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Mark Interviews Chris Cander, author of THE WEIGHT OF A PIANO

Mark: The Weight of a Piano takes place in several places, Russia, California and other locales. How important is place in your writing?

Books We're Looking Forward To in 2019

We can't wait for the new releases 2019 will bring! There are many undiscovered treasures to be read, but in the meantime, here are a few 2019 books we just can't wait to share!

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781524732714
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - January 15th, 2019

This new memoir from Shapiro is part detective novel and part family history. It's all about finding a place where you belong after your life is turned upside down.

-Ülrika


The Remainder Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566895507
Availability: Not Yet Published
Published: Coffee House Press - August 6th, 2019

A road trip of two young friends, Felipe and Iquela, in modern-day Chile that casts light on the past generations and the dictatorship. Darkly comic, sad and profound. With a brilliant translation by Sophie Hughes.

-Mark


Sweety Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525580003
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order Now
Published: Schwartz & Wade - March 26th, 2019

In picture books, I can hardly wait for SWEETY by Andrea Zuill, the quirky and delightfully charming story of an awkward but lovable naked mole rat who is looking for her people and finding out that she is awesome.

-Joy


Lost Children Archive: A novel Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780525520610
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order Now
Published: Knopf - February 12th, 2019

Two professional archivists/sound recorders -- a documentarist and a documentarian -- set out on a road trip across the US with their two kids. This book is a meditation on loss, family, borders, and human rights that only Valeria Luiselli could accomplish.

-Sara


Sea Monsters Cover Image
$23.00
ISBN: 9781936787869
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order Now
Published: Catapult - February 5th, 2019

A stunning and lyrical coming-of-age novel Mexico City, the 1980's, a young girl runs away from home with another boy to find a group of Ukrainian dwarves who have escaped a Russian circus. As strange as the plot may sound, this novel is moving and urgent and my favorite of Aridjis' three novels in English. Ideal for fans of Guadalupe Nettel and Roberto Bolaño.

-Mark


On the Come Up Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062498564
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - February 5th, 2019

Angie Thomas' second book comes out in February, and I cannot wait to see what she's got in store for us next!

-Cassie


Lot: Stories Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780525533672
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order Now
Published: Riverhead Books - March 19th, 2019

Finally, we have a seminal work of contemporary Houston literature! This is the book I can put into people's hands when they want to know what it's like to live in our city. What's more, it is a stunning story collection heralding a big new talent from Texas.

-Keaton


Figuring Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781524748135
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order Now
Published: Pantheon - February 5th, 2019

I am beyond excited for Figuring by Maria Popova, which comes out in February. With the same boundless curiosity that makes her website and newsletter Brainpickings so fascinating, Popova examines the wildly different lives of several artists, writers, and scientists, from Emily Dickinson to Rachel Carson. From the lives of these fascinating people come questions about the universe, the search for knowledge, and what it means to live a meaningful life.

-Laura M


Song for a Whale Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781524770235
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order Now
Published: Delacorte Books for Young Readers - February 5th, 2019

I'm really excited for the middle grade novel, SONG FOR A WHALE, by Lynne Kelly, coming on 2/5/19 from Delacorte. It's a luminous and triumphant story of a deaf girl's fascination with Blue 55, the loneliest whale in the world and her journey to find a way to communicate with him.

-Joy


Children of Virtue and Vengeance (Legacy of Orisha #2) Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781250170996
Availability: Not Yet Published
Published: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) - June 4th, 2019

The first book ended on such a cliffhanger; I need to know what happens next!!

-Cassie


Magic and Grit: Joy Interviews Kendra Fortmeyer

One of the most intriguing books I read in 2018 is Kendra Fortmeyer’s HOLE IN THE MIDDLE, which, as the title reflects, is about a teenage girl named Morgan who was born with a hole in her middle-- this perfect, round, empty space that somehow has no other effect on her body other than being this strange, at times almost mystical deformity. She has spent her whole life hiding it, until one day she doesn’t. What happens after that is engine that drives this fascinating contemporary with a little bit of magical realism intersecting.

Hole in the Middle Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781616959562
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Soho Teen - September 4th, 2018

Joy’s Top Ten SMASH THE PATRIARCHY YA novels

I think one of the few things we can all agree on lately is that it’s been a tumultuous year for our fiery and often tragic political and social landscape. This is what kept sticking in my head as I worked to come up with my top ten list, which originally was going to be droll and lighthearted and then, well, wasn’t. The timely and moving YA books below vary in perspective, tone, and genre, but all of them have one thing in common: They are on some level about girls claiming their place, fighting back, speaking up, commanding space, and being heard.

Damsel Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062742322
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - October 2nd, 2018

A powerful and visceral, feminist anti-fairy tale. This one takes no prisoners. As well it shouldn’t. A masterpiece.


Sadie Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250105714
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wednesday Books - September 4th, 2018

A dead girl. A sister’s revenge. A podcast. A powerhouse and now bestselling novel with two narrative strands from an author you should all be reading.


Hole in the Middle Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781616959562
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Soho Teen - September 4th, 2018

Body positivity. Being who you are regardless of the world’s judgments. A sharp feminist read from one of Austin’s newest voices.


The Hate U Give Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062498533
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - February 28th, 2017

Technically this one came out last year, but the movie arrived a few weeks ago. If you haven’t read it, read it. A girl with a foot in two worlds. A senseless shooting. Our sadly pervasive racial divides. Standing up for the truth. Starr’s story is so much more than a ‘ripped from the headlines’ read.


The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780316310277
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - January 2nd, 2018

Black’s back to her faerie story roots with this tale of Jude, fully human but taken away by her stepfather to grow up in Faerie. The result is a story of political machinations, a girl finding her power among dangerous creature, and a bit of a twisted love story to spice things up. The human girl who would be king. I loved it. And the soon to arrive sequel is even better.


The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062795328
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - October 2nd, 2018

Felicity Montague is going to achieve her dream of becoming a physician-- even if it’s the 1700s and the world expects nothing more of her than to be a wife and raise a brood. Adventure. Lady Pirates. Girl power. And organically seamless LGBTQ representation in this companion to last year’s GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE.


Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha #1) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250170972
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) - March 6th, 2018

Black Lives Matter meets Nigerian folklore-based fantasy. Women whose magic has been forcefully repressed and ripped away… until it begins to return. A story of protest, identity and female power. I’d call this one a solid companion piece to Thomas’s Hate U Give. Jimmy Fallon even made it his first book club pick. Plus, it's first in a series.


Moxie: A Novel Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781250104267
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Square Fish - September 18th, 2018

Another title that’s been out since last year, but which had to be on this list, both for its brilliance and for Houston author Mathieu’s own tireless political advocacy work. A teen girl fights institutional misogyny through her initially anonymous Moxie zine. A feminist primer.


The Belles Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781484728499
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Freeform - February 6th, 2018

I’d love to see readers pair this one with Hole in the Middle. But it stands strong on its own. A dark fantasy version of New Orleans setting. And a post-2016 election inspired deep dive into our perceptions of beauty and a confrontation of the effects on women of color of both white feminism and the patriarchy. Clayton’s one of the co-founders of We Need Diverse Books.


A Room Away From the Wolves Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9781616203733
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Young Readers - September 4th, 2018

No one writes twisty disturbing , angry girl stories quite like Nova Ren Suma, who like Elana K. Arnold and Margo Lanagan and others goes fearlessly after her themes. This one’s a little Gothic, a lot mysterious, and a willingness to create flawed girls whose determination to break free makes them beautiful.


Ülrika's Top Ten Gifts of 2018: Vendors Who Give Back!

Each year, when asked to compile our 10 top list, I try to narrow down the focus on the items that managed to stand out over the past year. As the gift buyer I wanted to strictly focus on the gift items and, more importantly, the vendors we carry that give back to the community. It’s important for me to buy from smaller companies and companies that focus not only on supporting the communities around them, but on being socially responsible as well.

Calyan Candles were brought to my attention by Thu and Mark while they visiting Fort Worth. Besides the fact these wonderful soy candles fill the room (as well as the entire store, which you will notice if you stop by during the holidays), 10% of their profits help to fight human trafficking. They partner with local nonprofits to provide funding for prevention, prosecution, or restoration.

Each of their scents is amazing and it was difficult to find one for the list; however the lavender & bergamot tumbler ended making it to my #1. Each of their tumblers burns for approximately 45 hours and the glass tumbler can be recycled or used again as a cocktail glass or regular drinking glass.


$12.00
SKU: 704907495692

Brazos has been carrying Out of Print before I even became the gift buyer. Established in 2010, with every purchase they donate books to support literacy programs around the world. One of my favorite items from Out of Print is their incredible socks. This year they have expanded the line to include kids' sizes! 

Two of my favorites are the adult Book Nerd and kids Library socks. For the kids' socks, the "return dates" on the bottom are actually grips.


$26.00
SKU: 617353292626

Thu and I discovered Musee while we were in New York for the gift expo NY. I not only fell in love with their amazing line of bath balms, soaps, and candles but also their philosophy regarding helping their community. Musee Bath is a natural bath and candle company in Madison County, Mississippi. Mussee Bath hires women in recovery, individuals with disabilities, and people that haven’t had the opportunities to receive an education. Each of their bath balms features either a fun surprise or a reusable water activated light. The candles come in amazing packages that features a great quote; when burned, the scent fills a room. The soaps are made from essential oils that not only smell great but also leave your skin moisturized.


$7.00
SKU: 617353291940

$9.00
SKU: 617353292473

$11.00
SKU: 810078030157

For years Ooly has created some of our favorite gift items and we’re always excited to see what’s coming out each year. Besides being a woman-owned business, Ooly works on a national level with AdoptAClassroom, which helps to empower teachers in providing supplies and classroom materials. The Radiant Writers Glitter Gel Pens gives anything you're writing a little sparkle, from letters to your journal entries. The Girl Power Journal features 8 lined pocket journals featuring empowering statements that are wonderful for anyone at any age. Fab Fountain Pens are a great everyday fountain pen, as well as a wonderful starter for anyone who has wanted to add fountain pens to their collection.


$11.00
SKU: 810078030782

$13.00
SKU: 810078030393

$8.00
SKU: 689196506413

eeBoo is a woman-owned and -run company that features educational games and gifts. They have 100% original artwork, which means they’re able to commission the artwork from well-known children’s book illustrators! Crazy Kitten Puzzle is by far my favorite item of the holidays for kids. Featuring artwork by Monika Forsberg, this portable puzzle contains 20 jumbo pieces –– a perfect size for little hands. The cord handle makes it easy to take anywhere, anytime.


Sara's Top Ten Dystopias That Are More Exciting Than Ours

*Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking. “Exciting? You think our systemic issues aren’t exciting enough?” I don’t mean to sound blasé about our current situation. But the day-to-day dystopia of middle class America — advertisements nested within advertisements, phones that listen to your conversations so you’ll have a perfectly-timed video of the grill you were thinking of buying from A****n.com — is grossly conventional.

The Emissary Cover Image
By Yoko Tawada, Margaret Mitsutani (Translator)
$14.95
ISBN: 9780811227629
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - April 24th, 2018

In Tawada’s newest novel (now the first National Book Award Winner for Literature in Translation), Japan has cut itself off from the rest of the world. Xenophobia has affected everything: language, lifestyle, mortality... all are subtly different from the world we know. Tawada manages this uncanny imagined landscape with grace, a surprising amount of warmth, and a very delicate touch.


Autobiography of Death Cover Image
By Kim Hyesoon, Don Mee Choi (Translator)
$16.95
ISBN: 9780811227346
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - November 27th, 2018

I love Kim Hyesoon’s poetry. Her spectacular, grotesque book All the Garbage of the World, Unite was a favorite of mine in 2011, when it came out. In Autobiography of Death, Kim Hyesoon has compiled 49 poems, each of which represents a day a soul experiences on earth between death and reincarnation. Again, Hyesoon delves into the gross squall of bodily decomposition (in the first poem, the spirit watches as the body dies and has her personal belongings burgled), while also mourning the way society responds to major structural crises.


The Naked Woman Cover Image
By Armonia Somers, Kit Maude (Translator), Elena Chavez Goycochea (Afterword by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781936932436
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Feminist Press - November 13th, 2018

A woman in Uruguay attempts suicide on the eve of her 30th birthday, but instead of dying she becomes hyper-aware of her surroundings — enlightened, even— and wanders the woods and village outside her apartment. The sight of her form throws the village into chaos, as they are forced to confront the rocky religious morality and misogyny their lives are based on. This small book is allegorical but still a page-turner. It was written in 1950! In Uruguay! Critics complained that it was impossible that a woman might be the author of such an explicit text. TOUGH. Get used to it.


The Lonesome Bodybuilder: Stories Cover Image
By Yukiko Motoya, Asa Yoneda (Translator)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781593766788
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Soft Skull Press - November 6th, 2018

My favorite thing about these stories is that they’re all set in mundane every day places — homes, supermarkets, boutiques — and yet form a bridge between the familiar and the alien. These characters are tied together by a sense of longing or frustration that cannot be satisfied by their typical rigamarole. The Lonesome Bodybuilder’s vignettes will appeal to lovers of the surreal, but also to people who never stopped seeing magic in the everyday. Motoya allows the strange and mystical to become an often joyous part of life; without judgement, the abnormal and normal are able to merge.


Revolution Sunday Cover Image
By Wendy Guerra, Achy Obejas (Translated by)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781612196619
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Melville House - December 4th, 2018

Revolution Sunday accesses a deeply troubled facet of Cuba’s struggles with censorship and surveillance. In the wake of the repeated jailing of artists such as Tania Bruguera, Wendy Guerra does a spectacular job of laying out the troubles and paranoias of living in Cuba as a radical artist. Main character Cloe’s day-to-day life includes disappearing documents, international fame versus local anonymity, and her family’s secret agent (who often comes over for meals).


The Taiga Syndrome Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780997366679
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dorothy a Publishing Project - October 1st, 2018

All of the paranoia that Yukiko Motoya renounced is here, in this book. An unnamed ex-detective comes out of retirement to venture deep into a strange forest an with eerie pull. Her intent is to find a man’s ex-wife, but once inside the forest her mission becomes splintered. This book is a freak show, a Little Red Riding Hood story, a fairy tale. It’s all wrapped up into a slim package that will immerse you and leave you desperately confused but thrilled.


Hybrid Child: A Novel (Parallel Futures) Cover Image
By Mariko Ohara, Jodie Beck (Translated by)
$19.95
ISBN: 9781517904906
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Univ Of Minnesota Press - June 15th, 2018

Mariko Ohara’s book was initially published in the 90’s, but didn’t make it to the US until this year, thanks to the translation of Jodie Beck. This one immediately made it into the “sci fi classics” category for me. When a cyborg escapes a lab, he eludes his hunters by shapeshifting (and he’s able to do so with any form he’s encountered and of which he's cataloged the DNA). He shapeshifts into a small girl, a plane, a plant… this book stretches the definition of “living organism” and is highly empathetic even throughout its grisly fight scenes. I would consider it a deeply feminist work, with as many ties to mythology and fairy tale as it has to the sci fi tradition.


Comemadre Cover Image
By Roque Larraquy, Heather Cleary (Translator)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566895156
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - July 10th, 2018

This little book accomplishes so much in 150 pages. The book ricochets from a failed, morally-dubious experiment in a 1907 asylum to the performance art scene in the early 2000s. If you’re looking for a wild ride, this might be your dream novel. Mixing lowbrow and highbrow, science and art, Comemadre has everything from frog figurines to talking heads to identical artists, all of which culminate in investigating the questions: do we have a soul? When does the body die? What is transcendence?


Mem Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9781944700553
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Unnamed Press - May 22nd, 2018

1920’s speculative fiction about trauma, agency, and MONTREAL. How cool is that? This book does an incredible job of giving the scope of a whole culture through the lens of a single individual. Elsie, the protagonist, is a fantastic, fully-realized personality who moves around Morrow’s created world with curiosity and thoughtfulness. Morrow’s book definitely made waves when it came out in hardcover, and it’s soon to be released in a gorgeous paperback version.

See my interview with Bethany here!


On a Sunbeam Cover Image
$21.99
ISBN: 9781250178138
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: First Second - October 2nd, 2018

Tillie Walden always does a spectacular job with world-building. In her newest graphic novel, a girl crosses space and time to find her long-lost lover. The narrative is deeply moving, but the best thing about ON A SUNBEAM is how INCREDIBLE it is as a visual object. Walden uses rich colors to share emotion and atmosphere in frames where characters are fairly quiet.

See my interview with Tillie here!


Keaton’s Year End Best List: The 2018 Brazos Buyer’s Book Awards

It’s that most special time of the year again! Awards season! Year-end list season! For the next couple of magical months, you, dear reader, will be regaled with just about everyone’s opinion on the best whatever of 2018. Now, it’s been a horrific year to be sure, but there was still so much great art and beauty created. And to that end, it’s been a banner year for books! So why not begin your year-end round up right here with good ol’ Keaton? For 2018, I’ve put together a combination top 10 list/award show for y’all.

The New Inheritors Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780802128171
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - July 10th, 2018

A complete reimagining of what is possible with historical fiction. Wascom’s third volume in his Gulf Coast Quartet is absolutely stunning in concept, prose and ambition.


After the Winter Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566895255
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - September 4th, 2018

This quiet yet incisive, death-tinged love story explores how even the briefest relationships can affect us utterly and forever. Nettel’s best yet to find its way into English translation.


Oraefi: The Wasteland Cover Image
By Ofeigur Sigurosson, Lytton Smith (Translator)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781941920671
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Deep Vellum Publishing - March 13th, 2018

Part adventure, part history, and part madness! Sigurdsson’s nested rant of a narrative swept the literary awards in his native Iceland and is now one of the best books translated into English this year.

and the winner is...ORAEFI: THE WASTELAND!!!!


...and the nominees for Best Short Story Collection of 2018 are:


The Largesse of the Sea Maiden: Stories Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780812988635
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - January 16th, 2018

An unintended swan song for a true American original. Johnson was still at the height of his powers when he died just before the release of this collection. There is no barrel scraping here. Just whip smart, funny, heartfelt, perfectly crafted short fiction.


Staff Pick Logo
Kolyma Stories Cover Image
By Varlam Shalamov, Donald Rayfield (Translated by)
$22.95
ISBN: 9781681372143
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: NYRB Classics - June 12th, 2018

The first volume of Shalamov’s prison stories is one of the most affecting works of autobiographical fiction I’ve ever come across. This is an unheralded classic of world literature, and a harrowing look into the horrors of death and survival in a Siberian prison camp.


Staff Pick Logo
Friday Black Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781328911247
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - October 23rd, 2018

A full throttle debut collection that reads like a hybrid of Vonnegut and Paul Beatty. Adjei-Brenyah writes piercing, darkly satirical tales for our troubled times. Just read the first story, and see if your jaw doesn’t drop.

and the winner is...FRIDAY BLACK!!!!!


...and the nominees for Best Nonfiction Book of 2018 are:

 


The Order of Time Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780735216105
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - May 8th, 2018

Italian theoretical physicist, Rovelli, continues to blow minds with this illuminating and lyrical exploration of the concept of time. Read it once, and you’ll never look at the world around you the same again.


The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780316259613
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - April 3rd, 2018

This is not an addiction memoir. Although, Jamison does recount her trials with alcoholism, this stunning work is instead a learned and experienced critique of the perceived link between substance abuse and creative genius.


Staff Pick Logo
Sexographies Cover Image
By Gabriela Wiener, Jennifer Adcock (Translated by), Lucy Greaves (Translated by)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781632061591
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Restless Books - May 29th, 2018

What Peruvian essayist and “gonzo” journalist, Wiener, does in this collection is endlessly fascinating. Whether experiencing sexual subcultures or an ayahuasca trip, she uses herself as the point of departure to delve into the infinite manifestations of being human.

and the winner is...THE RECOVERING!!!!!


Now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for… The Best Overall Book of 2018 is:

 


The Overstory Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780393635522
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 3rd, 2018

A singular work of fiction from one of America’s most undersung authors. Powers has achieved something no other writer has before. He’s written a truly environmental novel where humans are not the most interesting thing about it. Instead, the multiple characters are envisioned as part of a larger, more inclusive system of life. Spanning centuries and crisscrossing the country, the devastation of the last virgin forests is the backdrop of a climatic struggle for the future of the natural world. An absolute masterpiece.


Honorable Mentions: 


Comemadre Cover Image
By Roque Larraquy, Heather Cleary (Translator)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566895156
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - July 10th, 2018

An Untouched House Cover Image
By Willem Frederik Hermans, David Colmer (Translated by), Cees Nooteboom (Afterword by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9781939810069
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Archipelago - October 23rd, 2018

The Changeling Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781941040898
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Tin House Books - April 10th, 2018

Katie's Top Ten Books (and Gift Items) of 2018

This year has been a doozy and many times I felt myself wondering if things would ever change and how? I chose to make my list true to my feelings and how I have sought knowledge and solace these last twelve months. My list includes some art inspired books and gift items, but the overall theme deals with the issues surrounding our current culture. While that can seem like a real downer around the holidays, I have found by reading these books that the opposite has been true.

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up Cover Image
By Claire Wilcox (Editor)
$50.00
ISBN: 9781851779604
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Victoria & Albert Museum - July 24th, 2018

I have a deep obsession with all things Frida—she is one of my favorite artists, and I love sharing her work with others. This book focuses more on who Frida was and how she presented herself to the world through her personal style, prosthetics, jewelry, and clothes which are accompanied by diary entries, letters, and artworks creating an incredibly intimate portrait of the artist who felt deeply in life. This book is absolutely stunning for the art or fashion lover—full page images of Kahlo’s clothing show the intricate details of her traditional Tehuana dresses. If you can’t make it to her and Diego’s home in Coyoacan to see all these items this book really does them justice!


Art of Feminism: Images that Shaped the Fight for Equality, 1857-2017 Cover Image
By Helena Reckitt (Editor), Lucinda Gosling (Text by), Hilary Robinson (Text by), Amy Tobin (Text by), Maria Balshaw (Preface by), Xabier Arakistain (Foreword by)
$45.00
ISBN: 9781452169927
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Chronicle Books - October 23rd, 2018

An amazing large art book that is essential for the feminist art lover in your life. THE ART OF FEMINISM follows the feminist movement and the ways in which the visual arts and media have propelled the movement and the women creating it. This book has a little bit of everything—illustrations, paintings, photography, performance, and graphic design. Accompanying the works are essays about the art and the artist. Feel empowered reading this book and get out and create some fierce art!


Forgotten Women: The Artists Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781788400633
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Cassell - October 2nd, 2018

This is a great series of books. Others in this collection include influential women, scientists, writers, and my favorite artists. Forty-eight fantastic artists who have gone mostly unacknowledged within the male driven art world finally get some attention! Some artists represented were overshadowed by their famous male significant others. This book does an excellent job of representing different mediums, styles, and countries.


Perennial Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566895170
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - August 7th, 2018

I read COLUMBINE this year by the journalist Dave Cullen after steering clear of it for a long time, but with all the terrible issues surrounding gun control I realized it was something I needed to read and understand as an event that sparked a continued issue in American culture. In her absolutely standout poetry collection, Kelly Forsythe uses the post-Columbine world to show the changes in both the youth from that moment forward and her and understanding of herself as a young girl. This collection is incredibly moving, and Forsythe writes about the tenderness of youth, growing up, and how we become aware of grief and loss at a young age.


Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays) Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781608469468
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Haymarket Books - September 4th, 2018

In this collection of Essays, Solnit chooses to focus on the “wars” in our country, within our communities, and in our own homes. She calls the injustices within our society such as our current politicians, police shootings, gentrification, gun violence, among other issues and calls them by their true names, leaving nothing sugar coated but breaking issues down to the core of what they really are and how they look and effect us. This is a cliche to say, but it’s a powerful and thought provoking collection.


The Reckonings: Essays Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781501159008
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - October 9th, 2018

Where do I even begin! I have highlighted and written all over my copy of THE RECKONINGS and continue to reread chapters months after finishing the collection of essays. It’s a fantastic continuation or introduction to Johnson’s works concerning the subject of her own sexual assault which she writes about in her memoir THE OTHER SIDE. Through the twelve essays Johnson draws from art, history, philosophy, mythology and many other subjects to discuss our current era of sexual assault, harassment, police brutality, school shootings, and issues with incarceration. This collection focuses on what is wrong and how we should try to fix where society has fallen short. Johnson does not suggest pointing the finger or demanding vengeance, rather embracing honesty and the acknowledgement of all people and the pain they have experienced at the hands of others, society, and the law. An overarching theme of this collection is hope and finding hope even and grabbing on even when it seems impossible…this has been and will continue to be my mantra.


After the Winter Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566895255
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - September 4th, 2018

AFTER THE WINTER is by far one of the best books I’ve read this year! I think about it constantly, and I always recommend it! It’s a love story that’s not a traditional love story, but a book about characters. Except this story’s characters are not just the people, but also the cities and locations like Paris, New York, and a cemetery. If you are anything like me, you love deep characters and the places and people that develop the person you become through love, death, and making huge moves to pursue the life you dream for yourself. This is one of those timeless books you will revisit yearly. It has the qualities of becoming a classic like Pride and Prejudice, but a lot less tea in the parlor.


Pantone: 10 Notebooks Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781452149783
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Chronicle Books - August 16th, 2016

PANTONE 10 NOTEBOOKS These notebook are fun and awesome! Ten notebooks seems like a lot, but they are the perfect size for a stocking stuffer or meeting a friend for coffee during the holidays! Keep one notebook in your car, at work, on your nightstand, and in your bag. The sleek design and gorgeous pantone colors make these a must have for Holiday gift giving.


$17.00
SKU: 848404078405

It’s a puppy pouch…enough said! A great canvas bag that can be used as a pencil case, makeup pouch, or a clutch!


$19.95
SKU: 4004117394157

My personal favorite journal. This journal goes everywhere with me, I bullet journal in this, draw, write, and fill it with daily thoughts and ideas. I love the bright color of this journal and it’s simple design and perfect size to carry everywhere.


Thu's Top Ten Books of 2018

Since I started working at Brazos Bookstore in August 2017, I have read over 100 books by Asian and Asian-American authors. I counted them all on my shelf, and around the 100 mark I stopped counting. At one point, I even speculated whether this was a form of racism.

Staff Pick Logo
Go Home! Cover Image
By Rowan Hisayo Buchanan (Editor), Viet Nguyen (Foreword by), Alexander Chee (Contribution by)
$18.95
ISBN: 9781936932016
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Feminist Press - March 13th, 2018

This powerful anthology was my introduction and gateway to some of my favorite Asian voices like Alexander Chee, Esmé Weijun Wang, and Jason Koo. My favorite story is Fariha Róisín’s "Meet a Muslim". Go Home’s daring and diverse collection of stories feel so real and transform the concept of home and turn it upside down.


The Ensemble: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780735214767
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - May 15th, 2018

How often do we get to grow along with and spend the greater part of our lives with another person? Does persistence and proximity pull us closer? Would creating and nurturing something together help us anticipate and strengthen our bonds? Can loss and change define relationships? Aja Gabel’s The Ensemble affords us this rare opportunity to witness bonds that surpass time and what defines and strengthens them through the lives of Jana, Henry, Brit, and Daniel, who form the Van Ness String Quartet.


Sanpaku Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9781684152100
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Archaia - August 21st, 2018

Marcine is obsessed with the Japanese theory of sanpaku, where seeing the white around the irises is the sign of a terrible fate. Sanpaku has everything that would pull me towards a book: set in my hometown of Houston, tantalizing depictions of food, by an Asian author about Asians. But aside from the details, what makes Sanpaku so special and what keeps me coming back to it is Marcine’s connection to her late lola, the lengths she takes to compensate for it after her death, and fully realizing the space your loved ones and their memories occupy in your heart. A gorgeous and quirky coming-of-age graphic novel that tackles love, family, and self-realization. Read my interview with Kate here!


Strange Weather in Tokyo Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781640090163
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Counterpoint LLC - November 14th, 2017

Hiromi Kawakami’s Strange Weather in Tokyo is not quite your typical love story. A treat for fans of Haruki Murakami’s love stories (i.e., Norwegian Wood), SWT thoughtfully renders humanism where Murakami’s other-worldly characters miss. In addition, read it for the vivid Tokyo cityscape and drool-worthy Japanese meals.


The Incendiaries: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780735213890
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - July 31st, 2018

R.O. Kwon surpasses the impossibility that plagues most holiday gatherings by bridging the spectrum of faith and belief in this alluring novel about three strangers from troubled pasts who become tangled with a religious cult with secret ties to North Korea. Apart from being the hottest book of 2018, The Incendiaries has been reviewed and raved about by everyone. It’s that good! Read my interview with Reese here!


Number One Chinese Restaurant: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781250141293
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - June 19th, 2018

Two reads, interview, and a panel discussion later, Lillian Li’s Number One Chinese Restaurant is the one that did it for me and for the record is my ‘Number One Favorite Book’ of 2018. A rich and heartfelt story about a Chinese restaurant and the colorful lives of the people who breathe life into it, Li’s intention and brilliance shine through every page and gives me hope for the future of Asian and Asian-American stories. Read my interview with Lillian here


The Day the Sun Died Cover Image
By Yan Lianke, Carlos Rojas (Translator)
$26.00
ISBN: 9780802128539
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Grove Press - December 11th, 2018

Yan Lianke is one of China’s most prolific and banned authors, and his newest novel The Day the Sun Died is a dystopian Chinese allegory meets The Walking Dead. Sharp and sinister, all of the villagers in a small town begin to dreamwalk as if carrying on with their daily lives and eventually meet exhaustive deaths. A young narrator and his parents, proprietors of a funerary service, desperately try to save the town.


Convenience Store Woman Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780802128256
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - June 12th, 2018

For 18 years, fluorescent lighting, beeps and chimes, ebb and flow, and even the food of the convenience store courses through Keiko’s veins. The convenience store provides for her and it’s the life she knows. But when this life clashes with her family’s wishes for her to meet society’s standards, she is resigned to conform. An entertaining and refreshing critique on the pressures of society.


Lion Cross Point Cover Image
By Masatsugu Ono, Angus Turvill (Translator)
$19.95
ISBN: 9781931883702
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Two Lines Press - April 10th, 2018

Akutagawa Prize-winning author Masatsugu Ono’s Lion Cross Point is part Japanese ghost story and a young boy’s reconciliation and catharsis from unspeakable brutality and abuse. 10-year-old Takeru casts a gentle and pure lens to heartless and dark places from his memories. In this eerie and breathtaking novel, the reader’s path teeters on the verge of hope and hopelessness.


Chemistry: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525432227
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 3rd, 2018

What do we know about the unnamed narrator in Weike Wang’s Chemistry? She has roughly a year to finishing her Ph.D. in chemistry (and fulfilling her parents dreams), her boyfriend Eric proposed (twice), but all she can think is how she’s not up to the task. Hilarious, smart, penetrating, and poignant, Wang’s narrator is brilliant albeit lacking in social skills whose relentless and polarizing sensibilities makes her the greatest unsung hero. I love this book!


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