Dan's Picks

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Dan is a person who works at Changing Hands. No one taught him how to read. His favorite books are mostly emotionally tense and/or carefully written and/or full of weird things. He also has other interests.
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In Concrete By Anne Garréta, Emma Ramadan (Translator) Cover Image
By Anne Garréta, Emma Ramadan (Translator)
ISBN: 9781646050550
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Deep Vellum Publishing - May 11th, 2021

This is a book that I only meant to read a little bit at a time, and ended up not being able to put it down. The level of playfulness with Anne Garréta's language in this story is just stunning, revealing layers and layers as you keep going, in an incredible feat of translation by Emma Ramadan. Not only that but it is an incredibly fun story, combining the depths of a social drama with scatological puns everywhere. Please give this book a try!

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White Magic By Elissa Washuta Cover Image
ISBN: 9781951142391
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Tin House Books - April 27th, 2021

Elissa Washuta is one of the smartest writers out there, period. Her words and writings have a haunting quality, which is appropriate for this incredible essay collection on spells, heartbreak,  trauma, and transformation. Her book is the kind that actively resists categorization as it explores colonization in the Northwest, Fleetwood Mac, PTSD, Twin Peaks: The Return, and becoming a witch. I think this is an amazing book - although, as the book itself asks, how do you know? All I can say is I don't think I've read anything else like it.

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Santiago's Road Home By Alexandra Diaz Cover Image
ISBN: 9781534446243
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books - May 4th, 2021

Alexandra Diaz's brilliant book is an incredible story about resilience and finding a chosen family. It takes us deep into a youth immigrant detention center and explores themes of poverty, violence, and family separation, which are unfortunately still relevant. But the book never loses sight of Santiago's character, as he struggles to accept himself and his own worth. This book is a harrowing one but definitely worth reading.

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How to Order the Universe By María José Ferrada, Elizabeth Bryer (Translated by) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781951142308
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tin House Books - February 16th, 2021

This is one of those short novels that are completely charming (and then ultimately devastating). It brilliantly shows the dark era of Pinochet in Chile through a father and daughter who sell hardware supplies throughout the country, and how the daughter uses the hardware catalog to make sense of everything going on around her. In such a small space, Maria Jose Ferrada fills her book with memorable characters and legends that will stay with you after you are done. You can probably read this book in two hours or so, but I encourage you to savor it.

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The Hearing Trumpet By Leonora Carrington, Olga Tokarczuk (Afterword by) Cover Image
By Leonora Carrington, Olga Tokarczuk (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9781681374642
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: NYRB Classics - January 5th, 2021

Is Leonora Carrington my favorite writer? I think so! This reissue of her novel shows her brilliant sense of humor, the surrealist way she views the world, as well as a strong sense of justice - that everything could be a different way. I don't want to give too much away about this book, only that it begins with the 92 year old narrator receiving a gift of a hearing trumpet "encrusted with silver and mother o'pearl motives and grandly curved like a buffalo's horn." The rest I would love for you to discover for yourself.