Paul's Picks

By Folio Books

By Folio Books

The Lucky Star

William T Vollmann

$35.00 $31.50

When even Vollmann himself declares it his most cynical work yet - this from the man who went 7 volumes on every reason humans have ever had to murder each other - you know you're in for something special. Incredibly dark, full of violence, addiction, sex, and abuse in all forms, performed against the backdrop of modern day San Francisco's own Tenderloin district, The Lucky Star takes you on a wild ride that leaves the reader with more questions than answers but ultimately reveals (almost) just how beautiful a human life can be when stripped of all decorum and performance. Third in Vollmann's "transgender trilogy" - published out of order in pure WTV style - The Lucky Star pulls no punches and takes no prisoners tackling toxic celebrity idolatry and the toll it takes on healthy self-perception, all the while dropping heartbreaking but incredibly entertaining trivia about the one and only Judy Garland. Please enjoy, but don't say I didn't warn you.

Still Life with Woodpecker (Reissue)

Tom Robbins

$17.00 $15.64

"How do we make love stay?" Is the ultimate question driving Tom Robbins', Still Life with Woodpecker. No one writes with such allegorical authority as Robbins. This book has held a very special place in my heart ever since the first time I read it, and is also the book I have reread more times than any other (except for maybe a Wrinkle in Time) and every time discovered I've something new. Robbins takes you on a wild ride past defunct monarchies, outlaw terrorists, damsels who insist on saving themselves, and of course, all lit elegantly by the light of the moon. I cannot recommend strongly enough this spectacular work of modern American fiction which even Robbins' own Remington SL-3 typewriter couldn't keep up with.

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming

David Wallace-Wells

$18.00 $16.56

Ever bit your lip after you stubbed your toe to distract yourself from the pain? My logic with Wallace-Wells could be described similarly. Deeply engrossing without being alarmist, DW-W links the web of interconnected forces at play by weaving what I imagine as several Venn Diagrams linked together until becoming an enormous mandala, encompassing all the world's delicate thermodynamic forces. I cannot stress enough, that this is ultimately a hopeful diagnosis of our overall situation. It's never too late to change, just look at the rapid ecological restoration we're seeing in the wake of paused economies all over the world. Now in paperback!

Enter the Aardvark

Jessica Anthony

$26.00 $23.40

If you're looking for an engrossing distraction, look no further! This tale of a beautifully embalmed Aardvark from opposing ends of its life(?) weaves such an enormously hilarious and heartwarming romp that I found myself gasping out loud. While it is endlessly entertaining, at the core is a beautiful critique of toxic masculinity set in two entirely different time periods, although not particularly dissimilar to each other in execution. A spectacular satire that spans across genres, I cannot overstate how much I enjoyed this book.

Weather

Jenny Offill

$23.95 $21.56

Beautifully bookish, Offill's second novel swings wildly from existential anxiety to groan/eye roll educing Dad jokes with seamless authority. I certainly found myself laughing out loud more than once. Told in short punches of prose, Lizzie watches the world turn from her perch at the desk of her local library. Anyone who has ever had a public facing job will appreciate her role not just as book finder/shelver, but also as a pillar of emotional stability for her entire community, for better or worse. Dark, funny, and ever so timely, Weather aspires not just to entertain, but to engage the reader directly.

Tears of the Trufflepig

Fernando A Flores

$16.00 $14.72

This particularly arid, dystopian yarn follows the intrepid border smuggler, Esteban, on his journey down a rabbit hole into the world of illegal "filtered" animals - formerly extinct creatures grown in labs run by cartels who needed to find more lucrative endeavors than narcotics now that all drugs have been legalized. Disturbingly probable in its visions of a not-so-far-off future, Flores manages to be simultaneously harrowing and hilarious. Playing around with fictional science, but not really science fiction, it is at its core a story about redemption, loss, and honoring the past in both the macro and the micro; seeking to find the answers left behind by lost civilizations, and probing into the intricacies of brotherly love when the choices we make render our own flesh and blood unrecognizable.

Made for Love

Alissa Nutting

$15.99 $14.71

This book is just fun. A widower gets obsessed with a sex doll that he dresses in his wife's old clothes, a thief develops a particularly unhealthy obsession with a dolphin, but can it truly be called, love? (why not?) Desperate to get over her ex, CEO and founder of Gogol Industries (get it?), Nutting's protagonist, Hazel, is on a warpath to regain her own identity. Endlessly entertaining, and a spectacular break-up book, Made for Love plumbs the depths of human connection, and asks the hard questions about identity, coupling, and the effects each has on the other.

God: A Human History

Reza Aslan

$18.00 $16.56

Lost Children Archive

Valeria Luiselli

$16.95 $15.59

This America: The Case for the Nation

Jill Lepore

$16.95 $15.59

Cryptonomicon

Neal Stephenson

$19.98 $18.38