Staff Selections

Kathleen

Lincoln in the Bardo
George Saunders

This amazing book's chorus of voices from beyond the grave format lends itself perfectly to audio. This AMAZING 166-person full cast features the familiar voices of David Sedaris, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Susan Sarandon, Miranda July, Jeff Tweedy, Ben Stiller, Jeffrey Tambor, Carrie Brownstein, Lena Dunham, George Saunders...Truly amazing. It makes me want to invite all my friends over for a multi evening dinner/ listening party - it's as good as going to a play.

Liz

The Small Backs of Children
Lidia Yuknavitch

An extraordinary novel, one of the best I've read all year. The often brutal story centers around a girl orphaned in a war-torn Eastern European country, a writer suffering a deep depression after a stillbirth, and the writers' artist friends, who conspire to connect the two. The book's power resides in its stunning language, interesting formal experimentation, and daring exploration of war, art, motherhood, sex, and violence.

Mary

The Story of Land and Sea
Katy Simpson Smith

Experience life in remote coastal North Carolina from the perspective a ten-year-old colonial girl, the slave girl who was given to her as a birthday present, her independent, spontaneous mother, her soldier-sailor-shopkeeper-frontiersman father, and her plantation-building grandparents.  Katy Simpson Smith’s novel is written in crystal clear prose, with telling details that put you there, and observations about human life in general that ring true.  Smith demonstrates her characters’ great hopes and meager stakes, their struggle with faith, and the poison of slavery in the New World.

Paul

The Life of Elves
Muriel Barbery

Muriel Barbery, author of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, has an extraordinary  new novel.  It is a very adult book focused on mythical Faerie and Elven culture, the equivalent of which exists in nearly every world culture.  Just to remind you again, there is nothing in this book to remind you of children’s literature.  It divulges a culture much as Ursula LeGuin does in the best of her books  DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK!

Robert

The Waitress Was New
Dominique Fabre

This is a brief, but beautiful little novel made from the simplest stuff. The narrator is a bartender in late middle age. The suburban bistro he works at is falling apart and over the course of a few days he tries to patch things together. In the process he ruminates over his position and life in general. This is Fabre’s ninth novel but the first in English translation.

Pages

Terry

The Library at Mount Char
Scott Hawkins

I stayed up until 2:30 in the morning to finish this. It’s a hard one to categorize. By turns profoundly disturbing and hilarious and thought provoking, it’s one the most original books I’ve read in awhile.

Tim

The Martian
Andy Weir

Astronaut Mark Watney was believed to be killed during the sandstorm that forced his fellow crew members to abort their mission on Mars and return to Earth.  But Mark is very much alive, and is now alone in a hostile environment, where air, water, food and finding a way to communicate are his only objectives.  The story is told through Watney's log entries, alongside chapters detailing what's happening back on Earth, as NASA goes from mourning a fallen spaceman to trying to find a way to bring him home.  An exciting debut from first-time novelist Weir, The Martian is a Robinson Crusoe for the 22nd century, filled with science and physics (without leaving the layman reader behind), as well as good old human ingenuity and plenty of well-placed humor to ease the edge-of-your-seat suspense.
 

Deb

Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That?
Ina Garten

A new Ina Garten! How great is that and just in time for the Holidays!