Best Books of the Month: February 2016

These titles have been racing to the top of our popularity charts!

(showing 1-6 of 6)
Sudden Death by Álvaro Enrigue Sudden Death
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Italian painter Caravaggio and Spanish poet Quevedo engage in a deadly allegorical tennis match in this metaphysical romp of a novel that vaults through time to explore art, history, religion, and the impact of 16th-century ideology on modern thought. Stephen says, “Enrigue, whose plotting is a beauty to behold, manages to tie [everything] together in an irreverent, funny, and ultimately tragic novel. This is the kind of book that gives me hope for the future of bold, innovative fiction.” Italian painter Caravaggio and Spanish poet Quevedo engage in a deadly allegorical tennis match in this metaphysical romp of a novel that vaults through time to explore art, history, religion, and the impact of 16th-century ideology on modern thought. Stephen says, “Enrigue, whose plotting is a beauty to behold, manages to tie [everything] together in an irreverent, funny, and ultimately tragic novel. This is the kind of book that gives me hope for the future of bold, innovative fiction.”
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My Father, the Pornographer by Chris Offutt My Father, the Pornographer: A Memoir
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This memoir recounts a son's journey to understand his father, an eccentric who secretly wrote more than 400 pornographic novels in 20 years. Offutt works to forgive as he describes the cruel and distant man who was more dedicated to his writing than to his family. Paula says, “Not a salacious book in the least; this heartfelt memoir is an exploration of the man Chris Offutt was unable to get close to in life—his father. Beautifully and thoughtfully written, full of insight and revelation.” This memoir recounts a son's journey to understand his father, an eccentric who secretly wrote more than 400 pornographic novels in 20 years. Offutt works to forgive as he describes the cruel and distant man who was more dedicated to his writing than to his family. Paula says, “Not a salacious book in the least; this heartfelt memoir is an exploration of the man Chris Offutt was unable to get close to in life—his father. Beautifully and thoughtfully written, full of insight and revelation.”
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A Criminal Magic by Lee   Kelly A Criminal Magic
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What if Prohibition outlawed magic instead of alcohol? This 1920s historical fantasy is packed with gangsters, magical speakeasies, and intrigue. When a sorceress named Joan meets Alex, a federal spy, they must decide whom to trust. Jay says, “I have always been a huge fan of the Prohibition period, with all the bootlegging and gangsters. Kelly's story not only captured the authenticity of the time period and all the action of the rival gangs, but she wrapped it in a 'magic' setting that collared me from th ...more What if Prohibition outlawed magic instead of alcohol? This 1920s historical fantasy is packed with gangsters, magical speakeasies, and intrigue. When a sorceress named Joan meets Alex, a federal spy, they must decide whom to trust. Jay says, “I have always been a huge fan of the Prohibition period, with all the bootlegging and gangsters. Kelly's story not only captured the authenticity of the time period and all the action of the rival gangs, but she wrapped it in a 'magic' setting that collared me from the first chapter.”
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While the City Slept by Eli Sanders While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man's Descent into Madness
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Who is to blame when mental illness leads to violence? In this true-crime narrative, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Sanders delves into a 2009 case of rape and murder in Seattle, looking at a complex sequence of events from every angle. Jeffrey compares it to In Cold Blood "because of the lyricism of the writing and also because Sanders pushes beyond just the facts to discover a greater truth than just innocence or guilt." Who is to blame when mental illness leads to violence? In this true-crime narrative, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Sanders delves into a 2009 case of rape and murder in Seattle, looking at a complex sequence of events from every angle. Jeffrey compares it to In Cold Blood "because of the lyricism of the writing and also because Sanders pushes beyond just the facts to discover a greater truth than just innocence or guilt."
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Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon Try Not to Breathe
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Left for dead, Amy Stevenson has been in a coma for 15 years, her attacker never found. Struggling alcoholic and reporter Alex Dale becomes obsessed with solving the cold case in this psychological thriller, even as her own life unravels. Jen calls it "engrossing, raw, mesmerizing, and utterly unputdownable.…Alex is a messy disaster of a person, and yet. You just can't help rooting for her to get herself together and find the truth." Left for dead, Amy Stevenson has been in a coma for 15 years, her attacker never found. Struggling alcoholic and reporter Alex Dale becomes obsessed with solving the cold case in this psychological thriller, even as her own life unravels. Jen calls it "engrossing, raw, mesmerizing, and utterly unputdownable.…Alex is a messy disaster of a person, and yet. You just can't help rooting for her to get herself together and find the truth."
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Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin Symptoms of Being Human
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Sometimes high schooler Riley Cavanaugh identifies as a girl, and sometimes as a boy. But growing up gender fluid in a conservative town isn't easy—or even safe—and Riley's politician dad is up for reelection in this novel for teens. Jon says, "An absolutely heartbreaking and achingly real novel about finding yourself. Easily one of the most important books published in years…." Sometimes high schooler Riley Cavanaugh identifies as a girl, and sometimes as a boy. But growing up gender fluid in a conservative town isn't easy—or even safe—and Riley's politician dad is up for reelection in this novel for teens. Jon says, "An absolutely heartbreaking and achingly real novel about finding yourself. Easily one of the most important books published in years…."
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