Staff Picks ... in no particular order

 
White Walls

 White Walls by Tatyana Tolstaya

"Dark, fairy-tale like stories that sparkle with original imagery - a world filtered through the vision of children and other misfits.  Tolstaya shares her uncle Leo’s acute eye for detail, but brings a vision all her own.  Enjoy!" -Meghan G.

 Unconquered

The Unconquered by Scott Wallace

"78 days deep in the Amazonian jungle, beyond the reach of cell phones, doctors and possibly God, our intrepid traverelers seek to map the territory of the Arrow people, possibly the last uncontacted tribe in the world. Imagine Paul Theroux, Pico Iyer and Colin Woodard writing together - that will give you a taste of what is inside."  -Chris

 Seating Arrangements

 Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead

"Let’s welcome a newcomer to the ranks of America’s premier satirists.  In her debut novel Maggie Shipstead skewers the upper crust in hilarious cringing fashion.  That these 1%ers actually seem to believe in their superiority makes Shipstead’s sly and stylistic writing all the more delicious.  A perfect beach read."  -Bill

In the Shadow of the Banyan

 In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner

"In the Shadow of the Banyan is a fictionalized version of the author’s own experience growing up in Cambodia as the Khmer Rough came into power.  Though there are few subjects mroe disturbing than the terror of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s in Cambodia, debut author Ratney has created a story full of beauty and inspiration.  Through the eyes of seven year old Raami, you will feel joy, loss, hope, grief but, above all, the power of story and the word.  A beautiful reminder of the strength of people." -Julia

 Sweet Talk

 Sweet Talk by Stephanie Vaughn

"In these strong but delicate stories, Vaughn engages the unique perspective of her recurring narrator, a military child named Gemma, to remind us of life’s endless reassuring contradictions: the enormous is encapsulated in the tiny; strength is found in the delicate.  These ideas are carried even in the style of the prose.  Vaughn hasn’t published anything since these stories (several of which appeared in The New Yorker in the 80s), but rumor has it she’s at work on a novel ... go, Vaughn, go!  Enjoy!"  -Meghan G.

Blade Itself

                                                                         The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

"Joe Abercrombie doesn’t so much stray from fantasy cliches as take an axe to them, then sets them on fire. The First Law Trilogy begins with The Blade Itself, a rollicking good ride with the action feel of Salvatore or Gemmel and the layered plot of Martin or Rothfuss.  A wonderful addition to the booming realm of fantasy noir.  Abercrombie fits right in with Richard K. Morgan abd Daniel Polansky.  Also contains one of my all time favorite anti-heroes in a crippled torturer who can barely walk up the stairs but drives his chapters at full sprint.  If Philip Marlowe was given a battleaxe instead of a .38, he’d fit right into this book.  -Andrew

 Hologram for the King

 A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers

"This novel is an accounting of a depleted man from America, Alan, in a depleted landscape, Saudi Arabia.  Alan is on his latest - and last? - effort to achieve the type of success that has eluded him all his life.  A personal parallel is drawn between the exhaustion of American industry and the exhaustion of the American spirit.  It’s about what the soul suffers when the body has been sold piece by piece to the lowest bidder and even dreams have been outsourced."  -Jack

 Bangkok 8

Bankgkok 8 by John Burdett

“Picture this - a half American, half Thai cop, who aspires to follow the trachings of Buddha while practicing police work in the middle of the original sin city.  Burdett has an incredibly fascinating world view; he clearly understands the differences between an Eastern mindset and that of a Westerner.  A “detective” novel that shatters the boundaries of the genre.  Enjoy.” -Bill

 Evolution of Bruno Littlemore

                   The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore by Benjamin Hale

“Almost 600 pages of a chimp who is also human and I would have eagerly read 600 more.  Bruno can speak and lives like one of us.  He falls in love with a woman and that love is returned.  He kills a man.  He is an off-off Broadway actor and playwright.  He will cause you to question your humanity and you will love this stunnung debut novel.”  -Chris

 Stone Arabia

Stone Arabia by Dana Spiotta

“Dana Spiotta is among a group of youngish authors who are telling us about the absurdity and beauty of contemporary popular culture.  The narrator is the sister of Nik, promising young punk rocker who instead turns his back on the “real” world to create an alter-ego in the Chronicles (replete with 20 albums).  Denise, the sister, is an emtional mess, reminding us that we are all very close to the same untethered space.  Please read this book, it will nourish you.” -Bill

 Variety of Disturbance

Variety of Disturbance by Lydia Davis

“Davis probably thinks much more about each word in each of her stories with more precision than I’ve ever thought about anything, ever.  Each (very) short story is like a carefully measured rope-swing designed to propel you to profound depth of humor and pathos.  But you do have to place your faith in it.  Fun!” -Meghan G.

 Girl Held in Home

                          Girl Held in Home by Elizabeth Searle

“A beautifully written, sensational little book - perfect for those of us who are curious about those outrageous sounding stories that you find on the internet *cough* Huffington Post *cough cough* but don’t want to admit it, so turn to literature instead.” -Emily

 Snow Child

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

“A riveting, haunting tale of homesteaders in Alaska in the 1920s.  Middle aged Jack and Mabel, childless, have left the East to begin a new life.  After they build a snow child they are haunted by a real child who visits and disappears into the woods.  An aching love story that is a masterful retelling of a Russian fairy tale.  Enchanting.” -Chris

 Play it as it Lays

Play It as It Lays by Joan Didion

“I know there are at least a few others of you out there who enjoy the feeling of pure, unadulterated emptiness.  Didion was born to take you there.  When you’re ready to come back we have plenty of cheery books to help you out.  Oh, delightful misery!”  -Meghan G.

 Nothing to Envy

                        Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick

“I read The Orphan Master’s Son and loved it.  It was the first novel  have ever read about North Korea.  I could not stop thinking about North Korea and what a sad, strange place it seemed to be.  Nothing to Envy is the story of six North Koreans over the period of 15 years.  We must help these people.” -Chris

 All the Living

All the Living by C.E. Morgan

“This novel tells a simple story in an eternal tone.  Set in the foothills of Kentucky (right near my hometown) over the course of a growing season, it follows Aloma and Orren as they, as individuals and partners of a sort, navigate aloneness, partnership, loss, tradition, obligation, loyalty, community and the struggle of choice in an unknowable and seemingly indifferent existence.  Like the southern summer depicted in the story, this novel is vibrant, enveloping, uncomfortable and alive.” -Jack

 Orphan Masters Son

The Orphan Masterʼs Son by Adam Johnson


“ A brilliant novel of North Korea that is seriously compelling and beautifully written. I think that this book is a masterpiece.” -Chris

The Bottoms 
The Bottoms by Joe Lansdale
“ Think To Kill a Mockingbird blended with Flannery O'Connor and you will get a sense of this true American Classic.  A young buy and his sister find a murdered woman in a forgotten river in a tiny town in Texas.  This is an important novel of race, place and time.”  -Chris
Brooklyn 

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

“Toibin fits perfectly in the pantheon of gifted Irish writers.  Is it something in the water )or the Guiness)?  Brooklyn expands Toilin’s ouerve with the story of a young and spirited Irish girl who emigrates to America, to Brooklyn to be more exact and begins her new life all while still tenuously holding into the old sod of Ireland.  A marvelous read.” -Bill

True Grit 

True Grit by Charles Portis

“The reason I purchased True Grit is becaise the Coen brothers are doing a remake of the 1969 movie with Jeff Bridges in the John Wayne role.  The Coen borthers’ film of Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men was excellent; they were very faithful to the book.  I wanted to read True Grit to get an idea of how they would transform this book to film.  The author, Charles Portis, writes in the voice of Mattie Ross, a woman relating her experience as a 14 year old girl out to avenge her father’s murder.  It sounds rather brutal and it is, but the overall feeling is mroe of a wonderful adventure.  A window into the real or imagined America of over 100 years ago.  A great, fun book to read.” -Mr. Takami (customer and friend)

The Moment

The Moment by Douglas Kennedy

“I was thoroughy prepared to dislike this book - after all, the cover resembles a Danielle Steele novel and the title is right out of Oprah’s Book Club.  But .... the truth is Douglas Kennedy is a fantastic storyteller and in The Moment he has created the rarest of birds in contemporary fiction, a literary page turner.  Enjoy.” -Bill

The Swerve 

The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt

“Greenblatt’s National Book Award winner is a spellbinding account of the life of a Vatican copyist who embarks upon a search for works by the Greeks and Romans that have been lost.  The Vatican politics are deliciously unsavory and our book-hunter succeeds in finding and resurrecting Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things, a book Greenblatt suggests helped spark the Renaissaance.” -Bill

Arctic Dreams 

Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez

“This book is worth reading simply to enjoy Lopez’s account of watching a polar bear stalk a seal and swearing he never saw the bear move as said bear crossed a quarter mile of frozen ice.  A riveting narrative of a land most of us will never get to see - travelling vicarously with Lopez is the next best thing to being there.” -Bill

Man Gone Down 

Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas

“This book is a modern day retelling of Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man told in a Faulknerian stream of consciousness that will nail you to the back of your chair.  Want to read about the unspoken racial energies that bedevil?  Read this book!” -Bill

Freedom 

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

“I read 350 pages of this truly amazing novel in one sitting.  Franzen has an acute and, at times, god-like understanding of the human condition and at times this novel will make you feel like a butterfly pinned upon a mounting for inspection.  But do not worry, the author and hopefully our god loves us and we can be redeemed.  A hugely satisfying read.” -Chris

 God is Dead

God is Dead by Ron Curie, Jr.

“An incredible debut by Waterville, Maine’s Ron Currie, Jr.  Brings to mind the work of Vonnegut, Camus, Kafka and Swift.  Satirical, savage and deeply thought provoking, God is Dead is a novel that will engage the reader from page one.  God descends to earth as a Dinka woman.  She dies in a refugee camp after confronting Colin Powell.  What happens to the world when everyone knows that god is dead?  Read on.” -Chris

 Stories of Breece
The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake
“These stories are as simple and fertile as dirt.  Pancake does the stooping for us, presenting the reader with Life’s fallen fruit, unpolished and with the dirt still on it.  In as unflinching a voice as Raymond Carver - had Carver grown up in the rural south - these are true stories that never happened.”  -Jack
 And the Pursuit of Happiness

And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman

“I love Maira Kalman. And you will too, if you take a peek inside. This book is a celebration of our democracy, history, and,well, our humanity. Each chapter is organized around a month and a person and I guarantee if you read this gift of a book you will feel happy about being alive.” -Chris

 Secret History
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
 
“This academic thriller is intense in its rather slow pace.  Tartt is a master of building tension as she builds up her characters.  It's a good book, so if you haven’t read it yet, you really should.  And if you have read it, it’s probably time to re-read.” -Emily
 Architect of Flowers

The Architect of Flowers by William Lychack

“This collection of short stories is one of the finest, most elegant that I have ever encountered. I could go on but then youʼd be reading my
miserable attemt to communicate instead of reading the gorgeous prose of William Lychack. Go on, now.” -Chris

 History of Love

 The History of Love by Nicole Krauss


“This book is not as daunting as the title sounds. Krauss weaves multiple story lines together in this quirky, touching narrative. Fans of Jonathan Safran Foer (Kraussʼ husband) will enjoy this book, and perhaps enjoy musing on what an intersting household the two might share.” -Emily

 Art of Fielding

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

“This is a book about baseball in the same way that Moby Dick is a book about a fish. The Art of Fielding is a lyrical paean of praise to life as captured in the stories of young people at Westish College and the college president. Their stories, the passions, the fixations, the sweet forbidden love affairs, will captivate you in the way that only great literature can. Itʼs a book in love with life ...” -Bill

 The Lonely Polygamist

The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall

"A giant, great American novel.  This is the story of Golden Richards, a Mormon with 4 wives and 28 children.  The author, in an outrageous, funny, profoundly plotted story, will have the reader entranced.  Poor Golden Richards is sad, lonely, even a little afraid of his own life (who wouldn’t be with 4 wives needing attention and 28 kids needing raising?).  He falls in love with a woman he sees from a distance while building a new whore house - which, if the church finds out both about the woman and the cathouse - Golden will be ruined.  Truly a book that should make Udall known as one of America’s most important writers.” -Chris

 Beekeeper's Apprentice

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie King

“Please forget everything you thought you knew about Sherlock Holmes and indulge in the sublime pleasures of the Mary Russell mysteries - author Laurie King has created one of the most memorable female characters in recent literature.  Give this series a chance and you will reap rich reading rewards.” -Bill

 Everything Ravaged

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower

"Wells Tower is exceptional.  Not only can he craft a seamles story, but he cultivates each sentence with careful attention and precision, knitting together lyrical description to assemble a darkly perfect narrative whole.  His troubled characters inhabit worlds that he navigates deftly, from the back woods of Aroostook Country to the murky underbelly of a Florida carnival, and Tower manipulates the elements of their lives with a stark intimacy that makes them at once familiar and foreign.  Physical and emotional landscapes that seem recognizable take on new layers of meaning as he pens them to life; people and places acquire a startlingly vitality that is both disconcerting and endearing.  I was mesmerized by his stories, and more than once discovered that I was literally holding my breath in anticipation of the agonizing conclusion.  These characters stick with you, lurking in the corners of your mind until long after the book is closed.  Tower may initially leave you a bit bewildered and heartbroken, but in the end it wil feel like a gift, a subtle bittersweetness that alters the hue of the daily grind just enough to make it new again.” -L

 The Great Leader

The Great Leader by Jim Harrison

The Great Leader is quintessential Harrison and by turns profane, cynical and dispurging of the notion that modern life might have any redeeming qualities beyond whiskey, women and brook trout fishing.  And yet ... as Pete Dexter pointed out in the New York Times Book review, you can open this book to any page and find a sentence that is so luminously breathtakingly beautiful, it will remind you why we read fiction.” -Bill

 Beautiful Losers

Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen

“In this novel some of the most enduring of lifeʼs tortures are suffered anew - spiritual desperation, carnal lust, the sacred vs the eartly and obscene, self-destruction, unity and aloneness - all told in a voice that is earnest, lyrical, heretical and porno-literate.” -Jack

 Sweet relief of missing children

The Sweet Relief of Missing Children by Sarah Braunstein

“That author Braunstein so poignantly and insightfully plumbs the depths of human existence, fearlessly exploring
the darkness as well as the light, is extraordinary. That she has done so in her firstnovel nearly defies belief. Reading is believing ... enjoy and join the fellow readers who anxiously await Ms. Brainsteinsʼ next work.” -Bill (and Stuart concurs!)

 Drown

Drown by Junot Diaz

“This guy’s writing is absolutely electric.  I feel like a little kid turning up rocks to see what surprises are hiding underneath - Diaz’s stories burst with life.  And not because it's more marketable or it will garner more acclaim - it's because he just can’t help himself.  Junot Diaz is the real deal.” -Matt

 Ms Hempel Chronicles

 Ms. Hempel Chronicles by Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum


“Is it a collection of short stories? Is it a novel? It is both. Bynumʼs tale of a somewhat disillusioned school teacher is sweet and sad and the perfect read when your life isnʼt perfect. Plus, the title can be read two different ways - neat!” -Emily

 But Beautiful

But Beautiful (A Story about Jazz) by Geoff Dyer


“Ignore the subtitle; you do not have to be a jazz fan to appreciate this luminous, marvelous book. Dyer is a literary genius and with successive books about another disparate subject, he seems to be also revealing that he is a polymoth. Any lover of literature will love this book.” -Bill

 The Convalescent

The Convalescent by Jessica Anthony

“Truly an inspired work of fiction by Portland’s own Jess Anthony.  You will grow to love Rover Pfliegman, a hairy troll-like man who sells meat out of a broken down schoolbus.  Reminded me of Geek Love and Kafka and Rushdie and perhaps a sprinkling of Flannery O’Connor.” -Chris

 Wolf Totem

Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong

“A tale of how modernization slowly destroyed a way of life that had existed in outer Mongolia for millenia.  The nomadic Mongols, at story’s beginning, still co-exist in harmony with the environment of the steppes and the wolves that live there.  But modernity arrives, as the Chinese government attempts to raise wheat to feed the people.  An astonishing, beautiful, heartrending story of a world lost forever.” -Bill

 Che Guevara

Che Guevara: A Manga Biography by Kiyoshi Konno

“A great read for anyone aged 10 to 100. This manga biography tells Cheʼs story with real passion and power.” -Chris

 Remainder

Remainder by Tom McCarthy


“A man survives a freak accident and gets awarded a very large sum of money, which he uses to try and recreate the last time he felt at ease in the world - to find his version of happiness, it starts wth buying a building, hiring actors and a whole team to “facilitate” the “re-enactments.” But when he questions the sun for hitting the tiled floor at the wrong hour, you start to wonder how far heʼll try to take this (seemingly) limitless obsession...” -Meg

 Matterhorn

Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

“I have never had to go to war, but works like Matterhorn seem necessary to remind us of what the experience means.  Far from glorifying the experience, author Matterhorn offers us a glimpse of the day to day reality of serving in the US army in Vietnam.  One is left to wonder, what does war ever accomplish?” -Bill

 On Writing
On Writing by Stephen King
 
“I think we all know that Stephen King is awesome. In On Writing, he takes the time to slow down and examine his own writing process, and essetnially his awesomeness. An essential book for any writer, and a really good book for any reader. Plus, there is a list of recommendations in the book - donʼt you want to know what Stephen King is reading?!” -Emily
 Iron Will of ShoeShine Cats

 The Iron Will of Shoeshine Cats by Hesh Kestin

“The world of Jewish gangsters and America in 1963. Funny, smart and flawlessly written - this novel should be at the top of your
summer reading list. If you don't like this book, Iʼm sorry.” -Chris

 Mr Fox

Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi


“This book is a delightful romp through the battling imaginations of a writer and his muse. Fun and smart and foxy leaves the reader with plenty of good stuff to chew on.” -Meghan G

 The Help

 The Help by Kathryn Stockett

“Really loved this one! A lot less “fluffy” than I expected - just a really good story surrounding the civil rights movement. A tear jerker and feel
good in one! Really good movie too!” -Meg

 Book of Basketball

The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons

“First, a warning: This book is like crack for basketball junkies.  Be advised ... Simmons brings his trademark humor, encyclopedic knowledge, and outlandish, yet reasonable, opinions to one of hte most definitve books of the NBA to date.  Sure, 700 page seems a bit much, unless you’re covering 70 years of history, thoroughly ranking the top 100 greats (and we’re talking essays for each entry), the top teams, what-ifs, and more, while laying waste to virtually every hoops argument left standing.  Most of all, Simmons is a fan, a rabid, crazy, king of all sports dork level fan, and it shows.  Awesome.” -Matt

 Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley


“A sweet, off beat mystery about an eleven year old girl and her stamp collecting father.  This series is lovely if you like odd protagonists.  Favia is a tomboy who doesnʼt much like people, and prefers to stay in her laboratory (naturally she has a laboratory) studying poisons. Unfortuantely, she keeps running across murder victims. A great read whether you read mysteries often or not. Start with this one and, if you like it, theyʼre three more where it came from.” -Emily

 Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins

“This book should be required reading for every US citizen.  Perkins, as a former member of the club, describes how multinational economic organizations (think the International Monetaty Fund and the Wolrd Bank) dangle loans in front of third world countries and basically creates a class of indentured countries that  can be politically manipulated to serve the interests of their masters - the economic elite (think the 1%).  A frightening and necessary book.” -Bill

 Self Help  
Self-Help by Lorrie Moore
 
 
"The first time I cracked open Self-Help, I felt like I'd discovered something I'd been nursing all my life.  These stories are funny and dark on the surface, surprising and poignant down below.  I confess I was irked for awhile when I learned Moore was only 23 when this collection was published.  Having put my petty jealousy aside, though, I am so glad this book exists." -Meghan G.
 
Devil All the Time
 
The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollack
 
 
"This is one brutal, damning novel of violence.  Sadism, debauchery and Faulknerian despair blended with Flannery O'Connorarian twisted gothicism.  Beautifully tormented, twisted characters wreak havoc in small town America.  Brilliant but not for the faint of heart."-Chris
 
 
 Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg
 The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg
 
 
"Eisenberg's stories are perfect, and they ought to be: she is a genius (really, she is a recipient of the MacArthur Genius Grant!), and it is said she spends a year on each story.  Read the story 'Some Other, Better Otto,' and when you're finished crying (it's a pleasant sort of sobbing, I promise!), just try to find a single word out of place!  And then read all of the other stories too!"-Meghan G.
 The Submission  
 
 
The Submission by Amy Waldman
 
 
"One prominent critic (Maureen Corrigan of the Washington Post) describes The Submission as 'America's 9/11 novel', the work that will inform future generations about the climate, social and emotions and cultural, in the aftermath of that world-changing day.  Viewed from disparate perspectives - an illegal immigrant who lost her undocumented husband, a wealthy widow who lost her blue-blood partner, the head of the commission charged with selecting a memorial and the architect chosen, who happens to be Muslim - Waldman encompasses the range of passions evoked by the tragedy of 9/11." -Bill
 Dead Fish Museum  
The Dead Fish Museum by Charles D'Ambrosio
 
 
"Reading one of D'Ambrosio's short stories can be a surreal experience - vivid, a little eerie, but unmistakably the world you know, populated with characters as real as anyone you might meet.  Finishing one of D'Ambrosio's short stories is like a slap in the face with a cold, wet fish: sudden, probably unexpected, and certainly something you wish hadn't happened, yet you find yourself thinking about it hours, days, weeks later." -Matt
 You Know When the Men are Gone  
 
 
 
 
 
You Know When Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon
 
"This collection of linked short stories is hautning and unforgettable.  This auspicious debut by Siobhan Fallon centers around life in Fort Hood, Texas.  Siobhan's husband served in Irag so this writer knows of what she writes.  Sparse, unsentimental and achingly honest, this collection causes the reader to question - everything."  -Chris
 Marriage PLot
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
 
"Eugenides continues to amaze with his ability to recreate vivid and sepcific slies of Americana with such astonishing versimilitude.  This time it's Brown Unviersity, circa 1980. and the aftermath of graduating into the real world, from an academic research station on Cape Cod to Mother Theresa's hospice centers in India.  A tremendously engaging read."  -Bill
 
Out Stealing Horses
 
Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
 
"In this quiet novel, Petterson uses spare but evocative language to explore his memory of a single summer spent with his father in his cabin on the Norway/Sweden border.  Among his revelations is that perfect recollection and real understanding are two entirely different things.  This is a subtly stirring page-turner!"   -Meghan G.
 Tigers Wife
The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
 
 
“An amazing debut novel set in Yugoslavia.  A story of loss, love, medicine, superstition, war and tigers.  The narrator, Natalia, is a doctor living in a war torn east-European country, her grandfather, also a doctor, is a storyteller of epic proportions.  His stories of the Deathless Man and the Tiger’s Wife exist within this magic book.  Think early Allende or the Russians.”   -Chris
 Zone One
Zone One by Colson Whitehead
 
 
“I am totally over zombies.  There, I said it.  I still really liked this book though.  It’s not a zombie mayhem novel so much as it’s a ‘the world is depressing, oppressive, and inevitable’ novel.  You know me and bleak.  Like most of Whitehead’s work, this is also a New York novel, thematically: being surrounded by faceless hordes that would kill you as soon as look at you, moping about how much potential you thought you had when you were younger, realizing that you will never meaningfully connect with another human being.  It is that kind of a zombie novel.”   -Imogen
 Let the Great World Spin
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
 
 
“Another masterpiece by one of my favorite authors, Colum McCann.  This is the story of Phillippe Petit’s walk on tightrope between the Twin Towers in 1974.  It is also a swan song to New York in the 70s.  Vividly alive, achingly beautiful, this novel bleeds and breathes like the great bloated beast that was the Big Apple in the 70s.”  -Chris
Fault in our Stars 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

“Yeah, yeah, it says young adult ... the only reason that should matter to you is that you’ll get an incredible hardcover read for about half hte price of a “real” grown up book.  Young adult, old adult, anything in between ... bottom line, this a story about people, written for people.  Read this book and lose yourself in the journey and experience of 16 year old Hazel, in whom you will almost certainly find a little piece of yourself.  Prepare to laugh, to cry, to wish you could cerate sentences like John Green has that make you literally stop reading in order to admire their perfection.  This story will make you Feel (yes, with a capital F!) like no other .. and if it doesn’t, well, you need more than just a good book!” - Julia   

 
Ten Thousand Saints
 
Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson
 
“This remarkably assured first novel creates (or re-creates) the East Village circa mid 80s with astonishing versimilitude - despite the fact that the author is too young to have actually been there.  Henderson’s evocation fo the straight-edge scene, with all its inherent contradictions is similarly insightful, and her portrait of Burlington, VT (Wintonburg in the novel) is worth the price of admission.”   -Bill
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
CLICK THE BOOK FOR MORE INFO!
 
White Walls

 White Walls by Tatyana Tolstaya

"Dark, fairy-tale like stories that sparkle with original imagery - a world filtered through the vision of children and other misfits.  Tolstaya shares her uncle Leo’s acute eye for detail, but brings a vision all her own.  Enjoy!" -Meghan G.

 Unconquered

The Unconquered by Scott Wallace

"78 days deep in the Amazonian jungle, beyond the reach of cell phones, doctors and possibly God, our intrepid traverelers seek to map the territory of the Arrow people, possibly the last uncontacted tribe in the world. Imagine Paul Theroux, Pico Iyer and Colin Woodard writing together - that will give you a taste of what is inside."  -Chris

 Seating Arrangements

 Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead

"Let’s welcome a newcomer to the ranks of America’s premier satirists.  In her debut novel Maggie Shipstead skewers the upper crust in hilarious cringing fashion.  That these 1%ers actually seem to believe in their superiority makes Shipstead’s sly and stylistic writing all the more delicious.  A perfect beach read."  -Bill

In the Shadow of the Banyan

 In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner

"In the Shadow of the Banyan is a fictionalized version of the author’s own experience growing up in Cambodia as the Khmer Rough came into power.  Though there are few subjects mroe disturbing than the terror of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s in Cambodia, debut author Ratney has created a story full of beauty and inspiration.  Through the eyes of seven year old Raami, you will feel joy, loss, hope, grief but, above all, the power of story and the word.  A beautiful reminder of the strength of people." -Julia

 Sweet Talk

 Sweet Talk by Stephanie Vaughn

"In these strong but delicate stories, Vaughn engages the unique perspective of her recurring narrator, a military child named Gemma, to remind us of life’s endless reassuring contradictions: the enormous is encapsulated in the tiny; strength is found in the delicate.  These ideas are carried even in the style of the prose.  Vaughn hasn’t published anything since these stories (several of which appeared in The New Yorker in the 80s), but rumor has it she’s at work on a novel ... go, Vaughn, go!  Enjoy!"  -Meghan G.

Blade Itself

                                                                         The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

"Joe Abercrombie doesn’t so much stray from fantasy cliches as take an axe to them, then sets them on fire. The First Law Trilogy begins with The Blade Itself, a rollicking good ride with the action feel of Salvatore or Gemmel and the layered plot of Martin or Rothfuss.  A wonderful addition to the booming realm of fantasy noir.  Abercrombie fits right in with Richard K. Morgan abd Daniel Polansky.  Also contains one of my all time favorite anti-heroes in a crippled torturer who can barely walk up the stairs but drives his chapters at full sprint.  If Philip Marlowe was given a battleaxe instead of a .38, he’d fit right into this book.  -Andrew

 Hologram for the King

 A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers

"This novel is an accounting of a depleted man from America, Alan, in a depleted landscape, Saudi Arabia.  Alan is on his latest - and last? - effort to achieve the type of success that has eluded him all his life.  A personal parallel is drawn between the exhaustion of American industry and the exhaustion of the American spirit.  It’s about what the soul suffers when the body has been sold piece by piece to the lowest bidder and even dreams have been outsourced."  -Jack

 Bangkok 8

Bankgkok 8 by John Burdett

“Picture this - a half American, half Thai cop, who aspires to follow the trachings of Buddha while practicing police work in the middle of the original sin city.  Burdett has an incredibly fascinating world view; he clearly understands the differences between an Eastern mindset and that of a Westerner.  A “detective” novel that shatters the boundaries of the genre.  Enjoy.” -Bill

 Evolution of Bruno Littlemore

                   The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore by Benjamin Hale

“Almost 600 pages of a chimp who is also human and I would have eagerly read 600 more.  Bruno can speak and lives like one of us.  He falls in love with a woman and that love is returned.  He kills a man.  He is an off-off Broadway actor and playwright.  He will cause you to question your humanity and you will love this stunnung debut novel.”  -Chris

 Stone Arabia

Stone Arabia by Dana Spiotta

“Dana Spiotta is among a group of youngish authors who are telling us about the absurdity and beauty of contemporary popular culture.  The narrator is the sister of Nik, promising young punk rocker who instead turns his back on the “real” world to create an alter-ego in the Chronicles (replete with 20 albums).  Denise, the sister, is an emtional mess, reminding us that we are all very close to the same untethered space.  Please read this book, it will nourish you.” -Bill

 Variety of Disturbance

Variety of Disturbance by Lydia Davis

“Davis probably thinks much more about each word in each of her stories with more precision than I’ve ever thought about anything, ever.  Each (very) short story is like a carefully measured rope-swing designed to propel you to profound depth of humor and pathos.  But you do have to place your faith in it.  Fun!” -Meghan G.

 Girl Held in Home

                          Girl Held in Home by Elizabeth Searle

“A beautifully written, sensational little book - perfect for those of us who are curious about those outrageous sounding stories that you find on the internet *cough* Huffington Post *cough cough* but don’t want to admit it, so turn to literature instead.” -Emily

 Snow Child

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

“A riveting, haunting tale of homesteaders in Alaska in the 1920s.  Middle aged Jack and Mabel, childless, have left the East to begin a new life.  After they build a snow child they are haunted by a real child who visits and disappears into the woods.  An aching love story that is a masterful retelling of a Russian fairy tale.  Enchanting.” -Chris

 Play it as it Lays

Play It as It Lays by Joan Didion

“I know there are at least a few others of you out there who enjoy the feeling of pure, unadulterated emptiness.  Didion was born to take you there.  When you’re ready to come back we have plenty of cheery books to help you out.  Oh, delightful misery!”  -Meghan G.

 Nothing to Envy

                        Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick

“I read The Orphan Master’s Son and loved it.  It was the first novel  have ever read about North Korea.  I could not stop thinking about North Korea and what a sad, strange place it seemed to be.  Nothing to Envy is the story of six North Koreans over the period of 15 years.  We must help these people.” -Chris

 All the Living

All the Living by C.E. Morgan

“This novel tells a simple story in an eternal tone.  Set in the foothills of Kentucky (right near my hometown) over the course of a growing season, it follows Aloma and Orren as they, as individuals and partners of a sort, navigate aloneness, partnership, loss, tradition, obligation, loyalty, community and the struggle of choice in an unknowable and seemingly indifferent existence.  Like the southern summer depicted in the story, this novel is vibrant, enveloping, uncomfortable and alive.” -Jack

 Orphan Masters Son

The Orphan Masterʼs Son by Adam Johnson


“ A brilliant novel of North Korea that is seriously compelling and beautifully written. I think that this book is a masterpiece.” -Chris

The Bottoms 
The Bottoms by Joe Lansdale
“ Think To Kill a Mockingbird blended with Flannery O'Connor and you will get a sense of this true American Classic.  A young buy and his sister find a murdered woman in a forgotten river in a tiny town in Texas.  This is an important novel of race, place and time.”  -Chris
Brooklyn 

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

“Toibin fits perfectly in the pantheon of gifted Irish writers.  Is it something in the water )or the Guiness)?  Brooklyn expands Toilin’s ouerve with the story of a young and spirited Irish girl who emigrates to America, to Brooklyn to be more exact and begins her new life all while still tenuously holding into the old sod of Ireland.  A marvelous read.” -Bill

True Grit 

True Grit by Charles Portis

“The reason I purchased True Grit is becaise the Coen brothers are doing a remake of the 1969 movie with Jeff Bridges in the John Wayne role.  The Coen borthers’ film of Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men was excellent; they were very faithful to the book.  I wanted to read True Grit to get an idea of how they would transform this book to film.  The author, Charles Portis, writes in the voice of Mattie Ross, a woman relating her experience as a 14 year old girl out to avenge her father’s murder.  It sounds rather brutal and it is, but the overall feeling is mroe of a wonderful adventure.  A window into the real or imagined America of over 100 years ago.  A great, fun book to read.” -Mr. Takami (customer and friend)

The Moment

The Moment by Douglas Kennedy

“I was thoroughy prepared to dislike this book - after all, the cover resembles a Danielle Steele novel and the title is right out of Oprah’s Book Club.  But .... the truth is Douglas Kennedy is a fantastic storyteller and in The Moment he has created the rarest of birds in contemporary fiction, a literary page turner.  Enjoy.” -Bill

The Swerve 

The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt

“Greenblatt’s National Book Award winner is a spellbinding account of the life of a Vatican copyist who embarks upon a search for works by the Greeks and Romans that have been lost.  The Vatican politics are deliciously unsavory and our book-hunter succeeds in finding and resurrecting Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things, a book Greenblatt suggests helped spark the Renaissaance.” -Bill

Arctic Dreams 

Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez

“This book is worth reading simply to enjoy Lopez’s account of watching a polar bear stalk a seal and swearing he never saw the bear move as said bear crossed a quarter mile of frozen ice.  A riveting narrative of a land most of us will never get to see - travelling vicarously with Lopez is the next best thing to being there.” -Bill

Man Gone Down 

Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas

“This book is a modern day retelling of Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man told in a Faulknerian stream of consciousness that will nail you to the back of your chair.  Want to read about the unspoken racial energies that bedevil?  Read this book!” -Bill

Freedom 

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

“I read 350 pages of this truly amazing novel in one sitting.  Franzen has an acute and, at times, god-like understanding of the human condition and at times this novel will make you feel like a butterfly pinned upon a mounting for inspection.  But do not worry, the author and hopefully our god loves us and we can be redeemed.  A hugely satisfying read.” -Chris

 God is Dead

God is Dead by Ron Curie, Jr.

“An incredible debut by Waterville, Maine’s Ron Currie, Jr.  Brings to mind the work of Vonnegut, Camus, Kafka and Swift.  Satirical, savage and deeply thought provoking, God is Dead is a novel that will engage the reader from page one.  God descends to earth as a Dinka woman.  She dies in a refugee camp after confronting Colin Powell.  What happens to the world when everyone knows that god is dead?  Read on.” -Chris

 Stories of Breece
The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake
“These stories are as simple and fertile as dirt.  Pancake does the stooping for us, presenting the reader with Life’s fallen fruit, unpolished and with the dirt still on it.  In as unflinching a voice as Raymond Carver - had Carver grown up in the rural south - these are true stories that never happened.”  -Jack
 And the Pursuit of Happiness

And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman

“I love Maira Kalman. And you will too, if you take a peek inside. This book is a celebration of our democracy, history, and,well, our humanity. Each chapter is organized around a month and a person and I guarantee if you read this gift of a book you will feel happy about being alive.” -Chris

 Secret History
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
 
“This academic thriller is intense in its rather slow pace.  Tartt is a master of building tension as she builds up her characters.  It's a good book, so if you haven’t read it yet, you really should.  And if you have read it, it’s probably time to re-read.” -Emily
 Architect of Flowers

The Architect of Flowers by William Lychack

“This collection of short stories is one of the finest, most elegant that I have ever encountered. I could go on but then youʼd be reading my
miserable attemt to communicate instead of reading the gorgeous prose of William Lychack. Go on, now.” -Chris

 History of Love

 The History of Love by Nicole Krauss


“This book is not as daunting as the title sounds. Krauss weaves multiple story lines together in this quirky, touching narrative. Fans of Jonathan Safran Foer (Kraussʼ husband) will enjoy this book, and perhaps enjoy musing on what an intersting household the two might share.” -Emily

 Art of Fielding

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

“This is a book about baseball in the same way that Moby Dick is a book about a fish. The Art of Fielding is a lyrical paean of praise to life as captured in the stories of young people at Westish College and the college president. Their stories, the passions, the fixations, the sweet forbidden love affairs, will captivate you in the way that only great literature can. Itʼs a book in love with life ...” -Bill

 The Lonely Polygamist

The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall

"A giant, great American novel.  This is the story of Golden Richards, a Mormon with 4 wives and 28 children.  The author, in an outrageous, funny, profoundly plotted story, will have the reader entranced.  Poor Golden Richards is sad, lonely, even a little afraid of his own life (who wouldn’t be with 4 wives needing attention and 28 kids needing raising?).  He falls in love with a woman he sees from a distance while building a new whore house - which, if the church finds out both about the woman and the cathouse - Golden will be ruined.  Truly a book that should make Udall known as one of America’s most important writers.” -Chris

 Beekeeper's Apprentice

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie King

“Please forget everything you thought you knew about Sherlock Holmes and indulge in the sublime pleasures of the Mary Russell mysteries - author Laurie King has created one of the most memorable female characters in recent literature.  Give this series a chance and you will reap rich reading rewards.” -Bill

 Everything Ravaged

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower

"Wells Tower is exceptional.  Not only can he craft a seamles story, but he cultivates each sentence with careful attention and precision, knitting together lyrical description to assemble a darkly perfect narrative whole.  His troubled characters inhabit worlds that he navigates deftly, from the back woods of Aroostook Country to the murky underbelly of a Florida carnival, and Tower manipulates the elements of their lives with a stark intimacy that makes them at once familiar and foreign.  Physical and emotional landscapes that seem recognizable take on new layers of meaning as he pens them to life; people and places acquire a startlingly vitality that is both disconcerting and endearing.  I was mesmerized by his stories, and more than once discovered that I was literally holding my breath in anticipation of the agonizing conclusion.  These characters stick with you, lurking in the corners of your mind until long after the book is closed.  Tower may initially leave you a bit bewildered and heartbroken, but in the end it wil feel like a gift, a subtle bittersweetness that alters the hue of the daily grind just enough to make it new again.” -L

 The Great Leader

The Great Leader by Jim Harrison

The Great Leader is quintessential Harrison and by turns profane, cynical and dispurging of the notion that modern life might have any redeeming qualities beyond whiskey, women and brook trout fishing.  And yet ... as Pete Dexter pointed out in the New York Times Book review, you can open this book to any page and find a sentence that is so luminously breathtakingly beautiful, it will remind you why we read fiction.” -Bill

 Beautiful Losers

Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen

“In this novel some of the most enduring of lifeʼs tortures are suffered anew - spiritual desperation, carnal lust, the sacred vs the eartly and obscene, self-destruction, unity and aloneness - all told in a voice that is earnest, lyrical, heretical and porno-literate.” -Jack

 Sweet relief of missing children

The Sweet Relief of Missing Children by Sarah Braunstein

“That author Braunstein so poignantly and insightfully plumbs the depths of human existence, fearlessly exploring
the darkness as well as the light, is extraordinary. That she has done so in her firstnovel nearly defies belief. Reading is believing ... enjoy and join the fellow readers who anxiously await Ms. Brainsteinsʼ next work.” -Bill (and Stuart concurs!)

 Drown

Drown by Junot Diaz

“This guy’s writing is absolutely electric.  I feel like a little kid turning up rocks to see what surprises are hiding underneath - Diaz’s stories burst with life.  And not because it's more marketable or it will garner more acclaim - it's because he just can’t help himself.  Junot Diaz is the real deal.” -Matt

 Ms Hempel Chronicles

 Ms. Hempel Chronicles by Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum


“Is it a collection of short stories? Is it a novel? It is both. Bynumʼs tale of a somewhat disillusioned school teacher is sweet and sad and the perfect read when your life isnʼt perfect. Plus, the title can be read two different ways - neat!” -Emily

 But Beautiful

But Beautiful (A Story about Jazz) by Geoff Dyer


“Ignore the subtitle; you do not have to be a jazz fan to appreciate this luminous, marvelous book. Dyer is a literary genius and with successive books about another disparate subject, he seems to be also revealing that he is a polymoth. Any lover of literature will love this book.” -Bill

 The Convalescent

The Convalescent by Jessica Anthony

“Truly an inspired work of fiction by Portland’s own Jess Anthony.  You will grow to love Rover Pfliegman, a hairy troll-like man who sells meat out of a broken down schoolbus.  Reminded me of Geek Love and Kafka and Rushdie and perhaps a sprinkling of Flannery O’Connor.” -Chris

 Wolf Totem

Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong

“A tale of how modernization slowly destroyed a way of life that had existed in outer Mongolia for millenia.  The nomadic Mongols, at story’s beginning, still co-exist in harmony with the environment of the steppes and the wolves that live there.  But modernity arrives, as the Chinese government attempts to raise wheat to feed the people.  An astonishing, beautiful, heartrending story of a world lost forever.” -Bill

 Che Guevara

Che Guevara: A Manga Biography by Kiyoshi Konno

“A great read for anyone aged 10 to 100. This manga biography tells Cheʼs story with real passion and power.” -Chris

 Remainder

Remainder by Tom McCarthy


“A man survives a freak accident and gets awarded a very large sum of money, which he uses to try and recreate the last time he felt at ease in the world - to find his version of happiness, it starts wth buying a building, hiring actors and a whole team to “facilitate” the “re-enactments.” But when he questions the sun for hitting the tiled floor at the wrong hour, you start to wonder how far heʼll try to take this (seemingly) limitless obsession...” -Meg

 Matterhorn

Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

“I have never had to go to war, but works like Matterhorn seem necessary to remind us of what the experience means.  Far from glorifying the experience, author Matterhorn offers us a glimpse of the day to day reality of serving in the US army in Vietnam.  One is left to wonder, what does war ever accomplish?” -Bill

 On Writing
On Writing by Stephen King
 
“I think we all know that Stephen King is awesome. In On Writing, he takes the time to slow down and examine his own writing process, and essetnially his awesomeness. An essential book for any writer, and a really good book for any reader. Plus, there is a list of recommendations in the book - donʼt you want to know what Stephen King is reading?!” -Emily
 Iron Will of ShoeShine Cats

 The Iron Will of Shoeshine Cats by Hesh Kestin

“The world of Jewish gangsters and America in 1963. Funny, smart and flawlessly written - this novel should be at the top of your
summer reading list. If you don't like this book, Iʼm sorry.” -Chris

 Mr Fox

Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi


“This book is a delightful romp through the battling imaginations of a writer and his muse. Fun and smart and foxy leaves the reader with plenty of good stuff to chew on.” -Meghan G

 The Help

 The Help by Kathryn Stockett

“Really loved this one! A lot less “fluffy” than I expected - just a really good story surrounding the civil rights movement. A tear jerker and feel
good in one! Really good movie too!” -Meg

 Book of Basketball

The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons

“First, a warning: This book is like crack for basketball junkies.  Be advised ... Simmons brings his trademark humor, encyclopedic knowledge, and outlandish, yet reasonable, opinions to one of hte most definitve books of the NBA to date.  Sure, 700 page seems a bit much, unless you’re covering 70 years of history, thoroughly ranking the top 100 greats (and we’re talking essays for each entry), the top teams, what-ifs, and more, while laying waste to virtually every hoops argument left standing.  Most of all, Simmons is a fan, a rabid, crazy, king of all sports dork level fan, and it shows.  Awesome.” -Matt

 Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley


“A sweet, off beat mystery about an eleven year old girl and her stamp collecting father.  This series is lovely if you like odd protagonists.  Favia is a tomboy who doesnʼt much like people, and prefers to stay in her laboratory (naturally she has a laboratory) studying poisons. Unfortuantely, she keeps running across murder victims. A great read whether you read mysteries often or not. Start with this one and, if you like it, theyʼre three more where it came from.” -Emily

 Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins

“This book should be required reading for every US citizen.  Perkins, as a former member of the club, describes how multinational economic organizations (think the International Monetaty Fund and the Wolrd Bank) dangle loans in front of third world countries and basically creates a class of indentured countries that  can be politically manipulated to serve the interests of their masters - the economic elite (think the 1%).  A frightening and necessary book.” -Bill

 Self Help  
Self-Help by Lorrie Moore
 
 
"The first time I cracked open Self-Help, I felt like I'd discovered something I'd been nursing all my life.  These stories are funny and dark on the surface, surprising and poignant down below.  I confess I was irked for awhile when I learned Moore was only 23 when this collection was published.  Having put my petty jealousy aside, though, I am so glad this book exists." -Meghan G.
 
Devil All the Time
 
The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollack
 
 
"This is one brutal, damning novel of violence.  Sadism, debauchery and Faulknerian despair blended with Flannery O'Connorarian twisted gothicism.  Beautifully tormented, twisted characters wreak havoc in small town America.  Brilliant but not for the faint of heart."-Chris
 
 
 Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg
 The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg
 
 
"Eisenberg's stories are perfect, and they ought to be: she is a genius (really, she is a recipient of the MacArthur Genius Grant!), and it is said she spends a year on each story.  Read the story 'Some Other, Better Otto,' and when you're finished crying (it's a pleasant sort of sobbing, I promise!), just try to find a single word out of place!  And then read all of the other stories too!"-Meghan G.
 The Submission  
 
 
The Submission by Amy Waldman
 
 
"One prominent critic (Maureen Corrigan of the Washington Post) describes The Submission as 'America's 9/11 novel', the work that will inform future generations about the climate, social and emotions and cultural, in the aftermath of that world-changing day.  Viewed from disparate perspectives - an illegal immigrant who lost her undocumented husband, a wealthy widow who lost her blue-blood partner, the head of the commission charged with selecting a memorial and the architect chosen, who happens to be Muslim - Waldman encompasses the range of passions evoked by the tragedy of 9/11." -Bill
 Dead Fish Museum  
The Dead Fish Museum by Charles D'Ambrosio
 
 
"Reading one of D'Ambrosio's short stories can be a surreal experience - vivid, a little eerie, but unmistakably the world you know, populated with characters as real as anyone you might meet.  Finishing one of D'Ambrosio's short stories is like a slap in the face with a cold, wet fish: sudden, probably unexpected, and certainly something you wish hadn't happened, yet you find yourself thinking about it hours, days, weeks later." -Matt
 You Know When the Men are Gone  
 
 
 
 
 
You Know When Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon
 
"This collection of linked short stories is hautning and unforgettable.  This auspicious debut by Siobhan Fallon centers around life in Fort Hood, Texas.  Siobhan's husband served in Irag so this writer knows of what she writes.  Sparse, unsentimental and achingly honest, this collection causes the reader to question - everything."  -Chris
 Marriage PLot
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
 
"Eugenides continues to amaze with his ability to recreate vivid and sepcific slies of Americana with such astonishing versimilitude.  This time it's Brown Unviersity, circa 1980. and the aftermath of graduating into the real world, from an academic research station on Cape Cod to Mother Theresa's hospice centers in India.  A tremendously engaging read."  -Bill
 
Out Stealing Horses
 
Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
 
"In this quiet novel, Petterson uses spare but evocative language to explore his memory of a single summer spent with his father in his cabin on the Norway/Sweden border.  Among his revelations is that perfect recollection and real understanding are two entirely different things.  This is a subtly stirring page-turner!"   -Meghan G.
 Tigers Wife
The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
 
 
“An amazing debut novel set in Yugoslavia.  A story of loss, love, medicine, superstition, war and tigers.  The narrator, Natalia, is a doctor living in a war torn east-European country, her grandfather, also a doctor, is a storyteller of epic proportions.  His stories of the Deathless Man and the Tiger’s Wife exist within this magic book.  Think early Allende or the Russians.”   -Chris
 Zone One
Zone One by Colson Whitehead
 
 
“I am totally over zombies.  There, I said it.  I still really liked this book though.  It’s not a zombie mayhem novel so much as it’s a ‘the world is depressing, oppressive, and inevitable’ novel.  You know me and bleak.  Like most of Whitehead’s work, this is also a New York novel, thematically: being surrounded by faceless hordes that would kill you as soon as look at you, moping about how much potential you thought you had when you were younger, realizing that you will never meaningfully connect with another human being.  It is that kind of a zombie novel.”   -Imogen
 Let the Great World Spin
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
 
 
“Another masterpiece by one of my favorite authors, Colum McCann.  This is the story of Phillippe Petit’s walk on tightrope between the Twin Towers in 1974.  It is also a swan song to New York in the 70s.  Vividly alive, achingly beautiful, this novel bleeds and breathes like the great bloated beast that was the Big Apple in the 70s.”  -Chris
Fault in our Stars 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

“Yeah, yeah, it says young adult ... the only reason that should matter to you is that you’ll get an incredible hardcover read for about half hte price of a “real” grown up book.  Young adult, old adult, anything in between ... bottom line, this a story about people, written for people.  Read this book and lose yourself in the journey and experience of 16 year old Hazel, in whom you will almost certainly find a little piece of yourself.  Prepare to laugh, to cry, to wish you could cerate sentences like John Green has that make you literally stop reading in order to admire their perfection.  This story will make you Feel (yes, with a capital F!) like no other .. and if it doesn’t, well, you need more than just a good book!” - Julia   

 
Ten Thousand Saints
 
Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson
 
“This remarkably assured first novel creates (or re-creates) the East Village circa mid 80s with astonishing versimilitude - despite the fact that the author is too young to have actually been there.  Henderson’s evocation fo the straight-edge scene, with all its inherent contradictions is similarly insightful, and her portrait of Burlington, VT (Wintonburg in the novel) is worth the price of admission.”   -Bill
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
CLICK THE BOOK FOR MORE INFO!
 
White Walls

 White Walls by Tatyana Tolstaya

"Dark, fairy-tale like stories that sparkle with original imagery - a world filtered through the vision of children and other misfits.  Tolstaya shares her uncle Leo’s acute eye for detail, but brings a vision all her own.  Enjoy!" -Meghan G.

 Unconquered

The Unconquered by Scott Wallace

"78 days deep in the Amazonian jungle, beyond the reach of cell phones, doctors and possibly God, our intrepid traverelers seek to map the territory of the Arrow people, possibly the last uncontacted tribe in the world. Imagine Paul Theroux, Pico Iyer and Colin Woodard writing together - that will give you a taste of what is inside."  -Chris

 Seating Arrangements

 Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead

"Let’s welcome a newcomer to the ranks of America’s premier satirists.  In her debut novel Maggie Shipstead skewers the upper crust in hilarious cringing fashion.  That these 1%ers actually seem to believe in their superiority makes Shipstead’s sly and stylistic writing all the more delicious.  A perfect beach read."  -Bill

In the Shadow of the Banyan

 In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner

"In the Shadow of the Banyan is a fictionalized version of the author’s own experience growing up in Cambodia as the Khmer Rough came into power.  Though there are few subjects mroe disturbing than the terror of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s in Cambodia, debut author Ratney has created a story full of beauty and inspiration.  Through the eyes of seven year old Raami, you will feel joy, loss, hope, grief but, above all, the power of story and the word.  A beautiful reminder of the strength of people." -Julia

 Sweet Talk

 Sweet Talk by Stephanie Vaughn

"In these strong but delicate stories, Vaughn engages the unique perspective of her recurring narrator, a military child named Gemma, to remind us of life’s endless reassuring contradictions: the enormous is encapsulated in the tiny; strength is found in the delicate.  These ideas are carried even in the style of the prose.  Vaughn hasn’t published anything since these stories (several of which appeared in The New Yorker in the 80s), but rumor has it she’s at work on a novel ... go, Vaughn, go!  Enjoy!"  -Meghan G.

Blade Itself

                                                                         The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

"Joe Abercrombie doesn’t so much stray from fantasy cliches as take an axe to them, then sets them on fire. The First Law Trilogy begins with The Blade Itself, a rollicking good ride with the action feel of Salvatore or Gemmel and the layered plot of Martin or Rothfuss.  A wonderful addition to the booming realm of fantasy noir.  Abercrombie fits right in with Richard K. Morgan abd Daniel Polansky.  Also contains one of my all time favorite anti-heroes in a crippled torturer who can barely walk up the stairs but drives his chapters at full sprint.  If Philip Marlowe was given a battleaxe instead of a .38, he’d fit right into this book.  -Andrew

 Hologram for the King

 A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers

"This novel is an accounting of a depleted man from America, Alan, in a depleted landscape, Saudi Arabia.  Alan is on his latest - and last? - effort to achieve the type of success that has eluded him all his life.  A personal parallel is drawn between the exhaustion of American industry and the exhaustion of the American spirit.  It’s about what the soul suffers when the body has been sold piece by piece to the lowest bidder and even dreams have been outsourced."  -Jack

 Bangkok 8

Bankgkok 8 by John Burdett

“Picture this - a half American, half Thai cop, who aspires to follow the trachings of Buddha while practicing police work in the middle of the original sin city.  Burdett has an incredibly fascinating world view; he clearly understands the differences between an Eastern mindset and that of a Westerner.  A “detective” novel that shatters the boundaries of the genre.  Enjoy.” -Bill

 Evolution of Bruno Littlemore

                   The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore by Benjamin Hale

“Almost 600 pages of a chimp who is also human and I would have eagerly read 600 more.  Bruno can speak and lives like one of us.  He falls in love with a woman and that love is returned.  He kills a man.  He is an off-off Broadway actor and playwright.  He will cause you to question your humanity and you will love this stunnung debut novel.”  -Chris

 Stone Arabia

Stone Arabia by Dana Spiotta

“Dana Spiotta is among a group of youngish authors who are telling us about the absurdity and beauty of contemporary popular culture.  The narrator is the sister of Nik, promising young punk rocker who instead turns his back on the “real” world to create an alter-ego in the Chronicles (replete with 20 albums).  Denise, the sister, is an emtional mess, reminding us that we are all very close to the same untethered space.  Please read this book, it will nourish you.” -Bill

 Variety of Disturbance

Variety of Disturbance by Lydia Davis

“Davis probably thinks much more about each word in each of her stories with more precision than I’ve ever thought about anything, ever.  Each (very) short story is like a carefully measured rope-swing designed to propel you to profound depth of humor and pathos.  But you do have to place your faith in it.  Fun!” -Meghan G.

 Girl Held in Home

                          Girl Held in Home by Elizabeth Searle

“A beautifully written, sensational little book - perfect for those of us who are curious about those outrageous sounding stories that you find on the internet *cough* Huffington Post *cough cough* but don’t want to admit it, so turn to literature instead.” -Emily

 Snow Child

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

“A riveting, haunting tale of homesteaders in Alaska in the 1920s.  Middle aged Jack and Mabel, childless, have left the East to begin a new life.  After they build a snow child they are haunted by a real child who visits and disappears into the woods.  An aching love story that is a masterful retelling of a Russian fairy tale.  Enchanting.” -Chris

 Play it as it Lays

Play It as It Lays by Joan Didion

“I know there are at least a few others of you out there who enjoy the feeling of pure, unadulterated emptiness.  Didion was born to take you there.  When you’re ready to come back we have plenty of cheery books to help you out.  Oh, delightful misery!”  -Meghan G.

 Nothing to Envy

                        Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick

“I read The Orphan Master’s Son and loved it.  It was the first novel  have ever read about North Korea.  I could not stop thinking about North Korea and what a sad, strange place it seemed to be.  Nothing to Envy is the story of six North Koreans over the period of 15 years.  We must help these people.” -Chris

 All the Living

All the Living by C.E. Morgan

“This novel tells a simple story in an eternal tone.  Set in the foothills of Kentucky (right near my hometown) over the course of a growing season, it follows Aloma and Orren as they, as individuals and partners of a sort, navigate aloneness, partnership, loss, tradition, obligation, loyalty, community and the struggle of choice in an unknowable and seemingly indifferent existence.  Like the southern summer depicted in the story, this novel is vibrant, enveloping, uncomfortable and alive.” -Jack

 Orphan Masters Son

The Orphan Masterʼs Son by Adam Johnson


“ A brilliant novel of North Korea that is seriously compelling and beautifully written. I think that this book is a masterpiece.” -Chris

The Bottoms 
The Bottoms by Joe Lansdale
“ Think To Kill a Mockingbird blended with Flannery O'Connor and you will get a sense of this true American Classic.  A young buy and his sister find a murdered woman in a forgotten river in a tiny town in Texas.  This is an important novel of race, place and time.”  -Chris
Brooklyn 

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

“Toibin fits perfectly in the pantheon of gifted Irish writers.  Is it something in the water )or the Guiness)?  Brooklyn expands Toilin’s ouerve with the story of a young and spirited Irish girl who emigrates to America, to Brooklyn to be more exact and begins her new life all while still tenuously holding into the old sod of Ireland.  A marvelous read.” -Bill

True Grit 

True Grit by Charles Portis

“The reason I purchased True Grit is becaise the Coen brothers are doing a remake of the 1969 movie with Jeff Bridges in the John Wayne role.  The Coen borthers’ film of Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men was excellent; they were very faithful to the book.  I wanted to read True Grit to get an idea of how they would transform this book to film.  The author, Charles Portis, writes in the voice of Mattie Ross, a woman relating her experience as a 14 year old girl out to avenge her father’s murder.  It sounds rather brutal and it is, but the overall feeling is mroe of a wonderful adventure.  A window into the real or imagined America of over 100 years ago.  A great, fun book to read.” -Mr. Takami (customer and friend)

The Moment

The Moment by Douglas Kennedy

“I was thoroughy prepared to dislike this book - after all, the cover resembles a Danielle Steele novel and the title is right out of Oprah’s Book Club.  But .... the truth is Douglas Kennedy is a fantastic storyteller and in The Moment he has created the rarest of birds in contemporary fiction, a literary page turner.  Enjoy.” -Bill

The Swerve 

The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt

“Greenblatt’s National Book Award winner is a spellbinding account of the life of a Vatican copyist who embarks upon a search for works by the Greeks and Romans that have been lost.  The Vatican politics are deliciously unsavory and our book-hunter succeeds in finding and resurrecting Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things, a book Greenblatt suggests helped spark the Renaissaance.” -Bill

Arctic Dreams 

Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez

“This book is worth reading simply to enjoy Lopez’s account of watching a polar bear stalk a seal and swearing he never saw the bear move as said bear crossed a quarter mile of frozen ice.  A riveting narrative of a land most of us will never get to see - travelling vicarously with Lopez is the next best thing to being there.” -Bill

Man Gone Down 

Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas

“This book is a modern day retelling of Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man told in a Faulknerian stream of consciousness that will nail you to the back of your chair.  Want to read about the unspoken racial energies that bedevil?  Read this book!” -Bill

Freedom 

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

“I read 350 pages of this truly amazing novel in one sitting.  Franzen has an acute and, at times, god-like understanding of the human condition and at times this novel will make you feel like a butterfly pinned upon a mounting for inspection.  But do not worry, the author and hopefully our god loves us and we can be redeemed.  A hugely satisfying read.” -Chris

 God is Dead

God is Dead by Ron Curie, Jr.

“An incredible debut by Waterville, Maine’s Ron Currie, Jr.  Brings to mind the work of Vonnegut, Camus, Kafka and Swift.  Satirical, savage and deeply thought provoking, God is Dead is a novel that will engage the reader from page one.  God descends to earth as a Dinka woman.  She dies in a refugee camp after confronting Colin Powell.  What happens to the world when everyone knows that god is dead?  Read on.” -Chris

 Stories of Breece
The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake
“These stories are as simple and fertile as dirt.  Pancake does the stooping for us, presenting the reader with Life’s fallen fruit, unpolished and with the dirt still on it.  In as unflinching a voice as Raymond Carver - had Carver grown up in the rural south - these are true stories that never happened.”  -Jack
 And the Pursuit of Happiness

And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman

“I love Maira Kalman. And you will too, if you take a peek inside. This book is a celebration of our democracy, history, and,well, our humanity. Each chapter is organized around a month and a person and I guarantee if you read this gift of a book you will feel happy about being alive.” -Chris

 Secret History
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
 
“This academic thriller is intense in its rather slow pace.  Tartt is a master of building tension as she builds up her characters.  It's a good book, so if you haven’t read it yet, you really should.  And if you have read it, it’s probably time to re-read.” -Emily
 Architect of Flowers

The Architect of Flowers by William Lychack

“This collection of short stories is one of the finest, most elegant that I have ever encountered. I could go on but then youʼd be reading my
miserable attemt to communicate instead of reading the gorgeous prose of William Lychack. Go on, now.” -Chris

 History of Love

 The History of Love by Nicole Krauss


“This book is not as daunting as the title sounds. Krauss weaves multiple story lines together in this quirky, touching narrative. Fans of Jonathan Safran Foer (Kraussʼ husband) will enjoy this book, and perhaps enjoy musing on what an intersting household the two might share.” -Emily

 Art of Fielding

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

“This is a book about baseball in the same way that Moby Dick is a book about a fish. The Art of Fielding is a lyrical paean of praise to life as captured in the stories of young people at Westish College and the college president. Their stories, the passions, the fixations, the sweet forbidden love affairs, will captivate you in the way that only great literature can. Itʼs a book in love with life ...” -Bill

 The Lonely Polygamist

The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall

"A giant, great American novel.  This is the story of Golden Richards, a Mormon with 4 wives and 28 children.  The author, in an outrageous, funny, profoundly plotted story, will have the reader entranced.  Poor Golden Richards is sad, lonely, even a little afraid of his own life (who wouldn’t be with 4 wives needing attention and 28 kids needing raising?).  He falls in love with a woman he sees from a distance while building a new whore house - which, if the church finds out both about the woman and the cathouse - Golden will be ruined.  Truly a book that should make Udall known as one of America’s most important writers.” -Chris

 Beekeeper's Apprentice

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie King

“Please forget everything you thought you knew about Sherlock Holmes and indulge in the sublime pleasures of the Mary Russell mysteries - author Laurie King has created one of the most memorable female characters in recent literature.  Give this series a chance and you will reap rich reading rewards.” -Bill

 Everything Ravaged

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower

"Wells Tower is exceptional.  Not only can he craft a seamles story, but he cultivates each sentence with careful attention and precision, knitting together lyrical description to assemble a darkly perfect narrative whole.  His troubled characters inhabit worlds that he navigates deftly, from the back woods of Aroostook Country to the murky underbelly of a Florida carnival, and Tower manipulates the elements of their lives with a stark intimacy that makes them at once familiar and foreign.  Physical and emotional landscapes that seem recognizable take on new layers of meaning as he pens them to life; people and places acquire a startlingly vitality that is both disconcerting and endearing.  I was mesmerized by his stories, and more than once discovered that I was literally holding my breath in anticipation of the agonizing conclusion.  These characters stick with you, lurking in the corners of your mind until long after the book is closed.  Tower may initially leave you a bit bewildered and heartbroken, but in the end it wil feel like a gift, a subtle bittersweetness that alters the hue of the daily grind just enough to make it new again.” -L

 The Great Leader

The Great Leader by Jim Harrison

The Great Leader is quintessential Harrison and by turns profane, cynical and dispurging of the notion that modern life might have any redeeming qualities beyond whiskey, women and brook trout fishing.  And yet ... as Pete Dexter pointed out in the New York Times Book review, you can open this book to any page and find a sentence that is so luminously breathtakingly beautiful, it will remind you why we read fiction.” -Bill

 Beautiful Losers

Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen

“In this novel some of the most enduring of lifeʼs tortures are suffered anew - spiritual desperation, carnal lust, the sacred vs the eartly and obscene, self-destruction, unity and aloneness - all told in a voice that is earnest, lyrical, heretical and porno-literate.” -Jack

 Sweet relief of missing children

The Sweet Relief of Missing Children by Sarah Braunstein

“That author Braunstein so poignantly and insightfully plumbs the depths of human existence, fearlessly exploring
the darkness as well as the light, is extraordinary. That she has done so in her firstnovel nearly defies belief. Reading is believing ... enjoy and join the fellow readers who anxiously await Ms. Brainsteinsʼ next work.” -Bill (and Stuart concurs!)

 Drown

Drown by Junot Diaz

“This guy’s writing is absolutely electric.  I feel like a little kid turning up rocks to see what surprises are hiding underneath - Diaz’s stories burst with life.  And not because it's more marketable or it will garner more acclaim - it's because he just can’t help himself.  Junot Diaz is the real deal.” -Matt

 Ms Hempel Chronicles

 Ms. Hempel Chronicles by Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum


“Is it a collection of short stories? Is it a novel? It is both. Bynumʼs tale of a somewhat disillusioned school teacher is sweet and sad and the perfect read when your life isnʼt perfect. Plus, the title can be read two different ways - neat!” -Emily

 But Beautiful

But Beautiful (A Story about Jazz) by Geoff Dyer


“Ignore the subtitle; you do not have to be a jazz fan to appreciate this luminous, marvelous book. Dyer is a literary genius and with successive books about another disparate subject, he seems to be also revealing that he is a polymoth. Any lover of literature will love this book.” -Bill

 The Convalescent

The Convalescent by Jessica Anthony

“Truly an inspired work of fiction by Portland’s own Jess Anthony.  You will grow to love Rover Pfliegman, a hairy troll-like man who sells meat out of a broken down schoolbus.  Reminded me of Geek Love and Kafka and Rushdie and perhaps a sprinkling of Flannery O’Connor.” -Chris

 Wolf Totem

Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong

“A tale of how modernization slowly destroyed a way of life that had existed in outer Mongolia for millenia.  The nomadic Mongols, at story’s beginning, still co-exist in harmony with the environment of the steppes and the wolves that live there.  But modernity arrives, as the Chinese government attempts to raise wheat to feed the people.  An astonishing, beautiful, heartrending story of a world lost forever.” -Bill

 Che Guevara

Che Guevara: A Manga Biography by Kiyoshi Konno

“A great read for anyone aged 10 to 100. This manga biography tells Cheʼs story with real passion and power.” -Chris

 Remainder

Remainder by Tom McCarthy


“A man survives a freak accident and gets awarded a very large sum of money, which he uses to try and recreate the last time he felt at ease in the world - to find his version of happiness, it starts wth buying a building, hiring actors and a whole team to “facilitate” the “re-enactments.” But when he questions the sun for hitting the tiled floor at the wrong hour, you start to wonder how far heʼll try to take this (seemingly) limitless obsession...” -Meg

 Matterhorn

Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

“I have never had to go to war, but works like Matterhorn seem necessary to remind us of what the experience means.  Far from glorifying the experience, author Matterhorn offers us a glimpse of the day to day reality of serving in the US army in Vietnam.  One is left to wonder, what does war ever accomplish?” -Bill

 On Writing
On Writing by Stephen King
 
“I think we all know that Stephen King is awesome. In On Writing, he takes the time to slow down and examine his own writing process, and essetnially his awesomeness. An essential book for any writer, and a really good book for any reader. Plus, there is a list of recommendations in the book - donʼt you want to know what Stephen King is reading?!” -Emily
 Iron Will of ShoeShine Cats

 The Iron Will of Shoeshine Cats by Hesh Kestin

“The world of Jewish gangsters and America in 1963. Funny, smart and flawlessly written - this novel should be at the top of your
summer reading list. If you don't like this book, Iʼm sorry.” -Chris

 Mr Fox

Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi


“This book is a delightful romp through the battling imaginations of a writer and his muse. Fun and smart and foxy leaves the reader with plenty of good stuff to chew on.” -Meghan G

 The Help

 The Help by Kathryn Stockett

“Really loved this one! A lot less “fluffy” than I expected - just a really good story surrounding the civil rights movement. A tear jerker and feel
good in one! Really good movie too!” -Meg

 Book of Basketball

The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons

“First, a warning: This book is like crack for basketball junkies.  Be advised ... Simmons brings his trademark humor, encyclopedic knowledge, and outlandish, yet reasonable, opinions to one of hte most definitve books of the NBA to date.  Sure, 700 page seems a bit much, unless you’re covering 70 years of history, thoroughly ranking the top 100 greats (and we’re talking essays for each entry), the top teams, what-ifs, and more, while laying waste to virtually every hoops argument left standing.  Most of all, Simmons is a fan, a rabid, crazy, king of all sports dork level fan, and it shows.  Awesome.” -Matt

 Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley


“A sweet, off beat mystery about an eleven year old girl and her stamp collecting father.  This series is lovely if you like odd protagonists.  Favia is a tomboy who doesnʼt much like people, and prefers to stay in her laboratory (naturally she has a laboratory) studying poisons. Unfortuantely, she keeps running across murder victims. A great read whether you read mysteries often or not. Start with this one and, if you like it, theyʼre three more where it came from.” -Emily

 Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins

“This book should be required reading for every US citizen.  Perkins, as a former member of the club, describes how multinational economic organizations (think the International Monetaty Fund and the Wolrd Bank) dangle loans in front of third world countries and basically creates a class of indentured countries that  can be politically manipulated to serve the interests of their masters - the economic elite (think the 1%).  A frightening and necessary book.” -Bill

 Self Help  
Self-Help by Lorrie Moore
 
 
"The first time I cracked open Self-Help, I felt like I'd discovered something I'd been nursing all my life.  These stories are funny and dark on the surface, surprising and poignant down below.  I confess I was irked for awhile when I learned Moore was only 23 when this collection was published.  Having put my petty jealousy aside, though, I am so glad this book exists." -Meghan G.
 
Devil All the Time
 
The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollack
 
 
"This is one brutal, damning novel of violence.  Sadism, debauchery and Faulknerian despair blended with Flannery O'Connorarian twisted gothicism.  Beautifully tormented, twisted characters wreak havoc in small town America.  Brilliant but not for the faint of heart."-Chris
 
 
 Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg
 The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg
 
 
"Eisenberg's stories are perfect, and they ought to be: she is a genius (really, she is a recipient of the MacArthur Genius Grant!), and it is said she spends a year on each story.  Read the story 'Some Other, Better Otto,' and when you're finished crying (it's a pleasant sort of sobbing, I promise!), just try to find a single word out of place!  And then read all of the other stories too!"-Meghan G.
 The Submission  
 
 
The Submission by Amy Waldman
 
 
"One prominent critic (Maureen Corrigan of the Washington Post) describes The Submission as 'America's 9/11 novel', the work that will inform future generations about the climate, social and emotions and cultural, in the aftermath of that world-changing day.  Viewed from disparate perspectives - an illegal immigrant who lost her undocumented husband, a wealthy widow who lost her blue-blood partner, the head of the commission charged with selecting a memorial and the architect chosen, who happens to be Muslim - Waldman encompasses the range of passions evoked by the tragedy of 9/11." -Bill
 Dead Fish Museum  
The Dead Fish Museum by Charles D'Ambrosio
 
 
"Reading one of D'Ambrosio's short stories can be a surreal experience - vivid, a little eerie, but unmistakably the world you know, populated with characters as real as anyone you might meet.  Finishing one of D'Ambrosio's short stories is like a slap in the face with a cold, wet fish: sudden, probably unexpected, and certainly something you wish hadn't happened, yet you find yourself thinking about it hours, days, weeks later." -Matt
 You Know When the Men are Gone  
 
 
 
 
 
You Know When Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon
 
"This collection of linked short stories is hautning and unforgettable.  This auspicious debut by Siobhan Fallon centers around life in Fort Hood, Texas.  Siobhan's husband served in Irag so this writer knows of what she writes.  Sparse, unsentimental and achingly honest, this collection causes the reader to question - everything."  -Chris
 Marriage PLot
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
 
"Eugenides continues to amaze with his ability to recreate vivid and sepcific slies of Americana with such astonishing versimilitude.  This time it's Brown Unviersity, circa 1980. and the aftermath of graduating into the real world, from an academic research station on Cape Cod to Mother Theresa's hospice centers in India.  A tremendously engaging read."  -Bill
 
Out Stealing Horses
 
Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
 
"In this quiet novel, Petterson uses spare but evocative language to explore his memory of a single summer spent with his father in his cabin on the Norway/Sweden border.  Among his revelations is that perfect recollection and real understanding are two entirely different things.  This is a subtly stirring page-turner!"   -Meghan G.
 Tigers Wife
The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
 
 
“An amazing debut novel set in Yugoslavia.  A story of loss, love, medicine, superstition, war and tigers.  The narrator, Natalia, is a doctor living in a war torn east-European country, her grandfather, also a doctor, is a storyteller of epic proportions.  His stories of the Deathless Man and the Tiger’s Wife exist within this magic book.  Think early Allende or the Russians.”   -Chris
 Zone One
Zone One by Colson Whitehead
 
 
“I am totally over zombies.  There, I said it.  I still really liked this book though.  It’s not a zombie mayhem novel so much as it’s a ‘the world is depressing, oppressive, and inevitable’ novel.  You know me and bleak.  Like most of Whitehead’s work, this is also a New York novel, thematically: being surrounded by faceless hordes that would kill you as soon as look at you, moping about how much potential you thought you had when you were younger, realizing that you will never meaningfully connect with another human being.  It is that kind of a zombie novel.”   -Imogen
 Let the Great World Spin
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
 
 
“Another masterpiece by one of my favorite authors, Colum McCann.  This is the story of Phillippe Petit’s walk on tightrope between the Twin Towers in 1974.  It is also a swan song to New York in the 70s.  Vividly alive, achingly beautiful, this novel bleeds and breathes like the great bloated beast that was the Big Apple in the 70s.”  -Chris
Fault in our Stars 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

“Yeah, yeah, it says young adult ... the only reason that should matter to you is that you’ll get an incredible hardcover read for about half hte price of a “real” grown up book.  Young adult, old adult, anything in between ... bottom line, this a story about people, written for people.  Read this book and lose yourself in the journey and experience of 16 year old Hazel, in whom you will almost certainly find a little piece of yourself.  Prepare to laugh, to cry, to wish you could cerate sentences like John Green has that make you literally stop reading in order to admire their perfection.  This story will make you Feel (yes, with a capital F!) like no other .. and if it doesn’t, well, you need more than just a good book!” - Julia   

 
Ten Thousand Saints
 
Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson
 
“This remarkably assured first novel creates (or re-creates) the East Village circa mid 80s with astonishing versimilitude - despite the fact that the author is too young to have actually been there.  Henderson’s evocation fo the straight-edge scene, with all its inherent contradictions is similarly insightful, and her portrait of Burlington, VT (Wintonburg in the novel) is worth the price of admission.”   -Bill
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
CLICK THE BOOK FOR MORE INFO!
 
White Walls

 White Walls by Tatyana Tolstaya

"Dark, fairy-tale like stories that sparkle with original imagery - a world filtered through the vision of children and other misfits.  Tolstaya shares her uncle Leo’s acute eye for detail, but brings a vision all her own.  Enjoy!" -Meghan G.

 Unconquered

The Unconquered by Scott Wallace

"78 days deep in the Amazonian jungle, beyond the reach of cell phones, doctors and possibly God, our intrepid traverelers seek to map the territory of the Arrow people, possibly the last uncontacted tribe in the world. Imagine Paul Theroux, Pico Iyer and Colin Woodard writing together - that will give you a taste of what is inside."  -Chris

 Seating Arrangements

 Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead

"Let’s welcome a newcomer to the ranks of America’s premier satirists.  In her debut novel Maggie Shipstead skewers the upper crust in hilarious cringing fashion.  That these 1%ers actually seem to believe in their superiority makes Shipstead’s sly and stylistic writing all the more delicious.  A perfect beach read."  -Bill

In the Shadow of the Banyan

 In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner

"In the Shadow of the Banyan is a fictionalized version of the author’s own experience growing up in Cambodia as the Khmer Rough came into power.  Though there are few subjects mroe disturbing than the terror of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s in Cambodia, debut author Ratney has created a story full of beauty and inspiration.  Through the eyes of seven year old Raami, you will feel joy, loss, hope, grief but, above all, the power of story and the word.  A beautiful reminder of the strength of people." -Julia

 Sweet Talk

 Sweet Talk by Stephanie Vaughn

"In these strong but delicate stories, Vaughn engages the unique perspective of her recurring narrator, a military child named Gemma, to remind us of life’s endless reassuring contradictions: the enormous is encapsulated in the tiny; strength is found in the delicate.  These ideas are carried even in the style of the prose.  Vaughn hasn’t published anything since these stories (several of which appeared in The New Yorker in the 80s), but rumor has it she’s at work on a novel ... go, Vaughn, go!  Enjoy!"  -Meghan G.

Blade Itself

                                                                         The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

"Joe Abercrombie doesn’t so much stray from fantasy cliches as take an axe to them, then sets them on fire. The First Law Trilogy begins with The Blade Itself, a rollicking good ride with the action feel of Salvatore or Gemmel and the layered plot of Martin or Rothfuss.  A wonderful addition to the booming realm of fantasy noir.  Abercrombie fits right in with Richard K. Morgan abd Daniel Polansky.  Also contains one of my all time favorite anti-heroes in a crippled torturer who can barely walk up the stairs but drives his chapters at full sprint.  If Philip Marlowe was given a battleaxe instead of a .38, he’d fit right into this book.  -Andrew

 Hologram for the King

 A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers

"This novel is an accounting of a depleted man from America, Alan, in a depleted landscape, Saudi Arabia.  Alan is on his latest - and last? - effort to achieve the type of success that has eluded him all his life.  A personal parallel is drawn between the exhaustion of American industry and the exhaustion of the American spirit.  It’s about what the soul suffers when the body has been sold piece by piece to the lowest bidder and even dreams have been outsourced."  -Jack

 Bangkok 8

Bankgkok 8 by John Burdett

“Picture this - a half American, half Thai cop, who aspires to follow the trachings of Buddha while practicing police work in the middle of the original sin city.  Burdett has an incredibly fascinating world view; he clearly understands the differences between an Eastern mindset and that of a Westerner.  A “detective” novel that shatters the boundaries of the genre.  Enjoy.” -Bill

 Evolution of Bruno Littlemore

                   The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore by Benjamin Hale

“Almost 600 pages of a chimp who is also human and I would have eagerly read 600 more.  Bruno can speak and lives like one of us.  He falls in love with a woman and that love is returned.  He kills a man.  He is an off-off Broadway actor and playwright.  He will cause you to question your humanity and you will love this stunnung debut novel.”  -Chris

 Stone Arabia

Stone Arabia by Dana Spiotta

“Dana Spiotta is among a group of youngish authors who are telling us about the absurdity and beauty of contemporary popular culture.  The narrator is the sister of Nik, promising young punk rocker who instead turns his back on the “real” world to create an alter-ego in the Chronicles (replete with 20 albums).  Denise, the sister, is an emtional mess, reminding us that we are all very close to the same untethered space.  Please read this book, it will nourish you.” -Bill

 Variety of Disturbance

Variety of Disturbance by Lydia Davis

“Davis probably thinks much more about each word in each of her stories with more precision than I’ve ever thought about anything, ever.  Each (very) short story is like a carefully measured rope-swing designed to propel you to profound depth of humor and pathos.  But you do have to place your faith in it.  Fun!” -Meghan G.

 Girl Held in Home

                          Girl Held in Home by Elizabeth Searle

“A beautifully written, sensational little book - perfect for those of us who are curious about those outrageous sounding stories that you find on the internet *cough* Huffington Post *cough cough* but don’t want to admit it, so turn to literature instead.” -Emily

 Snow Child

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

“A riveting, haunting tale of homesteaders in Alaska in the 1920s.  Middle aged Jack and Mabel, childless, have left the East to begin a new life.  After they build a snow child they are haunted by a real child who visits and disappears into the woods.  An aching love story that is a masterful retelling of a Russian fairy tale.  Enchanting.” -Chris

 Play it as it Lays

Play It as It Lays by Joan Didion

“I know there are at least a few others of you out there who enjoy the feeling of pure, unadulterated emptiness.  Didion was born to take you there.  When you’re ready to come back we have plenty of cheery books to help you out.  Oh, delightful misery!”  -Meghan G.

 Nothing to Envy

                        Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick

“I read The Orphan Master’s Son and loved it.  It was the first novel  have ever read about North Korea.  I could not stop thinking about North Korea and what a sad, strange place it seemed to be.  Nothing to Envy is the story of six North Koreans over the period of 15 years.  We must help these people.” -Chris

 All the Living

All the Living by C.E. Morgan

“This novel tells a simple story in an eternal tone.  Set in the foothills of Kentucky (right near my hometown) over the course of a growing season, it follows Aloma and Orren as they, as individuals and partners of a sort, navigate aloneness, partnership, loss, tradition, obligation, loyalty, community and the struggle of choice in an unknowable and seemingly indifferent existence.  Like the southern summer depicted in the story, this novel is vibrant, enveloping, uncomfortable and alive.” -Jack

 Orphan Masters Son

The Orphan Masterʼs Son by Adam Johnson


“ A brilliant novel of North Korea that is seriously compelling and beautifully written. I think that this book is a masterpiece.” -Chris

The Bottoms 
The Bottoms by Joe Lansdale
“ Think To Kill a Mockingbird blended with Flannery O'Connor and you will get a sense of this true American Classic.  A young buy and his sister find a murdered woman in a forgotten river in a tiny town in Texas.  This is an important novel of race, place and time.”  -Chris
Brooklyn 

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

“Toibin fits perfectly in the pantheon of gifted Irish writers.  Is it something in the water )or the Guiness)?  Brooklyn expands Toilin’s ouerve with the story of a young and spirited Irish girl who emigrates to America, to Brooklyn to be more exact and begins her new life all while still tenuously holding into the old sod of Ireland.  A marvelous read.” -Bill

True Grit 

True Grit by Charles Portis

“The reason I purchased True Grit is becaise the Coen brothers are doing a remake of the 1969 movie with Jeff Bridges in the John Wayne role.  The Coen borthers’ film of Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men was excellent; they were very faithful to the book.  I wanted to read True Grit to get an idea of how they would transform this book to film.  The author, Charles Portis, writes in the voice of Mattie Ross, a woman relating her experience as a 14 year old girl out to avenge her father’s murder.  It sounds rather brutal and it is, but the overall feeling is mroe of a wonderful adventure.  A window into the real or imagined America of over 100 years ago.  A great, fun book to read.” -Mr. Takami (customer and friend)

The Moment

The Moment by Douglas Kennedy

“I was thoroughy prepared to dislike this book - after all, the cover resembles a Danielle Steele novel and the title is right out of Oprah’s Book Club.  But .... the truth is Douglas Kennedy is a fantastic storyteller and in The Moment he has created the rarest of birds in contemporary fiction, a literary page turner.  Enjoy.” -Bill

The Swerve 

The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt

“Greenblatt’s National Book Award winner is a spellbinding account of the life of a Vatican copyist who embarks upon a search for works by the Greeks and Romans that have been lost.  The Vatican politics are deliciously unsavory and our book-hunter succeeds in finding and resurrecting Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things, a book Greenblatt suggests helped spark the Renaissaance.” -Bill

Arctic Dreams 

Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez

“This book is worth reading simply to enjoy Lopez’s account of watching a polar bear stalk a seal and swearing he never saw the bear move as said bear crossed a quarter mile of frozen ice.  A riveting narrative of a land most of us will never get to see - travelling vicarously with Lopez is the next best thing to being there.” -Bill

Man Gone Down 

Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas

“This book is a modern day retelling of Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man told in a Faulknerian stream of consciousness that will nail you to the back of your chair.  Want to read about the unspoken racial energies that bedevil?  Read this book!” -Bill

Freedom 

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

“I read 350 pages of this truly amazing novel in one sitting.  Franzen has an acute and, at times, god-like understanding of the human condition and at times this novel will make you feel like a butterfly pinned upon a mounting for inspection.  But do not worry, the author and hopefully our god loves us and we can be redeemed.  A hugely satisfying read.” -Chris

 God is Dead

God is Dead by Ron Curie, Jr.

“An incredible debut by Waterville, Maine’s Ron Currie, Jr.  Brings to mind the work of Vonnegut, Camus, Kafka and Swift.  Satirical, savage and deeply thought provoking, God is Dead is a novel that will engage the reader from page one.  God descends to earth as a Dinka woman.  She dies in a refugee camp after confronting Colin Powell.  What happens to the world when everyone knows that god is dead?  Read on.” -Chris

 Stories of Breece
The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake
“These stories are as simple and fertile as dirt.  Pancake does the stooping for us, presenting the reader with Life’s fallen fruit, unpolished and with the dirt still on it.  In as unflinching a voice as Raymond Carver - had Carver grown up in the rural south - these are true stories that never happened.”  -Jack
 And the Pursuit of Happiness

And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman

“I love Maira Kalman. And you will too, if you take a peek inside. This book is a celebration of our democracy, history, and,well, our humanity. Each chapter is organized around a month and a person and I guarantee if you read this gift of a book you will feel happy about being alive.” -Chris

 Secret History
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
 
“This academic thriller is intense in its rather slow pace.  Tartt is a master of building tension as she builds up her characters.  It's a good book, so if you haven’t read it yet, you really should.  And if you have read it, it’s probably time to re-read.” -Emily
 Architect of Flowers

The Architect of Flowers by William Lychack

“This collection of short stories is one of the finest, most elegant that I have ever encountered. I could go on but then youʼd be reading my
miserable attemt to communicate instead of reading the gorgeous prose of William Lychack. Go on, now.” -Chris

 History of Love

 The History of Love by Nicole Krauss


“This book is not as daunting as the title sounds. Krauss weaves multiple story lines together in this quirky, touching narrative. Fans of Jonathan Safran Foer (Kraussʼ husband) will enjoy this book, and perhaps enjoy musing on what an intersting household the two might share.” -Emily

 Art of Fielding

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

“This is a book about baseball in the same way that Moby Dick is a book about a fish. The Art of Fielding is a lyrical paean of praise to life as captured in the stories of young people at Westish College and the college president. Their stories, the passions, the fixations, the sweet forbidden love affairs, will captivate you in the way that only great literature can. Itʼs a book in love with life ...” -Bill

 The Lonely Polygamist

The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall

"A giant, great American novel.  This is the story of Golden Richards, a Mormon with 4 wives and 28 children.  The author, in an outrageous, funny, profoundly plotted story, will have the reader entranced.  Poor Golden Richards is sad, lonely, even a little afraid of his own life (who wouldn’t be with 4 wives needing attention and 28 kids needing raising?).  He falls in love with a woman he sees from a distance while building a new whore house - which, if the church finds out both about the woman and the cathouse - Golden will be ruined.  Truly a book that should make Udall known as one of America’s most important writers.” -Chris

 Beekeeper's Apprentice

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie King

“Please forget everything you thought you knew about Sherlock Holmes and indulge in the sublime pleasures of the Mary Russell mysteries - author Laurie King has created one of the most memorable female characters in recent literature.  Give this series a chance and you will reap rich reading rewards.” -Bill

 Everything Ravaged

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower

"Wells Tower is exceptional.  Not only can he craft a seamles story, but he cultivates each sentence with careful attention and precision, knitting together lyrical description to assemble a darkly perfect narrative whole.  His troubled characters inhabit worlds that he navigates deftly, from the back woods of Aroostook Country to the murky underbelly of a Florida carnival, and Tower manipulates the elements of their lives with a stark intimacy that makes them at once familiar and foreign.  Physical and emotional landscapes that seem recognizable take on new layers of meaning as he pens them to life; people and places acquire a startlingly vitality that is both disconcerting and endearing.  I was mesmerized by his stories, and more than once discovered that I was literally holding my breath in anticipation of the agonizing conclusion.  These characters stick with you, lurking in the corners of your mind until long after the book is closed.  Tower may initially leave you a bit bewildered and heartbroken, but in the end it wil feel like a gift, a subtle bittersweetness that alters the hue of the daily grind just enough to make it new again.” -L

 The Great Leader

The Great Leader by Jim Harrison

The Great Leader is quintessential Harrison and by turns profane, cynical and dispurging of the notion that modern life might have any redeeming qualities beyond whiskey, women and brook trout fishing.  And yet ... as Pete Dexter pointed out in the New York Times Book review, you can open this book to any page and find a sentence that is so luminously breathtakingly beautiful, it will remind you why we read fiction.” -Bill

 Beautiful Losers

Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen

“In this novel some of the most enduring of lifeʼs tortures are suffered anew - spiritual desperation, carnal lust, the sacred vs the eartly and obscene, self-destruction, unity and aloneness - all told in a voice that is earnest, lyrical, heretical and porno-literate.” -Jack

 Sweet relief of missing children

The Sweet Relief of Missing Children by Sarah Braunstein

“That author Braunstein so poignantly and insightfully plumbs the depths of human existence, fearlessly exploring
the darkness as well as the light, is extraordinary. That she has done so in her firstnovel nearly defies belief. Reading is believing ... enjoy and join the fellow readers who anxiously await Ms. Brainsteinsʼ next work.” -Bill (and Stuart concurs!)

 Drown

Drown by Junot Diaz

“This guy’s writing is absolutely electric.  I feel like a little kid turning up rocks to see what surprises are hiding underneath - Diaz’s stories burst with life.  And not because it's more marketable or it will garner more acclaim - it's because he just can’t help himself.  Junot Diaz is the real deal.” -Matt

 Ms Hempel Chronicles

 Ms. Hempel Chronicles by Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum


“Is it a collection of short stories? Is it a novel? It is both. Bynumʼs tale of a somewhat disillusioned school teacher is sweet and sad and the perfect read when your life isnʼt perfect. Plus, the title can be read two different ways - neat!” -Emily

 But Beautiful

But Beautiful (A Story about Jazz) by Geoff Dyer


“Ignore the subtitle; you do not have to be a jazz fan to appreciate this luminous, marvelous book. Dyer is a literary genius and with successive books about another disparate subject, he seems to be also revealing that he is a polymoth. Any lover of literature will love this book.” -Bill

 The Convalescent

The Convalescent by Jessica Anthony

“Truly an inspired work of fiction by Portland’s own Jess Anthony.  You will grow to love Rover Pfliegman, a hairy troll-like man who sells meat out of a broken down schoolbus.  Reminded me of Geek Love and Kafka and Rushdie and perhaps a sprinkling of Flannery O’Connor.” -Chris

 Wolf Totem

Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong

“A tale of how modernization slowly destroyed a way of life that had existed in outer Mongolia for millenia.  The nomadic Mongols, at story’s beginning, still co-exist in harmony with the environment of the steppes and the wolves that live there.  But modernity arrives, as the Chinese government attempts to raise wheat to feed the people.  An astonishing, beautiful, heartrending story of a world lost forever.” -Bill

 Che Guevara

Che Guevara: A Manga Biography by Kiyoshi Konno

“A great read for anyone aged 10 to 100. This manga biography tells Cheʼs story with real passion and power.” -Chris

 Remainder

Remainder by Tom McCarthy


“A man survives a freak accident and gets awarded a very large sum of money, which he uses to try and recreate the last time he felt at ease in the world - to find his version of happiness, it starts wth buying a building, hiring actors and a whole team to “facilitate” the “re-enactments.” But when he questions the sun for hitting the tiled floor at the wrong hour, you start to wonder how far heʼll try to take this (seemingly) limitless obsession...” -Meg

 Matterhorn

Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

“I have never had to go to war, but works like Matterhorn seem necessary to remind us of what the experience means.  Far from glorifying the experience, author Matterhorn offers us a glimpse of the day to day reality of serving in the US army in Vietnam.  One is left to wonder, what does war ever accomplish?” -Bill

 On Writing
On Writing by Stephen King
 
“I think we all know that Stephen King is awesome. In On Writing, he takes the time to slow down and examine his own writing process, and essetnially his awesomeness. An essential book for any writer, and a really good book for any reader. Plus, there is a list of recommendations in the book - donʼt you want to know what Stephen King is reading?!” -Emily
 Iron Will of ShoeShine Cats

 The Iron Will of Shoeshine Cats by Hesh Kestin

“The world of Jewish gangsters and America in 1963. Funny, smart and flawlessly written - this novel should be at the top of your
summer reading list. If you don't like this book, Iʼm sorry.” -Chris

 Mr Fox

Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi


“This book is a delightful romp through the battling imaginations of a writer and his muse. Fun and smart and foxy leaves the reader with plenty of good stuff to chew on.” -Meghan G

 The Help

 The Help by Kathryn Stockett

“Really loved this one! A lot less “fluffy” than I expected - just a really good story surrounding the civil rights movement. A tear jerker and feel
good in one! Really good movie too!” -Meg

 Book of Basketball

The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons

“First, a warning: This book is like crack for basketball junkies.  Be advised ... Simmons brings his trademark humor, encyclopedic knowledge, and outlandish, yet reasonable, opinions to one of hte most definitve books of the NBA to date.  Sure, 700 page seems a bit much, unless you’re covering 70 years of history, thoroughly ranking the top 100 greats (and we’re talking essays for each entry), the top teams, what-ifs, and more, while laying waste to virtually every hoops argument left standing.  Most of all, Simmons is a fan, a rabid, crazy, king of all sports dork level fan, and it shows.  Awesome.” -Matt

 Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley


“A sweet, off beat mystery about an eleven year old girl and her stamp collecting father.  This series is lovely if you like odd protagonists.  Favia is a tomboy who doesnʼt much like people, and prefers to stay in her laboratory (naturally she has a laboratory) studying poisons. Unfortuantely, she keeps running across murder victims. A great read whether you read mysteries often or not. Start with this one and, if you like it, theyʼre three more where it came from.” -Emily

 Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins

“This book should be required reading for every US citizen.  Perkins, as a former member of the club, describes how multinational economic organizations (think the International Monetaty Fund and the Wolrd Bank) dangle loans in front of third world countries and basically creates a class of indentured countries that  can be politically manipulated to serve the interests of their masters - the economic elite (think the 1%).  A frightening and necessary book.” -Bill

 Self Help  
Self-Help by Lorrie Moore
 
 
"The first time I cracked open Self-Help, I felt like I'd discovered something I'd been nursing all my life.  These stories are funny and dark on the surface, surprising and poignant down below.  I confess I was irked for awhile when I learned Moore was only 23 when this collection was published.  Having put my petty jealousy aside, though, I am so glad this book exists." -Meghan G.
 
Devil All the Time
 
The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollack
 
 
"This is one brutal, damning novel of violence.  Sadism, debauchery and Faulknerian despair blended with Flannery O'Connorarian twisted gothicism.  Beautifully tormented, twisted characters wreak havoc in small town America.  Brilliant but not for the faint of heart."-Chris
 
 
 Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg
 The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg
 
 
"Eisenberg's stories are perfect, and they ought to be: she is a genius (really, she is a recipient of the MacArthur Genius Grant!), and it is said she spends a year on each story.  Read the story 'Some Other, Better Otto,' and when you're finished crying (it's a pleasant sort of sobbing, I promise!), just try to find a single word out of place!  And then read all of the other stories too!"-Meghan G.
 The Submission  
 
 
The Submission by Amy Waldman
 
 
"One prominent critic (Maureen Corrigan of the Washington Post) describes The Submission as 'America's 9/11 novel', the work that will inform future generations about the climate, social and emotions and cultural, in the aftermath of that world-changing day.  Viewed from disparate perspectives - an illegal immigrant who lost her undocumented husband, a wealthy widow who lost her blue-blood partner, the head of the commission charged with selecting a memorial and the architect chosen, who happens to be Muslim - Waldman encompasses the range of passions evoked by the tragedy of 9/11." -Bill
 Dead Fish Museum  
The Dead Fish Museum by Charles D'Ambrosio
 
 
"Reading one of D'Ambrosio's short stories can be a surreal experience - vivid, a little eerie, but unmistakably the world you know, populated with characters as real as anyone you might meet.  Finishing one of D'Ambrosio's short stories is like a slap in the face with a cold, wet fish: sudden, probably unexpected, and certainly something you wish hadn't happened, yet you find yourself thinking about it hours, days, weeks later." -Matt
 You Know When the Men are Gone  
 
 
 
 
 
You Know When Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon
 
"This collection of linked short stories is hautning and unforgettable.  This auspicious debut by Siobhan Fallon centers around life in Fort Hood, Texas.  Siobhan's husband served in Irag so this writer knows of what she writes.  Sparse, unsentimental and achingly honest, this collection causes the reader to question - everything."  -Chris
 Marriage PLot
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
 
"Eugenides continues to amaze with his ability to recreate vivid and sepcific slies of Americana with such astonishing versimilitude.  This time it's Brown Unviersity, circa 1980. and the aftermath of graduating into the real world, from an academic research station on Cape Cod to Mother Theresa's hospice centers in India.  A tremendously engaging read."  -Bill
 
Out Stealing Horses
 
Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
 
"In this quiet novel, Petterson uses spare but evocative language to explore his memory of a single summer spent with his father in his cabin on the Norway/Sweden border.  Among his revelations is that perfect recollection and real understanding are two entirely different things.  This is a subtly stirring page-turner!"   -Meghan G.
 Tigers Wife
The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
 
 
“An amazing debut novel set in Yugoslavia.  A story of loss, love, medicine, superstition, war and tigers.  The narrator, Natalia, is a doctor living in a war torn east-European country, her grandfather, also a doctor, is a storyteller of epic proportions.  His stories of the Deathless Man and the Tiger’s Wife exist within this magic book.  Think early Allende or the Russians.”   -Chris
 Zone One
Zone One by Colson Whitehead
 
 
“I am totally over zombies.  There, I said it.  I still really liked this book though.  It’s not a zombie mayhem novel so much as it’s a ‘the world is depressing, oppressive, and inevitable’ novel.  You know me and bleak.  Like most of Whitehead’s work, this is also a New York novel, thematically: being surrounded by faceless hordes that would kill you as soon as look at you, moping about how much potential you thought you had when you were younger, realizing that you will never meaningfully connect with another human being.  It is that kind of a zombie novel.”   -Imogen
 Let the Great World Spin
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
 
 
“Another masterpiece by one of my favorite authors, Colum McCann.  This is the story of Phillippe Petit’s walk on tightrope between the Twin Towers in 1974.  It is also a swan song to New York in the 70s.  Vividly alive, achingly beautiful, this novel bleeds and breathes like the great bloated beast that was the Big Apple in the 70s.”  -Chris
Fault in our Stars 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

“Yeah, yeah, it says young adult ... the only reason that should matter to you is that you’ll get an incredible hardcover read for about half hte price of a “real” grown up book.  Young adult, old adult, anything in between ... bottom line, this a story about people, written for people.  Read this book and lose yourself in the journey and experience of 16 year old Hazel, in whom you will almost certainly find a little piece of yourself.  Prepare to laugh, to cry, to wish you could cerate sentences like John Green has that make you literally stop reading in order to admire their perfection.  This story will make you Feel (yes, with a capital F!) like no other .. and if it doesn’t, well, you need more than just a good book!” - Julia   

 
Ten Thousand Saints
 
Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson
 
“This remarkably assured first novel creates (or re-creates) the East Village circa mid 80s with astonishing versimilitude - despite the fact that the author is too young to have actually been there.  Henderson’s evocation fo the straight-edge scene, with all its inherent contradictions is similarly insightful, and her portrait of Burlington, VT (Wintonburg in the novel) is worth the price of admission.”   -Bill