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Archive for the 'Ask a Book Buyer' Category

Ask a Book Buyer: Dragons!

Ask a Book BuyerAt 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 askabuyer@powells.com. We'll be posting personalized recommendations regularly.

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Q: I've always been a fan of YA fantasy and continue to enjoy the genre, but now I'm aiming to find adult fantasy book series. I still want all the dragons, werewolves, vampires, witches, etc., but more adult. Right now I'm specifically looking for any book series with dragons that's aimed at adults, something along the lines of Game of Thrones or Daniel Arenson's dragons of Requiem.

I do have a few preferences for my dragons. 1) I prefer when they're the good guys. 2) I prefer sentient dragons. Not dragons that are more bestial and ...


Ask a Book Buyer: Post-Apocalyptic Delights

Ask a Book BuyerAt 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 askabuyer@powells.com. We'll be posting personalized recommendations regularly.

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Q: As you can imagine, I've been flying through books this summer while trying to avoid the heat wave. I've been really digging anything semi-post-apocalyptic. I'm more than halfway through Megan Abbott's The Fever and loving it. I've also recently read The Girl with All the Gifts and loved that one as well. Know of any more recent books that fit this genre? – Kelle

A: The Well by Catherine Chanter, which came out in May, is well-written and post-apocalyptic. It includes a creepy/intriguing religious cult plus a rather heartbreaking mystery. It's worth checking out! – Jill

Paolo Bacigalupi's The Water Knife is a near-future look at what happens when the Southwest runs out of water. Bacigalupi is definitely worth checking out; his books are carefully plotted, well-written, and absorbing, and they contain just the right amount of biting social commentary. Stay cool and keep reading! – Mary Jo

Etiquette for an Apocalypse (published a few years ago) is not only post-apocalyptic but also set in Portland. It's as fun as the apocalypse gets! – Tom


Ask a Book Buyer: Picks to Revive a Burnt-Out Reader

Ask a Book BuyerAt 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 askabuyer@powells.com. We'll be posting personalized recommendations regularly.

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Q: I finished school two years ago (with a degree in literature) and was suffering from the worst reading burnout I've ever had in my life. I simply forgot how to read for entertainment. I recently broke up with Netflix and feel that I'm ready to jump back in to reading for me again. I think a good place to start would be light and fun, maybe with a dark twist or something that will get my heart racing. Please help! –Jamie

A: Miranda July is known for exposing the most awkward, neurotic parts of our humanity with mirth ...


Ask a Book Buyer: Potty Training

Ask a Book BuyerAt 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 askabuyer@powells.com. We'll be posting personalized recommendations regularly.

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Q: Can you recommend a good book for a toddler learning about toilet training? – Sylvia

A: Try Leslie Patricelli's Potty for something humorous or Karen Katz's A Potty for Me!: A Lift-the-Flap Instruction Manual for something a little more traditional. If you are looking for a gender-specific book, I recommend Joanna Cole's My Big Boy Potty or My Big Girl Potty.
Jen M.


Ask a Book Buyer: Exploring Europe Through Fiction

Ask a Book BuyerAt 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 askabuyer@powells.com. We'll be posting personalized recommendations regularly.

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Q: I'm staying in Germany and looking for some fairly lighthearted books with a strong sense of place set in Europe. I read a mystery years ago set in Prague that was playful and not highly charged (no gore), but the clues were throughout the city and some referred to its history as well. I really enjoyed visiting there after reading the book. Does your team have any suggestions for a similar read? –Sandra

A: A few of my favorite lighthearted novels set in Europe are Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian (a hunt for Dracula across modern Europe), Carlos Ruiz Zafón's The Shadow of the Wind (a book-centric mystery set in post-war Barcelona), and Dan Simmons's Drood (in which he imagines the rivalry between 19th century authors Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens, with some truly creepy descriptions of Victorian London). And while Philip Kerr's Berlin mysteries aren't exactly lighthearted, they're an amazing introduction to the seedier sides of the city, pre- and post-WWII. Try Berlin Noir. –Rhianna


Ask a Book Buyer: Tales of the Home Front, the Sea, and Overseas

Ask a Book BuyerAt 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 askabuyer@powells.com. We'll be posting personalized recommendations regularly.

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Q: I'm traveling to Dublin and Barcelona this summer and would love some recommendations for books that take place in these locations. I'm open to different genres but something funny would be good. –Megan

A: Dublin settings? Anything by Roddy Doyle, but the funnier ones would by Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, The Snapper, and The Commitments. They are gritty but very funny. Tana French writes excellent mysteries, all set in Dublin featuring different members of the Dublin Murder Squad. They are excellent and very evocative of the city and the social system there. In the Woods is the first in the series and a good place to start, but they all also function as stand-alones. –Kathi

You absolutely must get The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. It's a literary mystery that takes place in Barcelona from the 1920s to the 1950s, and it's one of the most beautifully written things I've ever read . Read it before your trip and you won't be able to wait to get to Barcelona. –Tom

Q: I am looking for a book that takes place on the U.S. home front during World War II. Growing up, I loved reading the "Molly" American Girl books. Is there anything with a similar setting for adults? –Molly


Ask a Book Buyer: Picky Parents, Science Lovers, Lizzie Borden

Ask a Book BuyerAt 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 askabuyer@powells.com. We'll be posting personalized recommendations regularly.

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Q: I'm trying to buy a book for a male friend of mine for our high school graduation. He loves science, and he plans on majoring in engineering in the fall. He also loves history, but my fear with purchasing him a history book is that he may have already read it. He's a big fan of NPR, and I know I want to get him a nonfiction book. Any recommendations? –Rachel

A: A great gift for those interested in engineering: 101 Things I Learned in Engineering School by John Kuprenas. This illustrated book gives readers the basic principles of engineering and insight into how the engineering thought process works. Also, due in paperback this month: Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein: Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe by Mario Livio. It's the perfect combination of science and history! –Corie

You should also check out The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements. It's more about chemistry than engineering, but it's a wonderful, approachable book that any science fan will enjoy . –Tom

Q: While both highly educated, due to their conservative leanings, my parents read almost exclusively young adult fiction. While there is nothing wrong with this, when it comes to birthdays, Christmases, and Mother's/Father's Day, I try to gift them literary fiction I think they might enjoy that would perhaps expand their horizons a little. However, they are very picky with what they will read (I learned the hard way after I loaned my copies of the Thursday Next series to my mother and ironically enough got them back bowdlerized with whiteout tape). My most recent gifts were Every Man Dies Alone and Gilead, both of which went over very well, but I am low on ideas for what to gift next. Do you have any suggestions for well-written, literary fiction on the lighter side of things? –Remy


Ask a Book Buyer: The Answer Is Robin Hobb (and More)

Ask a Book BuyerAt 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 askabuyer@powells.com. We'll be posting personalized recommendations regularly.

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Q: I flew through Codex Alera and loved it. I got hooked on The Iron Druid Chronicles but am waiting for the next book. I stumbled upon and devoured Blades of the Old Empire (again, waiting on the next book). I am on the waiting list at the library for The Name of the Wind but am getting antsy for a good read. Can you suggest a series that isn't in fashion — an oldie but goodie, perhaps?
–Jeremy B.

Q: I just finished hate-reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and I need that bad taste out of my mouth. I wouldn't mind starting a new series, but I'm at a loss here. I want to read something epic. I've not read much fantasy, but I do kinda like it. So... what do you think? (And don't say A Song of Ice and Fire because I've already started in on those.)
–Megan


Ask a Book Buyer: Game of Thrones Edition

Ask a Book BuyerAt 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 askabuyer@powells.com. We'll be posting personalized recommendations regularly.

Q: I've devoured every volume of A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. Now what? –Brie

A: In case you've somehow managed to miss George R. R. Martin's Tales of Dunk and Egg (The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword, The Mystery Knight), these delightful novellas are set in Westeros 90 years before the time of Song of Ice and Fire. Three are available right now; more are promised. The first two are also available as graphic novels. Dunk is Ser Duncan, legendary member of the Kingsguard, and Egg is Aegon V Targaryen, who later becomes ...


Ask a Book Buyer: Beyond Male Authors, Couple’s Book Club Picks, and More

Ask a Book BuyerAt 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 askabuyer@powells.com. We'll be posting personalized recommendations regularly.

Q: It has been pointed out that most of my favorite authors are male: Haruki Murakami, David Mitchell, Michael Chabon, Neal Stephenson, maybe Neil Gaiman, too. I think my favorite book from last year's reading was Hakawati by Rabih Alameddine, but I can't yet say he's a favorite author, as I haven't read any other books by him. Can you recommend any female authors who might appeal to a reader with my tastes? –Eve

A: For a blend of surrealism, philosophy, pop culture, and mystery reminiscent of Murakami and Mitchell, and the kind of quirky but endearing protagonist you'll find in Chabon's work, try British novelist Scarlett Thomas. Two of her most popular books are The End of Mr. Y and Our Tragic Universe. –Rhianna

Check out Karen Russell's books. Her newest is Vampires in the Lemon Grove. Kelly Link's Magic for Beginners is also strange and wonderful. Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale is a classic. –Kevin


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