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Sarah B.'s Picks

Sarah B. SARAH B.
Sarah is an avid reader and English major from the Midwest, where she worked in another indie bookstore before coming to Changing Hands. Sarah reads mostly Fiction, which she believes answers life's BIG QUESTIONS better than anything in the Self Help or Spirituality section (that's the point of good art, right?). She also reads Political books (current obsession: how the internet is affecting our culture), History, Music, Nature and Classics -- with the occasional literary mystery thrown in for fun. She thinks everyone should read Housekeeping by Marilyn Robinson, Can't Stop Won't Stop by Jeff Chang, and anything by Matt Taibbi.

Wonderland (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780544074811
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Houghton Mifflin, 5/2014
Indie rock star Anna Brundage had her 15 minutes of fame, and then slid back into the shadows of regular life. Now she has a second chance--in Stacy D’Erasmo’s brilliant new novel we meet Anna at the beginning of her European comeback tour. This powerful book is about life on tour--train rides, drinking, casual encounters with fans--and D’Erasmo knows what she’s talking about from her research touring Europe with Scissor Sisters. But Wonderland is also about what is at the heart of our need to create--Anna’s music, her father’s sculpture and the author’s prose all reflect and inform each other, and create a deep sense of longing and beauty within the reader. This book is for the artist in each of us!

The Shelter Cycle (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780547859088
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 4/2013
On March 15, 1990, members of the Church Universal and Triumphant went down into their underground shelters to wait for the Soviet nuclear strike their prophet had predicted. The next morning they emerged to a world unchanged. In Peter Rock's new novel he explores issues of spirituality and faith through the story of a girl who grew up in this group. Like his first novel, My Abandonment, Rock has created characters who stay with you long after you put the book down, and has skillfully raised questions that you will debate with friends and family. The Shelter Cycle is a literary answer to our society's obsession with end-of-the-world scenarios, and I hope you will have a chance to experience its genius.

ISBN-13: 9781594205347
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Penguin Press HC, The, 2/2013
To say Detroit is in trouble is an understatement, and there are many writers who have flocked there like anthropologists to the Amazon to study its startling poverty, violence and decay. Don’t read their books — this is the book you need to read. Charlie LeDuff is a native of Detroit, and in this amazing book he turns his unblinking eye on his hometown. He also turns his journalists gaze on himself; the book is intensely personal, as LeDuff tells stories of his own family’s rise and fall that mirror that of the Motor City. Detroit: An American Autopsy will make you cry, laugh and shake your head in disbelief and anger. This is not an easy book to read, but it is one you should read — and you will never forget. Oh, and one more thing — God bless and keep the people of Detroit, Michigan.

ISBN-13: 9780307700667
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Knopf, 1/2013
You’ve probably heard some crazy things about Scientology. Well, the truth is even crazier. Pulitzer prize winning author Lawrence Wright (The Looming Tower) has written an amazing expose of what is basically a legalized cult in America. Wright takes pains to be very even-handed, acknowledging that it is only human to search for something to believe in. Wright’s painstaking research into the history and practices of Scientology uncovers a world that is not pretty, but you won’t want to put Going Clear down!

ISBN-13: 9780393344233
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company, 9/2012
You may remember Jeff Sharlet from his last book, The Family, an expose about a shady religious group that wields tremendous influence in Washington, D.C. In his latest, Sharlet takes on a similar topic — faith in America. Sweet Heaven When I Die is a collection of essays based on Sharlet's experiences exploring faith and culture around the country, and he writes with surprising earnestness about groups ranging from born-again Christian teens to a New Age New York ex-lawyer. With each group Sharlet exposes the faults and strengths of its beliefs, without demeaning the individuals involved, making for an interesting, moving read.

Battleborn: Stories (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9781594631450
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Trade, 8/2013
This collection of short stories is amazing — it is hard to believe it is Watkin's first! The surreal landscapes of her Nevada childhood populate each stunning story, and with this book Watkins cements herself as a truly western writer, managing to claim that designation without delving into the cliches of manifest destiny or the played-out "wild west" routine. But it’s not all descriptions of western topography — Battleborn begins with a semi-autobiographical story in which the author reveals that her father was Charles Manson's right-hand man! Watkins has turned her dramatic history into a brilliant and beautiful work of fiction.

Saltie: A Cookbook (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9781452103020
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Chronicle Books, 10/2012
The morning after my brother's wedding, I had the best sandwich of my life. I immediately asked who was catering the brunch, and found out it was the Williamsburg restaurant Saltie. Since then, I have made Saltie a must-visit on any trip to New York, and now my sister-in-law works there! I am so excited to finally get to try and make Saltie's original sandwiches, pastries, homemade foccacia and egg bowls at home. This cookbook is worth its weight in gold (or maybe truffles)!

HHhH (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780374169916
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 4/2012
In what is technically a novel, Laurent Binet tells the story of the two Czechoslovakian parachutists (one Czech, one Slovak) who pulled off the most daring assassination of World War II. These two brave men were able to take down one of the most powerful men in Hitler's regime, Reinhard Heydrich. The title, "HHhH" comes from a German phrase of the time which translates to "Himmler's brain is called Heydrich." At the same time, Binet explores the idea of writing historical fiction, and agonizes about how to honor these two brave souls by telling their story accurately. Amazing!

ISBN-13: 9780374230593
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: FSG Originals, 5/2012
I never thought I could learn so much from a True Crime book! In People Who Eat Darkness Richard Lloyd Parry tells the story of Lucie Blackman, a young British woman who disappeared while working in one of Tokyo's hostess clubs, and the frantic search to find her. Parry also tells us the story of the man responsible for her disappearance, and at the same time illuminates many aspects of Japanese culture that had a hand in this crime. Very entertaining, interesting and well written!

Gods Without Men (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780307957115
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Knopf, 3/2012
What is it about the Southwest that attracts so many seekers? Hari Kunzru's haunting new novel Gods Without Men is a response to the mysterious pull of the desert. We meet spiritual seekers, from a rock star to a financial guru to a cult, all of whom are drawn to a rock formation somewhere in the desert. The formation may have mystical power, a connection to aliens, or be responsible for the strange disappearances of several children - Kunzru lets you decide what is out there...

ISBN-13: 9780307377388
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Pantheon, 1/2012
Brilliant cultural critic Geoff Dyer explores the world of film and his own life through Andrei Tarkovsky's phenomenal film Stalker in this one of a kind book. I highly recommend watching the film and reading the book - it was one of the most extremely enjoyable intellectual exercises I've had lately. If you don't see the film, the book still holds its own - reading Dyer is always interesting, challenging and educational!

ISBN-13: 9780812992793
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Random House, 1/2012
Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and this may be especially true when it comes to North Korea. Adam Johnson (who grew up in Tempe) has managed to capture the absurdity and horror of life in this closed repressive society in his new novel, The Orphan Master's Son. Johnson uses the extraordinary life of orphan and nobody Jun Do to explore the psychological and spiritual effects of a society ruled by the whim of an individual. This amazing novel seems especially prescient given the Dear Leader's recent demise!

ISBN-13: 9781608194605
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Bloomsbury USA, 8/2012
Without Joe Hill there would be no Woodie Guthrie, Utah Phillips or Bob Dylan. Without Joe Hill, the Wobblies of the IWW would not have had the widespread influence they enjoyed in the early 20th century. Joe Hill is an American hero, unjustly executed by the state of Utah, and one we should never forget - especially now as unions come under attack as never before. When you punch out after 8 hours, or take two days off on the weekend, think of Joe Hill and that famous song: "...I never died said he."

Pulphead: Essays (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780374532901
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: FSG Originals, 10/2011
You know that rare friend you have who is never boring? The one always sharing some new information, making you laugh, pointing out coincidences and strange people? Reading Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan is like hanging out with that person. In fact, I wish Sullivan was my friend and I could call him up for a coffee right now! Whether he's writing about Axel Rose, the near death of his brother, ancient cave art in Tennessee, meeting Bunny Wailer, or having a TV show filmed in his house, Sullivan is extremely witty, insightful and entertaining. It's lucky to meet a great friend, and you will feel lucky to have found Pulphead! —Sarah B.

ISBN-13: 9780375857157
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers, 10/2011
This book is simply amazing! The story behind one of America's most beloved books comes to life in this annotated version, with notes by Leonard S. Marcus. Find out how Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer met, how they came up with Milo and the tollbooth, and how their lives were changed by The Phantom Tollbooth's publication. For everyone who loves intelligent
childrens books, and who wants to ride along with Milo again! —Sarah B.

ISBN-13: 9781416596400
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Free Press, 6/2012
When Julia Scheeres started to do research for a novel she wanted to write about a religious cult, she knew the Jonestown Massacre would provide relevant material. But as she looked into the recently released FBI and CIA files on Jim Jones and his church, The People's Temple, she realized that this was the story she needed to tell. A Thousand Lives is an amazing book not just because of Scheeres impeccable research, but because she tells the story from the perspective of individual Temple members. She shows us how a diverse group of 918 people fell under Jones’ spell—moving with him to Guyana, dying for him— and how only a lucky few survived. —Sarah B.

Lost Memory of Skin (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780061857638
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Ecco, 9/2011
One sign of a brilliant author is one who writes credibly on many different subjects. Russell Banks has written novels about John Brown, alcoholism, a school bus accident, African politics and Rastafarians—and all were extremely well-written and entertaining. Banks’ new book Lost Memory of Skin tackles the difficult subject of how we treat sexual offenders. As always, Banks delivers a nuanced, thoughtful and intelligent commentary on our society. “The Kid” is a young, skinny sex offender forced to live in limbo under a bridge with other offenders in Florida (this scenario actually comes straight from the headlines). Here he meets “The Professor,” a giant genius interested in studying him. The story of these two misfits is heart-rending and beautiful, and forces readers to reflect on our own definitions of humanity and compassion. I strongly recommend this book!   —Sarah B.

Wire to Wire (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9781935639053
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Tin House Books, 5/2011
Slater used to ride the rails, until he took a power line to the head. Slater lived in Arizona until his girlfriend left him and his neighbor tried to kill him. Slater doesn't know his car is packed full of $100 dollar bills. Slater has just returned to Northern Michigan. Slater has started sleeping with his best friend's girl. Slater has tried huffing glue for the first time. Slater has no idea what has followed him from the desert. Once you start traveling with Slater, you will not be able to put Wire to Wire down. Scott Sparling has crafted a thrilling, dark, literary adventure that won't quit! —Sarah B.

ISBN-13: 9780393339901
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company, 7/2011
This may be the first time you’ve heard of Suzanne Rivecca, but it will not be the last. Take note of the Lorrie Moore quote on the front cover, and the Jim Shepard quote on the back—two masters of the short story are blurbing her first book! In Death is Not an Option, Rivecca demonstrates a deep understanding of human beings when facing major turning points in their lives. In one story, a woman confronting a stalker is forced to examine her own dishonest past. In another, a first-year teacher struggles with confronting parents she suspects of child abuse, only to have the most unlikely resolution when she visits their home. In each story you will experience moments of sharp recognition; I was especially moved by her depiction of adolescent girls at camp (did I really act like that?!). I urge you to check out these stories by a rising literary talent! —Sarah B.

ISBN-13: 9781416566281
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Simon & Schuster, 4/2011
This story is almost too crazy to believe! In the wake of Katrina, a lampshade made of human skin is discovered in New Orleans. Author Mark Jacobson comes into possession of this horrifying object, and starts investigating its origins. Through the mystery of the lampshade, he tells a story of the Holocaust, New Orleans, Katrina, and Israel. For readers who loved The Orchid Thief and Devil in the White City, and for fans of Jon Krakauer, comes an amazing work of nonfiction not to be missed!  —Sarah B.

ISBN-13: 9780307740939
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Vintage, 7/2012

Ferdinand von Schirach's fiction debut will amaze and astonish you. In Crime, this German defense lawyer presents eleven compulsively readable short stories, each based on a case he was actually involved in. Von Schirach deftly conveys the psychology, desperation and randomness of criminals and their crimes—describing horrific intimate details while creating portraits of the criminals that maintain their humanity. As a bonus, Crime offers the opportunity to learn about the German justice system, how it differs from our own, and how it has been shaped by German history. —Sarah B.

The Ask (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780312680633
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Picador, 3/2011
Milo Burke is a loser. He is terrible at his job (asking rich donors for money to fund an arts college), unsure about his parenting skills, and probably losing his wife. But when an old friend, now worth millions, turns up in Milo’s office, things start looking up... or do they? The Ask is a wild, hilarious, depressing, insane but ultimately uplifting novel. Reminiscent of A Confederacy of Dunces, Milo Burke will become the antihero for a new generation—alternately making you laugh or cringe. Sam Lipsyte is a comedic genius, but his fiction is literary to the core—and I have always thought it is harder to write a good funny novel than a good tragic novel. Give The Ask a try, and see what you think!   —Sarah B.

ISBN-13: 9781608192045
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Bloomsbury USA, 7/2010
Dean Kuiper's first book, Burning Rainbow Farm, brilliantly examined and exposed our nation’s ridiculous drug laws. Now he explores the radical environmental movement through the story of Rod Coronado, an activist who became notorious for taking on the fur industry. Rod’s story is one of courage and idealism, but it is not black and white. Kuipers is able to convey the ambivalence and struggles of someone who sees the earth being rapidly destroyed around him, and wants to do something about it. But Rod’s story reveals something deeply disturbing, as well: the U.S. government has changed the definition of “terrorist” to include people who destroy property in the name of a cause. What kind of nation are we living in when someone who burns an SUV or releases some minks is considered as threatening to our country as a suicide bomber? I take comfort in the fact that Dean Kuipers is out there writing, and continuing to expose issues like these. —Sarah B.

ISBN-13: 9781568586120
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Nation Books, 9/2010
As an English major, I think every history book should be this well-written. As someone who believes that history is written by the victors, I think Galeano has made an extremely important contribution to human history -- one that represents the oppressed and marginalized. But most importantly, as a human being I wish that everyone would read this book and really think about the sometimes beautiful and sometimes horrifying world we live in. —Sarah B.

ISBN-13: 9780740791383
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 6/2010
What creeps you out? This laugh-out-loud gift book points out things from the oddball to the everyday that will make you giggle with recognition. Making the list are hairless cats, "grandma candy," really long hair and lifelike baby dolls. Once you start reading, you can't look away!  -Sarah B.

ISBN-13: 9780385529969
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Spiegel & Grau, 8/2011
Matt Taibbi is the most astute political writer out there (and the most hilarious), and for the past two years he has been covering the financial shell-game that has brought a once powerful economy to its knees. Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America is a must-read for anyone who wants financial reform—in order to reform a system, you first have to understand it, and no one explains our complex financial and political systems better than Matt Taibbi. —Sarah B.

ISBN-13: 9780300141900
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Yale University Press, 11/2010
This impressive book is a must-have for the hip-hop fan in your life. Bradley continues exploring the idea of rap as poetry in this extensive anthology, which has introductions by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Billy Collins, and afterwords by Chuck D. and Common! Look for Bradley in our December 2010 events calendar—come and find out how he chose the artists and songs for this landmark work. —Sarah B.

The Black Minutes (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780802170682
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Grove Press, Black Cat, 5/2010
The Black Minutes is a seriously masterful literary detective novel, with a touch of the surreal. Think Roberto Bolaño meets Elmore Leonard. The novel takes place in a fictional port in Mexico, where detective Ramón Cabrera (aka El Macetón) investigates the murder of journalist Bernardo Blanco. Things start to get interesting when Cabrera disovers that Blanco was writing a piece on a cold case concerning the murders of several young girls in the 70s. Solares has written a brilliant hard-boiled suspense novel of murder & corruption, Mexican style. —Sarah B.

ISBN-13: 9780802145314
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Grove Press, 5/2011
In college I had the opportunity to take a team-taught class on the Vietnam war; one of the professors was a well-known Quaker anti-war activist, and the other was a vet who had served two tours in-country. It was an amazing experience, and one that has led to a lifetime of reading fiction and non-fiction about the war in Vietnam. Which brings me to Matterhorn. I love this book, and I think I can safely say that both of my professors would feel the same. Karl Marlantes (himself a veteran) has written an amazing novel—historically accurate, beautifully written, and incredibly moving. This book will appeal to lovers of literary fiction and war-time thrillers alike. When the book ends, you won’t want to leave the soldiers of Matterhorn behind.    
—Sarah B.

The Glister (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780307455338
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Anchor, 2/2010
Teenage boys from Innertown are disappearing. No one knows what is happening to them, and what's worse is the town doesn't seem to care. John Burnside's beautifully written novel, The Glister, seems to show what can happen to a community bombarded by environmental disaster and economic collapse. Can the stress of a crumbling world push people so far they become apathetic, even when their children are in danger? Burnside has beautifully woven together mystery, horror, social commentary and literary fiction. You won't read anything else like The Glister!  
—Sarah B.

ISBN-13: 9780545055857
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Arthur A. Levine Books, 10/2009
Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor is a magical book. Seriously magical. Taylor's three fairy tales conjure up that powerful feeling of yearning I had as a teenager in love. That feeling of "if I don't get to kiss that cute boy, I may die." The thing is, in Laini's world love is a matter of life and death. This is a great read for teens and for women who still nurture the raging teen romantic within (and Twilight fans, too)! —Sarah B.

Await Your Reply (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780345476036
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Ballantine Books, 6/2010
In Dan Chaon's latest novel Await Your Reply, identity is both prominent and elusive. That is to say, the theme of identity plays a major role, while the identity of the characters can be purposefully blurred. In this stark and beautiful novel, Chaon weaves together three stories: a father and son team of hackers living on the edge in Northern Michigan, a recent high school graduate and her teacher hiding out in an abandoned motel, and a sad-sack magic store employee looking for his diabolical (genius?) twin brother. Any and all of these people may not be who they say or think they are. Using this uncertainty, Chaon masterfully builds suspense and causes his reader to ask, in this age of shifting information & light speed technology, "Who am I?" —Sarah B.

ISBN-13: 9780802144812
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Grove Press, 4/2010
Wunderkind Nick McDonell has done it again. In his latest novel, An Expensive Education, he brings together two seemingly disparate parts of the world: the world of the Boston Ivy-League elite and the world of war-torn, poverty-stricken Africa. McDonell explores ideas of class, race and nationalism in this story of intrigue about Harvard and it's influence on African politics. In this book we meet: Teak, a Harvard alum CIA operative, Susan Lowell, liberal Harvard professor, David Ayan, an African student adjusting to the Ivy League and his girlfriend, the spoiled, wealthy bohemian Jane. All of these individuals come together to create a spy novel with a conscience, in the tradition of John LeCarre and Graham Greene. I highly recommend reading this book—and discussing it with friends when you finish! —Sarah B.

ISBN-13: 9780802144867
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Grove Press, 5/2010
The New Valley by Josh Weil is the most beautiful book I've read this year. These three novellas set in rural Appalachia broke my heart over and over again. You won't soon forget Weil's characters: the lonely cattleman, the obsessive mechanic and his obese daughter, or the mentally handicapped gas station attendant. Each of these characters reflects our own loneliness: a hard cold light, surrounded by Weil's brilliant descriptions of things natural and man-made. Weil's illustrations for the second novella sum up the beauty and conflict of the interaction between man and machine. This haunting, lovely book heralds the arrival of an impressive literary talent. —Sarah B.

Nobody Move (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780312429614
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Picador, 4/2010
“The God I want to believe in has a voice and a sense of humor like Denis Johnson’s.” So says Jonathan Franzen (The Corrections), and I couldn’t agree more. Denis Johnson’s latest book, Nobody Move, is a gripping noir thriller that hijacked my attention for an entire afternoon. I read it once all the way through, and then started again. You don’t want to miss the story of Jimmy Luntz, a down-on-his-luck compulsive gambler on the run, and the crack-shot, drunk Native American Anita. Together they stagger through the dark, lawless underworld Johnson has created—a world that chillingly mirrors our own. —Sarah B.

ISBN-13: 9781844673612
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Verso, 4/2009
Novelist, poet, critic, and activist John Berger has wowed me again. In his latest novel, From A to X, Berger depicts the relationship between A’ida, a pharmacist, and Xavier, her lover who is in prison. We don’t know what Xavier has done, but from the context we know he is a political prisoner—and that A’ida may still be a political activist on the outside. Set in an unnamed occupied country, this novel is amazingly prescient. Berger explores the relationships between men and women, the people and the state, the occupied and the occupiers. He also posits that the way we can stay close people we are separated from is through the sharing of the everyday beauties of life. From A to X is a book of treasures large and small. —Sarah B.

My Abandonment (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780156035521
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books, 4/2010
My Abandonment by Peter Rock is one of the most unique and disquieting novels I’ve read in a long time. Caroline is a thirteen year old girl who lives with her father in Forest Park outside Portland. Her father has taught her everything about survival: how to stay hidden in the woods, how to leave no trace, how to avoid people at all costs. But when these two outsiders are discovered by the police and social services, everything will change. This novel will challenge your beliefs about many things: family relationships, social norms, and nature to name a few. But above all read this book for Caroline’s voice—I still can’t get it out of my head. —Sarah B.

ISBN-13: 9781847671875
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Canongate U.S., 3/2009
Prepare yourself for Pandora in the Congo! This is one of the most exciting, wildly entertaining books I've read in a long time. Part mystery, part jungle adventure, and a healthy dose of sci-fi make this an incredibly unique novel. Reminiscent of the Allan Quartermain adventures (such as

Beat the Reaper (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780316032216
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Back Bay Books, 9/2009
Imagine this... you are a deadly mafia assassin, who escaped into the witness protection program, where you pursued your dream of becoming a doctor. One day in the ER, a thug from your former life recognizes you. This thug is infected with an unidentified disease that is quickly killing him, and he threatens to turn you in to the mafia if you can't cure him in 24 hours. Meanwhile, because of a three-stooges-like medical mishap, you become infected with the same incurable disease, so you'll have to not only outwit the mafia, but "beat the reaper" yourself. The clock is ticking. Ready, set, go!! —Sarah B.

ISBN-13: 9780307386731
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Vintage, 11/2008
Only John Berger could write a book this beautiful about politics. Best known as a poet and novelist, Berger is also a philosopher, filmmaker and artist. In this singular book, he illuminates the horror and suffering of our modern world in lucid, devastating prose. But Berger doesn't leave you in the depths of misery, he manages to offer unique, humane solutions to problems many see as beyond hope. Hold Everything Dear is a brilliant book of essays and a testament to the power of the written word. This is by far the most moving book I have read this year, and I highly recommend it! —Sarah B.

Abandoned Cars (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9781606993415
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Fantagraphics Books, 5/2010
This book slapped me in the face—who am I? Why do I participate in a consumer culture that disgusts me? How does anyone break free & live outside society? And how do those people who succeed at going off the grid keep their sanity? Tim Lane’s collection of graphic short stories, Abandoned Cars, is a brutal, gritty examination of the American Myth and what it’s become, as well as a portrait of a consummate outsider and how he lives—perfect for those of us who question our 9-to-5 existence. -Sarah B.

ISBN-13: 9780802144225
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Grove Press, 5/2009
How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone is a novel in the tradition of The Things They Carried. It is about war and stories, but it is not a traditional “war story” per se. Sasa Stanisic has crafted a beautifully complex novel about the conflict in Bosnia, his homeland, that defies the conventions of storytelling, and yet keeps the reader hanging on to his every word. Stanisic shows us conflict through the eyes of a child: curious, impulsive, and innocent. He also writes with the voice of someone who has experienced and escaped the height of the conflict by conveying the haunting and emotional reality of those who have left loved ones behind—those who ask, “Why not me?” Stanisic is an immensely talented writer, and his first novel is not to be missed. —Sarah B.

ISBN-13: 9780385520621
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Spiegel & Grau, 1/2009
Political writer and comedic genius Matt Taibbi has done it again. He has produced another biting, insightful, hilarious look at our political system and culture at large. This time, he goes undercover in a right-wing fundamentalist mega-church in Texas. I laughed out loud at his on-the-fly decision to recite the Russian national anthem when asked to speak in tongues (church members congratulate him on his efforts)! Taibbi explores how Americans' frustrations and feelings of helplessness are leading us to turn to extreme philosophies on both sides of the aisle—from demons and Armageddon to 9/11 conspiracy theories, Taibbi nails them all. —Sarah B.

ISBN-13: 9780385522663
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Spiegel & Grau, 3/2009
The Internet makes life easier; no one can dispute that. But why are critics of the web so harshly silenced these days? Lee Siegel offers a brilliant critique of this technology, and how it is affecting our culture in his new book, Against the Machine. Proponents of the Internet argue that it offers us "freedom" and "access." They co-opt the language of idealism and revolution to describe the web, which essentially acts as a commercial, consumerist machine. Are we really gaining freedom, or are all our interactions being shaped into one basic transaction—point, click, and repeat? Should shopping for a watch and looking for a girlfriend be essentially the same experience, happening from the same chair, and looking at the same screen? Against the Machine is a must read for old and young alike—those of us who are disturbed by the transformation of our culture, and those who are so immersed they can't see it happening. —Sarah B.

ISBN-13: 9780312427993
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Picador, 6/2008
Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine is the most important political book of this generation. As in her previous book, No Logo, Klein is able to explain sweeping ideas with far-reaching consequences in an extremely readable way. Klein describes the hijacking of our country's economic and foreign policy by Milton Friedman's "Chicago School" of economics. She brilliantly lays out how Friedman's ideas led us to exploit the developing world to benefit corporations, for example in South America in the 70s and 80s, and in Poland and Russia after the fall of communism. But Klein goes a step further when she posits that these ideas are now being used in the wake of disasters to privatize industry, which reap huge financial rewards while populations are still in shock. For anyone who wants to understand what happened in the wake of Katrina, the Indonesian tsunami, and the American invasion of Iraq, this book is a must read. —Sarah B.

Tree of Smoke (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780312427740
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Picador, 9/2008
Writing an original war novel in this day and age would seem like a daunting task, but poet, short story writer and ex-junkie Denis Johnson (Jesus’ Son) has succeeded magnificently. His tight prose and witty dialogue make this sprawling Vietnam-era tale effortlessly compelling, and won him the 2007 National Book Award. —Sarah B.

Clown Girl (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780976631156
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Hawthorne Books, 1/2007
Monica Drake’s debut novel is about being an artist. In this case, the artist is a clown named Sniffles, and her medium is balloon animals and pratfalls. Sniffles is a clown purist who has been forced into doing corporate clown gigs to pay the bills. Life in Baloneytown is rough, and Sniffles struggles to survive, and to maintain her artistic integrity. This novel will resonate with anyone who has ever tried to make a living doing what they love, and anyone making a living doing something they don’t. Clown Girl will make you laugh out loud, squirm with discomfort, and ultimately make you think. —Sarah B.

Seaview (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780976631163
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Hawthorne Books, 12/2006
Of all my favorite things in life, two I never imagined would converge are literature and golf. But in Toby Olson’s brilliant novel, Seaview, they do—and the result is something wildly original and yet comfortingly familiar. This is the story of Allen, a golf hustler, and his dying wife, Melinda, traveling together from Arizona to Connecticut. Along the way they pick up Pima Indian activist Bob White, with whom they develop a deep friendship, while throughout they are stalked by Allen’s coke-dealing former friend, Richard. This dark and beautiful novel builds to a climax on a cliff-side golf course, Seaview Links, that you will never forget. I strongly urge you to experience Seaview. —Sarah B.

The Ruins (Mass Market Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780307278289
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Vintage, 7/2007
Master of suspense writer Scott Smith (A Simple Plan) returns with this creepy novel of a tropical vacation gone horribly wrong. Pure terror interwoven with great characterization makes this book utterly enjoyable... but make sure and put it down before lunch! —Sarah B.

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ISBN-13: 9781563892615
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Vertigo, 3/1996
Wanna read an intense, epic, funny, bloody, wild graphic novel series? Try The Preacher. Take one hell raisin' brawler of a good ole' boy preacher, add his sexy gun toting girl and their hard drinking Irish vampire friend, and set them on a quest to find God and kick his ass—now that's entertainment! —Sarah B.

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