Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick
Stories from the Harlem Renaissance
“Zora Neale Hurston’s (Their Eyes Were Watching God, Barracoon) body of work continues to grow and impress. In Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick, 21 short stories, including several “lost” pieces depicting the Great Migration to northern cities and Harlem’s educated New Negro middle class, offer an updated perspective of Hurston’s Harlem Renaissance-era cultural commentary. These stories, written in the 1920s and 30s, explore toxic masculinity and women’s agency, urban vs. rural class representations, colorism/shadeism, identity politics, and the intersectionality of race, class, age, and gender in a way that remains relevant today. And, by using humor, folklore, and her unique combination of delicate prose and vernacular speech, Hurston also has written thoroughly engaging slices-of-life, always centering Black characters, from a very specific time period. To fully appreciate Hurston’s stories, Tayari Jones (An American Marriage) recommends in her foreword, “reading this work aloud, enjoying the feel of the words in your mouth, and the sound of English tightened and strummed like the strings of a banjo.””BrocheAroe, River Dog Book Co.
“Inland is a beautifully narrated by voices that are rarely heard in a story of the American west. Lurie, an immigrant from the middle east, and Nora, a pioneer wife struggling to survive, are both haunted by ghosts of their past. The dry arid desert provides a perfect backdrop for the events, relationships and challenges these two characters face. Obrect writes with dialogue present and past creating an almost dreamlike atmosphere in some places of the novel and nightmarish realism in others. This novel lays bare the struggles, relationships, personalities and conflicts that provided the foundation of the wild untamed west. This novel was epic, expansive, and completely nourishing of spirit.”Ellen, Avid Bookshop
The Water Dancer (Oprah's Book Club)
“Ta-Nehisi Coates understands something big and he understands it better than anyone else right now. The Water Dancer led me on a journey up and down the landscape of American slavery with a narrative that feels like The Book of Exodus meets, well, Ta-Nehisi Coates. Over 400 pages I have cried, I have laughed, I have been educated, and I have been enlightened. Coates writes with an honesty that can only come from a sublime, even spiritual, understanding of the souls of the white man and the black man in America. Written with poignancy and humanity, The Water Dancer left me stunned but clear-headed, like I had just been woken up from a deep, dream-filled sleep.”Norris Rettiger, Lemuria Bookstore
Reflections on Self-Delusion
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “From The New Yorker’s beloved cultural critic comes a bold, unflinching collection of essays about self-deception, examining everything from scammer culture to reality television.”—Esquire
Book Club Pick for Now Read This, from PBS NewsHour and The New York Times • “A whip-smart, challenging book.”—Zadie Smith • “Jia... Read more »
“Brief and brilliant, Jenny Offill’s Weather doesn’t need page after page to trap us inside. Tearing through precision-crafted paragraphs, we willingly follow a Brooklyn librarian down a doomsday rabbit hole as she tries to limit the world’s damage to those she loves. On the express bus to the demise of civilization, find a seat next to Lizzie for a wild and witty ride through the storm raging across America. An astute and satisfying read.”Ann Woodbeck, Excelsior Bay Books
Such a Fun Age
“A racial comedy of manners for the digital age, Such a Fun Age is a hilarious and cringe-inducing look at white people trying to do the right thing: badly, and for all the wrong reasons. Nicole Lewis's reading is a dazzling feat: expertly code-switching between the voice Emira uses with her friends, to the voice she uses with her boss, Alix, to the voice her boss's suburban black friend, Tamara, uses with Alix, to the voice Tamara uses with Emira. I don't think I would have enjoyed this book half as much without this effortlessly nuanced narration.”Rachel, The Book Table
Olive, Again (Oprah's Book Club)
“Thank goodness Elizabeth Strout decided to return for another round with one of the most beloved, maddening, confounding, and compelling characters I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Readers will delight in the fact that Olive, while forging new relationships and puzzling over long-existing ones, remains the crazy, complicated family member you just can’tquit. Add in spareyet beautifully rendered prose about the rugged, breathtaking state of Maine and you’ve got a gem of a book, one that leaves you rooting for Olive, despite her numerous shortcomings, as she stumbles through love, friendship, loss, and what it means to growold. Strout, through Olive, reminds us that it’s a messy business being human, but it’s a privilege to be along for the ride.”Page Berger, Barrett Bookstore
“A powerful and visceral collection from one of today’s most unique voices that will take you out of your comfort zone. Yuknavitch focuses on the subject of the body: bodies trying to find comfort, bodies trying to become whole, bodies destroyed, bodies as an object, how they are connected to one another, how they can be broken, and how much they are worth. To dive into this collection is to let a cinderblock tied to your leg drag you down into unknown watery depths and instead of trying to loosen the knot, holding tight and letting the waters consume you.”Anthony Piacentini, Books Are Magic
A Long Petal of the Sea
“In this quietly compelling novel, Isabel Allende deftly brings us into the world of the Spanish Civil War and Chilean Revolution, elegantly weaving characters' stories together to produce a stunning tapestry of love, heartbreak, loyalty, and politics. Follow war doctor Victor and accomplished pianist Roser as they struggle down a path that is constantly blocked with great challenges. Though many despair, there is always a way through, and you may find support in places you least expect.”Kalli, Rediscovered Books
Topics of Conversation
A compact tour de force about sex, violence, and self-loathing from a ferociously talented new voice in fiction, perfect for fans of Sally Rooney, Rachel Cusk, Lydia Davis, and Jenny Offill.
“Shrewd and sensual, Popkey's debut carries the scintillating charge of a long-overdue girls' night." —O, The Oprah Magazine
A Best Book of the Year by... Read more »
The Topeka School
“If you've read Lerner's cultishly celebrated first two novels, Leaving the Atocha Station and 10:04, you'll find both familiar and unfamiliar things in his third one. Familiar is the character Adam Gordon, who shares a name with the impishly semiautobiographical hero of Atocha Station and many characteristics with 10:04's unnamed writer narrator too. But The Topeka School is a different beast, expanding into a more traditional form by including Adam's parents, two New York psychologists transplanted into red-state Kansas, as narrators too. And while there are fascinating aspects of Adam's story as a high school debating champ wrestling with teenage prairie masculinity, it's with his parents, full of the knowledge and lingo of psychiatric analysis but still unable to escape the flawed dramas of human relations, that this speech-drunk (and speech-skeptical) story really takes flight.”Tom Nissley, Phinney Books
We Are the Weather
Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast
This program is read by the author.
In We Are the Weather, Jonathan Safran Foer explores the central global dilemma of our time in a surprising, deeply personal, and urgent new way.
Some people reject the fact, overwhelmingly supported by scientists, that our planet is warming because of human activity. But do those of us who accept the... Read more »
In the Dream House
“Brilliant and brave, Carmen Maria Machado's memoir does not shy away from pain, but examines it with a scientist's precision and a poet's imagination. Machado examines how relationships can become toxic from personal understanding. This book reads like a collection of cohesive essays where each chapter is a new lens. This book will change your understanding of memoir. Read by the author, which is especially special and important for this book.”Lafe, Oblong Books
“Creatures is a novel that invokes the senses most often left to the wayside in fiction: touch, taste, and smell. This imagery is unique to how Evie, our narrator, perceives her surroundings of Winter Island and the people who float in and out of her life. As readers experience Evie’s past, present, and future concurrently, they are left with a stark and stunning tale of abandonment, betrayal, love, and healing. With a narrative style reminiscent of Ted Chiang’s The Story of Your Life, this is a book I couldn’t put down!”Julia Long, Epilogue: Books Chocolate Brews
Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Ali Wong’s heartfelt and hilarious letters to her daughters (the two she put to work while they were still in utero) cover everything they need to know in life, like the unpleasant details of dating, how to be a working mom in a male-dominated profession, and how she trapped their dad.
“Knife-sharp . . . a genuine... Read more »
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
“Janina is an eccentric middle-aged woman who translates William Blake, studies astrology, and is acutely attuned to the wilderness around her in rural Poland. When hunters and poachers begin to be gruesomely murdered, Janina informs the police that the animals are responsible. As the bodies mount, so does her involvement with the mystery, although her status as a crank and possible madwoman ensures that she’s ignored. This is an extraordinary and disturbing tale — a mystery that becomes more complex as the story continues, accompanied by Janina’s often witty observations on man, nature, justice, and identity. The ending of this hard-to-categorize novel, a finalist for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize, will knock the breath out of you. Don’t miss this excellent translated work from an award-winning writer!”Cindy Pauldine, The River's End Bookstore