Kelly Staff Picks

By Fountain Bookstore

By Fountain Bookstore

The Believer: Encounters with the Beginning, the End, and Our Place in the Middle

Sarah Krasnostein

$27.95 $25.71

As a reader, I love books that defy categorization. As a bookseller, my feelings are somewhat more complicated. I am struggling to convey the hope for humanity I felt when finishing this biographical essay collection? Memoir? Krasnostein details her encounters with a death doula, a creationist geologist, a neurobiologist ghost hunter, UFO enthusiasts, a woman incarcerated for killing her abusive husband, and a bunch of Mennonites in New York. The deeply beautiful conclusion is that we can always find more in common with our fellow humans than we originally thought. Spectacular!

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals

Oliver Burkeman

$27.00 $24.84

The typical human lifespan is a pitiful 4,000 weeks if one lives to be 80. That would be a depressing thought if I had read it in any other book but this one which has been a life-changer. Looking at life that way, why not do things you mean to do? Say the things you mean to say? No. It's not as easy as all that, exactly. The author used to be a time-management guru for The Guardian, obsessively researching ways to find "more time" in the day. Well, guess what? You can't! Once you're over that hurdle, you can get on with living a more meaningful life. I love this book so much!!!!

Putting the Rabbit in the Hat

Brian Cox

$29.00 $26.68

Signed copies while available! Brian Cox plays Logan Roy on HBO's Succession: history's most toxic tv dad. This book is everything I like a celebrity memoir to be: he names the names, gives gracious credit where it's due, and slams idiots with gusto! Not a perfect individual himself, he owns up to his failures and is brutally honest about his vulnerabilities. Emotional, charming, lots of belly laughs. Also exceptional on Libro.fm audio.

The Kaiju Preservation Society

John Scalzi

$26.99 $24.83

NYC is in the throws of the first big COVID wave and Jamie Gray is stuck in a dead-end food delivery driver app job when he is approached by an old friend to join an "animal rights" organization that pays well. Tom is secretive about the details. Turns out this job is not on our Earth. It's on an alternative Earth with giant dragon-like creatures Jamie is now bound to protect. Everything you love about Scalzi is here: the snappy dialog, the biting, gut-busting humor, and the big heart. Loved it!

Star Trek Cats 1000-Piece Puzzle

Chronicle Books

$17.95 $16.51

It's Star Trek. It's cats. It's also our bestselling puzzle!

Trust

Domenico Starnone

$17.00 $15.64

Two Italian lovers are in a volatile relationship and after arguing Teresa suggests that they each tell one another a terrible secret about themselves that they have never told anyone else and that would bond them together. Pietro reluctantly agrees and when they break up shortly after he is haunted by her knowledge of his shameful deed. They both go on with their lives but are forever connected. The opening sentences are swirling and twisting meditation on love that have me reading them over and over again. Trust may not be your favorite novel you've ever read. Most of the characters were not easy to like for me. But the way they twist and turn around issues of love involving loyalty, longevity, and forms of fidelity and types of love itself are fascinating. The translation by Jhumpa Lahiri is masterful and the translator's note at the end is extraordinary. It's a work of art itself.

Dead Silence

S. a. Barnes

$26.99 $24.83

The best of so many things! It’s a ghost story, a character study, a horror novel, and it’s all in a space version of the Titanic!!!! The author was inspired by visiting a Titanic exhibit in 2017 and features a trauma-riddled captain leading her small crew on a stranded luxury space cruiser full of the rich and famous that had lost contact and disappeared years before. Creepy horror in outer space, really well written. Loved it!

Ocean State

Stewart O'Nan

$27.00 $24.84

Stewart O'Nan's books are always so difficult to describe for me. His stories are of ordinary people (usually) in pretty boring surroundings. But within these characters is the capacity for big love and great cruelty, horrific violence and magnificent heroism. But for a twist or turn, they could be me or you. Ocean State follows four women in 2009 working-class Rhode Island. As a love triangle builds to a heartbreaking climax, the fallout devastates everyone it touches. I never, ever miss an O'Nan book.

A Season for Second Chances

Jenny Bayliss

$16.00 $14.72

I truly adored this second chance at romance story set on the stormy coast of England. A restauraneur in her mid-late forties has finally had enough of her compulsively unfaithful husband and business partner. She starts a new life with a temporary lease in a cottage in a small seaside village and quickly feels at home despite run-ins with the grouch nephew of the elderly landlady. He is determined to sell the historic property to a developer for leveling. Most of the first half of the book is spent with our heroine forging an empowered identity with the help of a group of women friends and her adult twin sons. In the smoldering second half, the landlady's nephew and she start sparking and action of all kinds ensues! I truly loved this book. Made me want to cheer!!!

Disorientation: Being Black in the World

Ian Williams

$19.95 $18.35

Disorientation is a book to be read slowly and with care. Ian Williams best-selling author of my staff favorite novel Reproduction (remember the amazing cover???). I also really loved his collection of poetry Word Problems from last year. Using his formidably flexible writing chops, Williams invites us to an urgent conversation on race and racism in this collection of essays that draw directly from his experience of life as a Black man. He covers all subjects from the merely annoying to the tragically deadly aspects of racism from a worldwide perspective having lived in Trinidad, Canada, and the U. S. This book is approachable for all readers and is intended to be a civil conversation about the ugliest of subjects. It's illuminating, dizzying, and intensely personal. I can't recommend it highly enough. Also, exceptional in audio: read by the author.

Taste: My Life Through Food

Stanley Tucci

$28.00 $25.76

I knew almost nothing about Stanley Tucci going into reading this book. Actually, I listened to it on my Libro.fm. He reads it. This is so much more than a food memoir, although it is among the best ones of those I have ever read (and I read a lot of them). This is a beautiful, big-hearted, earthy celebration of life. Truly one of my favorite books of 2021. Treating myself to life through Tucci's eyes made me appreciate the gifts of my own. Funny, passionate, tragic, uplifting, unforgettable. This book is a true gift.

Christmas in Rose Bend

Naima Simone

$8.99 $8.27

Don't judge a book by its cover, y'all. This gem masquerading as a Hallmark special holiday movie tie-in cover is one of the most solidly written and depthfully passionate books I have read this year. And it is SMOKING HOT! Grieving ER nurse Grieving ER nurse Nessa Hunt is traveling to what appears to be a Christmas village with her moody teen half-sister, Ivy. Ivy, however is not really her half-sister as her mother confessed as she was dying that Nessa's dad was not her dad. They arrive in Rose Bend and meet the innkeeper Wolf (a Jason Momoa look-alike rawr!), but Nessa doesn't have time for romance. Ivy has also lost both her parents. While unquestionably the very, very sexy romance is the heart of this story, it's also about how these three characters come to face and accept their individual losses with the help of each other and learn to love again. So rich, so complex, and so, so satisfying. Absolutely perfect!

Let's Eat Italy!: Everything You Want to Know about Your Favorite Cuisine

François-Régis Gaudry

$60.00 $55.20

Big, bold, beautiful, encyclopedic. Truly something to be savored! La dolce vita nel un libro!

African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History

Tracey Baptiste

$19.95 $18.35

This is a book written for kids 9-12, but anyone could benefit from this general introduction to these great figures from African history pre-colonialism. I know almost nothing about African history because I had an average public school education in the 70s and 80s. That's true of a lot of people. Expand your horizons with this exceptionally well-written and informative portrayal of 10 figures who lived from ancient history like Aesop (yes, he was African...I didn't know either) to the 16th century queen of Benin. Inventors, scientists, military leaders, and more. Buy one for yourself, sure, but while you're at it, buy another or a couple more to donate to schools, libraries, community centers, or to give to freinds and family. Outstanding book! Beautifully illustrated as well!

No Gods, No Monsters

Cadwell Turnbull

$26.99 $24.83

I've been struggling with words to describe what a marvel No Gods, No Monster is as a story. It starts as what looks like a simple and all too common case of police brutality and then morphs into a wild and weird tale of monsters of legend living among us disturbed by something enough to reveal themselves. Protests across the globe, an increase in hate crimes and suicides. People are disappearing. It's intense, it's political. I've dog-eared and reread so many pages my copy is broken-spined and fat. There were moments of abject horror followed by passages of surprising tenderness and empathy. Worlds of emotions. Truly impressive. And the monsters! Not since China Miéville have a seen monsters this creative and terrifying.

Night Came with Many Stars

Simon Van Booy

$25.95 $23.87

The latest from one of my favorite authors is a multi-generational saga that takes place in rural Kentucky. It goes back and forth between two characters’ timelines. Carol’s starts in 1933 when she is lost in a poker game by her alcoholic father. The other follows her grandson Samuel. Crossing both timelines is Carol’s developmentally disabled son Rusty, Samuel’s Uncle. Van Booy’s ability to show the depths of his characters in such spare and crystal clear prose never ceases to astonish me. He is one of the most gifted and empathetic writers I've ever read. This novel is alternately beautiful and tragic. It details the lives of the people of Appalachia in a way that neither fetishizes them or turns them into caricatures (a common offense even with writers who are originally from the region which the author is not). These characters are based on actual people the author has known for decades. He has served them well with this haunting novel.

The Safety Trap: A Security Expert's Secrets for Staying Safe in a Dangerous World

Spencer Coursen

$28.99 $26.67

Reading The Safety Trap has made me more aware of the dangers that surround me every day, but it has also given me actionable tools to prevent them. This is an incredibly clear and comprehensive guide to personal safety written in direct, no-nonsense prose that is not only informative, it is also empowering. Coursen not only made me take steps immediately to improve the safety of my person, my information, my loved ones, and property, he made an urgent, approachable task. His shared personal stories of his own close calls and those of the clients of his security firm and his former military and bodyguard days make learning about these scary topics approachable. Unpleasant truths make for hard reading, but facing them with this author as your constant ally makes it easier. Highly recommended for all adults.