Staff Picks - Nicole

 
Nicole has an MFA in Creative Writing and is a fan of all things literary fiction, including books about writing and the creative process.  Some of her favorite writers include David Mitchell, Robert Coover, David Foster Wallace, Sam Lipsyte, and Joy Williams, although if you ask her tomorrow, she'll give you a completely different list.  
 

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Innocents and Others Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781501122729
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner Book Company - March 8th, 2016

Everything Dana Spiotta writes is a must read because she brilliantly captures every place, time period, and character she writes. In this novel, two best friends, Carrie and Meadow, grow up in LA in the 80s and become filmmakers.  They are unlikely friends since their views on sex, power, movie-making, and morality vary wildly. Eventually, their stories converge with Jelly, a shut-in who cold calls powerful men and seduces them by listening to their most intimate thoughts. You won't regret reading this book and you'll most certainly follow this read with Eat the Document and Stone Arabia. --Nicole


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The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780770436438
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hogarth - October 6th, 2015

Although marketed as short stories, these interwoven tales spanning 1937 to present moment Russia read more like a novel. Just as it spans many eras, this collection will please a variety of readers - for fans of Jennifer Egan to Elizabeth Strout, this is a book for everyone in your life. -- Nicole


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The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780062110916
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco Press - June 2nd, 2015

From the master of the journey narrative, this tightly written book has the pace of a thriller and takes readers on an intimate ride with an American heroine in Casablanca prone to making bad decisions. The story is brimming with winks to the reader. --Nicole


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Into the Valley Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781616955090
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Soho Press - August 4th, 2015

Beautiful, dark, eerie, with just enough gallows humor, the narrator B will completely enrapture you with her slow shedding of 1967 femininity and her road trip through Cali's Central Valley. I highly recommend this incredible debut.  --Nicole


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The Small Backs of Children Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9780062383242
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper - July 7th, 2015

As my friend Sage says, Lidia is a "freaking wise word witch." Just like everything Lidia writes, this book is fierce, provocative, and deeply affecting. This is Lidia's best book yet.  --Nicole


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Welcome to Braggsville Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780062302137
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow & Company - September 8th, 2015

Be prepared for mountains of tension with a heartbreaking twist halfway through that changes the novel's direction.  Easily one of the BEST books of 2015.  You'll love the descriptions of Berkeley and for all of the book's darkness, you'll still find yourself laughing throughout. --Nicole


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The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781476749051
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria / 37 Ink - February 10th, 2015

Perhaps the best part of Issa's book is the universality of the awkward experience.  We've all had those moments growing up but Issa shares her in a funny and moving voice, and her moments have gone on to shape her as a YouTube star, writer, and voice of a new generation.  Pick up this book by Stanford alumna Issa Rae. --Nicole 


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Green on Blue Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781476778556
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner Book Company - February 17th, 2015

Not necessarily what one expects from a decorated veteran who served five tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, and this is exactly what makes it so stunning.  This haunting debut novel is told from the point of view of an Afghan orphan named Aziz who is forced to join a US-funded Afghan militia after his brother is gravely wounded. --Nicole


We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780142180822
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Plume Books - February 25th, 2014

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99 Poems for the 99 Percent Cover Image
By Dean Rader (Editor)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780988266223
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: 99: The Press - July 17th, 2014

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The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780062213792
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco Press - April 15th, 2014

One of the most beautiful books I have ever read. Would you be the same person you are right now if you were transported to another time? Atmospheric, romantic, funny, and magical, this book does the almost impossible, transports you to another world. -- Nicole


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Queen Sugar Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780143126232
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - January 27th, 2015

Natalie is from California, but this book places her firmly in the tradition of Southern writers.  Charley and her daughter move from Los Angeles to Louisiana after inheriting a sugarcane farm.  Will Charley succeed even with her judgmental mother and the tradition of sugar cane farming telling her otherwise? --Nicole  


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The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780812976366
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade - March 8th, 2011

Mitchell's new novel, "The Bone Clocks," releases in September of this year, so now is the perfect time to reread his most recent, a historical novel set in 19th century Japan.  Any fan of Mitchell's knows that his best writerly quality is diversity; every book he writes is completely different in structure, content, and tone. --Nicole  


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White Noise Cover Image
By Don DeLillo, Richard Powers (Introduction by)
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143105985
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - December 29th, 2009

A funny and ominous commentary on our consumerist culture, the story revolves around an ultramodern, witty, sarcastic, and observant family and is narrated from the father's point of view.  You'll be pulled in by the father's voice and keep reading to see if the family and their community will survive the "airborne toxic event." --Nicole


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Life on Mars Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555975845
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - May 10th, 2011

Former Stanford Stegner Fellow, Tracy K. Smith went on to win the Pultizer Prize for this collection.  Her father was one of the engineers who worked on the Hubble Space Telescope.  If poetry is not your cup of tea, check out this collection, largely informed by science and space.  If poetry is your cup of tea, you should've read this already! --Nicole


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The Quick and the Dead Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780375727641
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - January 8th, 2002

Alice, one of the three young protagonists, drives this novel with her funny and dark hatred of humankind.  You'll recognize, but likely not identify with, Williams' subtlely distorted version of our world.  Anyone who is a fan of David Lynch, Don DeLilo, Westerns (if you are, read Patrick DeWitt's "The Sisters Brothers" too!), or Surrealism will be a fan of this book.  --Nicole


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The Intuitionist Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780385493000
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - January 3rd, 2000

In his debut novel, Whitehead creates a noir world of warring elevator inspectors: the Empiricists and the Intuitionists.  The novel is reminiscent of Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man" (another of my favorites!) in matters of race, politics, and class, with a humorous and ironic narrative twist.  Whitehead showcases an incredible imagination, sly wit, and an extensive vocabulary.  --Nicole


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Night at the Fiestas: Stories Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780393242980
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 23rd, 2015

Being from New Mexico, these stories transport me back home in ways that both make me long for the desert and recoil from it. Her characters and their lives are complicated and the action she chooses for them are compassionate, tense, and fierce. These stories will stay with you long after you put the book down. -- Nicole


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Some Other Town Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780062348821
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - February 24th, 2015

Channels the emotional intensity of Susan Minot and Amy Bloom - and is infused with a witty, dreamlike surrealism reminiscent of Margaret Atwood. Told through intertwined perspectives by turns incandescent and haunting, SOT is unforgettable and heartbreaking.  -- Nicole


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The Other Joseph Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062300874
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco Press - December 15th, 2015

Rich, lyrical, perfect, melancholy. Skip is a master at the sentence, at creating a heartbreaking American landscape. You'll easily become lost in the suspense surrounding Roy and Tommy.  -- Nicole


Gutshot: Stories Cover Image
$14.00
ISBN: 9780374175443
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Fsg Originals - April 14th, 2015

The most fearless, disturbing, visceral collection I've ever read. I feel utterly destroyed and hopelessly addicted to all things Amelia Gray. Please, please read this book.  -- Nicole


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Journey to the End of the Night Cover Image
By Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Ralph Manheim (Translator), William T. Vollmann (Afterword by)
$17.95
ISBN: 9780811216548
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - May 17th, 2006

An incredibly imaginitive and satiric story, the power of which will shake you down to your very core. It reads as urgent and explosive, and Celine's prose reflects his deep fury with society. You will not regret picking up this book. -- Nicole


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Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream Cover Image
$14.00
ISBN: 9780374534981
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Fsg Originals - December 2nd, 2014

Illuminates the human side of two polarizing political issues: immigration and education. An inspiring true story of four high school students in Arizona who beat out MIT in a national underwater robotic competition against all odds. -- Nicole


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The Book of Aron Cover Image
$23.95
ISBN: 9781101874318
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - May 12th, 2015

Essential Holocaust literature by one of America's finest living writers. You won't be able to get Aron's voice out of your head and you won't want to. He brings the Warsaw orphanage to life, leaving you laughing, shuddering, and openly weeping (yes, I cried on CalTrain). A slim but suspensful and charged read, this deadpan adolescent narrator will stay with me for life.  -- Nicole