Holiday Picks from Your Favorite Queens Mutual Aid Bookstore

By Open Borders Books

By Open Borders Books

Mis Documentos = My Documents

Alejandro Zambra

$24.95

A very unique way of telling multiple stories that seem fragmented, but yet connect in unthinkable ways. [Claudia]

Long Live the Post Horn!

Vigdis Hjorth

$18.95 $17.43

What starts out as a kind of careful, numb, low-affect novel thaws quickly as a 30-something PR worker too comfortable and disaffected by her middle class Norwegian life begins to find herself engaged in a campaign to save the Norwegian postal service. Great stories from postal carriers, and a very sympathetic portrayal of finding something to believe in and dedicate oneself toward makes this slim novel a total delight to read in our times. [Natasha]

Animal Traffic: Lively Capital in the Global Exotic Pet Trade

Rosemary-Claire Collard

$24.95

Do you remember Darwin, the monkey found wandering through IKEA in a small shearling coat? Do you have more questions about the night in October of 2011 when a man let dozens of big cats and other wild animals loose on the town of Zanesville, Ohio? Collard's mix of historical research and contemporary anthropology creates a fascinating account of these events and reveals a global network of animal hunters, breeders, and traders at work in the United States. Read this book for its critical take on animal captivity and the economy built around it, or read it for the engrossing background Collard provides about a pet-obsessed world! [Katherine]

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming

David Wallace-Wells

$18.00 $16.56

A terrifying account of the manifold ways that climate change will transform human life on this planet. A necessary read for all. [Yaniv]

That Time of Year

Marie Ndiaye

$19.95 $18.35

That Time of Year by Marie NDiaye is about the necessity of adapting to one’s situation, however strange it may be. And this kind of reorientation seems especially fitting when we’re hunkered down in our homes, learning anew how to live some simulacrum of our lives in circumstances somewhere uncomfortably between indefinite vacation and alienated privation. Some of us have become ghosts of our former selves, like the protagonist's wife. Some of us have found new citizenship in a dangerous world. Some of us are natives to this kind of precarity. Whichever describes you, there’s no novel I know so apropos of our current moment. This really couldn’t have been published at a better time.” [Jeff]

Optic Nerve

Maria Gainza

$16.95 $15.59

part novel, part perspectives on art, a very unique way of telling a personal story while weaving the lives of different artists. [Claudia]

Go, Went, Gone

Jenny Erpenbeck

$16.95 $15.59

This is a novel that will rejuvenate your faith in the power of empathy, and to my mind, there is no higher literary achievement than that. Erpenbeck's tenderly, devastatingly real characters brought light to my hard, dark 2020 heart. [Terrie]

Braiding Sweetgrass

Robin Wall Kimmerer

$18.00 $16.56

A beautiful book of essays that intertwine Indigenous wisdom with scientific knowledge. A love letter to Indigenous cultures and to biodiversity that is so good at what it does, so unpretentious, that you can't help but see things differently when you walk around your world after reading. Underscores major differences between Indigenous cultures and settler-colonial culture and the scientific community that makes a potent call for appreciation and understanding of nuance and for gratitude. Read a chapter each morning and you'll feel like you meditated, too! [Natasha]

The Cheapest Nights

Yusuf Idris

$18.00 $16.56

A collection of short stories about the lives of Egypts poor and working class. Powerful and sympathetic and caustically funny at times. Idris is considered one of Egypt's greatest fiction writers, on par with Naguib Mahfouz. [Dave]

An Untamed State

Roxane Gay

$16.00 $14.72

Focused on a kidnapping in Haiti, Gay’s searing novel leads you—day by day, hour by hour—through the ordeals of Mireille Duval Jameson, a Haitian-American mother whose charmed, privileged life is suddenly shattered. How can she resist the physical and psychic damage? And what happens to her old self—and the frayed bonds of her family—when she’s finally released? [Andy]

Hurricane Season

Fernanda Melchor

$16.95 $15.59

The first book to be translated by the young Mexican writer Fernanda Melchor, this dark storm of a novel is written as if in one breathless rush of language, though from varying perspectives. Set in Melchor’s native Veracruz, “Hurricane Season” is the story of the secrets surrounding one woman’s murder, but ultimately fans out to reveal the sickness and abuse at the heart of an entire community. [Andy]

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy

Jenny Odell

$17.99 $16.55

Most books that deal with digital minimalism and filtering the toxic elements of social media leave the reader wanting how to fill all that new recovered time. Odell’s nuanced thoughts on art, performance, the life of trees, and her hometown of Oakland will help you abate that anxiety from not carrying a portable computer in your pocket at all times. [Yaniv]

The Mirror & the Light

Hilary Mantel

$30.00 $27.60

Awesome. [Dave]

Joan of Arc: In Her Own Words

$14.00 $12.88

I was on a socially distanced stroll to Roosevelt Island with this book in my pocket and I finally opened it when I got to the old small pox hospital. It is what it sounds like--court transcripts from 1429 with her accounting of her life story, 18 years only, before she was burned at stake. I'm not a Catholic and the veneration of saints is something that couldn't or wouldn't come naturally, but there's something really lovely in this book. And though I'm loathe to call anything pure or to claim that purity is at all a desirable trait, there's a clarity of voice and purpose that comes through, even after six hundred years and a translation. It's hard not to feel something while reading it, and impossible not to feel like you know the young woman who spoke these words so earnestly so long ago. [Jeff]

Temporary

Hilary Leichter

$16.95 $15.59

The story of a young woman seeking to shape the mosaic pieces of her life into a coherent whole, through a series of hilarious and surreal temporary jobs and temporary loves. I haven't underlined so many sentences since maybe The Argonauts. [Terrie]