At Powell's, our book buyers select all the new books in our vast inventory. If we need a book recommendation, we turn to our team of resident experts. Need a gift idea for a fan of vampire novels? Looking for a guide that will best demonstrate how to knit argyle socks? Need a book for a vegetarian who loves Radiohead and Flight of the Conchords? Email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll be posting personalized recommendations regularly.
A: You must, must, must read Christopher Moore. Generally accepted as one of his best (and funniest) books is Lamb. I'm also extra fond of The Stupidest Angel, which is laugh-out-loud funny and one of the few books I've ever reread. –Tom
Q: My five-year-old granddaughter is currently reading at a second-grade level and has been cooking since she was not quite four. I want to find a good children's cookbook pitched at around the third- or fourth-grade level, since I expect her reading skills to grow as she homes in on more difficult content. As to her cooking, she's working on her knife skills now, which I never really did! –Will
A: Your granddaughter would enjoy Mollie Katzen's Pretend Soup, which is written for children and is full of healthy, imaginatively named recipes.
I also love Alice Waters's charming Fanny at Chez Panisse, which is gorgeously illustrated and full of seven-year-old Fanny Waters's stories about growing up in a restaurant kitchen. The book includes educational sections on how food makes its way from the farm to the table, recycling and composting, as well as nutritious, interesting recipes.
My last recommendation is The Kid's Cookbook: A Great Book for Kids Who Love to Cook! by Williams-Sonoma. Super practical and user-friendly, it contains photo illustrations of cooking techniques (including those knife skills!) and recipes flagged for a variety of skill levels. –Rhianna
A: These are your next go-to authors and books; Jim Carroll (The Basketball Diaries), Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), Jack Kerouac (On the Road), Albert Camus (The Stranger), Fyodor Dostoevsky (Crime and Punishment). Want to go darker and edgier? Georges Bataille (The Story of the Eye) and Michael Gira (The Consumer). –Aubrey
Q: Any suggestions for novels that deal with Judeo-Christian spirituality in a profound and complex way? Something like Shusaku Endo's Silence, or Chaim Potok's Asher Lev/Chosen novels? I also liked A Prayer for Owen Meany and Gilead, but they weren't as multilayered to me. –Pat
A: The most lyrically complex, intensely beautiful Jewish novel I have ever read is Henry Roth's Call It Sleep. –Rhianna
A: Have your sister try The Liar's Club by Mary Karr, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, and Let's Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell. Each of these narratives is written in the same frank, poignant vein as The Tender Bar and Wild. There is also a promising new memoir coming in January about the trials of a woman growing up with no legs called Mermaid, by Eileen Cronin. –Aubrey
Books mentioned in this post