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Constantine Recommends

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The Echo Wife Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781250174673
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Tor Books - May 24th, 2022

This is one of the strangest, most surprising books I have read in a very long time. It is absolutely the story of a brilliant scientist and her clone (and the sad excuse of a husband who leaves the former for the latter). It is also a deeply insightful meditation on grief, humanity, and the ways in which our traumas linger, with easily one of the most thought-provoking endings I've come across in years.


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The Confidence Men: How Two Prisoners of War Engineered the Most Remarkable Escape in History Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781984853851
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - June 7th, 2022

The Confidence Men has all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster: wartime heroics, daring escapes, the occult, con men running a scheme so imaginative and outlandish that it must be a tall tale. And yet, somehow, all of it is true. I cannot believe I have never heard this story until now. Prepare to lose a weekend to this book; once you get past the introductions, there really is no stopping.


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Fan Fiction: A Mem-Noir: Inspired by True Events Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250274366
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: St. Martin's Press - October 12th, 2021

I had a little grin on my face from the moment I cracked this book open, and it just got wider with every page I read. This is certainly a bit of a weird one (it is not a memoir, you see, but a mem-noir), and I have no idea if there is a true word in it after the prologue, but it was a damn fine time, nevertheless.


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Leave the World Behind: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062667649
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Ecco - November 23rd, 2021

I first read this book at the beginning of this year, and I had to sit on this recommendation for a very long time. This is a hard book. It will not leave you with a smile. But it is a book that (at least for me) so perfectly fits this moment in time, that captures in its strange events and unsettling prose something so profound about the experiences of the last few years, that I cannot help but want to read it again.


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A Spindle Splintered (Fractured Fables) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250765352
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Tordotcom - October 5th, 2021

Alix Harrow has been one of my favorite fantasy authors ever since she blew me away with The Ten Thousand Doors of January, and this latest bit of wonder was everything that she's shown me I can hope for in her writing. Sweet, sad, gorgeous prose, and hopeful in a way that I continue to crave and be grateful for, this is the perfect companion for a chilly winter afternoon.


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People Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunted Present Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780393531565
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 7th, 2021

Weeks after finishing this collection of essays, I still feel wildly unqualified to offer anything resembling a "review". But weeks later, I'm still thinking about each of them, about the ways in which they asked me to re-assess some part of how I have thought about Jewish culture and history, and about how grateful I am for the education. 


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Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780385722438
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Anchor - September 17th, 2002

"Breezy" and "delightful" might seem odd words to describe a story that mostly concerns itself with the rise of a fascistic regime on a small (imaginary) island whose residents worship the written word, but somehow Mark Dunn manages to make this epistolary novel exactly that. Powerfully relevant and quite amusing, all at the same time.


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Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb Series #2) Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781250313218
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Tordotcom - September 21st, 2021

Gods, but I love the characters that Tamsyn Muir creates, and the way she is able to pack so much wit, world-building and biting humor into every page. Harrow is every bit the equal of Gideon, though their temperaments be ever so different, and I devoured this puzzle box of a story in a single weekend.


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Dava Shastri's Last Day Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781538703861
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Grand Central Publishing - November 30th, 2021

I love it when a book really surprises me. This story of a matriarch's last day started out feeling like it might be just another breezy read in the vein of Crazy Rich Asians, but ended up as one of the better meditations on family, loss, and the cost of our choices (the ones that we remember and the ones we try to forget) that I've had the pleasure to stumble across in a long while.


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Trouble the Saints: A Novel Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250175359
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Tor Books - August 10th, 2021

When N.K. Jemisin calls something "awesome", you know you're in for a ride. And this was a ride. Starting with building blocks that might seem all-too-familiar, Johnson twists her story of mobsters, assassins and the tense, racially-charged whirlwind of 1940s New York into a shape that kept defying my expectations (in the very best of ways).


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A Game of Birds and Wolves: The Ingenious Young Women Whose Secret Board Game Helped Win World War II Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780316492065
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Back Bay Books - February 23rd, 2021

One more for the "this can't possibly be a real story, how have I never heard of this story???" genre, this account of the women who helped to beat the German U-Boats in World War 2 reads, at times, more like an historical thriller than a history. But, no matter the twists and turns: every word is true. Probably.


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Heir to the Empire: Star Wars Legends (The Thrawn Trilogy) (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy - Legends #1) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780593358764
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Random House Worlds - June 15th, 2021

Heir to the Empire is thirty years old this year, and somehow, the trilogy that it kicks off is still one of the best Star Wars stories ever written. All the adventure and intrigue, all the lightsabers and Jedi and space battles you could want, with one of the best villains in the Star Wars canon, new or old. There's a reason Zahn has kept writing Grand Admiral Thrawn, even in the new Star Wars universe: he's an all-time great.


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A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam Cover Image
$10.00
ISBN: 9780679724148
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Vintage - September 19th, 1989

Books of this size (and on this topic) all tend to end up with the same labels. Towering. Monumental. Sheehan's examination of the Vietnam War through the lens of John Paul Vann is all of those things, and also still so tremendously relevant. As an examination of American hubris and the ways in which it led, over and over, to tragedy and to destruction, A Bright, Shining Lie needs to be read now as much as it ever did.


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The Cause: The American Revolution and its Discontents, 1773-1783 Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781631498985
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Liveright - September 21st, 2021

Every historian of the American Revolution seems to write a history that claims to better represent it than any history which has come before. Whether Ellis succeeds in that goal is for each reader to decide, but he does present a well-crafted narrative of the 10 years that saw a group of 13 disparate states triumph over the British Empire, and manages to avoid the pitfalls of over-analyzing battles or over-lionizing the men who made that triumph a reality.


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Freedom Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9781982153410
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Simon & Schuster - May 18th, 2021

Something in the reading of this book feels very akin to taking a long walk with a friend. Stretches where the mind wanders, fixating on a pile of logs or run-down railroad tracks. Sharp bursts of conversation, musings on the Ottoman Empire and coefficients of economic inequality (and, yes, the meaning of freedom), filling the space until the silence creeps back in. Again and again, until we come to the end.  


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One by One Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781501188824
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Gallery/Scout Press - May 4th, 2021

Ruth Ware is writing the kinds of murder mysteries that I think Dame Agatha herself would enjoy, and One By One is another excellent addition to the genre. Ware expertly builds the tension chapter by chapter (and body by body), weaves in just enough misdirection to keep you guessing, and finishes with a solution that is both intricate and well-constructed. Perfect for a long, lazy weekend.


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The Bad Muslim Discount: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781984897411
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Anchor - January 11th, 2022

I inhaled this book over the course of one afternoon. Masood balances the intertwining narratives of a relatively-privileged Pakistani immigrant and the far more painful story of a young woman fleeing war-torn Iraq, and through both of these stories, he weaves in one perfectly-rendered detail of life as an immigrant in modern America after another. By turns heartbreaking and hilarious, when it isn’t both at once.


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The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781101911730
Availability: On Our Shelves Now. Click on the title to see details.
Published: Anchor - May 25th, 2021

Anderson calls the history of the CIA’s early years “a tragedy in three acts,” and by the time I finished this incredibly well-crafted work, I could not have agreed more. Masterfully blending the stories of four men who were instrumental in the agency’s founding with an overarching narrative about the missed opportunities and failures of American foreign policy after the end of World War II, this tragedy is a must-read.


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