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I have always read only exactly what I want which made me a very poor student but is also why I have a decent working knowledge of the French Revolution, the very dramatic and tumultuous backstage stories from "The Wizard of Oz" ("The Munchkins Remember" by Stephen Cox - sadly out of print but well worth a purchase if you see one,) and the US cycling team Tour de France blood doping scandal (how much did Sheryl Crow know?? When will we get the made for tv movie we deserve?!) I like to read about the collapse of empire, music, movies, mystery novels where someone is getting murdered in a fancy English manor, art history, television, poetry, novels where things are normal seeming & then go completely off the rails when a character begins to turn themselves into a steel chair... you know. Everything!
A current sample below:

The Radiance of the King Cover Image
By Camara Laye, James Kirkup (Translated by), Toni Morrison (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781590174555
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: NYRB Classics - August 16th, 2011

I think this book is easily 100% better than "Heart of Darkness." I also think that Camara Laye is a better writer than Joseph Conrad, and certainly a better authority on Africa. (But let's not have this be all about how much I dislike "Heart of Darkness.")

"The Radiance of the King" follows Clarence, a white man from England with no real skills except losing money in card games, as he arrives in Africa to "work for the king," hoping his whiteness will provide whatever access he needs. It doesn't. The story follows him, his long suffering guide, and two young dancers as they all make their way through a wilderness of land and mind, circling ever closer to the shining glory of the king.

The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II Cover Image
By Svetlana Alexievich, Richard Pevear (Translated by), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780399588747
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - April 3rd, 2018

Easily the most disturbing, amazing, gut wrenching, unbelievably powerful history book I've ever read. Stares unflinchingly at the horror of war and makes a mockery of it's pageantry. Crucial.


You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062388681
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - August 9th, 2016

This book confounds me in the best way. It is about:

  • the claustrophobic horrible/wonderful closeness of being constantly with another woman, with any human
  • oranges
  • cults
  • the fruitless quest for purification
  • what we feed our bodies and our minds; what it means to eat
  • advertising
  • dystopic capitalism
  • chain grocery stores, but the kind where all the food is fake and you are watched by a hidden, silent mascot while you shop
  • violence of all sorts and what it means to die
  • a game show called "That's My Partner!"
  • Kandy Kakes.

Just try it. You'll like it.

The Leopard: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375714795
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon - November 6th, 2007

The gothic Italian novel of my dreams. Somehow both deeply melancholy and oddly funny, with gorgeous, decaying scenery, lush interiors and Sicilian feasts abound.


Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399184765
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - October 25th, 2016

I did not expect the story of Sleater-Kinney to make me consider such things as craft, art as commodity, or womanhood but that right there is the power of a well written book.

Geek Love: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375713347
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - June 11th, 2002

The Benewski parents have presided over a successful carnival for years, staffing it with their own delightfully deformed children. When their only son, Arturo the Aqua Boy Benewski gains a cult like following and becomes a self-proclaimed messiah, the family's facade of control begins to shift with disastrous results. Although on the surface this book is bizarre, even horrifying- just below is a story about happiness, belonging and love. You know, normal stuff.

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The Buried Giant (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307455796
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - January 5th, 2016

Is it the crone and all her dead rabbits? Or is it the boatman she casually taunts while she kills them? Maybe it's the damp labyrinth below the monastary, whose inhabitants seemed so helpful at first, yet there's so many bones lining the path... There is something about this book. That's all I know.