Megan's Staff Picks

By Underground Books

By Underground Books
What Moves the Dead

What Moves the Dead

T. Kingfisher

$19.99 $18.59

Anyone looking for a little murder with your mycology or a little genderqueer with your gothic fiction? This fungi-infested retelling of Poe’s Fall of the House of Usher is so satisfyingly creepy, deliciously gross, and made fantastically new and even stranger. The horror elements will get under your skin, but lovable non-binary sworn-soldier Alex Easton will too. A must read for fans of Mexican Gothic and of Poe’s classic horror stories!

Nettle & Bone

Nettle & Bone

T. Kingfisher

$25.99 $24.17

In this fairy tale, it'll be 'happily ever after' after the princess is done murdering the prince, not marrying him. Join the ordinary, unassuming third princess Marra and her companions—a ghost-raising gravewitch, a frizzy-headed fairy godmother, a knight in exile, a dog made entirely of bones, and a chicken with a demon in it—on an impossible quest to save Marra's elder sister from abuse at the hands of a cruel prince. Gruesome and bewitching, with a darkness as magical as it is real, yet full of hope and humor and heart, Nettle & Bone is my new favorite fairy tale. Fans of Spinning Silver and The Bear and the Nightingale, you will love this book down to your very bones!

Seraphina

Seraphina

Rachel Hartman

$11.99 $11.15

In an alt-medieval world where a fragile peace between human and dragonkind is under threat, the new court musician Seraphina must hide the truth of her half-dragon heritage while trying to find out and foil the forces conspiring for war—all while partnered with the unfortunately perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. This richly-realized and emotionally-resonant fantasy is full of dragons and court politics and is all about the importance of truth, love, and art in the forging of peace! Highly recommended for fans of The Goblin Emperor or Uprooted!

Light in Dark Times: The Human Search for Meaning

Light in Dark Times: The Human Search for Meaning

Alisse Waterston and Charlotte Corden

$21.95 $20.41

In this powerful work of graphic nonfiction, an anthropologist and an illustrator-ethnologist take us on a journey through the search for meaning in troubling times. Introducing us to concepts from anthropology and political theory and to important thinkers like Hannah Arendt, Virginia Woolf, Bryan Stevenson, and many others, Light in Dark Times leads us toward four ways of forging light in dark times for ourselves and for our world.

The Three Death Sentences of Clarence Henderson: A Battle for Racial Justice at the Dawn of the Civil Rights Era

The Three Death Sentences of Clarence Henderson: A Battle for Racial Justice at the Dawn of the Civil Rights Era

Chris Joyner

$26.00 $24.18

True crime, Southern history, and racial justice come together in AJC reporter Chris Joyner’s chronicle of the Halloween 1948 murder of golden boy Buddy Stevens near Sunset Hills in Carrollton and the three unjust trials and three subsequent death sentences of local Black sharecropper Clarence Henderson. The case would bring national attention, the NAACP, and the Communist Party of America to Carrollton, and the twists and turns will have you gasping out loud at points. Not only does this book shine a light on a neglected part of local history, it provides a fascinating account of post-WWII America, Southern politics, earlier efforts to save innocent Black lives from white "justice," and a history of West Georgia from Creek sovereignty up to the shocking crime itself. A must read for anyone in Carrollton!

The Midnight Library

The Midnight Library

Matt Haig

$26.00 $24.18

When Nora Seed decides to end her life, she ends up in The Midnight Library, where every book holds a second chance at a life she could have lived had she chosen differently. If you’ve ever had regrets or wondered what could have been (…or if you’ve ever worn grippy socks), this comforting, satisfying, empathetic book is for you. Some have called it predictable but I prefer “inevitable,” the way the biggest truths, in hindsight, always seem to be.

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy

Jenny Odell

$17.99 $16.73

This book is not a social media detox—it's way weirder than that! Through examples of cool ass performance art, bioregionalism, radical utopian and labor history, and more, artist Jenny Odell busts up the narrow confines of what we value as worth our attention when our attention is for sale and blazes a way back toward repossessing one of our most endangered, vital resources—our attention, our time to do “what we will,” and thus our very lives.

The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel

The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel

Mary Robinette Kowal

$18.99 $17.66

It’s 1952 and a meteorite has just taken out Washington DC. WWII pilot and mathematician Elma York survives only to realize that cataclysm will eventually render the planet uninhabitable. Joining the International Aerospace Coalition as a computer, Elma aspires to be an astronaut, but her flight to the stars will involve facing sexism, racism, her own privilege, and her anxiety disorder. I had a (rocket) blast reading this Nebula & Hugo winner!

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story

$38.00

This new landmark work of U.S. history, criticism, and art is forged of 18 essays that consider the relevance of slavery to contemporary America through the prism of such subjects as capitalism, music, and healthcare and poems and fiction that focus on key moments in the oppression, resistance, and liberation of Black people in America. Riveting & enriching, this kaleidoscopic view of American history left me with a clearer vision of our country.

All of Us Villains

All of Us Villains

Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman

$18.99 $17.66

Fans of magic, ambition, and dark fairy tales, All of Us Villains is for all of us. A centuries-old competition to the death has long been the closely-guarded secret of the remote city of Ilvernath, where every twenty years seven families send their teens to scheme, compete, and murder. Only one champion will survive and only one family will control the city's supply of high magick until the next Blood Veil falls. But this year is like no other. A tell-all book has scandalized the world, all eyes are on Ilvernath and its family histories, its sinister secrets, its time-worn fairy tales, and, of course, its monstrous children. These villains will rip your heart out (and make you want to hug this book). I highly recommend this gruesome, dark, and twisty series-starter for fans of The Hunger Games, A Deadly Education, and The Hazel Wood.

Iron Widow

Iron Widow

Xiran Jay Zhao

$17.99 $16.73

Weld together the righteous feminist anger of The Handmaid’s Tale, the media-saturated high-stakes battles of the Hunger Games, and the giant robot vs monster action sequences of Pacific Rim but turn the volume ALL THE WAY UP on the rage and revenge, throw a wrench in the classic love triangle, and build it all on a foundation of Chinese history and lore, and you'll get this fierce, exhilarating young adult novel, sure to knock the breath right out of you!

Every Heart a Doorway

Every Heart a Doorway

Seanan McGuire

$17.99 $16.73

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children offers a respite for kids returned to our reality after adventures elsewhere. After Nancy arrives, exiled from her own version of fairyland—the Underworld, gruesome murders commence. Crackling with all the enchantment of the classic tales of “wayward children,” like Alice or the Pevensies, with a delicious darkness all its own, Every Heart a Doorway will have you looking around every corner—for imminent death or for a door to another dimension...

A Psalm for the Wild-Built

A Psalm for the Wild-Built

Becky Chambers

$20.99 $19.52

Never have we needed Becky Chambers' "hopepunk," sci-fi self-care visions of the future more than now. In this first in a new series of Monk & Robot novellas, the world is a healed place. Centuries ago, the robots gained consciousness and left industrialized society for the wilderness, a warning signal to humanity that led to a new balance in sustainability, ecology, and culture. Now, Tea monk Sibling Dex has all they need--a cozy home, loving community, meaningful work, but something is missing...When Sibling Dex ventures out into the wilderness in hopes of finding it, they are found instead--by Mosscap, a robot sent to make contact with humanity after all these years and find out what it is humans need. Part hilarious odd-couple road-trip, part soulful parable for a lost and battered world, A Psalm for the Wild-Built brings all the warmth, comfort, and elusive wisdom of a steaming mug of tea poured by someone who loves you. Take a deep breath, relax your shoulders, and drink it all in.

The Past Is Red

The Past Is Red

Catherynne M. Valente

$20.99 $19.52

Tetley lives on a floating patch of trash (much like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that exists here and now), the only solid ground left on a flooded earth. Tetley’s not alone but she is the only one who knows the simple, vital, and lifesaving truth that Garbagetown is the most wonderful place in the world. The Past Is Red is an electrifying parable for this era of climate change, as bitterly optimistic and cheerfully furious as this dire hour demands. All that, and its hilarious and heroic protagonist is sure to steal that gorgeous garbage patch in your chest you call a heart.

The Midnight Bargain

The Midnight Bargain

C. L. Polk

$25.95 $24.13

Get ready for an utterly delightful romp through a Regency-era world full of romance, feminism, and infernal magic! The fortunes of her family rest on Beatrice forsaking magic and making a match this Bargaining Season, but she plans to make The Great Bargain between sorcerer and spirit instead. Then the Lavans arrive—feminist Ysbeta and her handsome, wealthy, compassionate brother Ianthe...Will Beatrice choose marriage or magic, family or freedom?

The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love

The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love

Sonya Renee Taylor

$18.95 $17.62

What if radical self-love could not only end the suffering that comes from our criticism of our bodies, but also break the stranglehold that systems of oppression have on Black and brown bodies, on gender nonconforming bodies, on disabled bodies? It’s time to find out. And Sonya Renee Taylor is the guide you’ve been waiting for—funny, loving, warm, and empowering. Save yourself, save the world, start right here, in your beautiful body.

Gideon the Ninth

Gideon the Ninth

Tamsyn Muir

$17.99 $16.73

Trick or treat yourself to this deliciously gruesome and wickedly funny locked-house mystery! Journey to a haunted gothic manor in space with Gideon Nav, a foul-mouthed and dirty magazine-loving orphan of the Ninth House, pressed into service as the cavalier primary to her worst enemy, the heiress to the Ninth House, the necromantic lady Harrowhark Nonagesimus. Blood, guts, secret keys, necromancers, lesbians, and a whole lot of heart await!

The House in the Cerulean Sea

The House in the Cerulean Sea

Tj Klune

$18.99 $17.66

Tender-hearted, soul-affirming, and kind through and through, there’s a reason so many call this book a hug! Linus is a case worker for the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, and he’s just been assigned a case unlike any other, involving a secret island, 6 dangerous children, their alluring caretaker, a world-upturning new perspective, and a place to belong. Quirky and heart-winning, give this one a chance, it will work its magic on you too!

Ring Shout

Ring Shout

P. Djèlí Clark

$19.99 $18.59

Set in 1920s Macon, Georgia, Ring Shout pits champion Maryse Boudreaux, with her sword forged from the spirits of the enslaved and a sharpshooter and Harlem Hellfighter at each side, against the forces of evil—not only the Klan but the “Ku Kluxes,” monsters colonizing our world through hate and racism. As action-filled as it is soulful, Ring Shout is ultimately a powerful, gruesome, and transcendent meditation on trauma, hate, grief, and survival.

Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

$27.00 $25.11

When her father receives a desperate plea for help from her newly-wed cousin, the stylish and spirited socialite Noemi Taboada finds herself on the case, packed off to High Place, an isolated old manor hiding a mass of secrets behind (and within) its walls. Her cousin’s letter was full of paranoia, ghosts, and poison, but far worse terrors await Noemi…and what she unearths is far stranger and more disturbing than any could guess. Sinister, strange, and oh so deliciously creepy, Mexican Gothic had this sworn scaredy-cat lingering at every line and taking her time exploring every intoxicating chamber in this house of horrors.

A Deadly Education

A Deadly Education

Naomi Novik

$28.00 $26.04

At the Scholomance--think Hogwarts in Hell--graduation is survival, and survival depends on the deaths of your fellow students. El, short for Galadriel, was born with an innate talent for extraordinary evil that she’s doing her best to avoid, along with Orion Lake, the school’s resident golden boy, saving lives whether they like it or not—and El does not. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina meets Harry Potter meets Hunger Games, with a spellbinding, unputdownable humor, horror, and magic all its own!

Uprooted

Uprooted

Naomi Novik

$17.00 $15.81

Your childhood fairytales and your grandmama’s folktales from the old country have grown up. Wild, earthy, sexy, smartly written, deeply satisfying, and, yes, magical, Uprooted is everything you ever wanted from a bedtime story. Don’t take it from me; it also won the Nebula Award for best novel.

City of Girls

City of Girls

Elizabeth Gilbert

$28.00 $26.04

THE FUNNEST BOOK I'VE READ IN YEARS! The newest novel from Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert follows young Vivian as she grows from girl to grand dame surrounded by showgirls in dazzling 1940s New York City. Gilbert said she set out to write a book that would go down like a champagne cocktail and boy did she! SO MUCH FUN. Read this for the dizzy delightful fizzy effervescence of it all!

The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season

N. K. Jemisin

$17.99 $16.73

This book has the most high altitude world building I’ve ever seen. Tolkien may have written volumes and volumes of history of Middle Earth, but Jemisin’s world building goes beyond—considering how environment shapes culture, civilization, history, systems of oppression. At the same time, the series is so grounded in its utterly compelling characters. I can’t speak more highly of this series! Jemisin is brilliant, and with each book in this trilogy winning a Hugo Award for Best Novel, now she's the first person to ever win three times in a row!