Ghosts Of Booksellers Past
While these booksellers themselves aren't necessarily ghosts, their recommendations still stand even after they've left our stores.
Queen of the Tearling is like Tamora Pierce's best for adults. Johansen creates a dynamic, complex protagonist in Kelsea. Tearling blends all of your favorite fantasy elements while bringing in a sci-fi aspect that makes the tale all the more chilling. I couldn't put this book, or the sequel (Invasion of the Tearling) down
Originally published in 1968 in the run-up to Nixon's presidency, it is no wonder it is being re-printed in 2018. In both this book and 1977's "The Public Burning," Coover has proved himself a prophet by imagining an America so ridiculous that it couldn't help but become reality. (Definitely NOT for kids!)
This book is nothing short of genius. A frenzied look at graduate school, the hysteria of post-9/11 America, and what happens when you treat art like a competition.
Equal parts beautiful and sinister in the way that only Mishima could be.
Do you ever feel like we’ve all lost our minds? Let Basho be an antidote. His writing is precise, beautiful, and lonely -- I mean that as a good thing. There is still peace to be found in the world if you know where to look.
This is, without a doubt, the best contemporary fiction I have read in years. Equal parts hilarious and thought provoking. If you have ever read Zadie Smith or David Foster Wallace and thought, “why don’t more people write books like this?” They do. Here is one of them.
J. Henry Waught is the proprieter of a sort of fantasy baseball league, but a truly fantastical one in which all the teams, players, coaches, and officials are amde up and games are decided by rolls of die. Henry loves his league, he loves what he has created (after all, his initials can be read as JHWH,) but the league begins to affect his real life as he becomes more and more entrenched in the current season. This book is a pitch-perfect, pitch-black comedy that's not really at all about basebll and is instead an almost unparalleled look at lonliness, escapism, the creative process and the self-fulfillment therein.
This book reads like a dream: there is something slightly off about the world, the past and present bleed together, shadows lurk in corners, and you can't remember if you've been here before. A strange and beautiful book about trying to make sense of everything I just listed.
Every time you open one of Alexievich’s books it’s like sitting at the dining room table learning family history from your favorite relative. That’s not to say the stories are light or fun, but are so deeply personal that you can’t be anything but engrossed.
Stein’s exuberant pronouncements on art and artists, though justly famous, are only a part of the pleasure of her surprisingly disarming memoir of Parisian life in the early 20th century. Here is a very un-Stein-like metaphor; her war truck, a modern American thing, is reliably unreliable, frequently diverted and arrested, and is tremendously well-loved. Unlike Hemmingway’s gossipy Feast, the Autobiography is a communal repost-literary, stylish, and, like Alice, an ideal life companion.
There has never been more anticipation for me than hearing there is a new Valeria Luiselli novel and awaiting the day of its release. Book lovers rejoice, that day is here! This is an enchanting, gorgeous novel. This is THE book of 2019.
If you haven’t read Cortazar- don’t fret! If you haven’t wanted to take on Hopscotch because it seems too cool and a bit daunting-don’t worry! Read Blow-Up! These stories will introduce you to the wonderful world of Cortazar that you have been missing.
This story collection falls into the staples of amazing horror fiction! Shirley Jackson, Poe, Kafka … you will love this beautiful book.
You MUST read this book! Best of the year! (it is truly one of the best debut novels I have ever read)
I can confidently say that The Story of My Teeth is the best book I read in 2016, though it is hard to make such proclamations. It is a strange and unique tale, the kind that are typically given to us as classic masterpieces—timeless but usually decades, if not centuries old. I can honestly say you have never read anything like this before. It is smart, funny, strange, and brilliant. Gustavo Sánchez Sánchez is one of the greatest characters ever to reach the page.
This is the best book of non-fiction, if we must classify it as such, that I read this year. Weinberger is the master of literary non-fiction. From a true reckoning of the fate and origins of Adam and Eve to a book report on George W. Bush’s Decision Points—from Frog Grooms in South India to the Berlin Wall and its surrounding occupants these 36 essays are a masterpiece of literature. You won’t look at the world in the same light.
With László Krasznahorkai winning the Best Translated book award for his novels Satantango and Seiobo There Below, not a lot was said about his beautiful travelogue from Seagull Books this year. This is a subtle meteorite of a book. Krasznahorkai’s details and his haunting read on human nature are exemplified as we follow him up mountains in and out of temples and the homes of prominent figures in China. He sees the world and translates it for us, like no other can.
Revulsion has us listening to a character who returns to El Salvador and delivers a diatribe against the country. The novel enraged some Salvadorans with some calling for a book ban and Castellanos Moya’s mother even received death threats against her son and in 1997 he fled El Salvador. Besides that it is a great work of fiction and a quick, though very intense read.
There are few books that are fully and actually funny while still being literary. The exception, always, is Queneau. A hilarious romp around Paris - this book is also a marvel of translation. Queneau writes it with a lot of words sounded out - as if writing out how a southern drawl sounds rather than how it is actually spelled - and Barbara Wright translated that into English. All around this is a superbly enjoyable novel.