Ellen

Ellen enjoys nature essays, grumpy protagonists, books about books, and anything with a speculative bent.

 

 

 

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The Lost Spells Cover Image
By Robert MacFarlane, Jackie Morris (Illustrator)
$26.00
ISBN: 9781487007799
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Anansi International - October 27th, 2020

It feels a bit trite to call “The Lost Spells” magical, but I was—and am still—genuinely spellbound by this book. Enchantment of this sort is Macfarlane and Morris’s specialty (see, “The Lost Words”). Their nature poems and illustrations are so alive they breathe. They also flutter, caw, and root. Everyone—and this is a book for everyone, no matter your age or opinions on poetry—who reads these spells will find themselves doing the same. This is a good thing. If we learn the spells now, maybe they won’t be lost.


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Plain Bad Heroines: A Novel Cover Image
By Emily M. Danforth, Sara Lautman (Illustrator)
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062942852
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: William Morrow - October 20th, 2020

Who knew metafiction could be such a romp! This book is buzzing with celeb gossip and trumpet flower-fueled drug trips—oh, and vicious swarms of yellow jackets. You’ll be on the edge of your seat as our plain bad heroines many mess around with curses, subversive literature, and each other. Clever, creepy, and a whole bunch of fun. “Kind Devil, deliver me,” indeed!


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A Mind Spread Out on the Ground Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781612198668
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Melville House - August 4th, 2020

Memoir at its finest. Elliot writes with fierce clarity, keenly addressing love, family, mental health, and how these are affected by intergenerational trauma. An invaluable contribution to North American Indigenous literature, particularly for Elliott's breakdown of how ahistorical nostalgia impacts present-day First Nations and Native American communities and individuals. 


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Desert Notebooks: A Road Map for the End of Time Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781640093539
Availability: Backordered
Published: Counterpoint LLC - July 7th, 2020

Equal parts political commentary, literary criticism, and love letter to the desert. Ehrenreich explores how storytelling intersects with the climate crisis, social upheaval, and the passage of time. Lyrical, at times humorous, and deeply appreciative of things natural and ephemeral.  


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Earthlings Cover Image
$20.80
ISBN: 9780802157003
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Grove Press - October 6th, 2020

This adorable cover belies a deeply disturbing book. "Earthlings" appalled, confounded, and amazed me. I don't know that this is a recommendation so much as an exclamation. Brace yourself and read on?


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Legendborn Cover Image
$15.19
ISBN: 9781534441606
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - September 15th, 2020

Fans of the King Arthur legends, rejoice/beware! "Legendborn" turns these classic stories on their head. Take my advice: DON'T mess with Bree. But do read about her! She might be a bit reticent at first, but goodness, has she got a story to tell.


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No-No Boy (Classics of Asian American Literature) Cover Image
By John Okada, Ruth Ozeki (Foreword by), Lawson Fusao Inada (Introduction by)
$17.95
ISBN: 9780295994048
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: University of Washington Press - August 1st, 2014

An agonizing must-read. Skewers the model-minority stereotype and creates space for the anger and trauma resulting from internment. Okada's prose is haunting--perfectly suited to Ichiro's sense of displacement (cultural, physical, moral). Sharp Seattle imagery and a facinating publishing history (look up Shawn Wong at UW!). A vital history lesson, especially in today's climate.


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Hurricane Season Cover Image
By Fernanda Melchor, Sophie Hughes (Translated by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9780811230735
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: New Directions - October 6th, 2020

This book continued to haunt me weeks after I finished it, like some dark, lyrical cloud. Hurricane Season exists sharply in the present—the ways in which violence affects every sense; this prose will make you squirm—but is simultaneously outside of time, folkloric. Melchor’s writing is devastating and propulsive. As much as I sometimes wanted to, I could not put Hurricane Season down.


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Heart Berries: A Memoir Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781640091603
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Counterpoint LLC - April 9th, 2019

The sort of book in which each word is sharp and deliberate. I can't say much more than that--Mailhot speaks for herself better than anyone else ever could.


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The Memory Police: A Novel Cover Image
By Yoko Ogawa, Stephen Snyder (Translated by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101911815
Availability: Backordered
Published: Vintage - July 28th, 2020

Ogawa grabs your gut and twists. "The Memory Police" is permeated with a sharp and constant sense of loss. At once quick-paced and ruminative, this book is a poignant reflection on individual and collective memory, and how these shape our senses of self, unique and shared. 


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Circe Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316556323
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Back Bay Books - April 14th, 2020

A powerful reimagining of a classic Greek myth, Miller's smooth prose and obvious expertise in/love of classical literature is on full display, as is her commitment to examining the treatment of women in these much-loved works. "Circe" tackles feminism, self-love, and what it means to be human. 


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Master of One Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062941442
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: HarperTeen - November 10th, 2020

Rags is an unlikely, unwilling, and sometimes downright unlikable (both intentionally and unintentionally) hero--I found him absolutely delightful! This is fast-paced and action-packed. Read on for some foul-mouthed fun!


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Strange Practice (A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel) Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780316434607
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Orbit - July 25th, 2017

Absolutely delightful! I love a no-nonsense career woman, especially when she’s thrown into a highly nonsensical mess. Evil monks, gentle ghouls, socially-awkward vampires, and a rather eldritch antagonist—Dr. Greta Helsing has a not inconsiderable list of things to deal with. She’ll let you come along for the ride, but keep in mind the state of her jalopy.


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I'm Not Dying with You Tonight Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781492678892
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Sourcebooks - August 1st, 2019

I read all in one go! This book had my heart racing from start to finish. Features alternating perspectives between resourceful and genuine young women. A timely narrative on race and protest, both in broader society and between/within individuals--AND a guaranteed read to raise your blood pressure!


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Folk Tales from Japan: Fables, Myths and Fairy Tales for Children Cover Image
By Florence Sakade, Yoshio Hayashi (Illustrator)
$14.99
ISBN: 9784805314722
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Tuttle Publishing - August 4th, 2020

An absolute favorite! I grew up on these stories--how great to have them all in one book! Memorable, silly, and packed with charming illustrations. Get it! Love it! Tell me which story you enjoyed most (and why it's "The Rolling Mochi Cakes")!


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So Far from the Bamboo Grove Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780688131159
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: HarperCollins - August 12th, 2008

A powerful story of a family's survival. This is a challenging piece of autobiography that benefits from conversation and contextualizing. Read, learn, engage!


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My Autobiography of Carson McCullers: A Memoir Cover Image
$22.95
ISBN: 9781947793286
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Tin House Books - February 4th, 2020

A fascinating exploration—as well as expiation, renunciation, and celebration—of the genres of biography and memoir through the lens of author-as-subject and subject-as-author. Shapland gives McCullers much-needed room to breathe and be while ruminating on the status of lesbians and their relationships within and without the literary world.


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The Factory Cover Image
By Hiroko Oyamada, David Boyd (Translated by)
$13.95
ISBN: 9780811228855
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: New Directions - October 29th, 2019

Short and not at all sweet, Oyamada delves into Kafkaesque themes via clean, bristling prose. If you’re itching to get back into the office (circa COVID-19), The Factory will make you think twice. You may also find yourself watching the cormorants along the canal more closely.


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Once and Forever: The Tales of Kenji Miyazawa Cover Image
By Kenji Miyazawa, John Bester (Translated by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781681372600
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: NYRB Classics - October 2nd, 2018

This is a magical book. Miyazawa (1896-1933) writes meandering fables that draw from traditional Japanese folklore while alluding to the challenges of a changing Japan. The moral lessons in these stories are not always clear - often it is Miyazawa's surreal voice, thoughtfuly retained by Bester, that leaves the most lating impression. This is a book guaranteed to make you marvel at quiet things: a red blanket, telephone poles, a birch tree. Something to read slowly and revisit.


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Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812984965
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: One World - August 18th, 2015

"There is no wholeness outside of our reciprocal humanity" (pg. 290). 

Stevenson's smooth and insightful prose makes an incredibly difficult subject highly readable. This book isn't just about criminal justice; it's about being a compassionate member of our complex and troubled US society. 


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She Would Be King: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781644450017
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Graywolf Press - September 3rd, 2019

One of my favorite books of 2019. A beautiful and mysterious narrative voice. Moore covers witchcraft, colonialism, slavery, and nation-building through the eyes of deeply isolated, ultimately powerful characters. This book is at once wide-reaching, far-seeing, and heart-wrenchingly intimate. 


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Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead: A Novel Cover Image
By Olga Tokarczuk, Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Translated by)
$17.00
ISBN: 9780525541349
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Riverhead Books - August 11th, 2020

Beautiful, odd, and deeply compelling. If you're looking for a thoughtful mystery for an animal lover, this is it. Forceful commentary on what it's like to be a woman, an elder, and--delightfully--an astrologer in an environment where these roles are discounted if not openly disparaged. Plus, the narrator's a kick! 


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Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb Trilogy #1) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250313188
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Tordotcom - July 14th, 2020

A true romp! Action! Adventure! Space! Necromancy! Childhood acrimony turning into something more?? Gideon is a foul-mouthed, badass softie--a wise-cracking heroine who drags the reader along a wild ride. Read it, love it, wait for book two!


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American Birds: A Literary Companion Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781598536553
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Library of America - March 10th, 2020

If birds are your thing, this is your book. Our feathery friends have always had something to teach us—now more than ever we can appreciate their resilience as well as their vulnerability. The eloquent admiration of naturalists, ornithologists, and poets has me reaching for my binoculars; take a page from their (this) book, go outside, and look up.


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White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781632864130
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Bloomsbury USA - September 5th, 2017

A careful and incisive chronology of the rollback of policies intended to bring about greater racial equality. Anderson clearly illustrates a pattern of knee-jerk racism and the enduring consequences this has had for American society


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Convenience Store Woman Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780802129628
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Grove Press - September 17th, 2019

A peculiar and memorable book. Keiko tests the limits of conformity and nonconformity, frequently to the discomfort of those around her. Her approach to the world demands you reevaluate yours. 


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Folk Tales from Japan: Fables, Myths and Fairy Tales for Children Cover Image
By Florence Sakade, Yoshio Hayashi (Illustrator)
$14.99
ISBN: 9784805314722
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Tuttle Publishing - August 4th, 2020

An absolute favorite! I grew up on these stories--how great to have them all in one book! Memorable, silly, and packed with charming illustrations. Get it! Love it! Tell me which story you enjoyed most (and why it's "The Rolling Mochi Cakes")!


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Redwall: A Tale from Redwall Cover Image
By Brian Jacques, Gary Chalk (Illustrator)
$9.99
ISBN: 9780142302378
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Firebird - September 30th, 2002

Warrior mice! Evil rats! Epic battles, legendary heroes, and a mystery from days long gone by. Read for adventure, coming of age, and for all the wonderful books that follow. Oh! and the BEST food writing!


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The Epic Crush of Genie Lo Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781419732096
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Harry N. Abrams - June 25th, 2019

This book is definitely epic! Genie Lo--an authentic, exasperated, Chinese American teenager--tackles everything from SATs to demons to legendary heroes and gods. Fans of the ancient "Journey to the West" will get a kick out of this modern adaptation/twist--a journey to the West Coast, specifically San Francisco! 


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There Must Be More Than That! Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781452183220
Availability: Backordered
Published: Chronicle Books - October 6th, 2020

If you're feeling bummed out abou the state of the world, take a page out of this girl's book! She's got some great ideas about the future--she's just the sort of thinker we need right now! (Especially if you're thinking about how you'd like your eggs for dinner.)


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The Nakano Thrift Shop: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781609453992
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Europa Editions - June 6th, 2017

Meandering plot and prose that captures the odd, frustrating, and episodic nature of day-to-day life. While realistic, this story is persistently charming and ultimately gentle. "Nakano Thrift Shop" is chock full of peculiar failures, triumphs, and people--pay them a visit, "you know what I mean?"


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Maud and Grand-Maud Cover Image
By Sara O'Leary, Kenard Pak (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780399554582
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - August 18th, 2020

This charming book is as cozy as Maud and Grand-Maud's matching flannel nightgowns. If we can't have our own visits with Grand-Maud, we can make do enjoying Maud's.


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The Song of Achilles: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062060624
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Ecco - August 28th, 2012

This portrait of Patroclus (Pa-tro-clus) and Achilles' relationship is carefully and lovingly rendered. Each character is given room to be flawed and to grow. As always, Miller's deep knowledge of the Classics shines through. A heartbreaking and heartwarming read.


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Margaret's Unicorn Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781984896537
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Schwartz & Wade - September 15th, 2020

A delightful story about chance encounters, friendship, and appreciating the time we (us and unicorns, obviously) have together. Features rolling hills, blustery weather, and unicorns that are sweet (but not overly so).


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The Book of Barely Imagined Beings: A 21st Century Bestiary Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780226213200
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: University of Chicago Press - November 10th, 2014

The truth is stranger than fiction, all right. Forget Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - these critters are weird and real and no less fantastic for it. From the axototl to the thorny devil to the zebra fish, Casper Henderson provides compelling natural histories, charming asides, and thoughtful ruminations on Earth's many oddballs, humans definitely included.


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The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library Novel #1) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101988640
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Ace - June 14th, 2016

Featuring librarian/spy Irene, a steamy-punky London, unruly magic, and a powerful, interdimensional library. This book is pure page-turning fun. If you've ever needed affirmation that reading opens doors to new worlds, this is it. Plus, it's the first in an ongoing series, so the bookish excitement continues!