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Brilliant Books' 2019 Summer Staff Favorites

Each of these titles is personally recommended by one of our Brilliant Booksellers. The list features both newly published and older books and draws from a wide array of writers, styles, and genres; for favorites only available in print, check out our website!

Playlist Tags: Brilliant Books Audio bookstore-created season: summer

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A Brightness Long Ago

By Guy Gavriel Kay
Narrated by: Simon Vance
Length: 14 hours 10 minutes

In a chamber overlooking the nighttime waterways of a maritime city, a man looks back on his youth and the people who shaped his life. Danio Cerra's intelligence won him entry to a renowned school even though he was only the son of a tailor. He took service at the court of a ruling count-and soon learned why that man was known as the Beast. Read more »

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Weird Parenting Wins

Bathtub Dining, Family Screams, and Other Hacks from the Parenting Trenches

By Hillary Frank
Narrated by: Hillary Frank, Nicola Barber, Dan Bittner, Raphael Corkhill, Ana Isabel, Laura Knight-Keating, Barrie Kreinik, Quincy Tyler Bernstine & Gabra Zackman
Length: 7 hours 7 minutes

Unconventional--yet effective--parenting strategies, carefully curated by the creator of the popular podcast The Longest Shortest Time

Some of the best parenting advice that Hillary Frank ever received did not come from parenting experts, but from friends and podcast listeners who acted on a whim, often in moments of desperation. These "weird... Read more »

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On Homecoming and Belonging

By Sebastian Junger
Narrated by: Sebastian Junger
Length: 2 hours 59 minutes

We have a strong instinct to belong to small groups defined by clear purpose and understanding--"tribes." This tribal connection has been largely lost in modern society, but regaining it may be the key to our psychological survival.

Decades before the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin lamented that English settlers were constantly fleeing... Read more »

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The Wolf and the Watchman

A Novel

By Niklas Natt och Dag
Narrated by: Matt Addis, Casper Rundegren & Clara Andersson
Length: 13 hours 40 minutes

“It’s early to be pegging the year’s best books, but The Wolf and the Watchman, Niklas Natt och Dag’s stunning debut, is sure to be one of them.” —The Washington Post

“What's better than an ornate period piece with style to spare? One that includes a murder mystery. Oh, and boy is it a riveting mystery....A bit of Patrick Süskind’s Perfume and a... Read more »

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Your Money or Your Life

9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Fully Revised and Updated for 2018

By Vicki Robin, Joe Dominguez & Mr. Money Mustache
Narrated by: Vicki Robin
Length: 11 hours 21 minutes

Brand new for 2018: A fully revised edition of one of the most influential books ever written on personal finance with more than a million copies sold
“The best book on money. Period.” –Grant Sabatier, founder of “Millennial Money,” on CNBC Make It

"This is a wonderful book. It can really change your life." -Oprah

For more than twenty-five... Read more »

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The Gameshouse


By Claire North
Narrated by: Peter Kenny
Length: 11 hours 24 minutes

The World Fantasy Award-winning author of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August presents a mesmerizing tale of a gambling house whose deadly games of chance and skill control the fate of empires.

Everyone has heard of the Gameshouse. But few know all its secrets. . .

It is the place where fortunes can be made and lost through chess, backgammon... Read more »

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By Max Porter
Narrated by: Annie Aldington
Length: 4 hours 34 minutes

There’s a village an hour from London. It’s no different from many others today: one pub, one church, redbrick cottages, some public housing, and a few larger houses dotted about. Voices rise up, as they might anywhere, speaking of loving and needing and working and dying and walking the dogs. This village belongs to the people who live in it,... Read more »

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A Novel

By Blake Crouch
Narrated by: Jon Lindstrom & Abby Craden
Length: 10 hours 46 minutes


“As soon as I saw Blake Crouch’s name, I scooped this book up. As a huge fan of Dark Matter, I knew I was in for a treat. In his newest, Crouch quickly reveals the cause of the ‘fake memories’ that are plaguing the population, but the twists and thrills just keep coming. I haven’t been this satisfied with a book in a long time. Hitting and exceeding all of my expectations, this one will be hard to beat as my favorite book of the year.”

The Country Bookshop image Mary Salazar, The Country Bookshop
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Cari Mora

A Novel

By Thomas Harris
Narrated by: Thomas Harris
Length: 6 hours 8 minutes

A resilient young woman must outwit a sadistic psychopath in this pulse-pounding thriller from the author of The Silence of the Lambs, a "master still at the top of his strange and chilling form" (Wall Street Journal).

Twenty-five million dollars in cartel gold lies hidden beneath a mansion on the Miami Beach waterfront. Ruthless men have tracked... Read more »

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Red, White & Royal Blue

A Novel

By Casey McQuiston
Narrated by: Ramon de Ocampo
Length: 12 hours 15 minutes

Red, White & Royal Blue

“I have never been so mad to realize a title was an author's debut. Sweet, tender, funny, I devoured this book. I wanted to cancel plans for this book! Spending time with these characters was the literary equivalent of curling up by the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate while it's snowing outside. McQuiston's words were a direct line to my 23 year-old self. I couldn't believe they stared back at me from the page. And while I wish this book had been around when I had just come out, when I was figuring myself out, reading it now is almost just as good (we all need disaster bisexual role models).”

Wellesley Books image Cassie, Wellesley Books
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Women Talking

By Miriam Toews
Narrated by: Matthew Edison
Length: 5 hours 57 minutes

Women Talking

“This powerful, slim novel is based on a real story of a town of deeply religious families who find that their women are being preyed on by a group of the village men. The women (and girls) finally speak out and the men are "arrested" by the locals but only after one of the women attempts to harm the men are the actual authorities contacted. The village men (who are not implicated) get together to post the bail for the offending men and announce that the women must forgive the rapists. The women meet to decide how they will react, asking the local teacher to write their words down as they are unable to read or write themselves. The discussion is lively and both heartbreaking and heartwarming. This audio will linger with you long after you've finished the last sentence...”

Books & Company image Genavieve, Books & Company
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Thinking in Bets

Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts

By Annie Duke
Narrated by: Annie Duke
Length: 6 hours 50 minutes

Wall Street Journal bestseller!

Poker champion turned business consultant Annie Duke teaches you how to get comfortable with uncertainty and make better decisions as a result.

In Super Bowl XLIX, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made one of the most controversial calls in football history: With 26 seconds remaining, and trailing by four at the... Read more »

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A Deep Time Journey

By Robert Macfarlane
Narrated by: Matthew Waterson
Length: 12 hours 3 minutes


“I don’t think there is a square mile of ground on this planet where Robert Macfarlane couldn’t dig up a new, wondrous story. Underland continues the tradition of profound storytelling, reflection, and, quite simply, gorgeous writing we have come to expect from him. Macfarlane’s ventures into the underworlds of our planet, both mythical and literal, may amount to his finest work yet, and not just because these are the places that have captivated me most throughout my life. I feel fortunate to be living at the same time as him, knowing that as long as he is writing, there is something to look forward to.”

Chris La Tray image Chris La Tray, Fact & Fiction Downtown
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