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Brad's Recommendations

Brad, Assistant Buyer

Favorite Genres: Literary fiction, gritty fantasy, world travel, books in translation, and anything obscure
Favorite Authors: Marlon James, Virginie Despentes, Kurt Vonnegut, Susanna Clarke, Paul Theroux, Jill Lepore
 

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Townie: A Memoir By Andre Dubus, III Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9780393340679
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - February 6th, 2012

One of my favorite memoirs. Dubus III describes growing up in a city outside Boston, and about how that area turns you into a hard person. He grew up avoiding fights, but eventually got pulled into the world of boxing and bar fights. This is a reflection on a culture of violence, on the appeal and the terror of being swept up in a moment of blood and rage. He also discusses his father, the famous short story writer.


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Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest (American Music Series) By Hanif Abdurraqib Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781477316481
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: University of Texas Press - February 1st, 2019

Essential reading for any fans of 90s hip-hop, or anyone who grew up in the 90s. A Tribe Called Quest was such a unique voice of the era, mixing jazz and samples to create something different from any other collective of the time. Abdurraqib writes a love letter like only a true fan can. This is one of the rare books that I can reread every year and of which I will never tire.


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A Traveler's Guide to the End of the World: Tales of Fire, Wind, and Water By David Gessner Cover Image
$21.95
ISBN: 9781948814812
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Torrey House Press - June 20th, 2023

Urgent but not panicked, this book is as personal and vulnerable as the world Gessner is describing. There are few better nature writers working these days, and even fewer who can convey both anger and possibility for the future in such a refined way.


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Time Shelter: A Novel By Georgi Gospodinov, Angela Rodel (Translated by) Cover Image
By Georgi Gospodinov, Angela Rodel (Translated by)
$27.00
ISBN: 9781324090953
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Liveright - May 10th, 2022

To assist people losing their memories, a doctor builds houses from past decades to make them feel more comfortable. What starts as an interesting psychological experiment starts turning into nationalistic policy. Funny while being profoundly disturbing, this novel toyed with my mind; it's incredible how Gospodinov can put the past and the present on the same table and make you look at the political scope of the world.


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The Last White Man: A Novel By Mohsin Hamid Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593538821
Availability: NOT on our shelves - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - June 13th, 2023

The latest novel from one of my favorite authors does not disappoint. One morning Anders wakes up and his skin has turned dark. It starts to affect other people throughout the world, and has all of the impacts that one would expect from a society struggling with racial identity and politics. Hamid's sweeping style of writing, with long run on sentences, lends itself to a quick, but worthwhile, read.


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Boulder: Shortlisted for the 2023 International Booker Prize By Eva Baltasar, Julia Sanches (Translator) Cover Image
By Eva Baltasar, Julia Sanches (Translator)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781913505387
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: And Other Stories - August 2nd, 2022

This one is all about the writing for me. The narrator (Boulder) becomes infatuated with a woman she meets while on shore leave, but the story is about how she gets pulled into a soul-breaking domesticity, from home ownership to child rearing. Shortlisted for the International Booker Prize 2023, this novel promises to live beyond the awards season.


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Atoms and Ashes: A Global History of Nuclear Disasters By Serhii Plokhy Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9781324064558
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 23rd, 2023

Fascinating and daunting. Plokhy, who has a history of writing about nuclear power mishaps, delves into the six worst nuclear disasters that have occurred over human history, three in the pursuit of nuclear weapons, and three in the pursuit of nuclear power. By looking back, he hopes to shed light on what the future of nuclear power may look like, and how long until the next disaster unfolds.


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The Council of Animals: A Novel By Nick McDonell, Steven Tabbutt (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Nick McDonell, Steven Tabbutt (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250839329
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Holt Paperbacks - July 19th, 2022

After civilization collapses, there are roughly 12 human beings left on earth. Several animals have a meeting to vote on the future of humanity: do we let them live, or do we kill and eat them? This light-hearted tale about the end of the world was really fun in a dark way, and the animals all seem well-thought out, but do not resemble their archetypes. My favorite were the silent ninja moles.


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The Employees: A workplace novel of the 22nd century By Olga Ravn, Martin Aitken (Translated by) Cover Image
By Olga Ravn, Martin Aitken (Translated by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9780811234825
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: New Directions - February 7th, 2023

Holy cow this is a weird one. In the future, a spaceship takes on foreign objects which make the humanoids on board start to act... differently. Told through taped human resources statements given by both humans and humanoids on board, this creepy tale builds in your blood as it goes. This is one I recommend reading two or three times in a row. 


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Glory: A Novel By NoViolet Bulawayo Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780525561156
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Penguin Books - February 28th, 2023

Animal Farms meets African politics in this novel based around the coup that took Mugabe off of the throne in Zimbabwe. The Old Horse has been ruling Jidada for decades and thinks himself irreproachable, but when a newcomer takes power it is more of the same. Bulawayo weaves a fascinating story through multiple viewpoints and literary styles. This was a difficult one for me to put down. 


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The Lying Life of Adults By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Translator) Cover Image
By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Translator)
$18.00
ISBN: 9781609457150
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Europa Editions - September 21st, 2021

Possibly Ferrante's best stand alone novel. When Giovanna hears her father compare her to an aunt whom the family has distanced themselves from, she wants to meet her hidden family and learn about them. What unfolds is a story of a teenager who loses her footing in the world, who comes to realize that no one is what they seem. Ferrante's descriptions of Naples are stunningly picturesque. 


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No Longer Human By Osamu Dazai, Donald Keene (Translated by) Cover Image
By Osamu Dazai, Donald Keene (Translated by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9780811204811
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: New Directions - January 17th, 1973

This is a weird one. Originally published in Japan in 1948, the narrator of three notebooks talks about his life and how he can't fit in with society. From class clown to Casanova, from wretched drunk to despondent and depressed, he brings us around his Tokyo, eventually attempting suicide. Oba Yozo is not a sympathetic character, and I think that is why the book works so well.


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Poison for Breakfast By Lemony Snicket Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781324090625
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Liveright - August 31st, 2021

The first adult novel from a writer from my childhood. Snicket wakes up one morning with a note stating 'You had poison for breakfast' slid under his door. As he tries to unravel the mystery and his life, we see a snippet of his day-to-day. I really read this because I read the Series of Unfortunate Events books when I was younger, but I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would.


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The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida By Shehan Karunatilaka Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9781324064824
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - November 1st, 2022

The 2022 Booker Prize winner and only the second Sri Lankan writer to ever win. A photojournalist awakens as a ghost, and has 7 moons to find out who killed him and to get the negatives of his most important photos into the right hands. Some spirits try to help him move on, some try to keep him in limbo forever. This story was original, and taught me an incredible amount about Sri Lankan history, culture, and politics. 


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The Strangers of Braamfontein By Onyeka Nwelue Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9789533514000
Availability: NOT on our shelves - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Sandorf Passage - October 4th, 2022

A desperate novel of trying to make it in a land far away from the one you call home. Gangs from all over Africa fight for control of a little portion of South Africa, with gangs representing Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and other nations. Torn apart by violence, they all try to rehumanize themselves. This novel flows beautifully between traditional written English and several dialects, pulling you deeper into the narrative. 


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This is Not Miami By Fernanda Melchor, Sophie Hughes (Translated by) Cover Image
By Fernanda Melchor, Sophie Hughes (Translated by)
$15.95
ISBN: 9780811228053
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: New Directions - April 4th, 2023

This is Melchor's best work to date—a series of essay-stories about the drug trade in Mexico, about the violence of ordinary places, the horror that walks side-by-side with us everyday. She writes these stories with such conviction they have to be true, or at least true to her. My favorite thing about this collection is how she weaves her journalistic ethics into tales of true terror. 


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When We Cease to Understand the World By Benjamin Labatut, Adrian Nathan West (Translated by) Cover Image
By Benjamin Labatut, Adrian Nathan West (Translated by)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781681375663
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: New York Review Books - September 28th, 2021

One of my favorite books of 2021. Labatut describes the lives of physicists and mathematicians, trying to see what makes their lives different, what makes them see the world at a different angle, culminating in the battle for quantum mechanics between Schrodinger and Heisenberg. My favorite chapter is about Schwarschild and his solving of the equations of general relativity, while coming up with black hole theory.


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The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle By Stuart Turton Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781492670124
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Sourcebooks Landmark - May 7th, 2019

Part Agatha Christie, part Groundhogs Day, we witness the same murder from eight different pairs of eyes and try to figure out who pulls the trigger before it actually happens. There were a few twists and turns in here that kept me reading through the night, trying to figure out the clues for myself.


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Victory City: A Novel By Salman Rushdie Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780593243398
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Random House - February 7th, 2023

A young woman walks into the desert and births a city out of seeds. This magical book is all about the following two centuries, about her children, and about the empire that she built on nothing but a dream. In my opinion, this is Rushdie's best book since Shame, and will not disappoint anyone who likes literary fiction or magical realism.


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Piranesi By Susanna Clarke Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781635577808
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - September 28th, 2021

Clarke's first book in 16 years has been well worth the wait. The main character lives in a world like a huge museum, a labyrinth filled with numberless statues that never repeat. The only human that shares these halls is The Other, a person who our main character cannot quite understand, but meets with twice a week. A beautifully executed story, and perfectly worded.


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Reincarnation Blues: A Novel By Michael Poore Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780399178504
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Del Rey - July 10th, 2018

A soul is given 10,000 attempts to achieve perfection, but no one tells Milo this until after attempt 9,995. Milo revisits some of his former lives, both historical and futuristic, and falls in love with Death along the way. I found this book to be enjoyable, humorous, and philosophical all at once. I will be keeping my eyes peeled for Michael Poore's next work.


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Paradais By Fernanda Melchor, Sophie Hughes (Translated by) Cover Image
By Fernanda Melchor, Sophie Hughes (Translated by)
$15.95
ISBN: 9780811235051
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: New Directions - April 4th, 2023

I loved Melchor's Hurricane Season, but I think this may be a better book. A poor gardener tolerates an annoying teen from a rich family for the free booze. Eventually, the braggadocious teenager decides that he wants to take what is his by right with fatal results. This short, fast-paced novel made me hate characters that I couldn't turn away from. Melchor had me clamoring for the next page and the one after. 


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All The Wild That Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, and the American West By David Gessner Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9780393352375
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 14th, 2016

A must read for anyone living in the West right now. Gessner visits locations made famous by two of the great writers of the American West and sees how they exist in the here and now. With climate change accelerating the yearly fires, it is more important than ever to heed the words of these literary giants of the conservation movement.


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Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life (Pulitzer Prize Winner) By William Finnegan Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9780143109396
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Penguin Books - April 26th, 2016

Finnegan details his life in the context of surfing, something that he is so passionate about that he made me long for the sea even though I don't surf. In pursuit of the perfect wave, he took a round-the-world trip over several years in the 70s, including a stint on an uninhabited island and a teaching gig in South Africa. This may be one of the best books I've read in my entire life.


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Bottoms Up and the Devil Laughs: A Journey Through the Deep State By Kerry Howley Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780525655497
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Knopf - March 21st, 2023

I think we all know that the government can track us through NSA programs, but how they actually piece that information together is elusive. Howley breaks down exactly what oversight means, how that data is utilized and stored, and does all of it in the context of a few whistleblowers (mainly Reality Winner). Fascinating and frustrating in equal parts. 


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Chasing the Thrill: Obsession, Death, and Glory in America's Most Extraordinary Treasure Hunt By Daniel Barbarisi Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780525566113
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Vintage - May 24th, 2022

I still remember the first time I heard of Forrest Fenn, the eccentric millionaire who hid a box of priceless possessions in the remote wilderness, a poem and some short stories the only clues as to where it could be found. This is the story of those who went out hunting in a way I only dreamed. Barbarisi takes to the trail himself, and masterfully tells the story of the madness of the quest, and the final 'solve' to the riddle. 


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Plagues Upon the Earth: Disease and the Course of Human History (Princeton Economic History of the Western World) By Kyle Harper Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780691230597
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Princeton University Press - April 25th, 2023

Absolutely fascinating. Harper started writing this book before the COVID pandemic, so most of it is about historic context and not modern times. How did the spread of disease shape civilizations, and how did the growth of civilizations hinder or help the spread of infectious disease? I found this book to have incredible depth, while still being extremely accessible.


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