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.  

ISBN: 9780062302120
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow & Company - February 17th, 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. 

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. 

ISBN: 9781476778556
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
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. 

ISBN: 9780142180822
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Plume Books - February 25th, 2014

By Dean Rader (Editor)
ISBN: 9780988266223
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: 99: The Press - July 17th, 2014

ISBN: 9780062213792
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco Press - April 2014

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?  

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.  

By Don DeLillo, Richard Powers (Introduction by)
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." 

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!

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.  

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.