Greta's Staff Recommendations

Welcome to Greta's staff recommendation page. Check out what Greta has been reading below.

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Greta & Valdin: A Novel By Rebecca K. Reilly Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781668028049
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster - February 6th, 2024

Greta & Valdin is the debut novel of Rebecca K Reilly and found massive success in New Zealand, where it was first published. It is a beautiful story about love overcoming hardships among siblings. The title characters are both adult siblings who live with queer identities as well as being biracial. The representation of the characters is both nuanced and humanizing. It is a literary fiction novel that is comparative with the works of Sally Rooney. It is very humorous and has the heart of a romantic comedy. The family at the center of the novel is slightly dysfunctional, but love is woven within and that seems very reminiscent of real families. This book also does an excellent job of writing queer joy in the canister of colorful emotions that the characters experience. 


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Piglet: A Novel By Lottie Hazell Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250289841
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - February 27th, 2024

Here’s a book that quietly takes on the unhealthy and unrealistic expectations that society places on women. It follows Piglet, a woman who has everything that society has told us we should strive for as modern women - a sleek, elegant job as a cookbook editor, a loving and loyal best friend, and she's getting married to an adoring man named Kit. Piglet has some of the most vivid food writing. It will leave you salivating in its precise description. This idea of idealized perfection comes to a screeching halt when Kit reveals a betrayal two weeks before the wedding. This novel shines a light on the shame and embarrassment people feel when they stay with partners who have cheated on them. It begs the question, can we really have everything we want, or in our pursuit of this will we lose more than we originally bargained? 


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Come and Get It By Kiley Reid Cover Image
$23.20
ISBN: 9780593328200
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - January 30th, 2024

It's 2017, and school is in session at the University of Arkansas in Kiley Reid's sophomore novel. It focuses on a group of undergrads who are the residents and RAs of a scholarship dorm. Another central character is a critically acclaimed writer who starts teaching there. Ethics and class play a crucial role in the lives of these rich characters. The lines of right and wrong look a little blurry at times in their minds. This is evident in the messy entanglement between the professor and one of the RAs. This is just one instance of drama that lives within the pages. Being a few years out of college myself, it was interesting to read about the social circles that were in a college at time so close to my own stay in academia. Like any college, there are sororities, parties, and dorm decorations, but unlike my experience, some of the main characters always seem to have money on their minds. They're either getting more than they should from their parents, or it is a constant weight on their shoulders. I could relate to one of the characters who suffers from loneliness when she transfers to the University. I found that my first year, as it is for many, was often times very lonely. Although I related to her struggle as I reader, I'm not sure I can say that I liked the character. It is complex. There is a lot of character development in the novel, but sometimes the residents of the dorm came across as entitled and privileged, especially in comparison to some of their older peers. They certainly don't have everything figured out, but most people don't at 21 years old. This book is powerful in its ability to entertain the reader while simultaneously critiquing the setting it resides in.


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Interesting Facts about Space: A Novel By Emily Austin Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781668014233
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - January 30th, 2024

The marketing really caught my eye for this book and drew me in because it stated this book is for anyone who has ever wondered if they were a terrible person. I don't know if this is a concept that everyone grapples with at a time in their lives, but I could relate. This book is about Enid; she is a lesbian serial dater who is deaf in one ear, obsessed with space and true crime, and is afraid of bald men. Austin uses black comedy to tell this literary story through the main character's stream of consciousness. Enid, she is a character that a certain audience can relate to. She is flawed, but she's still loveable. The messiness of her life can induce a little anxiety in the reader, but overall, it has a hopeful message, and there is great representation of a neurodivergent person. The thing I love most about this book is the Enid's relationship with her mother, because her mother is one of the people Enid has let close enough to understand her, and they truly love each other even though the majority of their conversations in the novel are about space. 


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Sex with a Brain Injury: On Concussion and Recovery By Annie Liontas Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781668015544
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - January 16th, 2024

A transformative memoir told in essays about a topic isn't largely discussed. It is personal to the author as she has suffered from three concussions in her lifetime. These injuries have severely affected her life and wellbeing. Liontas weaves a beautiful web of a book, telling her story as well as blending it with history and interviews with others who have suffered from similar afflictions. I felt as though the book was very expansive in giving context to head injuries, and for that I'm grateful to the author. 


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Rabbit Hole By Kate Brody Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9781641294874
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Soho Crime - January 2nd, 2024

A literary thriller that puts you behind the eyes of a woman whose mind has been twisted by the wicked hands of grief since her father has taken his own life on the anniversary of her sister's disappearance. It is a wild ride as she pursues the case with the help of a teenage girl who has a strange connection to her family. The author critiques the culture of true crime and the toxicity of the internet. Much of the dialogue and discoveries the characters make take place in chat rooms and a pseudo-Reddit, which adds an interesting layer to the reading experience. Although the subject matter is very dark, the text is extremely engrossing. It is like seeing a car accident, and as much as you may want to, you find yourself unable to look away.


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Natural Beauty: A Novel By Ling Ling Huang Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593472927
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton - April 4th, 2023

Ling Ling Huang is a transcendent new voice in the literary scene. There isn't a book like Natural Beauty. It shines a light on the experience of being a child of immigrants as well as being a classically trained musician. The latter is something that Huang knows a great deal about - she is a professional violinist, currently a substitute for the New York Philharmonic. The main character, unlike the author, plays the piano. She struggles to make ends meet in New York, while being financially responsible for her parents, who were in an accident that left them shells of their former selves. She takes a job at Holistik, a high-end beauty company that pushes mysterious supplements and treatments. This book is very satirical and shows the dark aspects of the beauty industry. There is another book that came out in 2023 that also tries to tackle this - Rouge by Mona Awad. They're both literary horror novels, but except for the common theme and genre, they're incredibly different. It is great that these authors are using their gifts to take a critical stance against the beauty industry. This is coming at time when beauty standards are even more present in the public conscious, with the overwhelming occupancy of social media in our daily lives. It has normalized going under the knife or getting Botox, even though these are really an only accessible for a certain social class. These ideas are what Huang challenges in the book. Her writing is hypnotic. It juxtaposes the industry it's critiquing with jarring, disturbing imagery. It's hard to put down until you have consumed all of it.  


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On Our Best Behavior: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Price Women Pay to Be Good By Elise Loehnen Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593243039
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: The Dial Press - May 23rd, 2023

This book was so validating to read, because in my experience as a woman, there is a lot of pressure to be able to check off different boxes in order to accommodate societal norms. The 2000s ideological concept of women having it all is still in the air, but is not as explicitly stated. When it comes to terms of gender equality, men are not held to nearly the same standards as modern women. Loehnen's thesis explains how rules that women follow in order to be perceived as good date back to biblical times, but they're still ingrained in our culture today and upheld by the patriarchy. It is an enriching blend of personal antidotes, interviews from voices in the self-help field, history, and theology. The only issue I have with this book is the author's previous work for Goop, which she references a couple of times. It seems kind of contradictory to what she is trying to prove in the text. This book is one of the quintessential feminist works of the year. It isn't necessarily a guide on how to live as a woman, but she dissects each "moral" thoroughly, reflects on it, and states that if we're upholding these ideals for ourselves, then we are suppressing our needs that are simply part of the human condition.


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The Postcard By Anne Berest, Tina Kover (Translator) Cover Image
By Anne Berest, Tina Kover (Translator)
$28.00
ISBN: 9781609458386
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - May 16th, 2023

This book has already garnered much literary acclaim, but I'm here to tell you that it is worth the fanfare. Recently translated from its original French, writer Anne Berest lets readers into the private lives of a family that has been deeply wounded by the horrors of the Holocaust. When a mysterious postcard arrives with the names of the family members who perished in the camps written on it, the family is forced to face their tragic history. It also has a theme of self-discovery as the main character, who acts as a self-insert for the author, grapples with realizing her Jewish identity. It is both a historical and contemporary novel, as it switches back and forth from the past and the present. It is heart wrenching at times. Berest does a beautiful job of immortalizing members of her real-life family, giving them a chance to live on and not disappear completely. When people tell tales of the past, especially when referring to the Holocaust, they don't want the public to forget that it has occurred, because they do not want history to repeat itself. It is relevant, as extremism appears to be once again on the rise. This work is a labor of love for the author, and it shows in her writing.


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Alice Sadie Celine: A Novel By Sarah Blakley-Cartwright Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781668021590
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - November 28th, 2023

Here comes a new, character driven novel about three women who are very different in nature. Their lives become interwoven when the boundaries of a complicated female friendship are pushed. Alice and Sadie have been best friends since high school. The book takes place in 1990s, when they are both in their mid-twenties. Sadie's mother, Celine, is a prolific feminist writer. Her character reminds one of a fictional Susan Sontag. Both Sadie and Celine are blunt, clever, and self-sufficient, but their relationship suffers from the animosity that exists between them. When Celine and Alice start to have an affair, all three of women's lives are changed. This book challenges the ideas of womanhood and desires. It's dramatic and will make its reader feel a voyeuristic rush. There are also many references to Freud that add an uneasy critique of the characters' actions. The relationships between the characters are the lifeblood of this book.


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The Happy Couple: A Novel By Naoise Dolan Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780063330467
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - November 7th, 2023

In Dolan's sophomore novel, The Happy Couple, the characters take precedence. It is centered around a newly engaged couple and the people in their wedding party. Celine, the bride, is hyper-fixated on playing the piano, in which she is classically trained. Luke, the groom, can't stop himself from being promiscuous and has slept with everyone in the wedding party. The writing style is similar to that of Sally Rooney (except Dolan uses quotations marks, when there is dialogue, unlike Rooney). Though the main cast of characters is unlikeable, they feel like real people, and they speak to the human condition where some readers might be able to relate to them. You'll want to find out what happens as it leads up to their happy day. The United States is lucky to get a release of this Irish gem.


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The Glutton: A Novel By A.K. Blakemore Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781668030622
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - October 31st, 2023

This book is a historical tour de force. It follows Tarare, a man with a ravenous appetite that is ultimately is his downfall. The novel starts with him on his death bed in the hospital being watched by a nun. His reputation precedes him and strikes fear in those around him. As a whole, The Glutton tackles poverty, hunger, and the power of infamy. It is set in 17th century France. It leaves you feeling gored but in the best possible way. It showcases the main character's whole life. The reader is present when he grows and makes mistakes but, unfortunately, the end is inevitable, and his demise is allegorical to the fall of the French aristocracy. It views power and privilege through the eyes of someone who has never had any and is often a pawn in someone else's game.  It is very fitting that it is released on Halloween, because it is a horror story of sorts. 


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Bluebeard's Castle: A Novel (Verso Fiction) By Anna Biller Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781804291856
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Verso - October 10th, 2023

Bluebeard's Castle is filmmaker Anna Biller's debut novel. You might be aware of her presence as an artist if you have seen her cult horror film, The Love Witch. The book is a feminist retelling of the French fairytale Bluebeard. Judith is a successful romance novelist. Her books are gothic and take inspiration from classics like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Shortly into the book, Judith seems to find herself in a situation that is very similar to one of her books. She has moved into a castle with a tall, dark handsome man who she barely knows. Quickly, the fantasy of the marriage starts to unravel, and Judith can't decipher whether she is living in a dream or a plain nightmare. This book takes a new look at toxic relationships, putting you in the headspace of someone in the midst of domestic abuse. The author is careful not to glamourize the brutality of it all. It is tense and hard to read at times, but it also has elements of camp. It also has a self-referential quality that is quite charming.


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Death Valley: A Novel By Melissa Broder Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781668024843
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - October 3rd, 2023

Melissa Broder fans rejoice. She has given us another gift with her newest novel. Death Valley puts you in the mind of a middle-aged, sober writer who is in midst of grieving for her father who is critical condition. Her husband is also suffering from a worsening chronic illness. She takes refuge in a Best Western near the desert. Broder's voice is sarcastic and celebrates the thoughts that most people have had but don't want to admit. She tends to write these unlikeable female characters, women consumed with desires and overwhelming feelings. They sometimes make destructive or selfish decisions, but as a reader, I find them very interesting. As the novel progresses, she proceeds to venture deeper into the Californian desert. It is in the desert landscape where the novel shifts from literary fiction to magical realism. The presence of a surreal magical cactus that only she can see is what makes this novel great. It gives a playful eccentricity to a story that is very bleak at times in subject matter and setting. It quickly escalates to a survival story when she can no longer go back the way she has come.


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Rouge: A Novel By Mona Awad Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781982169695
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: S&S/ Marysue Rucci Books - September 12th, 2023

This book stretches like a dream you can't wake up from. It centers around a woman who is grieving the death of her mother, with whom she had a very complex relationship. Both women share an obsession with beauty and skin care. The main character comes to California to manage her mother's remaining estate and large debts when she discovers that her mother was a part of very exclusive spa that promises advance treatments. Although it delves into topics that are feminine in nature such as beauty standards, this is largely a horror novel, and I would not recommend it to those who are very faint of heart. In her writing, there is a certain sinister energy, but it is as intriguing as it is devilish. This world Awad has created has many layers, and nothing is as it first seems to appear. It is revolutionary in its satire of the beauty industry, achieving what lesser books only scrape the surface of. 


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Pockets: An Intimate History of How We Keep Things Close By Hannah Carlson Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781643751542
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books - September 12th, 2023

Have you ever asked yourself, why are women's pockets generally smaller than men's pockets? In the book Pockets, by Hannah Carlson, the author will answer this question and more. This book goes all the way back to the beginning. Surprisingly, this account of history has a feminist lens. It is more interesting than one would think, and you don't have to be very knowledgeable about fashion to be able to enjoy this book.


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All-Night Pharmacy: A Novel By Ruth Madievsky Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781646221509
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Catapult - July 11th, 2023

All Night Pharmacy is a riveting account of early adulthood and learning how to live for yourself. The narrator suffers from an unhealthy relationship with her older sister nursed by booze, sex, and pills. She must find a new sense of identity when her older sister disappears after an outburst of violence. Strange and vibrant characters come in and out of her life as she tries to put the pieces together. It transports to you a wild LA landscape and showcases the transitory nature of life. One theme that is very present in the book is generational trauma, especially within immigrants of the Jewish community. Madievsky is a Jewish immigrant herself, moving to the US when she was just two years old. One of my favorite things about the novel is that, although it is full of dread at times, there is a lot of character growth in the main character, which I found to be kind of hopeful. It is highly emotion-fueled, but what is the point of art of any kind if it does not evoke some sort of emotion out of its audience?


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Days at the Morisaki Bookshop: A Novel By Satoshi Yagisawa, Eric Ozawa (Translated by) Cover Image
By Satoshi Yagisawa, Eric Ozawa (Translated by)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780063278677
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - July 4th, 2023

A young woman starts working at her family’s book store after breaking up with her boyfriend and quitting her job. The author obviously loves books. The family relationships in this novel are so nuanced and interesting. I related a lot to the main character and it had made me feel like I was on the right path by becoming a bookseller.


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Monstrilio By Gerardo Sámano Córdova Cover Image
$27.00
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ISBN: 9781638930365
Published: Zando - March 7th, 2023

Monstrilio, by debut author Gerardo Sámano Córdova, will blow you away with its depiction of the ugliness and otherworldliness of grief and how it affects people differently. When Magos and Joseph lose their only child, Santiago, Magos cuts him open and takes a piece of his lung. The lung starts to grow into a monster, and they try to raise it as they would a son. The story is told from the perspective of four different narrators. The final narrator is the monster, Monstrilio. This is a book will beautiful prose and intricate imagery that will stay with you. Monstrilio will make you contemplate what it means to be human and rethink the nature vs nurture debate. I loved this novel like it was my own sick and twisted child.


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Death of a Bookseller By Alice Slater Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781613163771
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scarlet - April 25th, 2023

For fans of books about unhinged women, this book from debut author Alice Slater will meet your criteria for the elusive genre of sorts. It follows Roach, a bookseller whose obsession with true crime makes others uneasy. The reader will be these among these people. When a new bookseller, Laura, comes to Roach's store, she sees an opportunity to make a friend who also possibly also likes to read true crime, but Laura has a dark secret that she wants to keep hidden. As the story unravels, chaos ensues. It is characterized by Roach's compulsive behavior while pursuing friendship. It is a thrilling read.


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Three Women By Lisa Taddeo Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781451642308
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster - July 7th, 2020

This is a nonfiction book like no other that I've ever read. It's a case study where the author follows three women for the span of eight years and brings nuance to the subject of female desire, a topic that lacks thorough discussion in modern society. It reads remarkably similarly to the style of a novel and will make the reader stir with feeling. It is a book that leaves a mark on those who choose to participate in it.


Eileen: A Novel By Ottessa Moshfegh Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143128755
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - August 16th, 2016

Eileen lives at home, tending for her alcoholic father, while working as a secretary at a prison for young boys. She lives a bleak existence in X-ville until a new hypnotic woman starts working with Eileen and changes the trajectory of her sad life.This is a twisted book, but what really made this work is Moshfegh's voice as a writer. It’s witty and sardonic. The author subverts genres by fusing the boundaries of literary fiction and thriller. She puts you in the headspace of an unlikeable character but still has you rooting for the protagonist. The ending will have you on the edge of your seat. I felt the tension in my body as I read her words. It was a visceral experience.