Book Club Table

We've read them all, and we think these are great paperbacks to share with friends and discuss.

 

 

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Hang the Moon: A Novel By Jeannette Walls Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781501117305
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - March 26th, 2024

For Sallie Kincaid, life should be easy. She’s the daughter of Duke, the top dog in Claiborne County, Virginia. He’s got any number of businesses going, including the beloved Emporium. The truth, however, is that it’s really moonshine sales that are supporting the family’s big-for-a-small-town lifestyle – it is the prohibition era, after all. But when Duke brings home a new wife who gives him a son, Sallie is exiled to her Aunt Faye after a terrible accident. But don’t count her out! Hang the Moon chronicles Sallie’s slow rise to power through any number of reversals that make a soap opera seem sluggish in comparison. Nobody can write about young women overcoming adversity like Walls, whether in novels like Half Broke Horses or her own story in The Glass Castle, and Hang the Moon is no exception. You might call this a coming-of-age novel, but it’s also a high-octane, action-packed Southern Gothic!   -Daniel


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Relative Strangers By A. H. Kim Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781525819551
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graydon House - April 2nd, 2024

Amelia has returned to her family, her hair shorn and her career and love life in tatters after a high-flying restaurant venture crashed. Her mother and sister, both widowed, have decamped to a San Francisco-area cancer retreat after the family home is mired in probate after the discovery of their father’s son from another woman. There are any number of interesting folks helping out at the retreat, but wouldn’t you know it – everyone has a secret, and that includes the Bae-Wood sisters. In this sister story, a charming, funny contemporary take on Sense and Sensibility, romance is just around the corner, but what will it mean if the family bonds aren’t mended?  -Daniel


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Pineapple Street: A GMA Book Club Pick (A Novel) By Jenny Jackson Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780593490716
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - March 12th, 2024

Ever since Edith Wharton, great novelists have been writing about the vagaries of life among the moneyed classes of New York. But it’s always Manhattan. Surely there’s a novel about old Brooklyn money? Indeed there is, and what a delicious tale Pineapple Street is! The three Stockton siblings have more money than most of us can imagine, but that doesn’t mean they make better decisions than the rest of us. Darley? She invoked the generation skipping trust when she wouldn’t have her husband sign the prenup. Georgina? She finally meets Mr. Right, only he might be Mr. Wrong. And Cord? He might have committed the worst sin of all, marrying a middle-class woman who is mistaken for the caterer. It is she, Sasha, who guides us into the world of money, the Tom Townsend of the group, for those who obsess over the film Metropolitan. But by the end of the story, our sympathies have extended quite a bit further, with lots of laugh-out-loud moments along the way. Someone compared Jackson’s first novel to The Nest (or rather, everyone has) and I have to say, it’s about the best comparison I can come up with too. And I loved The Nest, so connect the dots. -Daniel


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Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club: A Novel By J. Ryan Stradal Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781984881090
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Penguin Books - April 16th, 2024

Mariel is heir to a classic supper club with its classic fish fry and Saturday night prime rib special. Her husband Ned and his family own Jorby’s, a once charming diner that has morphed into a ubiquitous chain restaurant that, despite its mediocre food and service, has put many a family gathering spot out of business. The legacies of both family businesses run deep, and Stradal’s story is packed with love and betrayal, sacrifice and greed, joy and tragedy. If The Lager Queen of Minnesota was a story about siblings, Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club chronicles parents and children and all the baggage that entails. I love the way that the story points forward to a more inclusive world, while maintaining that though things may change, Minnesota Nice will still conquer all. If you loved Stradal’s previous novels, you will not be disappointed. And if you’re new to his work, you’re in for a treat; mix yourself a Brandy Old Fashioned and start reading. -Daniel


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In Memoriam: A novel By Alice Winn Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780593467848
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - March 19th, 2024

Despite the age requirement of 19 to be a British army solider, there is much pressure at In Memoriam’s boarding school to enlist earlier, what with the rah-rah nature of the student newspaper and the shaming words of the white feather girls. So enlist they do -  and war’s horrors await. In addition to focusing on the quasi-closeted nature of the special friendship at the center of the novel, Winn touches on the race and class tensions of the time, as well as the growing awareness that the British empire may not withstand the confrontation, whether they win or lose. It’s hard to believe that a novel could be so brutal and so romantic at the same time, but that’s the case for Alice Winn’s passionate debut.  -Daniel


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Last Summer on State Street: A Novel By Toya Wolfe Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780063209732
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - May 2nd, 2023

Four girls growing up fast in a Chicago housing project, trying to keep it together while their literal homes are being destroyed. At the center of the story is Fe Fe, who sees the pull of the streets take her friends. Just a warning – there are moments of violence, addiction, and abuse. But the writing! Just read that Double Dutch Scene on page 37. And those girls – it’s hard not to fall in love with Fe Fe. Highly recommended! -Daniel


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Dearborn By Ghassan Zeineddine Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781959030294
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tin House Books - September 5th, 2023

An out-of-work night watchman teams up with a former drug addict to sell recordings of the Qu’ran in English. A family saves their cash stuffed in frozen chickens hoping to use the money to buy a place in the old country. Or how about a change-of-pace Titanic story in which an 86-year-old woman recalls how she (but not her husband) survived the crash while immigrating to America. Ghassan Zeineddine’s debut collection centers on the Lebanese Muslim community in the Detroit suburb with all their dreams, fears, and quirks, but his observations about human nature, family, love, and community are universal, too. With so many memorable characters and so much wit and heart, this had to be my favorite story collection of the year.    -Daniel


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The Sleeping Car Porter By Suzette Mayr Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781552454589
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coach House Books - September 27th, 2022

While many readers know about the American porters of George Pullman, Suzette Mayr’s eloquent new novel, shortlisted for Canada’s prestigious Giller Prize, chronicles the life of an attendant on the trans-Canadian railway. One thing not different was the job was filled almost exclusively by Black men, who were subject to the whims of riders and faced much racism on the job. In the case of Baxter, he carries an extra burden, as he is also closeted, and burns with the memories of past encounters and the constant fear that any wrong move could lead to losing his job. His dream is to be a dentist, and if there is levity in the story, it is in Baxter’s propensity to focus on the teeth of the folks around him. Through these details, George and his plight are brought to vibrant life. And how can I not love a story where one of the referenced works is an Eaton’s Department Store catalog? -Daniel


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Chorus: A Novel By Rebecca Kauffman Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781640095892
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Counterpoint - March 14th, 2023

After three Boswell customers talked to me about how much they liked Chorus, I couldn’t help but try it. How can I resist a family story (seven siblings, a failing farm) with secrets, misunderstandings, multiple perspectives, and a shifting chronology? At the center of the story are two seminal moments – the mom’s death and the teenage marriage of one of the siblings – that ripple throughout all their lives. The caregiver, the rebel, the escaper, the victim, the model adult, the one that was lucky, and the one that was misunderstood – I love the way the Shaws embrace and contest the roles they seem to be slotted into. A quiet book, for sure, but hard to put down.  -Daniel


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Signal Fires: A novel By Dani Shapiro Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593467961
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - October 24th, 2023

Two families who live across the street from each other in suburban Connecticut are bound together by one tragedy, a fatal car accident involving the Wilf family, and one miracle, in which Ben Wilf facilitates the birth of Alice Shenkman’s child. The story careens back and forth across time, as the strands of connection deepen and spread. I love books like this, from Simon Van Booy’s The Illusion of Separateness to Frederick Reiken’s Day for Night, and the fact that I’m referencing novels from nine and twelve years ago calls attention to how rarely I find books that capture this feeling of awe that I found in Signal Fires. It was clear from reading Inheritance that Shapiro is adept at capturing life’s reversals; I’m so glad to see that this special skill is equally on display in this beautiful and delicate novel. -Daniel


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The Cartographers: A Novel By Peng Shepherd Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780062910707
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - March 21st, 2023

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Marrying the Ketchups: A novel (Vintage Contemporaries) By Jennifer Close Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593081389
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 25th, 2023

The Sullivans have run their family restaurant in Oak Park for three generations, but three unexpected occurrences send the family into disarray - the 2016 election, the Cubs World Series victory, and the sudden death of Bud, the family patriarch. Then there are the setbacks that should have been expected, given the ill-chosen life partners of the Sullivan third generation, Gretchen, Jane, and Teddy. The story is centered on them, two sisters and a cousin, with special appearances by Teddy’s younger half-sister Riley, as their lives spin out of control, sending them back to Sullivan’s. But family is not the best place to avoid drama. This first-rate fractured family free-for-all is Chicago-infused and food forward, from sandwich loafs to sliders. So glad I finally read a Jennifer Close novel - I can’t wait to read another!  -Daniel


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All This Could Be Different: A Novel By Sarah Thankam Mathews Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780593489147
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - August 1st, 2023

All Sneha really wants when she relocates to Milwaukee is a circle of friends, a special someone, and a steady income, but even those goals turn out to be a harder to achieve in this debut novel. She’s got a few friends and a possible love interest, though most of them are struggling with goals and money, plus both her contractor boss and the flat manager turn out to be, well, two pieces of work. Plus, contract work kind of sucks - you’re in the company (it’s obvious to any Milwaukeean where she works, but it’s never spelled out in the story), but not really of the company, much the way that Sneha must navigate her life in Milwaukee as a queer South Asian woman. There’s almost a chaotic feel to the narrative - will Thom forgive Sneha, will things with Martina work out, can Tig get her commune together, and just how much money is Amit going to spend trying to save a drug-addicted friend? – but to me, that’s just the way things feel during the kind of quarter-life crisis that Sneha is experiencing.  And props for getting the Milwaukee details right circa 2016, considering Mathews never lived here, though she went to school in Madison. Milwaukee is usually used as a no-place-in-particular setting, but here, Mathews plays off oddly Edenic history of socialist mayors that is meaningful to some millennials, even if the contemporary city struggles with prejudice and crime. Even the name-checked restaurants reinforce the narrative – not necessarily fancy, but a little too expensive for the unsteady paychecks of most of this crew, particularly Tig, who generally orders the most expensive thing on the menu. In the end, everything’s going to work out. Right? -Daniel


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Lark Ascending By Silas House Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781643753935
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books - August 22nd, 2023

In the not-to-distant future, fires have ravaged much of the world, America, like much of the world, has been taken over by extremists, and even the isolated Maine woods have become too dangerous. The only option is for Lark and his family to escape to Ireland, the only country still open to refugees. But during the harrowing voyage, not only does tragedy strike at every turn, but hopes for a peaceful resettlement are dashed. Can Lark, with the help of two newfound companions (one canine) find peace in the legendary settlement of Gledalough? I’m not generally a dystopian reader, but Lark Ascending’s beautiful language and imagery, combined with the emotional heft of the story, drew me in from the first paragraph. -Daniel


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A Map for the Missing: A Novel By Belinda Huijuan Tang Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780593300688
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - August 8th, 2023

Belinda Huijuan Tang’s excellent debut, inspired by her father’s upbringing in Anhui province, opens in early 1990s California. Yitian is called back to his hometown when his mother reports his father missing. While Yitian has hardly adapted to America, the return stirs up its own haunted memories, a tortured life with his father, a lost bond with his brother Yishou, and an unfinished longing for his onetime-girlfriend Hanwen. Though framed as a missing person mystery, Yitian’s journey helps him unlock deeper questions of his family and perhaps one day understand his father. The Cultural Revolution is one of repression and loss that affected generations. In making the political personal, Tang brings this period to vibrant life.  -Daniel


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Search: A Novel By Michelle Huneven Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780593300077
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - April 25th, 2023

Restaurant reviewer Dana Potowski is asked to be on the committee to pick the new minister for her Unitarian Universalist congregation and decides to write a memoir about the experience, but how is she going to do that when she’s agreed to confidentiality? The committee, a varied lot of big personalities, seems to be on the same page regarding generalities, but when it comes to the specifics, conflicts arise, factions take hold, and Dana’s not exactly the only committee member keeping a few secrets.  If you had asked me for a shortlist of compelling plots for a novel, I would not have come up with this one, but I would have been dead wrong, and not just because whenever I describe it to someone, I often get the response: I would read that! Search is a wonderful novel filled with vibrant characters, essential philosophical questions (most notably, what do we want from life?), and a cornucopia of foodie delights. -Daniel


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Hedge By Jane Delury Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781958506042
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Zibby Books - June 6th, 2023

Maud is a garden historian who has taken a job helping renovate a Hudson Valley estate, a continent away from her husband. She’s leaving him; he just doesn’t know that yet. A friendship with an archeologist on the property soon turns into something more, only when her daughters arrive for the summer, it makes things initially more complicated, and soon enough, impossible. Can a novel be both serene and turbulent at the same time? In the case of Hedge, yes, as it counterpoints a woman and family in crisis with the serene tranquility of nature. Can Maud come out of this without destroying herself? That is the question in this provocative, passionate, and philosophical novel.  -Daniel


Notes on an Execution: An Edgar Award Winner By Danya Kukafka Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780063052741
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - January 24th, 2023

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When in Rome: A Novel By Liam Callanan Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780593184080
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton - March 12th, 2024

I love traditional family stories and also ones about found family, and one thing that’s great about When in Rome is that I get both in one. Another thing I love is that Callanan, in this story about a real estate agent whose midlife crisis leads her to try to save a convent, can write about the joys of faith and vocation in an accessible way. But most of all, there’s that setting. There’s a joke about Paris that meanders through bookstore culture - slap an Eiffel Tower on the jacket and we won’t be able to keep it in stock - just one reason for the success of Paris by the Book. That literary pixie dust doesn’t always extend to the Eternal City, but after reading When in Rome, I can’t imagine someone not wanting to book a flight to Italy posthaste. Callanan brings the city to sparkling life, not just the well-known buildings (ruin or otherwise), statues, and fountains, but equally the lesser-known streets and neighborhoods. Even graffiti becomes romantic. It’s the perfect setting for this engaging and heartfelt novel. -Daniel


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Slenderman: Online Obsession, Mental Illness, and the Violent Crime of Two Midwestern Girls By Kathleen Hale Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780802161826
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - June 20th, 2023

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The Shore: A Novel By Katie Runde Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781982180188
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - May 30th, 2023

Margot runs vacation rentals on the Jersey Shore with her husband Brian, but when he develops a glioblastoma multiforme tumor, their world is torn apart. With Brian becoming toddler, zombie, jerk, and Rain Man (to quote a character), the family alternates taking care of Brian while daughters Liz and Evy attempt to have the semblance of a normal summer, with all the teenage drama that entails.  Mom latches onto an online support network for caregiving spouses, and just to get some sort of connection, Evy catfishes her. The Shore is a poignant story of processing grief in the face of impending loss, but it’s the little moments that take the story to another level, like Liz’s ‘hey’ text to a guy and its many interpretations. Just beautiful!  -Daniel


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The Poet's House By Jean Thompson Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781643753928
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books - July 3rd, 2023

Here’s a quarter-life crisis for you: Carla is a landscaper in Northern California, and one day, she’s sent to do some planting for an almost-mythical poet named Viridian who lives in the woods with assorted hangers-on. Pulled into their orbit, the world of poetry is opened up for Carla, only with one problem – her ADHD makes it very difficult for her to read. As she untangles the stories of the poet’s lives, can she figure out what’s important about poetry and what is surface gloss? And while she’s at it, maybe she can find some legendary poems that have gone missing. Thompson is sometimes called a writer’s writer, which translates to great reviews but modest sales, and perhaps a bit of inaccessibility to the general reader. But in The Poet’s House, a book that’s literally about writing, Thompson has opened the door to all of us in a disarmingly entertaining novel that’s sure to be savored.  -Daniel


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Dr. No: A Novel By Percival Everett Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781644452080
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - November 1st, 2022

Wala Kitu,  mathematician whose expertise is on nothing is kidnapped by an evil spy who plans to use Kutu’s knowledge as a path to world domination. At once a Bond parody, an exercise in logical absurdism, and philosophical treatise on race and power, Everett’s latest received the PEN Jean Stein Award. It’s also quite an enjoyable lark. -Daniel


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Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks By Patrick Radden Keefe Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780593467732
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - June 6th, 2023

While I have a subscription to The New Yorker, I don’t read every long-form article. In fact, I consider it a triumph if I can get through the cartoons, Talk of the Town, at least one review, and at least one article.  But even when I did read some of the pieces collected in Rogues, I found it fascinating to revisit them as part of a collection. Rogues, particularly if you exclude the closing profile of Anthony Bourdain, reads as a collection of true crime short stories, being that they have the vibrancy of the best fiction. I love the way traditional crime subjects like drug cartels and arms dealers are mixed with the corporate misdeeds of unscrupulous hedge fund managers, look-the-other-way bankers, and unrepentant television producers, leading me to wonder if we should reshelve some of those corporate narrative books that are currently in our business section. Whether you want to read more Patrick Radden Keefe or are just hungering for juicy narrative nonfiction, this should satisfy you 12-fold.  -Daniel


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Big Girl: A Novel By Mecca Jamilah Sullivan Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781324093596
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Liveright - June 13th, 2023

When Malaya and her family move from a cramped apartment to a Harlem brownstone, the future looks bright, especially with a slot at the prestigious Galton School. But parents Nyela and Percy are working more and communicating less, and Nyela and her mom Ma-Mère are increasingly obsessed with Malaya’s diet. Malaya’s only got a few friends, and then her closest buddy, Shantiece, starts losing weight. Can this childhood be saved? Sullivan does a great job immersing you in 1980s and 1990s New York and Philadelphia and effortlessly balances carefree moments with some very serious observations about race, gender, body image, and gentrification. But whatever the tone, it is Malaya’s high-spirited voice that drives the narrative, and it’s the key to Big Girl’s success. -Daniel


Woman of Light: A Novel By Kali Fajardo-Anstine Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780525511335
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: One World - April 18th, 2023

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Love & Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food, and Love By Kim Fay Cover Image
By Kim Fay
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593419359
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - February 7th, 2023

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The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches By Sangu Mandanna Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593439357
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - August 23rd, 2022

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The Family Chao: A Novel By Lan Samantha Chang Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781324050469
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 20th, 2022

In a Chinese restaurant in Haven, Wisconsin (maybe standing in for Appleton?), a family prepares for a grand celebration. The oldest son, Dagou, has returned to town, tail between his legs but still with two women fighting over him, to work at the family restaurant. His brothers Ming, a successful tech executive, and James, a medical student, are on their way home too. The family is already on edge because of their parent’s separation, but when Leo reneges on a deal to give Dagou a piece of the restaurant and a recently discovered cache of money disappears, the family explodes. You absolutely don’t have to have read the inspirational source for this sharp-witted and passionate tale to enjoy it, but if you aren’t fluent in Dostoevsky, you might want to read The Brothers Karamazov Wikipedia entry afterwards. -Daniel


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Still Life: A GMA Book Club Pick (A Novel) By Sarah Winman Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9780593330760
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - September 13th, 2022

A group of English expats create a found family and find happiness in their artistic endeavors under the Tuscan sun in this big-hearted play on EM Forster’s novel, A Room with a View. The story’s focus is an intergenerational friendship between Ulysses, a soldier, and Evelyn, an art historian, whose chance encounter in World War II is followed by a number of near misses. At first, it’s hard to follow the vast tapestry of characters, but Winman does such a good job at creating emotionally compelling lives for each of them that by the end, it’s hard to imagine the dramatis personae being even one person (or parrot) short. A soul-satisfying treat! -Daniel


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L.A. Weather: A Novel By María Amparo Escandón Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250802583
Availability: Not in stock at Boswell. Available to order.
Published: Flatiron Books - September 6th, 2022

Keila has been married to Oscar for nearly forty years, so when she sits down with her three daughters and tells them she’s getting divorced, her girls, Claudia, Olivia, and Patricia, are shocked and angry. And then, over the course of one year, the three of them see their own marriages self-destruct. But that just scratches the surface of what happens to this family, which has more secrets than you can imagine. I so enjoyed the author’s vision of Los Angeles and personally appreciated the Jewish references sprinkled in the story – Keila is the daughter of Holocaust survivors who resettled in Mexico City. Yes, L.A. Weather’s outrageous plot twists have a telenovela quality, as the Alvarados contend with just about every complication a family can face, except for maybe locusts. But they make it through (mostly), a little wiser for the journey, and it’s hard not to fall in love with them and all their messiness.  -Daniel


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The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida By Shehan Karunatilaka Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9781324064824
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - November 1st, 2022

For all of you who have hesitated at tackling The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, I’m here to tell you that it’s completely worth it. Don’t be afraid of the story being told in second person; after a while you won’t even notice. And if magical realism scares you, it’s time to face your fears. Once you start reading, you’ll completely accept that the afterlife features a purgatory that’s like a waiting room at the DMV. And why wouldn’t you have one week to figure out your cause of death so that you can go to the next place? It’s like Salman Rushdie and Michael Ondaatje collaborated on writing The Good Place. Plus like the best fiction, Karunatilaka’s opus will help you understand Sri Lanka better than any dry history. Amazing! -Daniel


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Lost in Summerland: Essays By Barrett Swanson Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781640095328
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Counterpoint - July 25th, 2023

If you start a copy of Lost in Summerland and find yourself in a nondescript Fort Lauderdale apartment complex, keep reading, as that story was featured in Best American Travel Writing. And if you want something a little more adventurous, don’t worry, as Swanson will take you to Jacques Fresco’s crumbling Venus utopia, the new age mecca of Lily Dale, the Disaster City training compound, a men’s retreat, a farm for anti-war veterans, and a convention of West Wing fans. Several essays focus on Swanson’s older brother, who was punched into a coma and later developed what appeared to be psychic powers. And whether they are farther afield or centered in Wisconsin (the author grew up in Brookfield and played football at Waukesha’s Catholic Memorial High, the jump-off point for another essay), most offer more than one philosophical detour. I had just been telling a colleague that I so enjoyed writing about new-to-me subcultures; I was almost surprised when the next book I picked up was exactly what I wanted. It was almost like Barrett’s brother was willing me to read this great collection.  Thanks, bruh!  -Daniel


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Pieces of Blue: A Novel By Holly Goldberg Sloan Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250847317
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Flatiron Books - August 6th, 2024

When Lindsey’s husband dies in a skiing accident, she uses the insurance money to buy a rickety motel and moves her three kids from Portland to a small Hawaiian town. They’re not just running from father Paul’s death, but a bit of shame too – the family fortunes quickly veered from easy money to financial struggles when Dad’s tech startup collapsed. Overcoming grief, adapting to change, fitting in – these are classic themes of middle-grade fiction and that’s not surprise, coming from the author of the beloved Counting by 7s. To be clear, there is far more adult perspective and enough unnerving twists to keep this out of eight-year-old hands. And yet, there is a classic kids’ book at the heart of the story, and for someone like me who likes classic kids’ books, this hit the mark. A compelling, heartwarming treat! -Daniel


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Good Night, Irene: A Novel By Luis Alberto Urrea Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780316265959
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Back Bay Books - June 4th, 2024

Irene Woodward and Dorothy Dunford bond in training when both join the Red Cross to support the troops by running a coffee wagon. They are supposed to work in teams of three, but they just can’t seem to keep a third – maybe it’s because their friendship is so strong that there just isn’t room for one more in the truck. Outside the truck, their lives are filled with vibrant characters, some romance, and of course, the horrors of war. Urrea’s new novel is classic historical fiction, a change of style, but it shouldn’t be a surprise to fans – his prose has veered from journalism to magical realism to domestic dramedy. And I don’t really want to give anything away here, but I kept thinking it will all be worthwhile if Urrea stuck the landing, and I’m happy to say he sure did! -Daniel


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Owner of a Lonely Heart: A Memoir of Motherhood and Absence By Beth Nguyen Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781982196356
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Scribner - May 7th, 2024

What’s the nonfiction equivalent of a novel in stories? Why it’s a memoir in essays! I am actually a big fan of this format, with all the detours that the structure allows, often preferring to the straightforward memoir itself. Beth Minh’s Owner of a Lonely Heart is a great example of the genre, swirling around the mother-daughter relationship between two refugees in America, separated by distance, misunderstanding, and time. It’s only when Nguyen has her own children that she can truly revisit the relationship to make sense of this complicated relationship. This is a special memoir to be treasured. -Daniel


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Farrell Covington and the Limits of Style: A Novel By Paul Rudnick Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781668004739
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Atria Books - April 30th, 2024

When uber-rich Yalie Farrell Covington spots middle-class New Jersey freshman Nate Reminger across a crowded theater club, it’s the beginning of a crazy relationship that spans decades and continents. No one can keep them apart, only many try, from Covington’s villainous Wichita family, to Hollywood, and AIDS. I really enjoyed how Rudnick included elements of his own life into the story, reflected through a funhouse mirror. Sister Act becomes Habit Forming; see if you can spot them all! Farrell Covington and the Limits of Style veers into madcap and perhaps far-fetchedness, but it is always entertaining, ultimately moving, and much like Rudnick’s play Jeffrey (translates to I Dare You in this novel), uncompromising. -Daniel


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A Fever in the Heartland: The Ku Klux Klan's Plot to Take Over America, and the Woman Who Stopped Them By Timothy Egan Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780735225282
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Published: Penguin Books - June 4th, 2024

National Book Award and Pulitzer winner (the latter for his newspaper work) Timothy Egan takes on the second (and probably not last) coming of the Klu Klux Klan in America. In the 1920s, a combination of factors, including the migration of Confederate sympathizers and a White population scared by new waves of immigration, emboldened by the success of Prohibition, led to a resurgence of this organization that was most profound not in the South, but in the Midwest and West. Egan focuses on Indiana, a state that had perhaps the most KKK domination (though one should not exclude Ohio, Colorado, and Oregon, which have their own stories) and in particular, on D.C. Stephenson, who wound up having much of Indiana under his control. A ruthless criminal, a sexual predator, and a charlatan, Steve, as he was known, was seemingly unstoppable, until maybe he wasn’t. Egan’s meticulous research and lively storytelling combine for a powerful work with obvious contemporary parallels. I’m definitely going to be reading more Egan!  -Daniel


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Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World By Henry Grabar Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781984881151
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Published: Penguin Books - May 7th, 2024

I’ve read books before on the problems of parking before, but those mostly focused on the primacy of the automobile over other modes of transportation. Grabar considers how the costs of cars and parking are subsidized by non-drivers and how a focus on parking is directly responsible for our shortage of affordable housing. Heavily referenced and highly readable, here’s hoping Paved Paradise becomes required reading for planners, developers, and civil engineers. -Daniel