Staff Picks - Leigh

 
Leigh's been working at book and music shops in the area since 2003. She collects too many books and records. Her favorites are fragments, short stories, essays, articles, lists, recipes, songs, poems, tweets and other little windows into worlds.

She's a dilettante.
 

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Jillian Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781940430294
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Curbside Splendor Publishing - February 17th, 2015

This is a hilarious, brutal, dark little mofo of a novel. Halle Butler brings incredible realism and humor to dissociation, depression, and alienation. Somehow, I'm rooting for Jillian and Megan, no matter if they won't root for themselves, or each other; Somehow, I hate them both, or only one of them, or yeah BOTH; somehow, I feel a little less alone. --Leigh


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When Women Were Birds: Fifty-Four Variations on Voice Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781250024114
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - February 26th, 2013

“WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES when we go against our instincts? What are the consequences of not speaking out? What are the consequences of guilt, shame, and doubt?” (p.114) TTW is one of my favorite writers. Here she reckons with the fact of her mother’s empty diaries, left to Terry upon her death. Gems of insight & powerful wisdom on voice abound. Definitely worth repeated reading, and especially timely now. --Leigh


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Ice: 50th Anniversary Edition Cover Image
By Anna Kavan, Jonathan Lethem (Foreword by), Kate Zambreno (Afterword by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780143131991
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - November 14th, 2017

The first US publication of this blissfully weird, totally necessary novel since the mid-1970s! It’s about time to reintroduce it, as the central themes remain strikingly current: eco-disaster, endless flight and pursuit, political overreach. For fans of literary/slipstream/SF like JG Ballard, Kafka, Kelly Link, The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K LeGuin -- this is experimental in form, dreamlike, hallucinogenic, destabilizing and unforgettable. --Leigh


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Sing, Unburied, Sing Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781501126062
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner Book Company - September 5th, 2017

This is a ghost story of epic proportions layered on a captivating family drama layered on a commentary on the criminal justice system in the United States. I’m continually struck by the power of Jesmyn Ward’s writing, but more so by her ability to show her characters empathy and understanding - even when they’re at their worst. Should win the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction. --Leigh


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Afterglow (a Dog Memoir) Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9780802127099
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - September 12th, 2017

A dog memoir, but so much more. Eileen's beloved dog, Rosie, is the center from which every chapter of this book unfolds. It’s a book about the bonds we forge with animals and our experiences of grief and dying. It’s a challenge to read in some places, and each chapter is stylistically different but I’d encourage anyone to pick it up for the glimmers of doggy joy woven through Myles’ prose like a tapestry. --Leigh


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After Kathy Acker: A Literary Biography Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781635900064
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Semiotext(e) - August 18th, 2017

Long awaited biography of the complex and controversial punk/poet/novelist Kathy Acker written by Kris Kraus. Totally engaging, honest, deeply researched and necessary. For fans of all that blood and guts stuff. --Leigh


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Priestdaddy: A Memoir Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781594633737
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - May 2nd, 2017

Lockwood's wit and feel for language stand out in this memoir of her upbringing in and temporary return as an adult to her father's rectory. A fascinating and personal look at faith, the Catholic Church, family and voice. I loved it cover to cover. Check out her book Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals in the poetry section. --Leigh


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White Tears Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780451493699
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - March 14th, 2017

Kunzru has created a captivating and literary horror novel about race and music in America - haunted by the distorted echoes of a history of exploitation and appropriation. Beautiful writing, extra hard to put down. --Leigh


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A Separation Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780399576102
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - February 7th, 2017

A thoughtful, intimate portrait of the end of a marriage. When the narrator follows her missing husband to an island off the coast of Greece, they've already been separated for months, but the true parting is still to come. --Leigh


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Only the Animals: Stories Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781250097149
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - January 10th, 2017

Fantastic short stories from the perspective of animal witnesses to human folly and brutality -- and human love and generosity. A tortoise, a bear, and many more stole my heart. --Leigh


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Fever Dream Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780399184598
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - January 10th, 2017

This short, frightening and surreal novel pulled me in and didn't let me go for quite a while after it was finished. This is the first piece of Samanta Schweblin's writing to be translated from her native Spanish into English -- I can't wait for more. --Leigh


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Parable of the Sower Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9781609807191
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Seven Stories Press - February 28th, 2017

An apocalyptic novel written in 1993, set in the 2020s and & '30s during the rule of a demagogue, risen to power on a wave of the nation's insecurities with promises of making America great again (yes, really). A young black woman with hyperempathy, a new faith and a greater vision for humanity heads North as a refugee from a failed, walled suburbia. Essential reading, especially in this gorgeous gift edition with a new introduction by Gloria Steinem. --Leigh


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Bestiary: Poems Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977580
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - October 11th, 2016

Gorgeous, vibrant poems, dense with emotion. Read them slowly -- they will stop you in your tracks. --Leigh


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The Border of Paradise Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781939419699
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Unnamed Press - April 12th, 2016

Depressive, obsessive, neurotic David Nowak inherits his family's piano manufacturing fortune in high school. He leaves New York for world travel, meets and marries a young woman named Jia-Hui in Taiwan. He renames her Daisy upon their return to the U.S. to build a homestead in the woods of Northern California. There they raise two children, William and Gillian, for years without any influence beyond their own, the books in the house and piano lessons. Wang's fantastically moving writing pulls the reader into a gothic epic of family and identity. Chilling, suspenseful; I promise you've never read anything like it. --Leigh


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Grief Is the Thing with Feathers Cover Image
$14.00
ISBN: 9781555977412
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - June 7th, 2016

Devastated by the loss of his wife, Dad struggles to take care of The Boys, himself, and finish his book on Ted Hughes. Crow moves in, wild and tender, protector and therapist. He'll stay "until you don't need me anymore." Immensely powerful little fable of loss and poetry. --Leigh


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The Soho Press Book of '80s Short Fiction Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781616955465
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Soho Press - June 7th, 2016

Maybe the best anthology of short fiction coming in 2016. Introduced by an essay on the politics and art of the 1980s. Full of blissfully transgressive masterpieces by some of the best writers; Eileen Myles, Mary Gaitskill, Jamaica Kincaid and Dodie Bellamy are just a few. --Leigh


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Everything Is Teeth Cover Image
By Evie Wyld, Joe Sumner (Illustrator)
$24.95
ISBN: 9781101870815
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon Books - May 10th, 2016

Evie Wyld is a creepily talented novelist. In this graphic memoir of a few childhood years, she's young and terrified by sharks. On these pages they are illustrated brilliantly by Joe Sumner, following her about from the wilderness of New South Wales to the streets of London. --Leigh


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Dated Emcees Cover Image
$13.95
ISBN: 9780872867024
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: City Lights Books - May 24th, 2016

Chinaka Hodge is a poet, educator, playwright and screenwriter living in Oakland. She writes here about her love life through the lens of hip-hop. This is real, intelligent, feminist and emotionally resonant poetry. Leigh


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Gold Fame Citrus Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781594634246
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - October 4th, 2016

Gold Fame Citrus is an eerily real-feeling look into a near future American Southwest devestated by prolonged drought. Beautifully written, original and affecting. I was blown away! --Leigh


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You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062388681
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - August 9th, 2016

Brilliant and terrifying! Much of the book is about hunger and appetites. Self-imposed physical hunger. Spiritual hunger. Hunger for human contact. Hunger for depth of meaning and reality. An awesome take on advertising and how our consumer economy creates hungers that we don't know what to do with, that can't be sated. Strangely, darkly funny. Characters spend sizeable sections watching TV ads that wouldn't feel out of place in some kind of horrific Adult Swim. Alexandra Kleeman is my dream girl.  --Leigh


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Women in Public Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780872866812
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: City Lights Books - April 21st, 2015

Women in Public is vibrant and political and so precisely worded. I carry my copy with me almost everyday. Elain Kahn's unique perspective on femininity is giving me life! --Leigh


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Digest Cover Image
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9781935536505
Availability: Backordered
Published: Four Way Books - October 7th, 2014

I was so lucky to hear Gregory Pardlo read from this Pulitzer Prize-winning book on a rainy May evening in Brooklyn. It's incredibly smart while remaining approachable, and so moving. Pair with "Citizen" by Claudia Rankine and Ta-Nehisi Coates' "Between the World and Me". --Leigh


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A, B, C: Three Short Novels: The Jewels of Aptor, the Ballad of Beta-2, They Fly at Ciron Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781101911426
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - July 7th, 2015

Sam Delany's early writing is a contender for my favorite science fiction of all time. His words are strange and lovely. My favorite here is the Jewels of Aptor. Now if only we can get "Stars In My Pocket, Like Grains of Sand" back into print... --Leigh


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Girl at the Bottom of the Sea Cover Image
By Michelle Tea, Amanda Verwey (Illustrator)
$19.95
ISBN: 9781940450001
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: McSweeney's - June 1st, 2015

The second book in a planned trilogy for young adults, wonderful for grownups as well. Sophie Swankowski is from a rough town, but she's tough. She's got magic on her side. This volume follows her journey with her (quasi-)fairy godmother - a filthy, often annoyed mermaid named Syrena - to Poland where she will learn more about her role in saving the world from a poet! Lots of fun. Dark, gritty, but ultimately uplifting fairytale drama. Check out Book 1, Mermaid in Chelsea Creek, if you haven't already.  -- Leigh


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The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories: 75th-Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) Cover Image
By Angela Carter, Kelly Link (Introduction by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780143107613
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - May 26th, 2015

It's hard for me to describe Angel Carter without framing her as a sort of fiary godmother of my favorite more recent short fiction. Her versions of classic fairy tales are skewed just enough to the dark and sexy side. If you like short fiction described with keywords like "slipstream" or "fabulist", or just the weird and creepy, check her out. This anniversary version has a great package, and Kelly Link's intro is on point. --Leigh


Get in Trouble: Stories Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812986495
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade - February 9th, 2016

Kelly Link's new collection of short stories is exciting, full of wonder, and when I say I couldn't put it down I mean I did not sleep. I took notes. Every story in it made me exclaim loudly to myself and others! It freaked me out and I loved every second.


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The Blondes Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781250081698
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - April 12th, 2016

A satirical apocalyptic horror novel that skewers our society's gendered beauty standards. An outbreak that turns beautiful women into crazed and violent monsters! The narrative style is unexpected and effective -- especially the imagined effect a virus like this might have on media and advertising. Yes - you will have to suspend your disbelief -- this one's social science, not virology -- I promise you, it's worth it. --Leigh


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The Art of Memoir Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062223074
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - September 6th, 2016

From the author of The Liar’s Club and Lit -- who could be better to teach us the art of memoir than essential American storyteller Mary Karr? In addition to advice for aspiring and developing memoirists, the book includes analysis of Karr’s favorite must-read memoirs.


Dispatches Against Displacement: Field Notes from San Francisco's Housing Wars Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781849352055
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: AK Press - October 21st, 2014

James Tracy has been a housing activist in the Bay Area since before Google existed. This book is essential reading. Tech boom 2.0 is different from the first boom in significant ways (like tax breaks and special exemptions for tech companies) that are endangering local culture and livelihoods. If you have been interested in recent news articles on rising rents and “Google bus” protests or believe in affordable housing as a human right I recommend checking this one out. --Leigh


Does Not Love Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781940430232
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Curbside Splendor Publishing - October 14th, 2014

Intimately focuses on a marriage troubled by grief while backing up to reveal an alternate Indianapolis, increasingly deserted, under the thumb of Big Pharma and an undefinable Secret Law. Experimental and surreal -- clear and exciting prose -- the freshest, best novel I've read in quite a while. Couldn’t put it down! --Leigh


Wolf in White Van Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781250074713
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - September 1st, 2015

Sean survives a violent and disfiguring accident in his teenage years and relies on his imagination to bring him through his lengthy recovery and rehabilitation. He creates a story based role playing game which comes to support him, and causes turmoil for some of its players. I was surprised at how much I recognized myself in Sean. This book spurs empathy. If you have loved a Mountain Goats song, you will recognize Darnielle’s mastery of lyrical writing. --Leigh


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Grass Cover Image
$23.00
ISBN: 9780553762464
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Spectra Books - September 2nd, 1998

A fox-hunt carried on through generations lands on Grass, a planet with no horses, dogs or foxes, and develops from there. This book is worth it just for the descriptions of the planet Grass and its inhabitants, but Tepper’s character development and suspense will keep you at the edge of your seat. A classic. --Leigh


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All the Birds, Singing Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780345802507
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - January 6th, 2015

Jake sleeps with a hammer under her pillow, trusts no one, and talks to her dog (Dog) and the other animals on her isolated sheep farm. Her unsettling and violent past is revealed through reverse flashbacks. The writing is gruesome and viscerally beautiful. --Leigh


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Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781619028258
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Counterpoint LLC - September 13th, 2016

Lauret Savoy overlays the cultural and natural histories of the American landscape; she deftly ties place and geology into our ideas of race, territory, migration and displacement. Written in wholly singular prose, Trace could not be more relevant or timely.


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Hubris: The Tragedy of War in the Twentieth Century Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062397812
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - November 22nd, 2016

This colorful and accessible history revisits six battles of the 20th Century examining the overconfidence and arrogance that often follows success and leads to disaster. Hubris is Sir Alistair Horne’s 25th book and his self-identified “summa”. 


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Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9781250077028
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - February 7th, 2017

will: [force you to laugh loudly in public] [rid you of unnecessary raccoon-fearing weaklings] [make you look into the possibility of collecting taxidermy art (maybe)] [teach you a bit about living with depression if you don’t already know all about it] [help you resolve to enjoy good moments; be furiously happy (almost certainly)]


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Yosemite in the Fifties: The Iron Age Cover Image
By Dean Fidelman (Editor), John Long (Editor), Tom Alder (Designed by)
$60.00
ISBN: 9781938340482
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Patagonia - November 17th, 2015

Yosemite in The Fifties chronicles the historic first climbs of Yosemite’s “mile-high” granite walls and the men who popularized adventure mountaineering. First-person narratives, restored archival photos and memorabilia showcase a classic era of exploration.