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
Skinship: Stories Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780593318218
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - 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: In Stock at Kepler's Now
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: In Stock at Kepler's Now
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 Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781984822017
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Hogarth Press - 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 Publishing Group (NY) - 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: In Stock at Kepler's Now
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
$26.00
ISBN: 9780399592683
Availability: Usually Arrives at Kepler's in 3-14 Days
Published: One World - March 24th, 2020

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
$18.00
ISBN: 9781250758248
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
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
ISBN: 9781786891556
Availability: Usually Arrives at Kepler's in 3-14 Days
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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The Immeasurable World: A Desert Journey Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781101873410
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Anchor - June 11th, 2019

An intoxicating travelogue of some of the world's most desolate places, peppered with many philosophical musings and a great deal of historical context. Atkins evokes a sense of place so alluringly. --Todd


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Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays (FSG Classics) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780374531386
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - October 28th, 2008

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
$17.00
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 Arid Sky Cover Image
By Emiliano Monge, Thomas Bunstead (Translated by)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781632061348
Availability: Usually Arrives at Kepler's in 3-14 Days
Published: Restless Books - August 28th, 2018

Imagine a cross between Cormac McCarthy's work and "Breaking Bad" (but remove the show's pitch-black humor)-- Monge's stark, brutal tale of violence and regret in the unforgiving Mexican desert manages to be both lyrical and deeply visceral. --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
$17.00
ISBN: 9780374535803
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
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)
$15.95
ISBN: 9781590176252
Availability: In Stock at Kepler's Now
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