Keaton Recommends

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Song for the Unraveling of the World Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566895484
Availability: BACKORDERED
Published: Coffee House Press - June 11th, 2019

A new collection of waking nightmares from an utter master of the short story. Skins are taken off and put on anew. People disappear and their absences change everything. Strange happenings occur during any number of apocalypses. Murder becomes art. Monsters move among us. There are no limits to the imaginative horrors Brian Evenson can wreak upon the minds of his readers. 

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Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest (American Music Series) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781477316481
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of Texas Press - February 1st, 2019

One of today's most insightful critics and music writers turns his attention to a legendary and beloved hiphop group--A Tribe Called Quest--as a way of understanding not only the golden age of '90s rap, but the shifting sands of American culture at a transitional moment and his own life as well. A stunning, brilliant and heartfelt work from a writer quickly becoming a voice of a generation.

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Friday Black Cover Image
ISBN: 9781328911247
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Mariner Books - October 23rd, 2018

This full throttle debut gets my vote for best story collection of the year! Filled with surreal, dystopic and satirical explorations of race, class, and consumerism in America, the first story will make your jaw drop--and it only gets weirder from there. Nana is a big, promising talent and a fitting heir to the likes of Vonnegut. Terrific!

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Sexographies Cover Image
By Gabriela Wiener, Jennifer Adcock (Translated by), Lucy Greaves (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781632061591
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Restless Books - May 29th, 2018

Wiener, a renowned Peruvian essayist, collects several pieces of her immersive "gonzo" journalism in the vein of Hunter S. Thompson and Joan Didion. She delves into subcultures, participating with swingers, sampling drug rituals and confronts her fear of death among other titilating subjects. Flat out cool, unabashed badass writing. So fun!

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The Sacco Gang Cover Image
By Andrea Camilleri, Stephen Sartarelli (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781609454234
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Europa Editions - July 17th, 2018

Italy's most popular author takes a break from his famed Inspector Montalbano mystery series for this slim, action-packed novel based in historical fact. Pulling from personal documents and court records this "reverse Spaghetti Western" recounts the years long struggle of a principled family that refused and resisted the exploitation of both the mafia and the fascist government.

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Kolyma Stories Cover Image
By Varlam Shalamov, Donald Rayfield (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781681372143
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: NYRB Classics - June 12th, 2018

The first volume in a monumental collection of some of the greatest realist stories in 20th century Russian literature. Based on the author's own stink in the most notorious of Stalin's Gulag prison camps, these miniature tales depict the extent of human cruelty and the corresponding depravity of men pushed beyond what their bodies and minds can take. Stark, riveting and brilliant.

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Go Home! Cover Image
By Rowan Hisayo Buchanan (Editor), Viet Nguyen (Foreword by), Alexander Chee (Contribution by)
ISBN: 9781936932016
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Feminist Press - March 13th, 2018

A stunning multi-genre anthology of 24 writers that simultaneously conveys the inherent diversity of human experience, as well as humanity's most universal longing encapsulated in one endlessly unpacked word-home. We all need more books like this.

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062490421
Availability: BACKORDERED
Published: Mariner Books - April 24th, 2018

Finally! An engaging narrative history of the reptiles that once ruled the earth. Part epic scientific history, part real-life Indiana Jones memoir of globe-trotting fossil hunting with all its cultural and political pitfalls, this is a must-have for anyone with an interest in paleontology!

The Overstory: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393635522
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 3rd, 2018

Since the 1980s, Powers has quietly established himself as one of America's greatest living writers, with numerous powerful, emotionally complex, ambitious, and expertly crafted novels. The Overstory may be his masterpiece. This dizzying tale draws together several strangers and the natural world that is fading around them in an epic struggle for the future of American forests.Engaging and timely without being didactic, The Overstory is Powers at his best.

Frankenstein in Baghdad: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143128793
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Penguin Books - January 23rd, 2018

A horror novel for the War on Terror era! An eccentric man begins collecting body parts from his wartorn city and piecing them together to the dead may be given Islamic burial rites, leading to a monstrosity that will bring religion, morality, and humanity into question. A darkly comic tale of terror for our age, and a worthy inheritor of its namesake.

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812988635
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Random House - January 16th, 2018

This final collection of stories –– completed shortly before Johnson's death –– is a masterful, varied offering of superb fiction. The perfect coda to a legendary career. By turns intimate, hilarious and inscrutably strange. These are the last words of a true American original.

They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us Cover Image
By Hanif Abdurraqib, Eve L. Ewing (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781937512651
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Two Dollar Radio - November 7th, 2017

MY FAVORITE ESSAY COLLECTION OF 2017! Covering topics as varied as Fall Out Boy, racism and police violence, depression, underground hiphop, and beyond, this book is simply brilliant. These ruminations are full of heart, humble, expertly written, and totally engaged with the cultural and political milieu of today. A book to break your heart and give you strength. Of-the-moment, fun, and deep.

Letters to Memory Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566894876
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Coffee House Press - September 5th, 2017

A memoir, family history, and cultural rumination on the Japanese internment during WWII from one of America's most gifted writers. FIlled with photographic records and other ephemera, this book is a heartwrenching labor of love that captures the fateful intersection of the personal and the political. Astounding.

Five-Carat Soul Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735216693
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Riverhead Books - September 26th, 2017

The first collection of stories from two-time National Book Award winner and American treasure, James McBride. Here, he stretches his literary legs with a diverse set of tales that covers everything from the hunt for a Civil War artifact, to the exploits of a teenage soul band, to a group of strangers facing judgment in the afterlife. Every word McBride commits to paper is a joy to read, and his stunning run of quality work continues with this newest offering.

Vengeance Is Mine, All  Others Pay Cash Cover Image
By Eka Kurniawan, Annie Tucker (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780811225649
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: New Directions - August 1st, 2017

Indonesian author Kurniawan switches gears after the epic realism of his acclaimed BEAUTY IS A WOUND with the best action-packed crime comedy about murder for hire and male impotence you'll read this year! A traumatized hitman and his near-invincible gangster girlfriend are just trying to live and love on the mean streets, but can they escape the pull of the underworld? This book is a blast and a half!

The Seventh Function of Language: A Novel Cover Image
By Laurent Binet, Sam Taylor (Translated by)
Unavailable from Brazos Bookstore
ISBN: 9780374261566
Availability: OUT OF PRINT - Not Available for Order
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - August 1st, 2017

An irreverent, satirical skewing of the 20th century French intelligensia couched as a meta-fictional murder mystery! Barthes, Foucault, Lacan, Deleuze, Kristeva, and more all make appearances as a befuddled police investigator and his conscripted post-grad interpreter of all the convoluted critical theory you never understood in college try to unravel the enigma of the Logos Club. And the fate of French culture might just hang in the balance! A whip-smart comedy perfect for Pynchon and Heller fans.

Kingdom Cons Cover Image
By Yuri Herrera, Lisa Dillman (Translator)
ISBN: 9781908276926
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: And Other Stories - June 13th, 2017

The final installment in Herrera's astonishing narco borderland trilogy to be translated into English by the incomparable Lisa Dillman is an allegorical crime novel that treats a drug kingpin's territory like the realm of some fairytale. A timeless story of love trying to survive in a lawless land from one of Mexico's finest novelists.

KINGDOM CONS is our #BrazosBest for July 2017. Read our staff chat about it here.

Kintu Cover Image
By Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, Aaron Bady (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781945492013
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Transit Books - May 16th, 2017

The cursed lineage of Uganda's mythological first man parallels the African nation's history in this epic debut novel from the nascent Transit Books press. Spanning centuries and centering on the collision of tradition and modernity, KINTU is destined to become a contemporary classic of world literature. Stellar!

Imagine Wanting Only This (Pantheon Graphic Library) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101870839
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Pantheon - April 18th, 2017

Weaving together the early death of her beloved uncle, a fascination with urban decay, and an existential bildungsroman narrative, the managing editor at Sarabande Books delves into ideas of impermanence and our emotional connections to people and places that will all eventually be severed. With mesmerizing images and a perfectly relatable storyline that is nevertheless idiosyncratic and complex enough to stand out among other graphic novels and/or memoirs, Radtke turns out a bravura performance. A terrific work.

American War: A novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780451493583
Availability: UNAVAILABLE
Published: Knopf - April 4th, 2017

"This isn't a story about war. It's about ruin." A searing debut novel charting the future history of a US torn apart by a second civil war. With the effects of climate change and economic turmoil ravaging America in the late 21st century, the outlawing of fossil fuels leads to another all-out war between the states. Over the course of years, the bitter fighting takes its toll, and a mixture of desperation, pride, and cruel atrocities on both sides leads one young woman on a path of extremism that will forever change the course of the nation's history. Featuring well-drawn and complex characters and a storyline that is both psychologically intense and action-packed, AMERICAN WAR is engrossing and frighteningly plausible. It will be without a doubt one of the most talked about books of the year.

Animals Strike Curious Poses Cover Image
ISBN: 9781941411391
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Sarabande Books - February 28th, 2017

From wooly mammoths to headless chickens, Pasarello's second collection of essays chronciles some of the most famous, revealing and odd animal/human interractions in history. She muses over our broken connection with the natural world, exposes our exploitation and cruelty towards animal life, and marvels at the latent wonders of spiders and horses alike. But it is Pasarello's inimitable voice, always inventive and playful, that is the real attraction here. Who else would explore the history of natural science from the perspective of a lovelorn tortoise? Hilarious and quirky without being fluff, critical and unflinching without being didactic, there is no one writing nonfiction like Elena Pasarello.

300 Arguments: Essays Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977641
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Graywolf Press - February 7th, 2017

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.

Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity Cover Image
By Carlo Rovelli, Simon Carnell (Translated by), Erica Segre (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780735213920
Availability: UNAVAILABLE
Published: Riverhead Books - January 24th, 2017

Were you one of the hundred-plus Brazos customers who bought SEVEN BRIEF LESSONS ON PHYSICS in 2016? Has your perception of the natural world been changed as much as mine? Do you want to know more? Actually published first in Italy, Carlo Rovelli's REALITY IS NOT WHAT IT SEEMS expands on all the astounding, groundbreaking theories and discoveries he touched on in SEVEN BRIEF LESSONS. Including a history of physics from ancient times to the cutting edge of now, REALITY... is a poetic ode to science and the seekers who've sought against all odds to increase our understanding of the universe and our place in it.

The Outsiders 50th Anniversary Edition Cover Image
ISBN: 9780425288290
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Penguin Books - November 1st, 2016

When you grow up rough like I did, when violence and scrapes with the law are common occurrences, this book means only one thing--hope. The bestselling young reader novel of all-time gets the deluxe hardcover treatment for its 50th anniversary. And it is beautiful. THE OUTSIDERS is the quintessential story of troubled youth. For every kid who has ever been picked on, pushed aside (or down) by the authority figures who are supposed to protect you, or if you just never fit in with the suburban norm, this is your book. It is a flare into the night sky for lost boys. A glorious ode to the misfits among us, the importance of staying true to yourself, and a love letter to the friends who become our chosen families. Few books have ever meant as much to me as THE OUTSIDERS, and, if you ever need it, I hope it can help you as much as it has helped me. Stay gold.

The Gloaming Cover Image
ISBN: 9781937512477
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Two Dollar Radio - September 20th, 2016

Melanie Finn's THE GLOAMING is a haunting, relentless exploration of guilt and obsession disguised as a taut psychological thriller. Finding herself ostracized, threatened and slowly losing her grip on reality after a horrible accident, Pilgrim Jones inexplicably flees to Tanzania, where she embarks on a morbid journey of self-discovery. Along the way, she encounters myriad odd and memorable characters, including disillusioned doctors, Ukranian mercenaries, mild-mannered shamans, and vengeful Good Samaritans. Like a combination of PLAY IT AS IT LAYS and HEART OF DARKNESS, THE GLOAMING takes the reader into the most desolate regions of human nature and the darkest realms of the psyche. It is a tale of fear, shame, hope, and perhaps the lingering possibility for redemption.

The Hero's Body: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780871406668
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Liveright - August 9th, 2016

The most literary book on bodybuilding and superbike racing you will ever read! Giraldi steps away from fiction to craft this contemplative coming-of-age memoir that is also an elegy for his lost father and an incisive critique of masculinity. A heartfelt take on family, loss and what it means to be a man.

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The Underground Railroad (Pulitzer Prize Winner) (National Book Award Winner) (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385542364
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Doubleday - August 2nd, 2016

A tremendously imaginative historical novel from one of America's best young authors. THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD is an escaped slave narrative that doubles as a true American epic, the continuing origin story of Africans in America. The major conceit, though, that sets this work apart--a surprisingly obvious twist that allows this novel to transcend and become something else entirely--is that the titular network of slave emancipation, is a literal railroad. Sounds simple, but it is in fact a profound literary device. And, interestingly, as a literal railroad, Whitehead is able to use the UGRR as a much more powerful metaphor for the black American odyssey. The story centers around Cora, a resourceful and determined runaway slave and all the people, both righteous and wicked, whom she encounters on her misadventures toward the North. Despite the fantastical UGRR, the rest of Whitehead's portrayal of Southern slavery is unvarnished, graphically violent that works as a critique of contemporary race relations as well as an indictment of the duplicitous "American imperative" that has allowed for slavery, brutality and genocide in the name of freedom, progress and purity throughout our country's history. This is a perfectly paced, cut-gem of a novel. Nothing is out of place. There are echoes of everything from GULLIVER'S TRAVELS, to INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF A SLAVE GIRL, to THE LOTTERY, and more that only serve to heighten the near-mythic quality of this work of fiction. It's astounding how good this book is. I can't say enough about it. So far, the best novel of 2016 that I've read.

Homegoing: A novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101947135
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Knopf - June 7th, 2016

This debut novel from an amazingly talented young author out of Ghana, follows two branches of an African/African-American family spanning seven generations and almost 300 years. Told in direct, unflinching prose, Homegoing is a marvel of historical fiction, a breathtakingly ambitious saga, and a socially important novel. Each character is wholly and vibrantly alive. Gyasi conveys inhumanity, suffering, sorrow, love, resilience, and triumph with equal force. Her nuanced look at the history of the slave trade and its legacy on both sides of the Atlantic is absolutely stunning. This is one of the more impressive debuts I've ever read.

Albina and the Dog-Men Cover Image
By Alejandro Jodorowsky, Alfred MacAdam (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781632060549
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Restless Books - May 10th, 2016

From the Chilean mad genius whose creativity knows no bounds--film, art, literature, music, comics--comes a fantastical, philosophical and utterly strange new novel. An albino giantess and her surly protector embark on a search for home that includes endlessly fornicating werewolves, a friendly dwarf, transformations of the body and soul, the return of the Incan Empire, and even the meaning of life. By turns obscene, profane, hilarious, incredibly violent, reverent, and profound, ALBINA is mind-bending and tons of fun! Surreal isn't quite the right world, and it's less magical realism than a depiction of realistic magic. Take the trip!

Kill 'em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812993509
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Spiegel & Grau - April 5th, 2016

Contemporary Renaissance man and two-time National Book Award winner James McBride gives us another astonishing work--this time, a searching, heartfelt and honest biography of the great James Brown. KILL 'EM AND LEAVE is an immersive work of nonfiction, equal parts personal memoir of a fan, cultural critique of race in America, and a reassessment/reclamation of the Godfather of Soul as both a man and an artist. McBride performs a literary autopsy on Brown's legacy, cutting through the myth and legend surrounding JB in order to find the real man, flaws and all. It is easily the most enlightening study of an enigmatic and profoundly influential American icon.

Blackass: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977337
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Graywolf Press - March 1st, 2016

BLACKASS is a satirical re-imagining of Kafka’s THE METAMORPHOSIS set in the chaotic crush of contemporary Lagos, Nigeria. A young, unemployed man wakes one day to find himself inexplicably turned white. Now, suddenly an outsider in a city of 13 million people, he is forced to forge a new life for himself. A deft exploration of the effects of postcolonialism and the psychological perception of whiteness, this debut novel is as insightful as it is outlandish.

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A Collapse of Horses Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566894135
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Coffee House Press - February 9th, 2016

A top-notch collection of psychological horror in the vein of Poe, Shirley Jackson, and THE TWILIGHT ZONE! A "writer's writer" finally getting his due, Evenson excels in exploiting the innate suspense of the unknown in this set of mind-blowing and unnerving short stories. It'll make you want to sleep with the lights on. Great stuff!

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My Heart Is a Chainsaw (The Indian Lake Trilogy #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982137632
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Gallery / Saga Press - August 31st, 2021

Prolific author Stephen Graham Jones serves up a bloody good time with this rollicking ode to 80s horror. Can the town outcast stop the killer (or something else) stalking Proofrock, Indiana?

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