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: 
Nature Writing
Book Recommendations: 
Staff Pick Badge
Ravenna: Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe By Judith Herrin Cover Image
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)
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
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
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
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
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
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.


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Analogia: The Emergence of Technology Beyond Programmable Control By George Dyson Cover Image
Not available
ISBN: 9781250798725
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.

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Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment By Robert Wright Cover Image
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.

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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)
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.

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The North Water: A Novel By Ian McGuire Cover Image
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.


Sharp Teeth: A Novel By Toby Barlow Cover Image
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.