“The helpless situation of the main protagonist, the morally compromising desperation of the other two protagonists (spurred by the unfairness of the depraved system under which they all live), along with the corrupt media and government characters showcase an important, powerful but heartbreaking story. The full cast audio narrators added depth to each character.”Becky, Rediscovered Books
100+ Books to Read and Reread
Pulitzer Prize–winning literary critic Michiko Kakutani shares her enthusiasm for more than 100 books in a series of succinct, thought-provoking essays.
“An ebullient celebration of books and reading.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Books can connect people across time zones and zip codes, across cultures, national boundaries, and historical... Read more »
The Vanishing Half
“Within the first few pages of The Vanishing Half, I knew I was reading something special. In this slow-burn novel, twins Desiree and Stella grow up in Mallard, a small black community in segregated Louisiana that prides itself on the lightness of its people’s skin. At sixteen, the twins flee from Mallard after their mother pulls them out of school to work cleaning white people’s houses, sacrificing the familiarity of home, the safety of their community, and the predictable trajectory of their lives. In New Orleans, the twins begin their new lives together, but eventually Stella takes off on her own, choosing to live the rest of her life “passing” as white; Desiree marries a dark-skinned man, has a child who looks like him, and ends up living back in Mallard. The consequences of the twins’ life choices unfold throughout the book, from the 1950s to the 1990s, and include the lives (and perspectives) of their daughters, Kennedy and Jude. The Vanishing Half is a fascinating story about family relationships, identity, and belonging, and I savored every page.”Anika, Phinney Books
The Awkward Black Man
Bestselling author Walter Mosley has proven himself a master of narrative tension, both with his extraordinary fiction and gripping writing for television. The Awkward Black Man collects seventeen of Mosley's most accomplished short stories to showcase the full range of his remarkable talent.
Mosley presents distinct characters as they struggle... Read more »
When No One Is Watching
“This is a must-read thriller rooted deeply in Brooklyn and its racist past. As the neighborhood makes plans for the annual block party, Sydney ends up battling more than the microaggressions from her new white neighbors. When her best friends go missing, her mom's prized garden is threatened, and a fake meter reader breaks into her home, she will put everything on the line to get out alive. At least she's got a semi-charming, well-meaning Theo by her side.”Christy, Avid Bookshop
Leave the World Behind
“Alam has such skill with the omniscient narrator! The suspense and mystery is enhanced through each character and their reactions to the events, plus the info drops are intriguing and relevant. This is a novel that gets under your skin and stays there. And if that sounds creepy, well, it is! This novel is creepy as well as thought provoking, timely, and funny. It raises issues about parenting, class, race, and teenage hormones. Not what I expected, and so much more.”Kristine, Buttonwood Books and Toys
Between Earth and Sky: Book #1
“Black Sun is so much more than simply a book, it is an experience. An audiobook I've returned to multiple times. Inspired by pre-Columbian Americas, Black Sun is lush, lived in, and full of political intrigue and magical mystery. When I think about Black Sun, I find myself sighing nostalgically for the time I've spent reading it. Xiala and Serapio are such rich characters, the kinds of book characters that you do anything for. All I want for them is happiness, and trust me, you'll want the same after reading this book! Black Sun is truly one of the most exciting books I've read in a long time, instantly becoming one of my favorite books of all time. A must-read for epic fantasy fans and those who love long journeys and all the kinds of people one meets on the way.”Sarah, Anderson's Bookshop
Under the Big Black Sun
A Personal History of L.A. Punk
Under the Big Black Sun explores the nascent Los Angeles punk rock movement and its evolution to hardcore punk as it’s never been told before. Authors John Doe and Tom DeSavia have woven together an enthralling story of the legendary west coast scene from 1977-1982 by enlisting the voices of people who were there. The book shares chapter-length... Read more »
A Deadly Education
The Scholomance: Book #1
“A Deadly Education is absolutely delicious, and I enjoyed every page! The Scholomance is a ruthlessly dangerous magic school, where even sitting in the wrong seat at breakfast could mean death. El is a third year student with an affinity for mass destruction, who is struggling to NOT kill all her classmates. Full of scheming, sarcastic teenage angst, and dark humor, this is the fantasy novel I didn't know I was dying for.”Julia, Boulder Book Store
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires
“I don’t know about everyone else, but I, for one, am really excited that vampires are making a comeback. I think they’re such a fun trope in pretty much every genre, and this was no exception. True to the Grady Hendrix style, this book was the perfect campy, slightly off-kilter, and moderately gory suburban horror story I didn’t know I needed.”Kendall, Brilliant Books Audio
Ready Player Two
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The thrilling sequel to the beloved worldwide bestseller Ready Player One, the near-future adventure that inspired the blockbuster Steven Spielberg film.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST • “The game is on again. . . . A great mix of exciting fantasy and threatening fact.”—The Wall... Read more »
Plain Bad Heroines
“I have never read a book that was this much fun. This was a roller coaster of a read, hitting all the notes from beginning to end. Gothic elements intermingled with the current time period will keep the reader so engrossed that they won’t realize they’ve stayed up all night reading this book, one that’s the kind of book you don’t want to read in the dark but you just can’t put down. The ride through history that meets the present will keep you entertained, on your toes, and peeking between your fingers as you cover your eyes.”Sandra Cararo, The Book Dragon
The City We Became
The Great Cities: Book #1
“What did I just listen to and why did I like it so much? Part of falling in love with this book was the listening experience, to be certain. The narration was stellar. The production was on point. But the story... the story itself is sublime. N.K. Jemisin has written a love letter to New York City - but not the one in bright, bold letters on the silver screen - the real city, and the real people who inhabit it and call it home, even if only temporarily. And it was beyond my wildest dreams (and nightmares). "The City We Became" is so incredibly layered and nuanced - diving into discussions of racism and sexism and the fallacy of good vs evil. I wanted nothing more than to steep in its long chapters, and get to know its boroughs as intimately as Jemisin would allow - not mere stereotypes but fully fleshed and brilliant, blinding avatars. Witty, subversive, imaginative, unbelievable. Get on this wild ride.”Britt, Second Star to the Right
Something to Talk About
“Something to Talk About is an incredible debut about a Hollywood showrunner, Jo, and her assistant, Emma, who realize the tabloids may be correct in thinking there is something romantic between the two of them. The slowest of slow-burn romances in the best possible way, Something to Talk About touches on the #MeToo movement, the meaning of consent, and what it means to be a powerful woman in Hollywood.”Isabella Ogbolumani, Buffalo Street Books
“We all know about Shakespeare's work but how much do we know about his life? I, for one, knew very little which is the best way to go into this book. I found it fascinating and so beautifully written, sad but utterly captivating. This is a real gem!”Polly, The Hickory Stick Bookshop
If you enjoyed Take a Hint, Dani Brown, then you’ll love Beach Read.
“2020 is apparently the year I start reading romance novels and loving them. Maybe it's my need for a little lighthearted fluff in quarantine, but straight fluff isn't really my jam no matter the day. I want fluff with meat on its bones. I want fluff with substance.Britt, Second Star to the Right
As for Beach Read... Did I just give a romance novel ALL THE STARS? Why yes. Yes I did. And if I could give it a few more, I would. Because Beach Read is just the kind of substantial 'fluff' I needed to read. It's the kind of book that flips the patriarchy on its head, the one that has told readers like me that romance novels can't be good literature. Because at the end of the day, my preference for anything *but* romance had little to do with the writing quality, and everything to do with social biases. Henry attacks those head on. And then she goes leaps and bounds further, delving into grief and love and identity, and how we understand each other.
This book is therapy. It's a book about writer's block in the best of ways - not just the literal premise of swapping stories, but that of feeling stuck in a rut and not knowing what to do to move forward with life. I felt completely and utterly seen in its pages. I cried ugly tears until I had none left. And then it lifted me up in a bucket full of swoon. Reader, I adored every minute. And with Julia Whelan to narrate, what more could you ask for?”
“In their third collection, Danez Smith shakes to life the parts of people that have gone to sleep waiting for this time in the world to be over. Those emotions that raise up too much anger or grief — all of them are alive again and seen and spoken for with utmost care and a tremendously welcome sense of humor. Pick this book up and carry it with you everywhere. It can be like a video game heart for you, and who doesn’t need an extra heart?”Luis Lopez, Moon Palace Books
“Luster centers on Edie, a young black woman working in New York publishing and barely making rent each month, who finds herself navigating a suburban white couple’s open marriage. This novel is filled with unexpected turns taken at breakneck speeds. It seamlessly examines the plight of millennials living under capitalism along with the complications of intimacy and race, all while finding both the humor and profound sadness in those things. This is a multifaceted and brilliant book, as well as an extraordinary debut from Raven Leilani.”Billy Butler, Bookshop Santa Cruz
You Had Me at Hola
If you enjoyed The Proposal, then you’ll love You Had Me at Hola.
“Damn, this was cute. Definitely a mood-lifter, definitely a light read. Any fan of Jane the Virgin or One Day at a Time (or even an "I enjoyed an episode once" person) would devour this. Filled with representation, strong leading ladies, family drama, secrets, and pure sass, You Had Me at Hola has you entertained from the first page. Honestly, though this book includes some steamy romance, it wasn't the most exciting thing for me. I was really impressed with Daria's world building. She layered scenes of Carmen in Charge (the show Jasmine and Ashton are filming) in throughout and captures the families of both characters very well. Yes, there is sex but there is also a really sweet relationship blooming that involves multiple layers and I was honestly more in a "cute" mindset throughout that a "sexy" one. There was a lot of talk about being a Latinx actress in today's entertainment world and the difficulty with tokenism, racism, and stereotypes. Daria also touched on the multitudes within the Latinx community and how many different countries, languages, culture, and skin colors that covers. Of course, being a romance, there are always bad decisions and stupid people involved. Jasmine and Ashton, though super cute, are no exception. Just as much eyerolling happened on my face as grinning but in a romance, I guess I wouldn't have it any other way!”Kimi, Buttonwood Books and Toys