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Stephanie's Picks

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World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781571313652
Availability: Backordered
Published: Milkweed Editions - September 8th, 2020

This book is so soothing. Its short, musical essays radiate with quiet joy. Nezhukumatathil gracefully illuminates some of nature's marvels (including lightning bugs, narwhals, and axolotls), as if gently saying,  "look here, look here." Along the journey, she seamlessly weaves in her memories of growing up as a brown girl in the Midwest, her experience navigating motherhood, and the strength of her family's love. If you're in need of a bit of brightness—read this one.


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Axiom's End: A Novel (Noumena #1) Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250256737
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Press - July 21st, 2020

I’m a huge fan of Lindsay Ellis’s video essay work as a film and pop culture critic, but I wasn’t sure what to expect from her debut novel. Would her voice translate well into a new medium? Involving aliens, no less?! The answer is a resounding YES. Ellis’s critical skills are expertly channeled into this engaging, thoughtful, and well-paced first contact story. Axiom’s End manages to feel both breezy and grounded, and it skillfully balances humor and high stakes—all while raising questions about the nature of intelligence and the accessibility of truth. I had an absolute blast reading it! 


The Night Circus Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307744432
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - July 3rd, 2012

Hi, I'm obsessed with this book. Enchanting and deliciously grand, Morgenstern has created a vivid, magical world full of characters painted in intimate detail. I cannot stress this enough: it's truly stunning! (Insert many a heart-eyes emoji here.) Morgenstern has shared that The Night Circus was influenced by Punchdrunk, an immersive theatre company that lets audience members wander through a production—and it shows. I was thoroughly submerged in the dreamy, sparkling world, and it felt like such a loss to leave it. Love magic? Love mystery? Love fairy tales? This is your book. 


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The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9780143127741
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - September 8th, 2015

I used to believe I could think my way out of any state of mind. With enough information intake, self-reflection, or meditation, even the most damaging thoughts can be driven from the brain…right? But this book challenged me to recognize that it doesn’t quite work that way. The Body Keeps the Score communicates just how deeply trauma is embedded in the body. Mental and physical health are solidly intertwined, and the best path to healing involves both camps. Van Der Kolk clearly lays out this truth by sharing his fascinating neuroscience research and case studies from his practice. It’s a dense read, but extremely worthwhile. I found it utterly transformative.


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Vampires in the Lemon Grove: And Other Stories (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307947475
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - January 14th, 2014

Recently, there has been a wave of books being adapted for the screen. That's perfectly fine—great, even! But it would be near-impossible to pull that off with this book. No matter how faithful, an adaptation couldn't convey Russell's enchanting and disquieting prose, the blood that flows through this collection. These stories are mythical and miraculous, filled to the brim with surprise and strangeness. I hope you'll let them thoroughly bewitch you!


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How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781501132742
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - July 7th, 2020

I don't know if I've ever burned through a memoir faster than this one. I just couldn't get enough of Jones's brilliant and incisive voice. He writes about growing up as a young, black, gay man in the South with unyielding honesty and with a total command of language. It's masterful, and it's riveting to read. It's clear that Jones has a rich understanding of all the pieces that come together (some arduously and painfully, some by chance) to build a self. How glorious it is to get to share in his writing!


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Space Struck Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781946448446
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sarabande Books - October 8th, 2019

Paige Lewis's poem "When I Tell My Beloved I Miss the Sun" might be my favorite love poem of all time, and I bought this book based solely on my devotion to it. At the time, that single poem was the only piece I'd encountered of Paige's, and it was the only convincing I needed before clicking the "add to cart" button—they're that good. I was not disappointed when I cracked open this little galaxy of a book to find even more dazzling insides. Inventive and meandering, these poems go from Point A to Point Z, propelling you (along with foxes, oysters, saints, meteorites, and ghosts) through so many curious spaces.


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Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find--and Keep-- Love Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781585429134
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: TarcherPerigee - January 5th, 2012

One of the best feelings in the world is, in my opinion, the fresh clarity of, "Oh, I understand now." That's how I felt reading this book, which breaks down adult attachment styles and examines how we work to sustain, reinforce, or avoid intimacy in romantic relationships. Attached introduces us to the three main attachment styles—secure, anxious, and avoidant—and gives us tools to notice when our respective "attachment system" is activated. I felt such a detangling by learning the lanugage of attachment, which helped snap many past feelings and behaviors into context. A practical and accessible look at how to decode and grow romantic relationships, this one's for anyone interested in how we form and maintain strong bonds with each other.


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We Ride Upon Sticks: A Novel Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781524748098
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon - March 3rd, 2020

It’s 1989 in Danvers, Massachusetts and the local high school field hockey team desperately needs a winning season. What else to do but turn to witchcraft? We Ride Upon Sticks is a delightful novel that blends together the coven of friendship, the occult devotion of the sports world, and the neon glow of ‘80s pop culture like an expertly concocted potion. Most magically, Barry captures the heartache and angst of being a teen with striking specificity and great respect. I could tell she had a blast chronicling the various (and often hilarious) misdeeds of the team, and, like all of them, I couldn’t help but get addicted to the toil and trouble. At the beginning, the players enter as a whirlwind of names, just a blur on the field. But by the end, I knew each character completely, and I felt bound to them in some way too.


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The Magical Language of Others: A Memoir Cover Image
$22.95
ISBN: 9781947793385
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tin House Books - January 7th, 2020

I'll be honest: I picked up this book for its exquisite cover. But I stayed for its writing. E.J. Koh shapes language with delicate precision, like folding a paper crane. She carefully constructs memories in heartbreaking detail, investigating her family history from multiple angles.Threaded throughout the memoir are old, rediscovered letters from Koh's mother, translated from Korean to English—letters written as a lifeline between mother and daughter, or an atonement after abandonment, as Koh's mother left her teenage daughter behind in America to return to South Korea. A beautiful meditation on love, understanding, and distance.


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Ping Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316424646
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - September 3rd, 2019

After going through a very difficult month, this wise little book gave me the guidance and peace I needed to keep moving. Ping clarifies the messiness of human connection with an insightful message: you can't control how people react to you (pong), but you can control how you live, communicate, create, share, and give (ping!). Ping hopefully, joyfully. Ping even if you're scared. This book made me less scared. Sweet, soothing, and empowering, Ping is for open-hearted people of any age.


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The Personality Brokers: The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Testing Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781101974148
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - September 10th, 2019

Are you an Introvert or an Extravert? Thinker or Feeler? You’ve probably heard this language before, Myers-Briggs devotee or not. But you may not know the surprising origins of the now-famous MBTI test; I certainly didn’t! As it turns out, the minds behind the test are Katherine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers: not professional psychologists, but Jungian hobbyists and fiction writers. Together, they embarked on a spiritual mission to define one’s personality, and, by extension, their purpose. “Typing” this book is tricky: it’s about the women who shaped the test, the movement to make psychological study accessible, the pitfalls of rigorous categorization, and the stories we tell ourselves about who we are. All throughout, Emre asks: how did the MBTI test become such an enduring phenomenon? And what does it mean to know ourselves?


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The Prince and the Dressmaker Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781626723634
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: First Second - February 13th, 2018

Look no further for a feel-good graphic novel! With lively costume designs, vibrant colors, charming characters, and a plot heartwarming enough to melt even Ann Arbor winters, it’s no wonder Jen Wang won TWO Eisner awards (the Oscars of comics) for this book. (The awards? Best Writer/Artist and Best Publication for Teens.) A fresh, celebratory story of friendship, breaking barriers, and staying true to one’s self. I left it smiling. 


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Flower Color Guide Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780714877556
Availability: In Stock at Publisher - Usually Available in 1-5 Days
Published: Phaidon Press - October 1st, 2018

Hellooooo, gorgeous book! I could get lost in this guide for hours. Look how amazingly alien the Allium is (page 142, 374)! And how stunning is the Golden Lantern Lily (207)? The Anemone (290)? Beautifully photographed and oh-so-satisfyingly oranganized, this guide is a dream for gardeners, artists, and flower lovers of all kinds. 


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The Same-Different: Poems (Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets) Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780807160091
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: LSU Press - April 13th, 2015

I keep returning to this collection for its captivating, topsy-turvy wordplay and its delirious love of language. Park’s poems unravel down the page, each new line morphing from the last. They read like kaleidoscopes, spiraling out of themselves into new (yet familiar) evolutions. In my favorite section, Park writes sonnets about mythological creatures, deftly reshaping traditional forms and stories. This book presents poetry as playful transmutation - a reminder that language is its own brand of magic.