General blog posts

A Master Class in Guacamole with Rick Bayless

There are four major food groups, I am told. But is there a food you eat so much, it needs to be your personal fifth food group? What would yours be? Mine would be guacamole.

Frontera: Margaritas, Guacamoles and Snacks Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393088922
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - November 5th, 2012

The Essay State/The State of the Essay: An Interview with Ander Monson and Craig Reinbold

How We Speak to One Another is the new Essay Daily reader from Coffee House Press. Don’t know Essay Daily? I’ve got your back. As Essay Daily is the pituitary gland of creative nonfiction, it makes sense that this anthology of essayistics abounds with some of the genre’s heavy-hitters. Philip Lopate, John D’Agata, Albert Goldbarth, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Robin Hemley, Joni Tevis, Nicole Walker, Elena Passarello… they’re all here. 

World Masterpieces: Mark's Book List

What makes a masterpiece a masterpiece? Who can say? But surely books that have survived, no, thrived through the ages, created different outlooks and/or discussions and shown new ways of seeing the world must be a prerequisite. Often a literature is created simply out of the book itself; studies and dissertations and so on. But what about the book itself? Here are just a few books that we consider masterpieces of the world, books we've been highlighting this past month at the store. Don’t see Kafka or Garcia Marquez, Baldwin or Tolstoy?

Moby-Dick: Or, the Whale (Penguin Classics) Cover Image
By Herman Melville, Andrew Delbanco (Introduction by), Tom Quirk (Commentaries by)
ISBN: 9780142437247
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - December 31st, 2002

Although I spent my younger years resenting this book, if one reads it at the proper age (anytime after 30) it will usually click. It's strange, biblical and postmodern in every way. You want a modern book? Pick up MOBY DICK. The trials of a sea captain, Ishmael and a cast of others are really just vehicles in this philosophical whirlwind that dissects humanity, religion and the color white. And that's just for starters. Years later it is still one of the greatest reading experiences of my life.

Don Quixote Cover Image
ISBN: 9780060934347
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - April 26th, 2005

What many consider to be the very first novel. It is funny, charming and self-aware. A book about books and reading and the madness of imagination. There are lots of translations, but Esther Allen's is lucid, heartfelt and moves at a quick pace. Don't be intimidated by its size; the small, episodic chapters make the book swim by.

The Handmaid's Tale Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385490818
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor Books - March 13th, 1998

Prophetic and, sadly, very timely, Atwood's dystopian world is fully formed and haunting. It boldly discusses women in subjugation and the fight for individualism in a world under totalitarianism. Read the book for the incredible writing and haunting moral questions. Read it to become aware.

The Magic Mountain (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679772873
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - October 1st, 1996

Largely considered to be one of the most influential works of 20th century German literature, THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN is a large, breathtaking and surprisingly funny read. Don't get me wrong, it has its heavy themes - war, illness, time - but it's also highly readable. Largely taking place in a sanatorium, the novel mixes realistic elements with symbolism, leaving it for the reader to discern the meaning (and humor) behind the action (or inaction) taking place. This novel is a major achievement.

To the Lighthouse Cover Image
ISBN: 9780156907392
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harvest Books - December 27th, 1989

Not all masterpieces come in 500-page plus tomes. Some are able to sneak in and grab the reader in just 100 pages, changing their lives forever. TO THE LIGHTHOUSE is a slim, modernist novel that takes place over two periods of time, and is divided into three sections. It largely eschews dialogue and action, but is packed with internal, philosophical introspection. The stream-of-consciousness style is difficult for some readers, but Woolf is a genius and her words fairly glow from the page. A book that deals with time, memory and human experience; it accomplishes more in less than 200 pages than most books approaching 1,000.

Announcing: Summer of Jane Austen!

Brazos Bookstore announces Summer of Jane Austen, this June through August. Summer of Jane Austen is presented in partnership with MFAH Films, MFAH Rienzi, Main Street Theater, and Rice Cinema.

Brazos By Night: Mastering Pho

Welcome to Brazos By Night! As our cookbook section grows, what better way to highlight it than by pairing cookbooks with local, independent restaurants that serve those cuisines? In this iteration, our bookseller Molly explores the Vietnamese dish of pho.  

The PHO Cookbook: Easy to Adventurous Recipes for Vietnam's Favorite Soup and Noodles Cover Image
ISBN: 9781607749585
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Ten Speed Press - February 7th, 2017

Staff Chat: Keaton and Kevin Talk Baseball

Keaton Patterson: Hey, how you doin’. It’s Keaton and Kevin, Brazos Beard Bros, in the store today to talk about the great, wonderful national pastime (sorry football) game of baseball. I know people have feelings bout baseball. Some people hate it, some people love it, some people think it’s torture, some people think it’s boring, some think it’s life. Well. All are correct.

Kevin Mathis: *laughs*

Smart Baseball: The Story Behind the Old Stats That Are Ruining the Game, the New Ones That Are Running It, and the Right Way to Think About Baseball Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062490223
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - April 25th, 2017

The Devil's Snake Curve: A Fan's Notes from Left Field Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566893459
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Coffee House Press - April 15th, 2014

Lost Ballparks Cover Image
ISBN: 9781911216490
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Pavilion Books - April 1st, 2017

Buyer's Corner: Keaton Talks Essays

It's said that truth is stranger than fiction. But, in the hands of skilled essayist, it can also be more critical, insightful, confrontational, and well...curious. From mirror-gazing to interesting animals, here's a selection of some of the innovative and genre-bending works of creative nonfiction to consider next time you're perusing our essays section.


300 Arguments: Essays Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977641
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - February 7th, 2017

300 ARGUMENTS by Sarah Manguso

Sarah Manguso is a master of the minimalist form. She can do more with a sentence than many authors can do with an entire book. In this collection of brief ruminations, she covers everything from sex and mortality, to ambition, mental illness, writing, desire, and motherhood. These "arguments" are aphoristic gems, in which a seemingly random thought is hardened into a bold, cutting, crystalline truth. There is no exposition. Manguso lets these minute statements stand on their own, and the reader is left with nowhere to hide from direct engagement with a most remarkable literary mind.

Staff Pick Logo
Bluets Cover Image
ISBN: 9781933517407
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wave Books - October 1st, 2009

BLUETS by Maggie Nelson

 Maggie Nelson is a writer who knows no bounds. You can find her works all over Brazos--from essays to memoirs to art history to poetry and beyond. Yet it is this slight book, a lyrical ode to the color blue that doubles as her own bildungsroman, that made every single bookseller at Brazos fall in love with her writing. Unflinchingly candid and highly intelligent, you can't make a wrong step in choosing one of Nelson's titles. But there is perhaps no better introduction to this titan of criticism than is unforgettable little book.

The Face: A Time Code Cover Image
ISBN: 9781632060525
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Restless Books - March 1st, 2016


Author, filmmaker, Zen Buddhist priest, and all around badass Ruth Ozeki kicks off the inaugural installment in Restless Books stunning essay series, THE FACE. Taking the basic concept of "the face" quite literally, she decides to stare into a mirror for three unbroken hours, writing whatever comes to her mind. It may seem slight, but in Ozeki's hands this simple act of mirror-gazing becomes a potent contemplation of the intersections between identity, race, time, and Japanese Noh Theatre. There are few writers as playful, insightful and inventive as Ruth Ozeki. And she only writes a book every five years or so. So, get it while you can!

Animals Strike Curious Poses Cover Image
ISBN: 9781941411391
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Sarabande Books - February 28th, 2017


 Yeah, I've made no secret about my admiration for every word Elena Passarello commits to paper. She is quite simply one of the most enjoyable and original voices of contemporary nonfiction. This collection of unique animal-human interactions throughout history is not to be missed. If you need more convincing, Mr. Ed makes an appearance. And if you need even more, just revisit my video recommendation for it in last month's Buyer's Corner

(End note: I did not notice until after compiling this list that I chose all women authors for this Buyer's Corner. It was not intended but maybe inevitable. What is to be said other than some of the most intriguing writing coming out these days is by women? Does that surprise you? Well, maybe just get over yourself and read more women.)

Take the Leap: An Interview With Transit Books

It’s always exciting when a small, independent press seems to emerge fully-realized. This, of course, is never the case; what may seem effortless is a ton of hard work, vision, critical thinking and organization. Transit Books is a perfect example of this. They seemed to suddenly grab our attention at Brazos late last year. We received a copy of Andrés Barba’s slim, haunting novel Such Small Hands and after I read it I implored the rest of the staff to do the same. It is our Brazos Best for April.

Such Small Hands Cover Image
By Andres Barba, Lisa Dillman (Translator), Edmund White (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9781945492006
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Transit Books - April 11th, 2017

Gift Buyer Spotlight: April Gifts

Springtime is here! With this time of year we start to see items ranging from bright pops of colors to softer pastels. This is also the time of year when everyone starts to head outside before the depths of summer kick in. Instead of focusing on a singular product line, I wanted to share my favorite things this month.


SKU: x3014

Snow & Graham’s Number NotePad is a simple and sophisticated 5 x 7 notepad that would look amazing on any table or desk. The pad is comprised of 70 pages of recycled paper. I first fell in love with this notepad in the catalog and was even more impressed once I saw it in person. 

Designworks Ink has been one of my favorite companies since we found them at the Las Vegas Market. This year they have expanded their collection to include more wirebound journals with the same bullet journaling capability. Their Geo Pink design with copper foil accents with matching copper twin-wire binding has become one of my favorites this year. It pairs so nicely with their Rose Gold Hex pen.

SKU: 812442023680

SKU: 812442023666

I am obsessed with pretty much all things that can hold things from handbags to boxes. When Designworks Ink featured a new collection of pouches that were also printed with metallic ink and lined I knew that the store needed them as just as much as I wanted them.

Labor History and Feminist Horror: Women's History Book Lists

As we wrap up Women's History Month, I sat down with two local women who shape our city to get a sense of the books that drive their practices. Though these texts aren't always classics, they add to a feminist oevre in ways that contextualize the next generation's changing representations of gender, sexuality, and community involvement. I am thrilled to see locals of Houston responding to city-wide and national concerns in new, creative ways. Here, two women who work directly to change labor rights and creative act booking practices through art and activism.

Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, Fourth Edition Cover Image
ISBN: 9781879960855
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Aunt Lute Books - June 12th, 2012

The Fire Next Time (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679744726
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - December 1st, 1992

Out (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400078370
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - January 4th, 2005

The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap Cover Image
ISBN: 9780465098835
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Basic Books - March 29th, 2016

The Flamethrowers Cover Image
ISBN: 9781439142011
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner Book Company - January 14th, 2014

Why Vegan Is the New Black: More Than 100 Delicious Meat and Dairy Free Meal Ideas Your Whole Family Will Love Cover Image
By Deborrah Cooper, Deborrah Cooper (Photographer)
ISBN: 9780990971382
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Deborrah Cooper - November 1st, 2014

The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory (Bloomsbury Revelations) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501312830
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Bloomsbury Academic - October 22nd, 2015

Swallow the Fish Cover Image
ISBN: 9781937865795
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Civil Coping Mechanisms - February 22nd, 2017

Milk and Honey Cover Image
ISBN: 9781449474256
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Andrews McMeel Publishing - October 6th, 2015