Our Recommendations

  • The Martian

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    The Martian Cover Image
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    Staff Reviews

    Calling all space nerds! Sit down, buckle in, and prepare to blast through this book at light speed! This book was such fun to read, with an endearing character you simply have to root for. Great for fans of Robinson Crusoe-y adventures and Apollo 13.

    Don’t take my word for it.

    “A book I just couldn’t put down!”

    --Astronaut Chris Hadfield

    — From The Martian


    Nominated as one of America's best-loved novels by PBS's The Great American Read

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

    Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.

    After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

    Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.

    But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

    About the Author

    ANDY WEIR was first hired as a programmer for a national laboratory at age fifteen and has been working as a software engineer ever since. He is also a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects like relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. The Martian is his first novel.

    Coverage from NPR

    Product Details
    ISBN: 9780553418026
    ISBN-10: 0553418025
    Publisher: Broadway Books
    Publication Date: October 28th, 2014
    Pages: 400
    Language: English
  • Stella by Starlight

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    Stella by Starlight Cover Image
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    Staff Reviews

    An evocative new novel from the bestselling author Out of My Mind. Stella grows up in depression-era North Carolina, living under the dark shadow of Jim Crow. Draper doesn’t shy away from the hardships, yet kids will be drawn to Stella’s gumption and resilient spirit. A must-read!


    — From Stella by Starlight


    When the Ku Klux Klan's unwelcome reappearance rattles Stella's segregated southern town, bravery battles prejudice in this Depression-era tour de force from Sharon Draper, the New York Times bestselling author of Out of My Mind.

    Stella lives in the segregated South--in Bumblebee, North Carolina, to be exact about it. Some stores she can go into. Some stores she can't. Some folks are right pleasant. Others are a lot less so. To Stella, it sort of evens out, and heck, the Klan hasn't bothered them for years. But one late night, later than she should ever be up, much less wandering around outside, Stella and her little brother see something they're never supposed to see, something that is the first flicker of change to come, unwelcome change by any stretch of the imagination. As Stella's community--her world--is upended, she decides to fight fire with fire. And she learns that ashes don't necessarily signify an end.
    Product Details
    ISBN: 9781442494978
    ISBN-10: 1442494972
    Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
    Publication Date: January 6th, 2015
    Pages: 336
    Language: English
  • Undoing the Demos

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    Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution (Zone / Near Futures) Cover Image
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    Staff Reviews

    Bold, fierce, sublime.  Foucault scholar, U.C. Berkeley Professor, and ardent critic of contemporary economic conditions, Wendy Brown is both a local hero, and, along with her partner, Judith Butler, a giant in modern political thought. This book is required reading for anyone interested in the stealth operations of neoliberal policy -- it takes the reader on a tour of how the aggressive faith in free market principles impoverishes and imperils diverse operations of the American public sphere, from business and law to politics and education. It is well-written, brilliantly argued, and easily one of the most compelling and important works of scholarship to appear this year, if not the best-known.


    — From Undoing the Demos


    Tracing neoliberalism's devastating erosions of democratic principles, practices, and cultures.

    Neoliberal rationality--ubiquitous today in statecraft and the workplace, in jurisprudence, education, and culture--remakes everything and everyone in the image of homo oeconomicus. What happens when this rationality transposes the constituent elements of democracy into an economic register? In Undoing the Demos, Wendy Brown explains how democracy itself is imperiled. The demos disintegrates into bits of human capital; concerns with justice bow to the mandates of growth rates, credit ratings, and investment climates; liberty submits to the imperative of human capital appreciation; equality dissolves into market competition; and popular sovereignty grows incoherent. Liberal democratic practices may not survive these transformations. Radical democratic dreams may not either.

    In an original and compelling argument, Brown explains how and why neoliberal reason undoes the political form and political imaginary it falsely promises to secure and reinvigorate. Through meticulous analyses of neoliberalized law, political practices, governance, and education, she charts the new common sense. Undoing the Demos makes clear that for democracy to have a future, it must become an object of struggle and rethinking.

    About the Author

    A prize-winning examination of why nation-states wall themselves off despite widespread proclamations of global connectedness.
    Product Details
    ISBN: 9781935408536
    ISBN-10: 1935408534
    Publisher: Zone Books
    Publication Date: February 6th, 2015
    Pages: 296
    Language: English
    Series: Zone / Near Futures
  • Iridescence of Birds

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    The Iridescence of Birds: A Book about Henri Matisse Cover Image
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    Staff Reviews

    Incredibly elegant and spare in its storytelling, Iridescence of Birds is one of the most beautiful picture books of the year!


    — From Iridescence of Birds


    If you were a boy named Henri Matisse who lived in a dreary town in northern France, what would your life be like? Would it be full of color and art? Full of lines and dancing figures?

    Find out in this beautiful, unusual picture book about one of the world's most famous and influential artists by acclaimed author and Newbery Medal-winning Patricia MacLachlan and innovative illustrator Hadley Hooper.

    A Neal Porter Book

    About the Author

    Patricia MacLachlan is the author of many novels for children, including the Newbery Medal-winning Sarah, Plain and Tall; Baby; Waiting for the Magic; and The Truth of Me. Among her picture books are What You Know First and Lala Salama. She lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and her old dog, Emmet.Hadley Hooper works as an editorial illustrator for numerous magazines and newspapers. In 2011 she illustrated Here Come the Girl Scouts! by Shana Corey. The Iridescence of Birds is her second picture book and first for Roaring Brook Press. She lives in Denver, Colorado.
    Product Details
    ISBN: 9781596439481
    ISBN-10: 1596439483
    Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
    Publication Date: October 14th, 2014
    Pages: 40
    Language: English
  • Highgrove

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    Highgrove: An English Country Garden Cover Image
    By The Prince of Wales, Bunny Guinness (Text by (Art/Photo Books)), Marianne Majerus (Photographer)
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    Staff Reviews

    Gorgeously photographed and impeccably written, this is a rare peek at a lovingly curated royal estate. Splendid!


    — From Highgrove


    The pioneering demonstration of organic gardens planned and planted by the Prince of Wales over thirty years at Highgrove. The gardens at Highgrove are one of the world's most celebrated examples of organic gardening, offering inspiration to generations of gardeners by showing that a gorgeous landscape through completely organic and earth-friendly means is truly possible. Like a personal tour through each of the seasons, the Prince of Wales, along with Bunny Guinness, describes the thinking behind each planting, lessons learned from trial and error, the highlights and triumphs, as well as future plans. Lavishly illustrated with photographs that capture both the light and detail of this majestic space, this beautiful book will delight and inspire gardeners of every level. It is an exquisite celebration of garden design, full of passion and inspiration.

    About the Author

    H.R.H. The Prince of Wales has long championed organic farming and sought to raise awareness of the dangers of climate change. He founded The Prince's Trust in 1976 and is a patron of over 450 charitable organizations worldwide. Bunny Guinness is a chartered landscape architect, journalist, and a regular panelist on the famous BBC radio program, Gardener's Question Time.
    Product Details
    ISBN: 9780847845613
    ISBN-10: 0847845613
    Publisher: Rizzoli International Publications
    Publication Date: February 17th, 2015
    Pages: 240
    Language: English
  • There's Something I Want You to Do: Stories

    There's Something I Want You to Do: Stories Cover Image
    Hard to Find


    From one of the great masters of the contemporary short story, here is an astonishing collection that showcases Charles Baxter's unique ability to unveil the remarkable in the seemingly inconsequential moments of an eerie yet familiar life.
    Penetrating and prophetic, the ten inter-related stories in There's Something I Want You to Do are held together by a surreally intricate web of cause and effect--one that slowly ensnares both fictional bystanders and enraptured readers. Benny, an architect and hopeless romantic, is robbed on his daily walk along the Mississippi River, and the blow of a baseball bat to the back of his knee feels like a strike from God. A drug dealer named Black Bird reads Othello while waiting for customers in a bar. Elijah, a pediatrician and the father of two, is visited nightly by visions of Alfred Hitchcock. Meanwhile, a dog won't stop barking, a passenger on a transatlantic flight reads aloud from the book of Psalms during turbulence, and a scream carries itself through the early-morning Minneapolis air.
    As the collection progresses, we delve more deeply into the private lives of these characters, exploring their fears, fantasies, and obsessions. They appear and reappear, performing praiseworthy and loathsome acts in equal measure in response to the request--or demand--lodged in each story's center. The result is a portrait of human nature as seen from the tightrope that spans the distance between dreams and waking life--a portrait that could have arisen only from Baxter's singular vision. Readers will be stunned by his uncanny understanding of human attraction and left to puzzle over the meaning of virtue and the unpredictable and mysterious ways in which we behave.

    About the Author

    Charles Baxter is the author of the novels The Feast of Love (nominated for the National Book Award), The Soul Thief, Saul and Patsy, Shadow Play, and First Light, and the story collections Gryphon, Believers, A Relative Stranger, Through the Safety Net, and Harmony of the World. The stories -Bravery- and -Charity, - which appear in There's Something I Want You to Do, were included in Best American Short Stories. Baxter lives in Minneapolis and teaches at the University of Minnesota and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.
    Product Details
    ISBN: 9781101870013
    ISBN-10: 110187001X
    Publisher: Pantheon Books
    Publication Date: February 3rd, 2015
    Pages: 240
    Language: English
  • Monastery

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    Monastery Cover Image
    By Eduardo Halfon, Lisa Dillman (Translator), Daniel Hahn (Translator)
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    Staff Reviews

    A beautiful follow up to The Polish Boxer. The personal is political for Halfon, and his reflections on family, memory, and religion makes this book a truly powerful short read. It’s that rare kind of novel that’s smart but entertaining enough to read in one sitting. Which is what I did, kind of by accident. Couldn’t put it down!

    — Nick

    This is a beautiful follow-up to Halfon’s first novel, The Polish Boxer. The personal is political for Halfon, and his reflections on family, memory, and religion makes this book a truly powerful short read. It is that rare kind of novel that is smart but entertaining enough to read in a single sitting -- which is what I did, kind of by accident. Couldn’t put it down! ~Nick

    — From Monastery


    Best Translated Book Award Longlist
    Reader's Digest Great New Book
    World Literature Today Holiday Gift Guide Recommendation

    "Offer s] surprise and revelation at every turn." --Reader's Digest

    "Eduardo Halfon is a brilliant storyteller." --DANIEL ALARC N, author of At Night We Walk in Circles

    In Monastery, the nomadic narrator of Eduardo Halfon's critically-acclaimed The Polish Boxer returns to travel from Guatemalan cities, villages, coffee plantations, and border towns to a private jazz concert in New York's Harlem, a former German U-Boat base on the French Breton coast, and Israel, where he escapes from his sister's Orthodox Jewish wedding into an erotic adventure with the enigmatic Tamara. His passing encounters are unforgettable; his relationships, problematic. At once a world citizen and a writer who mistrusts the power of language, he is pursued by history's ghosts and unanswerable questions. He is a cartographer of identity on a compelling journey to an uncertain destination. As he draws and redraws his boundaries, he confronts us with the limitations of our own.

    Eduardo Halfon was named one of the best young Latin American writers by the Hay Festival of Bogot and is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the prestigious Jos Mar a de Pereda Prize for the Short Novel. The Polish Boxer, his first book to appear in English, was a New York Times Editors' Choice selection and finalist for the International Latino Book Award. Halfon is currently the Harman Writer in Residence at Baruch College in New York and travels frequently between his homes in Nebraska and Guatemala.

    About the Author

    Eduardo Halfon was born in Guatemala City, moved to the United States at the age of ten, went to school in South Florida, studied Industrial Engineering at North Carolina State University, and then returned to Guatemala to teach literature for eight years at Universidad Francisco Marroquín. Named one of the best young Latin American writers by the Hay Festival of Bogotá, he is also the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the prestigious José María de Pereda Prize for the Short Novel. He has published eleven previous books of fiction in Spanish. The Polish Boxer, his first book to appear in English, was a New York Times Editors' Choice selection and finalist for the International Latino Book Award. Halfon is currently the Harman Writer in Residence at Baruch College in New York and travels frequently between his homes in Nebraska and Guatemala.
    Product Details
    ISBN: 9781934137826
    ISBN-10: 1934137820
    Publisher: Bellevue Literary Press
    Publication Date: October 14th, 2014
    Pages: 158
    Language: English
  • The FitzOsbornes in Exile

    The Fitzosbornes in Exile (Montmaray Journals #2) Cover Image
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    Summer 2011 Kids' Next List

    “This sequel to A Brief History of Montmaray delivers the goods. After their island home is destroyed by the Germans, Sophia and her family evacuate to London, where they try to regain control of their homeland. Set in the years leading up to WWII, the family saga, both bittersweet and hilarious, continues. This meticulously researched book presents another great work from a stellar voice in historical fiction for young adults.”
    — Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX


    Michelle Cooper combines the drama of pre-War Europe with the romance of debutante balls and gives us another compelling historical page turner.

    Sophia FitzOsborne and the royal family of Montmaray escaped their remote island home when the Germans attacked, and now find themselves in the lap of luxury. Sophie's journal fills us in on the social whirl of London's 1937 season, but even a princess in lovely new gowns finds it hard to fit in. Is there no other debutante who reads?

    And while the balls and house parties go on, newspaper headlines scream of war in Spain and threats from Germany. No one wants a second world war. Especially not the Montmaravians--with all Europe under attack, who will care about the fate of their tiny island kingdom?

    Will the FitzOsbornes ever be able to go home again? Could Montmaray be lost forever?

    From the Hardcover edition.

    About the Author

    MICHELLE COOPER has held a variety of jobs including selling shoes and working at a blood bank. But she now works as a speech pathologist. She specializes in learning disabilities and reluctant readers, so she's passionate about getting children and teenagers interested in books. You can learn more about Michelle and her books at MichelleCooper-Writer.com. From the Hardcover edition.

    Praise For…

    Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2011:
    "Multilayered and engrossing, Cooper’s tale alternates between frothy fun and heartbreaking seriousness with utter mastery."

    Product Details
    ISBN: 9780375851551
    ISBN-10: 0375851550
    Publisher: Ember
    Publication Date: March 13th, 2012
    Pages: 457
    Language: English
    Series: Montmaray Journals
  • Dorothy Parker Drank Here

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    Dorothy Parker Drank Here Cover Image
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    Staff Reviews

    If you love Dorothy Parker, imagine her ghost haunting the Algonquin Hotel, frightening the guests and ordering cocktails from the staff. In Meister’s witty novel, Parker encounters a cast of characters, including a curmudgeonly old writer and an eager young television producer, each with their own crazy agenda.

    A fun ride great for fans of Jonathan Tropper or Maria Semple. ~Antonia

    — From Dorothy Parker Drank Here


    The acid-tongued Dorothy Parker is back and haunting the halls of the Algonquin with her piercing wit, audacious voice, and unexpectedly tender wisdom.
    Heavenly peace? No, thank you. Dorothy Parker would rather wander the famous halls of the Algonquin Hotel, drink in hand, searching for someone, anyone, who will keep her company on this side of eternity.
    After forty years she thinks she's found the perfect candidate in Ted Shriver, a brilliant literary voice of the 1970s, silenced early in a promising career by a devastating plagiarism scandal. Now a prickly recluse, he hides away in the old hotel slowly dying of cancer, which he refuses to treat. If she can just convince him to sign the infamous guestbook of Percy Coates, Dorothy Parker might be able to persuade the jaded writer to spurn the white light with her.Ted, however, might be the only person living or dead who's more stubborn than Parker, and he rejects her proposal outright.
    When a young, ambitious TV producer, Norah Wolfe, enters the hotel in search of Ted Shriver, Parker sees another opportunity to get what she wants. Instead, she and Norah manage to uncover such startling secrets about Ted's past that the future changes for all of them.

    About the Author

    Ellen Meisterhas writtenfive novels includingFarewell, Dorothy ParkerandThe Other Life as well as numerous short stories and essays.She teaches creative writing at Hofstra University Continuing Education, and does public speaking about her books and other writing-related issues. Ellen lives on Long Island with her husband and three children."
    Product Details
    ISBN: 9780399166877
    ISBN-10: 0399166874
    Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
    Publication Date: February 24th, 2015
    Pages: 336
    Language: English
  • China Dolls

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    China Dolls Cover Image
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    Staff Reviews

    One of the most accurate depictions of “showbiz” I have read in recent years. See paints a portrait of the lives of 3 female entertainers in the glamorous (and not so glamorous) nightclub scene of the 1940s in San Francisco. She tackles tough stuff too -- female friendships in a competitive business, and the panic and xenophobia following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Rich in historical detail - hard to put down!

    — Antonia



    Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader's Circle for author chats and more.

    The author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and Shanghai Girls has garnered international acclaim for her great skill at rendering the intricate relationships of women and the complex meeting of history and fate. Now comes Lisa See's highly anticipated new novel, China Dolls.

    It's 1938 in San Francisco: a world's fair is preparing to open on Treasure Island, a war is brewing overseas, and the city is alive with possibilities. Grace, Helen, and Ruby, three young women from very different backgrounds, meet by chance at the exclusive and glamorous Forbidden City nightclub. Grace Lee, an American-born Chinese girl, has fled the Midwest with nothing but heartache, talent, and a pair of dancing shoes. Helen Fong lives with her extended family in Chinatown, where her traditional parents insist that she guard her reputation like a piece of jade. The stunning Ruby Tom challenges the boundaries of convention at every turn with her defiant attitude and no-holds-barred ambition.

    The girls become fast friends, relying on one another through unexpected challenges and shifting fortunes. When their dark secrets are exposed and the invisible thread of fate binds them even tighter, they find the strength and resilience to reach for their dreams. But after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, paranoia and suspicion threaten to destroy their lives, and a shocking act of betrayal changes everything.

    Praise for China Dolls

    "Superb . . . This emotional, informative and brilliant page-turner resonates with resilience and humanity."--The Washington Post

    "This is one of those stories I've always wanted to tell, but Lisa See beat me to it, and she did it better than I ever could. Bravo Here's a roaring standing ovation for this heartwarming journey into the glittering golden age of Chinese nightclubs."--Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

    "A fascinating portrait of life as a Chinese-American woman in the 1930s and '40s."--The New York Times Book Review

    "A sweeping, turbulent tale of passion, friendship, good fortune, bad fortune, perfidy and the hope of reconciliation."--Los Angeles Times

    "Lisa See masterfully creates unforgettable characters that linger in your memory long after you close the pages."--Bookreporter

    "Stellar . . . The depth of See's characters and her winning prose makes this book a wonderful journey through love and loss."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    "China Dolls plunges us into a fascinating history and offers an accessible meditation on themes that are still urgent in our contemporary world."--San Francisco Chronicle

    "China Dolls is Lisa See's] most penetrating since Snow Flower and the Secret Fan."--The Seattle Times

    About the Author

    Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of Dreams of Joy, Shanghai Girls, Peony in Love, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Flower Net (an Edgar Award nominee), The Interior, and Dragon Bones, as well as the critically acclaimed memoir On Gold Mountain. The Organization of Chinese American Women named her the 2001 National Woman of the Year. She lives in Los Angeles.
    Product Details
    ISBN: 9780812982824
    ISBN-10: 0812982827
    Publisher: Random House Trade
    Publication Date: March 3rd, 2015
    Pages: 416
    Language: English


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