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Vampires Lemon Grove   miniature wife  beautiful indifference   Good Man Hard to Find

Russell takes a turn for the dark and violent, in addition to the surreal and absurd, in her new short story collection. Her protagonists have grown up, and boy howdy so have her plotlines. From the American frontier, to inner-city schools, to Antarctic tailgaters, to kidnapped Japanese factory girls, there is a huge range of stories here to enjoy. Maybe read with the lights on, though? (Jenn)

A plane that has been circling Houston for twenty years; a miniature, spider-hunting wife; and a zombie passing as an office drone are just a few examples of the darkly funny, playful stories in Manuel Gonzalez's new collection. Gonzalez reworks genre tropes into his own strange, twisted gems. (Shane)

Eerie, elegant stories from the author of the equally excellent feminist dystopia Daughters of the North. The last story in particular will stay with you -- maybe longer than you want it to. (Molly)

If the last time you read an O'Connor story was in high school, I highly recommend revisiting her. Her stories are dark and violent and absurd (like Russell), darkly funny and twisted (like Gonzalez), eerie and elegant (like Hall), and, quite simply, classic. She was a master. (Emily)


Polyglots   Polish Boxer     autobiography of red    one good earl  

The Polyglots by William Gerhardie (ebook available)
Funny, quirky novel just reissued by Melville House. I am really enjoying the 1925 humor. A young twentysomething gent comes to visit a host of relatives who are down on their luck following the Russian revolution. Hilarity ensues. (Simone)   


AND A BONUS! There is a great battle brewing between camps Bowtie and Fuzzy Hat, inspired by Polyglots and A Country Doctor's Notebook! Our staff have already weighed in here and here, but we want to hear from you. Come by the store to pose or send in a picture with your vote, and at the end of the month we'll have a special prize for one lucky person from each camp.  


The Polish Boxer by Eduardo Halfon (ebook available)
A Guatemalan literature professor named Eduardo Halfon (postmodern coincidence?) searches for his origins throughout the world in this slim, haunting novel. Through stories of a gypsy Serbian pianist, Israeli travelers, and his Jewish grandfather, Eduardo seeks to understand how exile, his own and others', has shaped his identity, and how people cope with the yearning for a homeland that they've never had. (Shane)

Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson
If you have loved this book, I highly recommend that you re-read it ASAP. If people keep telling you to read it and you haven't yet, do it now! This novel-in-verse is one of the most lovely renderings of how one manages, again and again, to find the "art" in heartbreak. And Carson has written a follow-up to it, Red Doc>, which comes out in early March, and OMG HAVE I MENTIONED HOW EXCITED I AM FOR IT???!!! (Emily)

One Good Earl by Sarah MacLean (ebook available)
If you are looking for a gateway to romance novels, try this one! Revolving around a gambling den in London, One Good Earl follows a smart, scientifically-minded lady (in a society that finds the combination of science and women Absolutely Scandalous) trying to find the formula for happiness and love, and the hero is a brooding mess (as you might expect). (Jenn)


when women were birds   going clear     what are you doing here    Eighty Days 

When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams (ebook available)
This one is for fans of Cheryl Strayed and Annie Dillard. When Terry Tempest Williams' mother dies, she leaves her daughter several shelves of diaries that all turn out to be blank. Williams is an incredible writer, and her fascination with nature melds with her contemplations on family and the creative voice to produce a gorgeous tear-jerker of a memoir. (Jenn)

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright (ebook available)
I was surprised at how taken in by this I was. Pulitzer Prize-winner Wright is a truly talented journalist, and the epilogue is masterful. The NYT review starts with: "That crunching sound you hear is Lawrence Wright bending over backward to be fair to Scientology," and yet you feel, at least a little bit, like you're also catching up on the gossip. In the end, I wonder whether the creation of a religion was, for Hubbard, the true pinnacle of being a good science fiction writer: he not only created a convincing world on the page, but he got people to truly believe in it. (Emily)

What Are You Doing Here? by Laina Dawes
I picked this up because Music Writing Book Group was reading it, and I am so glad I did. Dawes writes not only about her own experiences as a black woman in the heavy metal/hardcore scene, but also interviews anyone else she can find who will talk to her -- not an easy thing, with this divisive of a topic! A fascinating look at the fringes of the fringe community. (Jenn)

Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World by Matthew Goodman (ebook available)
I reviewed this in PW's Galley Talk: "Though similar in some ways, Elizabeth Bisland and Nellie Bly were remarkably different in others: one leaned toward intellect and good writing, the other toward daring and a good story; one was amazed by the British Empire, the other disgusted by it; one was comfortable with fame and hype, and the other shunned it at all costs; and one won, while one did not. Goodman showers us with lavish details -- of the New York where both women launched their careers, of the ships and trains that carried them away and then home, of Nellie Bly's encounter with Jules Verne himself in France, and of the rapidly changing world of journalism." (Emily)

KIDS BOOKS we love at WORD

  Code Name Verity    Jepp    tangle of knots    moomin

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Elizabeth Wein's Printz Honor-winning YA is narrated by a young spy who's writing down her story in order to buy herself time with her Nazi captors. Her tale is full of English planes, secret locations, and the details of life in wartime -- but Wein centers this heartbreaking, gorgeous story on the connection between the captive spy and the pilot who is her best friend. Verity is so carefully pieced together, I may have to read it again just to see how precisely Wein sets out each breadcrumb of plot and character. (Molly)

Jepp, Who Defied the Stars by Katherine Marsh
A gripping coming-of-age story about Jepp, a dwarf in the late 1500s who moves from his comfortable home in Holland to become court dwarf for the Spanish Infanta, then faces exile and is sent to the household of famous astronomer Tycho Brahe. You'll be drawn in from the start by Marsh's gorgeous writing. (Jenny)

A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff (ebook available)

In this multi-character fantasy/mystery, almost everyone has a Talent, whether it be knitting, matchmaking, baking, or even spitting. Fates are entwined, hidden identities are revealed, families are created and drawn together, and many cakes are baked (recipes included!). A charming tale for middle-grade readers. (Jenny)


The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My by Tove Jansson
A beautiful new format has been given to a classic Moomin rhyming story of lost and found. Laser cut pages lead us on a hide-and-seek through dark woods full of wacky colorful characters. Fun for the little ones and all Moomin fans. (Simone)

Robot Bluebird  Chu's Day  Lyle Lyle Crocodile  book of sleep

The Robot and the Bluebird by David Lucas
A robot, left alone in a junk heap with a broken heart, helps a lone bluebird on its journey south in this simple yet gorgeously illustrated and incredibly moving picture book. This has been my favorite children's book for years! (Shane)

Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Adam Rex
As cute as the panda video that may have inspired it, this picture book is our new favorite read-aloud. When Chu sneezes, you better watch out! His sneezes are so powerful he has to wear an aviator cap and goggles at all times. Kids will have fun not only with the build-up to the Big Sneeze, but tracking the other animals in the cast. (Molly and Jenn)

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile Storybook Treasury by Bernard Waber
We've been reading this a lot lately and it's a great picture book entry into a chapter book style of read aloud. Adrian loves the images and stories and I think it makes a great gift. (Christine and Adrian, the bookstore toddler)

A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na
I would call this stunning picture book a refreshing alternative to Goodnight Moon, one that has the same classic quality but feels more modern. It's totally going to be my baby shower standby, so if we know any of the same pregnant ladies, I totally call dibs! (Emily)


This has been another production of the book-lovin' fools at:  

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