Aly

Aly tries to read broadly, but she definitely prefers poetic prose with a bit of magic. Entangled storylines, smart humor, and hopeful honesty tend to pull her in, and by the end of a strange enough book she’s prone to have a crush on the author.

 

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The Thursday Murder Club: A Novel (A Thursday Murder Club Mystery #1) Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781984880987
Availability: In stock at Brooklyn or Jersey City -- click for more details
Published: Penguin Books - August 3rd, 2021

This is the coziest book I read all year. The characters are so kindly written, and their voices are funny and strong. I'm tempted to reread it for the good vibes alone. For fans of Backman and Only Murders in the Building.


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My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781501115073
Availability: In stock at Brooklyn or Jersey City -- click for more details
Published: Washington Square Press - April 5th, 2016

Recency bias or favorite book ever? Elsa's grandmother builds her a fairytale castle from the roughest bricks of her adventurous life and they retreat inside it together. In their secret language, they fight fairytale shadows and dragons--because real ones are just around the corner. On a mission to find and deliver her grandmother's apology letters, Elsa finds the edges of the fairytale seeping into real life--which is fine, because she is a knight. The plot is sweet and reads a little young, while the characters are funny and complex. Emotions ring true, pain is handled tenderly, and love manifests in the most creative ways. If, like me, you considered learning Swedish because you can't wait a year for the third Beartown to be translated, consider this gem from Backman's backlist. It definitely hits the spot.


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Britt-Marie Was Here: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781501142543
Availability: Available from our distributor; usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Washington Square Press - February 7th, 2017

It's a spin-off! The hardest-to-like character from My Grandmother Told Me to Tell You She's Sorry keeps on being so impossibly irritating and so fully lovable. It's the closest thing to Ted-Lasso-as-a-book that I've ever read.


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Apples Never Fall Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781250220257
Availability: In stock at Brooklyn or Jersey City -- click for more details
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - September 14th, 2021

I'm obsessed with Liane Moriarty's ability to write miscommunications. Whenever we're with one character, the others feel so annoying and suspicious, but the second we swap POVs my empathy swerves. I think it reaffirms my belief that all people are simultaneously absurd and beautiful. No offense to the designer (kind of), but please don't judge this one by the cover. 


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The Last Graduate: A Novel (The Scholomance #2) Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593128862
Availability: In stock at Brooklyn or Jersey City -- click for more details
Published: Del Rey - September 28th, 2021

I love this series. So smart. So gross. A perfect October read.


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Below the Edge of Darkness: A Memoir of Exploring Light and Life in the Deep Sea Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780525509240
Availability: In stock at Brooklyn or Jersey City -- click for more details
Published: Random House - July 27th, 2021

If you give an adventurer a giant tree, she'll fall and break her spine but not notice for years until she has to go the hospital and undergo a surgery that results in a bout of blindness. If you give a scientist a bout of blindness, she'll become fascinated by light and optics and make breakthrough discoveries about bio-luminescence. If you give a bio-luminescence research team a deep-sea submarine, they'll probably encounter a giant squid. This incredible autobiography could have succeeded as a fictional adventure story, a medical mystery drama, a companion to Merleau-Ponty, or a science textbook. But it did all three so well, and offered a ton of inspiration and a little bit of real hope on top of that. For fans of science podcasts and saving the world.


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Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life Cover Image
$26.00
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781501160271
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 14th, 2020

"I fell in love with this poetic, honest, and deeply personal book from the beginning for its immediate resonant confession: knowing that life is meaningless and we can joyously create our own meaning doesn’t always impart real joy. Miller, desperate for meaning, places her hopes in the star-naming, flower-collecting hands of the wildly resilient taxonomist David Starr Jordan. At first, Miller writes rosily, even seeming to brush past some unsettling details, but the story twists in incredible ways. Jordan’s chaotic biography takes Miller down a branching rabbit hole of taxonomy, philosophy, psychology, and finally, to her great heartbreak, eugenics. Writing transparently about the pain of losing an idol and everything he’d held for her, Miller bravely and vulnerably follows the story along the new path her pain opened up. That second story is a raw and beautiful gift, and I hope you read it. This is my favorite book I’ve read all year."


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Intimations: Six Essays Cover Image
$10.95
ISBN: 9780593297612
Availability: In stock at Brooklyn or Jersey City -- click for more details
Published: Penguin Books - July 28th, 2020

"For me, there’s nothing more comforting than a thoughtful, reflective person putting my strange, jumbled thoughts into beautiful words. Naturally, Zadie Smith dives inward, but my favorite moments were her studies of others. I hope that change in all of us lingers after this pandemic is over—a wild fascination with the deeper lives of others."


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Leave the World Behind: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062667632
Availability: In stock at Brooklyn or Jersey City -- click for more details
Published: Ecco - October 6th, 2020

An eery-but-palatable, devour-in-one-evening potluck of strong perspectives. I found the plot thrilling in a slow, intangible way, and I loved watching the relationships shift in response to that obscure strangeness. I was especially intrigued by the mundanity that refused to yield to the extraordinary. The way the characters clung to the familiar was sometimes comforting and sometimes wildly unsettling, often sparking the fires of introspection and occasionally fanning them like mad.


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Anxious People: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781501160837
Availability: Available from our distributor; usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atria Books - September 8th, 2020

"Fredrik Backman is the writer I aspire to be. Anxious People, like so much of his work, is hilarious and heartbreaking--scathing toward life's absurdities and idiocies but so compassionate toward our shared pain and loneliness. I've laughed so many times at sentences even when the paragraphs they're in are so sad. If you want to know that you've understood, if you want to understand someone you've always dismissed, if you want a reminder of the fullness of people and their memories and their grief, you couldn't be in better hands. Or, if you just like hostage dramas, it's pretty good for that too."


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A Deadly Education: A Novel (The Scholomance #1) Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593128480
Availability: Available from our distributor; usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Del Rey - September 29th, 2020

"A Deadly Education raises the bar for how thorough, clean, and wildly unique I now expect my magical systems to be. As fun and fast-paced as the plot was, the details were some of the most meticulous and rational I've ever encountered. It reminded me of the PerfectFit subReddit--only instead of Oreos sliding nicely into stainless steel containers, a good human being who just wants to be accepted absolutely has to go out of her way to look like a terrible person, because of the rules of magic. It was wonderfully crafted and a delight to read. I'll concede that I'm a little tired of snarkiness as a primary personality trait so El took a minute to grow on me, but on the other hand, taking a while to grow on people is sort of her deal. By the end of the story, I loved her, and I don't think I've been this anxious to read a sequel since childhood."


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The Astonishing Color of After Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780316464017
Availability: In stock at Brooklyn or Jersey City -- click for more details
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - March 19th, 2019

"Original and charming from the very first line, this beautiful story of ghosts and tradition, friendship and family deals gently with death and richly with life. Music and colors fly from every page as the protagonist processes her grief through synesthesia. That she is half Asian, an artist, and a daughter wildly curious about her mother’s inner world made it personal to me, but even without my bias, there’s plenty to praise. The bold poetic choices. The subtle clicking pieces. The sensory experience of walking through Taiwan—it was wonderfully done. I can’t recommend this book loudly enough."


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Us Against You: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781501160806
Availability: In stock at Brooklyn or Jersey City -- click for more details
Published: Washington Square Press - March 5th, 2019

"My only consolation upon finishing "Beartown" was that I could immediately dive into its sequel: still powerful, still sympathetic, still gut-wrenching. While our heroes get some stage time, "Us Against You" focuses more on the complexities of characters on the outskirts of the last book, which feels like 100% the right call. Now to self-soothe until the third book's released..."


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Beartown: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781501160776
Availability: In stock at Brooklyn or Jersey City -- click for more details
Published: Washington Square Press - February 6th, 2018

"Partway through reading this gut-punch of a book, I had to put it down to look up the publication date. When I confirmed it had been out there, floating around, in print BEFORE Kavanaugh's nomination, I wanted to scream. This book should have changed the world. It is powerful and sympathetic and important and written in a way that demands to be both savored and devoured. I know Fredrik Backman has a big audience, but I can't help wondering how different the world would be if everyone read at least one of his books."


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Book of the Little Axe Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780802129369
Availability: Available from our distributor; usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - May 12th, 2020

"It's a Western! Without the toxic masculinity and white supremacy! I didn't know I could have that! For fans of horses, adventures, and wildly original metaphors."


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Infinite Country: A Novel Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781982159467
Availability: In stock at Brooklyn or Jersey City -- click for more details
Published: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster - March 2nd, 2021

"Patricia Engel’s beautiful book, full of uncanniness and anger, longing and love, explores the sometimes hazy, sometimes intimately concrete concept of home. The members of a family separated by convoluted and infuriating circumstances tell their separate and entwining stories, all bursting with big, modern questions. How does an individual’s story fit in with and veer from a family’s story, a country’s story, a great, ancestral myth? What does it mean to belong, without fitting into a larger group’s boxes and borders? When life is so short and love is so strong, how can the U.S. continue to force families into these impossible corners? It’s a short, quick read with lasting effects. So please, do read it, but be prepared to be angry forever after."


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No One Is Talking About This: A Novel Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780593189580
Availability: In stock at Brooklyn or Jersey City -- click for more details
Published: Riverhead Books - February 16th, 2021

""No One Is Talking About This" is an appropriately absurd exploration of modern absurdities, in vague company with "Endgame" and "Memoirs and Misinformation." With sharp, defamiliarizing names for the dull and smothering details of daily life and unsettlingly specific references to the smallest subcultures and memes, Patricia Lockwood will make you laugh in pain. It was poignant. It was weird. I really, really liked it."


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How to Write One Song: Loving the Things We Create and How They Love Us Back Cover Image
$23.00
ISBN: 9780593183526
Availability: In stock at Brooklyn or Jersey City -- click for more details
Published: Dutton - October 13th, 2020

"Hey! It's a nice, inspirational book about writing (and music). It's anti-gate-keeping and full of down-to-earth wisdom. I'm neither a Wilco ultra-fan nor a Wilco ultra-enemy; I just found a couple of the creative exercises to be genuine gems!"


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The Guest List: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062868930
Availability: In stock at Brooklyn or Jersey City -- click for more details
Published: William Morrow - June 2nd, 2020

"An atmospheric treat that I devoured in one day. A little on-the-nose but sometimes you just want what you want! For fans of 'Big Little Lies; and 'The Searcher.' "


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Breasts and Eggs Cover Image
By Mieko Kawakami, Sam Bett (Translator), David Boyd (Translator)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781609456702
Availability: In stock at Brooklyn or Jersey City -- click for more details
Published: Europa Editions - March 23rd, 2021

"A single, asexual woman longing to meet her own unique, hypothetical child embarks on a complicated fertility journey full of intense ethical questions, laws, and taboos. A beautifully written, no-holds-barred deep-dive into the discomforts of being a human, of being a woman, of having and not having the power to create more life."


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A Tale for the Time Being: A Novel Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143124870
Availability: In stock at Brooklyn or Jersey City -- click for more details
Published: Penguin Books - December 31st, 2013

"What are your favorite tropes? Mine are books as diaries, messages in bottles, ghosts with ambiguous realness, precocious children engaging with philosophy, academics who love Proust, misty PNW islands, and strangers glimpsing each other's lives. What are your favorite themes? Mine are time, death, interconnectedness, translation, and people with mixed identities grappling with their family histories. I really love this book."


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Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781250294258
Availability: In stock at Brooklyn or Jersey City -- click for more details
Published: Square Fish - January 8th, 2019

"I'm sorry, but it's a *magical cub scout camp,* where you learn magical knots and wizarding adventure skills. I wish I could be an 11-year-old reading it at summer camp. Please buy this for your children. Let me live vicariously through their joy."


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How to Order the Universe Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781951142308
Availability: Available from our distributor; usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tin House Books - February 16th, 2021

"A beautiful narrative composed of short, sweet chapters that read like Yoko Ono's art prompt poems, grounded in the practicality of hardware tools. After watching the moon landing projected from the mayor's balcony onto a white sheet and then achieving his own small victory, D decides that "all moments of happiness, large and small, deserved to be projected into a town square." I don't know if I've ever loved an image more."


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Songs for the End of the World: A Novel Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780771072598
Availability: Available from our distributor; usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: McClelland & Stewart - August 24th, 2021

I need you to know that this was published as an Ebook in April 2020. It was written before the pandemic, based on extensive research and an interest in epidemiology, and was not a response to last year. I read it in that form, at the beginning of the pandemic, and personally I enjoyed feeling freaked out by Nawaz’ intense prescience (though from the reviews I’ve read I realize it’s more fashionable to compliment the book on its own). Regardless, while the unfortunately validated research into how *exactly* a 2020 Covid-19 pandemic might play out may or may not have been the work of an actual psychic, the fact that Nawaz chose to write a kind, gentle, hopeful book about how we can all help each other in such a time as this makes me think she’s a very nice psychic after all. I loved this novel, with its entangled story lines and strong characters whom I cared about deeply, and I’m sure it would have been a wonderful read regardless of the circumstances—but the timing definitely added interest, and I don’t feel like pretending otherwise. Seeing life reflected, predicted, put onto a page is always comforting to me, and I hope you can find some comfort in this book as well. At the very least, read it for the rockstars and sea voyagers. They’re pretty interesting folks.