Staff Picks - Molly

Molly is a recent immigrant to the West Coast, hailing from Washington, DC. She recently graduated from American University with degrees in Literature and Economics. She is an avid tea drinker and crossword fanatic who is entirely obsessed with Joan Didion! 
Other areas of nerd obsession include: medieval literature, magical realism, Hitchcockian suspense, books about books, well-dressed femme fatales, sassy amateur sleuths, and grimly, violently fantastical narratives.
Words in Deep Blue Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101937648
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - June 6th, 2017

"'Sometimes science isn't enough. Sometimes you need the poets,' he says, and it's in this moment, this exact moment, that I fall in love with him again." A beautiful, incredible, moving book about the power and magic of books themselves. A book about love and loss and hope and friendship and poetry. I just wanted to hug this book and every complex, wonderful character in it. I loved living in these exquisite pages. --Molly

You & a Bike & a Road Cover Image
ISBN: 9781927668405
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Published: Koyama Press - May 16th, 2017

A deceptively simple interrogation of the autobiographic-comic form. Davis' work is spare, yet incredibly intimate, with an immediacy that lends an even greater emotional heft. Compiled from journal entries Davis kept during an attempted solitary bike tour across the southern United States, there is no clear narrative here, only the fascinating and wonderful thoughts and interactions of Davis herself. A lovely exploration of form, roadside America, and one woman's own capacity for aloneness. --Molly

Florence in Ecstasy Cover Image
ISBN: 9781944700171
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Published: Unnamed Press - May 16th, 2017

This book completely wrecked me. A beautiful and painful story of a young woman confronting what may be the central anxiety of female-ness - the difficulty of having a female body that is the constant pressure to erase it. Struggling with embodied self-identity, Chaffee's protagonist flees to live an outsider's isolation among the myths and metaphors of Florence, Italy. Florence slowly reveals itself to be a city possessing its own complicated identity with a history that includes many women whose own rapturous self-erasures have impacted that identity in profound ways. Difficult, but rewarding, and pierced with emotional clarity, I highly recommend. --Molly

Heroines Cover Image
ISBN: 9781584351146
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Semiotext(e) - October 5th, 2012

At once memoir and history, critical analysis and impassioned reclaiming - Heroines is a book beyond simple categorization. This is an angry book and a beautiful one, written by an author who refuses to accept or further the erasure which has been enacted viciously on women, especially women artists, who refused to accept the constraints placed upon them, or who failed to successfully inhabit the role expected of them. Fighting to reclaim the stories of these forgotten/ignored/vilified women, Zambreno charts the obsessive tendency of history and society to contain women and silence them, as well as the powerful ways in which women can use art to claim and demand space and to refuse easy containment. --Molly

What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us Cover Image
ISBN: 9781941531877
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Published: Dzanc Books - March 28th, 2017

One of my all-time favorite collections! Linked by themes of loneliness, exploration, and longing, this book is just a beautifully articulated consideration of the intersections between solace and searching, dream and reality. The women who populate this collection are seeking enlightenment - whether through the figure of the Loch Ness monster or the dream of becoming a long distance swimmer - and in the midst of this seeking we see them achieve powerful, if brief, moments of emotional clarity. An utterly captivating and incredibly rewarding book. --Molly

What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735211025
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Published: Riverhead Books - April 4th, 2017

One of my favorite books of 2017! An incredible, and incredibly accomplished, debut collection. These stories are luminous and beautiful, full of loneliness and longing. This is a collection which encourages multiple readings, if only so you can keep revisiting Arimah's utterly breathtaking use of language. Balanced between humor and horror and heartbreak, this is an astonishing and wonderful book. --Molly

Borne Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374115241
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Published: MCD - April 25th, 2017

"Once upon a time there was a piece of biotech that grew and grew until it had its own apartment." This is Borne - dystopian fairytale, intimate, disturbing, sci-fi mythology for the end of the world. In the midst, of flying bears, feral - scientifically altered - children, and various biotechnology run amok, Vandermeer never lets us lose sight of what it is about humanity that might be worth saving - a capacity for hope, love, and the desire to have and fight for emotional connections. In this book, at the intersection of beauty and terror, desire and repulsion, there is a devastating loveliness. --Molly

Things We Lost in the Fire: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780451495112
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hogarth Press - February 21st, 2017

This debut collection features some of the strangest and most grotesquely fascinating stories I have ever read. Set in a contemporary Argentina that is continually haunted by its past, these stories are confident and nuanced, even at their most morbid. Enriquez has an almost frightening facility for confronting the most mundane and horrifying of terrors. --Molly

Three Masquerades Cover Image
ISBN: 9781940436449
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Published: Pharos Editions - February 14th, 2017

These three novellas, by little-known writer Rachel Ingalls, are genre-defying masterpieces - at once wryly humorous and elegantly terrifying. Shades of Edith Wharton and Shirley Jackson abound in these quiet and quietly frightening tales. --Molly

The Strays Cover Image
ISBN: 9781455537723
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Published: Twelve - January 3rd, 2017

Following an avant-garde artist and the wild, bohemian family of artists he draws into his orbit, this is a beautiful, heart-breaking story of loneliness, loss, creativity, and art. Seen through the eyes of Lily, a young outsider entranced by the family and its daughters, this book is a moving and eloquent consideration of the knowability of our own desires and the desires of those we think we know the best. --Molly

When the Moon Was Ours Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250058669
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin's Griffin - October 4th, 2016

This book is so unbelievably beautiful - lush and magical and absolutely drenched with love and humanity. I can't recommend it highly enough. Stunningly written and diversely populated, this is a book about family, identity, desire, and culture, all wrapped in the heart-breaking, wonderful fabric of myth and magic and fairytale. --Molly

Too Like the Lightning: Book One of Terra Ignota Cover Image
ISBN: 9780765378019
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - January 24th, 2017

A crazy, complex, nuanced sci-fi in which civilization has reconfigured itself in accordance to the utopian idealse of 18th century philosophers such as Voltaire and Diderot. With a fascinating,unreliable narrator and some completely incredible world-building, Palmer has crafted a totally unique, ambitious, and awesome narrative that manages to take on both the future and the past. --Molly

The Wake Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977177
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Published: Graywolf Press - September 1st, 2015

What happens after the end? This is the apocalypse in 1066. In the wake of economic and political strife, with environmental collapse imminent, Paul Kinsnorth reminds us that the end of the world is nothing new. Written in a strange and fascinating "shadow tongue" to better evoke historical context, this is a beautiful and disturbing masterpiece. --Molly

Planetfall Cover Image
ISBN: 9780425282397
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ace Books - November 3rd, 2015

Planetfall is a weird, dark, intimate, nuanced book that questions faith, myth, grief, community, mental illness, and other subtle aspects of human life. As much a novel of human failing as human accomplishment, this book confronts vast unknowability, of the universe around us, and of the people we interact with every day - even, or perhaps especially, those we love. This is also a story of loss and the narratives we create and sustain in order to simply continue existing amid overwhelming grief. --Molly

We Eat Our Own Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501128318
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Published: Scribner Book Company - September 6th, 2016

A dizzying, disorienting, ambitious homage to 1970's Italian horror films, this is a book to devour. Chronicling the filming of a gruesome found-footage horror film somewhere in the Amazon, this story is exactly as strange, and dark, and hypnotic as you could expect. Inspired by the controversial filming of a 1979 film by Italian director Ruggero Deodato, Wilson's debut will leave you shaking and questioning the boundaries between art and reality. --Molly

Angel Catbird, Volume 1 Cover Image
By Margaret Atwood, Margaret Atwood (Created by), Johnnie Christmas (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781506700632
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dark Horse Books - September 6th, 2016

Margaret Atwood wrote a comic book!!!! And it's awesome! The story of a genetic engineer who gets accidentally spliced with an owl and a cat and must learn to deal with the inevitable existential crisis which ensues. This book is hilarious, and sexy, and savage, and pulpy in the best way. Angel Catbird reads like the best of superhero comics from the '40's and '50's. --Molly

You Will Know Me: A Gripping Novel of Stylish Psychological Suspense Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316231077
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Published: Little Brown and Company - July 26th, 2016

Set in the world of competitive gymnastics, Abbott's latest neo-noir is ruthless, disorienting, and perfectly pitched to remind us of the inescapable vulnerabilities of our bodies and the impossibility of ever really knowing anyone - even, or especially, those closest to us. Edgy, urgent, and wonderfully written, this will captivate and unsettle you. --Molly

Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544227781
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - May 20th, 2014

Claire DeWitt is a brilliant, flawed, haunted, utterly bad-ass private detective. With the help of recreational drugs, Chinese medicine, dream theory, the nonsensical text of an enigmatic detective, and her own shrewd genius, she attempts to solve the mysteries of life. As much sociological studies as mysteries, Gran offers a refreshing departure from typical detective fiction. These books are weird and wonderful. --Molly

Pond Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399575891
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Published: Riverhead Books - July 12th, 2016

I'm tempted to call this book perfect. An unconventional collection of twenty "stories," all told by the same unnamed narrator whose life we come to slowly inhabit, this book is completely mesmerizing. Through Bennett's incredible prose we come to know our narrator at once intimately and not at all, as she moves tangentially from subject to subject, illuminating her fascinating inner life. This is a stunning debut - beautifully written and profoundly witty. --Molly

The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trial Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977368
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - April 5th, 2016

At once memoir, history, and long-form personal essay, Nelson's account of the trial to convict her aunt's suspected killer is intelligent, provocative, and heartbreakingly genuine. Haunted by the horrible murder of an aunt she never knew, Nelson examines notions of justice, grief, empathy, and narrative in an attempt to understand both the shocking crime and also its lasting impact on her own life. Brilliant and haunting. --Molly

The Death-Defying Dr. Mirage Cover Image
ISBN: 9781939346490
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Valiant Entertainment LLC - May 5th, 2015

Shan Fong can speak to the dead - she spends her days solving paranormal crime and helping the bereaved, all while trying to cope with the grief of losing her own husband, the one spirit she is unable to reach. When a case offers a clue about her husband's afterlife, she ventures into the uncharted and dangerous realm known as "Deadside" to find the man she loves. Beautiul, unsettling, and tender, this book is truly fantastic. --Molly

A Burglar's Guide to the City Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374117269
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Fsg Originals - April 5th, 2016

This book is dedicated to the so-called "misusers" of buildings - those people who refuse to be limited by the intentions of architects, even as they require architecture to thrive. Manaugh - assisted by anecdotes of burglars and law enforcement alike - argues that burglary and architecture are intrinsically linked, two "arts" which inform and, in some ways even, rely on each other. This book offers a fascinating, unique, and unexpected perspective on the way we view built space and the almost magical ways that burglars manage to manipulate it. --Molly 

Relief Map Cover Image
ISBN: 9781941040225
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tin House Books - March 28th, 2016

THIS BOOK IS AMAZING!!! Knecht captures perfectly the compounding anxiety of everyday life as a teen in the midst of crisis. After the town of Lomath is cut off from its neighbors by police seeking an escaped fugitive, tensions begin to threaten the town’s increasingly unstable social dynamics. The novel follows sixteen-year-old Livy – written sincerely and believably – as she attempts to understand and cope with the complexities of growing up and the breakdown of the fragile hierarchies around her. This book is atmospheric and fraught and quietly brilliant and completely, utterly engrossing and I loved every page! --Molly

Jane Steele Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780399169496
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - March 22nd, 2016

A loving homage to Bronte's classic, Jane Steele is a thoroughly entertaining read for both fans of the original, seasoned mystery readers, and anyone else in the mood for a well-crafted and bloody gothic mystery. Faye's Jane is every bit the gutsy and admirable heroine you would expect, accompanied by a diverse cast, and suitably Byronic hero. This book is clever and complex and fantastically well-written, a perfect read for stormy nights. - Molly

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594634635
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Published: Riverhead Books - March 8th, 2016

Oyeyemi's first story collection, What is Not Yours is Not Yours, features linked stories all of which muse on the concept of keys - real and imagined, literal and metaphorical. Oyeyemi's imagination is vast and magical as she explores keys and the locks they fit (or don't), the other side of closed doors, the many secrets her characters might wish to shut away and what happens when those secrets are unleashed. These stories read like fairytales, each one lyrical, fantastical, charming, unsettling, and utterly, intensely beautiful. --Molly

An Age of License Cover Image
ISBN: 9781606997680
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Fantagraphics Books - September 22nd, 2014

Poignant, quirky, silly, beautiful - just a few words that can be used to describe this lovely, wonderful book. Knisley's graphic travelogue is an interesting account of her travels around Europe, but also a thoughtful portrait of a woman in transition - uncertain about love, life, work - and looking for some sign for the future. I loved reading this so so much! --Molly

Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass & Sorcery Cover Image
ISBN: 9781607069454
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Image Comics - April 8th, 2014

THIS SERIES IS AMAZING! It is gratuitous, and indulgent, and inclusive, and diverse, and hilarious! Get ready to fall in love with these bawdy, beautiful, badass ladies!!! Pick up if you love: rowdiness, violence, adventuring, magic, sassiness, foul-language, and tentacle monsters. --Molly

Margaret the First Cover Image
ISBN: 9781936787357
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Catapult - March 15th, 2016

Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, was a woman unsuited to her time. Extraordinary, unconventional, and entirely singular; she was a published writer and philosopher in a time when such pursuits were unheard of for women. Witty and fantastical, her works included treatises on natural phenomena and philosophy alongside proto-science fiction utopias. Dutton crafts a nuanced and complex portrait of a fascinating woman who flouted societal norms and sought the validation and recognition of her own intellect. --Molly

The Fever Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316231046
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - May 12th, 2015

This book is like "The Heathers" meets the horror genre; a dark, eerie, sensual vision of the toxic undersides of teen friendship gone wrong. Examining family, high school, betrayal, and the terrifying ways peer pressure can manifest, this is an incredibly satisfying and well-crafted novel.   --Molly

Blow-Up: And Other Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780394728810
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon Books - February 12th, 1985

An incredibly influential Latin American Boom-generation author, Julio Cortazar is a genius of short fiction. His meta-narratives and use of magical realism are absolutely wonderful to read and experience. The stories in this collection are eerie, suspenseful, and unsettling in the best way. My favorites are : "Continuity of Parks," "Blow-Up," and "House Taken Over."  --Molly

Democracy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679754855
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 25th, 1995

Joan Didion may be better known as an essayist (and her essays are incredible), but her novels are also spectacularly well-crafted. Didion has a deft hand in commenting on the failures and hypocrisies of American life and culture. This book especially shows the true extent of Didion's astonishing writing ability. Exploring memory, political life, and American consumerism, this novel is absolutely wonderful.  --Molly

Willful Creatures Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385720977
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - August 8th, 2006

Aimee Bender is utterly fantastic! Incredibly clever, weird, and so smart, every story in this book is amazing. Surreal and masterful, the stories in this collection are darkly comic, fantastical, and emotionally resonant all at once.   --Molly

Magic for Beginners Cover Image
By Kelly Link, Shelley Jackson (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780812986518
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade - July 1st, 2014

If you like fabulist fiction or magical realism a la Karen Russell or Aimee Bender, this is a must-read! Magical, whimsical, and full of feeling - the stories in this collection are heart-warming and unsettling all at the same time. An incredible read!  --Molly

Unbecoming Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143128311
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - December 1st, 2015

This novel is like Gillian Flynn and Donna Tartt had a baby and it was raised by Alfred Hitchcock. Scherm's novel is has all manipulative maneuvers of Flynn, the psychological suspense of Hitchcock, and Tartt's incredible appreciation of art objects. But this book is also entirely its own. Equal parts a heist novel, a love story, and a coming-of-age novel - yet, this novel's greatest strength is in its incredible detailing of the construction, deconstruction, and reconstruction of identity. A fantastic consideration of all the lies we use to create the version of ourselves we share with the world.   --Molly

Saga Volume 1 Cover Image
ISBN: 9781607066019
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Image Comics - October 23rd, 2012

This series is beautifully done and so brilliant! Two (literally) star-crossed lovers, members of different warring races, fight to keep their family safe across the reaches of space, all while learning how to be parents. I am absolutely in love with this series and its continually growing cast of characters.   --Molly

Ody-C Volume 1: Off to Far Ithicaa Cover Image
ISBN: 9781632153760
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Image Comics - June 23rd, 2015

"An eye-searing, mind-bending, gender-shattering, epic sci-fi retelling of Homer's Odyssey..." Oh goodness, I love this! Reading this comic hurt my brain in the most fantastic way! Typical Mat Fraction craziness and Christian Ward is unbelievably talented. His mind must be a beautiful and terrifying place! An awesome, insane start to an exciting new series!  --Molly