Ghosts Of Booksellers Past
While these booksellers themselves aren't necessarily ghosts, their recommendations still stand even after they've left our stores.
This book weaves together the cultural history of Jell-o with the story of the author’s family. Absorbing, heartbreaking, and wholly original.
Unlike some memoirists (who will remain unnamed) Lockwood’s life is actually fascinating. She’s also hilarious -- but don’t let that fool you, at its core this book is out to break your heart. Truly one of my favorite books of the last several years.
This is an anti-romance book for all you cynics out there. The narrator of this novel is mean, bitter, and violent after her breakup with her girlfriend, the titular Delores. This is no heartwarming tale about the beauty of same-sex love in the face of adversity! No, it's something much better.
Read this and spend the next year connecting every topic of conversation to the Koch brothers. It may not be surprising, per se, but it's horrifying nonetheless.
This novel, set in the very recent past, deliberately blurs the line between truth and fiction while exploring gift economies, artistic collaboration, and online communication. Intellectually, all those thing appeal to me, but the real reason to read this book is to spend time with Browning's generous and wonderful narrator. I'm happy I'll be carrying her voice around with me now.
I will admit that I approached this book with equal parts excitement and fear. The His Dark Materials books were among my favorites as a kid, but would this prequel hold up as an adult? I'm happy to report that fans of the original series will not be disappointed. What a pleasure to be back in Philip Pullman's world!
I fully recognize that this book may hold only niche appeal, but I am that niche. I have been saying for YEARS that I wanted an encyclopedia of chili peppers, and finally, someone wrote it! Though it has some recipes, this is less a cookbook and more an illustrated guide to everything you might ever want to know about the chili. Nerds who will appreciate this: you know who you are.
Part tourism satire, part Yucatán noir. I think this is a good beach read for beach cynics.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
At turns chilling and very funny, this is a great boarding school novel (and I'm a sucker for boarding school novels!)
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.