Kerry M.'s Picks

 

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Stringers By Chris Panatier Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780857669629
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Angry Robot - April 12th, 2022

Fun and funny science fiction!  A bit reminiscent of Hitchhiker's Guide, but with somewhat darker overtones.  I'll be curious to see if there is a sequel!


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Pearls of Wisdom: Advice from a Dead Squirrel Who Knows Everything By Me Pearl, Georgette Spelvin Cover Image
$22.99
ISBN: 9781954641020
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Apollo Publishers - April 5th, 2022

Hilarious and inspirational!  I will not attempt to capture the magic that is this book in such a small review.  Spelvin and all of her critter friends just make me happy!   Be sure to check out their Youtube channel for even more fun: https://www.youtube.com/user/MEpearlA


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High-Risk Homosexual: A Memoir By Edgar Gomez Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781593767051
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Soft Skull - January 11th, 2022

I was shocked at how fast I read this book!  It was heartbreaking and inspiring, and it felt brutally honest.  One of the best coming out stories I've read.  I hope Edgar Gomez keeps writing, because I want to keep reading.


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Fresh Water for Flowers By Valérie Perrin, Hildegarde Serle (Translator) Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781609456764
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - May 4th, 2021

Personally, I have always loved cemeteries.  The older, the better.  Every marker is a story. 
This book is beautiful!  Stories told in flashback are sometimes tedious, but it works remarkably well here.  Getting to know Violette Toussaint in this way makes her seem more real. She is someone I wish I could sit down and talk with over coffee-- or maybe something stronger.


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Hour of the Witch: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries) By Chris Bohjalian Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780525432692
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - January 25th, 2022

Though set in New England during the time of many witch trials (10 years before Salem), the real story here is of a young Puritan woman attempting to achieve a better life for herself.  Such a fascinating look at Boston society in the 1680s!  Among other things, who knew that it was even possible for Puritans to divorce?  The author does a fantastic job at slowly building the tension until the final, satisfying conclusion.


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Hi, I'm an Atheist!: What That Means and How to Talk About It with Others By David G. McAfee Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781250782083
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Essentials - November 2nd, 2021

This book doesn't try to convince you that there's no god, but it does give some great advice on how to talk to other people about your non-belief. Both atheists and religious folk may find this to be an interesting and informative read!


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What Happens at Night By Peter Cameron Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781646220786
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Catapult - October 19th, 2021

What a wonderfully strange little novel.  Other reviewers have suggested that it is reminiscent of Kafka. It seemed as if I was reading a dream.  It has a timeless quality, as I wasn't sure whether it was set in the present or the past.  Haunting and full of weirdness, it is brimming with emotion-- and schnapps.


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The Nickel Boys: A Novel By Colson Whitehead Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780345804341
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - June 30th, 2020

A fictional book based on real events, this story, at its heart, is one of survival.  Beautifully written with unexpected twists, I had to take brief pauses between certain chapters to absorb what I'd just read.  Sometimes beautiful and often heartbreaking, this one stays with you after you're done reading it.


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Saltus By Tara Gereaux Cover Image
$22.95
ISBN: 9780889714007
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Nightwood Editions - September 28th, 2021

I don't really know what it's like to be transgender, but I do my best to understand.  And when I read books like this, set in a small town in Canada in the early 90s, I am hopeful that things are at least slightly better now.   In an attempt to save her child from suicide, Nadine enlists the help of a small town loner to perform a radical procedure.  What follows is an exploration of the ways in which people in town are affected by the incident. 
I put off reading the ending for a long time because it could have gone in several terrible directions.  Luckily, I was treated to an outcome that was mostly satisfying, if not entirely realistic given the circumstances.


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Hola Papi: How to Come Out in a Walmart Parking Lot and Other Life Lessons By John Paul Brammer Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781982141516
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - June 7th, 2022

I absolutely loved this book!  I was rooting for the author the whole time.  Growing up gay in small town America isn't easy (we have that in common), but I felt so much pride and happiness as I got to see how he survived, and how he learned to thrive.  Now, I want to write to Papi!


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Apartment By Teddy Wayne Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781635577853
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - June 8th, 2021

Perhaps reading this in the middle of social distancing wasn't the best idea. Or maybe it had more resonance because of that. This book lifted me up and then punched me in the gut. It is tragic in all the best ways. Humanity at its loneliest-- its happiest and its worst. 


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Spirit Run: A 6,000-Mile Marathon Through North America's Stolen Land By Noe Alvarez Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781646220533
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Catapult - March 2nd, 2021

Noé Álvarez is the son of working-class, immigrant parents and he desperately wanted out of Yakima, Washington. After a short stint at college, he signed up for the Peace and Dignity Journeys-- a run from Alaska to South America celebrating indigenous peoples. Along the way, he connected to the land and the people in ways he never expected.  He found a new appreciation for where he's from and where he wants to go.
Like any great pilgrimage, Noé's story is thoughtful, honest, and emotional. 


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Veritas: A Harvard Professor, a Con Man and the Gospel of Jesus's Wife By Ariel Sabar Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780525433897
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - June 29th, 2021

An alleged "lost Gospel" made headlines in 2012 for making reference to a "wife of Jesus."   
Ariel Sabar was the only journalist of note present at the announcement of the discovery, and he was instrumental in researching the provenance (or origins) of this small scrap of papyrus.  At the heart of the story is the polite con-man, pathological in his ability to deceive, and the eminent Harvard professor so anxious to have her views reinforced.   
A true story that reads like fiction!


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Sisters of the Vast Black (Our Lady of Endless Worlds #1) By Lina Rather Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781250260253
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
(Please note: This book cannot be returned.)
Published: Tordotcom - October 29th, 2019

One of my favorite books of all time is Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow, which can be described as "Jesuits in space." So when a friend recommended this novella to me I thought, "Nuns in space? Count me in!" I was not disappointed. There is so much to this little book-- the characters, the story, and a fully realized world that I'd like to revisit some day. I loved it!


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The Guide: A novel By Peter Heller Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780525657767
Availability: Not currently on our shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - August 24th, 2021

A fantastic follow up to Heller's previous book! This has everything-- adventure, intrigue, a love story, and even dealing with a great loss. Current events inspired this plot in a pivotal and wholly original way. Even non-outdoorsy types may find themselves longing to get to the mountains!


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The River: A novel (Vintage Contemporaries) By Peter Heller Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780525563532
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - March 3rd, 2020

This was touted to me as a great adventure story, a real page turner. It certainly was, but it seems to me that it was more a book about friendship told in the context of an adventure-- one that turns into a struggle for survival. It affected me much more than I expected and it turned out to be an even better book than I'd hoped.


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kaddish.com: A novel By Nathan Englander Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525434054
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - February 11th, 2020

Larry has a problem.  He's young and directionless and doesn't want to say Kaddish (the Jewish prayer for the dead) for his father.  He discovers Kaddish.com which promises to do the praying for him! Years later, as a changed man and a rabbi with a guilty conscience, he sets out to regain his honor from the people behind the Kaddish.com website.

Irreverent, funny, and surprisingly touching-- I finished this book in 2 sittings!


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The Little Kitten (My Little Animal Friend) By Nicola Killen, Nicola Killen (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Nicola Killen, Nicola Killen (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781534466968
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books - July 21st, 2020

I love cats and I love Halloween, so this is the perfect combination!  


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The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt By Riel Nason, Byron Eggenschwiler (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Riel Nason, Byron Eggenschwiler (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780735264472
Availability: Not currently on our shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tundra Books - September 1st, 2020

A sweet Halloween story about being yourself and finding out where you belong.  I loved it so much that I sent a copy to my mom! 


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The National Road: Dispatches From a Changing America By Tom Zoellner Cover Image
$26.00
Backordered Title, Not on our shelves: Call to check availability.
ISBN: 9781640092907
Published: Counterpoint - October 13th, 2020

The National Road by Tom Zoellner is a travelogue of sorts, with each chapter occurring in no particular order.  The author explores sites that are of historical significance, climbs the highest peaks in each state, and visits a pornographic film set in California.  He takes a virtual tour of major newspapers, past and present; and he tries to get an actual glimpse of Area 51.  The last chapter, focusing on a final visit to his grandmother's home, is especially personal.  This is, refreshingly, not a political book except as it relates to historical events.  This is about the land itself and the stories it holds.  This is the author attempting to understand what holds the disparate parts of America together.  And it's a fascinating perspective.


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The Tradition By Jericho Brown Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781556594861
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Copper Canyon Press - April 2nd, 2019

Full disclosure: I don't read a lot of poetry.  Still, I have developed a major crush on Jericho Brown.  This particular collection was a finalist for a National Book Award in 2019 and is an exploration of social injustice as well as personal intimacy.  Far from becoming sappy or morose as one might expect, Brown's words exude an upbeat attitude.  Despite everything, Jericho Brown is just fine.


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Dracul By J.D. Barker, Dacre Stoker Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780735219359
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - October 1st, 2019

This prequel to Dracula is written by Bram Stoker's great grand-nephew and the main character is Bram Stoker himself!  Full of adventure and bloody vampire fun, this book is sure to put you in a Halloween spirit.  For added fun, make sure to read Dracula immediately after this one!


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The Unidentified: Mythical Monsters, Alien Encounters, and Our Obsession with the Unexplained By Colin Dickey Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780525557586
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - July 20th, 2021

Unidentified was unexpected!  It reads more like a travelogue than a book about monsters.  Colin Dickey has researched extensively about the origins of some of the world's most popular monsters and myths.  I think this is the first time I have ever heard Bigfoot explained in terms of cultural appropriation.


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Firewatching (A Detective Sergeant Adam Tyler Novel #1) By Russ Thomas Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780525542032
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - January 26th, 2021

If you're looking for a fun whodunnit, give this a read! Detective Sergeant Adam Tyler has a problem. As it turns out, the charming guy he hooked up with last night is the prime suspect in his murder investigation. To make matters worse, Tyler's boss doesn't seem to like him very much and someone is setting fires all over town. And what is the deal with the two old ladies that live next to the murder scene?


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Exhalation By Ted Chiang Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781101972083
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - June 30th, 2020

Ted Chiang writes some of the most original sci-fi I have ever read. Short stories aren't generally something I read a lot, but the medium works especially well for these tales. I was thoroughly engaged!


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The Key to Time By R. M. Seidler Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780998362403
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
(Please note: This book cannot be returned.)
Published: Raven House Media - February 2nd, 2017

In another timeline, in a universe that slightly resembles our own, young Quincy Harris must navigate life without her parents. Flying to a new school on the backs of giant eagles, Quincy makes new friends, fends off enemies and tries to discover her own hidden Talents as well as the secrets of the mysterious key left to her by her mother.

In her debut novel, R. M. Seidler has created a richly fascinating world that you will sorely wish you could visit. The Key to Time is a great book from a fresh new author with a promising future!


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An Atheist Stranger in a Strange Religious Land: Selected Writings from the Bible Belt By Herb Silverman, Rev. Barry W. Lynn (Foreword by) Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781634311052
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pitchstone Publishing - April 1st, 2017

In an effort to challenge state law, Herb Silverman ran for governor of South Carolina in the 1990s.  At the time, the state constitution required that any holder of public office could not be an atheist.  The state supreme court eventually overturned this requirement as unconstitutional under U.S. law.  As a prominent atheist and activist for civil rights, Silverman has written extensively of his observations and experiences in the American South and he shares many of those insights here.