange, I AM RADAR just vibrates with energy.


The Sellout Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780374260507
Availability: Backordered
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - March 3rd, 2015

The bravest, most outlandish, I-don't-give-a-fuck work of satire I've come across in years. Beatty’s tale of a black man working to reinstate segregation in his California city cuts straight to the core of America's disastrous relationship with race and eviscerates the disingenuous notion that we are living in a “post-racial” society with the most potent of weapons—humor.


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The Argonauts Cover Image
$23.00
ISBN: 9781555977078
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Graywolf Press - May 5th, 2015

I hate to admit this was my first Maggie Nelson reading experience, but I couldn’t have hoped for a better introduction to this powerhouse cultural critic. At once a potent blend of bare-it-all memoir, incisive cultural criticism, and a radical call to revolutionize the way we interpret identity and interpersonal relationships, THE ARGONAUTS is above all else a joyous ode to love and family.


The Body Where I Was Born Cover Image
$22.95
ISBN: 9781609805265
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Seven Stories Press - June 16th, 2015

Guadalupe Nettel is a badass, plain and simple. While this is her first novel to be translated into English, she’s long been a literary superstar in her native Mexico. I can only hope this work of autobiographical fiction—a rousing ode to flaws and outsiders—precludes much more to come our way.


I’ve never read a book that made me want to go somewhere as much as this stellar debut sports memoir made me want to go to Cuba. Butler’s collection of essays, recounting the ten years he spent in Castro’s Cuba training with elite boxers and indulging his obsession with Hemingway (I can relate), revels in the strange relationship between America and this proud island nation. THE DOMINO DIARIES fascinates with its entwining of culture, politics, literature, and sports.


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Tram 83 Cover Image
By Fiston Mwanza Mujila, Roland Glasser (Translator), Alain Mabanckou (Foreword by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781941920046
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Deep Vellum Publishing - September 8th, 2015

An indescribably maniacal tale from a blistering new talent out of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mujila portrays a wasteland society drowning in its own greed and perversity. Filled with poetry, debauchery, corruption, and lamentations for love sacrificed on the altar of lust, this is an intense, acrobatic feat of prose unlike anything to come before it. TRAM 83 is simply tremendous.


Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781594203473
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Press - July 21st, 2015

Finnegan, a longtime writer for The New Yorker, muses over his 50+ year obsession with surfing. Equal parts globetrotting anthropological study, coming-of-age tale, and ode to the motley cast of fellow searchers who’ve shared in Finnegan’s quest for the perfect break, BARBARIAN DAYS is filled with some of the most gorgeous descriptions of natural beauty I’ve ever read and includes insightful ruminations on what it means to truly live the life you love.


The Things We Don't Do Cover Image
By Andres Neuman, Nick Caistor (Translator), Lorenza Garcia (Translator)
$13.95
ISBN: 9781940953182
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Open Letter - August 25th, 2015

This tremendous collection of short stories is the perfect introduction to the author whom Roberto Bolaño famously said would own twenty-first century literature. Wide-ranging, odd, and daring, there is something in THE THINGS WE DON’T DO for everyone. I don’t know what the future holds, but I can tell you now I’ll be reading more fiction by Andrés Neuman.


Lafayette in the Somewhat United States Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781594631740
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - October 20th, 2015

Sarah Vowell is America’s Historian of America. Her witty, sardonic take on one of our nation’s earliest and greatest allies, Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier de Lafayette—the aristocratic yet idealistic teenage adventurer who was instrumental in attaining French assistance during the Revolutionary War—is as hilarious as it is revealing. She reveres and lampoons our American (and European) forefathers in equal measure and with enough zingers to keep you laughing on every other page.


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The Wake Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977177
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - September 1st, 2015

The most rewarding and immersive work of fiction I’ve read all year, Kingsnorth’s THE WAKE—written in an updated form of Old English—is a linguistic feat that makes the 1066 Norman Invasion startlingly immediate and visceral. The tale of Anglo-Saxon resistance fighters in the harrowed Fens of Northern England is mythic, stark, and profoundly moving. Imagine THE ROAD set a thousand years ago, and you’ll have some idea of what to expect. Remarkable.



OTHER FAVORITES


Secessia Cover Image
Unavailable from Brazos Bookstore
ISBN: 9780802123619
Availability: Out of Print - Not Available for Order
Published: Grove Press - July 7th, 2015

The Seven Good Years: A Memoir Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781594633263
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Riverhead Books - June 16th, 2015

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Scrapper Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781616955212
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Soho Press - September 15th, 2015

Fates and Furies Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781594634475
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - September 15th, 2015

War, So Much War Cover Image
By Merce Rodoreda, Martha Tennent (Translator), Maruxa Relano (Translator)
$13.95
ISBN: 9781940953229
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Open Letter - November 10th, 2015

Best of 2015: Brooke

Alright, friends, I’m not going to lie to you. I’ve been in a book rut of monumental proportions for months. I could tell you I’ve read every single page of every single book on this list, but that would be a lie, and the first rule of good writing is to tell the truth.

The Dig Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781566893930
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Coffee House Press - April 7th, 2015

When I first finished this book, I was like, thanks Coffee House Press, now I’m super depressed. However, I know much more about badger-baiting than I ever thought possible. It’s about as grisly as it sounds: a badger is trapped then hauled out to fight with dogs for sport. If that’s not enough for you, sometimes the badger’s claws will be ripped out in an effort to level the playing field. So, that’s one half of this story. Grizzled badger-baiter makes dubious living in black market. The other half of this book is about a lonely farmer whose wife was kicked in the head by a horse. Do you see why I felt depressed after I read this? But there was a moment in this book so exquisite, so moving, that it carried the book right onto my top ten list, badger-baiting and all.

The moment is this: When she was alive, the farmer’s wife had a pink piece of cloth that she always wore. During haymaking one year, it was blown off and lost in a field. And, months later, after she has died, the farmer is walking through the barn, feeding his sheep, and he finds the piece of cloth rolled into a bale of hay, “as if she had only just dropped it.” And the farmer thinks: “It was impossible that she was dead because his feelings for her had not diminished at all. It is the ability of a person to bring a reaction in us that gives us a relationship with them, and for the time they do that, they have a livingness to them.” I can’t think of a better portrayal of grief at its apex.


After Birth Cover Image
$23.00
ISBN: 9780544273733
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - February 17th, 2015

That this novel has an epigraph from Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” should give you a hint as to its tone. Remember “The Yellow Wallpaper”? I can guarantee that if you have read it, you remember that long smooch in the wallpaper that runs around the room. If you haven’t read this short story, you might give it a quick read. It turns up with astonishing regularity, most likely because those of us who have read it are still trying to exorcise the demon, and the best way to do that, of course, is to make other people read it.

AFTER BIRTH is the story of Ari, her one-year-old son, and Mina Morris, the poet who lives across the street, about whom Ari says, “I’m a little obsessed with her, by which I mean a lot, which I guess is what obsessed means.” Mina Morris is pregnant herself when she arrives in town, and the two women forge an intense friendship. I love every single thing about this book, from the jacket design and typeface, to Ari’s screedy one-liners like this one about her thoughts when she sees pregnant women out in public: “I mean are you ready!? Like, spiritually bitches. Spiritually.”


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A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories Cover Image
By Lucia Berlin, Stephen Emerson (Editor), Lydia Davis (Foreword by)
$26.00
ISBN: 9780374202392
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - August 18th, 2015


I’ve written about Lucia Berlin before and I’m sure I’ll write about her again. What can I say? She’s the world’s most badass short story writer, even if I have only read the first half of the collection. Let me give you a little taste of what Lucia has in store for you. In one story (which, God willing, is autobiographical) the young narrator is coerced into pulling her grandfather’s teeth so he can give himself some new dentures. He’s a dentist, don’t worry, but a man can’t pull his own teeth. He does a pretty good job, but as you might imagine, he passes out before he can yank them all. So his granddaughter finishes the job, stuffs his mouth with Lipton tea bags to stanch the bleeding and offers this delightful description: “Without any teeth, his face was like a skull, white bones above the vivid bloody throat. Scary monster, a teapot come alive, yellow and black Lipton tags dangling like parade decorations.” Now, that’s writing.


Animals Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781609452896
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Europa Editions - October 6th, 2015

Another book, the first half of which I can handsell with complete confidence. Here is another narrator who lays it on you from page one. The first chapter is titled “White Piss Good; Amber Piss Bad,” for God’s sake. If that sounds appealing to you, please do read on. Laura offers some gems about love and marriage transitioning from theoretical to alarmingly real: “But the abstract was manifesting. It was white and huge and heavy and expensive, like a Fifties American fridge appearing at the foot of the bed, and I didn’t know what the fuck I was going to do with it.”


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Know Your Beholder Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780316368919
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Little Brown and Company - March 3rd, 2015

Aw, you guys, this book is so good. Francis Falbo lives in the attic of his childhood home after converting the rest of the house into apartments. An agoraphobe who spends most of the book wandering around in his bathrobe, Francis mourns the loss of his mother, the departure of his wife and the breakup of his band. And that’s just the beginning. KNOW YOUR BEHOLDER is exactly the kind of book I’m always on the lookout for: funny and sweet and tender and weird. I was completely disarmed.


Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780544611610
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - September 1st, 2015

I’ve been meaning to read Ursula Le Guin for years now. Was it because I once read THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB (don’t bother) and one of the characters suggested Ursula Le Guin to a member of the book club? Maybe. Ursula Le Guin has written a fantastic writing guide (well, the first half is fantastic, you can let me know how the second half is). She offers advice so obvious and good I never would have thought of it myself. Things like, Hey, maybe you should learn the rudiments of grammar. If you can’t identify the parts of a sentence by their proper names, it’s kind of like trying to build a house using one of those hard-headed things you hit other things with. Ah yes, a hammer.


The Art of Memoir Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9780062223067
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - September 15th, 2015

Mary Karr’s memoir THE LIARS’ CLUB was another fallen soldier on the battlefield of unread books. I started it this year, I liked it. I didn’t finish it. But, I did read THE ART OF MEMOIR. It’s punchy, fresh and super enjoyable even if you don’t plan to write a memoir. (Mine might go something like this: Quiet girl works in bookstore. Quiet girl works in another, different, bookstore.)


I Don't Like Koala Cover Image
By Sean Ferrell, Charles Santoso (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781481400688
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - April 14th, 2015

Maybe Adam doesn’t like Koala, but I do. I like him so much. Adam spends all his time trying to get rid of Koala but he keeps bouncing back like a boomerang. Stuff him in a pot, leave him behind a tree, shove him under the couch, Koala just won’t go away. But soon Adam suspects that maybe the wall-eyed but lovable Koala is not the worst thing in the world. The pictures tell as much of the story as the text in this fantastic book about love, friendship and creepy stuffed animals. I love Koala.


My Cousin Momo Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780803740112
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Dial Books - June 2nd, 2015


MY COUSIN MOMO is everything I ever dreamed a picture book could be. Animal protagonists? Check. Charming story-book tree house dwelling? Check.  Surprisingly moving picture book tears followed by heart-warming conclusion? Checkcheckcheck. Who wouldn’t love Momo? He’s a chubby flying squirrel with a nifty camera and some sweet sweatbands.


Dory Fantasmagory: The Real True Friend Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780525428664
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Dial Books - July 7th, 2015

Dory is a rascally little girl with a pair of top-notch imaginary friends: a monster and some guy she calls Mr. Nuggy who looks like a lumberjack garden gnome. He’s her fairy godmother. Don’t ask questions. Dory’s signature outfit is a ratty plaid nightgown and she gets into all sorts of trouble with the help of her imaginary friends (and some real ones). Dory is this generation’s Ramona—a theory which is totally corroborated by the fact that Dory’s older sister is reading a Ramona book in one of the illustrations. A little shout-out to Beverly Cleary. It’s almost enough to make you want to go out and get a pixie haircut and start calling your sister Beezus. Or at the very least, squeeze an entire tube of family-sized toothpaste into the sink.


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