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A color-coded guide to the books you should read.  

(Who knew Mariah Carey had such great literary taste?)

Staff Pick Logo
Necropolis Cover Image
By Santiago Gamboa, Howard Curtis (Translator)
$18.00
ISBN: 9781609450731
Availability: The book is not currently in stock at our stores. Please call us for price and availability.
Published: Europa Editions - June 26th, 2012

Lordy, lordy, lordy. And I ask thee: what's not to love about some super-sensual metafiction set in Jerusalem featuring porn stars and televangelists? Hallowed by thy name, Gamboa.

Good for: 

Having an experience that you can't describe with words, only vague hand motions

Feeling awe at the ability of some writers

Getting lost in a story

Getting lost in a character


Staff Pick Logo
The Argonauts Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9781555977351
Availability: On Our Shelves Now, Please Click Through for Each Location's Stock
Published: Graywolf Press - January 26th, 2016

There's not much I can say about this book that hasn't already been said by people way smarter and more qualified to speak than me. Just read it! 

Good for: 

Moments of incredible insight

Intellectual stimulation

Feeling culturally and politically relevant


Staff Pick Logo
The Orphan Master's Son Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780812982626
Availability: On Our Shelves Now, Please Click Through for Each Location's Stock
Published: Random House Trade - August 7th, 2012

Well, well, well. So you want to know more about North Korea, huh? Are you sure? Once you know, you know, you can't unknow - but this book may make the knowing worth it.

It's beautiful and provocative and emotional, and it reminds us all that while North Korea is a stone-cold bummer, sometimes - rarely - a person's story can fuse with the story of his nation to give us something we really, really needed.

Good for:

Getting lost in a story

Getting lost in a character

Simple enjoyment of quality writing

Learning about North Korea

Feeling culturally and politically relevant

Moments of incredible insight


Staff Pick Logo
Pippi Longstocking Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780142402498
Availability: On Our Shelves Now, Please Click Through for Each Location's Stock
Published: Puffin Books - April 21st, 2005

Pippi Longstocking is my hero, mentor, best friend, and probably distant relative.

Good for:

Not just your kids!

Smiling

Getting lost in a character

Falling in love with childhood


Staff Pick Logo
House of Leaves: The Remastered, Full-Color Edition Cover Image
$50.00
ISBN: 9780375420528
Availability: Not currently on our shelves, but available in 1-3 days.
Published: Pantheon Books - March 7th, 2000

WARNING: THIS BOOK WILL MESS WITH YOU. I'm being for real. This is a serious warning, because I don't want responsibility if you read this and then start observing small fractures in the fabric of your own reality - that's not on me. CAN YOU HANDLE IT? If you can, it might change your life.

Good for:

Pushing your mental and emotional boundaries

Getting lost in a story

Getting lost in a character

Feeling awe at the ability of some writers


Staff Pick Logo
Slouching Towards Bethlehem Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780374531386
Availability: On Our Shelves Now, Please Click Through for Each Location's Stock
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - October 28th, 2008

Oh, Joan Didion. What can I say? Required nonfiction reading, I think; only remember to take a break every so often to smile and tell yourself that we're not slowly regressing into a chaotic, godless apocalypse... probably.  

Good for:

Intellectual stimulation

Feeling academic and impressing strangers

Moments of incredible insight


Staff Pick Logo
The Third Reich Cover Image
By Roberto Bolano, Natasha Wimmer (Translator)
$15.00
ISBN: 9781250013934
Availability: Not currently on our shelves, but available in 1-3 days.
Published: Picador USA - November 27th, 2012

Possibly my favorite Bolano, which is saying something because I'm obsessed with him (RIP, Bob). This is one of the most atmospheric books I've ever read, by which I mean that while you read it an almost tangible layer of salt coats the air like his words have created weight around you, of their own volition, without you realizing it. It's got flavor. Includes: murder, mystery, war games, lust, and the beach.

Good for:

Getting lost in a story

Getting lost in a character

Pushing your emotional and mental boundaries

Having an experience that you can't describe with words, only vague hand motions

Feeling awe at the ability of some writers


Staff Pick Logo
Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9780307700667
Availability: Not currently on our shelves, but available in 1-3 days.
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - January 17th, 2013

Well, this book is a buzz-kill... but the best kind, you know? The kind that illuminates some fascinating aspect of heretofore hidden civilization like aliens or global conspiracies or Hollywood cults - or, as in this case, all of these things. It's crazy! And while you may find yourself despairing at the perpetually confounding nature of human religious belief, you will have at least the smallest bit of awe at L. Ron Hubbard's sheer productivity, and the scope and mania of his vision. Wright did a respectable job distilling fact from fiction in his research, which is good news, because this is a story that involves a lot of propaganda.

Good for:

Feeling culturally and politically relevant

Learning about Scientology

Getting lost in a story (the story of L.Ron Hubbard)


Foucault's Pendulum Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780156032971
Availability: Not currently on our shelves, but available in 1-3 days.
Published: Harvest Books - March 5th, 2007

Trying to describe this book is difficult, but I will say that Umberto Eco is a strange one - and a genius. Nominally, it's about a group of friends in 1970s Italy who make up a fake conspiracy theory... but it's more than that,obviously. It takes you on fun (often funny) tangents into little crevices of history or into the orbit of meandering observations of life and people and art. Think: The Da Vinci Code, only written well.  

Good for:

Intellectual stimulation

Pushing your mental and emotional boundaries

Escaping into history

Smiling

Having an experience that you can't describe with words, only vague hand motions


Staff Pick Logo
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780307408853
Availability: On Our Shelves Now, Please Click Through for Each Location's Stock
Published: Broadway Books - May 1st, 2012

If you like history and don't mind rooting around in its more shadowy corners, you'll enjoy Eric Larson's latest. It's a captivating, well-written, and well-researched account of Nazism's nascent evil establishing itself in Germany. Provides some interesting insights into the other side(s) of historical events.

Good for:

Intellectual stimulation

Feeling culturally and politically relevant

Learning about early Nazi Germany

Escaping into history


Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780380813810
Availability: On Our Shelves Now, Please Click Through for Each Location's Stock
Published: William Morrow & Company - May 25th, 2004

Who doesn't love a good, quasi-heretical fictionalized history of Jesus Christ's childhood BFF, am I right?

Right. I'll preface this by admitting that I'm a preacher's kid, so naturally this book possessed an almost magnetic draw for me - and that, combined with six years of formal theological study, made it impossible for me not to read this. With that being said, this book (Christopher Moore's masterpiece, in my opinion) will truly enrich the lives of anyone who reads it, not just those unnaturally obsessed with religion, so long as they aren't easily offended. But honestly, Moore's portrayal of teen Jesus is kind of sweet, definitely beautiful, and seriously touching. And Biff is one of my all-time favorite characters in fiction (almost on par with Pippi.)

Good for:

Smiling

Getting lost in a character

Getting lost in a story

Offending all of your conservative, uptight coworkers


Staff Pick Logo
Sputnik Sweetheart Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780375726057
Availability: On Our Shelves Now, Please Click Through for Each Location's Stock
Published: Vintage - April 9th, 2002

WHAT IS THIS BOOK?! I mean, I guess it's fine. I read it in one day. Whatever.

Good for: 

Getting lost in a character

Having an experience that you can't describe with words, only vague hand motions

Simple enjoyment of quality writing

Getting lost in a story


Staff Pick Logo
2666 Cover Image
By Roberto Bolano, Natasha Wimmer (Translator)
$24.00
ISBN: 9780312429218
Availability: On Our Shelves Now, Please Click Through for Each Location's Stock
Published: Picador USA - September 1st, 2009

What Jason said.


Staff Pick Logo
Winter of the World Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780451419248
Availability: Not currently on our shelves, but available in 1-3 days.
Published: New American Library - August 27th, 2013

Good for:

Getting lost in a story

Getting lost in a character

Escaping into history


Staff Pick Logo
White Noise Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780140077025
Availability: On Our Shelves Now, Please Click Through for Each Location's Stock
Published: Penguin Books - January 7th, 1986

I recently lost my Don DeLillo virginitiy and it was just as magical as I could have hoped and dreamed. What a man! What a writer! His style is perfect, and perfectly unique, and it suits the cadence of the book's plot so perfectly that, you know, it's perfect. It's a perfect book.

Good for:

Simple enjoyment of quality writing

Getting lost in a character

Moments of incredible insight

Smiling

Having an experience that you can't describe with words, only vague hand motions


Staff Pick Logo
I and Thou Cover Image
$7.75
ISBN: 9788087830345
Availability: Not currently on our shelves, but available in 1-3 days.
Published: Important Books - July 7th, 2013

Read it. Just... read it. Ok?

Good for:

Moments of incredible insight

Intellectual stimulation

Feeling awe at the ability of some writers

Having an experience that you can't describe with words, only vague hand motions

Feeling academic and impressing strangers


Staff Pick Logo
On Immunity: An Inoculation Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977207
Availability: On Our Shelves Now, Please Click Through for Each Location's Stock
Published: Graywolf Press - September 15th, 2015

Eula Biss is an excellent writer: relatable, super smart, and not too showy. This book is skinny in size but kind of huge in implication — spanning a lot of the critical questions we ask ourselves as modern humans who must live and work in close proximity to each other. Biss explores the issues of infectious disease and parenting, the history of and debate on vaccination, and what it means to be "healthy" in age of technology. It's a great read and a great choice for book clubs. 

Good for: 

Feeling culturally and politically relevant

Intellectual stimulation

Moments of incredible insight

Feeling academic and impressing strangers


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