25 Books to Read Before You Die
 
 

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October 01
Selected by Mary from Galveston, Texas
American Woman
American Woman
by Susan Choi

"With uncompromising grace and mastery, Susan Choi renders the intimate moments which bring to life a tale of prodigious sweep." Jhumpa Lahiri (read more)


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October 02
Selected by Rachelle from Phoenix, Arizona
Rachelle won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $40.
In the Shadow of Memory (American Lives)
In the Shadow of Memory (American Lives)


"Over the past decade, Floyd Skloot has developed into one of the finest essayists we have. His strong, subtle, exquisitely truthful and often very funny writing testifies to an impressive humanity and maturity. In the Shadow of Memory is Skloot's best book, and can stand comparison with any personal essay collection by anyone in recent years." Phillip Lopate, author of Portrait of My Body (read more)


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October 03
Selected by Nancy from Edwardsville, Illinois
Demonology
Demonology
by Rick Moody

"Rick Moody is one of those writers you can't ignore because you don't know what he'll come up with next....Yes, on the surface it's Moody's daring and talent that exhilarate us, but on a deeper level we recognize the effort his people make to memorize their losses, to somehow keep alive what can't be saved, to placate their demons." Stewart O'Nan, Minneapolis Star Tribune (read more)

Your price $5.95
Used - Trade Paper
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October 04
Selected by Rich from Ann Arbor, Michigan
Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country (National Geographic Directions)
Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country (National Geographic Directions)


Rich's comments:
"An enthralling narrative of a trip the author took with her 18-month-old daughter through the islands of Ojibwe country in northern Minnesota and Ontario to see the ancient, but living, rock art that adorns the islands. Full of wisdom, nuggets of Ojibwe history and belief, and snapshots of the mother-daughter bond that Erdrich wrote about so evocatively in "The Blue Jays Dance," this is a treat for anyone from the region, fans of her fiction and lovers of good writing and original thought." (read more)


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October 05
Selected by Kate from Peoria, Arizona
After You'd Gone
After You'd Gone
by Maggie O'farrell

"It's the depiction of...deceptively small moments that is O'Farrell's winning gift....Her absorbing characters gracefully circle one another 'round the room like moths at the light bulb,' grazing their wings against life's raw heat instead of being consumed by it." The New York Times Book Review (read more)

Your price $16.00
New - Trade Paper
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October 06
Selected by Debbie from Hayward, California
Debbie won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $80.
Sixpence House
Sixpence House
by Paul Collins

"Sixpence House, Collins's account of his adventures during the search, is funny, informative, somewhat chaotic and full of interesting references to old (mostly Victorian- and Edwardian-era) books and magazines that throw light on almost everything one could wish to know about old and moldy ? sometimes called 'wormy' ? houses and books." Paul Collins, The Washington Post (read more)

Your price $9.50
Used - Hardcover
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October 07
Selected by Janet from Lexington, Kentucky
Janet won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
The Fortress of Solitude
The Fortress of Solitude
by Jonathan Lethem

"Lethem has done a number of things here, any one of which is impossible for any but the very finest novelists....But most of all, from my point of view, he captures precisely — as only a great novelist can — how it feels to love the world that is, on a daily basis, kicking your ass." Michael Chabon, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and Wonder Boys (read more)

Your price $6.95
Used - Hardcover
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October 08
Selected by Adley from Issaquah, WA
Adley won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Living History
Living History
by Hillary Rodham Clinton

"The only thing that matters, with any book, is this: Is it worth reading? And in the case of Living History, the answer is yes....[A] smart, well-crafted memoir....Clinton comes off as eminently human in Living History....[I]t's going to be hard for any but the most partisan to ignore her grace, and her mix of self-confidence and the insecurities that seem to burden us all." John Mark Eberhart, The Kansas City Star (read more)

Your price $6.50
Used - Hardcover
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October 09
Selected by Amber from Harper Woods, Michigan
Postcards from Berlin
Postcards from Berlin


"The resolution of Leroy's novel has a fairy-tale aspect, but fairy tales can nevertheless be very absorbing....I was eager to find out what would happen next. I dreaded the worst and hoped for the best ? and I won't tell you which takes place." Margot Livesey, New York Times (read more)


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October 10
Selected by Jason from Bridgeport, Connecticut
The Middle Mind: Why Americans Don't Think for Themselves
The Middle Mind: Why Americans Don't Think for Themselves
by Curtis White

"Cogent, acute, beautiful, merciless, and true." David Foster Wallace author of Infinite Jest (read more)

Your price $9.95
Used - Hardcover
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October 11
Selected by Shannon from Albany, New York
The Clearing
The Clearing
by Tim Gautreaux

"The Clearing is a fine and exciting novel about place, work, violence, love and loyalty. Tim Gautreaux is a literary writer unafraid to tell a brisk and jolting story that keeps the pages turning." Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain (read more)

Your price $6.50
Used - Hardcover
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October 12
Selected by Alex from Boston, Massachusetts
Alex won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $80.
She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders
She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders
by Jennifer Finney Boylan

Alex's comments:
"By turns heartbreaking and funny as hell, Boyle's account of her transition from male to female is compelling, thought-provoking and, yes, entertaining." (read more)

Your price $9.95
Used - Hardcover
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October 13
Selected by Vicki from Santa Fe, New Mexico
A Mortal Bane
A Mortal Bane


Vicki's comments:
"I read a ton of mysteries, and Roberta Gellis is my new discovery. Her books are fun, informative, and pack a real wallop." (read more)


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October 14
Selected by Susan from Roanoke, Virginia
Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There
Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There
by David Brooks

"The self-loathing yuppie is dead! Love live the BoBo! An absolute sparkler of a book, which should establish David Brooks ? not that he needs establishing ? as the smart, fun-to-read social critic of his generation." Christopher Buckley (read more)

Your price $3.95
Used - Trade Paper
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October 15
Selected by Cindy from Denver, Colorado
Cindy won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $60.
Bones of the Moon
Bones of the Moon
by Jonathan Carroll

Cindy's comments:
"Jonathan Carroll is a master of magical realism, and Bones of the Moon is Carroll at his best." (read more)

Your price $4.95
Used - Trade Paper
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October 16
Selected by Nick from Salinas, California
Nick won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Honor Thy Children: One Family's Journey to Wholeness
Honor Thy Children: One Family's Journey to Wholeness
by Molly Fumia

Nick's comments:
"Mr. and Mrs. Nakatani watched their three sons die horrible deaths: two to AIDs and one to violence. Yet this is not a story of sadness, homosexuality, or tragedy, though it is admittedly tragic. This is a story of honor, the story of one family who took a bad situation and dealt with it admirably." (read more)

Your price $24.95
New - Trade Paper
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October 17
Selected by Sarah from Albany, California
Sarah won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Moon Tiger
Moon Tiger
by Penelope Lively

"Emotionally, Moon Tiger is kaleidoscopic, deeply satisfying. The all too brief encounter between Claudia and Tom will surely rate as one of the most memorable of contemporary fictional affairs. This is one of the best novels I have ready for years." Telegraph The London Sunday (read more)

Your price $4.95
Used - Trade Paper
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October 18
Selected by Serena from Sacramento, California
Serena won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon
Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon
by Chuck Palahniuk

"Written as much for first-time visitors as for those who already share Palahniuk's passion for the city....Palahniuk's fondness for his not-so-sleepy hamlet comes through in each gritty detail." Publishers Weekly (read more)

Your price $11.50
Used - Hardcover
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October 19
Selected by Bonnie from Muskegon, Michigan
Bonnie won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Hell at the Breech
Hell at the Breech
by Tom Franklin

"[T]his lean, mean and expertly plotted tale...owes more to Raymond Chandler than to [William Faulkner]....Hell at the Breech simmers with unnerving brutality and black humor. The novel is also an elegant dissection of a catastrophe, namely the climactic massacre, in which innocent people are killed....But as much as Hell at the Breech may sound like a western, it's not; its view of human nature is too bleak. Everyone in it is morally compromised, as the novel's final twist reveals. That makes it feel like a noir, a rural noir, if there can be such a thing. But whatever you call it, it's pretty damn hard to put down." Laura Miller, Salon.com (read more)

Your price $6.95
Used - Hardcover
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October 20
Selected by Joe from Vancouver, Washington
Joe won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Clever Girl: Elizabeth Bentley's Life in and Out of Espionage
Clever Girl: Elizabeth Bentley's Life in and Out of Espionage
by Lauren Kessler

"An insightful biography of an extraordinary American woman [and] a thrilling character-driven drama... Reads like good fiction...fascinating." San Francisco Chronicle (read more)

Your price $7.50
Used - Hardcover
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October 21
Selected by Anita from Hampton, Georgia
To the Nines: A Stephanie Plum Novel
To the Nines: A Stephanie Plum Novel
by Janet Evanovich

"The plot is ? as usual ? a shambles, but the people and their dialogue are as sharp and funny as ever. Though no high point in Stephanie's saga, this installment...won't disappoint her fans either." Kirkus Reviews (read more)

Your price $5.95
Used - Hardcover
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October 22
Selected by Debra from North Haven, Connecticut
Debra won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $40.
The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen
The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen
by Jacques Pepin

Debra's comments:
"The most striking revelation of Pepin's autobiography is that the man is obsessed with food. This ought not come as a surprise, I suppose. Pepin is, after all, a renowned professional chef. But not every professional is so taken with the subject of his expertise. Love of food and its preparation -- foraging or fishing for it, prying it from the walls of a vacation resort (really), simmering it on his own stovetop or stirring up consommes in thousand-gallon vats -- pervades Pepin's life." (read more)

Your price $12.50
Used - Hardcover
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October 23
Selected by Amber from Harper Woods, Michigan
The Rabbit Factory
The Rabbit Factory


Amber's comments:
"A funny and quirky novel that keeps you interested from start to finish. Larry Brown captures the characters at their best, worst, and in between. An excellent read, for any fan of great new novels." (read more)


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October 24
Selected by Joe from Vancouver, Washington
Joe won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $40.
A Hundred Little Hitlers: The Death of a Black Man, the Trial of a White Racist, and the Rise of the Neo-Nazi Movement in America
A Hundred Little Hitlers: The Death of a Black Man, the Trial of a White Racist, and the Rise of the Neo-Nazi Movement in America
by Elinor Langer

"An extraordinary book, written with passion, grace, and wisdom. The murder at its center is a reflection not just of racism in the United States, but of something much more widespread. Langer has taken one act of violence, looked at it carefully and courageously, and illuminated a whole moral universe." Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost (read more)

Your price $5.95
Used - Hardcover
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October 25
Selected by Shirley from Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania
Shirley won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Land of the Living
Land of the Living
by Nicci French

"The most tightly-plotted of French's thrillers to date, Land of the Living is also the most petrifying....a climax of triumph and terror. Don't read it home alone." The Independent on Sunday (read more)

Your price $9.95
Used - Hardcover
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October 26
Selected by John from Arlington, Virginia
John won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions
Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions
by Ben Mezrich

John's comment:
"This is the fascinating student of how teams of MIT students, trained in statistics, went to Vegas and won millions of dollars at blackjack. All was good...until they were ratted out. Then things got ugly. You won't be able to put this one down! And it is a true story." (read more)

Your price $4.50
Used - Trade Paper
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October 27
Selected by John from East Brunswick, New Jersey
John won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Schopenhauer's Telescope
Schopenhauer's Telescope
by Gerard Donovan

John's comment:
"Longlisted for this year's Booker Prize, and a shame it didn't get further. Astonishing, Kafkaesque writing about the nature of wartime atrocities." (read more)

Your price $9.95
Used - Hardcover
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October 28
Selected by Joe from Vancouver, Washington
Joe won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Intertwined Lives: Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, and Their Circle
Intertwined Lives: Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, and Their Circle
by Lois W Banner

"Intertwined Lives is an enticing and gorgeous adventure story about two brilliant divas, whose intellectual travels also involved extraordinary experiments in friendship and sexual love. Banner's approach to these amazing women is both erudite and wonderfully imaginative." Christine Stansell, author of American Moderns (read more)

Your price $11.50
Used - Hardcover
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October 29
Selected by Erik from Lowell, Massachusetts
Erik won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Half in Love: Stories
Half in Love: Stories
by Maile Meloy

"A sparkling debut collection of tight, watchful stories....By the end, the power of storytelling has made itself felt." Janet Maslin, New York Times (read more)

Your price $8.00
Used - Trade Paper
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October 30
Selected by Cyril from New York, New York
Reagan: A Life in Letters
Reagan: A Life in Letters
by Kiron K Skinner

"As additional material in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library becomes available, it is likely that many books claiming to present the 'real' man will be published. But few things reveal more about an individual's thoughts, values, and character than his letters....Thousands are printed in these two books, many for the first time." Thomas J. Baldino, Library Journal (read more)

Your price $6.95
Used - Hardcover
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October 31
Selected by V. A. from Beaverton, Oregon
The Polished Hoe
The Polished Hoe
by Austin Clarke

V.A.'s comments:
"A fascinating book about slavery in the Caribbean. The story takes place within the conversation between two people, a slave and the local police chief." (read more)

Your price $8.95
Used - Hardcover
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