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Charlotte's Picks

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Autumn Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781101870730
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon Books - February 7th, 2017

I think Ali Smith might be made of magic.  This book moves; it dances to the arc of characters' recollected memories, it glides over penned autumn winds, it rises and falls with sleep-filled breaths.  Autumn tells the story of two friends, Elisabeth and George, who form a singularly special friendship when elementary-aged Elisabeth and her mother move in next door to George, an old (in his eighties) musician, full of passion for art from the sixties.  In her typical non-linear style, Smith narrates a fifty-year chunk of time in Britain, focusing especially on the juxtaposition of the then (empowered artists, hope-filled futures), and the now (horrifying nationalism, self-imposed isolation).  Smith will leave you clinging to the last page.


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The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781681370408
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New York Review of Books - October 4th, 2016

Michael McCarthy saturates this collection of nature essays with evocative and compelling prose that made me close my eyes and recall my own childhood memories of nature.  As a child, McCarthy fell in love with the natural world that surrounded his home in Liverpool; the estuaries, fields, birds, butterflies, and moths.  McCarthy uses these formative experiences to argue for the importance and preservation of nature.  Amidst his lyrical joy, McCarthy details the environmental destruction he's witnessed in the last fify years.  Beautifull written, his message of desperation is clear, " Love what we have, protect it absolutely."


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How to Be Both Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780307275257
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - October 13th, 2015

When was the last time you read something that took on another dimension?  In Ali Smith's "How to be Both," the story; characters, plot and world described, interact with each other in a way that allows the reader to conceptualize the story as shapes that materialize and solidify as the book unfolds.  The book has two parts; George is a 16-year-old living in modern day Cambridge and has just lost her mother.  Francesco is a Renaissance painter in the 1460's, who is remarkably talented and a bit of a social outsider.  Smith draws the stories of both their lives into a beautiful and harmonious web that subverts the expectation that storytelling has to be lineal.  Highly recommend!


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Boy, Snow, Bird Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781594633409
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - March 3rd, 2015

This retelling of the classic snow white tale is twisted, eye-opening, and surprisingly gentle.  Oyeyemi begins from the perspective of the stepmother, Boy.  The departure from the classic begins there, Boy is a well-written and easy to empathize with character, whose relationship with her stepdaughter, Snow is remarkably complex.  When Boy and her husband, Arturo have a child, Bird, the story twists in on itself, swirling themes of racial identity and family obligation into the well-crafted story.  Boy, Snow, Bird is bewitching, and lingers in your mind long after you put it down.


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An Arrangement of Skin: Essays Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781619028470
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Counterpoint LLC - March 21st, 2017

Anna Journey's new collection of essays, An Arrangement of Skin, sews together the patchwork of her life into an ornately recursive narrative that will sink into you.  Journey explores skin as it relates to a shifting sense of self-awareness and identity.  Her words shimmer with multiple meanings as she layers the textures of her personal experiences in between broader reflections of the world that surrounds us.  An Arrangement of Skin is a wonderful study in introspection and self-awareness.


All the Birds in the Sky Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780765379948
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - January 26th, 2016

Charlie Jane Anders combines elements of fantasy and science fiction to create a glitteringly cautionary world that serves as the backdrop of this dystopic and imaginative book.  "All the Birds in the Sky" focuses on the lives of Patricia and Laurence, two brilliant child-outcasts who bond over their inability to make friends in primary school.  They fall out of touch while still young, and unexpectedly meet back up as twenty-somethings living in San Francisco.  From there, the fate of human civilization impendingly seems to be tied to their lives and connectedness.  I found this book to be unobtrusively captivating, and it is especially worth it if you're looking for a strange, enjoyable distraction.