James

James has been a bookseller for over two decades. He enjoys reading and writing poetry and short stories. He also enjoys live theater--especially Lanford Wilson, and Shakespeare. And his favorite authors include:  Emily Austin, Steven Rowley, Annie Dillard, C. S. Lewis, Frederick Buechner, Madeleine L'Engle, Amy-Jill Levine, and Barbara Brown Taylor.

 

 

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Reading Genesis By Marilynne Robinson Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780374299408
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - March 12th, 2024

We know these stories, right?  Or... do we? In this hard-to-classify book (it's not academic, but there is certainly scholarship), Marilynne Robinson invites us on a journey of re-discovery. There is a freshness and a sense of urgency to this exploration of these ancient texts. Perhaps it takes a masterful storyteller to approach these stories anew.  This is not an easy book.  But a rewarding one!


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In Tongues: A Novel By Thomas Grattan Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780374608187
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: MCD - May 21st, 2024

Deserves to be in the company of Catcher in the Rye (Holden meet Gordon--part comic, part tragic; smart and smart ass). Unexpectedly and profoundly moving. Still haunted by it. This is quite simply the finest coming-of-age novel I've ever read!


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How to Build a Boat By Elaine Feeney Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9781771965859
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Biblioasis - November 7th, 2023

Hands down, my favorite novel of the year! I cannot say enough good things about it.  Glorious!
Most people have genre preferences. So not all books are to everyone's tastes.  But once in a blue moon there comes along a novel that so beautifully captures and yet somehow also transcends cultural and other boundaries that it captivates the hearts, minds, and imaginations of... well, the world.  This book is, I believe, surely one of them.  Whether it wins the Booker Prize or not, it will, I feel confident, stand the test of time.  This is a novel we'll be talking about with our family and friends, reading in our book clubs, and teaching in our classrooms for years to come. Bank on it:  How To Build A Boat is destined to be a classic.


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Charming Young Man By Eliot Schrefer Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780062982391
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - October 10th, 2023

Same gifted author (The Darkness Outside Us), but a different trajectory--Instead of being cast into the far-flung future, we are drawn back in time to 19th Century Paris (mostly). Leon Delafosse is an attractive, young (17 year old) poor and yet extremely talented pianist and composer. He has high hopes of winning a patronage that will cover his school's costs and even perhaps enable him to make his way in the music world.  Along the way he is also trying to make his way toward understanding and living his truest self.  I was totally captivated! This is such a wonderful novel!


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My Name Is Barbra By Barbra Streisand Cover Image
$47.00
ISBN: 9780525429524
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Viking - November 7th, 2023


Called a perfectionist (or worse!), it is clear that Barbra Streisand is passionate about every one of her projects.  She takes them very personally—especially when it comes to telling her own story.  My Name Is Barbra is the long-awaited memoir that Streisand penned to counter the rumor mill and celebrity gossip. But it is much more than that.  Here Streisand, ever the stickler for details, takes us behind the scenes from her early days and career—from Brooklyn to Broadway, and from our home screen televisions to Hollywood.  Along the way she has broken barriers, suffered setbacks, and achieved astonishing accomplishments and accolades.  This is her remarkable life told from her inimitable point of view. 


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Roman Stories By Jhumpa Lahiri, Jhumpa Lahiri (Translated by), Todd Portnowitz (Translated by) Cover Image
By Jhumpa Lahiri, Jhumpa Lahiri (Translated by), Todd Portnowitz (Translated by)
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593536322
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Knopf - October 10th, 2023

Words, like stories, can be slippery. In the hands of a good writer they can carry you away on flights of fancy, or they can ground you irrevocably to hard truths. These nine short stories are a case in point.  For Lahiri, an excellent writer, does each of those things as she offers here a collection of stories and words into which I have slipped and fallen--headfirst and heart last.  Truly heartbreaking, in the very best way. 


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Indian Winter By Kazim Ali Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9781552454657
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Coach House Books - May 14th, 2024

I have never read anything quite like Indian Winter.  A hauntingly poetic and deeply reflective interior and exterior journey through the landscape of the soul--and in particular, the beautifully queer soul of the narrator--this novel proved compelling and compassionate.  This is a rare jewel of a book. I was totally and willingly seduced by the language, and ultimately, by the wisdom simmering and shimmering to consciousness in these pages. Wow!


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Anyone's Ghost: A Novel By August Thompson Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593656563
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order now
Published: Penguin Press - July 9th, 2024

This novel is a heart-wrenching love story. And while the two men have difficulty putting their feelings into words--sharing their true selves with one another, the author has no such difficulty.  The narration moves from raw and rough going--brutally and bone-crushingly honest observations-- to the kind of tender confessional-like vulnerability that feels everything, questions everything. Deeply moving.


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The Old Haunts By Allan Radcliffe Cover Image
$13.99
ISBN: 9781914148385
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Fairlight Books - September 19th, 2023

This short novel is an evocative set of glimpses into the life of a young gay man--episodic meditations of coming to terms with his sexuality and grieving the recent death of his parents. Jamie's story stays with you long after the last page--a bittersweet haunting.


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Dragged to the Wedding By Andrew Grey Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781335508133
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Carina Adores - October 17th, 2023

Fun and funny, Dragged to the Wedding is a sweet, sassy, sexy gay rom-com.  I enjoyed it thoroughly!


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Cinema Love: A Novel By Jiaming Tang Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593474334
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Dutton - May 7th, 2024

At the core of this brilliant first novel by Jiaming Tang are a trio of characters in complicated relationships. The husband and wife share the secret of his love for men--and, in particular, for one man who, while living in China, he met at a cinema.  This cinema became a "safe" place for closeted gay men to meet, have sex, and sometimes to find love.  Rippling out in concentric circles from this core trio, other lives spread out into a much wider water--crossing oceans, confronting barriers of culture and tradition in this nearly epic novel.  Deeply moving and memorable, I absolutely loved this novel!


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Ferris By Kate DiCamillo Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781536231052
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Candlewick - March 5th, 2024

Funny, sweet, nostalgic--this delightful and unpretentious novel is really about home.  We know this neighborhood. It is our welcome place--the family and friends, the people, (and creatures!) that claim our hearts, and who share our hopes and dreams. Kate Dicamillo never disappoints.  Because, ultimately, she knows what a good story is. (See Ferris for that reference).  And this is a good story!


The Darkness Outside Us By Eliot Schrefer Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062888235
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - May 10th, 2022

An exciting and queer romantic YA sci-fi / dystopian novel, The Darkness Outside Us brims with tension--both sexual as well as the dangers faced in the race to survive an outer space mission that seems doomed from the beginning. Who can be trusted? And where is this leading us?  In and among the mortal peril, there are heartbreakingly tender moments.  Well worth the read!


Interesting Facts about Space: A Novel By Emily Austin Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781668014233
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Atria Books - January 30th, 2024

I loved this second novel by Emily Austin. But, to joyfully shout out that she's done it again might imply that we have here a formulaic repeat of the successful elements in Everyone In This Room-and, indeed, that would not be a bad thing at all. Especially considering how much I loved the first novel. But this new one both unravels and comes together in mostly unexpected ways. It's funny-very funny-until it isn't. This novel goes even deeper, closer to the heart. And Emily Austin brings it home brilliantly! I'm totally and wholeheartedly recommending this book to everyone!


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Pearl: (Booker Prize Longlist 2023) By Siân Hughes Cover Image
$18.99
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ISBN: 9781911648529
Published: The Indigo Press - September 19th, 2023

This is a beautiful novel.  Heartbreaking and heart-mending, this is one woman's journey through memory and loss. Sian Hughes casts a spell that enchants and disabuses us of enchantment. Her storytelling skills are both sharp and exquisitely nuanced here.  Set withing the framework of British folklore--think of some of the more harrowing rhymes of Mother Goose--Marianne's story unfolds from when, as an young girl, her mother leaves one day, never to return. Marianne charts a course marked by clues (such at the Medieval poem The Pearl) to attempt to come to terms with who her mother was and why she left.  Haunting.  Richly evocative.  And beautiful. I love it! 


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The Librarianist: A Novel By Patrick deWitt Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780063085121
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Ecco - July 4th, 2023

Bob Comet is a retired librarian.  One day he steps out of his mint-colored house to go for a walk.  This walk becomes an adventure.  Along the way, it turns out that Bob has had a few other adventures. And with spare prose--and a generous dose of humor and life wisdom--we discover, along with Bob, that it takes many characters to build our character.  There are no villains here, just us quirky and all-too-human beings.  This novel is a delight from start to finish!


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Two Boys Kissing By David Levithan Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780307931917
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Ember - May 12th, 2015

This is the best and my favorite queer YA novel.  In fact, I think that THIS NOVEL should be in the Guinness Book of World Records--something the two boys at the center of the novel are attempting to do.  What David Levithan achieves here is very nearly epic in scope.  The chorus of voices (those who have gone before) sets a much-needed context that is so often lacking in coming-of-age stories.  But the canvas is so much larger here.  What a wonderful, wonderful book!


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Tim Te Maro and the Subterranean Heartsick Blues  By H.S Valley Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9781760508753
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Hardie Grant Children's Publishing - February 14th, 2023

There is so much to love here--diverse characters, a magical world, queer romance, and quite simply, a beautifully written novel.  Imbued with the kind of kinetic awareness that comes from navigating first lust-to-love. This book has plenty of heat and heart!


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The Many Assassinations of Samir, the Seller of Dreams: Newbery Honor Award Winner By Daniel Nayeri, Daniel Miyares (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Daniel Nayeri, Daniel Miyares (Illustrator)
$21.99
ISBN: 9781646143030
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Levine Querido - March 7th, 2023

What a great read! Set in (roughly) the 11th century and along the famous Silk Road trade route, this novel follows a young orphan (Monkey) whose life is saved by a seemingly unscrupulous Merchant (Samir).  What follows is nothing short of a brilliantly told adventure--an absolute romp of a novel--brimming with an exotic atmosphere of history, heart, and humor--laugh-out-loud funny! I loved everything about this book!


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The New Life: A Novel By Tom Crewe Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781668000830
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Scribner - January 3rd, 2023

Historical fiction set in 1890's London. This is a character driven and beautifully written first novel.  Coming to terms with one's true self when one's true self is against the law.  The new life is the future that these all very human women and men dream of, yearn for, imagine and work for--and try to live in--even in the midst of widespread societal prejudice and cruel, unjust laws.  This novel is haunting, leaves a deep impression on the reader long after the book has been closed.


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The Guncle By Steven Rowley Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780525542308
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - April 5th, 2022

This is the perfect Summer read!:  sunny and gay (in both senses of that word)—just like the Palm Springs vacation we all need. Through sad circumstances, Patrick O’Hara (as the gay uncle or ”guncle”) has charge of his young niece and nephew for the Summer.  But this is a comedy.  It is, in fact, a valentine to Auntie Mame—replete with all of the glitz and glamour, the heart and humor that you would expect.  The Guncle is a delight!


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Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead: A Novel By Emily Austin Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781982167363
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Washington Square Press - June 28th, 2022

Gilda suffers from anxiety and an obsession with death.  Tender-hearted, she lies to avoid hurting other people’s feelings (or upsetting their perceptions of reality). So she sets herself up for some bizzare I Love Lucy-like situations.  As the reader, we are inside her head (and along for the ride) as she spirals and soars…and occasionally shines.  Her vulnerability is her strength.  And this darkly comic novel’s heroine—with whom we cannot help but fall in love—reminds us what it’s really like to be human in our often messy world.  


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All That’s Left in the World By Erik J. Brown Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780063054974
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Balzer + Bray - March 8th, 2022

This post-apocalyptic novel features two very different protagonists who share in the telling of this story.  It is the story of a journey--a difficult journey through a harsh and hostile landscape--but, more importantly, the journey of self-discovery and love in the midst of so much loss, grief, and uncertainty about the future.  The writing and character development are superb.  This is a most rewarding page-turner!


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And They Lived . . . By Steven Salvatore Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781547608195
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Bloomsbury YA - March 8th, 2022

One of the best YA LGBTQ  books that I have read.  I loved this novel!  The romance and the character development were compelling.  I only wish that there had been this kind of novel when I was growing up!


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The Temperature of Me and You By Brian Zepka Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781368064712
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Disney Hyperion - January 25th, 2022

This novel reads like a good film--it caught and held my attention and proved to be a fine and fun adventure.  The sweet romance and good humor were just right.


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The Beatryce Prophecy By Kate DiCamillo, Sophie Blackall (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Kate DiCamillo, Sophie Blackall (Illustrator)
$19.99
ISBN: 9781536213614
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Candlewick - September 28th, 2021

The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate Di Camillo. "What world is this I now inhabit, and how shall I live in it?”  These are the words that haunt a young girl who can only remember her name—Beatryce.  Found wounded and without her memory, Beatryce is offered shelter by the kindly Brother Edic, a monk of the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing.  He nurses her back to health and disguises her as one of the monks in order to protect her from the danger he believes is her fate—she is the one of prophecy, and a threat to the King. And so it is that Beatryce must pretend to be someone she is not in order to be safe.  But she is not safe.  She must go back into the world—a world at war—and her adventure is fraught with danger.  Beatryce must piece together the fragments of her memory (which come to her in dreams) and remember who she is in order to save the realm.  Along the way she meets up with Jack Dory, who, in contrast to Beatryce, has a “prodigious” memory—along with the gift of mimicry (all of which comes in handy in times of crisis). He notices the sky and can recognize the “blue of unexpected beginnings”. Jack also has the good sense to pay attention to the bees! And, as with the best of Kate DiCamillo’s books, there is an iconic animal character:  Answelica, the “demon” goat. Loyal (and loving) only to Beatryce, Answelica is a fierce protector.  But, then again, is anyone safe when they must pretend to be someone they are not in order to survive? The Beatryce Prophecy is a wise and wonderful middle reader novel, packed with plenty of adventure and a good measure of heart as well!


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A Marvellous Light (The Last Binding #1) By Freya Marske Cover Image
$28.99
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ISBN: 9781250788870
Published: Tordotcom - November 2nd, 2021

A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske. A seamless mashup of literary genres (historical fiction, mystery, fantasy, and romance) coalesce in this fascinating and fresh tale of magic and magicians—with a Queer twist— set in Edwardian England. It all begins with a deadly curse and then a murder. Right away, we know the stakes are high. Enter Robin Blyth, a non-magical wealthy and titled gentlemen appointed to a minor government post as a liaison between the government and a secret magical society. He meets the magical society’s Edwin Courcey. Together they must attempt to unravel the mystery that falls upon them both with cruel swiftness and dire consequences. This first novel in a planned trilogy promises much and, so far, delivers on that promise.


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Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest By Suzanne Simard Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780525565994
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Vintage - June 21st, 2022

Noted forest ecologist, Suzanne Simard, has written an illuminating and compelling book—weaving the insights of her years of research with her own personal story.  She writes with the authority and clarity of a scientist, and with the soul of a poet.  More than a book, this is a richly rewarding journey of discovery—the best non-fiction book I’ve read in years!


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The Selected Canterbury Tales: A New Verse Translation By Geoffrey Chaucer, Sheila Fisher (Translated by) Cover Image
By Geoffrey Chaucer, Sheila Fisher (Translated by)
$18.95
ISBN: 9780393341782
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 9th, 2012

 

“Are we there, yet?” isn’t just the persistent comment from the kids in the back seat of the car. It is, if we’re being honest, a good question. From ancient times, the motif of life as a journey resonates throughout literature. We are reminded of The Canterbury Tales, where everyone has a story to tell. So, as we plan our own travels (vacations, holidays, or pilgrimages), let us consider how we might become better travelling companions—by truly listening to the stories of others and by risking sharing our own stories! Whether you’re in search of a beach read, a travel guide, or a mind trip—QABC is your destination! There is so much to discover together! 


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So You Want to Talk About Race By Ijeoma Oluo Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781580058827
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Seal Press - September 24th, 2019

I read this for a course on race and justice.  And I found this to be an excellent book on an often difficult subject. Honest, forthright, thoughful, painful and hopeful--this book is exactly what I needed to read at this moment in our nation's history.  Highly recommended.


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Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America By Ibram X. Kendi Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781568585987
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Bold Type Books - August 15th, 2017

This is the history book I wish that I had read when I was a student in school.  Sadly, this is the history that, for many of us (most of us), was not taught in school.  Well worth the time spent here, there is not a boring page in it.  


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Strength to Love By Jr. King, Martin Luther Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9780800697402
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Fortress Press - April 15th, 2010

This collection of Dr. King's sermons was foundational for shaping my own theological journey.  I recently re-read them from cover to cover.  And they still echo down the years with prophetic power and great wisdom.


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Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation By Latasha Morrison, Daniel Hill (Foreword by), Jennie Allen (Afterword by) Cover Image
By Latasha Morrison, Daniel Hill (Foreword by), Jennie Allen (Afterword by)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525652885
Availability: Backordered
Published: WaterBrook - October 15th, 2019

Of the many resources that we now find available to us to help us as we struggle to understand and to listen to this urgent national conversation on race and justice, this book is written explicitly within a Christian context.  As such, the format here provides the perfect context for why it is so essential for our faith and formation to take this journey now.  This is our call and challenge.


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Last Bus to Wisdom: A Novel (Two Medicine Country) By Ivan Doig Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781101982563
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Riverhead Books - August 16th, 2016

This novel is a delightful journey back in time. There is plenty of heart and humor along the way. I loved it!


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The Maytrees: A Novel By Annie Dillard Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780061239540
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Harper Perennial - June 10th, 2008

An unusual--no, an odd--love story.  Who would do this?  Really?  What Lou does... well, it's nothing short of astounding.  Nevertheless, this novel (only Annie's second work of fiction), is a stylistic triumph.  For AD has pared down the verbage to the absolute bare minimum.  The language and the story is all about essentials. For here is the keen and sharp life of the mind as it parces the language of love.  What does it mean to love someone--especially when they fail you?  What do you have in the end when everything extraneous is cut away?  Turns out that there is quite a lot--a lot to live on.  And think about.  This novel is unforgettable.  I loved it!


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Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others By Barbara Brown Taylor Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062406576
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: HarperOne - March 24th, 2020

So, what happens when a renowned Episcopal preacher teaches a university World Religions 101 course and, along the way, learns herself some life-changing lessons on God and what it means to have faith? Like all of Barbara Brown Taylor's books (and sermons), this book is a please to read.  Her writing is engaging, thoughtful, and challenging.  And funny, too. (Not always, mind you.  But, often enough). Another book that I thoroughly enjoyed!


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Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi By Amy-Jill Levine Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780061561030
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: HarperOne - September 15th, 2015

My favorite New Testament scholar has written a magestic book on the parables of Jesus. (Some of these have also been adapted, with illustrations, into children's picture books.) Looking at the parables with attention to how they would have been heard by the original first century Jewish audience, Levine re-tells these stories (that have become so familiar to us that we now often miss what they are trying to tell us).  AJL is always excellent and well-worth listening to and reading.  (She is a professor, lecturer and writer).  A must for students of the Bible (both professional and otherwise).


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The Chronicles of Narnia Full-Color Paperback 7-Book Box Set: The Classic Fantasy Adventure Series (Official Edition) By C. S. Lewis, Pauline Baynes (Illustrator) Cover Image
By C. S. Lewis, Pauline Baynes (Illustrator)
$90.93
ISBN: 9780064409391
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: HarperCollins - August 22nd, 2000

It is now a yearly tradition for me to re-read the Chronicles of Narnia in December. And I never grow tired of visiting Narnia. Of the seven volumes, my personal favorite is The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. (Who doesn't want to live on board a ship and sail for adventures!). Interesting side note:  though these stories may seem a "grab bag" collection of genres, a fairly recent work of literary criticism by Oxford scholar, Michael Ward, has done (I think) a convincing job of demonstrating the authors "hidden" coherance of the novels.  See his book, Planet Narnia, for the details.  (It, too, is excellent.)


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A Wrinkle in Time: (Newbery Medal Winner) (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet #1) By Madeleine L'Engle Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780312367541
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Square Fish - May 1st, 2007

If there was a contest for writing a story that begins with the now cliche, "It was a dark and stormy night..." (remember Snoopy always begin to write this way, too), then this novel would be my choice for the top prize. The first book in a series (many of L'Engle's characters share a fictional family tree connection), A Wrinkle in Time is a fantasy / fable that speaks powerfully to each generation of what it means to be uniquely one's self--and not be conformed to the tyrany of  "the same". Told from the perspective of the young and the vulnerable, this conflict of good verses evil is set in a sci-fi / fantasy world that is also very much grounded in the homely realities of family and friends.  It's about loyalty and love.  And, of course, it's about saving the world.


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The Hobbit By J.R.R. Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien (Illustrator) Cover Image
By J.R.R. Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9780547928227
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - September 18th, 2012

The story that started it all.  The journey that started it all.  J. R. R. Tolkien gives us not only an enchanting story, he creates for us an enchanting world--with a full-blown mythology and language and geography that is as rich and diverse, and strange--and strangely familiar-- as our own world.  Of course you'll want to continue on to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Then you'll want to return to these books again and again.  There is so much to notice.  So much to love.


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The Color Purple: A Novel By Alice Walker Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143135692
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Penguin Books - December 10th, 2019

You don't really run across very many epistolary novels these days.  This one--well deserving the category of contemporary classic--is a novel of letters.  Alice Walker weaves together a tapestry of characters whose lives come together and come undone, and are beautifully mended (somehow).  This novel is heart-rending and lovely, and ultimately magical.  Don't miss this one!


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Godric: A Novel By Frederick Buechner Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780060611620
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: HarperOne - December 22nd, 1999

If you thought saints led holy and good and boring lives, then you haven't read Godric.  This award-winning novel by the great Frederick Buechner is stark and rolicking, bawdy and heartfelt, and holy--but not holy in a holier-than-thou sense.  This is a fast-paced adventure.  A novel (based on some historical events and characters) that is divinely fleshed out in a thoroughly human way.  Delightful!


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I Heard the Owl Call My Name By Margaret Craven Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780440343691
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Dell - January 15th, 1980

Years ago, when I read this for class, I never dreamed that I would live in the Pacific Northwest (which is the setting for this now classic YA novel).  Growing up in south Florida, the terrain (to say nothing of the villages) it describes was unfamilar to me. In many ways, it still is.  But the sense of entering into a place and a way of life that is so different (from what one has always known) is part of what keeps this novel one that is still one that, in spite of some of the dated language, is haunting and beautiful, and sad.  Now that I live in the Pacific Northwest, I feel an even greater kinship to this novel.


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Love's Labor's Lost (Folger Shakespeare Library) By William Shakespeare, Dr. Barbara A. Mowat (Editor), Paul Werstine, Ph.D. (Editor) Cover Image
$6.99
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ISBN: 9780743484923
Published: Simon & Schuster - July 1st, 2005

My favorite play in the Shakespeare cannon.  LLL is a celebration (and parody) of language. The bantering back and forth, the upstaging and puncturing of egos, and the war of the sexes all combine to make this play feel more modern than its 16th century context would lead you to believe. This comedy is unorthodox in so many way, not least in the fact that the ending does not wrap itself up in a tidy bow (the proverbial happy ending wedding, so popular then as now).  But, that is not a spoiler.  The title gives that plot point away.  The Folger Library editions are the best for reading Shakespeare (with the text on the right, the notes and illustrations on the left).  This is great theater!


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Pilgrim at Tinker Creek By Annie Dillard Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780061233326
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Harper Perennial Modern Classics - September 10th, 2013

This Pulitzer Prize Winning book is the one that put Annie Dillard on the map, as they say.  Nevertheless, it is Dillard herself who actually maps the territory here.  A modern day Walden Pond (as it has been compared to), Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is an odd and wonderful mash up of metaphysics and science--all anchored in a very specific stretch of nature, with a very specific geographical context.  Paradoxically, the particulars lend themselves to universals (and it's Aristotle and Plato in the School of Athens... only in New England this time).  This is a magnificent book!


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Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters By Annie Dillard Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780060915414
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Harper Perennial - October 15th, 2013

Annie Dilliard is my favorite--and, indeed--I would maintain--our greatest living American author.  She lives up to all the hype.  Though her body of work is not voluminous.  When I want to encourage a reader to dive into her work, I usually recommend that they begin here--with this magnificent collection of essays.  This is the perfect Annie Dillard sampler.  This will give you an excellent introduction to the author.  


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The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition (Earthsea Cycle) By Ursula  K. Le Guin, Charles Vess (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Ursula K. Le Guin, Charles Vess (Illustrator)
$59.99
ISBN: 9781481465588
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: S&S/Saga Press - October 30th, 2018

So... long before there was Hogwarts and Harry Potter (and no need to disparage JKR's wonderful series), there was the wizard's school of Roke, and the novels of Earthsea.  These are wonderful adventures!  And now, having the novels together in one volume--beautifully illustrated!--is a real treat.  If you've never immersed yourself in the world of Earthsea, then perhaps it is high time that you did.  Highly recommended.


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Moby-Dick: or, The Whale (Modern Library Classics) By Herman Melville, Elizabeth Hardwick (Introduction by), Rockwell Kent (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Herman Melville, Elizabeth Hardwick (Introduction by), Rockwell Kent (Introduction by)
$17.00
ISBN: 9780679783275
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Modern Library - October 10th, 2000

I know, I know.  Moby Dick--the book that seems to be as big and scary as a whale!  The one that, if you are like me, we were supposed to have read for our American Literature class. (But we never seemed to have actually got through... for a host of no doubt good reasons.) Nevertheless, like so many other classics that I have returned to in my adult life (when I was not under the gun of a deadline, or paper, or exam), this book did finally grab ahold of and keep my attention--all through that dark, wet, and chilly Seattle Autumn when I committed to the journey.  (Autumn is, by the way, a perfect time to read this book.)  Epic in scope and drenched in atomosphere, the novel takes some time to ground us in its larger-than-life setting and subject (Hawthorne's language, style, and attention to detail take some getting used to for modern readers:  it may seem almost encyclopedic and overmuch at times.  For example, there is an entire chapter on Chowder!  Yet this is also its glory.  For Melville is, in building this story, building a ship, a life on a ship, a life at sea, and it all culminates in an ultimate journey.  I loved it!  (In spite of Woody Allen's funny / snarky comment in Zellig about no one ever finishing Moby Dick).  Go back. Read it.  You'll be hooked.  (Literally.)


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The Divine Comedy: Volume 1: Hell By Dante Alighieri, Dorothy L. Sayers (Translated by), Dorothy L. Sayers (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Dante Alighieri, Dorothy L. Sayers (Translated by), Dorothy L. Sayers (Introduction by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780140440065
Availability: Available to order - Usually arrives at our store in 1-5 days
Published: Penguin Classics -

Known now primarily for her series of mystery novels, Dorothy L. Sayers, considered her finest work to have been her translation of Dante's Divine Comedy.  In this respect, I believe she was correct. Though the more modern verse translation by the Hollanders is very good, I prefer DLS's more classic translation--which she sets out (as in the original Italian) in terza rhyme.  Her notes throughout are the best I've found anywhere (short of delving into the deeper waters of Charles Williams works on Dante).  And, although many (if not most) readers nowadays never venture beyond the first of the three volumes (we tend to find Hell or The Inferno much more interesting), I would encourage making the whole three part journey through to the glorious finale!  Futhermore, as Dante will remind you:  pay attention to the stars.


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The Bible With and Without Jesus: How Jews and Christians Read the Same Stories Differently By Amy-Jill Levine, Marc Zvi Brettler Cover Image
$34.99
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ISBN: 9780062560155
Published: HarperOne - October 27th, 2020

The editors of The Annotated Jewish New Testament explore some of the Hebrew Bible stories that Jews and Christians share in common.  With insight and humor, this book is a much-needed and welcome addition to the growing body of literature dedicated to re-visiting these classics texts, and examining what we can learn from each other.  These are fresh readings with exciting implications for today!


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Always a Guest: Speaking of Faith Far from Home By Barbara Brown Taylor Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780664261702
Availability: Available - On our shelves now
Published: Westminster John Knox Press - October 20th, 2020

This is a delightful collections of essays, talks, sermons, and sundry pieces that Barbara Brown Taylor has compiled--with reflections on the circumstances under which these talks were given.  BBT is a progressive voice whose writings have inspired and challenged folks from a variety of faiths. This anthology is remarkably personal and heartfelt.