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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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After the Oracle Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781646051465
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Deep Vellum Publishing - November 16th, 2021

The core of this book is basketball and psychology, but it is so much more involved. When the Golden State Warriors started their legendary winning streak, Shane Anderson looked at their four core values (joy, mindfulness, compassion, competition) and saw how he could introduce them into his own life. It reminded me of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in a way, but Anderson has his own, unique voice.


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The Promise: A Novel (Booker Prize Winner) Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781609456580
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Europa Editions - April 6th, 2021

A diary like this collapses the distance between you and a world that previously may have seemed quite different. You read how every day somebody worries about their children, tells stories at the dinner table, looks forward to holiday festivals. But there's also the constant threat of state-sanctioned death from the sky. You learn how the author scans the stars for any motion which may be a drone waiting to kill him.


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The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781982159009
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 31st, 2021

For nearly 20 years, the public was assured that the war in Afghanistan was running very well. Whitlock puts forward the facts: that the war was in bad shape from the beginning, that the objective was lost early on, and people on the ground had difficulty figuring out what they were doing, who they were fighting, and where the money was being spent. Especially important after the less than graceful exit from Afghanistan.


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You Feel It Just Below the Ribs: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780063066625
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Harper Perennial - November 16th, 2021

Strange in all the right ways. In an alternate reality, WWI leads to a world without borders and a global government. Miriam grows up through this Great Reckoning, and becomes a scientist instrumental in creating the Age Ten Protocols, where children are relieved of their memories of family. Miriam's memoir is found with her corpse, and it unveils all of the secrets she knows. This is a good introduction to the Within the Wires podcast.


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Autumn Rounds Cover Image
By Jacques Poulin, Sheila Fischman (Translated by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9781953861061
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Archipelago - November 30th, 2021

A light and lovely story. An older man drives around a bookmobile, distributing books to the communities in Canada north of Quebec City, a remote area. He thinks this will be his last season on the road, but he meets Marie, a woman who travels with a band from France. As they twist their way through the desolate landscape, they reveal themselves to each other. This short novel is truly heartwarming.


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Like Flies from Afar: A Novel Cover Image
By Adrian Nathan West (Translated by), K. Ferrari
$16.00
ISBN: 9781250785848
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Picador - March 23rd, 2021

A strange and foul-mouthed mystery. Luis Machi, a depraved and horrid person, finds a bloody corpse in the trunk of his car, but he doesn't know who it is or how it got there. He tries to figure out which one of his many enemies could be framing him while recalling the bacchanal of his life while trying to dispose of the body. A truly lurid novel.


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When We Cease to Understand the World 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 Family Roe: An American Story Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780393247718
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 14th, 2021

A fascinating look at Norma McCorvey, known widely as Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade, and her family. Prager gives the history of the family, of Norma's three daughters that were put up for adoption, and the way that both sides of the aisle used her for their own benefit. Well written and in-depth.


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The Lying Life of Adults 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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The Council of Animals: A Novel Cover Image
By Nick McDonell, Steven Tabbutt (Illustrator)
$25.99
ISBN: 9781250799036
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - July 20th, 2021

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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Poison for Breakfast 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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Piranesi 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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Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life Cover Image
$18.00
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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Pretty Things Cover Image
By Virginie Despentes, Emma Ramadan (Translator)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781936932276
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Feminist Press - August 14th, 2018

Twin sisters that are nothing alike want to share fame, one as the voice of a singer, the other as the public image. But when one twin kills herself, the other must take over her life, but can you remain yourself while living as another? This reminded me of Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk, but with a strong European flair.


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In Memory of Memory Cover Image
By Maria Stepanova, Sasha Dugdale (Translated by)
$19.95
ISBN: 9780811228831
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: New Directions - February 9th, 2021

This reads more like a lyrical essay than a novel. Maria Stepanova is tracking down her family history after an aunt dies and she inherits numerous letters and photographs. Through all of this is the underlying question: what does memory mean in modern times, the age of endless selfies, as opposed to the early 1900s, when you would have maybe a picture taken once in your lifetime.


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The Book of Disquiet: The Complete Edition Cover Image
By Fernando Pessoa, Jerónimo Pizarro (Editor), Margaret Jull Costa (Translated by)
$24.95
ISBN: 9780811226936
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: New Directions - August 29th, 2017

One of my five favorite books of all time, made fresh by a new translation by Margaret Jull Costa. The author himself described this as the saddest book ever written. The Book of Disquiet is a beautifully written memoir about a man creating his art that lives beyond the means of his own life. This is the closest equivalent to the original Portuguese that exists to date.


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The Copenhagen Trilogy: Childhood; Youth; Dependency Cover Image
By Tove Ditlevsen, Tiina Nunnally (Translated by), Michael Favala Goldman (Translated by)
$30.00
ISBN: 9780374602390
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - January 26th, 2021

Tove Ditlevsen had a difficult life. Her parents treated her horribly. She was divorced four times, and one of her husbands kept her on prescription drugs. She struggled with alcoholism. Those struggles eventually turned her into one of Denmark's most famous poets. This three part memoir is the story of her life from birth to the end of her third marriage, and is devastating and beautiful.


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Rainbow Milk: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780385547062
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Doubleday - June 8th, 2021

A tale of identity and belonging. This is the story of Jesse McCarthy, a male prostitute of Jamaican descent living in London after his family (and church) kicks him out of the house for being in the LGBT community. It's also the story of Norman Alonso, a Jamaican man living in England in the 1950s. Incredibly raw and real, Mendes shows us London in the early 2000s through 2016.


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Naked Pictures of Famous People Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780688171629
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Dey Street Books - September 22nd, 1999

I remember finding a used copy of this book my teens and buying it for the title alone. It turned out to be the first book that made me laugh hysterically while reading. Stewart can turn anything into a comedy, from the Kennedy compound to the chatrooms of AOL in the late 90s, from the Oval Office to the death of the Taco Bell chihuahua. At this point it is filled with callbacks for anyone who was alive in the 90s.


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Flights Cover Image
By Olga Tokarczuk, Jennifer Croft (Translated by)
$17.00
ISBN: 9780525534204
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Riverhead Books - August 13th, 2019

An incredible mixture of stories about travel and anatomy. Intertwined are a man who loses his wife and child on a trip in Croatia, Chopin's heart, and the person who originally found the achilles tendon by operating on his own severed leg. In between is the narrator, who has beautiful passages about what it means to be a traveler, about being in motion and refusing roots wherever they try to cling.


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The Blade Itself (The First Law Trilogy #1) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316387316
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Orbit - September 8th, 2015

This is the first book in the best fantasy trilogy written in the last few decades. Joe writes incredibly well, and his dark gritty style makes the story. Of all the main characters, my favorite is Logan, also known as The Bloody Nine, a feared warrior and named man from the North who winds up at the king's court before heading off to save the world. Read everything Abercrombie has written, but start here.


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The Memory Police: A Novel Cover Image
By Yoko Ogawa, Stephen Snyder (Translated by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101911815
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Vintage - July 28th, 2020

A writer lives on an island where the police can make entire concepts disappear from people's memories, such as emeralds, hats, or music boxes; she is constantly worried that words will be the next to go. A few can remember the past, and they are rounded up and taken away, and no one knows where. The writer attempts to hide one who can remember, her publisher, for a taste of the world she once knew. 


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Fireflies Cover Image
By Luis Sagasti, Fionn Petch (Translator)
$13.95
ISBN: 9781999722746
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Charco Press - December 4th, 2019

I loved this book for reasons that I find hard to explain. Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Beuys and Basho and Wittgenstein (and many others) are all detailed, their lives all interconnected. In between Sagasti talks about fireflies, asteroids, haikus, and the art of story. This is the best book I've found from Charco Press so far, a small publisher with which I have become enamored.


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