Here are a few new books we're especially excited about. Use the pull-down menu for more suggestions in specific categories, or visit the store for personalized recommendations from our staff.
"History does not repeat, but it does instruct."
Here are 20 lessons we can learn from Europe's various slide into totalitarianism during the 20th century. An important and very timely read!
Chris says: Homegoing is a powerful first novel, a beautifully written tale of two half-sisters born in 18th century Ghana and six generations of their descendants, whose lives are shaped by slavery in Africa and America. Gyasi's depiction of village life in Ghana is full of rich detail and truly memorable, full-of-life characters. She doesn't shy away from the ugliest horrors or deepest sorroes, but Homegoing is infused with humanity, courage, and strength. I won't forget this story!
Sara says: Two Lines is the bi-annual publication from the Center for the Art of Translation. I'll read anything they publish! One of the best places to find new voices in world literature, which in the past have included Lydia Davis, Roberto Bolaño, Edith Grossman, César Aira... the list goes on. This journal is truly putting out the best writers and translators in the world and I couldn't recommend it more.
Jeff says: This book reveals how earthquakes have changed world history--in ways that historians and archaeologists often overlook. (We learn that an earthquake--not Joshua's horn--probably brought down the walls of Jericho, for example!) The author's thesis is that cities often grow back from earthquakes, stronger and fresher than before, but the same cannot be said of nations and civilizations. Fascinating!
Nina says: This is the book that made me want to go into book publishing professionally when I first read it in college--which I later did. It brings to glorious life a golden era in American literary life, and the editor at the center of it--Max Perkins, who nurtured the talents of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, and many other greats.
Sara says: If there's one book I'd encourage you to read, it's this one. A love story set in modern Iran, it is so beautiful, playful, and haunting--like if Kafka was funnier and actually living in one of his books. It uses fonts to differentiate between the lovers' story, the author's story, and the parts he knows the censor would cut out. It's full of hilarious jabs at absurd Iranian policies (breasts on mannequins banned?), but is also deeply Iranian and heartbroken at what Iran's laws have done to love, art, and life. I made my grandma read this. Everyone should read this.
Nina says: During the course of the 20th century, the five families that lived in this actual house by a lake just outside Berlin personified the tumultuous course of German history: from monarchy to republic to Nazi dictatorship to East/West Cold War division to reunification. A very big, complex story--but this book tells it in a very human, accessible, compelling way.
Nina says: When our narrator Alice is assigned by a publisher to keep a watchful eye on a reclusive, unfriendly author who's supposed to be writing a novel and her exuberantly eccentric 10-year-old son, her life and heart are transformed. This novel overflows with love, humor, charm, wit, and grace!
Nina says: When Lucy's mother arrives at her hospital bed to comfort her in her mysterious illness, an intricate tapestry of familial emotions unfurls--but primary among them is the bottomless love/hate between mothers and daughters. The vastness that Elizabeth Strout encompasses in such a short, readable, seeminly simple narrative is just stunning.
Nina says: Dear Committee Members is a must-read for anyone associated with a university! Brilliant, hilarious, poignant, compulsively readable--chock-full of feuding administrative types, endangered humanists, desperate authors, and other campus characters!
Corrie says: I haven't fallen this hard for a novel in ages. Three orphaned sisters take on a crime boss in 1915 New Jersey with surprising twists and turns. Whip-smart, thrilling, and funny, filled with original characters. I loved spending time with the Kopp sisters and didn't want it to end!
This is one of the most astonishing works of fiction I've ever read-- an original, unique, possibly perfect novel. It's in the form of an extended conversation mostly among dead (or mostly-dead) people that is simultaneously sad, very funny, profoundly moving, and overflowing with insight into what it means to lose life and lose loved ones.