General blog posts

Sara's June Pride List

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

The House of Impossible Beauties: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062676979
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco - February 6th, 2018

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

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

Trenton Makes: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385543385
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday - March 20th, 2018

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

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays Cover Image
ISBN: 9781328764522
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - April 17th, 2018

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

Junk Cover Image
ISBN: 9781941040973
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Tin House Books - May 8th, 2018

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

Queer City: Gay London from the Romans to the Present Day Cover Image
ISBN: 9781419730993
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harry N. Abrams - May 8th, 2018

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

So Lucky: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374265922
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: MCD x FSG Originals - May 15th, 2018

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

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

Happy Birthday Larry McMurtry!: A Book List

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

Staff Pick Logo
In the Distance Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566894883
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - Coffee House Press - October 10th, 2017

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

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

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

The Gloaming Cover Image
ISBN: 9781937512477
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Two Dollar Radio - September 20th, 2016

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

Train Dreams: A Novella Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250007650
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - May 22nd, 2012

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

Thalia: A Texas Trilogy Cover Image
ISBN: 9781631493751
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation - September 19th, 2017

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

Nothing is Ever Going to Be the Same: Joy and Ülrika Chat About Marisha Pessl

Joy: I’m here with Ülrika, our gift buyer. We are discussing Neverworld Wake, by Marisha Pessl!

Marisha is coming to the store on June 12, so we’re all really really really excited about that. It was Ülrika who put Night Film in my hands, which is her previous, wonderful (enormous) novel. So Ülrika was really excited to talk about Neverworld Wake with me. There’s so much we can’t give away, or we would let you know exactly what happens!

Ülrika, If you were selling this to me, what would you give me as the four-sentence pitch?

Neverworld Wake Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399553929
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Delacorte Press - June 5th, 2018

Outrageous Characters: Joy Interviews Cate Berry

I was so very excited when Austin’s Cate Berry reached out to me about doing a story time at Brazos for her debut picture book! Penguin and Tiny Shrimp Don't Do Bedtime is out now from Balzer and Bray/Harper Collins, an imprint that publishes impeccably wonderful, creative picture books! Penguin and Tiny Shrimp is funny and charming and as per the title will absolutely not put you to sleep. And Cate, who also teaches aspiring authors the art of writing humorous picture books, is equally a delight!

Penguin & Tiny Shrimp Don't Do Bedtime! Cover Image
By Cate Berry, Charles Santoso (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780062491534
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Balzer + Bray - May 8th, 2018

Paula McLain and Chris Cander Chat Books and Inspiration

We were honored to host Paula McLain at the store last week for her new book, LOVE AND RUIN. Her last book, THE PARIS WIFE, was an international bestseller, and LOVE AND RUIN returns to the theme of Hemingway –– but through the lens of his second wife and famed war correspondent, Martha Gellhorn.

Couldn't attend? Listen to our audio recording of the event below!

A Sense of Wilderness: Sara Chats with Translator Rhonda Mullins

Today, I'm honored to spotlight a book from beyond the northern border: Julie Demers' Little Beast, out from Canada's Coach House Books last month! Little Beast is, in fact, a little beast. At about 150 pages, it clocks in as a fairly quick read. However, Several of our staff members were bowled over by this small volume immediately. It merges fairy tale with adventure story, all seen through the eyes of a small girl with a full beard who must protect herself from suspicious townsfolk.

Little Beast Cover Image
By Julie DeMers, Rhonda Mullins (Translator)
ISBN: 9781552453667
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coach House Books - Coach House Books - May 22nd, 2018

A Novel-Novel, Not A Prison Novel: Keaton Interviews Rachel Kushner

Keaton: Instead of leading with the obligatory "why did you write a prison novel" question, I’d like to know how the subject of prison might have altered your writing. Your first two novels are expansive, even global narratives, where the setting of The Mars Room is by its very nature confined and cut off from the larger world. Did this necessitate a different approach for you? How so?

The Mars Room: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476756554
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - May 2018

Us and Not Us: An Interview with Bianca Stone

Bianca Stone is a Brooklyn-based poet and visual artist. As soon as we got in her new book, we knew we needed to chat! We sat down with Stone recently to talk about her new poetry collection, The Mobius Strip Club of Grief (Tin House, Feb 2018), purgatory, death, family trauma, and stripping.

The Mobius Strip Club of Grief Cover Image
ISBN: 9781941040850
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Tin House Books - February 27th, 2018

Sara Interviews Sara Kramer of New York Review Books

For the month of May at Brazos Bookstore, we’re championing Basic Black with Pearls as our Brazos Best. It’s a fever dream of a book, featuring a surreptitious affair, world travel, an undocumented main character (Shirley), mathematical codes in magazines, a mysterious organization known as The Agency, and a momentous visit to Toronto (Shirley’s childhood town). It’s poignant and disorienting, and yet incredibly readable.

Basic Black With Pearls Cover Image
By Helen Weinzweig, Sarah Weinman (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9781681372167
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: NYRB Classics - April 17th, 2018

May Buyer's Corner: Keaton and Sara Talk Events, New Faves, and Brazos Best!

Click here to watch our May Buyer's Corner!

Featuring our events with Joe Holley, Paula McLain, and Rachel Kushner.

Hurricane Season: The Unforgettable Story of the 2017 Houston Astros and the Resilience of a City Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316485241
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hachette Books - May 2018

The Aviator Cover Image
ISBN: 9781786072719
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: ONEWorld Publications - May 8th, 2018

The Trial: A New Translation Based on the Restored Text (The Schocken Kafka Library) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780805209990
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Schocken - May 25th, 1999

Basic Black With Pearls Cover Image
By Helen Weinzweig, Sarah Weinman (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9781681372167
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: NYRB Classics - April 17th, 2018