Melanie

Melanie is a compulsive reader and lifelong bibliophile. She dabbles in editing, bookbinding, and writing. Find her listening to a nonfiction audiobook on her commute around town or curled up with some literary or speculative fiction--along with her cat, of course.

 

Other recommendations: Where to start in science fiction and fantasy.

 

 

 

 

 

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Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780553447453
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books - February 28th, 2017

A powerful piece of narrative nonfiction, Evicted tackles the true stories of property owners and tenants in Milwaukee as a microcosm of a rising crisis across the country. Having lived among them while researching his book, Desmond paints intimate portraits of his subjects, making you want to cheer and weep in turn as they struggle with closely bound cycles of poverty, addiction, and eviction.


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On a Sunbeam Cover Image
$21.99
ISBN: 9781250178138
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: First Second - October 2nd, 2018

At times simple and sweet and at others fast-paced and gut-wrenching, this graphic novel is a masterpiece. Originally seen as a webcomic, it is a story of love found and love lost, set in a fantastical conception of space. In this this universe, the conventions of sci-fi are ignored in favor of an elegant aesthetic and gentle story.


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Saga Volume 1 (Saga (Comic Series)) Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781607066019
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Image Comics - October 23rd, 2012

Two young soldiers from opposing sides of an intergalactic war fall madly in love and are forced into a life on the run in order to protect their newborn daughter. This comic series is everything I want from sci-fi: outlandish, creative, and ambitious. Vaughn's writing cops have already been proven with his wildly successful Y: The Last Man series, but this series is brought to vibrant life with Staples' fantastic and detailed artwork.


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The Incurable Romantic: And Other Tales of Madness and Desire Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781541617551
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Basic Books - September 18th, 2018

Tallis takes us a through a series of case studies--dotted with the history of psychology, sprinkled with his own personal reactions, and strung together with the theme of pathological love. An excellent choice for the layperson interested in psychology.


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Frankenstein: The 1818 Text Cover Image
By Mary Shelley, Charlotte Gordon (Introduction by), Charlotte Gordon (Contributions by)
$10.00
ISBN: 9780143131847
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Classics - January 16th, 2018

While the 1831 version is the one most modern readers are familiar with, there were two earlier versions published, the very first being in 1818. Major differences include the Paradise Lost epigraph being removed, the first chapter being broken up, and Elizabeth being changed from Victor's cousin to an unrelated woman under the family's charge. Perhaps the greatest distinction, however, is how Victor and Victor's free will are portrayed: in the 1818 version he chooses to stop his experiments.


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The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780525577942
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Delacorte Press - September 25th, 2018

A Young Adult retelling of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein that reimagines the demure (and bland) character of Elizabeth Larenza, bride of Victor Frankenstein. Fans of the classic novel may be tempted to throw this book across the room halfway through, but I urge you to ride it out--it just may surprise you.


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The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062444134
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Voyager - July 5th, 2016

The Wayfarers series is loosely tied together so you don't necessarily have to read them all in order! Still, starting with The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is a good bet as it sets up the complex universe for the rest of the installments. It features a quirky found family on an episodic journey. 


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A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers #2) Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062569400
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Voyager - March 14th, 2017

My favorite by Chambers so far! Alternating narratives ramp up in sync, with overlapping themes and characters, set in a wonderfully imagined sci-fi universe. AI fans, check it out!


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Pearl Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316465670
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - October 9th, 2018

With luminous and simple artwork, this picture book gives a gentle life lesson about how even seemingly small responsibilities can be important--and even little people can make big things happen.


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Midnight in Broad Daylight: A Japanese American Family Caught Between Two Worlds Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062351944
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - January 31st, 2017

A precious glimpse into a Japanese-American family's experience during WWII, this story was captured just in time as the two brothers featured passed away while the book was still in production. The Fukuhara family was split between America and Japan as Pearl Harbor was attacked and members endured not only military service on both sides, but also internments camps and the bombing of Hiroshima. Fascinating, heartbreaking, and yet charming!


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Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening Cover Image
By Marjorie Liu, Sana Takeda (Artist)
$9.99
ISBN: 9781632157096
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Image Comics - July 19th, 2016

Art Deco and steampunk collide in this brutal fantasy series set in an alternative-world Asia. It follows its young heroine, an outcast named Maika Halfwolf, as she searches for the source of her violent powers. Dark in both style and substance, Monstress isn't for the faint of heart but recommended for those looking for an intense new graphic series.


I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life Cover Image
By Ed Yong
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062368607
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco - January 16th, 2018

The fascinating and entertaining story of our wee friends the microbes and how they influence our day-to-day lives, from defense to digest. We are not alone and we're all the better for it--as long as we treat our microbiomes right. Well-researched and deftly written.


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Doomsday Book: A Novel (Oxford Time Travel) Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780553562736
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Spectra - August 1993

  • Time travel.
  • Plagues (plural).
  • Christmas cheer!

There's nothing quite like this award-winning novel. Warning: danger of laughter, probability of tears. (Kim cried.)


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Mara, Daughter of the Nile Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780425291733
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - March 20th, 2018

My childhood favorite! And well-loved by my brothers and sisters too. Loaded with suspense, subterfuge, and romance and featuring a bold heroine--all set in Ancient Egypt under the rule of Queen Hatshepsut.


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Watership Down: A Novel Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780743277709
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - November 2005

Don't let the horrifying memories of the decidedly not-for-children cartoon stop you!* This classic is truly unique. Fans of fantasy and sci-fi will appreciate the language and culture developed for the rabbit protagonists, while animal enthusiasts will appreciate how these critters are portrayed true to their nature. Well, almost true to nature...

*Although now there's a new adaptation to frighten a whole new generation.


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On a Sunbeam Cover Image
$21.99
ISBN: 9781250178138
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: First Second - October 2nd, 2018

At times simple and sweet and at others fast-paced and gut-wrenching, this graphic novel is a masterpiece. Originally seen as a webcomic, it is a story of love found and love lost, set in a fantastical conception of space. In this this universe, the conventions of sci-fi are ignored in favor of an elegant aesthetic and gentle story.


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The Metamorphosis Cover Image
By Peter Kuper (Adapted by), Franz Kafka
$11.99
ISBN: 9781400052998
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books - July 20th, 2004

Kuper has captured Kafka's novella's essence and given it new form (although probably not an overnight transformation!), reimagining it with visceral intensity in stark black and white. A literary graphic novel not to be missed!


Staff Pick Badge
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780553447453
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books - February 28th, 2017

A powerful piece of narrative nonfiction, Evicted tackles the true stories of property owners and tenants in Milwaukee as a microcosm of a rising crisis across the country. Having lived among them while researching his book, Desmond paints intimate portraits of his subjects, making you want to cheer and weep in turn as they struggle with closely bound cycles of poverty, addiction, and eviction.


Staff Pick Badge
Unthinkable: An Extraordinary Journey Through the World's Strangest Brains Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062391179
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - June 4th, 2019

This book is filled with snapshots of wonderfully different minds, from the woman who hears music constantly to (my personal favorite) a man with synesthesia despite being color-blind. And it’s interactive! Sprinkled throughout are little “how-to” features that help you get to taste the experience of these remarkable brains.


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Underground: A Human History of the Worlds Beneath Our Feet Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780812996746
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Spiegel & Grau - January 29th, 2019

In the case of this title, I can’t help but read “human history” as singular, as it’s Hunt’s life-long obsession that drives this book. Seamlessly drifting into memoir territory, Hunt takes us with him as he encounters the mysteries of the underground, from meeting the man who used New York City’s subway tunnels as a journal to visiting the sheltered remains of a Mayan human sacrifice.


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Alias Grace: A Novel Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780385490443
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - October 13th, 1997

Lovers of true crime and mystery look no further than this sordid historical fiction. It's the true story of young Grace Marks, a Irish-Canadian maid convicted of a hideous crime of which she claims to remember nothing. A doctor in the burgeoning field of mental illness is determined to uncover the truth. Could this docile creature be guilty?


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Three Women Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781451642292
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster - July 9th, 2019

With profound care, Taddeo lays out the lives of three American women caught up in the repercussions of their most intimate desires.