Staff Picks

Here are staff picks from our Bookworks booksellers. 

MORE STAFF PICKS

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Air Mail: Letters of Politics, Pandemics, and Place Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781948814386
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Torrey House Press - October 13th, 2020

RECOMMENDED BY DEB

In 2020, grief and pain, often such lonely emotions, are being faced almost universally. The widespread pain of the coronavirus pandemic, its economic fallout, and the long overdue reckoning on racial injustices, can, and do, trigger our personal traumas in unexpected ways. Pam Houston and Amy Irvine delve into these issues, and more, in Air Mail, Letters of Politics, Pandemics, and Place. What began for these acclaimed authors (who had not been acquainted before) as a correspondence for an Orion magazine feature on how writers were making their way through the isolation of sheltering-in-place due to COVID-19, became a sustaining interchange for them. And for me. Every night this small, powerful book sat on my bedside table, I let myself read one of each of their letters, and by reading their anger, fear, and resolve, I came to understand my own feelings better and found determination of my own.

From the day-to-day (savoring the small joys of their mountain homes, to fearing the hugs of their mask-less hyper-masculine neighbors) to the nation- and planet-wide concerns of the day (the systematic dismantling of environmental protections, and global climate disruption), they took me on a journey, though none of us left home.

Houston and Irvine still had not met by the end of the book, but the foundation of their friendship had been solidly laid, the sources of their individual anguish courageously explored, and their resolve to survive and thrive through it all had been fortified. And so had mine. I would be surprised if they aren’t still writing now, months after the last letter in Air Mail. I’m buying this book for my best friends. When you turn its final pages, maybe you will too (at Bookworks website (for now, due to COVID-19), of course).


Anxious People: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781501160837
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - September 8th, 2020

RECOMMENDED BY CONNIE

A half hour or so after reading Anxious People by the wonderful story builder, Fredrik Backman, I faced a dilemma.

I was torn between immediately commencing another read through of it, or calling friends to see if they had read it yet and if so, which character spoke to them the most.  But then again, I thought, would I have to loan my copy or buy a copy for someone who hadn’t read it?

Backman expresses the concerns of young and elderly and ages in between with a gentle pen as if, were he to meet you in line at the grocery store and asked how you are doing he would really want to know.  The main stage is an apartment for sale which people  interested in have come to view.  But the viewing is disrupted by someone who dashes in carrying  lots of anxiety, a bad decision and no money.  In Anxious People Backman links aspects of parenting, working life, and loneliness, with the mortar of puzzling bits of details that add dimension and flourishes to the space he builds.  Apartment hunting will never be the same nor will the reader’s thinking about how important everyday interactions with people can be.


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Memoirs and Misinformation: A novel Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780525655978
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - July 7th, 2020

RECOMMENDED BY PAT

On the back cover is a quote by Jim. “None of this is real, and all of it is true.” And so we are launched into the world of a current Jim Carrey, the era of his box office hits behind him, struggling with that age old predicament of finding purpose and contentment in a Hollywood that is vicious and delusional, brutally judgmental, yet full of real and imagined surprises. The movie industry machinery is revealed with laser focus, the insecurities of fame, money, and talent, they dig deeply into it all with honesty, humor and imagination. Whether it is real or not is beside the point, this is a true Hollywood tale, filled with juicy tidbits about many famous people, with Carrey as the star, and he knows this world inside and out. The ending? Well you just have to go down that road with him. It is an ending of epic proportions.


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The Glass Hotel: A novel Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780525521143
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - March 24th, 2020

RECOMMENDED BY JENNIFER

The Glass Hotel is completely absorbing from the first page. Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven, explores seemingly ordinary and sometimes amoral characters and creates a fascinating story relevant to current times. She skillfully delves into the abundant shades of grey that lie between our ideas of good and evil. She interweaves times, places, and people in a web that explores the type of people involved in a Ponzi scheme; alternate universes that the mind can travel, if one had made a different choice at certain points in their lives; and how people, living and dead, can haunt someone. She populates her story with ghosts or hauntings, at one point insightfully writing, “There are so many ways to haunt a person, or a life…” She doesn’t judge her characters but intimately fleshes out the ambiguity that influence their choices leading to unintended consequences. I highly recommend this book.


The Warehouse: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781984823809
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ballantine Books - August 25th, 2020

RECOMMENDED BY PAT

Want to know what the planet would be like if Amazon took over all of retail? Well this book gives you a realistic description of what that could look like, and with today’s situation, it is moving in that direction at breakneck speed. The main character, Paxton, an entrepreneur who lost his business through undercutting by the Cloud is now working for the same company in one of their massive live-work facilities, where everyone works, sleeps and if there is time, socializes.  Zinnia works there too, undercover, trying to find a way to bring the Cloud down. And Gibson, the CEO of the Cloud, gives us the backstory of how he came to own all of retail. Told in these three voices, we learn about this possible future in a wonderfully creative way. It’s creepy because it is so close to where we are headed, but it is also written well and ends with a small flicker of hope, which I really appreciated. A good read in these times, as much as it disturbed me, I also really enjoyed reading it


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Hollow Kingdom Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781538745830
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - July 7th, 2020

RECOMMENDED BY PAT

I’ve never read a novel that could morph from hilarity to horror in the span of a paragraph, but this book does it over and over. A dystopian, eco fiction romp, this story carries on without the human race, narrated by an opinionated crow and random dogs, sheep, camels, bears and cats. As odd as the setup, the premise is great, told with wonderful characterization and empathy, as well as non-subtle hints about the downfall of humankind. ST (short for shit turd) entertains, braves danger and learns from the other survivors while he and his sidekick, Dennis, a bloodhound, tromp through Seattle, dealing with the carnage and saving the domestic animals that can’t escape their household prisons. A wildly creative novel, told with humor and a deep understanding of the natural world, I was infatuated right up to the lovely ending.


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Three Women Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781451642308
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster - July 7th, 2020

RECOMMENDED BY JENNIFER

Wow! Lisa Taddeo's Three Women is stunning. Part of the beauty of the book is the way she let the women's voices and experiences shine through with so much clarity and detail. Even their emotions, so different from one another are written so clearly that it seems like the women themselves wrote the book. There seem to be no judgments in the narration to sway the reader from one side to another. Though, in the epilogue Taddeo writes some of her own thoughts and conclusions that only enrich the reading experience by adding her perspective. The additional beauty is in the writer’s observations of other people’s reactions to these three women. This is a complex work that will make you think about your own life, those around you, and the impact you have on one another.


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Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780399589065
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: One World - March 24th, 2020

RECOMMENDED BY AMANDA


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In West Mills Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781635575286
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - June 16th, 2020

RECOMMENDED BY JENNIFER


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Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393357660
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - January 7th, 2020

RECOMMENDED BY AMANDA

 


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The Immortalists Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780735215092
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - February 5th, 2019

RECOMMENDED BY MARINA


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Lab Girl Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781432840846
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Large Print Press - April 26th, 2017

RECOMMENDED BY DEB


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American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin (Penguin Poets) Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143133186
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - June 19th, 2018

RECOMMENDED BY AMANDA


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You Were Born for This: Astrology for Radical Self-Acceptance Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9780062840639
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperOne - January 7th, 2020

RECOMMENDED BY AMANDA

This book is one worth turning to if you are either a beginning student of astrology or an advanced one. It takes one through the basics of each sign, explains planetary aspects, and shows the reader how to chart their own birth houses and what it all means. The packaging is beautiful, but this really could be a workbook, as internet famous astrologer Chani Nicholas takes you through the process of getting to know your chart better, which can be supplemented with material from her website. The difference between this book and others in the field is its focus on free will and self acceptance. Nicholas prefaces the work by saying that too many of us for too long have been judged negatively or treat our own astrological signs with disdain; she posits that whatever our charts look like, we should be radically accepting of who we are and our ability to use our traits for the best, no matter our signs.


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The Crystal Witch, Volume 6: The Magickal Way to Calm and Heal the Body, Mind, and Spirit (Modern-Day Witch #6) Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781454934684
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sterling Publishing (NY) - November 5th, 2019

RECOMMENDED BY AMANDA

This book is so fun. Small, sturdy, and accessible, it teaches one the basics of the spiritual properties of different minerals and their crystals, from a Wiccan perspective. It contains information about many mineral types, how to "wash" and charge your crystals, spells for a plethora of issues, and more! An encyclopedic look at the metaphysics of crystals.


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Writers & Lovers Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780802148537
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - March 3rd, 2020

RECOMMENDED BY DEB

Seems to this reader that it’s always a dicey thing for writers to write about writing. Many of us
harbor fantasies about doing just that, and we don’t necessarily want to hear about the realities
of the thing when we’ve got a notion of what we think it’s like already running through our
minds and hearts. But Lily King pulls it off, because Writers & Lovers isn’t just about writing. It’s
about life. It’s about that time in life when you figure out who you are. It’s about how Casey,
King’s first-person protagonist, finds her way to what she really needs to do in life, how she
navigates grief for her mother who dies suddenly, and it’s about love. Yes, a coming of age
story, too. All done well. Enjoy!


They Went Left Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316490573
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - April 7th, 2020

RECOMMENDED BY CONNIE

I thought the writing was compelling. It’s set in the aftermath of World War ll, it considers the  emotional trauma in trying to piece together a life following release from concentration camps.  I think it offers valuable insight into a period when people were desperately trying to find family members and find some sense of beginning again.  It offers a lot to think about and discuss.