Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story
Mary Downing Hahn$7.99 $7.43
In this horror novel, Molly and Michael struggle to connect with their new, broody little step-sister, Heather. Things grow even more complicated when Heather makes a new "friend," a girl who's been dead for 100 years. While at its heart a seriously spooky ghost story, this kids' book also tackles themes of tragedy and secrets that haunt far more than ghosts do...
David Sedaris$29.00 $26.97
As snarky, cynical, and upliftingly-hilarious as ever, David Sedaris has once again charmed me with his newest memoir, Happy-Go-Lucky. With his typical wit and keen eye, Sedaris had me laughing out loud as he described life during the pandemic, shooting guns with his sister, and even his strained relationship with his ailing father. If you're a fan of Sedaris, or just someone who enjoys biting humor, you will enjoy this latest work by the master of memoir.
A Psalm for the Wild-Built
Becky Chambers$20.99 $19.52
Fans of Becky Chambers' writing refer to her style as "cozypunk" and I think this description couldn't be more fitting. Encompassing both grit and fluff, A Psalm for the Wild-Built seems to perfectly bridge the gap between the comfort of Young Adult Fiction and the challenging problems tackled in more serious literature. From philosophical musings about the meaning of life, to silly moments of booty-shaking in front of a campfire, this book will keep you turning the page in search of wisdom and laughter.
The Final Girl Support Group
Grady Hendrix$26.00 $24.18
The Final Girl Support Group isn't your average horror-thriller. Leaning into the slasher-film tropes of of the 70s and 80s, the book plucks those final surviving women from the screen and makes them flesh. The story is told through Lynette, a final girl whose status as such is debatable according to the "rules". When she discovers that someone is targeting her group of survivors, she must take measures to save her sisters and herself. While the story's engaging mystery and horror elements keep you turning the page, its underlying message challenges the reader to think about society's obsession with violence--especially towards women (though this message never feels forced or "preachy"). If you're a fan of thrillers, horrors, and women who kick ass, you'll love this book.
The Orphan Master's Son
Adam Johnson$18.00 $16.74
The Orphan Master’s Son tells a captivating, humorous, and heartbreaking tale of life in the reclusive Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Set to themes of propaganda and identity, we follow the story of Pak Jun Do, an orphan whose journey takes him from fighting in tunnels for the North Korean army, to a seafaring kidnapper, to a spy in Texas and to a work camp and beyond. This is a great book for those who may share my morbid curiosity about one of the most mysterious and isolated countries in the world.
The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale
Art Spiegelman$35.00 $32.55
Art Spiegelman’s Maus uses “postmodern” techniques to tell its story of Germany during WWII—most strikingly in its depiction of a race of humans as different kinds of animals: Jews as mice, Germans as cats, and non-Jewish Poles as pigs. Spiegelman’s fiercely honest account of his father’s experience as a Jew during the Holocaust, and later as a prisoner at Auschwitz, is so engrossing, real, and touching that it is often a challenge to put the book down.
The Complete Persepolis: Volumes 1 and 2
Marjane Satrapi$27.00 $25.11
This book a glimpse of life in Iran as told through the eyes of a bright young woman who comes of age during the 1979 Iranian Revolution. After Islamic fundamentalists take over the country, Marjane struggles to come to terms with the new oppressive rule of law. When the war becomes too dangerous, Marjane is sent to Austria at 14, where she receives a Western education. Upon her return to Iran, Marjane must learn to reconcile her conflicting identities and find her true self. Persepolis is a beautiful, powerfully human account of the lives, struggles, and dreams of the Iranian people.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Becky Albertalli$11.99 $11.15
Like an old familiar smell, or the first cool day in fall, this book yanks you right back into high school in all the best ways. Simon and his friends are charming, smart, and genuinely funny. Don’t be surprised if by the end of the book you find yourself pining once again for that crazy time in life where it feels like you age a decade in a week. Set in the suburbs of Atlanta, Becky Albertalli does an amazing job of telling a delightful, endearing, and achingly beautiful story of love and “coming out” in the South.
Tom Robbins$18.00 $16.74
Robbins pulls no punches with his sharp wit, hilarious dialogue, and curious philosophy in this self-described epic. The major themes of the book include the striving for immortality, the meaning behind the sense of smell, individual expression, self-reliance, sex, love, and religion. Beets and the god Pan figure prominently. Robbins masterfully navigates this funny, often absurd, saga with four distinct storylines, one set in 8th century Bohemia and three others in modern day New Orleans, Seattle and Paris. If you enjoy your philosophy with a good belly laugh, then this is the right book for you.
American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition
Neil Gaiman$9.99 $9.29
Written by one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman, this novel is a blend of Americana, fantasy, and various strands of ancient and modern mythology, all centering on the mysterious and taciturn Shadow. Little did I know when I first picked up this book I was about to experience one of the most interesting and engaging stories I’d ever read. I was blown away by Gaiman’s ability to effortlessly fuse old concepts of myth and gods with our modern world. With each page I got more drawn in and by the end I was left aching for more.
Frank Herbert$10.99 $10.22
Set in the distant future in a feudal interstellar society in which noble houses, in control of individual planets, owe allegiance to the Padishah Emperor, Dune is the story of a young man whose family accepts the stewardship of the planet Arrakis, the only source of the "spice" melange, the most important and valuable substance in the universe. Control of Arrakis is a dangerous undertaking. The story explores the interaction of politics, religion, ecology, technology, and human emotion, as the forces of the empire confront each other in a struggle for the control of Arrakis and its "spice."
His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass, the Subtle Knife, the Amber Spyglass; Introduction by Lucy Hughes-Hallett
Philip Pullman$38.00 $35.34
An epic trilogy of fantasy novels, this series follows the coming of age of two children, Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry, as they wander through a series of parallel universes. From witches and armored bears, to physics, philosophy, and theology, these books deliver hard truths mixed with magic and mystery. Though Pullman's publishers have primarily marketed the series to young adults, Pullman also intended to speak to both older children and adults. I cannot recommend them enough to young and old readers, alike.
East of Eden: (Penguin Orange Collection)
John Steinbeck$19.00 $17.67
Often described as Steinbeck's most ambitious novel, East of Eden brings to life the intricate details of two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons, and their interwoven stories. If books can be described as amusement park rides, this one would be a roller coaster ("I'm on a roller coaster of emotion!") as it often had me laughing, crying, outraged, and jubilant all in the turn of a few pages. I remember finishing it and just thinking, "Wow."
Stephen Chbosky$30.00 $27.90
As a fan of Perks of Being a Wallflower, I was more than excited to read Chbosky's newest novel, Imaginary Friend, and it did not disappoint! The book begins as a slow burn, but when it does take off it does so at breakneck speed. Creepy, unsettling, and otherworldly, this book had me jumping at small noises and looking over my shoulder for days. Whether you're a fan of horror or not, this book guarantees to delight and terrify all who pick it up.
Memories, Dreams, Reflections
Carl G. Jung$18.00 $16.74
This partially autobiographical account of the life of Carl G. Jung was hugely influential in my decision to study psychology. As an eager young freshman at Georgia State I was assigned to read this book in a creative writing class and I still remember the “Oh wow!” life-changing moment I experienced while reading it in a park in downtown Atlanta. Jung opened my eyes to new ways of thinking about old concepts and ideas in this account of his life, spiritual experiences, and growth as a man. Definitely worth the read for those interested in a unique understanding of human nature and one man’s beautiful attempt to make sense of it all.
Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche
Robert A. Johnson$15.99 $14.87
Though at first glance this book can come across as “just another self-help book”, Owning Your Own Shadow delves much deeper into the reasons why people behave the way they do. Johnson explores the concept of the “Shadow” and sheds light (ha!) on this mysterious beast lurking inside us all. By recognizing and owning our shadow, we begin to accept others and ourselves more fully.
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel Garcia Marquez$19.99 $18.59
Written in the beautifully poetic style of “magical realism”, Gabrielle Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude leads the reader on an enchanted journey spanning generations. This book is no fairy-tale, however. A dominant theme in One Hundred Years of Solitude is the inevitable and inescapable repetition of history in Macondo, the Latin American town in which the book is set. A wonderful read for those who enjoy complex, interwoven themes and storytelling.
Richard Adams$19.99 $18.59
This is a must-read for the summer. Set in south-central England, the story features a small group of rabbits. Although they live in their natural environment, they are anthropomorphized, possessing their own culture, language, proverbs, poetry, and mythology. Evoking epic themes, the novel follows the rabbits as they escape the destruction of their warren and seek a place to establish a new home, encountering perils and temptations along the way. Every time I finish this book I can’t help but feel like I’ve lost some very dear friends.