Juan Gabriel Vasquez$30.00 $27.90
May 2023 Pick: "Retrospective" Based on very real people and real events, this novel is an exploration of life in retrospect in every way. Set later in Sergio Cabrera's life during a celebratory retrospective of his film career, we are taken back in time to the events and experiences that shaped his life. From his and his sister, Marianella's childhood in Colombia with their famous parents, to their move to China during the Cultural Revolution and more, this novel spans vast and intense political and personal landscapes. More than just these events, Retrospective explores our relationship to the past and how time, art, memory, and identity all shape our experiences. "Imagine two Colombian adolescents as the only guests in a Communist party foreigners’ hotel in China. Juan Gabriel Vásquez is a Colombian writer with the talent to keep a magician’s equilibrium between reality and fiction.... Fascinating... Beautifully written and gripping." -- Gioconda Belli, The Guardian
Elvin James Mensah$27.00 $25.11
April 2023 Pick: "Small Joys" Harley is at a breaking point, having moved back to rural England after dropping out of college. Interrupted in a moment of almost tragedy, his new flatmate Muddy arrives and sets in motion a new kind of story for them both. The best things in life are often the small moments. This novel is a celebration of that - of the quiet moments, and the beautiful people we meet along the way. "Breathtaking and heartrending, by turns hilarious and devastating and surprising and wild... Elvin James Mensah's prose makes the intangible deft and tremendous - from the balm of friendship to the beauty of queerness to the all-encompassing elixir of community. Tender, thrilling, and honest, Small Joys is a beam of light." - Bryan Washington, author of Memorial
Emilia Hart$29.00 $26.97
March 2023 Pick: "Weyward" A book told from different character perspectives - and different timelines at that - that tells a compelling story from every angle can be a rare find. This novel was that and more for me. I was equally invested in each of these women's journeys and couldn't wait to return to the different timelines. While at times, each of them across the generations faced hardships and intense traumas, Emilia Hart never lets you lose sight of the power and resilience they carry within. In the aftermath of our darkest times we sometimes find our truest selves. A little bit magical, a little bit historical, and a little bit of an ode to nature's beauty and cruelty at both turns, I know this one will stay with me as a top read of the year. "Tension and suspense are skillfully maintained as these women seek to extricate themselves from dire circumstances and discover secret strength. The result is a tale of magic and female empowerment and an atmospheric, gripping read." –Booklist
Eleanor Shearer$27.00 $25.11
February 2023 Pick: "River Sing Me Home" Following the Emancipation Act of 1834 and the refusal of her master to release anyone on the Providence plantation, Rachel leaves - running for her life. As she sets out on her journey, she searches for the five children who had been taken from her and sold. Her travels from Barbados to British Guiana, Trinidad and Tobago are harrowing and heartbreaking at times, but throughout this lyrical novel are woven strong threads of the love of a mother and the hope we carry even in the darkest times. Ultimately a story of resilience and what it means to truly be free in every sense of the word this is a beautiful debut novel not to be missed. "I was left undone by this piercing but beautifully rendered story. My heart broke so many times in the reading but the stunning prose kept stitching it back together." - Susan Meissner
Parini Shroff$28.00 $26.04
January 2023 Pick: "The Bandit Queens" Selena Says: Geeta, largely content living alone after her husband left her, has one minor problem - everyone in her village thinks she killed him. While the thought had certainly crossed her mind, this misunderstanding sets off a chain of events in her life that is both darkly comic and moving. This novel doesn't shy away from deeper issues, but its approach and vivid portrayal of the characters at its heart is perfectly balanced, making it an unforgettable read to start your year. “ The Bandit Queensis an original, memorable, and endearing story. At times deeply serious, then laugh-out-loud funny, Parini Shroff has written a sobering but hopeful exploration of womanhood, social injustices, and second chances.”—Charmaine Wilkerson, New York Times bestselling author of Black Cake
Lily Brooks-Dalton$29.00 $26.97
December 2022 Pick: "The Light Pirate" Selena says: Born during a storm in a future Florida where nature and the ocean are slowly reclaiming the land, this novel follows Wanda as she grows up in a landscape at once familiar and alien. Perfect for fans of Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven and Delia Owen's Where the Crawdads Sing, this novel is at times devastating, but always keeps an eye toward hope. A thought-provoking look at our ability as humans to adapt to change and grow community, this is one that will stay with you. “This is one of the most daring, deeply imagined and moving novels I have read. The writer asks us to consider a near-apocalyptic future, but, in prose that is beautiful and precise, Brooks-Dalton offers us hope that we are capable of remaking this world as a gentler and more generous-hearted place. Readers will not forget this beautiful book.”―Meredith Hall, Author of Beneficence
Barbara Kingsolver$32.50 $30.23
November 2022 Pick: "Demon Copperhead" Selena says: Demon Copperhead is the story of a boy, born in Appalachia to a family and place filled with strife. His journey is long and filled with harrowing, heartbreaking, and triumphant moments, all beautifully captured and written. While it is an indictment of many of our modern systems and exposé of the opioid crisis, it is also a compelling story of a powerful life lived. Inspired by Dickens' David Copperfield, Kingsolver so masterfully modernizes the story, creating such vivid characters that pull you in from the very first page, that is an entirely new experience. “With its bold reversals of fate and flamboyant cast, this is storytelling on a grand scale….As Demon discovers, owning his story – every part of it – and finding a way to tell it is how he’ll wrest some control over his life. And what a story it is: acute, impassioned, heartbreakingly evocative, told by a narrator who’s a product of multiple failed systems, yes, but also of a deep rural landscape with its own sustaining traditions.” —The Guardian
Celeste Ng$29.00 $26.97
October 2022 Pick: "Our Missing Hearts" Emma says: In Celeste's Ng's newest work, she branches out from tense suburban character studies into an all-too-believable dystopian setting. Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner knows better than to ask why his poet mother disappeared three years ago. But when he receives a cryptic clue and goes in search of her, he discovers the dark side of his own society. "Shot through with vivid color and rising hope, an unflinching yet life-affirming drama about the power of art and love to push back in dangerous times . . . Ng's brilliance lies in leaving the reader with an unshakable belief that against all odds, people will find the courage to resist, revolt, and defend . . . remarkable." --Oprah Daily
Rasheed Newson$27.99 $26.03
September 2022 Pick: "My Government Means to Kill Me" Selena says: A debut novel, My Government Means to Kill Me, immediately makes a place for itself among the best of the year. This one is not to miss. A historical look at 1980s New York through the lens of a young black gay man, there is plenty of the personal is political, particularly as our writer/narrator, Trey, grows into his own beliefs during the height of the AIDS epidemic. This novel is even more than that though - it's a vivid and real portrait of coming of age, the family we find and make, the beauty and mess of our mistakes along the way. Told in the style of a memoir, complete with equally intriguing footnotes, this story is full of depth and heart - you won't be able to put it down. "Proof that writers can revere and play with history at the same time...Newson's prose is engaging and entertaining, and he captures the dynamics of found families." ―BookPage
Gabrielle Zevin$28.00 $26.04
July 2022 Pick: "Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow" Selena says: We first meet Sam and Sadie as they reconnect, meeting by chance on a train platform after years apart. Childhood friends, they find they still have a common love of video games, and decide to come together and create a new game. While set around the world of video games, even if you're not a gamer yourself, you'll appreciate the role it plays in this thought-provoking and complex story. This is a story we're familiar with, the story of living and all of the complicated, beautiful, and messy relationships and friendships we build over the course of it, but the storytelling is utterly original. Zevin creates intricately real portraits of the human experience and Sam and Sadie's journey will stay with you long after you finish the novel. "It’s impossible to predict how, exactly, you’ll fall in love with Gabrielle Zevin’s novel..., but it’s an eventuality you can’t escape... Her artistic, inclusive world is filled with characters so genuine and endearing that you may start caring for them as if they were real. Above all, her development of Sam and Sadie’s relationship is pure wizardry; it’s deep and complex, transcending anything we might call a love story. Whether you care about video games or not is beside the point. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is the novel you’ve been waiting to read." —Chika Gujarathi, BookPage
Vaishnavi Patel$29.00 $26.97
May 2022 Pick: "Kaikeyi" Emma says: Kaikeyi - the villified queen from the Ramayana - is given the chance to tell her own story in this mythology retelling. (You don't need to know the original story, don't worry, though you will probably want to know more after reading this book!) "A lyrical and evocative retelling, full of power and grace, which brings forward a traditionally maligned woman of myth. Kaikeyi's life is rendered with richness and nuance, yielding a story that feels both novel and classic. A spellbinding debut."―Ava Reid, author The Wolf and the Woodsman
Quan Barry$17.00 $15.81
March 2022 Pick: "When I'm Gone, Look For Me In the East" Emma says: You have not read a book like this before. In it, a novice Buddhist monk travels Mongolia searching for the next reincarnation of a lama, in a group that includes his twin brother - whose thoughts he can read, and whose beliefs have diverged from his own. It is a book of beauty and wonder, evoking with equal skill the landscape and peoples of Mongolia, the various sects of the Buddhist faith, and the individual struggles of two brothers seeking meaning in a difficult world.
Kai Harris$26.00 $24.18
February 2022 Pick: "What the Fireflies Knew" Jimmy says: Just one of the many rave reviews that inspired me to pick this book: “Combining complex characters, writing that instantly penetrates your heart, and the restorative power of nature, What the Fireflies Knew is a luminous reminder that sometimes the only true path to healing is through facing our painful histories, and that we don't have to do it alone. With a debut novel this remarkable, Kai Harris is a writer I hope is around for a long, long time.” —Mateo Askaripour, New York Times bestselling author of Black Buck
Juhea Kim$17.99 $16.73
January 2022 Pick: "Beasts of a Little Land" Jimmy says: Beasts of a Little Land is a stunning chronicle of the Korean peninsula during the tumultuous decades leading to independence and partition. Told through the lives of a rich cast of characters—courtesans, Japanese generals, and revolutionaries—whose stories intertwine in the most unexpected ways, it is by turns political and sensual, epic and intimate. It is also a profound meditation on place, evoking the urban and natural landscapes of Korea with transporting beauty.
A. S. Byatt$18.00 $16.74
December 2021 Pick: "Medusa's Ankles" Emma says: We wouldn't ordinarily choose a book of short stories for our fiction pick, but almost everything coming out in late Nov/early Dec was bleak, bleak, bleak, and who needs that in winter? With Byatt's short stories - selected from across her long career - you will be transported around the world and across time with her scintillating prose swirling around you. And if one story doesn't suit your mood, try the next. Enjoy the ride!
Uwem Akpan$18.95 $17.62
November 2021 Pick: "New York, My Village" Jimmy says: I picked this book because Akpan’s prose melds humor, tenderness, and pain to explore the myriad ways that tribalism defines life everywhere, from the villages of Nigeria to the villages within New York City. New York, My Village is a triumph of storytelling and a testament to the life-sustaining power of community across borders and across boroughs.
Anthony Doerr$20.00 $18.60
October 2021 Pick: "Cloud Cuckoo Land" Jimmy says: A daring and audacious new book, unfolding beyond time and space, Anthony Doerr delivers an epic novel that will be like nothing you’ve read all year. With its reverence of language, writing and books themselves coupled with an intricate plot both historical and star-spanning, Cloud Cuckoo Land launches into the literary stratosphere. Be immersed, be intrigued and be indubitably inspired by a storytelling behemoth at the peak of his career.