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Mike's Picks

Autumn Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399563300
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press - August 22nd, 2017

I tried to tackle Knausgaard's six-volume memoir, My Struggle, but the struggle of six-volumes proved too difficult. But I love this little book. It reminds me of a more memoir-ish, modern A Sand County Almanac. Knaasgard has a unique way of seeing the world; these short essays written to his unborn daughter immerse you in both the changing seasons and fatherhood. A perfect fall read for new parents who appreciate nature (and don’t have time to tackle a six-volume memoir).


The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553523225
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday Books for Young Readers - September 26th, 2017

Imaginative, original, and simply delightful. This is a new and wonderful work of art from Philip and Erin Stead, and -- oh yeah! -- Mark Twain. After several pages of an incomplete Mark Twain fairy tale were discovered a few years ago, the publisher approached the Steads to finish it. What Phil and Erin ended up doing is something truly remarkable -- the illustrations are gorgeous, and the story itself borrows notes from Kurt Vonnegut and Charlie Kaufman. It is a book that has meaning, speaks to present day, will become a classic, and moved me. 

Desert Boys: Fiction Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250075505
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - May 3rd, 2016

“The desert, like the past, can be a thorny and sometimes serpentine place for people to live; in the interweaving stories throughout Desert Boys, debut author Chris McCormick offers a stirring examination of those who live, leave, and—in the case of protagonist Daley Kushner—return. With McCormick’s smart, witty prose and equally gratifying storytelling, we are offered a refreshing, nuanced, and much more complicated take on the stereotypical male coming-of-age tale. It is an unforgettable kaleidoscope of not just childhood friendship and the small-town American West, but, seemingly, anyone’s nostalgic, binary star quandary of simultaneously loathing and longing for the past. Desert Boys is an unforgettable, startling debut by the talented and skilled McCormick — one that will surely gain him a loyal and career-long mainstream following. It will resonate with those who have sought identity in far-away places, only to find it lurking in one’s own rattlesnake-filled childhood backyard.”

A Tale for the Time Being Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143124870
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - December 31st, 2013

My best friend was once an uchideshi: a live-in student who trains and assists a sensei 24/7. He tried to dive to the heart of zen. He would embark on weekend-long meditation sessions and describe that feeling as suddenly realizing everything was vibrant, connected, in the moment. A Tale for the Time Being doesn't necessarily dive to the heart of zen, but it did make me feel more connected, more in the moment. This book is easily one of my favorite books I've read. There is some magical realism, some zen undercurrents, but mostly, it is about learning to be happy in the here and in the now, learning how to find home. A delightful read. 

Heat and Light Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061763496
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco Press - February 28th, 2017

“Heat & Light does for the natural gas small-town communities in Pennsylvania what The Wire did for the drug communities in Baltimore: It peels back the layers of a multi-faceted, oft-forgotten world, a world whose controversial bloom extends much farther in scope than just the Pennsylvania border. One of the most well-balanced and well-crafted books of the year, Heat & Light is a powerful, humanizing examination of these natural gas communities and the relatable characters who struggle with their version of the “lottery ticket curse”; I’d not be surprised if this novel proves to be Jennifer Haigh’s mainstream breakthrough.”

Mothers, Tell Your Daughters: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393353266
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - October 4th, 2016

Lila Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250074843
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - October 6th, 2015

Station Eleven Cover Image
ISBN: 9780804172448
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - June 2nd, 2015

Let the Great World Spin Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812973990
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade - December 1st, 2009

Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375701290
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - July 27th, 1999

Little Labors Cover Image
ISBN: 9780811225588
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - May 17th, 2016

I love this tiny little book about new motherhood. Though I am not a new mother, this book made me laugh, tear up, then laugh some more. It's a great book for the new mother who is also very well-read; funny, tender, addictive, and surprising, I loved Little Labors.

A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There Cover Image
By Aldo Leopold, Charles W. Schwartz (Illustrator), Robert Finch (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780195059281
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - June 15th, 1989

This book not only teaches us about our own backyards, but how to see them. How to interact with them. How to appreciate them. When Aldo Leopold, one of the pioneers of conservation, takes a walk in the woods, it's an adventure with infinite storylines and observations. A fallen tree is not just some broken wood with growth lines, but a one-hundred year-old diary that Leopold dissects and analyzes. Reading this book taught me to look closer, dig deeper, and view my own backyard with an increased awareness and appreciation. A must read for any Midwesterner who takes walks outside.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679775430
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - September 1st, 1998

If you've never read Murakami, start here. A complex, propelling tale involving magical realism and surreal, dream-like scenes, Wind-Up Bird Chronicle reminds me of a literary version of a Charlie Kaufman movie. Read this with a friend. You'll want to discuss the metaphors, the meanings, the themes. Most of all, though, this is a gateway book that leads to more Murakami, one of this store's favorite authors. 

The Trespasser Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143110385
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - August 8th, 2017

I don't read a lot of murder mysteries, but this one kept me going. I'm a Tana French fan; her writing style is just a little more nuanced, a little more literary than others'. With The Tresspasser, French gives us a classic detective murder mystery, but the detective herself is as interesting as the story that unfolds. I like my mysteries to have well-developed plots, but the protagonist, and her struggles, spoke to me. A solid escapist read -- for vacation, for the beach, or for a rainy Saturday night at home.