Aggie

Aggie was born in Sarajevo, in the former Yugoslavia, and she holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College. Her top 10 favorite books are (in no particular order):

  1. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
  2. The Lives of Girls and Women, by Alice Munro
  3. They Came Like Swallows, by William Maxwell
  4. Out Stealing Horses, by Per Petterson
  5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  6. Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson
  7. Disgrace, by J.M. Coetzee
  8. Letters of E.B. White, by E.B. White
  9. Independent People, by Halldor Laxness
  10. As the Birds Bring Forth the Sun, by Alistair MacLeod
Favorite Genres: 
Fiction
Literary Fiction
Memoirs
Mystery
Book Recommendations: 
Staff Pick Badge
The Sweetness of Water: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780316461276
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - June 15th, 2021

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Great Circle: A novel Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9780525656975
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Knopf - May 4th, 2021

Reading Maggie Shipstead's new book Great Circle is like opening a literary treasure chest filled with adventure, courage, family, romance, mystery, and most importantly, my favorite type of protagonists, disobedient women! This deeply satisfying historical novel, from the 1914 rescue of Marian Graves and her twin brother Jamie from a sinking ship, to its haunting, mind-blowing ending twist, is still imprinted in my mind. Marian was only twelve when she resolved to become an aviatrix after getting a ride from a female pilot on a biplane from a Flying Circus. She yearns to be the first woman to fly the great circle around the North and South Poles, and eventually, when she was in her forties, she vanished over Antarctica in 1950. The mystery of her disappearance becomes a plot of the Hollywood movie, starring Hadley Baxter, who similarly became orphaned as a small child. Maggie Shipstead wonderfully captures the tenacity of these two women, living a century apart, but sharing the same quest for independence. There is so much longing for freedom between these pages and a sense of an almost unbearable beauty of the vastness of the world."I was born to be a wanderer," the first sentence in the book, is my new mantra for life. --Aggie

 


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Homeland Elegies: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316496414
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Back Bay Books - May 25th, 2021

Ayad Akhtar might have just written the most terrifying, provocative narrative on contemporary post-Trump America, a unique literary work filled with facts and political analysis. This auto-fiction novel reads like a 'mayday, mayday' urgent distress call for help. What is going on with our country, with our nation? At the age of four, the author, born on Staten Island, moved to Wisconsin with his Pakistani parents. He grew up with his mother's homesickness for Pakistan and his father's jubilation for America, the land of opportunities. Akhtar writes that 9/11 was perhaps the last disastrous event that united all Americans in their grief. He examines different factors why the diverse American nation is now politically and culturally divided more than ever. Homeland Elegies is not only an immensely critical discourse on capitalism, immigration, and race but also an unflinching self-examination portrait. The author loses his mother from recurring cancer and his father from reverse exile. And as he's mourning for his American homeland, he's looking for hope from his old teacher. Can art help in shaping the world anew? --Aggie


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Apeirogon: A Novel Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780812981933
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Random House Trade - February 2nd, 2021

Apeirogon, by Colum McCann, is an epic story about Palestine and Israeli war, but in the heart of this novel is a story about two grieving fathers from the opposite sides of the conflict, united in their grief after unimaginable loss of their young daughters, both killed in two separate acts of radical violence. The title of the book comes from a geometric shape with a countably infinite number of sides, similar to the fragmented structure of this book, with its one thousand and one short chapters. Much like ‘One Thousand and One Nights,’ this unparalleled novel weaves a mesmerizing tale of survival and hope. McCann is our modern Shahrazad, pleading for the senseless killing to stop. --Aggie


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The Heart Is a Full-Wild Beast: New and Selected Stories Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781733973083
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Public Space Books - December 15th, 2020

A posthumously published collection by beloved local author John L’Heureux, a former Jesuit priest and the longtime director of the Stanford Creative Program, is the book I keep at my bedside. These illuminating stories range from humorous to tragic, each a true gift of compassion and grace. --Aggie


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The Secrets We Kept: A novel Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780525566106
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Vintage - June 30th, 2020

This perfect historical novel is made of the most alluring ingredients. First, a divine and doomed love affair between Russian author Boris Pasternak and his muse and secretary, Olga Ivinskaya, a woman immortalized in Pasternak’s epic novel Doctor Zhivago, which was banned in Russia for more than 30 years. Second, two American women typists working for the CIA and their forbidden love story in the midst of the Cold War and the witch hunt against homosexuals. Lara Prescott brilliantly portrays how a timeless novel like Doctor Zhivago can change the course of history. After I finished reading The Secrets We Kept, I pressed the book against my chest, as if I could hear the lovers’ hearts still beating. --Aggie


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Inland: A Novel Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780812982756
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - May 26th, 2020

Great books make us create our own mythology and embark on a journey to ancestral lands that may have never existed. As I was reading Inland by Tea Obreht, I marveled at the beauty of her prose, the exquisite density and luminosity of her sentences. I dare to say, no other book since Beloved by the incomparable Toni Morrison, made me feel such awe at what books can do. You’ll want to reread this spectacular historical novel of the American West over and over again. --Aggie


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Where Reasons End: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781984801654
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - January 12th, 2021

When the unimaginable happens, Yiyun Li continues her conversation with her 16-year-old son lost to suicide. If a mother’s grief and words could will Nikolai back into existence, he would be standing here right now. What’s left is only her love shining out of the darkness.  --Aggie


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The Tiger's Wife: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780385343848
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - November 1st, 2011

From the very first pages of Tea Obreht's novel The Tiger’s Wife, I felt as if I had just entered a temple, and all of my prayers were answered, at once. This is not an ordinary book; it’s one of those sacred books that brings miracles into people’s lives, page after page bringing me to tears...A passage such as, “and a hazy yellow moon was climbing along the curve of the old basilica on the hill. As it rose, it seemed to be gathering the silence up around it like a net,” feels as if it has been ripped straight from my heart.  Tea’s writing is so evocative, every character, every place that she describes, becomes or already is part of my life. A young doctor Natalia is on a quest to unravel the mystery of her grandfather's sudden departure and his abrupt death not long after he left home (reminiscence of Tolstoy's last days). Read to find out why he went to search for a deathless man (local legend), and what the love story between a young peasant girl and a wild tiger had to do with his disappearance? With her magical storytelling, Tea's resurrecting a whole lost world, a place and a country no longer on the map.--Aggie


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As Close to Us as Breathing: A Novel Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780316384131
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Lee Boudreaux / Back Bay Books - November 1st, 2016

Beautifully written historical novel. From the very first sentence, this multigenerational Jewish family story narrated by Molly, the daughter of one of the three Syrkin sisters, Ada, Vivie and Bec, had me spellbound. It’s about a single tragedy that changed the lives of everyone in the family, and obligation imposed by strong family traditions and expectations. Ultimately, it’s about how family ties can shatter and shelter us, at the same time. --Aggie


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Last Stories Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780525558125
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Penguin Books - December 3rd, 2019

The most extraordinary stories about ordinary people. --Aggie


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West: A Novel Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9781501179358
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Scribner - April 2nd, 2019

An unforgettable historical novel, full of adventure and wonder, longing and hope. Cy Bellman is a 35-year-old widower, living in 1818 Pennsylvania who leaves his 10-year-old daughter Bess in care of his sister, to travel into the uncharted wilderness to search for the mysterious gigantic animals whose giant bones surfaced in a Kentucky swamp.  While young Bess awaits in vain for her father's letters and faces different kinds of dangers at home, Bellman is pursuing his mystical quest, accompanied by a young Shawnee boy. This is a perfect little book, great for book clubs. Oh, and it has one of the most amazing endings I have ever read. --Aggie


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Other People's Love Affairs: Stories Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781616207052
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Algonquin Books - August 21st, 2018

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A Lucky Man: Stories Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555978433
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Graywolf Press - June 4th, 2019

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My Absolute Darling: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780735211186
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Riverhead Books - June 26th, 2018

 To read My Absolute Darling is to enter the jungle-like lush world of California's Mendocino coast, overgrown with wild nasturtium, moss, and ferns, where the motherless 14-year-old girl Turtle Alveston lives with her separatist father in a house covered in gnarled rose canes. Nothing can prepare you for the horrors of abuse Turtle must endure, or for the realization that the darkest heart of darkness beats in her father's monstrous chest, or the heartbreaking fearlessness she shows on her hero's journey to the light and freedom. -- Aggie


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The Winter Soldier Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316477598
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Back Bay Books - September 17th, 2019

Daniel Mason's masterful prose is like listening to a church organ's sacred music; every majestic, somber sound is deeply felt in the reader's heart.--Aggie

 


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All the Lives We Never Lived: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781982100520
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Washington Square Press - October 15th, 2019

Staff Pick Badge
Swamplandia! (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780307276681
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Vintage - July 26th, 2011

Reading "Swamplandia," by Karen Russell, is to enter a world of such an exquisite and terrifying beauty, where deep, deep in Florida's Everglades, on a remote island, swamp orchids, live oaks and mangroves, lives 13-year-old alligator wrestler Ava with her sister Ossie and brother Kiwi. Their mother had just died, Ossie eloped with her ghost lover, their father Chief Bigtree is away on a business trip, and brother Kiwi is working as a teen janitor for a theme park called the World of Darkness. This is a story about Ava's journey in a fourteen-foot long skiff, with a ghastly Bird Man, looking for her sister through a 1,000,000 acres of wilderness, braving love sickness and ghosts, guided by the terrible longing for her mother and the memory of their love.--Aggie