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Staff Picks

February is I LOVE TO READ MONTH and boy do we love reading! Here are some of our booksellers' handpicked recommendations for adults and older teens.

The Paradise Problem

- Christina Lauren

Trade paperback $24.99
Reader Reward Price: $22.49

Christina Lauren, the instant New York Times bestselling and "reigning romance queens" (PopSugar), returns with a delicious new romance between the buttoned-up heir of a grocery chain and his free-spirited artist ex as they fake their relationship in order to receive a massive inheritance.

Anna Green thought she was marrying Liam "West" Weston for access to subsidized family housing while at UCLA. She also thought she'd signed divorce papers when the graduation caps were tossed, and they both went on their merry ways.

Three years later, Anna is a starving artist living paycheck to paycheck while West is a Stanford professor. He may be one of four heirs to the Weston Foods conglomerate, but he has little interest in working for the heartless corporation his family built from the ground up. He is interested, however, in his one-hundred-million-dollar inheritance. There's just one catch.

Due to an antiquated clause in his grandfather's will, Liam won't see a penny until he's been happily married for five years. Just when Liam thinks he's in the home stretch, pressure mounts from his family to see this mysterious spouse, and he has no choice but to turn to the one person he's afraid to introduce to his one-percenter parents--his unpolished, not-so-ex-wife.

But in the presence of his family, Liam's fears quickly shift from whether the feisty, foul-mouthed, paint-splattered Anna can play the part to whether the toxic world of wealth will corrupt someone as pure of heart as his surprisingly grounded and loyal wife. Liam will have to ask himself if the price tag on his flimsy cover story is worth losing true love that sprouted from a lie.

The Book of Rain

- Thomas Wharton

Trade paperback $25.00
Reader Reward Price: $22.50

NATIONAL BESTSELLER
FINALIST, ATWOOD GIBSON WRITERS' TRUST FICTION PRIZE

"Audaciously imaginative. . . . I wish more books surprised me as much as this one did."--Omar El Akkad, author of What Strange Paradise

"Wondrous."--Eden Robinson, author of the Trickster trilogy

A groundbreaking, deeply affecting work of environmental literary suspense for fans of Cloud Atlas, The Overstory, and Greenwood.


The northern mining town of River Meadows is one of three hotspots in the world producing ghost ore, a new source of energy linked with slippages of time and space that gradually render the area uninhabitable. After the town is evacuated, the whole region is cordoned off, the new no-go zone wryly nicknamed "the Park."
     Three intertwined stories flow from that disaster.
     Years after Alex Hewitt and his family were forced to leave, Alex returns to River Meadows to search for his sister, Amery, who has disappeared while rescuing animals trapped in the restricted zone. 
     Claire Foley, a young woman from River Meadows who now traffics in endangered wildlife, arrives in an island nation under threat of environmental catastrophe to retrieve her greatest prize yet, only to find herself facing a life-altering choice.
     And, finally, in a future as distant as myth, a flock of birds sets out on a dangerous journey to prevent the extinction of their ancient enemy, humanity. 
     As sweeping in scope as a world of its own, The Book of Rain is a novel of epic reach, beautifully multi-layered, haunting and profound.

The Postcard

- Anne Berest, Tina Kover

Trade paperback $28.95
Reader Reward Price: $26.06

A BEST BOOK OF 2023
TIME Magazine?NPR?Library Journal?The Globe and Mail?Lilith?Forward Magazine?Toronto Star?The New Yorker


"A testament to the power of imagination and an investigation of empathy."--Vogue

"Stunning."--Leslie Camhi, The New Yorker

"A can't-miss novel."--Chicago Review of Books

"Compelling."--The Washington Examiner

Anne Berest's The Postcard is among the most acclaimed and beloved French novels of recent years. It is at once a gripping investigation into family trauma, a poignant tale of mothers and daughters, and a vivid portrait of twentieth-century Parisian intellectual and artistic life.

January, 2003. Together with the usual holiday cards, an anonymous postcard is delivered to the Berest family home. On the front, a photo of the Opéra Garnier in Paris. On the back, the names of Anne Berest's maternal great-grandparents, Ephraïm and Emma, and their children, Noémie and Jacques--all killed at Auschwitz.

Years after the postcard is delivered, the heroine of this novel is moved to discover who sent it and why. What emerges is a moving saga of a family devastated by the travails of the twentieth century and partly restored through the power of storytelling.

Basilisks and Beowulf

- Tim Flight

Trade paperback $22.50
Reader Reward Price: $20.25

An eye-opening, engrossing look at the central role of monsters in the Anglo-Saxon worldview--now in paperback.
 

This book addresses a simple question: why were the Anglo-Saxons obsessed with monsters, many of which did not exist? Drawing on literature and art, theology, and a wealth of firsthand evidence, Basilisks and Beowulf reveals a people huddled at the edge of the known map, using the fantastic and the grotesque as a way of understanding the world around them and their place within it. For the Anglo-Saxons, monsters helped to distinguish the sacred and the profane; they carried God's message to mankind, exposing His divine hand in creation itself. At the same time, monsters were agents of disorder, seeking to kill people, conquer their lands, and even challenge what it meant to be human. Learning about where monsters lived and how they behaved allowed the Anglo-Saxons to situate themselves in the world, as well as to apprehend something of the divine plan. It is for these reasons that monsters were at the very center of their worldview. From map monsters to demons, dragons to Leviathan, we neglect these beasts at our peril.

The Bee Sting

- Paul Murray

Hardcover $40.00
Reader Reward Price: $36.00

One of The New York Times Top 10 Books of the Year
Winner of the An Post Irish Book of the Year, the Nero Gold Prize, and the Nero Book Award for Fiction
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Writers' Prize for Fiction
Finalist for the Kirkus Prize for Fiction

One of The New Yorker's Essential Reads of 2023. One of The Washington Post's 10 Best Books of 2023. One of TIME's 10 Best Fiction Books of the Year. Named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, The Guardian, The Economist, New York Public Library, BBC, and more.

From the author of Skippy Dies comes Paul Murray's The Bee Sting, an irresistibly funny, wise, and thought-provoking tour de force about family, fortune, and the struggle to be a good person when the world is falling apart.

The Barnes family is in trouble. Dickie's once-lucrative car business is going under--but Dickie is spending his days in the woods, building an apocalypse-proof bunker with a renegade handyman. His wife, Imelda, is selling off her jewelry on eBay and half-heartedly dodging the attention of fast-talking cattle farmer Big Mike, while their teenage daughter, Cass, formerly top of her class, seems determined to binge drink her way through her final exams. As for twelve-year-old PJ, he's on the brink of running away.

If you wanted to change this story, how far back would you have to go? To the infamous bee sting that ruined Imelda's wedding day? To the car crash one year before Cass was born? All the way back to Dickie at ten years old, standing in the summer garden with his father, learning how to be a real man?

The Bee Sting, Paul Murray's exuberantly entertaining new novel, is a tour de force: a portrait of postcrash Ireland, a tragicomic family saga, and a dazzling story about the struggle to be good at the end of the world.

Biography of X

- Catherine Lacey

Hardcover $37.00
Reader Reward Price: $33.30

Named one of the Ten Best Books of 2023 by Time (#1), Vulture, and Publishers Weekly, and one of the Best Books of 2023 by The New York Times, the New Yorker, NPR, the Los Angeles Times, Vanity Fair, Esquire, the Chicago Tribune, Kirkus, Lit Hub, and Amazon.

National Bestseller. Winner of the 2024 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction and the 2023 Brooklyn Library Prize, a finalist for the Dylan Thomas Prize, and longlisted for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award. A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice.

"A major novel, and a notably audacious one."
--Dwight Garner, The New York Times

From one of our fiercest stylists, a roaring epic chronicling the life, times, and secrets of a notorious artist.

When X--an iconoclastic artist, writer, and polarizing shape-shifter--falls dead in her office, her widow, CM, wild with grief and refusing everyone's good advice, hurls herself into writing a biography of the woman she deified. Though X was recognized as a crucial creative force of her era, she kept a tight grip on her life story. Not even CM knows where X was born, and in her quest to find out, she opens a Pandora's box of secrets, betrayals, and destruction. All the while, she immerses herself in the history of the Southern Territory, a fascist theocracy that split from the rest of the country after World War II, and which finally, in the present day, is being forced into an uneasy reunification.

A masterfully constructed literary adventure complete with original images assembled by X's widow, Biography of X follows CM as she traces X's peripatetic trajectory over decades, from Europe to the ruins of America's divided territories, and through her collaborations and feuds with everyone from Bowie and Waits to Sontag and Acker. At last, when she finally understands the scope of X's defining artistic project, CM realizes her wife's deceptions were far crueler than she imagined.

Pulsing with suspense and intellect while blending nonfiction and fiction, Biography of X is a roaring epic that plumbs the depths of grief, art, and love. In her most ambitious novel yet, Catherine Lacey pushes her craft to its highest level, introducing us to an unforgettable character who, in her tantalizing mystery, shows us the fallibility of the stories we craft for ourselves.

Bluebeard's Castle

- Anna Biller

Trade paperback $25.95
Reader Reward Price: $23.36

Bluebeard gets a feminist Gothic makeover in this subversive take on the famous French fairy tale -- from the acclaimed director of The Love Witch, and for fans of Jane Eyre

When the successful British mystery writer Judith Moore meets Gavin, a handsome and charming baron, at a birthday party on the Cornish coast, his love transforms her from a bitter, lonely young woman into a romance heroine overnight. After a whirlwind honeymoon in Paris, he whisks her away to a secluded Gothic castle. But soon she finds herself trapped in a nightmare, as her husband's mysterious nature and his alternation between charm and violence become increasingly frightening. 

As Judith battles both internal and external demons, including sexual ambivalence, psychological self-torture, gaslighting, family neglect, alcoholism, and domestic abuse, she becomes increasingly addicted to her wild beast of a husband. Why do women stay in abusive relationships? The answer can be found in the tortured mind of the protagonist, whose richly layered fantasy life parallels that of the female Gothic romance reader. Filled with dark humor and evocative imagery, Bluebeard's Castle is a subversive take on modern romance and Gothic erotica.

The Fury

- Alex Michaelides

Trade paperback - discounted $20.79
Reader Reward Price: $18.71

**THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER**

"Alex Michaelides hits the trifecta with his third novel, The Fury. The highly original story presents the reader with the king of all unreliable narrators, enough twists and turns to power two novels, and a host of characters that bleed right on the page. " --David Baldacci

A masterfully paced thriller about a reclusive ex-movie star and her famous friends whose spontaneous trip to a private Greek island is upended by a murder -- from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Patient


This is a tale of murder.

Or maybe that's not quite true. At its heart, it's a love story, isn't it?

Lana Farrar is a reclusive ex-movie star and one of the most famous women in the world. Every year, she invites her closest friends to escape the English weather and spend Easter on her idyllic private Greek island.

I tell you this because you may think you know this story. You probably read about it at the time - it caused a real stir in the tabloids, if you remember. It had all the necessary ingredients for a press sensation: a celebrity; a private island cut off by the wind...and a murder.

We found ourselves trapped there overnight. Our old friendships concealed hatred and a desire for revenge. What followed was a game of cat and mouse - a battle of wits, full of twists and turns, building to an unforgettable climax. The night ended in violence and death, as one of us was found murdered.

But who am I?

My name is Elliot Chase, and I'm going to tell you a story unlike any you've ever heard.

Girlfriends

- Emily Zhou

Trade paperback $23.95
Reader Reward Price: $21.56

In seven light-filled prisms of short stories, Emily Zhou chronicles modern queer life with uncompromising and hilarious lucidity. Attending to the intimacy of Gen Z women's lives, these stories move from the provinces to the metropolis, from chaotic student accommodation to insecure jobs, from parties to dates to the nights after, from haplessness to some kind of power.

Funny and devastating, like a trans Mary McCarthy, Zhou depicts with shocking precision the choices and shifts through which we work on each other and ourselves. Tender, merciless, and gracious, Girlfriends is a breath of fresh air.

How to Restore a Timeline

- Peter Counter

Trade paperback $22.99
Reader Reward Price: $20.69

When a stranger shoots his dad on a Costa Rican pier, Peter Counter hauls his blood-drenched father to safety. Returning home, Counter discovers that his sense of time and memory is shattered, and in its place is a budding new mental illness: post-traumatic stress disorder.

Counter begins to see violence everywhere. From the music of Cat Stevens to Jeb Bush's Twitter feed. Walter Benjamin to Johnny Carson. Taskmaster. Video games. ASMR videos on YouTube. The world is steeped in gore. Again and again, Counter finds himself reliving his father's shooting as his trauma is fragmented, recast, and distorted on a compulsive mental Tilt-A-Whirl.

Formally inventive and incisively smart, How to Restore a Timeline revels in a fragile human condition battered by real conflict and hyper-curated media portrayals of death. Channelling Phoebe Bridgers, George Orwell, and Jordan Peele, these essays look us dead in the eye and ask: What kind of life can we piece together amid all the carnage?

Hunting the Falcon

- John Guy, Julia Fox

Hardcover $43.50
Reader Reward Price: $39.15

"A fierce, scholarly tour-de-force. . . . Hunting the Falcon brilliantly shows how time, circumstance and politics combined to accelerate Anne's triumph and tragedy." --Tina Brown, New York Times Book Review

"A sumptuous drama of lust, intrigue, and betrayal, underpinned by the harsh reality of politics."--Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire

A groundbreaking, freshly-researched examination of one of the most dramatic and consequential marriages in history: Henry VIII's long courtship, short union, and brutal execution of Anne Boleyn.

Hunting the Falcon is the story of how Henry VIII's obsessive desire for Anne Boleyn changed him and his country forever. John Guy and Julia Fox, two of the most acclaimed and distinguished historians of this period, have joined forces to present Anne and Henry in startlingly new ways. By closely examining the most recent archival discoveries, and peeling back layers of historical myth and misinterpretation and distortion, Guy and Fox are able to set Anne and Henry's tragic relationship against the major international events of the time, and integrate and reinterpret sources hidden in plain sight or simply misunderstood. Among other things, they dispel lingering and latently misogynistic assumptions about Anne which anachronistically presumed that a sixteenth-century woman, even a queen, could exert little to no influence on the politics and beliefs of a patriarchal society. They reveal how, in fact, Anne was a shrewd, if ruthless, politician in her own right, a woman who steered Henry and his policies, often against the advice he received from his male advisers--and whom Henry seriously contemplated making joint sovereign.

 Hunting the Falcon sets the facts-and some completely new finds-into a far wider frame, providing an appreciation of this misunderstood and underestimated woman. It explores how Anne organized her "side" of the royal court on novel and (in male eyes) subversive lines compared to her queenly predecessors, adopting instead French protocol by which the sexes mingled freely in her private chambers. Men could share in the women's often sexually charged courtly "pastimes" and had liberal access to Anne, and she to them--encounters from which she gained much of her political intelligence and extended her authority, and which also sowed the seeds of her own downfall.

 An exhilarating feat of historical research and analysis, Hunting the Falcon is also a thrilling and tragic story of a marriage that has proved of enduring fascination over the centuries. But in the hands of John Guy and Julia Fox, even the most knowledgeable reader will encounter this story as if for the first time.

I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki

- Baek Sehee, Anton Hur

Hardcover $32.00
Reader Reward Price: $28.80

The internationally bestselling therapy memoir translated by International Booker Prize shortlisted Anton Hur.

PSYCHIATRIST: So how can I help you?

ME: I don't know, I'm - what's the word - depressed? Do I have to go into detail?


Baek Sehee is a successful young social media director at a publishing house when she begins seeing a psychiatrist about her - what to call it? - depression? She feels persistently low, anxious, endlessly self-doubting, but also highly judgmental of others. She hides her feelings well at work and with friends, performing the calmness her lifestyle demands. The effort is exhausting, overwhelming, and keeps her from forming deep relationships. This can't be normal. But if she's so hopeless, why can she always summon a desire for her favorite street food: the hot, spicy rice cake, tteokbokki? Is this just what life is like?

Recording her dialogues with her psychiatrist over a twelve-week period, and expanding on each session with her own reflective micro-essays, Baek begins to disentangle the feedback loops, knee-jerk reactions, and harmful behaviors that keep her locked in a cycle of self-abuse. Part memoir, part self-help book, I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki is a book to keep close and to reach for in times of darkness. It will appeal to anyone who has ever felt alone or unjustified in their everyday despair.

The Many Deaths of Laila Starr

- Ram V, Filipe Andrade

Trade paperback $19.99
Reader Reward Price: $17.99

Humanity is on the verge of discovering immortality, which means the avatar of Death is out of a job... or is she?

Harvey Award Winning Book of the Year 2022

"It's funny as hell. All the right kind of Douglas Adam's vibes."--Brian Michael Bendis

"It's beautiful and funny and full of style. A terrific #1 issue that shows off a whole world and cast that I loved."--Joshua Williamson

"Ram V at his very, glorious best, and Filipe Andrade's artwork is stunning. Just an excellent, excellent book."--Dan Watters

"unquestionably brilliant"--Major Spoilers

"This is a masterpiece."--ComicBook.com

"showcasing just how far and wide the realm of comic books and storytelling can and should be."--COMICON

"an iconic, seminal comic that will be remembered for some time."--Black Nerd Problems

Humanity is on the verge of discovering immortality. As a result, the avatar of Death is cast down to Earth to live a mortal life in Mumbai as twenty-something Laila Starr. Struggling with her newfound mortality, Laila has found a way to be placed in the time and place where the creator of immortality will be born. Will Laila take her chance to stop mankind from permanently altering the cycle of life, or will death really become a thing of the past? A powerful new graphic novel from award-winning writer Ram V (These Savage Shores, Swamp Thing) and Filipe Andrade (Captain Marvel) that explores the fine line between living and dying through the lens of magical realism. Collects The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #1-5.

Our Share of Night

- Mariana Enriquez, Megan McDowell, Pablo Gerardo Camacho

Trade paperback $25.99
Reader Reward Price: $23.39

"A masterpiece of supernatural horror."--The Washington Post
"An enchanting, shattering, once-in-a-lifetime reading experience."--The New York Times (Editors' Choice)

ONE OF TIME AND THE ATLANTIC'S TEN BEST NOVELS OF THE YEAR o ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES'S TEN BEST HORROR BOOKS OF THE YEAR o LONGLISTED FOR THE DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD o GOOD MORNING AMERICA BUZZ PICK

A woman's mysterious death puts her husband and son on a collision course with her demonic family in the first novel to be translated into English by the International Booker Prize-shortlisted author of The Dangers of Smoking in Bed--"the most exciting discovery I've made in fiction for some time" (Kazuo Ishiguro).

A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, NPR, The Washington Post, Esquire, Publishers Weekly, BookPage, Book Riot, PopSugar, The New York Public Library, Chicago Public Library, Polygon, Tordotcom, Lit Hub, Electric Lit, Commonweal, CrimeReads


"A magnificent accomplishment."--Alan Moore, author of Watchmen
"A masterpiece of literary horror."--Publishers Weekly, starred review
"One of Latin America's most exciting authors."--Silvia Moreno-Garcia

A young father and son set out on a road trip, devastated by the death of the wife and mother they both loved. United in grief, the pair travel to her ancestral home, where they must confront the terrifying legacy she has bequeathed: a family called the Order that commits unspeakable acts in search of immortality.

For Gaspar, the son, this maniacal cult is his destiny. As the Order tries to pull him into their evil, he and his father take flight, attempting to outrun a powerful clan that will do anything to ensure its own survival. But how far will Gaspar's father go to protect his child? And can anyone escape their fate?

Moving back and forth in time, from London in the swinging 1960s to the brutal years of Argentina's military dictatorship and its turbulent aftermath, Our Share of Night is a novel like no other: a family story, a ghost story, a story of the occult and the supernatural, a book about the complexities of love and longing with queer subplots and themes. This is the masterwork of one of Latin America's most original novelists, "a mesmerizing writer," says Dave Eggers, "who demands to be read."

Poor Deer

- Claire Oshetsky

Hardcover $33.50
Reader Reward Price: $30.15

A wondrous, tender novel about a young girl grappling with her role in a tragic loss--and attempting to reshape the narrative of her life--from PEN/Faulkner Award nominee Claire Oshetsky

Margaret Murphy is a weaver of fantastic tales, growing up in a world where the truth is too much for one little girl to endure. Her first memory is of the day her friend Agnes died.

No one blames Margaret. Not in so many words. Her mother insists to everyone who will listen that her daughter never even left the house that day. Left alone to make sense of tragedy, Margaret wills herself to forget these unbearable memories, replacing them with imagined stories full of faith and magic--that always end happily.

Enter Poor Deer: a strange and formidable creature who winds her way uninvited into Margaret's made-up tales. Poor Deer will not rest until Margaret faces the truth about her past and atones for her role in Agnes's death.

Heartrending, hopeful, and boldly imagined, Poor Deer explores the journey toward understanding the children we once were and the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of life's most difficult moments.

This is a selection of our current Staff Picks titles. To find other titles or authors, or just to browse, please use the search box.

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