Rafe's picks:

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The Essex Serpent: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062666383
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Custom House - April 24th, 2018

One of my indispensable books, The Essex Serpent is fantastic and fantastical, equal parts a love story, an excavation of Victorian gender roles and social norms, and an unflinching look at the costs of true belief. Cora Seaborne is a terrific heroine, and her exploration of the liminal spaces where faith, love, and magic intersect is beautifully drawn and expertly examined. Perry has a gift for making the setting matter as much as any other character and also makes each character's story feel important, compelling, and sympathetic. ~ Rafe

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The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (with bonus content): A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812983586
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - June 12th, 2012

This one's a long-time favorite. Sammy Clay is a comics-obsessed Brooklyn boy; Josef Kavalier is his cousin, a magician-in-training refugee from Europe. Together they are budding entrepreneurs and the creator of The Escapist, a comic book superhero whose daring deeds will eventually elevate Sam and Joe from the tenements of Brooklyn to the elite upper reaches of the Empire State Building. This is an incredibly thoughtful novel about where comic books came from and what they were for, but also about what comic books can mean to us as individuals or as a society. Chabon turns a loving and unflinching eye on the trials, tribulations, and choices of his protagonists and the superheroes they invent. ~ Rafe

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The Intuitionist: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385493000
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor - January 4th, 2000

Colson Whitehead's first novel is the story of Lila Mae Watson, the first Black woman to be an elevator inspector in an unnamed and somewhat dystopian city one assumes to be an alternate New York. When elevators start falling, it's up to Lila Mae to find out who is sabotaging them (not to mention her career), and why. The Intuitionist is an intriguing mystery novel, but it's also an allegory about systemic racism and a strange, compelling trip along a slightly different timeline than our own. ~Rafe

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Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375701290
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Published: Vintage - July 27th, 1999

Retellings of Greek mythology are often a good bet, especially when Anne Carson is involved, and Autobiography of Red is my favorite of that ilk. This novel in verse is sort of a quasi-modern iteration of one element of the Tenth Labor of Hercules, but it's really something else more extraordinary -- the story of a red monster named Geryon who uses his art to find his way through abuse, heartbreak, and the various juxtapositions of mythology and contemporary life. ~Rafe