Todd

Lover of literary fiction and creative nonfiction. Hiker, backpacker, and travel bug-bitten daydreamer. Fearless photographer and daredevil grub-maker in the kitchen. An intrepid experimentalist in the art of making up nonsense songs. The guy who will cross the busiest intersection in town just to pet a cute dog. A great big dork, pretty much.

Favorite Genres: 
Cooking
Literary Fiction
Music
Nature Writing
Sociology
Book Recommendations: 
Staff Pick Badge
The Trayvon Generation Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9781538737897
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - April 5th, 2022

 A short but brilliant work, blending art and poetry with personal essays and family history to highlight the emotional stress experienced by Black Americans today. This is beautifully immersive prose that packs quite a powerful punch, and a stirring testament to the abilities of the arts for healing and reflection. --Todd


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Woman, Eating: A Literary Vampire Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780063140882
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: HarperVia - April 12th, 2022

You've never read a vampire tale quite like this-- Kohda works some sly magic with the genre by delivering a coming-of-age story of a young woman coming to terms with her hunger (in more meanings than just one). Sure, Lydia happens to be half-human/half-vampire, but her struggles and desires are quite universal...and I found her journey to be thoroughly engaging. --Todd


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Ocean State Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780802159274
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Grove Press - March 15th, 2022

So mesmerizing and haunting and heartbreakingly real-- O'Nan has crafted a gripping "whydunit" (rather than the usual whodunit of the mystery genre) about a brutal murder in a working-class coastal Rhode Island town, and his chronicle of a tragic teen love-triangle bristles with tension. I was spellbound from start to finish. --Todd


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The Bright Ages: A New History of Medieval Europe Cover Image
$29.99
ISBN: 9780062980892
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Harper - December 7th, 2021

A lively, persuasive, and hugely engaging take on the medieval era, in which the authors argue that the Dark Ages-- while plagued with a great deal of barbarism and ignorance-- were also a time of innovation and progress. Gabriele and Perry are wonderful storytellers, and both highlight aspects of this time period which paved the way for the more-enlightened Renaissance era. --Todd


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O Beautiful: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250274328
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: St. Martin's Press - November 9th, 2021

Completely mesmerizing-- Yun tackles the old adage, "you can't go home again", with a full heart and an open mind while addressing issues surrounding class, race, and gender. Timely, vivid, vital...this is an extraordinary depiction of resentments and menace in rural America. --Todd


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Home Reading Service: A Novel Cover Image
By Fabio Morábito, Curtis Bauer (Translated by)
$15.99
ISBN: 9781635420722
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Other Press - November 16th, 2021

Such a soulful and singular read, and so very unexpected-- a man who must read to people in their homes as a form of community service ends up finding a sense of purpose as a result. It's a loving testimonial to the power of art and literature for human connection, and I can say with total honesty that the ending was a genuine surprise. --Todd


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Lost in the Valley of Death: A Story of Obsession and Danger in the Himalayas Cover Image
$29.99
ISBN: 9780062965967
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Harper - January 11th, 2022

 Oh, this book! Part true-crime narrative, part travelogue, part spiritual quest, this tale of an American social-media star who never returned from his journey towards enlightenment in India is undeniably captivating and so richly vivid in detail. It's an expertly-crafted, haunting portrait-- think Eat Pray Love crossed with Into the Wild. --Todd


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How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780316492935
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - June 1st, 2021

An astonishing work which should be required reading--  Smith pinpoints where we are as a country regarding white supremacy with eloquence and grace and the pen of a poet. Trust me, you need this book. America needs this book. The world is a better place now that it has been written. --Todd


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The Anomaly: A Novel Cover Image
By Hervé Le Tellier, Adriana Hunter (Translated by)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781635421699
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Other Press - November 23rd, 2021

Well, how about that-- a novel can be philosophical AND totally gripping at the same time! A wild, heady mix of existential thriller and speculative science fiction, but with a sharp pop-culture sensibility and  generous servings of dark humor and surprising amounts of sweetness...Black Mirror fans, take note. I've never read anything quite like this. --Todd


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There There Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525436140
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Vintage - May 7th, 2019

Such a fresh, savvy literary debut-- Orange's cleverly-overlapping tales of self-described "urban Indians" absolutely crackle and spark with vitality and attitude. Lyrical, playful, and brilliantly-constructed, it offers an unforgettable view into contemporary Native American experience. I'm in awe of this novel. --Todd


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The War for Gloria: A novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781524732325
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Knopf - September 7th, 2021

A profoundly affecting coming-of-age story and a potent takedown of toxic masculinity-- Corey Goltz is a kid to truly root for, in his determination to take care of his ALS-stricken mother while doing everything in his power to avoid his cruel, estranged father. Visceral, gripping, deeply empathetic...this is a real triumph. --Todd


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Gentrifier: A Memoir Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781646220700
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Catapult - October 19th, 2021

 A provocative and hugely engaging account of the author's unintentional role in the gentrification of a Detroit neighborhood when she is given a (not-so) free house by an organization so that she can concentrate on her writing. Told with much humor and frankness, it's a great exploration into themes of home and belongingness and what it means "to be part of the community." --Todd


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Burntcoat: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062657107
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Custom House - November 2nd, 2021

This is one of the most haunting novels I have read in quite some time-- Hall has meticulously crafted an immersive study of love and lust and artistic motivation amidst societal trauma. It's a passionate, incandescent work about mortality and the need for human connection; I keep thinking about this one, honestly. --Todd


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April in Spain Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781335471406
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Hanover Square Press - October 5th, 2021

Banville's latest installment in the Dr. Quirke mystery series drops the ornery, hard-drinking Irish forensic pathologist uncomfortably on holiday in sunny Spain; there, he thinks he spots a supposedly-dead friend of his daughter. The Pandora's box opened by this possible discovery is loaded with unforeseen complications, all of which are meted out in elegant detail and thick, brooding atmosphere. --Todd


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The Dressmakers of Auschwitz: The True Story of the Women Who Sewed to Survive Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780063030930
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Harper Paperbacks - September 14th, 2021

An engrossing history of the 25 mostly-Jewish prisoners of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp who sewed for the Nazis-- Adlington (a clothes historian) describes how their tailoring and fashion skills saved their lives. It's a fascinating document of a little-known aspect of the Holocaust, and the heaviness of the subject matter is offset by tales of camaraderie and resistance by the prisoners. An important work of nonfiction. --Todd


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Matrix: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781594634499
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Riverhead Books - September 7th, 2021

An enchanting, strangely provocative imagining of the life of Marie de France, a 12th-Century French abbess in England -- Groff's gorgeous prose captures both the nearly-magic beauty and dark, deathly grit of medieval life with impressive dexterity. This was easily one of the finest works of historical fiction I have read in a long time; fans of Maggie O'Farrell's "Hamnet" will love this. --Todd


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Bewilderment: A Novel Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780393881141
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 21st, 2021

Richard Powers astonishes us once again, this time with a haunting tale of a visionary scientist and grieving father whose ferocious devotion to his unique son leads to some controversial decisions. Few books have fused science with humanity in such sublime, heart-rending ways. --Todd


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Skinship: Stories Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780593318218
Availability: Usually Arrives at Kepler's in 3-14 Days
Published: Knopf - August 17th, 2021

Delicately-plotted, quietly-insightful little wonders in miniature-- ah, how I loved this collection of stories! Every single one is a triumph, but for me it's "A Map of the Simplified World"-- a tale of  immigrant children navigating the many social challenges of the American school system-- which stopped me in my tracks. This is so good. --Todd


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Afterparties: Stories Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780063049901
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Ecco - August 3rd, 2021

Such a vital, electrifying, passionate story collection, and quite a feat, being able to tackle generational trauma with this much wit and youthful vigor. So's portrayals of Cambodian immigrants and their first-generation Californian kids are wildly varied and impeccably crafted-- there's a huge heart at the core of these sometimes melancholy, sometimes laugh-out-loud tales. --Todd


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The Plot: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781250790767
Availability: Usually Arrives at Kepler's in 3-14 Days
Published: Celadon Books - May 11th, 2021

Oh, wow wow wow-- this was quite a hoot. A writer whose creative gas tank has run empty suddenly gains access to an unbeatable, sure-to-be-a-hit storyline and passes it off as his own...with, let's just say, "mixed results." It's a gripping, sometimes quite hilarious, literary thriller which held me hostage (in the best possible way) for a few sittings; I had to use a ton of restraint not to read it all in one go. So much fun! --Todd


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Appleseed: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780063040144
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Custom House - July 13th, 2021

I can honestly say I've never read anything quite like this, a cautionary sci-fi eco-horror tale weaving three interconnected storylines across several millennia while also framing the history of Johnny Appleseed as a fairytale. It's a daring, hugely thought-provoking epic, flush with ideas and inventive language...highly recommended if you're looking for a truly singular reading experience. --Todd


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The Mountains Sing Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781643751351
Availability: Usually Arrives at Kepler's in 3-14 Days
Published: Algonquin Books - March 16th, 2021

Exquisite and poetic in spite of the often-harrowing subject matter, this thoughtful rendering of Vietnam's turbulent history--told as a family saga-- is deeply impactful fiction. There is considerable hardship in these pages, but also triumph and so much beauty. I was wowed. --Todd


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Palestine Cover Image
By Joe Sacco, Edward W. Said (Introduction by)
$24.99
ISBN: 9781560974321
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Fantagraphics - December 17th, 2001

Gold-standard graphic journalism, based on the author's many visits to the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the early 90s-- yes, several decades ago, but the issues more or less remain the same now as they were at the time of writing. Sacco is a gifted illustrator who has created a deeply human, genuinely moving, and often shocking depiction of day-to-day life in a very troubled part of the world. --Todd


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By the Light of Burning Dreams: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the Second American Revolution Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780062820396
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Harper - June 8th, 2021

This is easily one of the most captivating works about intersectionality I have read-- the authors do an incredible job not only with telling the history of various social movements of the late-Twentieth Century, but also with explaining how they very often worked together towards shared goals. If you enjoyed Howard Zinn ("A People's History of the United States"), then this tremendous labor of love should definitely grab you. --Todd


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Greenwood: A Novel Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781984822017
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Hogarth - February 9th, 2021

A gorgeous, intricate multi-generational epic, set amongst towering hardwoods and old-growth forests, with family drama and intrigue layered much like the concentric tree rings of the book's cover. It's a quiet little masterpiece, taking on the daunting subject of environmental collapse with so much heart and soul. --Todd


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The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780812975598
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - February 12th, 2008

I'm a total fool for tales about obsessions, and this portrait of naturalists and tree-climbing thrill-seekers in their quest for the world's tallest redwoods kept me riveted. Nature writing at its most entertaining! --Todd


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H Is for Hawk Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802124739
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Grove Press - March 8th, 2016

Yes, this is a book about hawks-- and MacDonald wields a poet's pen in celebrating the majestic creatures-- but ultimately it is just as much a memoir of grief and of finding a reason to get up in the morning. It's also a love letter to her father, and I found her coming to terms with loss to be genuinely moving. --Todd


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Lakewood: A Novel Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062913203
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Amistad - March 16th, 2021

Fans of Octavia Butler, or Margaret Atwood's dystopian novels, should seek out this unsettling, atmospheric tale of medical experimentation on Black bodies-- think Tuskegee Study, but in current times. A disturbing commentary on classism, racism, and exploitation, this is quite a bold, inventive literary debut; I ended up reading the whole thing in an afternoon. --Todd


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Dressed for a Dance in the Snow: Women's Voices from the Gulag Cover Image
By Monika Zgustova, Julie Jones (Translated by)
$25.99
ISBN: 9781590511770
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Other Press - February 4th, 2020

I find oral histories to be such a compellingly direct, intimate literary format; this collection of testimonies from women survivors of Stalin's gulags is a shining example of the form's power. These tales of resilience and the ability to find beauty and solace in the bleakest of circumstances are unforgettable and deeply engrossing. --Todd


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Leave Only Footprints: My Acadia-to-Zion Journey Through Every National Park Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781984823557
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Crown - April 6th, 2021

Brimming with wit, wisdom, and wide-eyed wanderlust, this travel memoir is a pure delight-- Knighton explores every single one of our national parks, and the year-long journey makes for an energizing, very educational read. I particularly enjoyed how the author arranges the travelogue thematically, rather than chronologically-- very effective and quite illuminating! --Todd


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Death in Mud Lick: A Coal Country Fight against the Drug Companies That Delivered the Opioid Epidemic Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781982105310
Availability: Usually Arrives at Kepler's in 3-14 Days
Published: Scribner - March 31st, 2020

Infuriating but utterly unputdownable, Eyre's fearless examination of how Big Pharma (with the assistance of the DEA and certain unscrupulous pharmacies) manufactured the opioid epidemic is astonishingly  heroic. Few works of recent journalism have woven small-town intrigue and national tragedy together so smartly and savagely. --Todd


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On Lighthouses Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781949641011
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Two Lines Press - May 12th, 2020

Part meditation, part personal memoir, part literary and cultural history, this slim little volume is a curious charmer. It's also quite ambitious, covering a surprising amount of territory in such a modest number of pages. Fun, thoughtful, and often quietly reflective-- a "beach read" quite unlike any other! --Todd

 


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The Undocumented Americans Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780399592706
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: One World - April 6th, 2021

Such an honest and essential book, focusing on the dreams and struggles of undocumented immigrants in the United States. The way the author weaves her own personal and family history into sharp, incisive, sensitive reporting is an absolute triumph. Upfront, unflinching, and so necessary. --Todd


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Silence of the Chagos: A Novel Cover Image
By Shenaz Patel, Jeffrey Zuckerman (Translated by)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781632062345
Availability: Usually Arrives at Kepler's in 3-14 Days
Published: Restless Books - November 5th, 2019

A heartbreaking tale of forced exile and the fight for repatriation, based on actual, sadly-overlooked events in the Chagos Archipelago-- Patel's testimony to the human collateral damage of geopolitical strategizing is eloquent and deeply moving. Raw but so very beautiful. --Todd


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In the Valleys of the Noble Beyond: In Search of the Sasquatch Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780802148988
Availability: Usually Arrives at Kepler's in 3-14 Days
Published: Grove Press - May 19th, 2020

This was a lot of fun-- Zada hits just the right balance between skepticism and eagerness and in the process gives a great deal of insight into how we construct our mythologies. His descriptions of the Pacific Northwest are positively enthralling, and the cast of characters he meets in his quest are quite unforgettable. --Todd


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Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Capetown Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780618446872
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Mariner Books - April 5th, 2004

A journey I wish had gone on forever-- Theroux picks some of the toughest routes and modes of transport for his African odyssey, and the reader is made all the richer for his choices. It's a captivating tribute to a continent fraught with troubles yet full of resilience-- his prose shifts readily and beautifully between joy and sadness, hope and melancholy. A true travel memoir classic. --Todd


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Bowie's Bookshelf: The Hundred Books that Changed David Bowie's Life Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781982112547
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Gallery Books - November 12th, 2019

A must-have for any Bowie fan: in a series of miniature essays, O'Connell discusses each of the 100 books the musician credited as having the biggest influence on his life and career. It's a fascinating, informative game of connect-the-dots, offering plenty of context to the wildly varied, often surprising literary lineup. --Todd


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The Man Who Saw Everything Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781632869852
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - September 1st, 2020

An impeccably-crafted, alluringly enigmatic little puzzler of a novel-- Levy is a true master of playful, disorienting prose. I don't often re-read novels, but this one merits repeated revisits. --Pam


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Erosion: Essays of Undoing Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9781250758248
Availability: Usually Arrives at Kepler's in 3-14 Days
Published: Picador - October 13th, 2020

A vital voice for these frightening times-- Williams channels grief and rage and, remarkably, finds solace and hope in the wreckage. Few writers merge the personal with the political to such electric, rallying effect. --Todd


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Outpost: A Journey to the Wild Ends of the Earth Cover Image
$28.00
Not available
ISBN: 9781786891556
Published: Canongate Books - July 2nd, 2019

A philosophical, erudite examination of some truly remote, stone-silent little spots in the middle of nowhere, often peppered with generous measures of self-deprecating wit. This is a marvelous antidote to our ever-demanding digital world. --Todd


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Hungry: Eating, Road-Tripping, and Risking It All with the Greatest Chef in the World Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781524759650
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Tim Duggan Books - July 21st, 2020

Part memoir, part travel narrative, part chef profile...and a whole lot of fun. Sure, it's a true foodie's delight, but it's just as much about reinvention and risk and the burning urge to break out of one's comfort zone. I inhaled this book. --Todd


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Kindred Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780807083697
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Beacon Press - February 1st, 2004

Technically, this novel gets classified as science fiction, but Butler's tale of a modern black woman transported back in time to a slave plantation in the South is social realism and criticism at its finest. This is a shattering, thought-provoking work of psychological horror, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. --Todd


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Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays (Picador Modern Classics) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781250160652
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Picador Modern Classics - November 7th, 2017

Ah, the deadpan delivery, the vague tingles of unease, the unblinking gaze! Didion's 1960's reportage offers no judgments but instead presents her subjects as they were, flaws and all. Societal malaise has rarely been made so delicious. --Todd


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Kafka on the Shore (Vintage International) Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781400079278
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Vintage - January 3rd, 2006

A master of metaphysical brain-scrambling storytelling trickery, Murakami takes some ingenious liberties with the Oedipal myth and serves up quite a crazy ride in the process. Few authors address the transition from adolescence to adulthood with such sense of wonder and emotional acuity. --Todd


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The Emigrants Cover Image
By W. G. Sebald, Michael Hulse (Translated by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9780811226141
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: New Directions - November 8th, 2016

This is quite a singular read, weaving family memories and fiction with old snapshots to create a haunting meditation on homesickness and loss. Devastatingly beautiful. --Todd


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Acid West: Essays Cover Image
$18.70
ISBN: 9780374535803
Availability: Usually Arrives at Kepler's in 3-14 Days
Published: MCD x FSG Originals - April 17th, 2018

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The Stowaway: A Young Man's Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781476753874
Availability: Usually Arrives at Kepler's in 3-14 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - January 1st, 2019

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Nightmare Alley Cover Image
By William Lindsay Gresham, Nick Tosches (Introduction by)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781590173480
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: NYRB Classics - April 6th, 2010

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The Mountain: Stories Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781501154096
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 14th, 2018

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Transit Cover Image
By Anna Seghers, Peter Conrad (Introduction by), Margot Bettauer Dembo (Translated by), Heinrich Boll (Afterword by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781590176252
Availability: Usually Arrives at Kepler's in 3-14 Days
Published: NYRB Classics - May 7th, 2013

Rarely has the adjective, Kafkaesque, been more fitting: Seghers's tense, nervy WWII-era literary thriller captures the predicaments and plight of the exiled with a thick air of confusion and existential dread. It's a brilliantly-rendered survey of the human collateral damage of war and conflict, and remains as relevant now as ever. --Todd