Holiday Staff Picks 2021

Staff Pick Badge
African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song (LOA #333): A Library of America Anthology Cover Image
By Kevin Young (Editor)
$45.00
ISBN: 9781598536669
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Library of America - October 20th, 2020

The best poetry anthology I've ever read. Young brings together canonical figures like Phillis Wheatley, Langston Hughes, and Gwendolyn Brooks alongside underrated experimentalists such as Mae V. Cowdery, Melvin B. Tolson, and Douglas Kearney. Any serious reader of poetry needs this volume on their bookshelf. - HANK


Staff Pick Badge
Around the World in 80 Plants Cover Image
By Jonathan Drori, Lucille Clerc (Illustrator)
$24.99
ISBN: 9781786272300
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Laurence King Publishing - April 20th, 2021

Staff Pick Badge
Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana: A Visual History Cover Image
$50.00
ISBN: 9780399580949
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Ten Speed Press - October 23rd, 2018

The official illustrated history of the World's Greatest Roleplaying Game!, editions one through five, point-fives included. Contains advertising, packaging, visual development, concept art, and even D&D's incursions into mainstream pop culture (when it wasn't mainstream pop culture-- it's cool now, MOM). Check out page 253 for the background on my favorite setting, Planescape, inspired by Basho, Dictionary of the Khazars, and the works of Algernon Charles Swinburne! - EMILY


Staff Pick Badge
Echo Tree: The Collected Short Fiction of Henry Dumas Cover Image
By Henry Dumas, John Keene (Introduction by), Eugene Redmond (Editor)
$19.95
ISBN: 9781566896078
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Coffee House Press - May 4th, 2021

An absolute cult classic. Deserves a much wider audience. Like the great Sun Ra, Dumas is an artistic shape-shifter who blends genres effortlessly. It all works. Powerful, mythic stuff awaits. Dig it. - JOE


Staff Pick Badge
A Ghost in the Throat Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781771964111
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Biblioasis - June 1st, 2021

So, so beautiful. A poet and her love of and obsession with an ancient Irish lament. Ní Ghríofa lays motherhood, art, love open with unsparing beauty. - KEELIN


Staff Pick Badge
Gnomon Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780525432937
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Vintage - December 4th, 2018

What begins as a dystopian noir expands into something like a short story collection, before its narraives collapse back into one. It's like Huxley with a strong dose of Western esotericism, a hermetic meta-novel that blurs the lines between people, books, memories, ideas, and data. It completely knocked my socks off. - GRAHAM


Staff Pick Badge
Heaven Cover Image
By Mieko Kawakami, Sam Bett (Translator), David Boyd (Translator)
$23.00
ISBN: 9781609456214
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Europa Editions - May 25th, 2021

Staff Pick Badge
Kevin Kling's Holiday Inn Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781681341194
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Minnesota Historical Society Press - November 1st, 2018

Staff Pick Badge
Intimacies: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780399576164
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Riverhead Books - July 20th, 2021

Staff Pick Badge
Iron Widow Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780735269934
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Penguin Teen - September 21st, 2021

Staff Pick Badge
Klara and the Sun: A novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593318171
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Knopf - March 2nd, 2021

Kazuo Ishiguro has described this as something of a companion piece to Never Let Me Go. This is fitting because it also uses its fictional society, shaped by a wondrous new technology, to examine human nature (and that which we exclude from it). Also because it'll cleave a hole in your heart and leave you thinking about it for the rest of your life. - GRAHAM


Staff Pick Badge
Leave the World Behind: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062667649
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Ecco - November 23rd, 2021

Staff Pick Badge
Mordew Cover Image
$29.99
ISBN: 9781250817211
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Tor Books - September 14th, 2021

Staff Pick Badge
Murder Maps: Crime Scenes Revisited. Phrenology to Fingerprint. 1811-1911 Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780500252451
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Thames & Hudson - October 27th, 2020

An encyclopedia of horrid acts, a cornucopia of gruesome detail, and just a whole lot of fun. Watch out for Belle Gunness, the mass-murdering Indiana widow, and Joseph Vacher, the bearded French anarchist with a penchant for biting his victims. This is the perfect coffee table book for anyone obsessed with history and the macabre. - HANK


Staff Pick Badge
Ophie’s Ghosts Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062915894
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Balzer + Bray - May 18th, 2021

Staff Pick Badge
Pastoral Song: A Farmer's Journey Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780063073272
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Custom House - August 3rd, 2021

Staff Pick Badge
Sazan & Comet Girl (Omnibus) Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9781645052999
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Seven Seas - September 15th, 2020

Just flip through these pages and you'll find yourself wishing all manga were painted in vivid watercolor. Even as a single-volume graphic novel, the story feels surprisingly epic, like an 80s anime film that was never made. - GRAHAM


Staff Pick Badge
The Unspoken Name (The Serpent Gates #1) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250238924
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Tor Books - January 26th, 2021

One of the more satisfying epic fantasies I've read, with exactly the right measure of Weird (talking snakes! interstellar empire! necromancy! geopolitics!). - EMILY


Staff Pick Badge
Velvet Was the Night Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593356821
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Del Rey - August 17th, 2021

Velvet Was the Night is a Mexican pulp romance mixed with a twisty political thriller. It's a fun, frothy page turner and an excellent read! - DAVID


Staff Pick Badge
Whiskey When We're Dry: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780735220454
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Penguin Books - July 2nd, 2019

Whiskey landed below my radar when it appeared in 2018 but recommended by a friend, I found this tale of the American Old West to be just the brief escape from divisive politics and pandemic I needed. If you long to escape from everything happening around us that we can’t control, this debut page-turning, American epic western will fit the bill. In 1885, left orphaned and alone when her father dies, 17-year-old Jessilyn dresses in men’s clothing and sets out from the family homestead as “Jess” to find her outlaw brother and bring him home. It’s a wild ride complete with land-grabbers, corrupt politicians, good guys, bad guys, harrowing escapes, reunion, and love. Jess eventually joins her brother’s outlaw band, a Robin Hood take from the rich, give to the poor endeavor. She’s befriended by Annette, one of the gang, who becomes more than a friend. Amid modern themes of race, gender, corruption, love - think True Grit meets Thelma and Louise meets Brokeback Mountain. Satisfying in every way, Jess’s distinct voice will take you away from our strained present on an incredible historical journey to the untamed American West. - JEAN


Staff Pick Badge
Writers & Lovers Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780802148544
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Grove Press - February 16th, 2021

Casey lives in Cambridge, MA, waits tables, worries about her debt, falls for the wrong man and the right one. She dreams, and she grieves, and she worries about her health. In spite of it all, she manages to finish her novel. Lily King's assured, closely observed book Writers & Lovers is a loving portrait of Casey and the writing life. I don't think there's a single unnecessary word in the whole thing. Writers & Lovers is a joy to read, a gift from a writer at the top of her game. - DAVID