Caitlin L. Staff Picks


 

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The Reef Cover Image
By Juan Villoro, Yvette Siegert (Translator)
$17.95
ISBN: 9780807600214
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click Title to See Location Inventory.
Published: George Braziller - May 23rd, 2017

Part tourism satire, part Yucatán noir. I think this is a good beach read for beach cynics. 

--Caitlin


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Dance on the Volcano Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780914671572
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click Title to See Location Inventory.
Published: Archipelago Books - January 10th, 2017

This is the story of Minette, a young, free woman of color in pre-revolutionary Haiti. While her fantastic talent as an opera singer allows her partial entry into white society, she simultaneously experiences a growing political consciousness as revolutionary forces form around her. The complex racial and gendered hierarchies of the era are on full display here in this fascinating historical novel about a time and place that I, for one, know all too little about.


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Texas: The Great Theft Cover Image
By Carmen Boullosa, Samantha Schnee (Translator)
$15.95
ISBN: 9781941920008
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click Title to See Location Inventory.
Published: Deep Vellum Publishing - December 2nd, 2014

Set on the US-Mexico border shortly after the annexation of Texas, this book provides a welcome rebuttal to the nativist fantasy about the border region. It's also a really fun novel featuring a huge cast of characters--Mexicans, Europeans, Comanches, bandits, aristocrats, ranchers, and socialists--who both entertain and illustrate that, even "back then," North America was a diverse place.

--Caitlin


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Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781552453490
Availability: Not in Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Coach House Books - May 16th, 2017

Decaying, asbestos filled construction, back-stabbing advisors, evil, possibly sentient hares: Crawley Hall is a haunted house, filled with all the usual horrors of academia--plus some unusual ones. This is a great addition to the campus novel genre!

--Caitlin


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Priestdaddy: A Memoir Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781594633737
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click Title to See Location Inventory.
Published: Riverhead Books - May 2nd, 2017

This book had me laughing from the very first page, giggling on the train home with no shame. The very next day I was crying in the office on my lunch break as I finished the book. You get the whole spectrum of emotions with this one! The best memoir I've read in a long time.

--Caitlin


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Autumn Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781101870730
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click Title to See Location Inventory.
Published: Pantheon Books - February 7th, 2017

This was my first Ali Smith book, but it won't be my last--if I'd known she wrote like this, I would have started reading her years ago! This is the first in a series of seasonally-themed quartet: I can't wait to read the rest.

--Caitlin


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The Way We Live Now Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780198705031
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click Title to See Location Inventory.
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - September 2016

I'm convinced Anthony Trollope could see into the future. The vulgar, wealthy, political novice who runs for Parliament despite a total lack of conviction or interest in politics just seems so familiar... And I've started to see his characters in any news story about the foibles of the rich (or those striving to become so).  

Turns out that this novel written in 1875 is as relevant now as ever! 

--Caitlin


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The Idiot Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781594205613
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click Title to See Location Inventory.
Published: Penguin Press - March 14th, 2017

Elif Batuman has a wonderful dry humor, and a knack for portraying the pretensions and foibles of 18-year-olds on their own for the first time; but seen through the eyes of her earnest narrator, they're endearing. Recommended for people who like campus novels. 

--Caitlin


Cassandra at the Wedding Cover Image
By Dorothy Baker, Deborah Eisenberg (Afterword by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781590171127
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click Title to See Location Inventory.
Published: NYRB Classics - September 30th, 2004

Cassandra Edwards has got to be one of the all-time-great narrators: her voice is dry and mean and hilarious. And I don't think my twin sister will be too offended if I say that I loved its refreshingly unsentimental and unsensational portrayal of a woman with a twin. Cassandra reminded me a lot of myself, but even if the circumstances of your life don't resemble hers quite so neatly, I think it's hard not to love her as a character. 

--Caitlin


Life Work Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780807071335
Availability: Not in Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Beacon Press (MA) - March 6th, 2003

Reading about Donald Hall's idyllic life writing poetry in New England will make you want to run off and live in a big farmhouse in the country...or at least that's what it did for me. It takes as its subject the nature of work and life (broad subject), but the most memorable parts describe the lives of Hall's famer grandparents, who lived and worked through the turn of the last century. 

--Caitlin


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Of Two Minds: An Anthropologist Looks at American Psychiatry Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9780679744931
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Published: Vintage - August 14th, 2001

What a treat to find an author whose research just so happens to overlap with my own nerdy areas of niche interest! Luhrmann is a psychological anthropologist, and here she takes on the disciplines of psychology and psychoanalysis themselves. It will be of interest to anyone who's ever been in therapy. And if you like this, don't miss her book on evangelicalism, When God Talks Back!

--Caitlin


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Our Lady of the Nile Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780914671039
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click Title to See Location Inventory.
Published: Archipelago Books - September 16th, 2014

At turns chilling and very funny, this is a great boarding school novel (and I'm a sucker for boarding school novels!)

--Caitlin


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I'm Trying to Reach You Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780983247111
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Published: Two Dollar Radio - July 17th, 2012

I love this little comic novel, in which a former ballet dancer turned NYU Performance Studies postdoc becomes drawn into a wonderfully absurd mystery involving YouTube and the deaths of various dance world luminaries. If any part of that summary piqued your interest, then yes, you should definitely read this book.

--Caitlin


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Young Men and Fire: Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition Cover Image
By Norman MacLean, Timothy Egan (Foreword by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9780226450353
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Published: University of Chicago Press - May 2017

In 1949, twelve men died fighting a forest fire in Monatana. Today few people remember the Mann Gulch tragedy, but Norman MacLean never forgot about it, and forty years later he wrote this amazing book about it. Part memorial to lives lost and forgotten, part inquiry into memory itself; one of my very favorite books. 

--Caitlin


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The Driver's Seat Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780811223010
Availability: Not in Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - May 27th, 2014

Muriel Spark is the master of the novella. Leave it to her to deliver a book so unexpected, so devastatingly shocking, in under 100 pages. Just read it!

--Caitlin


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Peace Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780765334565
Availability: Not in Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Orb Books - December 11th, 2012

Full disclosure: I've only read this book once, which any serious fan will tell you is not enough to really "get it," but here goes. This book, the fictional memoir of Alden Weer, written by scifi master Gene Wolfe, can almost be read as straight-up literary fiction. A hundred pages in, I thought I had it figured out: the house that Weer is living in is a metaphorical house of memories, and as he wanders from room to room, he travels back to different periods in his life and narrates his story. 

When I reached the end, though, I realized how much more was going on; under the surface of this lyrical memoir is a very creepy, and entirely different, story. 

Recommended for people who like literary puzzles!

--Caitlin


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Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780307718976
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click Title to See Location Inventory.
Published: Broadway Books - January 26th, 2016

Fink's story of a New Orleans hopsital during Katrina should be required reading for anyone who works in--or has any interest in--our healthcare system. It deals with profound questions of medical ethics and the ability of our current system to function in an emergency. This book made me so angry I cried every day on my way to work, and it's stayed with me ever since.

--Caitlin


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Fever Dream Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780399184598
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click Title to See Location Inventory.
Published: Riverhead Books - January 10th, 2017

What a strange little book! If you're looking for something to curl up with and read all in one sitting, this one's for you. A young boy coaxes a story out of an older, unrelated woman who seems to be on her deathbed. What's going on? How do these two know eachother? It's not always clear, but the sense of urgency and mystery are unforgettable.

--Caitlin


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Seeing Red Cover Image
By Lina Meruane, Megan McDowell (Translator)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781941920244
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click Title to See Location Inventory.
Published: Deep Vellum Publishing - February 23rd, 2016

My favorite novel of 2016. This semi-autobiographical work upends the all the conventions of the "recovery memoir," delivering something uniquely visceral and weird. 

--Caitlin


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Iphigenia in Forest Hills: Anatomy of a Murder Trial Cover Image
$13.00
ISBN: 9780300181708
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click Title to See Location Inventory.
Published: Yale University Press - November 20th, 2012

Janet Malcolm could make any topic interesting--not that it's especially challenging in this case, given the dramatic subject matter (a murder trial in Queens). This is a great meditation on truth, justice, and the trial-by-jury system. You really can't go wrong with Malcolm, but this is a great place to start. 

--Caitlin


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About a Mountain Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780393339017
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click Title to See Location Inventory.
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - February 7th, 2011

The mountain of the title is Yucca Mountain in Nevada, at one time a proposed nuclear waste storage site. D'Agata explores the problems inherent with trying to store nuclear waste from several different angles, including some personal ones. The chapter about the panel tasked with figuring out how to keep our curious descendents from meddling with the deadly site for tens of thousands of years is worth the price of admission alone. 

--Caitlin


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Wizard of the Crow Cover Image
By Ngaugai
$16.95
ISBN: 9781400033843
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click Title to See Location Inventory.
Published: Anchor Books - August 28th, 2007

The most fun you'll ever have reading about a (fictional) African dictatorship. Ngugi tackles greed, corruption, magic, and post-colonial politics with humor and imagination in this satire. His funniest book. 

-- Caitlin


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What Was She Thinking?: Notes on a Scandal: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780312421991
Availability: Not in Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador USA - June 2004

I read this book years ago and have never stopped thinking about it. This story of a young teacher's affair with her teenage student, narrated by her equally deluded friend, is merciless with its characters, sly in its humor, and totally unforgettable.

-- Caitlin


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Sudden Death Cover Image
By Alvaro Enrigue, Natasha Wimmer (Translator)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780735213449
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click Title to See Location Inventory.
Published: Riverhead Books - February 7th, 2017

Enrigue defies almost all of the conventions of the novel here to give us something delightfully different. Objects and ideas bounce back and forth across continents, empires, and eras like the tennis ball in the game between Caravaggio and Quevedo that frames the story. The cast of characters is truly impressive -- I never thought I would read a book that starred both Galileo and Cuauhtémoc, but here it is!

--Caitlin