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Mike's Picks

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All Adults Here: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781594634697
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - May 4th, 2020

A critic called this book “literary sunshine” and I can’t think of a better description. This book is the kind of book that goes down easy but also one you savor; Straub’s witty and rounded characters stay with you long after they’re gone. And while I despise the term “beach read,” this is the right book for August, near the end of summer, a time to sit under a favorite tree or near water and reflect. An enjoyable and memorable read.


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Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812985405
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - February 6th, 2018

Between the World and Me Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780812993547
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: One World - July 14th, 2015

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812984965
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: One World - August 18th, 2015

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Moonglow: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062225566
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - September 19th, 2017

A journey down memory lane, told from the author’s point of view during an interview with his dying grandfather. Chabon has a knack at the slow unveil, and I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir-disguised-as-a-novel after I finished it. It reminds me of one of my favorite lines: “In the end, we are all stories.” Chabon does his family proud in deciding how to frame his particular family’s story (tragic circumstances and all).


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Pachinko (National Book Award Finalist) Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781455563920
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - November 14th, 2017

An epic tale about a family spanning the 20th century. This is a novel that easily absorbs you and sucks you in, but also keeps you reading on. The characters are fully flushed, the plotlines are heartwrenching, the writing is moving. A beautiful tale. 


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Little Faith: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062469724
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - October 29th, 2019

Two things work really well in Nickolas Butler’s latest book: Pacing, and tone. Anyone who enjoys a well-told, accessible story that also packs a philosophical punch, this is for you. Butler’s novel spoke to me — I felt connected to it, like I knew these characters, I knew this region, I knew this kind of conflict.   A powerful, moving story.


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An Orchestra of Minorities Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316412407
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - October 8th, 2019

Told from the perspective of an ancient spirit, a man’s chi, I loved the language and precise character arcs throughout this novel. Obioma, a Michigan grad and a finalist for the Man Booker prize with his previous novel, The Fishermen, is a master of his craft.  This is a big, ambitious, at times hard-to-read novel, but I’d read Obioma describe a journey to his mailbox, let alone this sweeping, time-spanning saga. He’s that good. 


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Field Recordings (Made in Michigan Writers) Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780814344965
Availability: In Stock at Publisher - Usually Available in 1-5 Days
Published: Wayne State University Press - March 26th, 2018

Steeped in Michigan history, Russell Brakefield uses folk music and sounds of rural Michigan as a guide to create a poetry collection that explores the intensely personal as well as the naturalistic. To me, reading poetry is like listening to a conversation. Here, Brakefield acts as both listener and poet: He describes not just the notes around us, but like any good conversationalist, the silences, the buzzes, the cicadas, the nearby lone trout stalking a mayfly. When Russ worked here at Literati, I was an avid "Russ Reader" -- I devoured his staff picks. Reading his own work in Field Recordings, I'm delighted to listen to his own words, his song ringing in my mind long after finishing.


Housekeeping (Fortieth Anniversary Edition): A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781250769763
Availability: In Stock at Publisher - Usually Available in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador - August 4th, 2020

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A Place for Us: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781524763565
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: SJP for Hogarth - March 5th, 2019

I started this book a while ago, but I waited until I had a few quiet afternoons to savor and finish it. It was the perfect book to read with my newborn daughter sleeping away on my chest. This has such heart, ache, soul. It made me reflect on the kind of father I want to be, aim to be, hope to be. This week, as I stood in my front yard, sun setting, watering my lilacs and planting a new sugar maple, I heard my neighbor’s three daughters play in the field by our house and their laughter made me pause and think of this book, its characters, and these words by Fatima Farheen Mirza. Few books affect me so much, but this book enchanted and moved me, and it made me feel so aware of family, identity, religion, Home.


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Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781501126079
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - May 8th, 2018

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Number One Chinese Restaurant: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781250229328
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Published: Picador - June 4th, 2019

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A Constellation of Vital Phenomena: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780770436421
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Published: Hogarth - February 4th, 2014

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A Tale for the Time Being: A Novel Cover Image
$18.00
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. 


Lila: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781250784032
Availability: In Stock at Publisher - Usually Available in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador - August 4th, 2020

Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780375701290
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - July 27th, 1999

Let the Great World Spin: A Novel Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780812973990
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - November 30th, 2009

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The Cataracts Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566894937
Availability: In Stock at Publisher - Usually Available in 1-5 Days
Published: Coffee House Press - January 9th, 2018

“when I was small and wanted to look at the sun / he said if you want to stare at the sun / and not go blind you look not at its light / but what it illuminates the world the moon / never the thing itself and always its reflection.”

I love this collection from staff-favorite poet, Raymond McDaniel. I devoured this in two days. Its pitch-perfect blend of colloquial language interwoven with beautiful prose and imagery is a dream-like meditation on sight and light (and its existential opposites). McDaniel wonderfully threads narrative throughout this collection, giving it substance with its immense, thought-provoking style and philosophical explorations. A must-read for those unafraid to delve into the reflections all around. 


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Desert Boys: Fiction Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781250141019
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - January 9th, 2018

“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.”


Salvage the Bones: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781608196265
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury USA - April 24th, 2012

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A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780197500262
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - May 1st, 2020

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.


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Haunts Of the Black Masseur: The Swimmer as Hero Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9780816635399
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Univ Of Minnesota Press - June 13th, 2000

This is a book for aquaphiles. You know who you are: The kind of person who abandons family and friends at every beach excursion and voyages out alone into the open waters, freestyling for endless minutes and miles. All my life, I have had a love affair with water: Rivers, lakes, oceans, chlorinated indoor pools. As a former NCAA swimmer, I have searched wide and far for books about swimming. There are only a few, and this is the best. And if you’re like me, and you have relatives who often ask, “Where’s Mike?” only to see a small speck in the horizon splashing around in far-distant waters, you’ll enjoy this read.


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Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780735224827
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - May 29th, 2018

Ghost Boys Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780316262262
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - September 10th, 2019