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Sarah B.'s Staff Picks

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Sarah works in the book department 

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Assume the Worst: The Graduation Speech You'll Never Hear Cover Image
By Carl Hiaasen, Roz Chast (Illustrator)
$15.95
ISBN: 9780525655015
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - April 10th, 2018
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With illustrations by Roz Chast.

Accurate. Timely. Yep, you won’t hear this at a graduation, but it is important to hear. Unflinching and if not inspiring, kind of refreshing…which is better, sometimes.


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Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316019118
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Spark - April 21st, 2011
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We tend to think of "the wilderness" as much further away from us (distinct, separate) than it actually is. Crow Planet thoughtfully investigates our relationship with our wild world and the ways it reacts to (but is not tamed by) us. Haupt's modern-day Thoreauvian meditations are informative and impassioned, and not as "into crows" as the title suggests (but it's still a great read for those who find corvids-and their antics - interesting).


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How to Fall in Love with Anyone: A Memoir in Essays Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781501137457
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - June 26th, 2018
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EVEN at our best, most of us arrive at the destination of Romantic Relationship guided by a mixture of hormones and some hand-me-down, faulty, generally invisible expectations about 'proper-narrative'. In coming to terms with the dissolution of her parents' seemingly fairytale marriage - and the ending of her own relationship - Mandy Len Catron does the delicate work of excavating these myths (cultural and personal) and the reader is ALL the better for it. 


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Shrill Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780316348461
Availability: Usually arrives at our store within 4-7 days
Published: Hachette Books - February 28th, 2017
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Lindy is iron-clad and if the title intrigues you, the book will engage you, challenge you, and make you laugh (and, possibly, cry). I enjoyed it quite a bit. She's not here to be everyone's cup of tea, but she just may be the whiskey on-the-rocks that warms your heart and livens up the conversation. 


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Application for Release from the Dream: Poems Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977184
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - September 1st, 2015
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Folks tend to be particular about the poetry they'll read - if any.  Well, Hoagland is a poet whose work works for me. Since I can't open to a poem in this collection without experiencing a sense of being impacted - moved to contemplation, laughter, or more - I hope his work works for you, too.


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Whose Mind Is It Anyway?: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101982631
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: TarcherPerigee - June 7th, 2016
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Simply put? Actually brilliant. Using memorable and amusing doodles, the authors deconstruct BIG, HUGE, MAJOR psychological concepts to help you outwit standard (unhelpful) thought patterns. It's like a funny Cliff's Notes for basic mindfulness. 


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Chemistry: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525432227
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 3rd, 2018
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Our intrepid protagonist might be losing it. Or, she may have just begun the process of putting everything together. Both scenarios can look markedly similar. The result, however, is one of my new favorite books. 

Chemistry contains all the soul needed for the searching - to understand who brought you here and who gets to decide what happens next, and why. 

P.S.: Don't take my word for it? Ann Patchett loved it too. She said: "It is to Wang's credit that she manages to infuse such seriousness with so much light." 


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The Forest Feast: Simple Vegetarian Recipes from My Cabin in the Woods Cover Image
By Erin Gleeson, Erin Gleeson (Illustrator)
$35.00
ISBN: 9781617690815
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Stewart, Tabori & Chang - April 15th, 2014
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The kind of no-muss, no-fuss, no-nonsense BEAUTIFUL that will make you fall in love with food all over again...even if you never “fell out of love” to begin with. This forest is full of treasures.


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Pond Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780399575907
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - July 11th, 2017
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In telling us its story in its very own way, Pond challenges us to answer many questions around the themes of what is actually required to get to know something or someone. Is a name necessary? What they wear? Where they live? Are their values more important than their fancies? Are those inextricably linked? 

The central riddle: with a narrator who cannot be described as unreliable Pond still asks how a narrator can ever be entirely reliable. 

The central magic: Claire-Louise Bennett takes us through the intimate epiphanies, and casual observations, of her character's life in a manner that encourages us to consider the vastness of our own personal territories - how much there is yet to discover about ourselves, and of those around us. 

A wonder, a marvel, a thinker's treat. 


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What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781594634642
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - March 7th, 2017
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If you share traits with the average, or even above-average reader, you enjoy disappearing into the landscapes of the stores you read, and moving with the characters through their days. You enjoy the buoyancy of suspending your disbelief when the author can manage that trick.

You are also, “not really into short stories.” But, remember: brevity is the soul of wit. If you would allow for it, this collection of little worlds could change your mind about the format entirely.

Oyeyemi writes about that time a goddess was invoked to deal with the bad behavior of a pop-singer, or what happens when puppets have opinions about the manipulative behavior of puppeteers. Within these pages, a secret garden unites a pair of liars who find they can tell each other only the truth…and there’s more, with humor, seriousness, and eerie beauty shimmering throughout.  This is a bargain of a treasure chest. Take it home. 


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The Handmaid's Tale: A Novel Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780385490818
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - March 16th, 1998
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The Republic of Gilead is a monotheocratic post-American dystopia in which reading is banned along with most other freedoms for all women and a vast majority of the men. People’s roles in this society are determined by their reproductive viability, so it is fair to say: things have gotten weird. For Offred, life before becoming a handmaid was not so long ago and as she is left with only her memories to pass the long hours she must decide whether he will resign herself to her new circumstances or develop the courage to resist. I found this well-written story to be relevant, believable and (surprisingly, given the subject) easy-to-read.


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Good Poems Cover Image
By Various, Garrison Keillor (Editor)
$23.00
ISBN: 9780142003442
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - August 26th, 2003
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Everything about this poetry anthology is good: the foreword, the poems, the shade of blue used for the cover, the typeface… perhaps I’m getting a bit silly. (Yeah, silly about how good this collection is.) Good Poems is a fantastic treat to give yourself, or anyone, who likes poetry, and stirring wordsmithery.


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Leaving Before the Rains Come Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143128427
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - January 12th, 2016
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If you enjoyed her others (“Don’t Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight”, “Cocktail House under the Tree of Forgetfulness”) you don’t need to bother reading the rest of this review. Buy the book, it’s that good. Alexandra Fuller, of the “Africa Fullers”, is a terrifically clear and funny storyteller who believes that doing memoir properly requires the willingness to ‘court exile from your tribe.’ Be that as it may, she’s done a remarkable job of disclosing her history in a manner that reads as a contextual and never exploitative. Our head book buyer describes her as being “in total command” on the page and fair to her people,” and I agree with that assessment entirely. Her work continues to feature the antics of her charming, insane-in-a-good-way, family and the many ways her wildness shaped her. Here, she shares the dissolution of her marriage, but this isn’t really a “divorce memoir” even if divorce is part of it. It’s a story about how your sense of belonging can shift before you see that it’s happened and about what is left once it has.


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The Family Fang: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780061579059
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - April 17th, 2012
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From what I can tell, this novel was not intended as some larger metaphor for dysfunctional families; but for how specifically dysfunctional they are, this particular (fictional) family could be many---could be your very own! (...Though for your sake, I hope that it isn’t.) “The Family Fang” is as compelling as the characters are destructive, as tender as they are shocking. Somehow the absurdity of their behavior only heightens the humanity of this cast of characters are destructive, as tender as they are shocking. Somehow the absurdity of their behavior only heightens the humanity of this cast of oddballs, and so the result is something refreshingly different from anything that I have read in awhile and nowhere near as goofy as the description may sound.


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The Catcher in the Rye Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780316769488
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - May 1st, 1991
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Your first introduction to this book may have been as “required reading” for a high school English class with a teacher who – try as he/she might – failed to convey the humor and poignancy of the story. The language may be a bit dated (all slang goes the way of the dodo, eventually) but the relevance of the subject matter endures. My vote is that you give it a[nother] chance, it may surprise you! Because...
Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know” – J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye


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Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity Cover Image
$24.95
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781591842590
Published: Portfolio - June 11th, 2009

I read this book in ONE sitting. I tried to put it down, but I couldn’t – which, I think, is a bit unheard of for books with an “advice-giving” tone. Well, now you’re heard [read] it! DO YOU HAVE A PERSONAL ‘MT. EVEREST’? (It’s likely that you do.) Even if you don’t know where/what it is, this book is sure to help you set about locating it. Like a conversation with a good friend, MacLeod’s insights are provided in the clearest and cleanest style possible. Bonus points to the author for all the wee illustrations!


Photo of Sarah reading a copy of "Sharks"