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Daily Dose Archives

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January 01
Selected by Bo from Naoma, West Virginia
The Evening Hour
The Evening Hour
by Carter Sickels

Bo's Comments:
"A well written and insightful look into the tragedy of modern day Appalachian coal communities; drugs and mountaintop removal. A realistic tale of human suffering and acceptance of servitude to a ruthless coal industry." (read more)

Your price $7.98
Sale - Trade Paper
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January 02
Selected by Marie from Tomahawk, Wisconsin
Cutting for Stone (Vintage)
Cutting for Stone (Vintage)
by Abraham Verghese

Marie's Comments:
"This book is packed with wonderful characters from Sister Mary Joseph to her conjoined twins to her physician friend/lover. Their stepmother and father show how bonding can occur without being birth parents. The main character telling the story is one of the twins. It shows how all of our actions influence outcomes." (read more)

Your price $5.95
Used - Trade Paper
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January 03
Selected by Mary from Portland, Oregon
Mary won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $60.
Blue Nights
Blue Nights
by Joan Didion

Mary's Comments:
"I got this book for Christmas and read it in one day, on December 26th. It is beautifully written, and her use of repetition nearly killed me. I stopped to read many passages aloud or a second time. Joan Didion gives us her masterful use of language that we've all come to crave, sparing no indulgence in this poetic tribute to her daughter Quintana Roo. In combination with The Year of Magical Thinking, a powerful and lasting piece of work." (read more)

Your price $6.50
Used - Hardcover
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January 04
Selected by Vicki from Mosier, Oregon
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
by Michael Lewis

Vicki's Comments:
"The Big Short offers the only entertaining way to learn about the 2007 financial meltdown. Human faces are assigned to the players, most of whom are brilliant, a few even likable. No matter what the readers' level of finance understanding, The Big Short will illuminate and amaze." (read more)

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Used - Trade Paper
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January 05
Selected by Jim from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
A Discovery of Witches
A Discovery of Witches
by Deborah Harkness

Jim's Comments:
"Witches, fairies and vampires have been the stuff of many entertaining novels, especially in the last few years. But none combined the three ingredients I think are necessary for a Puddly Award: 1) compelling plot, 2)xxx writing, and 3) scholarly detail. A Discovery of Witches has all 3 and deserves a Puddly for it. Deborah Harkness, in her first effort, not only writes well but invents an ingenious plot line that actually requires some intelligence to appreciate it fully. Best of all, it's the opening novel in a 3-volume series so we have plenty to look forward to from her again this year!" (read more)

Your price $9.00
Used - Trade Paper
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January 06
Selected by Margie from San Jose, California
Margie won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $60.
The Language of Flowers
The Language of Flowers
by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Margie's Comments:
"Newcomer Vanessa Diffenbaugh hit a home run the first time at bat with this lovely story. Protagonist Victoria Jones is not an easy person to like, though. She's prickly and damaged and reluctant to take help from anyone. But she was clearly destined to work with flowers, and they are her salvation. I thought this might be a story in the vein of Sarah Addison Allen (a favorite), but aside from some similarities with magical realism, it carves out its own place in the literary pantheon. Give it a try." (read more)

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Used - Hardcover
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January 07
Selected by Lucy from Portland, Oregon
Lucy won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Daughter of Smoke and Bone
by Laini Taylor

Lucy's Comments:
"This was one of my favorite books of the year, possibly ever! It tackled paranormal romance with a truly engaging plot, and a premise and cast of characters that feels unique and refreshing. I've been recommending it to everyone I know, and it's become one of the books I compare everything else I read to: "Well, it wasn't as good as Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but it still had some great stuff going for it..." My friends have come to expect this. If you haven't read this book yet, what are you waiting for?" (read more)

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Used - Hardcover
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January 08
Selected by Helene from St. Charles, Missouri
Helene won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
House Rules
House Rules
by Jodi Picoult

Helene's Comments:
"I loved this book for several reasons, but the biggest was because it gave me an insight into Asperger's Syndrome. I truly believe in this disorder, as I am a teacher and have students with this issue. It is important to make people more aware of this part of the Autism Spectrum and this book does it in a style incorporated into an interesting and continuously moving story. I felt I understood the characters and believed in them, because they were so well-developed. I felt involved in this story and couldn't put it down until I found out the ending. Jodi Picoult really has a knack for characterization and development where the reader can empathize with the people in the story." (read more)

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Used - Trade Paper
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January 09
Selected by Jerome from Sybertsville, Pennsylvania
Jerome won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
I Am a Pencil: A Teacher, His Kids, and Their World of Stories
I Am a Pencil: A Teacher, His Kids, and Their World of Stories
by Sam Swope

Jerome's Comments:
"Compelling real-life story of an author asked to teach writing to grade-school students. Swope falls in love with teaching these delightful and trying children. Their poems and stories evolve with them. Their poverty gives him a new appreciation for libraries. His writing gave me a new appreciation for public parks." (read more)

Your price $3.95
Used - Trade Paper
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January 10
Selected by Monica from Chicago, Illinois
Monica won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Kafka on the Shore
Kafka on the Shore
by Haruki Murakami

Monica's Comments:
"This is one of my favorite books I've read in the last year. It's dreamy feel and clever storytelling make it an irresistible book. I could not put it down. The back and forth between the narratives of the two main characters creates a need in the reader to keep going, to get to the bottom of things. I cared both about the young boy, Kafka and the strange and special man, as well as for their various companions. And any book that includes a fascinating library is a worth read, in my eyes. A compelling book, and absolutely masterful in its philosophy." (read more)

Your price $15.95
New - Trade Paper
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January 11
Selected by Janel from Turners Falls, Massachusetts
Janel won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Swell
Swell
by Corwin Ericson

Janel's Comments:
"A great funny read. I love the twisted island world the author creates and soon I felt as if it was the world as it should be. Now I must buy a smartphone and await a sequel!" (read more)

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Used - Trade Paper
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January 12
Selected by Nichole from Beaverton, Oregon
Nichole won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Handling the Undead
Handling the Undead
by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Nichole's Comments:
"Definitely a must read if you're a zombie-lover. Lindqvist's view of the undead and what exactly they are is new and inventive. If you're one for violence and action, this isn't necessarily the read for you. It is a bit of a slow read in the beginning, but the characters are easy to relate to. It's not the shoot-out between the living in the infected that people are used to seeing in a zombie book, it's much more. Other than that, the title says it all. How would you go about handling the undead?" (read more)

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Used - Trade Paper
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January 13
Selected by Sarah from Arcata, California
Sarah won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
The Magician's Assistant
The Magician's Assistant
by Ann Patchett

Sarah's Comments:
"I picked this book up on a whim this summer because the cover was intriguing, and the blurb in the front cover sounded interesting. I absolutely fell in love with the writing style, and the introspective, almost dreamy quality to the story. The book had exactly the ending I was hoping for, and I enjoyed it from start to finish. This is definitely a book I would read again and enjoy just as much the second time." (read more)

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January 14
Selected by Alicia from Silverton, Oregon
Swamplandia! (Vintage Contemporaries)
Swamplandia! (Vintage Contemporaries)
by Karen Russell

Alicia's Comments:
"This is a great story for early teens and teens to personally relate with Ava, life, and all that is believed true through young eyes. In addition, the eyes of experience also find this action packed childhood story of family, self, love, life, control or lack thereof, one that they want to share and recount; finding it uniquely pertaining to their life too." (read more)

Your price $8.00
Used - Trade Paper
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January 15
Selected by Ricky from Buena Vista, Virginia
Catch-22
Catch-22
by Joseph Heller

Ricky's Comments:
"This might be my favorite book I've read -- ever. I found myself laughing out loud throughout. Some parts made me uncomfortable but were simultaneously hilarious....There are characters like a Major named Major Major Major who decides he is never going to see anyone again, and Colonel Cathcart, who simply cares about being on the cover of Lifetime Magazine and raises the number of missions for his soldiers to more than twice the required amount, and a soldier named Dunbar who thinks that time goes slower when you are bored, so seeks out boring situations in the attempt to lengthen his life. Breathtakingly brilliant and impossibly hilarious stuff." (read more)

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January 16
Selected by Emily from Portland, Oregon
Emily won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $60.
A Visit from the Goon Squad
A Visit from the Goon Squad
by Jennifer Egan

Emily's Comments:
"This book and its engrossing and intertwined narratives had me spellbound from the first chapter. As a commentary on music, youth culture, emotional scars, and the potential future I found each story separately powerful. Combined together the characters and their relationships resonated with me in a way I haven't experienced for some time. Egan's wit and imagination are well displayed here, and the journey this book takes the reader on is riveting." (read more)

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Used - Trade Paper
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January 17
Selected by Daniel from Portland, Oregon
Daniel won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
The Instructions
The Instructions
by Adam Levin

Daniel's Comments:
"Adam Levin's The Instructions is something of a marvel. Set almost entirely in the confines of a middle school outside of Chicago, and, for the bulk of that time, inside a locked classroom for "difficult" children known as The Cage, Levin's first novel generates an expansive world. The story follows a few days in the life of the protagonist, a young man, Gurion Maccabee, who writes scripture in his spare time and believes he might be the next Israelite Messiah. The novel explores a range of themes, touching on how we construct and test the limits of faith, our inner and outer struggles with feelings of powerlessness in the face of authority or biological limitation, and the ramifications of spiritual and physical violence. Despite such weighty themes, the novel reads like an epic myth, threaded through with humor, love, hope, and budding teenage sexuality. The Instructions is a beautifully crafted work, rewarding in every line." (read more)

Your price $11.50
Used - Trade Paper
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January 18
Selected by Kathleen from Beaverton, Oregon
Kathleen won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Glaciers (Tin House New Voice)
Glaciers (Tin House New Voice)
by Alexis Smith

Kathleen's Comments:
"Charming! I savored every sentence and fell in love. I hope to see many more books by this young author." (read more)

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Used - Trade Paper
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January 19
Selected by Sarah from Hillsboro, Oregon
Sarah won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Dies the Fire
Dies the Fire
by S. M. Stirling

Sarah's Comments:
"I enjoy post-apocalyptic stories, but how cool to read one set in the Willamette Valley! I have recommended it to all my family and friends. Nothing like reading a scene out-loud where a plane falls out of the sky on top of a bar in which your high school buddy still works. This series is worth reading." (read more)

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Used - Mass Market
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January 20
Selected by Nicole from Salem, Oregon
At Home: A Short History of Private Life
At Home: A Short History of Private Life
by Bill Bryson

Nicole's Comments:
"This is a really interesting and well written look at all the daily stuff we surround ourselves with -- eg. the telephone or the toilet -- and how these things came to be so commonplace. Excellent read! Bryson is funny and informative." (read more)

Your price $10.95
Used - Hardcover
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January 21
Selected by Brandon from Salt Lake City, Utah
Brandon won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $40.
The Inferno of Dante
The Inferno of Dante
by Dante Alighieri

Brandon's Comments:
"Does anyone write books like this anymore? There's more creative energy in that one little story than thousands upon thousands of books piled together. Beautifully written, wonderfully translated by Robert Pinsky. I read this book twice, along with listening to it on audiotape. I'll go back to it again and again throughout my life. One day I'll read it in Italian. The punishments handed down to the sinners are so creative and repugnant. I started imagining myself suffering those punishments, eternally. There's some real brutality in it. A special book." (read more)

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January 22
Selected by Diane from Portland, Oregon
Okay for Now
Okay for Now
by Gary D. Schmidt

Diane's Comments:
"A beautiful book -- engaging, exciting, and funny. I wept and laughed out loud. Well-crafted characters and an art lesson as well!" (read more)

Your price $4.95
Used - Hardcover
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January 23
Selected by Mary from Seattle, Washington
Emily, Alone
Emily, Alone
by Stewart O'Nan

Mary's Comments:
"A beauty of a book. The detail of an ordinary life so perfectly portrayed honestly took my breath away. You find yourself caring deeply for this immediately recognizable woman and prompted me to look at the everyday details of life in a new way. What more can one ask of a book?" (read more)

Your price $2.95
Used - Trade Paper
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January 24
Selected by Pamela from New York, New York
Pamela won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $60.
Great House
Great House
by Nicole Krauss

Pamela's Comments:
"Both a masterful storyteller and a poet, Krauss has given her readers an experience and not just a distraction. Her characters are intelligent, sophisticated, and buffeted by inevitable circumstances. Objects are also alive in Great House in that they "collect" the lives of those who possess them over time. Great House embodies a world I fully comprehend but try as I may will never fully understand." (read more)

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Used - Hardcover
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January 25
Selected by Janine from Haines, Alaska
Janine won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Memory Wall: Stories
Memory Wall: Stories
by Anthony Doerr

Janine's Comments:
"Before reading this stunning collection, I used to think that short stories weren't for me. With Memory Wall, Anthony Doerr changed all of that. Somehow the simplicity in his writing and his perfectly illumined (and carefully selected) details made me fall in love with short stories in general. I'm grateful. I envy any person who has not yet read this book because he or she still has the chance to read these pristine sentences and fall in love with these characters for the first time. Fans of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, you'll love the memory theme that weaves its way so gracefully throughout this collection." (read more)


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January 26
Selected by Nancy from Reedsport, Oregon
Nancy won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
The Illumination: A Novel
The Illumination: A Novel
by Kevin Brockmeier

Nancy's Comments:
"As a librarian I read a lot of books -- but I have to say The Illumination is the best book I read last year. The writing is astonishing and the subject matter important. I would nominate it for any award that recognizes unforgettable fiction." (read more)


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January 27
Selected by Matthew from San Diego, California
Matthew won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Await Your Reply
Await Your Reply
by Dan Chaon

Matthew's Comments:
"This was the best book I read in 2011, for sure. Chaon keeps all three story-lines completely engrossing, and I was often "on the edge of my seat", as they say. I plowed through this book because I needed to know what happened next! A masterfully written novel." (read more)

Your price $4.50
Used - Trade Paper
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January 28
Selected by Lori from Portland, Oregon
Lori won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration
by Isabel Wilkerson

Lori's Comments:
"This book captivated me from the very beginning! From the personal stories of the lives of the three people featured, to the previously only vaguely told history of the movement of blacks from the south out from under Jim Crow, this book is a beautifully written chapter of American history. Should be required reading in high school history classes." (read more)

Your price $8.50
Used - Trade Paper
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January 29
Selected by Michelle from Ridgeland, Mississippi
Michelle won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
The Art of Fielding
The Art of Fielding
by Chad Harbach

Michelle's Comments:
"I am amazed how some books live on with you bringing a smile to your face as you remember it, others haunt you, while others you hardly remember reading at all. The Art of Fielding is one of the books, for me, that I hardly remember reading at all....Overall, it was... an easy entertaining read." (read more)

Your price $7.50
Used - Trade Paper
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January 30
Selected by Stephen from Hillsboro, Oregon
Stephen won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
The Sense of an Ending
The Sense of an Ending
by Julian Barnes

Stephen's Comments:
"This novel recently won the Booker Prize for best novel. There seems to have been a small amount of controversy about the award because this novel is so short. Indeed, it is surprisingly short and easy to read. Regardless of the length, this is a powerful novel that provides a fascinating look at relationships, memories, and emotional trauma in addition to a number of head scratching mysteries. The short length of this novel simply means that no one has an excuse to not read it. However, if you do read it, I guarantee that you'll need to spend some extra time thinking about the differences between what really occurred and what the first person narrator reported. If you enjoy challenging mysteries and psychological drama, you can't afford to miss this novel." (read more)

Your price $9.95
Used - Hardcover
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January 31
Selected by Pamela from Morgan Hill, California
Pamela won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Among Others
Among Others
by Jo Walton

Pamela's Comments:
"Full of wonder,delight and eerie danger. A coming of age for a girl who loves books and is coping with the death of her twin, the madness of her mother, coming to know her father and his family, and having an injured leg....This book is written with a delightful love of books which brings back memories of how we first discovered our favorite authors -- the mystery writers, science fiction and non fiction writers. This book is not just another teen fantasy book, but is a thoughtful book for adults too." (read more)

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