Staff Picks - Santiago

Santiago is new to the Bay Area, having relocated from Boston (where he was forced to leave ten boxes of books because they didn’t fit in the car). He studied Creative Writing at Emerson College and spends most of his time with his head tilted sideways scanning fiction shelves. He’s originally from Buenos Aires, which has more bookstores per person than any other city in the world.
Other interests include: traveling, hiking, Italian food, the beach, wine, llamas, and pastries.
His favorite book will always be The Time Traveler’s Wife, but below you can find some more titles he recommends.

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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061374234
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - September 8th, 2009

This is a retelling of Hamlet, but instead of lions in Africa like Disney, Wroblewski opts for dogs in rural Wisconsin. The result is an epic and heartbreaking story of grief, redemption, and friendship. Don’t let the canine focus deter you, this one is not just for dog lovers!--Santiago

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The Light of the World: A Memoir (Pulitzer Prize in Letters: Biography Finalist) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781455599868
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - September 6th, 2016

Alexander’s memoir is a story of loss, chronicling her husband’s sudden death. But it is also a love story, and Alexander uses her skills as a poet to create beautiful, luminous prose to tell that story (see her 2009 inaugural poem for more of her poetry). You’ll not only get an incredible love story out of this memoir, you’ll also get the recipe for what Alexander considers to be the best pasta dish! --Santiago

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The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories Cover Image
By Ken Liu
ISBN: 9781481424363
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Saga Press - October 4th, 2016

2016 was the year of short stories for me, and Liu’s collection sold me at first glance by the title. He kept me hooked as he oscillated between sci-fi, magical realism, and fantasy. The result is a mesmerizing collection of stories about storytelling, each of them individually highly praised and awarded. But if you read just one, make sure it’s the titular one. It’s the most awarded short story in the genre, and it really does live up to the hype. --Santiago

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The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250039576
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador - March 1st, 2016

In order to understand the crippling loneliness she felt when moving to NYC after a breakup, Laing decided to explore the work of artists who have also grappled with that tricky and complex emotion. The result is a fascinating mix of memoir, biography, and reporting, as Laing explores the work of Edward Hopper, Andy Warhol, and more in an attempt to deconstruct and understand all the intricacies of loneliness. I read this on a 12-week solo backpacking trip and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Readers of Maggie Nelson and Rebecca Solnit will enjoy this! --Santiago

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A Little Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9780804172707
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - January 26th, 2016

This book will not be for everyone. And yet, I think everyone should read it. It’s powerful but disturbing, and I felt nauseous reading certain sections. But if you can manage to get through the difficult moments, you’ll be rewarded with an incredible story of friendship. It’s also a story of strength, of how far the human spirit, mind, and body can be pushed, and an excellent reminder of the importance of walking in someone else’s shoes. --Santiago