Newest Staff Recommendations

Our monthly newsletter contains the most recent recommendations from our beloved booksellers. Here's what they had to say in May:

Staff Pick Badge
Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780307958020
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - May 7th, 2019

Diplomacy is the business of discreetly representing one's country's interests by following orders of the President while prudently recommending to the boss what should be done. Beginning as a Foreign Service officer in Vietnam to his career's denouement after his brilliant work leading to the Dayton peace accords where he effectively ended the war in the Balkans, Richard Holbrooke did the opposite. Many fascinating examples are shared as to how, seemingly, he tried to fail. Despite this, throughout his long career he continued to distinguish himself as an insightful observer of the key foreign policy issues confronting all presidents from Nixon through Obama. Our Man is the book to read for a combination of best understanding a half century of American foreign policy and the jarring complexity of our most baffling diplomat. Parker suggests that we remember that an individual can be brilliant even though he may have been "...a child who fiercely resisted toilet training."  ~ Dave


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Call This Room a Station Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781936657452
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Moonpath Press - February 20th, 2020

Our shelves may overflow with words of verse and soulful reflection, but few offer the gentle reminder that time is fluid, fleeting, beautiful, and here in the present. I have read even less contemporary poems more profound than those in Call This Room a Station. There are so many passages that cater to the senses, including "Epithalamium," "Grace Below the Pass," "The Son We Had," "Slow Starter" (Seattleites will appreciate this one) and many more. These personal reflections from the life of talented wordsmith John Willson should be placed alongside the best; amongst Mary Oliver, Frank O'Hara or Robert Frost... You really must experience this book. ~ Jenna


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Dictionary of the Undoing Cover Image
By Valeria Luiselli (Afterword by), John Freeman
$15.00
ISBN: 9780374538859
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: MCD x FSG Originals - November 12th, 2019

Thinker, poet, and essayist Freeman has created an abecedarian call to action for our times. (A is for Agitate, E is for Environment, H is for Hope.) Letter by letter, chapter by chapter, he eloquently lays out ideas for getting out of our individual, self-contained worlds and interacting with others for change. (J is for Justice, O is for Optimism, R is for Rage.) Dictionary of the Undoing has inspired me to hand copies of the book to several friends. (T is for Teachers, W is for Women, Y is for You.) Pull yourself away from that screen, go outside, join with those of like mind! (Oh yes, and V is for Vote.)  ~ John


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A Madness of Sunshine Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593099131
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Berkley - December 3rd, 2019

Golden Cove is a small, mostly Maori village on the coast of New Zealand where everybody knows everybody. So when a young, lovely, very popular woman goes out for a run and vanishes without a trace, her friends and family go into full blown panic. This debut by New Zealander Singh is a top notch crime novel set in a smothering town in an unforgiving landscape and populated by people haunted by past grievances, present secrets and just possibly a serial killer. Be prepared to do nothing else once you begin this hugely suspenseful story!  Susan


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The Mountains Sing Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781616208189
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Books - March 17th, 2020

Poetic and captivating. The Vietnamese proverbs sing to your soul while the story Nguyen Phan Que Mai unfolds lashes at your hope for humanity. ~ Laura Kay


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Holding Up the Universe Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780385755955
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ember - May 1st, 2018

Beautifully written, thought-provoking, honest and heartbreaking yet ultimately full of hope, this Young Adult novel is one of the best-no, strike that, the absolute best-teen contemporary I have ever read. I relate to these characters in so many ways, from the weight issues, to having a loved one with a brain injury and dealing with its after-effects, to feeling burdened by the weight of the world. As I read, I had to repeatedly stop because I never wanted the book to end. I saw Libby. I saw Jack. I smiled, I laughed, I cried, because this is me. This is us. This book is my heart and my life, and I am in love.  ~ Jenna


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Redhead by the Side of the Road: A novel Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780525658412
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - April 7th, 2020

Anne Tyler can capture everyday life and make it feel special like no one else. Her latest novel is no exception. It follows the daily routine of a self-employed tech expert as he delivers advice to everyday people dealing with the bumps of allowing technology into their lives. Along the way he discovers truths about himself and his choices that ultimately lead to a delightful, joyful, easy-to-read story. Highly recommended for fans of Anne Tyler and for those who are discovering her for the first time!  ~ Bernice


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The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780399589829
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - April 30th, 2019

Vanderbilt historian Jon Meacham previously published biographies of American presidents, and is often recruited to offer commentary on TV about current events. Impressed with his wisdom and eloquence, I hoped that this book would alleviate my despair about the current state of American politics. I was not disappointed. Meacham is no Pollyanna: he reminds us that popular prejudices (often fed by demagogic leaders) have impeded moral progress throughout our nation's history. But he also marshalls extensive evidence of the ability of the American "soul" to recognize and repair its flaws, and quotes Harry Truman in support, "The people have often made mistakes, but given time and the facts, they will make the corrections."  Meacham urges us to be politically active and to resist tribalism, respect facts, deploy reason, find a critical balance, and keep history in mind.  His book helps us to do all of those things. ~ David 


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Dig Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781101994917
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - March 26th, 2019

From the author: "This book is supposed to be uncomfortable, I'd apologize, but I'm not sorry." This is a difficult but important read about multi-generational racism, poverty, the far-reaching effects of abuse, complex family relationships, with a hint of magical realism. This is perfect for readers who enjoy multiple perspectives and story lines, each with their own strong voice, that all fit into each other by the end. If you are up for reading something a little bit deeper I would highly recommend picking up this book.  ~ Jillian


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Lakewood: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062913197
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Amistad - March 24th, 2020

This novel will take you into some dark places. Lena Johnson describes being in a black body in Michigan in our current time. Her twisted science lab experience makes you question the re-exploitation of societies' exploited over and over again, and for what? In times like these when the systems are clearly crumbling at the base, who profits at who's cost is a tale as old as time. Kathleen


Staff Pick Badge
Strangers at the Gate: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250070012
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - October 22nd, 2019

Sometimes things that appear too good to be true are just that! Paddy Lamb has been made partner in an Edinburgh law firm and his wife Finnie has snagged a prime job as deacon in the church near Paddy's new office in the town of Simmerton. Everything seems to fall nicely into place until Paddy's boss and his wife are found brutally murdered the evening of a welcoming dinner for Paddy and Finnie. Things begin to unravel in this deliciously gothic Scottish mystery by acclaimed novelist McPherson. Filled with shadowy twists and turns, this is sure to keep you whipping past page after atmospheric page to the startling ending. ~ Susan


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Tornado Brain Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781984815316
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - May 5th, 2020

Call it premature, but Tornado Brain is guaranteed to be my favorite pick of 2020. This middle grade book about neurodiverse Frankie in the aftermath of her ex-best friend's disappearance is one of the most well-written fiction stories I have ever read about a differently-minded character. The mystery is smart, the relationships and interactions are believable, and the research for this book is palpable. I have not read a more emotionally impactful book for young-readers in years. On a personal note: As someone whose spouse has suffered from a severe brain injury to his frontal lobe, I thank you, Cat, for getting it right. ~ Jenna


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Katarina Ballerina Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781534452763
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Aladdin - May 5th, 2020

Adorable characters bring life lessons alive - simultaneously warming your heart and stirring your soul. I recommend this to all my ballerina students! Wink wink! ~ Laura Kay