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Astoria Bookshop 2018 Staff Picks - Fiction

These are our fiction staff picks from 2018!

Speak No Evil

A Novel
By Uzodinma Iweala
Narrated by Prentice Onayemi & Julia Whelan /  6 hours 21 minutes

Speak No Evil

“'This is who I am.' 'This is what happened to me.' These are the simplest of expressions, yet the ability to speak them fully is a privilege not shared by the teenaged protagonists of this novel. Nigerian immigrant and Harvard-accepted aspiring doctor Niru is not able to tell his conservative religious parents that he is gay. The daughter of D.C.'s political elite, Meredith is not able to tell the world what really happened in an alley outside a bar on a hot spring night. Speak No Evil describes how loving relationships are strained, how trust is shattered, and how bodies can be broken when the truth is silenced. This heartbreakingly beautiful story will stay with you for a long time.”

Literati Bookstore image Jill Zimmerman, Literati Bookstore
Price:

$24.14 USD

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Alice Isn't Dead

A Novel
By Joseph Fink
Narrated by Jasika Nicole /  8 hours 43 minutes

Alice Isn't Dead

“Joseph Fink is my hero for making extreme anxiety a superpower and something from which a person can draw strength. Like the Welcome to Night Vale novels, Alice Isn’t Dead evinces a gentleness throughout the story, but as with Keisha, the protagonist, don’t mistake that for weakness. This novel is a road trip into the depths of human love even in the midst of experiencing inexplicable and weird horrors. It will linger with you long after you finish reading it.”

BookPeople image Christine Havens, BookPeople
Price:

$27.59 USD

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The Immortalists

By Chloe Benjamin
Narrated by Maggie Hoffman /  11 hours 29 minutes

The Immortalists

“In 1969, four siblings visit a fortune teller, who tells each child the date of their death. We follow the Gold siblings both separately and together over the next four decades and see how these revelations affect their choices, their behavior, and their relationships with one another. Apart from raising the obvious question (would you want to know the date of your death?), Benjamin brilliantly explores how family members can be both close to and distant from one another, and ponders the point at which our actions cease to matter and fate steps in. I LOVED The Immortalists, and if there's any justice in bookselling, this book will find the massive audience it so deserves.”

RoscoeBooks image Erika VanDam, RoscoeBooks
Price:

$28.00 USD

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Killing Commendatore

A novel
By Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel & Ted Goossen
Narrated by Kirby Heyborne /  28 hours 24 minutes

Killing Commendatore

“Part ghost story, part fairy tale, wholly human, Haruki Murakami’s new novel is a quiet burn of redemption and rebirth and the stories that cannot be told. An unnamed artist is asked by a faceless man to paint his portrait, a culmination of 9 months lost in art and music, loss and sex, the memories of love and empathy of men. Once you accept the impossible, you can only find yourself enthralled upon a mountain, listening for a bell, ruminating on what is left behind.”

Bookshop Santa Cruz image Jocelyn, Bookshop Santa Cruz
Price:

$42.00 USD

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Fruit of the Drunken Tree

A Novel
By Ingrid Rojas Contreras
Narrated by Marisol Ramirez, Almarie Guerra & Ingrid Rojas Contreras /  12 hours 25 minutes

Fruit of the Drunken Tree

Fruit of the Drunken Tree made me cry at the airport. I was impressed by the small kingdom of women Contreras builds, with violence always threatening to creep in, all seen through the eyes of Chula, the youngest daughter. Contreras made her perspective believably cloistered while masterfully writing all the people around Chula in ways that made them feel real. Also masterful was the way Contreras used Petrona’s narrative throughout and the restraint she showed in dipping into her thoughts; she always left me wanting more. What Contreras chooses not to write has as big an effect as what she does. This novel is a dynamic exploration of what is known and, sometimes willfully, what is left unknown.”

Literati Bookstore image Lillian Li, Literati Bookstore
Price:

$31.50 USD

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There There

A novel
By Tommy Orange
Narrated by Darrell Dennis, Shaun Taylor-Corbett, Alma Cuervo & Kyla Garcia /  7 hours 59 minutes

There There

“There There is the kind of book that grabs you from the start and doesn’t let go, even after you’ve turned the last page. It is a work of fiction, but every word of it feels true. Tommy Orange writes with a palpable anger and pain, telling the history of a cultural trauma handed down through generations in the blood and bones and stories of individual lives. He also writes with incredible heart and humor, infusing his characters with a tangible humanity and moments of joy even as they are headed toward tragedy. There There has claimed a permanent spot in my heart despite having broken it, or maybe because it did. I think this may be the best book I’ve ever read.”

Changing Hands image Heather Weldon, Changing Hands
Price:

$24.50 USD

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Give Me Your Hand

By Megan Abbott
Narrated by Chloe Cannon /  11 hours 2 minutes

Give Me Your Hand

“This was an oddly addicting and hypnotizing listen. It's so character driven about female friendships and competition (bc sometimes, competition pushes us to be better). The narrator was fantastic. She hooked me in with her telling and I just wanted Kit to succeed. This is my first Megan Abbott book but I suspect it won't be my last.”

Belmont Books image Audrey, Belmont Books
Price:

$29.88 USD

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Circe

By Madeline Miller
Narrated by Perdita Weeks /  12 hours 8 minutes

Circe

“This remarkable journey into mythology brings the ancient gods directly and viscerally into the present. Circe is a perfect mashup of elegant language, glorious storytelling, and exquisitely modern sensibilities. Miller's telling left me awed and moved by Circe and her story, all while wishing I could invite her over for a glass of wine on the porch. How this amazing author so perfectly melds the human and the divine, creating a story both immediate and epic, is dazzling.”

Beth Albrecht image Beth Albrecht, The Magic Tree Bookstore
Price:

$29.88 USD

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The Death of Mrs. Westaway

By Ruth Ware
Narrated by Imogen Church /  14 hours 14 minutes

The Death of Mrs. Westaway

“Does Ruth Ware keep getting better and better? Yes, she does. A down-on-her-luck protagonist, a too-good-to-be-true inheritance, and a creepy old mansion combine for a deliciously suspenseful tale. The plucky heroine, Hal, believes she’s mistakenly been identified as an heir to a great estate, but she decides to play along in the hopes of scamming a couple thousand pounds out of the situation. Once she’s arrived at the reading of the will, she quickly realizes that she is in way over her head. This is a deceptive and suspense-riddled thrill ride!”

Battenkill Books image Connie Brooks, Battenkill Books
Price:

$28.74 USD

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An American Marriage

A Novel
By Tayari Jones
Narrated by Sean Crisden & Eisa Davis /  8 hours 59 minutes

An American Marriage

“Tayari Jones comes in fierce with An American Marriage. Delving into the lives of the newly married Roy and Celestial, this is a novel that pulls no punches from beginning to end. I won't ruin the surprise, but they're hit with a harrowing event that will define not only their relationship, but each of their lives, forever. Writing with an intensity and pace worthy of Donna Tartt, Jones yanks us into her characters' lives with a grip that never lets up. I cannot wait to put this in people's hands!”

Angela Spring image Angela Spring, Duende District
Price:

$34.49 USD

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Space Opera

By Catherynne M. Valente
Narrated by Heath Miller /  9 hours 45 minutes

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy meets Eurovision in an over-the-top galactic science fiction spectacle from bestselling author Catherynne Valente where sentient races compete for glory in a universe-wide musical contest—where the stakes are as high as the fate of planet Earth. A century ago, the Sentience Wars tore the galaxy apart and... Read More »

Price:

$22.99 USD

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Freshwater

By Akwaeke Emezi
Narrated by Akwaeke Emezi /  6 hours 42 minutes

An extraordinary debut novel, Freshwater explores the surreal experience of having a fractured self. It centers around a young Nigerian woman, Ada, who develops separate selves within her as a result of being born "with one foot on the other side." Unsettling, heartwrenching, dark, and powerful, Freshwater is a sharp evocation of a rare way of... Read More »

Price:

$28.74 USD

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The Kiss Quotient

A Novel
By Helen Hoang
Narrated by Carly Robins /  9 hours 36 minutes

The Kiss Quotient

“While looking at the cover of this book you may assume it is going be a light-hearted romance- well, you would be wrong. This book is powerful, sexy, and not to be underestimated. I loved every second of this book because it was so different from anything I have ever known. I read it in one sitting, while telling everyone that tried to talk to me to go away. I was so enthralled by both of the character's life struggles and how they were able to overcome them without each other. Their love did not conquer all- they had to learn to be better versions of themselves first before they could be there for each other. If you're looking for a hot but meaningful romance (yes, they exist!), then you've found it. ”

Anderson's Bookshop image Katrina, Anderson's Bookshop
Price:

$24.99 USD

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She Would Be King

A Novel
By Wayétu Moore
Narrated by Wayétu Moore /  9 hours 38 minutes

She Would Be King

“It’s hard to describe a novel as wholly original as She Would Be King. A retelling of the birth of Liberia through interconnected stories, the novel combines history, magic, and myth in one engrossing story. Moore’s novel takes you from West Africa to the plantations of Virginia, from Jamaica to Liberia, weaving together the stories of three characters who yearn for power and true freedom. Guided by the ancient wind, all of Moore’s characters challenge and transcend the many faces of oppression, and the story’s profound culmination will leave you in awe. She Would Be King is the kind of novel that lingers with you for days. A must-read!”

Raven Book Store image Morgan McComb, Raven Book Store
Price:

$38.99 USD

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Friday Black

By Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Narrated by Corey Allen & Carra Patterson /  7 hours 8 minutes

Friday Black

“What a breathtaking collection. These stories are so artfully crafted and imaginatively constructed that at first blush they carry the same satisfaction as the best social satire out there and all the respect that goes along with the label; this collection, however, commands that and more. It is wrenching in its acute, precise indictment of white culture and its guardians, all the while offering language that is playfully impish in its originality. Adjei-Brenyah has an innate ability to create worlds that are familiar and distant and that feel like a privilege to be able to glimpse. This is not to be missed.”

Christen Thompson image Christen Thompson, Itinerant Literate Books
Price:

$19.99 USD

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The Witch Elm

A Novel
By Tana French
Narrated by Paul Nugent /  22 hours 6 minutes

The Witch Elm

“Reading Tana French means disappearing into another life for a while. Her stories aren’t meant to be slick or flashy, but deliberate, intricate studies of characters and their motivations. The Witch Elm is no different, as it follows the unraveling of Toby starting the night he surprises two burglars in his apartment. As you learn the secrets and weaknesses of Toby and his family, you begin to realize that while finding out what happened is enjoyable and surprising, finding out the how and the why is even better.”

Avid Bookshop image Tyler Goodson, Avid Bookshop
Price:

$42.00 USD

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