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Staff Pick

Popisho

Popisho

Ross, Leone
$28.00

Bold, iridescent... Dazzling and shocking... Ross's lyrical, rhythmic writing is something to be savored... [Her] voice sings out loud and pure.
--Eowyn Ivey, The New York Times Book Review

An uproarious, sensual novel, Leone Ross's Popisho conjures a world where magic is everywhere, food is fate, politics are broken, and love awaits.

Everyone in Popisho was born with a little something-something, boy, a little something extra. The local name was cors. Magic, but more than magic. A gift, nah? Yes. From the gods: a thing so inexpressibly your own.

Somewhere far away--or maybe right nearby--lies an archipelago called Popisho. A place of stunning beauty and incorrigible mischief, destiny and mystery, it is also a place in need of change.

Xavier Redchoose is the macaenus of his generation, anointed by the gods to make each resident one perfect meal when the time is right. Anise, his long-lost love, is on a march toward reckoning with her healing powers. The governor's daughter, Sonteine, still hasn't come into her cors, but her corrupt father is demanding the macaenus make a feast for her wedding. Meanwhile, graffiti messages from an unknown source are asking hard questions. A storm is brewing. Before it comes, before the end of the day, this wildly imaginative narrative will take us across the islands, through their history, and into the lives of unforgettable characters.

Leone Ross's Popisho is a masterful delight: a playful love story, a portrait of community, a boldly sensual meditation on desire and addiction, and a critique of the legacies of corruption and colonialism. Inspired by the author's Jamaican homeland, inflected with rhythms and textures of an amalgam of languages, it is a dazzling, major work of fiction.

Andrea says: Popisho is a rollicking, magical, sensuous read. Bursting with colors, flavors and emotions, it feels like riding a wave of language. Great characters with magical abilities populate the isle of Popisho, but there are problems too. Addiction, hunger, depression and poverty lurk in the corners. It is clear that love is the most important element of life in this fantastic place.

Wizard of Oz Oversized Padded Board Book

Wizard of Oz Oversized Padded Board Book

Santore, Charles
$13.95

Follow the Yellow Brick Road in The Wizard of Oz, now available as an oversized padded board book!

 

Charles Santore's beautiful, best-selling illustrations capture the spirit of this classic and make the story leap off the page. Take an unforgettable journey with Dorthy and her friends through Munchkin land, the bejeweled Emerald City, the dark forest, and the ruby-red throne room of Glinda the Good Witch. This special oversized padded board book is sturdy, with rounded corners--perfect for little fingers and messes! This adored story is the perfect gift for children and families alike and will hold a treasured place on any bookshelf.

James says: A timeless story that is maximized by illustrations that are second to none.

Baltasar and Blimunda

Baltasar and Blimunda

Saramago, Jose; Pontiero, Giov
$15.99
From José Saramago, Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Baltasar and Blimunda is a "brilliant...enchanting novel" (The New York Times Book Review) of romance, deceit, religion, and magic set in eighteenth-century Portugal at the height of the Inquisition. Portugal, 1711: an amorous friar is pursued naked through the rubble-strewn streets of Lisbon; an enthusiastic procession of flagellants roars with pleasure over the damnation of adultery; a royal prince uses hapless sailors for target practice; and women dressed in colorful finery watch as lapsed converts and sorcerers are put to death by flames. In the midst of the terrors of the Inquisition and the plague, a seemingly mismatched couple discover the wonders of love. This poetic tale, graced with exquisite historical details and full of magic and adventure, is a tapestry of human folly and human will.

Elsie says: Jose Saramago’s masterpiece. The characters include a monastery—the story of Portugal. A great satire.

Lincoln in the Bardo

Lincoln in the Bardo

Saunders, George
$17.00
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE

The "devastatingly moving" (People) first novel from the author of Tenth of December a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented


Named One of Paste's Best Novels of the Decade - Named One of the Ten Best Books of the Year by The Washington Post, USA Today, and Maureen Corrigan, NPR - One of Time's Ten Best Novels of the Year - A New York Times Notable Book - One of O: The Oprah Magazine's Best Books of the Year

February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. "My poor boy, he was too good for this earth," the president says at the time. "God has called him home." Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy's body.

From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state--called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo--a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie's soul.

Lincoln in the Bardo
is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction's ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?

"A luminous feat of generosity and humanism."--Colson Whitehead, The New York Times Book Review

"A masterpiece."--Zadie Smith

Swim in a Pond in the Rain

Swim in a Pond in the Rain

Saunders, George
$28.00
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - From the Booker Prize-winning author of Lincoln in the Bardo and Tenth of December comes a literary master class on what makes great stories work and what they can tell us about ourselves--and our world today.

"[A] worship song to writers and readers."--Oprah Daily

For the last twenty years, George Saunders has been teaching a class on the Russian short story to his MFA students at Syracuse University. In A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, he shares a version of that class with us, offering some of what he and his students have discovered together over the years. Paired with iconic short stories by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Gogol, the seven essays in this book are intended for anyone interested in how fiction works and why it's more relevant than ever in these turbulent times.

In his introduction, Saunders writes, "We're going to enter seven fastidiously constructed scale models of the world, made for a specific purpose that our time maybe doesn't fully endorse but that these writers accepted implicitly as the aim of art--namely, to ask the big questions, questions like, How are we supposed to be living down here? What were we put here to accomplish? What should we value? What is truth, anyway, and how might we recognize it?" He approaches the stories technically yet accessibly, and through them explains how narrative functions; why we stay immersed in a story and why we resist it; and the bedrock virtues a writer must foster. The process of writing, Saunders reminds us, is a technical craft, but also a way of training oneself to see the world with new openness and curiosity.

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain is a deep exploration not just of how great writing works but of how the mind itself works while reading, and of how the reading and writing of stories make genuine connection possible.

Katia says: For anyone interested in the mechanisms of fiction and short story writing, this is a charming and not too technical examination of what makes a story work. Looking closely at seven short stories by Chekhov, Saunders deftly picks apart our reactions as readers, and then explores what this means for us as writers. I feel fortunate to be given so many nuggets of wisdom by a master of the craft! 

Old Drift

Old Drift

Serpell, Namwali
$18.00
"A dazzling debut, establishing Namwali Serpell as a writer on the world stage."--Salman Rushdie, The New York Times Book Review

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Dwight Garner, The New York Times - The New York Times Book Review - Time - NPR - The Atlantic - BuzzFeed - Tordotcom - Kirkus Reviews - BookPage

WINNER OF: The Arthur C. Clarke Award - The Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award - The Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction - The Windham-Campbell Prizes for Fiction

1904. On the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles from the majestic Victoria Falls, there is a colonial settlement called The Old Drift. In a smoky room at the hotel across the river, an Old Drifter named Percy M. Clark, foggy with fever, makes a mistake that entangles the fates of an Italian hotelier and an African busboy. This sets off a cycle of unwitting retribution between three Zambian families (black, white, brown) as they collide and converge over the course of the century, into the present and beyond. As the generations pass, their lives--their triumphs, errors, losses and hopes--emerge through a panorama of history, fairytale, romance and science fiction.

From a woman covered with hair and another plagued with endless tears, to forbidden love affairs and fiery political ones, to homegrown technological marvels like Afronauts, microdrones and viral vaccines, this gripping, unforgettable novel is a testament to our yearning to create and cross borders, and a meditation on the slow, grand passage of time.

Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Ray Bradbury Prize - Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize

"An intimate, brainy, gleaming epic . . . This is a dazzling book, as ambitious as any first novel published this decade."--Dwight Garner, The New York Times

"A founding epic in the vein of Virgil's Aeneid . . . though in its sprawling size, its flavor of picaresque comedy and its fusion of family lore with national politics it more resembles Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children."--The Wall Street Journal

"A story that intertwines strangers into families, which we'll follow for a century, magic into everyday moments, and the story of a nation, Zambia."--NPR

Roxanne says: Epic genealogical tale of South American women and British explorers. Inventive stroy telling.

Lake Success

Lake Success

Shteyngart, Gary
$18.00
"Spectacular."--NPR - "Uproariously funny."--The Boston Globe - "An artistic triumph."--San Francisco Chronicle - "A novel in which comedy and pathos are exquisitely balanced."--The Washington Post - "Shteyngart's best book."--The Seattle Times

The bestselling author of Super Sad True Love Story returns with a biting, brilliant, emotionally resonant novel very much of our times.

NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE AND MAUREEN CORRIGAN, NPR'S FRESH AIR AND NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review - NPR - The Washington Post - O: The Oprah Magazine - Mother Jones - Glamour - Library Journal - Kirkus Reviews - Newsday - Pamela Paul, KQED - Financial Times - The Globe and Mail

Narcissistic, hilariously self-deluded, and divorced from the real world as most of us know it, hedge-fund manager Barry Cohen oversees $2.4 billion in assets. Deeply stressed by an SEC investigation and by his three-year-old son's diagnosis of autism, he flees New York on a Greyhound bus in search of a simpler, more romantic life with his old college sweetheart. Meanwhile, his super-smart wife, Seema--a driven first-generation American who craved the picture-perfect life that comes with wealth--has her own demons to face. How these two flawed characters navigate the Shteyngartian chaos of their own making is at the heart of this piercing exploration, a poignant tale of familial longing and an unsentimental ode to America.

LONGLISTED FOR THE CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN FICTION

"The fuel and oxygen of immigrant literature--movement, exile, nostalgia, cultural disorientation--are what fire the pistons of this trenchant and panoramic novel. . . . [It is] a novel so pungent, so frisky and so intent on probing the dissonances and delusions--both individual and collective--that grip this strange land getting stranger."--The New York Times Book Review

"Shteyngart, perhaps more than any American writer of his generation, is a natural. He is light, stinging, insolent and melancholy. . . . The wit and the immigrant's sense of heartbreak--he was born in Russia--just seem to pour from him. The idea of riding along behind Shteyngart as he glides across America in the early age of Trump is a propitious one. He doesn't disappoint."--The New York Times

Finding the Mother Tree

Finding the Mother Tree

Simard, Suzanne
$28.95
NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER - From the world's leading forest ecologist who forever changed how people view trees and their connections to one another and to other living things in the forest--a moving, deeply personal journey of discovery

Suzanne Simard is a pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence; she's been compared to Rachel Carson, hailed as a scientist who conveys complex, technical ideas in a way that is dazzling and profound. Her work has influenced filmmakers (the Tree of Souls of James Cameron's Avatar) and her TED talks have been viewed by more than 10 million people worldwide.

Now, in her first book, Simard brings us into her world, the intimate world of the trees, in which she brilliantly illuminates the fascinating and vital truths--that trees are not simply the source of timber or pulp, but are a complicated, interdependent circle of life; that forests are social, cooperative creatures connected through underground networks by which trees communicate their vitality and vulnerabilities with communal lives not that different from our own.

Simard writes--in inspiring, illuminating, and accessible ways--how trees, living side by side for hundreds of years, have evolved, how they perceive one another, learn and adapt their behaviors, recognize neighbors, and remember the past; how they have agency about the future; elicit warnings and mount defenses, compete and cooperate with one another with sophistication, characteristics ascribed to human intelligence, traits that are the essence of civil societies--and at the center of it all, the Mother Trees: the mysterious, powerful forces that connect and sustain the others that surround them.

Simard writes of her own life, born and raised into a logging world in the rainforests of British Columbia, of her days as a child spent cataloging the trees from the forest and how she came to love and respect them--embarking on a journey of discovery, and struggle. And as she writes of her scientific quest, she writes of her own journey--of love and loss, of observation and change, of risk and reward, making us understand how deeply human scientific inquiry exists beyond data and technology, that it is about understanding who we are and our place in the world, and, in writing of her own life, we come to see the true connectedness of the Mother Tree that nurtures the forest in the profound ways that families and human societies do, and how these inseparable bonds enable all our survival.

Doug says: If you know me you know one of my obsessions is  Trees. This scholar of the trees who coined the term World-Wide-Wood, is a forestry hero. It’s  personalized science that is easy to love and admire. 


Badass Habits

Badass Habits

Sincero, Jen
$26.00
New York Times bestselling author Jen Sincero gets to the core of transformation: habits--breaking, making, understanding, and sticking with them like you've never stuck before.

Badass Habits is a eureka-sparking, easy-to-digest look at how our habits make us who we are, from the measly moments that happen in private to the resolutions we loudly broadcast (and, erm, often don't keep) on social media. Habit busting and building goes way beyond becoming a dedicated flosser or never showing up late again--our habits reveal our unmet desires, the gaps in our boundaries, our level of self-awareness, and our unconscious beliefs and fears. Badass Habits features Jen's trademark hilarious voice and offers a much-needed fresh take on the conventional wisdom and science that shape the optimism (or pessimism?) around the age-old topic of habits. The book includes enlightening interviews with people who've successfully strengthened their discipline backbones, new perspective on how to train our brains to become our best selves, and offers a simple, 21 day, step-by-step guide for ditching habits that don't serve us and developing the habits we deem most important. Habits shouldn't be impossible to reset--and with healthy boundaries, knowledge of--and permission to go after--our desires, and an easy to implement plan of action, we can make any new goal a joyful habit.

Roxanne says: A follow-up to her wildly successful You Are A Bad Ass, Sincero digs deeper in the self-help vault to unlock our problems with too often saying yes or no, or by just being our own worst control freaks.  Her informal writing style, to borrow a Julie Andrews lyric, is 'the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine (advice) go down so well.


Little Weirds

Little Weirds

Slate, Jenny
$16.99
Step into Jenny Slate's wild imagination in this "magical" (Mindy Kaling), "delicious" (Amy Sedaris), and "poignant" (John Mulaney) New York Times bestseller about love, heartbreak, and being alive -- "this book is something new and wonderful" (George Saunders).

You may "know" Jenny Slate from her Netflix special, Stage Fright, as the creator of Marcel the Shell, or as the star of "Obvious Child." But you don't really know Jenny Slate until you get bonked on the head by her absolutely singular writing style. To see the world through Jenny's eyes is to see it as though for the first time, shimmering with strangeness and possibility.

As she will remind you, we live on an ancient ball that rotates around a bigger ball made up of lights and gasses that are science gasses, not farts (don't be immature). Heartbreak, confusion, and misogyny stalk this blue-green sphere, yes, but it is also a place of wild delight and unconstrained vitality, a place where we can start living as soon as we are born, and we can be born at any time. In her dazzling, impossible-to-categorize debut, Jenny channels the pain and beauty of life in writing so fresh, so new, and so burstingly alive, we catch her vision like a fever and bring it back out into the bright day with us, where everything has changed.

One of Vanity Fair's Great Quarantine Reads.