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This is Why I Read - Aggie’s Monthly Picks

        

 

Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9781524747169
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Pantheon - September 22nd, 2020

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Leave the World Behind: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062667632
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Ecco - October 6th, 2020

It's hard to imagine a more relevant literary thriller for these pandemic times we're living in as Rumaan Alams' brilliant take on race, class, and global threats facing the world in 2020. Amanda and Clay, a white, middle-class couple from Brooklyn, rent a house of their dreams in Hamptons' remote area. The luxurious, tasteful home fits them like a glove. Even their adolescent kids Rose and Archie, are appeased by a heated pool and hot tub in the yard, woods stretching outside the door. Late in the night, there is a knock on the door, and an older Black couple introduces themselves as the house owners, forced to seek refuge in their second home because of the significant blackout reported on the East Coast, possibly caused by the approaching hurricane. As the week goes by, it becomes evident that something more sinister is at stake. They hear distant explosions, and they feel vibrations of the remote bombs. They see strange sightings of animals, thousands of deers on the move, a flock of majestic, pink flamingos descending into the pool. Without working phones or television, deprived of the news, surrounded by unnatural, menacing quiet between the explosions, they had no choice but to turn to each other for comfort and safety. They are like animals, too, on the brink of extinction, but holding on onto their humanity. --Aggie


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Transcendent Kingdom: A novel Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780525658184
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Knopf - September 1st, 2020

 

In the aftermath of her basketball prodigy brother’s death of a heroin overdose, Gifty, a young Ghanaian-American woman, is determined to find the cure for addictive behavior. She’s a Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience at Stanford, experimenting with the reward-seeking response in mice when her clinically depressed mother moves in with her, reeling still, years after she lost her country, her husband, and finally her son. This beautifully written novel gets even more poignant when we read Gifty’s childhood journal entries, written in the form of letters to God. We learn about her family’s struggle to assimilate in Alabama as black immigrants, her self-loathing, and her spiritual wounds. She uses code names for her father Chin Chin Man after he abandons the family and returns to Ghana, and Black Mamba for her often the angry and suicidal mother who finds solace in evangelical faith. Ultimately, this is a book about redemption, the consolation of work, and how to find the strength to go living is nothing short of a miracle. --Aggie


Vesper Flights Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780802128812
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Grove Press - August 25th, 2020

Must I Go: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780399589126
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Random House - July 28th, 2020

Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062248572
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Ecco - July 28th, 2020

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Miracle Country: A Memoir Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781616209988
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Algonquin Books - July 14th, 2020

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A Burning: A novel Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780525658696
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Knopf - June 2nd, 2020

Megha Majumdar delivers an unforgetable story about the turbulent lives of three protagonists, Jival, a young Muslim woman from the Kolabagan slums, PT SIr, her former gym teacher with political ambitions, and Lovely, a neighborhood’s transgender woman and an aspiring actress. The igniting event is when Jivan witnesses a terrorist attack on a train in which more than hundred people perish, and she posts a comment on Facebook accusing police of negligence and implicating the government in it. Instead, Jival gets arrested and accused of helping the terrorists. With a clinical precision, Majumdar portrays a harsh world of poverty and extremism where innocence, ambition and yearning get trampled by corruption and greed. As a reader, I was disheartened by the injustice committed against Jival, and more than ever inspired to stand on the side of those who suffer. --Aggie

 


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Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780525510314
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Random House - May 12th, 2020

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A Registry of My Passage upon the Earth: Stories Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780316477635
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Little, Brown and Company - May 5th, 2020

 

Mason’s previous novel The Winter Soldier is on my list of favorite books of all time. And now, I’m just as smitten with his latest book of short stories, A Registry of My Passage Upon the Earth. What a wondrous collection, bursting with longtime and faraway yarns, richly woven with philosophical and scientific details. Although we find ourselves in the realm of historical fiction, every story resonates deeply with today’s reality; a mother fighting for her child suffering from asthma, lonely telegraph operator in the midst of the Amazonian jungle seeking connection, a bug collector desperately waiting for a letter from Charles Darwin. The title story portrays Arthur Bispo do Rosario, a schizophrenic man interred in an asylum, who makes art out of found objects. Similarly, writers are collectors of human lives, registering our short passage upon the earth, making us see how strong our connections are, how we’re all touched by love and loss. Reading this book is like opening a treasure chest, each of nine short stories belongs in an imaginary museum of historical curiosities. --Aggie


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Home Baked: My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780358006091
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - April 20th, 2020

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Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781501160271
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 14th, 2020

 

The book was inspired by Miller’s personal journey to understand how to persist in the midst of chaos. This masterful book is impossible to classify; it’s part science, part biography/memoir, part psychological thriller, part self-help manual, interweaving personal and scientific elements in a dazzling way.  It’s about David Starr Jordan, a founding president of Stanford University who devoted his life to studying fish, and how he recovered from losing his life work in the San Francisco 1906 earthquake. What Miller does is astonishing: she painstakingly makes a historical reconstruction of his life; from his enchanting boyhood full of curiosity, making maps of stars, collecting and classifying thousands of fish in his youth and becoming a taxonomist expert; to building the Hopkins Seaside Laboratory on the Monterey Peninsula during his Stanford tenure; to his involvement in covering up Jane Stanford’s mysterious death by strychnine poisoning, and finally to being supporter of eugenics in his old age. What connects all of these threads is Lulu Miller’s inquisitorial mind to understand Jordan’s childlike ‘shield of optimism’ and what made him veer of the course. And yet, the most significant discovery she makes is about the invisible threads of human connection that keep us bound to each other -- possibly the very secret of how to stay defiant and hopeful.--Aggie


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How Much of These Hills Is Gold: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780525537205
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Riverhead Books - April 7th, 2020

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Writers & Lovers Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780802148537
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Grove Press - March 3rd, 2020

 

Casey Peabody, a vulnerable, young writer who lives in a potting shed in Boston, pays her bills by waitressing and walking her landlord dog, but refuses to give up her dream of being a published author one day. She’s reeling from a sudden death of her mother and a breakup with Luke, a fellow writer she met at the artist residency. Casey’s romantic life gets even more complicated when she’s torn between Oscar, an older, famous novelist, widower and father of two boys, and Silas, one of Oscar’s students. Lily King masterfully layers Casey’s hardship with money, loss of her mother, fallout with her father, her own medical scares, her unfailing artistic ambition and tangled love life. At the end, the future looks bright for Casey, and I realized that the book I’m holding is a palpable result of her grief, her sharp insight, and ultimately triumph and happiness. --Aggie


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Shuggie Bain: A Novel (Booker Prize Shortlist) Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780802148049
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Grove Press - February 11th, 2020

 

When you are awestruck, how do you put it into words? Douglas Stuart’s debut novel Shuggie Bain reads like a classic masterpiece, and the main protagonist Hugh Shuggie Bain is one of those unforgettable characters, well on his way to become a household name such as David Copperfield or Holden Caulfield. Shuggi is Agnes Bain’s youngest child, two older siblings gone because of Agnes’ alcoholism and neglect, and their father’s infidelity. The novel takes place in1980s and 1990s Glasgow, Scotland, on the river Clyde, a poverty stricken city during Margaret Thatcher presidency, its abandoned railroads and shipworks resembling “rotted dinosaurs.”  In that deprived, desperate world, what shines is Shuggie’s love and devotion for his Elizabeth Taylor look-alike mother, his desire to help Agnes overcome her addiction. At the same time, while caring for his mother, young Shuggie confronts his own sexuality, loneliness, bullying at school, and hunger at home. I don’t remember rooting so much for a character in a book, like I did for Shuggie, whose innocence and capacity for forgiveness illuminates the darkness of human suffering. Dear Shuggie, I already miss your pure, sweet heart, and sincerely hope Stuart Douglas writes a sequel to this extraordinary book. --Aggie


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Dear Edward: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781984854780
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: The Dial Press - January 6th, 2020

 

Before his family airplane trip to Los Angeles from New York, twelve-year-old Eddie Addler was just an ordinary boy, with a mother, father, and a fifteen-year-old brother Jordan. After the plane crashes, killing everyone on board, the only survivor Eddie becomes Edward, the miracle boy who lived. His aunt Lacey and uncle John take him in, but his friendship with the young girl Shay next door is his new lifeline. When family members from the other passengers write to Edward because he was the last one to see or remember their loved ones alive, Edward's deeply personal story of recovery becomes alive with universal parallels. Dear Edward book is like a lantern leading us out of darkness; a beautiful, poignant story of community and the power of kindness. --Aggie


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Disappearing Earth Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780525436225
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Vintage - April 7th, 2020

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On Swift Horses: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780525538110
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Riverhead Books - November 5th, 2019

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The Dutch House: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062963673
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Harper - September 24th, 2019

 

The Dutch House tells the story of two loving siblings growing up in a grandiose mansion still filled with previous owner’s portraits. When their mother disappears without any explanation, the house fills with an aching absence. We follow Maeve and Danny throughout their adult lives as they try to understand why their mother abandoned them. --Aggie


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Inland: A Novel Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780812982756
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - May 26th, 2020

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On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780525562023
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Penguin Press - June 4th, 2019

 

The autobiographical debut novel by Ocean Vuong, a young queer Vietnamese poet, might well be the most beautiful book in the world. Written in the form of a letter to his mother who cannot read, the book is a lyrical, tender testament to the mother/son/grandmother relationship and their immigrant experience. --Aggie


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The Half-Acre Homestead: 46 Years of Building and Gardening Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9780936070810
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Shelter Publications - March 3rd, 2020

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Children of the Land Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780062825599
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Harper - January 28th, 2020

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The Magical Language of Others: A Memoir Cover Image
$22.95
ISBN: 9781947793385
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Tin House Books - January 7th, 2020

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Three Women Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781451642292
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster - July 9th, 2019

 

The most brilliant, raw, devastating writing on women’s sexuality. This exquisite non-fiction book reads like a page-turning thriller. The three stories about three women capture an entire universe of female longing and desire. Buy an extra copy for your best girlfriend! And your boyfriend, too! --Aggie


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Don't Read Poetry: A Book About How to Read Poems Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780465094509
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Basic Books - May 21st, 2019

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Freeman's: California Cover Image
By John Freeman (Editor)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802147875
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Grove Press - October 8th, 2019

 

This transcendent anthology, edited by John Freeman, captures all the different voices of contemporary California, allowing us to discover the mythological and geographical heart of this place. The stories and poems gathered here are like the trail of shimmering pebbles left to mark our way home. --Aggie


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The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse Cover Image
$22.99
ISBN: 9780062976581
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: HarperOne - October 22nd, 2019

 

The whimsical little book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, reminiscent of treasured classics such as Winnie-the-Pooh and The Little Prince, is full of wonderful things. The conversations between four different creatures about friendship, kindness and courage are depicted with humor and grace. Each page is a small marvel of a simple, yet profound advice. The miraculous and magical ink and watercolor drawings contain hidden stories; this book is to be reread and cherished. We cannot think of a better book to create delight and pleasure in the reader. It should be on everyone’s gift list. --Aggie


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The Measure of Our Lives: A Gathering of Wisdom Cover Image
By Toni Morrison, Zadie Smith (Foreword by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9780525659297
Availability: In Stock In Store
Published: Knopf - December 3rd, 2019