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.

ISBN: 9781594634239
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - September 29th, 2015

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

ISBN: 9780062388674
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper - August 25th, 2015

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

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

ISBN: 9781935536505
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
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

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

ISBN: 9781940450643
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: McSweeney's Books - June 9th, 2015

Here is a book I read twice in the first day I picked it up -- David Shields has done a masterful job of prompting and arranging the recollections of Samantha Matthews; a voice actress, and his cousin once removed. This is sort of an oral history of her physical and emotional relationships with men, her understanding and interpretation of her abuse and the ways in which her sexuality has been controlled by them. Direct and frank, this is one of the best autobiographical works on trauma I've ever read. Extremely sympathetic, relatable for some if not many. Come hear her voice recorded and see David Shields in person at our event, on Friday, August 21st. -- Leigh

ISBN: 9781476774589
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner Book Company - July 7th, 2015

AJ Rich is the chosen pen name of authors Amy Hempel and Jill Clement, writing together for the first time. This thriller's main character is a student of victim psychology, who, suddenly a victim herself, must re-assess her life's work while unraveling the mystery of her fiance's identity and motivations. Inspired by a true story of deception, this smart, sexy, terrifying read will have you logging off of tinder and okcupid right quick.  -- Leigh

By Michelle Tea, Amanda Verwey (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781940450001
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: McSweeney's Books - June 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

By Angela Carter, Kelly Link (Foreword by), Kelly Link (Introduction by)
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

ISBN: 9780804179683
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - February 3rd, 2015

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 exlaim loudly to myself and others! It freaked me out and I loved every second.

ISBN: 9780142181195
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Plume Books - January 27th, 2015

Michelle Tea is one of my very favorite memoirists, and these essays did not disappoint me. In fact it feels a bit like this book was written for me, and it got to me at just the right time. A guide for living with passion and excitement while still moving towards self-awareness and stability. Essential reading for those of us for whom entering adulthood has not come easily (and probably entertaining for those who were born grown up as well).

ISBN: 9781250043351
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Thomas Dunne Books - April 21st, 2015

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

ISBN: 9781584351641
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Semiotext(e) - February 27th, 2015

Fans of the writing of Kathy Acker or McKenzie Wark will love this, but it's also more broadly attractive as an intimate and intellectual dialogue between lovers. Their brief but powerful correspondence contains a deep examination of personal and cultural roles, and some rather academic discussions. While it occasionally feels almost too voyeuristic to keep reading, the conversation is heartbreakingly familiar and relatable. There's a bit of nostalgia for the early days of email here as well. I'm Very Into You made me want to start saving messages and gchats and texts in the hope that someday I can look back and discover some forgotten gem. --Leigh

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

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

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

ISBN: 9781419714023
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harry N. Abrams - September 23rd, 2014

Cats and their ladies have gotten a bad rap but why? This book is a beautiful collection of art depicting women and cats. Features glamorous shots of Lauren Bacall, Mia Farrow, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Kim Novak and many others. Diane Lovejoy’s introduction has a great sense of humor. A great gift! --Leigh

ISBN: 9780345807137
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - June 9th, 2015

Dark, honest and unflinchingly so… Marie is a waitress and young mother who dives headfirst into work, love, parenthood -- Everything. Self-destructive but ultimately free to be herself. Merritt Tierce is a badass and a force to be reckoned with. --Leigh

ISBN: 9781620403068
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury USA - March 3rd, 2015

This novel based on the Persian epic The Shahnameh is captivating and beautifully written. Zal is unloved by his mother, raised as another pet bird in a cage until he is rescued and eventually adopted by a therapist living in New York. His struggle to adapt and create his own humanity is heart-wrenching and at times hilarious. Khakpour is working magic here. --Leigh

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

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

ISBN: 9781619025738
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Counterpoint LLC - November 10th, 2015

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.

ISBN: 9780062397805
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper - November 17th, 2015

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”. 

ISBN: 9781250077004
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - September 22nd, 2015

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)]

ISBN: 9781607747284
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ten Speed Press - October 13th, 2015

This Oakland restaurant cookbook encourages experimentation and includes tips for open flame cooking, but you can cook many of these dishes with whatever kitchen setup you have. Includes truly readable paragraphs on the authors’ philosophies on local, organic food and wage equality.

By Dean Fidelman (Editor), John Long (Editor), Tom Alder (Designed by)
ISBN: 9781938340482
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Patagonia Ediciones - 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.

ISBN: 9780062223067
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper - September 15th, 2015

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.