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Staff Picks

Want to know what our booksellers read? Here are some of our handpicked recommendations for adults and older teens.


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The Acid Room

- Donaldson Jesse , Erika Dyck

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From the street, New Westminster's Hollywood Hospital didn't look like much - just a rambling white mansion, mostly obscured behind the holly trees from which it took its name. But, between 1957 and 1968, it was the site of more than 6000 supervised acid trips, as part of the burgeoning (and controversial) field of psychedelic psychiatry. Under the care of Medical Director J Ross MacLean, and ex-spy/researcher Al "Captain Trips" Hubbard, it became a mecca for alcoholics, anxiety patients, and unhappy couples (as well as celebrities like Andy Williams), its unorthodox methods boasting a success rate of nearly 80%. But the same media attention that brought the hospital to prominence also assured its downfall, as prohibition forces drove their work underground for more than 50 years. Written by 49.2 regular Jesse Donaldson and academic historian Erika Dyck, The Acid Room takes readers into the hospital's inner sanctum, charting its meteoric rise and fall as it opened up brave new worlds in medicine, and put Canada at the forefront of a movement that is only now being fully explored.

Nutshell

- Ian McEwan

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#1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

From one of our greatest living novelists: a breathtakingly inventive modern retelling of Hamlet, one that plays on the classic tale by placing the anguished son in a position where he can observe and endlessly expound on the family tragedy unfolding before him--but not act on what he knows.

     "Oh God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself king of infinite space--were it not that I have bad dreams." --Hamlet, Act II, Scene 2

          Trudy has been unfaithful to her husband, John. She's still in the marital home--a valuable old London townhouse--but she has kicked John out. In his place is her lover, John's own brother, the profoundly banal Claude. The illicit couple have hatched a murderous plan to rid themselves of her inconvenient husband forever. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy's womb. As Trudy's unborn son listens, bound within her body, to the tragic end that his mother and his uncle have planned for his hapless father, he gives us a truly new perspective on our world, seen from the confines of his. McEwan's brilliant recasting of Shakespeare lends new weight to the age-old question of Hamlet's hesitation, and is a tour de force of storytelling.

And Yet

- Kate Baer

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The second full length poetry collection from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of What Kind of Woman.

Kate Baer shot into the literary stratosphere with the publication of her debut poetry collection, What Kind of Woman, which became an instant #1 New York Times bestseller.

Kate's second full-length book of traditional poetry, And Yet, dives deeper into the themes that are the hallmarks of her writing: motherhood, friendship, love, and loss. Taken together, these poems demonstrate the remarkable evolution of a writer and an artist working at the height of her craft, pushing herself and her poetry in a beautiful and impressive way.

Intimate, evocative, and bold, Kate's beguiling poetry firmly positions her in the company of Dorianne Laux, Mary Oliver, Maggie Nelson, and other great female poets of our time.

My Phantoms

- Gwendoline Riley

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A hostile mother-daughter relationship stands at the center of this astonishing, blackly humorous novel by the acclaimed author of First Love.

Helen Grant is a mystery to her daughter. An extrovert with few friends who has sought intimacy in the wrong places, a twice-divorced mother of two now living alone surrounded by her memories, Helen (known to her acquaintances as "Hen") has always haunted Bridget.

Now, Bridget is an academic in her forties. She sees Helen once a year, and considers the problem to be contained. As she looks back on their tumultuous relationship--the performances and small deceptions--she tries to reckon with the cruelties inflicted on both sides. But when Helen makes it clear that she wants more, it seems an old struggle will have to be replayed.

From the prize-winning author of First Love, My Phantoms is a bold, heart-stopping portrayal of a failed familial bond, which brings humor, subtlety, and new life to the difficult terrain of mothers and daughters.

Case Study

- Graeme Macrae Burnet

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Shortlisted for the 2022 Gordon Burn Prize o Shortlisted for the 2022 Ned Kelly Awards o Longlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize o Longlisted for the 2022 HWA Gold Crown Award o Longlisted for the 2023 Dublin Literary Award SELECTED BY NEW YORK TIMES AS ONE OF 100 NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2022 The Booker-shortlisted author of His Bloody Project blurs the lines between patient and therapist, fiction and documentation, and reality and dark imagination. London, 1965. 'I have decided to write down everything that happens, because I feel, I suppose, I may be putting myself in danger,' writes an anonymous patient, a young woman investigating her sister's suicide. In the guise of a dynamic and troubled alter-ego named Rebecca Smyth, she makes an appointment with the notorious and roughly charismatic psychotherapist Collins Braithwaite, whom she believes is responsible for her sister's death. But in this world of beguilement and bamboozlement, neither she nor we can be certain of anything. Case Study is a novel as slippery as it is riveting, as playful as it is sinister, a meditation on truth, sanity, and the instability of identity by one of the most inventive novelists of our time.

Legends & Lattes

- Travis Baldree

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An Instant New York Times Bestseller
A Barnes & Noble Best Book of 2022
A Library Reads Pick
An Indie Next Pick

A Goodreads Best Fantasy Choice Award Nominee

The much-beloved BookTok sensation, Travis Baldree's novel of high fantasy and low stakes.

*This new edition includes a very special, never-before-seen bonus story, 'Pages to Fill.'*

After a lifetime of bounties and bloodshed, Viv is hanging up her sword for the last time.

The battle-weary orc aims to start fresh, opening the first ever coffee shop in the city of Thune. But old and new rivals stand in the way of success -- not to mention the fact that no one has the faintest idea what coffee actually is.

If Viv wants to put the blade behind her and make her plans a reality, she won't be able to go it alone.

But the true rewards of the uncharted path are the travelers you meet along the way. And whether drawn together by ancient magic, flaky pastry, or a freshly brewed cup, they may become partners, family, and something deeper than she ever could have dreamed.

"Take a break from epic battles and saving the world. Legends & Lattes is a low-stakes fantasy that delivers exactly what's advertised: a wholesome, cozy novel that feels like a warm hug. This is my new comfort read."--Genevieve Gornichec, author of The Witch's Heart

The Cabin at the End of the World

- Paul Tremblay

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Paul Tremblay's terrifying twist to the home invasion novel--inspiration for the upcoming major motion picture from Universal Pictures

"Tremblay's personal best. It's that good." -- Stephen King

Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbors are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road.

One afternoon, as Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen, but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over almost instantly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, "None of what's going to happen is your fault." Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: "Your dads won't want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world."

Thus begins an unbearably tense, gripping tale of paranoia, sacrifice, apocalypse, and survival that escalates to a shattering conclusion, one in which the fate of a loving family and quite possibly all of humanity are entwined. The Cabin at the End of the World is a masterpiece of terror and suspense from the fantastically fertile imagination of Paul Tremblay.

The Return

- Rachel Harrison

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A group of friends reunite after one of them has returned from a mysterious two-year disappearance in this edgy and haunting debut.

Julie is missing, and no one believes she will ever return--except Elise. Elise knows Julie better than anyone, and feels it in her bones that her best friend is out there and that one day Julie will come back. She's right. Two years to the day that Julie went missing, she reappears with no memory of where she's been or what happened to her. 

Along with Molly and Mae, their two close friends from college, the women decide to reunite at a remote inn. But the second Elise sees Julie, she knows something is wrong--she's emaciated, with sallow skin and odd appetites. And as the weekend unfurls, it becomes impossible to deny that the Julie who vanished two years ago is not the same Julie who came back. But then who--or what--is she?

Pandora

- Susan Stokes-Chapman

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#1 Sunday Times Bestseller

"Lush, evocative and utterly irresistible."--Jennifer Saint, author of Ariadne

Prepare to lift the lid on a lush reimagination of the mythological Pandora....Susan Stokes-Chapman's atmospheric debut, PANDORA, immerses the reader in the dangerous, mysterious world of ancient antiquities with prose that is elegant and teeming with visceral sensory detail. A marvelous debut--imaginative, ambitious, and begging to be savored."   -- Sarah Penner, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Apothecary

Steeped in mystery and rich in imagination, an exhilarating historical novel set in Georgian London where the discovery of a mysterious ancient Greek vase sets in motion conspiracies, revelations, and romance.

London, 1799. Dora Blake, an aspiring jewelry artist, lives with her odious uncle atop her late parents' once-famed shop of antiquities. After a mysterious Greek vase is delivered, her uncle begins to act suspiciously, keeping the vase locked in the store's basement, away from prying eyes--including Dora's. Intrigued by her uncle's peculiar behavior, Dora turns to young, ambitious antiquarian scholar Edward Lawrence who eagerly agrees to help. Edward believes the ancient vase is the key that will unlock his academic future; Dora sees it as a chance to establish her own name.

But what Edward discovers about the vase has Dora questioning everything she has believed about her life, her family, and the world as she knows it. As Dora uncovers the truth, she comes to understand that some doors are locked and some mysteries are buried for a reason, while others are closer to the surface than they appear.

A story of myth and mystery, secrets and deception, fate and hope, Pandora is an enchanting work of historical fiction as captivating and evocative as The Song of Achilles, The Essex Serpent, and The Miniaturist.

Horse

- Geraldine Brooks

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"Brooks' chronological and cross-disciplinary leaps are thrilling." --The New York Times Book Review

"Horse isn't just an animal story--it's a moving narrative about race and art." --TIME

"A thrilling story about humanity in all its ugliness and beauty . . . the evocative voices create a story so powerful, reading it feels like watching a neck-and-neck horse race, galloping to its conclusion--you just can't look away." --Oprah Daily

Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award

A discarded painting in a junk pile, a skeleton in an attic, and the greatest racehorse in American history: from these strands, a Pulitzer Prize winner braids a sweeping story of spirit, obsession, and injustice across American history


Kentucky, 1850. An enslaved groom named Jarret and a bay foal forge a bond of understanding that will carry the horse to record-setting victories across the South. When the nation erupts in civil war, an itinerant young artist who has made his name on paintings of the racehorse takes up arms for the Union. On a perilous night, he reunites with the stallion and his groom, very far from the glamor of any racetrack. 
 
New York City, 1954. Martha Jackson, a gallery owner celebrated for taking risks on edgy contemporary painters, becomes obsessed with a nineteenth-century equestrian oil painting of mysterious provenance.
 
Washington, DC, 2019. Jess, a Smithsonian scientist from Australia, and Theo, a Nigerian-American art historian, find themselves unexpectedly connected through their shared interest in the horse--one studying the stallion's bones for clues to his power and endurance, the other uncovering the lost history of the unsung Black horsemen who were critical to his racing success.
 
Based on the remarkable true story of the record-breaking thoroughbred Lexington, Horse is a novel of art and science, love and obsession, and our unfinished reckoning with racism.

Age of Ash

- Daniel Abraham

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From Hugo award-winning, New York Timesbestselling, and co-author of the Expanse Daniel Abraham, Age of Ash is an epic fantasy trilogy that unfolds within the walls of a single great city where every story matters --and the fate of the city is woven from them all.

"An atmospheric and fascinating tapestry, woven with skill and patience." - Joe Abercrombie, New York Times bestselling author of A Little Hatred

Kithamar is a center of trade and wealth, an ancient city with a long, bloody history where countless thousands live and their stories unfold.

This is Alys's.

When her brother is murdered, a petty thief from the slums of Longhill sets out to discover who killed him and why.  But the more she discovers about him, the more she learns about herself, and the truths she finds are more dangerous than knives. 

Swept up in an intrigue as deep as the roots of Kithamar, where the secrets of the lowest born can sometimes topple thrones, the story Alys chooses will have the power to change everything.

"An outstanding series debut, which instantly hooks readers with Paul mysteries . . . Readers will eagerly anticipate the sequel." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

For more from Daniel Abraham, check out:
 
The Dagger and the Coin
The Dragon's Path
The King's Blood
The Tyrant's Law
The Widow's House
The Spider's War

Pachinko

- Min Jin Lee

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A New York Times Top Ten Book of the Year and National Book Award finalist, Pachinko is an "extraordinary epic" of four generations of a poor Korean immigrant family as they fight to control their destiny in 20th-century Japan (San Francisco Chronicle).

NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2017 * A USA TODAY TOP TEN OF 2017 * JULY PICK FOR THE PBS NEWSHOUR-NEW YORK TIMES BOOK CLUB NOW READ THIS * FINALIST FOR THE 2018DAYTON LITERARY PEACE PRIZE* WINNER OF THE MEDICI BOOK CLUB PRIZE

Roxane Gay's Favorite Book of 2017, Washington Post

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * #1 BOSTON GLOBE BESTSELLER * USA TODAY BESTSELLER * WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER * WASHINGTON POST BESTSELLER


"There could only be a few winners, and a lot of losers. And yet we played on, because we had hope that we might be the lucky ones."

In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant--and that her lover is married--she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister passing through on his way to Japan. But her decision to abandon her home, and to reject her son's powerful father, sets off a dramatic saga that will echo down through the generations.

Richly told and profoundly moving, Pachinko is a story of love, sacrifice, ambition, and loyalty. From bustling street markets to the halls of Japan's finest universities to the pachinko parlors of the criminal underworld, Lee's complex and passionate characters--strong, stubborn women, devoted sisters and sons, fathers shaken by moral crisis--survive and thrive against the indifferent arc of history.

*Includes reading group guide*

You Will Love What You Have Killed

- Kevin Lambert , Donald Winkler

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Faldistoire's grandfather thinks he's a ghost. Sylvie's mother reads tarot and summons stormclouds to mete her witch's justice. Behind his Dad of the Year demeanour, Sébastien's father hides dark designs. It's Croustine's grandfather who makes the boy a pair of slippers from the dead family dog, but it's his father, the cannily-named Kevin Lambert, who always seems to be nearby when tragedy strikes, and in the cemetery, under the baleful eyes of toads, small graves are dug one after the other: Chicoutimi, Quebec, is a dangerous place for children. But these young victims of rape, arbitrary violence, and senseless murder keep coming back from the dead. They return to school, explore their sexualities, keep tabs on grown-up sins--and plot their apocalyptic retribution. Surreal and darkly comic, this debut novel by Kevin Lambert, one of the most celebrated and controversial writers to come out of Quebec in recent memory, takes the adult world to task--and then takes revenge.

Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall

- Suzette Mayr

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Dr. Edith Vane, scholar of English literature, is contentedly ensconced at the University of Inivea. Her dissertation on pioneer housewife memoirist Beulah Crump-Withers is about to be published, and her job's finally safe, if she only can fill out her AAO properly. She's a little anxious, but a new floral blouse and her therapist's repeated assurance that she is the architect of her own life should fix that. All should be well, really. Except for her broken washing machine, her fickle new girlfriend, her missing friend Coral, her backstabbing fellow professors, a cutthroat new dean - and the fact that the sentient and malevolent Crawley Hall has decided it wants them all out, and the hall and its hellish hares will stop at nothing to get rid of them.

The Employees

- Olga Ravn, Martin Aitken

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Shortlisted for the International Booker Prize and the Ursula K. Le Guin Prize for Fiction, The Employees reshuffles a sci-fi voyage into a riotously original existential nightmare. Funny and doom-drenched, The Employees chronicles the fate of the Six-Thousand Ship. The human and humanoid crew members alike complain about their daily tasks in a series of staff reports and memos. When the ship takes on a number of strange objects from the planet New Discovery, the crew become strangely and deeply attached to them, and start aching for the same things--warmth and intimacy, loved ones who have passed, shopping and child-rearing, and faraway Earth, which now only persists in memory--even as tensions boil toward mutiny, especially among the humanoids. Olga Ravn's prose is chilling, crackling, exhilarating, and foreboding. The Employees probes into what makes us human, while delivering a hilariously stinging critique of life governed by the logic of productivity.

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