Alex

Alex

Alexander Papoulias. Bookseller.

Though a passive grazer by nature, I will, from time to time devour.
The best thing reading can do besides teach me something is to surprise me, make me
feel wonder.

Favorite Genres: 
Cooking
Essays
History
Nature Writing
Poetry
Science
Book Recommendations: 
Staff Pick Badge
The Book of Fire: A Novel By Christy Lefteri Cover Image
$29.99
ISBN: 9780593497272
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Ballantine Books - January 2nd, 2024

Like her gorgeous bestseller The Beekeeper of Aleppo, Christy Lefteri’s new novel is an instantly absorbing, quietly profound tale about ordinary people facing extraordinary odds. A story about the darkest and most transcendent parts of the soul, Book of Fire questions the very ideas of forgiveness and redemption. Born from her experiences as a UNICEF refugee center volunteer in Athens, and those of her Cypriot refugee parents, Lefteri’s writing is human-centered and magical.

-Alex


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The Weirdness of the World By Eric Schwitzgebel Cover Image
$32.00
ISBN: 9780691215679
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Princeton University Press - January 16th, 2024

The world is not only weirder than you suppose, it’s weirder than you can suppose

This is the foundational premise behind one of the most mindbendingly fun books I‘ve read in a while. The breadth of human achievement is staggering, but how justified is all our self- importance? It is entirely possible that using our minds to understand the fabric of reality is like using a pocket-calculator for quantum computing. Humbling, and often hilarious.

-Alex


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Reminiscences of a Student's Life By Jane Ellen Harrison, Daniel Mendelsohn (Foreword by) Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781961341999
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: McNally Editions - March 12th, 2024

Like spending a weekend in the mind of a Victorian classicist – this is my kind of escapism.

Admired by contemporaries like Virginia Woolf and modern scholars such as Mary Beard and Simon Schama, Jane Ellen Harrison was a brilliant linguist and classicist who illuminated the way we see the ancient Greeks. Harrison is candid, fiercely opinionated, and original – utterly out of step with Victorian expectations for ladylike behavior and a woman’s place in academia. Originally a series of articles appearing in The Nation in 1925, Harrison’s memoir has finally gotten the book release it has always deserved.

-Alex


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The Chalice and the Blade By Riane Eisler Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062502896
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: HarperOne - September 21st, 1988

A groundbreaking reassessment of human history and culture.


Scholar and futurist Riane Eisler introduces two models of human pre-history – The Chalice: A vessel to represent the female-centered, hunter-gatherer cooperative of the Neolithic Era. The Blade: The male-led culture of war and domination that has characterized human existence since the Bronze Age. Was the shift inevitable and is it too late to change?

-Alex


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Under The Skin By Michel Faber Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780156011600
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Harper Paperbacks - July 16th, 2001

A creepy, atmospheric thriller and a diabolically subtle satire of modern life.


Grizzly horror is juxtaposed against the most banal details of a suburban commute. Iserly and her two companions prowl the streets of Edinburgh in a van by night, on the lookout for lonely men who aren’t likely to be missed much. Seduced, drugged, and processed – their fates are too bizarre and terrifying to imagine.

-Alex


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The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name By Brian C. Muraresku, Graham Hancock (Contributions by), Michael Pollan (Preface by) Cover Image
By Brian C. Muraresku, Graham Hancock (Contributions by), Michael Pollan (Preface by)
$21.00
ISBN: 9781250803986
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - October 3rd, 2023

The religion with no name. Ancient beer and wine. A lost history.


Our ancient ancestors were more sophisticated herbalists and pharmacists than they’ve been given credit for. Could there be a through-line between the ecstatic plant-medicine fueled shamanism of the hunter-gatherers, the mystery-cults of the Greeks, and even the Hellenized proto-Christians? Brian C. Murarescu dives right into mystery with wit and scholarship.

-Alex


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Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life from an Addiction to Film By Patton Oswalt Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781451673227
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Scribner - October 13th, 2015

When folks measure their lives, it’s often through their accomplishments, their children, their possessions. Patton Oswalt has had one of the most unique careers as a comedian and actor. This account of his early days in Hollywood is a memoir told in movies, and one of the most honest and hilarious memoirs I’ve read. Fans of Bossypants and I Remember Nothing will devour this book.

-Alex


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Tahoe Beneath the Surface: The Hidden Stories of America's Largest Mountain Lake By Scott Lankford Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781597141390
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Heyday Books - December 1st, 1990

Tahoe. It’s more than ski slopes and dumpster bears.

What do an Ice-Age mummy, Mark Twain, and Frank Sinatra all have in common? Why, the second-deepest alpine lake in the United States of Course! Before it was the Bay Area’s Vacation Playground, the Tahoe-Truckee Basin witnessed a fascinating and eclectic passage of American History
-Alex


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The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder By David Grann Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780385534260
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Doubleday - April 18th, 2023

No writer has Grann’s gift for finding bizarre and compelling stories hiding in plain sight. A supremely gifted storyteller, Grann sets his focus on stories that upend all our expectations about human behavior, psychology, and motivation. Fans of ShakletonThe Endurance, and The North Water will devour this true tale of madness and bravery on the high seas. -Alex


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Touched By Walter Mosley Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780802161840
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - October 10th, 2023

From the godfather of hardboiled detective fiction, a speculative sci-fi future vision that’s timely, satirical, and full of style.

A suburban dad awakes to emerging superabilities – terrifying in their power – and is allowed a glimpse into the true nature of reality. The human world is an offshoot – an unfolding dream that has put existence itself in peril. Martin Just finds himself summoned to intervene by forces beyond his imagining.                                                                                                          -Alex


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The Tragic Mind: Fear, Fate, and the Burden of Power By Robert D. Kaplan Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780300263862
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Yale University Press - January 17th, 2023

Kaplan spent decades studying and reporting on the Balkans and Eastern Europe. He is perhaps better suited than anyone to unpack and explain the meaning of tragedy in the classical sense. Not as simple as evil triumphing over good, tragedy is a far more nuanced and complicated human experience related to irony and paradox that has driven philosophers and storytellers for ages. Kaplan brings it into sharp focus in this culminating work.  ~Alex


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Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef By Gabrielle Hamilton Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780812980882
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - January 24th, 2012

I burned through Anthony Bourdain’s books and thought he was the final word. Then came Blood Bones & Butter – a searing, wholly original memoir about the life and miseducation of a professional chef. Like a true NYC Punk, Hamilton ditches the standard formula redemption memoir by presenting her life in all of its out-of-focus complexity and floors you with her emotional honesty. ~Alex


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Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov (Modern Library Classics) By Anton Chekhov, Richard Pevear (Translated by), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translated by), Richard Pevear (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Anton Chekhov, Richard Pevear (Translated by), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translated by), Richard Pevear (Introduction by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9780553381009
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Modern Library - October 31st, 2000

Chekhov’s name rings out with a bunch of other over-serious dead guy writers, but don’t be intimidated. These stories are lively, modern, and hilarious. The short story writer every short story writer aspires to be, Chekhov used a spare, less-is more aesthetic to tell stories that haunt you and echo in your mind. No other writer had a better understanding of the binary nature of comedy and tragedy. ~Alex


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The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession By David Grann Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780307275905
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Vintage - January 11th, 2011

Truth is stranger than fiction. Here’s the proof.

David Grann’s brilliance at finding and telling weirdly compelling true stories was already well-established in his first essay collection. Here are twelve stories about eccentric people, abnormal psychology, and events too strange to be invented. The stories Grann chooses and curates across his work challenge expectations for human behavior and leave you with the sense that the world is far bigger and odder than you’d thought. ~Alex


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The Vorrh (The Vorrh Trilogy #1) By Brian Catling Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9781101873786
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Vintage - April 28th, 2015

Atmospheric, surreal, terrifying. An impossible to describe blend of dark fantasy, alternate history, and absurd horror. The Vorrh is a kaleidoscope of re-imagined history set in a colonial Africa peopled by ghosts from the past, a cyclops, a fleet of robots, and pioneering photographer Edward Muybridge among others. The Vorrh is the best kind of literary surprise – a universe I never could’ve imagined and now can’t imagine being without. Echoes of Lovecraft and Philip K Dick. ~Alex


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Treasures of Ukraine: A Nation's Cultural Heritage By Andrey Kurkov (Foreword by), Andriy Puchkov (Contributions by), Christian Raffensperger (Contributions by), Diana Klochko (Contributions by), Maksym Yaremenko (Contributions by), Alisa Lozhkina (Contributions by), Myroslava M. Mudrak (Contributions by), Oleksandr Soloviev (Contributions by), Victoria Burlaka (Contributions by) Cover Image
By Andrey Kurkov (Foreword by), Andriy Puchkov (Contributions by), Christian Raffensperger (Contributions by), Diana Klochko (Contributions by), Maksym Yaremenko (Contributions by), Alisa Lozhkina (Contributions by), Myroslava M. Mudrak (Contributions by), Oleksandr Soloviev (Contributions by), Victoria Burlaka (Contributions by)
$40.00
ISBN: 9780500026038
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Thames & Hudson - December 6th, 2022

Thousands of years of art and architecture are presented here for the culturally curious and for lovers of rare beauty. This book is a prayer for Ukraine and the priceless cultural treasures threatened by war.

-Alex

One hundred percent of the sales of this book will be used to support PEN Ukraine – a human-rights organization which opposes all forms of discrimination and restrictions on freedom of expression.
https://pen.org.ua/en
https://thamesandhudson.com/treasures-of-ukraine-a-nations-cultural-heritage-9780500026038


Staff Pick Badge
The Madman's Gallery: The Strangest Paintings, Sculptures and Other Curiosities from the History of Art By Edward Brooke-Hitching Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781797221762
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Chronicle Books - March 7th, 2023

Explore the forgotten corners and little-known oddities of art over the centuries with professional weirdness enthusiast Edward Brooke-Hitching. Each piece presented here is a one-off, one-of-a-kind example of uncategorizable art and an artist who followed their own singular, often bizarre, muse. Cabbage Head, Nude Mona Lisa, Vegetable Face, Memento Mori, and the Ugly Dutchess await! Historic fun for the fun historian.
-Alex


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The Patriarchs: The Origins of Inequality By Angela Saini Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780807014547
Availability: Usually Arrives at Kepler's in 3-14 Days
Published: Beacon Press - February 28th, 2023

Patriarchy is so ingrained in human culture it takes an act of imagination to picture the world under a different regime. It wasn’t always so. In the spirit of The Chalice and the Blade, The Patriarchs recons with humanity before the seismic shift into a male-centric world, and the long period of prehistory when humans the world over worshiped a Mother Goddess and paternity was meaningless. Could it all have been different, and is it too late to change?

-Alex


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Tasting History: Explore the Past through 4,000 Years of Recipes (A Cookbook) By Max Miller, Ann Volkwein Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781982186180
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: S&S/Simon Element - April 18th, 2023

World history and gastronomy collide in this scholarly mashup from Tasting History Youtuber Max Miller. Ever wonder what the ancient Egyptians ate on celebration days? Looking for a way to combine raisins, cognac, and duck tongues in the kitchen? Look no further. This is well-researched human history and some fun inspiration for the adventurous modern chef.

-Alex


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BUDMO!: Recipes from a Ukrainian Kitchen By Anna Voloshyna Cover Image
$39.95
ISBN: 9780847872565
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Rizzoli - October 11th, 2022

A Ukrainian transplant in the Bay (Menlo Park/SF) has made it her mission to bring the food of her homeland to Californians. Anna Voloshyna graduated the San Francisco Cooking School’s rigorous Culinary Arts program, where she refined her technique of using California’s bounty to recreate the foods she grew up with. She’s gone on to be a sought-after culinary instructor and ambassador of Ukrainian cuisine in the United States. A delicious, vibrant cuisine from the past made new.

-Alex


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Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation By Elaine Pagels Cover Image
$18.00
Not available
ISBN: 9780143121633
Published: Penguin Books - February 26th, 2013

A seven-headed beast, a lake of fire, a Whore of Babylon! OMG it must be
Armageddon…


I grew up being dragged to Sunday School kicking and screaming. But when I discovered that the final book of the Holy Bible is a psychedelic monster-movie bloodbath I was hooked... One of the most bizarre documents of any kind, the book of Revelation may be prophesy, propaganda, or something infinitely stranger. Elaine Pagels works miracles in making sense of this endlessly entertaining kaleidoscope ofweirdness. ~Alex


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Alaric the Goth: An Outsider's History of the Fall of Rome By Douglas Boin Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9780393867510
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - August 31st, 2021

History hasn’t been kind to the Barbarians. Maybe they deserve a second chance.


Known as the guy who sacked Rome, Alaric is perhaps more infamous than famous.
What could easily be fringe, niche-history reads like the biography of an ambitious modern man straddling two cultures and navigating each in unprecedented times. With scholarship and wit, Boin draws out the deeper, universal story from this historical footnote and presents a sympathetic, relatable man who led an extraordinary life during a chaotic, fractured time. ~Alex


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New Rome: The Empire in the East (History of the Ancient World) By Paul Stephenson Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9780674294042
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Belknap Press - November 14th, 2023

Or, How the Roman Empire Saved Itself by Going Home to Greece.


The High School World History 101 account of Rome’s decline and fall is a convenient
fiction developed by teachers without the time or resources to tackle complexity or
paradox. While Rome the city became the Detroit of the Italian peninsula and fell to rats
and Visigoths, Rome the empire was alive and well in Constantinople, or Nova Roma as
it was called. The empire installed itself in the glittering City of Cities, adopted and

remade Christianity in its own image, and stood as a beacon in the East for a thousand
glorious years. ~Alex


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Dracula By Bram Stoker, Maurice Hindle (Introduction by), Maurice Hindle (Notes by), Christopher Frayling (Preface by) Cover Image
By Bram Stoker, Maurice Hindle (Introduction by), Maurice Hindle (Notes by), Christopher Frayling (Preface by)
$11.00
ISBN: 9780141439846
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Penguin Classics - April 29th, 2003

A sex-crazed Balkan count arrives in 1850s London to drink up the culture.


The old world and its freaky old ways lands smack in the middle of repressed Victorian
London and bloody trouble ensues. Stoker plays the tension between attraction and
revulsion with a monster who is at once hypnotic and repulsive. Forget the tuxedo and
black cape - Stoker’s vampire is stranger and more terrifying than any horror movie
monster. ~Alex


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The Map of Knowledge: A Thousand-Year History of How Classical Ideas Were Lost and Found By Violet Moller Cover Image
$21.00
ISBN: 9781101974063
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Anchor - April 14th, 2020

Whither Goest thou Plato, Aristotle…?


What we call the Renaissance was largely a rediscovery of the classics of antiquity -
guys like Euclid, Euripides, and Sophocles. During the Middle Ages, these foundational
texts weren’t lost - they were just hiding. Scholars (mostly Arab) in cities like Cordoba,
Constantinople, and Ravenna shepherded the works of the great masters through a
thousand dark years and gave the modern world legs to stand on. ~Alex


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Queer By William S. Burroughs Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780802160560
Availability: Usually Arrives at Kepler's in 3-14 Days
Published: Grove Press - September 6th, 2022

Written in 1952 and unpublished until 1985, Queer is a landmark.


So far ahead of their times, Burroughs’ Junkie and Queer were scarcely recognized for
decades. Agonizingly raw and visceral, this autobiographical novel recounts 1950s
Times Square in all its Mad Men meets Skid Row spiciness. A Million Little Pieces, In
Cold Blood, and Wild owe much of their existence to Burroughs’ pioneering
autobiographical writing from the 40s and 50s. ~Alex


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Deadwood (Vintage Contemporaries) By Pete Dexter Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781400079711
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Vintage - July 12th, 2005

Wild Bill is old and nearly dead. So is the Old West


This novel captures the chaos of an era’s end with stark prose and humor as dry as
tumbleweed. No heroes or white hats in this Western - just crusty eccentric characters
that leap off the page and make you cry and laugh at once. There are echoes of
Cormac McCarthy but Dexter has a keener ear for the humor of absurdity. A reappraisal
of the Western mythos that is as funny and tragic as anything Stegner or Steinbeck ever
wrote. ~Alex


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In Cold Blood (Vintage International) By Truman Capote Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780679745587
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Vintage - February 1st, 1994

America sees its own reflection in the mirror. It’s troubling


Capote ushered in a new era of Narrative Nonfiction that challenged the established
rules of journalism and what a nonfiction book could be. Perhaps the very first
“nonfiction novel,” In Cold Blood presents an episode few but Capote would’ve had the
imagination to see a compelling story in. With Joan Didion, Tom Wolfe, and Hunter S.
Thompson, Capote was part of a literary reappraisal some have called The New
Journalism. As crisp and detail-rich as it ever was, ICB is haunting, atmospheric, and
unforgettable. ~Alex


Staff Pick Badge
The Bookseller of Florence: The Story of the Manuscripts That Illuminated the Renaissance By Ross King Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9780802159830
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - April 19th, 2022

If the city of Florence was the geographical center of the Renaissance, then the
bookshop of Vespasiano da Bisticci was its spiritual and intellectual heart. A bookseller,
linguist, historian, and pioneering printer, Vespasiano was a friend to the royalty,
geniuses, visionaries, and artisans that re-birthed Europe. Ross King infuses his prose
with tone-perfect humor and an easy style which makes me think he had as much fun
writing it as I did reading it. ~Alex


Staff Pick Badge
Transcendence: How Humans Evolved through Fire, Language, Beauty, and Time By Gaia Vince Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780465094905
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Basic Books - January 21st, 2020

Fire Language Beauty Time


Gaia Vince identifies these as the essential, elemental factors in human development,
and makes a reasoned, artful discussion of it all in this gorgeous, absorbing book. The
evolution of Mind has mirrored the evolution of form - the same forces that shaped
rivers and mountain ranges drew all of this world’s sparkling multiplicity out of mud.
Tackling history this broad requires an inventiveness of language that few can manage
– Vince brings the impossible scale of deep time into focus with clear, poetic prose. ~Alex


Staff Pick Badge
Flying Snakes and Griffin Claws: And Other Classical Myths, Historical Oddities, and Scientific Curiosities By Adrienne Mayor Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9780691211183
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Princeton University Press - July 26th, 2022

Are you about to get on a ten-hour flight? If you are, don’t leave without this
book!


My 30 year search for the perfect book to bring on a plane, train, or ocean liner is finally
over! I can’t do the beach-read romance or the just-to-kill-time spy thriller, but damn it,
sometimes I just want to be amused. Enter Flying Snakes and Griffin Claws - a survey
of the weird and wild from ancient times to the Middle Ages that’s just informative
enough to feel like you’re reading a history book without forcing you into any intellectual
work. Sweet sweet brain candy. ~Alex


Staff Pick Badge
The Monster at the End of This Book (Sesame Street) (Little Golden Book) By Jon Stone, Michael Smollin (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Jon Stone, Michael Smollin (Illustrator)
$5.99
ISBN: 9780307010858
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Golden Books - December 31st, 1999

Grover keeps the tension unbearably taut in this masterwork of psychological suspense.

Despite Grover’s desperate warnings you keep turning pages. On and on, it is impossible to halt your progress before the inevitable, ghastly end has you face to face with a nightmare.

One of the Children’s Television Workshop’s finest contributions to the Urban Horror genre. ~Alex


Staff Pick Badge
Papyrus: The Invention of Books in the Ancient World By Irene Vallejo, Charlotte Whittle (Translated by) Cover Image
By Irene Vallejo, Charlotte Whittle (Translated by)
$35.00
ISBN: 9780593318898
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Knopf - October 18th, 2022

My favorite book of 2022. By far.


A bookseller reading a book about books might seem like a lot of self-obsessed navel
gazing, I know. Papyrus though, is anything but narrow in scope and does nothing less
than tell the story of humankind’s effort to overcome time and our own transience: from
small mouth noises, to clay tablets, pen and ink, and the quantum computer. A blend of
essay, memoir, and historical scholarship, Papyrus is at once deeply personal and
universal as Vallejo unpacks centuries of culture to show us ourselves. ~Alex


Staff Pick Badge
Meditations By Marcus Aurelius, Martin Hammond (Editor), Martin Hammond (Translated by), Martin Hammond (Notes by), Diskin Clay (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Marcus Aurelius, Martin Hammond (Editor), Martin Hammond (Translated by), Martin Hammond (Notes by), Diskin Clay (Introduction by)
$11.00
ISBN: 9780140449334
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Penguin Classics - October 31st, 2006

When you fret at any circumstance, you have forgotten a number of things.


Never intended for public viewing, these are the private diaries of an Emperor of Rome
at the height of the Empire’s power and reach. Marcus conquered vast territories for
Rome but looked inward for truth and wisdom. His meditations on impermanence,
attachment, and fortitude make one think Marcus was a Buddhist without ever knowing
it. ~Alex


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The Road: Pulitzer Prize Winner (Vintage International) By Cormac McCarthy Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780307387899
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Vintage - March 28th, 2007

Crushing. Devastating. Unputdownable.


A landmark novel in American literature. The Road breaks down language itself, until it’s
as bare and cold as the novel’s ravaged characters.

A vision, a nightmare, a prophecy of doom. Almost too brutal to read.


Almost. ~Alex


Staff Pick Badge
Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End of a Civilization (City Lights Open Media) By Roy Scranton Cover Image
$13.95
ISBN: 9780872866690
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: City Lights Books - October 6th, 2015

Don’t stop recycling those bottles and cans just yet…


If the author’s right though, and our carbon-farting machine world is past the tipping
point, we all may have to heed his advice and learn to die.


It’s summer – And we’re running out of ice. ~Alex


Staff Pick Badge
Listen, World!: How the Intrepid Elsie Robinson Became America’s Most-Read Woman By Julia Scheeres, Allison Gilbert Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781541674356
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Seal Press - September 27th, 2022

Here is a real-life underdog story that will leave you with a newfound sense determination and smiling ear to ear. If you get excited over historical rediscovery and lesser-known corners of the local past, you’ll love Listen World. Scheeres (NYT bestseller, Jesus Land) and Gilbert breathe fresh life into the biography of a mostly forgotten but pivotal figure in American journalism. As a single mother in rural California in the 1910s, Elsie Robinson panned for gold, swept floors, and finally landed a writing job at the Oakland Tribune after marching in and demanding to be hired. Robinson’s wildly popular nationally-syndicated column ran for over thirty years and inspired countless imitators.

 ~Alex


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Zodiac: The Shocking True Story of the Hunt for the Nation's Most Elusive Serial Killer By Robert Graysmith Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780425212189
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Berkley - January 2nd, 2007

A most dangerous game


Robert Graysmith was a young cartoonist at the San Francisco Chronicle when the
Zodiac killer wrote his first letters, taunting the police and press with coded cyphers. A
lifelong puzzle-fiend, Graysmith was hooked, and what followed was a years-long
odyssey of obsessive research and investigation. The result is one of the most
exhaustively researched and yet endlessly readable true crime books ever written.
“Unputdownable” was coined for books like Zodiac and the as-yet unsolved crimes
continue to haunt and mesmerize. ~Alex


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What the Greeks Did for Us By Tony Spawforth Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780300258028
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Yale University Press - May 16th, 2023

The Greeks’ contributions to global culture cannot be understated, but it wasn’t all
grapes and yogurt. The parents of humanity were poets and thinkers who gave us
drama, science, and literature. They were also enthusiastic slave-holders whose art and
culture are marked by casual violence and sexual assault. How then, should we feel
about the ancient Greeks? Like most parent-child relationships - it’s complicated. Tony
Spawforth does an impressive job in presenting a way of regarding the ancients in a
way that’s at once reverent and clear-eyed.

Eye-opening and often hilarious, this book will delight historian and layperson alike. ~Alex


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The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit By Michael Finkel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781101911532
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Vintage - January 30th, 2018

Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places


For years it was items like flashlights, cereal, tools, and cooking oil. The residents of
Mercer, Maine could not figure out who burglarized their vacation homes year after year,
leaving pantries and toolsheds raided, closets pilfered.
In the woods nearby but well out of view, a man built a private world for himself. The
hermit of North Pond perplexed the town’s residents, spawned paranoid theories, and
set neighbor against neighbor.

Turns out all he wanted was some peace and quiet. ~Alex


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Ravenna: Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe By Judith Herrin Cover Image
$21.95
ISBN: 9780691204222
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Princeton University Press - April 12th, 2022

As Constantinople grew into the capital of the Roman Empire in the first centuries A.D., a marshy backwater rose to be the new seat of power in the West. Though not a major modern city, Ravenna, on Italy’s Adriatic coast boasts eight UNESCO World Heritage sites and a concentration of mosaic art to rival any collection in the world. This is a vibrant, lucid history about a chaotic period of reinvention and renewal that reads like a novel thanks to Judith Herrin’s gift for drawing human stories out of historical records. --Alex


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Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese By Patrick Leigh Fermor, Michael Gorra (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Patrick Leigh Fermor, Michael Gorra (Introduction by)
$19.95
ISBN: 9781590171882
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: NYRB Classics - June 6th, 2006

Greece’s Mani region is the wild, isolated, not-exactly-Europe end of the continent – long home to pirates and clans bent on vendetta. Fermor, a kind of roguish Indiana Jones type adventurer braved scorching sun, rocky landscapes, bandits, and sullen donkeys for this one of a kind travel story. A page-turning reminder of the joy of curiosity and that you never need a reason to go exploring. Why? Because it’s there. --Alex


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The Raven: Tales and Poems (Penguin Horror) By Edgar Allan Poe, Guillermo del Toro (Editor) Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780143122364
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Penguin Classics - October 1st, 2013

Poe’s influence on American literature cannot be understated. He is known, of course, as an originator and master of horror, but Poe essentially invented the detective story, wrote literary criticism, and was a mighty fine poet to boot. His elegant Victorian prose sounds like a throwback today – a gentle reminder to slow down and enjoy reading beautiful words. Plagued by fears he’d been plagiarized during his life and brief career, Poe is today perhaps one of America’s most imitated authors. --Alex


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The Half Known Life: In Search of Paradise By Pico Iyer Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780593420256
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Riverhead Books - January 10th, 2023

Walking the landscape to explore the innerscape of the conscious human soul

Iyer’s touch is so light this book will sneak up and stun you with its power. Here is an antidote to our modern hustle crisis, a calm clear-eyed appraisal, and a lucid whisper of hope in a world full of shouting. An outpouring of beauty, this essay exists outside of genre as its own kind of purely human literature. Read it to be refreshed – this is detox for your soul. --Alex


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The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolut By Terence Mckenna Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062506139
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: HarperOne - May 8th, 1992

My vision of the final human future is an effort to exteriorize the soul and interiorize the body, so that the exterior soul will exist as a superconducting lens of translinguistic matter generated out of the body of each of us at a critical juncture at our psychedelic bar mitzvah

Poetic verbal anarchy like this abounds in these collected essays and lectures from a singular voice in the American counterculture. McKenna was a visionary, a jester, a psychonaut, and a truth teller whose prose explorations of innerspace will set your mind on fire. --Alex


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Crime: A Novel By Irvine Welsh Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780393335507
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 26th, 2009

A laugh-out-loud crook caper and a reluctant hero’s journey in the nexus of American weirdness. Welcome to Florida.

Detective Inspector Ray Lennox of the Edinburgh police is on R&R in Miami – recovering from a catastrophic nervous breakdown and professional humiliation. All it takes is one nasty fight with his wife and Ray ditches his Prozac for vodka and a Scarface-sized pile of cocaine. An odyssey of menace, violence, and manipulation follows. In the middle of it all an innocent child needs a savior. Could it be Ray? --Alex


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Crusaders: The Epic History of the Wars for the Holy Lands By Dan Jones Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780143108979
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Penguin Books - October 6th, 2020

Intimate and immediate - Jones brings ancient worlds into focus in prose that continually surprises and delights. This one book touched off a long-dormant fascination with history that had been muted for me by years of classrooms and textbooks. Our
ancestors were bizarre, and they thought bizarre things. Lots of these bizarre things became the framework for what we call Western Civilization - if you’ve ever found yourself looking around, wondering “How did this happen?” Crusaders is an edifying and un-put-downable place to start your research.

-Alex


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Analogia: The Emergence of Technology Beyond Programmable Control By George Dyson Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781250798725
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Picador - August 17th, 2021

The history presented here reveals itself like a Russian Doll - an analog of the layering and revision that make up the historical process itself. Analogia proposes to trace the emergence of digital technology, and opens upon a universe of Navajo Code-Talkers, a Russian Tzar, a German polymath genius, canoe-making, and particle physics. This is
an original, kaleidoscopic, even eccentric approach to history that is as broad as Dyson’s mind, and reveals connections few else would have the imagination to see.
-Alex


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Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment By Robert Wright Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781439195468
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - May 8th, 2018

We can learn to see the world, including ourselves, more clearly, and so gain a deep and morally valid happiness.

This simple idea serves as the touchpoint for Wright’s fascinating look into the benefits and efficacy of Buddhist meditative practice. Evolutionary psychology and neuroscience are shedding light on why and how meditation has measurable benefits for mood, health, and focus. Buddhist primary texts aren’t often thrilling page-turners, making this the perfect primer for the curious modern human.
-Alex


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I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer By Michelle McNamara, Gillian Flynn (Introduction by), Patton Oswalt (Afterword by) Cover Image
By Michelle McNamara, Gillian Flynn (Introduction by), Patton Oswalt (Afterword by)
$19.99
ISBN: 9780062319791
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Harper Perennial - February 26th, 2019

So much more than an account of the compiled details of murder and detective work. IBGITD is a powerful memoir about obsession and the complex of emotions that drive it. Every fan of True Crime must eventually recon with the meaning and effect of being compelled to explore the dark corners of the human heart - McNamara pulls the curtain back on the psychology and evolution of fixation to reveal something far deeper than morbid curiosity. Atmospheric and evocative of the California suburbs - you can hear the bat-crack of a little league game and smell lawnmower exhaust on the breeze.
-Alex


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The North Water: A Novel By Ian McGuire Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781250118141
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Picador - March 14th, 2017

The year is 1854. Behold: a ship full of secrets and violent men pushes further into the Arctic ice than any have gone before in search of whales. This is a brutal meditation on darkness and the impossibility of redemption. Shakespearean in scale and as desolate as a Cormac McCarthy novel, North Water opens inwardly like a series of doors,
revealing ever darkening shadows, never-ending. The story of the doomed whaler, the Volunteer, is Dante’s Inferno upside-down - courage and savagery play out in a silent sea of ice.

-Alex


Sharp Teeth: A Novel By Toby Barlow Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780061430244
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Harper Perennial - January 27th, 2009

Taste of blood and bone in the mouth

     Bristle of wet fur in the cold desert air.

Smell of taco trucks and diesel
floating on the Santa Ana wind.

          Steam rises from a fresh kill.

Ambitious, assured storytelling that doesn’t flinch, Sharp Teeth is a novel written in verse that cuts like a knife. Or a fang. Rival packs of Lycanthropes prowl the streets of modern Los Angeles. A down-and-out dogcatcher senses strange, unseen forces at work in the valley below. Meat and romance are in the air.
-Alex