25 Books to Read Before You Die
 
 

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February 01
Selected by Jessica from Longmont, Colorado
Jessica won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog
The Elegance of the Hedgehog
by Muriel Barbery

Jessica's Comments:
"A very fine story and exceptional translation! If you missed this beautiful book when it was released a few years ago, move it to the top of your reading list now. The premise of the story, a young girl ready to leave this world and a middle-aged woman really entering into it for the first time, alternating between the voices of both, makes for a joyful ride. You will also find a very lovely turn of phrases on each page, so much so that reading will be like slowly enjoying some of the finest chocolates in the world. There are references to philosophy, Tolstoy, Dutch painting and other deliciousness. It reads quickly, but do take your time. Really." (read more)

Your price $8.95
Used - Trade Paper
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February 02
Selected by Suzanne from Ashland, Oregon
Suzanne won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Before I Go to Sleep
Before I Go to Sleep
by S. J. Watson

Suzanne's Comments:
"Whoa -- I couldn't put this one down. Read it in two sittings. A real page turner. It's very intelligently written. The plot is intricate due to the nature of the story, i.e., the main character has no long or short term memory from one day to the next. She only retains what she learns in her waking hours, then goes to sleep and when she re-awakens, it's gone; she has to start over learning who she is, what's happened in her life in the last twenty years. I didn't find one "wait a minute" (error) in the way the author clearly laid out the twisted narrative. Great read, quick and fascinating. Keeps you guessing til the end as to who Chrissy can trust -- or not!" (read more)

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Used - Hardcover
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February 03
Selected by Paul from Spokane, Washington
The Sweeter Side of R. Crumb
The Sweeter Side of R. Crumb
by R. Crumb

Paul's Comments:
"The stumbling block for many readers who otherwise love Crumb is the dirty, harsh, and cynical worldview that imbues so much of his work. This surprising volume clears up the problem and dispels the stereotype." (read more)

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Used - Trade Paper
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February 04
Selected by Ethan from Anderson, Indiana
Ethan won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $40.
The Snowman
The Snowman
by Jo Nesbo

Ethan's Comments:
"Jo Nesbo mesmerized me with a mix of violence, shocking dialogue and a lead detective to pity and love....I would recommend it to all my friends, provided they are ready for pg-13 or more content." (read more)

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Used - Hardcover
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February 05
Selected by Courtney from New York, New York
Courtney won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Say Her Name
Say Her Name
by Francisco Goldman

Courtney's Comments:
"This book is as beautifully written as it is stunningly evocative. Francisco Goldman's Say Her Name is an autobiographical novel that recounts his less than 2 year marriage to his beloved Aura, who died at the age of 30 in a body surfing accident. Say Her Name is as much a book about the transforming properties of love as it is about the paralysis of grief. In my opinion, Say Her Name is Goldman's best work. I highly recommend it!" (read more)

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Used - Hardcover
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February 06
Selected by Elizabeth from Blacksburg, VA
Elizabeth won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Fledgling
Fledgling
by Octavia E. Butler

Elizabeth's Comments:
"Were you kind of intrigued by the sexy Twilight vampires, but turned off by the flat characters, anti-feminist messages, and bland writing? Read this instead. Your brain will thank you. You also get deep questions about race in America, the meaning of "family," and the relationship between love and sex. Plus it is a rip-roaring, page-turning, girl-on-the-run thriller. What's not to love?" (read more)

Your price $8.00
Used - Trade Paper
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February 07
Selected by Emily from Renton, Washington
Wonderstruck
Wonderstruck
by Brian Selznick

Emily's Comments:
"Not just for young adults -- readers of all ages will be touched by this story. The parallel plots that come together toward the end, in combination with the author's use of equal parts text and illustration make this book a fun and fascinating read." (read more)

Your price $18.95
Used - Hardcover
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February 08
Selected by Stanislava from Varna, Varna, Bulgaria,
My Life in France
My Life in France
by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme

Stanislava's Comments:
"I loved this book. I am not a foodie, but Ms. Child has such an engaging style of writing I couldn't wait to follow her wherever she cared to take me. She creates a picture of a country, of a culture, of a cuisine she loved so much -- dedicated to love of life and hedonism. She also imbues the book with her sorrow of a disappearing way of life -- one that cherishes the art of cooking, that invests hours in creating the perfect culinary experience....The whole book left me with an optimistic feeling and I was sad to finish it -- it was like saying goodbye to a much loved friend. This is a book I will be sure to reread in future." (read more)

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Used - Trade Paper
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February 09
Selected by Richard from New York, New York
Richard won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $60.
I Thought You Were Dead: A Love Story
I Thought You Were Dead: A Love Story
by Pete Nelson

Richard's Comments:
"To put it succinctly...I really loved this book! OK, a little more detail. The book is mainly about relationships. A man and his talking dog. A man and the women who inhabit his life; his ex-wife and his present girlfriend (although she is also dating another). A man and his biological family, especially his father and older brother. The book is also about growing up. Not the growing we do into adolescence and adulthood, but the growing up we finally start doing after screwing up our lives as adults. It is funny. It is sad. It is heart warming and it is so right on in its descriptions of feelings. Did I mention that I loved it?" (read more)


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February 10
Selected by Jennifer from Stuart, Florida
Jennifer won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
The Passage
The Passage
by Justin Cronin

Jennifer's Comments:
"I loved this book. Marooned on a desert island, I would bring it with me. A brainy, ambitious vampire novel with no Edward, Bella or Jacob. Two thumbs up!" (read more)

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Used - Trade Paper
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February 11
Selected by Bradley from Anderson, Alabama
Bradley won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
The Tiger's Wife
The Tiger's Wife
by Tea Obreht

Bradley's Comments:
"Obreht's novel is masterful from beginning to end. Sensationally charged with hints of mythology, magic, and the essence of what it means to be a part of a family, this is the best book of 2011. Hands down." (read more)

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Used - Trade Paper
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February 12
Selected by Sarah from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise
The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise
by Julia Stuart

Sarah's Comments:
"I adored the writing and whimsy of this book. The story was beautifully told, and had one of the best endings I have read in a long time. Highly recommended!!" (read more)

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Used - Hardcover
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February 13
Selected by Sonya from Tualatin, Oregon
Sonya won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $40.
Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love
Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love
by Larry Levin

Sonya's Comments:
"Oogy was a beautiful story. I laughed, I cried, I got mad but in the end all I could do was smile. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves dogs. I would love to save all of them. I was happy to read how the Levin family took a chance and gave Oogy a wonderful loving pampered life that he deserved." (read more)

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Used - Trade Paper
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February 14
Selected by Marie from Corvallis, Oregon
Marie won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
The Book of Night Women
The Book of Night Women
by Marlon James

Marie's Comments:
"This book is fantastic. Very powerfully written and deeply disturbing. Marlon James is an amazing storyteller. Once I started this I simply could not put it down." (read more)

Your price $6.95
Used - Trade Paper
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February 15
Selected by Andrew from San Francisco, California
Andrew won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
When You Reach Me
When You Reach Me
by Rebecca Stead

Andrew's Comments:
"This book was incredibly delightful to the very end. Not only is the writing obviously talented and unique, but the entire plot is brimming with creativity. I was hooked as soon as I read the first line, and the suspense never ended!...I highly recommend it to everyone, no matter what genres you enjoy, because this book is absolutely worth it!!" (read more)

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Used - Trade Paper
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February 16
Selected by David from Ridgecrest, CA
Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian
Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian
by Avi Steinberg

David's Comments:
"What a great read. Bravo, Avi Steinberg. 'Running the Books' is a witty, funny, sober, and thoughtful portrayal and analysis of what over- and underachievement may mean today for the educated; the prison system; some of the values in arts & letters; the penal system; and the dead-end continuum for much of the criminal cohort. An added bonus for those who grew up in the area but are far from home is the flavor of Boston and some aspects of the local temperament and history. A book lover's book, indeed." (read more)

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February 17
Selected by Patty from Portland, Oregon
The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden
The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden
by Ivette Soler

Patty's Comments:
"It isn't very often that a book is as practical and inspiring as Ivette Soler's "The Edible Front Yard" comes along. It is a book for our era of sustainable gardening and self sufficiency. The book is well organized, easy to read and filled with inspiration. Her honest approach at creating an edible front yard does not sacrifice the practical for the beautiful but demonstrates how to marry the two in genius fashion. It is a book that offers not just pretty pictures but what works and what doesn't, offering the reader sound advice that will well serve them as they garden. Big thumbs up from this long time gardener." (read more)

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Sale - Trade Paper
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February 18
Selected by Brenda from Seattle, Washington
Brenda won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $60.
What Alice Forgot
What Alice Forgot
by Liane Moriarty

Brenda's Comments:
"I have to admit if I saw this book in a book store or library I probably would not have considered reading it....I am glad I did [read it]...once I started reading I had a hard time putting it down till I was finished....I found this novel to be quite creative and imaginative, especially how the author unraveled the story thread by thread, memory by memory and bit by bit. Loved the fact that it did not come all about at once....[S]he leads you through the maze of jumbled thoughts, the interwoven stories of life, love, relationships, death, children and family." (read more)


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February 19
Selected by Emma from Park City, Utah
Stardust (P.S.)
Stardust (P.S.)
by Neil Gaiman

Emma's Comments:
"The storyline of this book is intricate and beautiful. I have been recommending it ever since I finished it. The characters are all so likable and interesting. This author was amazing at capturing the quaintness of the little town of Wall and the beauty of the other side of Wall. I loved the people in the strange marketplace, and all the adventures Tristan had while traveling around in the magical world. The ending is perfect and a great way to wrap everything up. Neil Gaiman is such a great storyteller. He is so descriptive and has you fall in love with every character. This is a great light read! Once you start it, you won't be able to put it down!" (read more)

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Used - Trade Paper
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February 20
Selected by Sona from San Francisco, California
Sona won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $40.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
by Brian Selznick

Sona's Comments:
"I bought this book for my eight year old nephew for Christmas. We started to read it that week, but didn't finish. I bought myself a copy the minute I got home. We both loved it! He finished it before I did! Beautiful drawings, prose and just an overall great story." (read more)

Your price $13.00
Used - Hardcover
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February 21
Selected by Kate from Portland, Oregon
Girl Reading
Girl Reading
by Katie Ward

Kate's Comments:
"Girl Reading is an exquisitely written novel told as the stories of five women across seven centuries. Each segment ends with questions or reflections on the meaning of life and how it moves forward. Ward's character development led me to empathize with most of the sinners as well as the saints. The connectedness of creation theme evolves as the novel progresses." (read more)

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Used - Hardcover
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February 22
Selected by Lea Anna from Milwaukie, Oregon
Lea Anna won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $40.
The Sisters Brothers
The Sisters Brothers
by Patrick deWitt

Lea Anna's Comments:
"An instant favorite. Between the sparse dialog and the thoughts of Eli Sisters, deWitt has put together something so interesting. These brothers are some of the best characters I've read in a long time. I'd recommend this to anyone, especially those who think they don't like Westerns!" (read more)

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February 23
Selected by Meredith from Portland, Oregon
Wicked Bugs
Wicked Bugs
by Amy Stewart

Meredith's Comments:
"Fun, fascinating, and good bedtime reading!" (read more)

Your price $11.95
Used - Hardcover
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February 24
Selected by Sheila from Sequim, WA
Sheila won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $40.
Mink River
Mink River
by Brian Doyle

Sheila's Comments:
"The pace and tone of this novel made you feel as if you were fireside with a wonderfully talented storyteller -- you happily follow the ribbon of the tale that Mr. Doyle uncoils, with complete suspension of disbelief. Of course the crow, Moses, speaks English and is a wise fellow at that! No doubt whatsoever that Cedar is able to communicate with the bear -- in her language! I found myself in a child-like trance eagerly anticipating the next page, and the next..." (read more)

Your price $18.95
New - Trade Paper
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February 25
Selected by Johan from Gothenburg, VG, Sweden, , Sweden
Johan won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Reamde
Reamde
by Neal Stephenson

Johan's Comments:
"Stephenson is back from a long run of rather boring books, Reamde is the book that we have been waiting for since Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon. The twist in the story are many and a the techno-talk doesn't feel dated and old, he really know what he talks about." (read more)

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Used - Hardcover
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February 26
Selected by Sarah from Gresham , Oregon
Sarah won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Night Road
Night Road
by Kristin Hannah

Sarah's Comments:
"There is only one word to describe this book, that would be AMAZING! The story line and the characters and so realist and very well developed. This book is about a young girl who has been searching for a forever family, while going through life in the foster system. When she is freshman in high school she finally finds a home with a great aunt and from there she find her best friend. But in their senior year every thing changes. The event in this book that changes everything is something that I never saw coming. I highly recommend this book and the author." (read more)

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Used - Hardcover
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February 27
Selected by Richard from Cataumet, Massachusetts
Richard won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
The Snow Child
The Snow Child
by Eowyn Ivey

Richard's Comments:
"The Snow Child is beautifully balanced between its realistic portrayal of a homesteading couple in Alaska, battling the elements and the loneliness of the northern frontier, and its wonderfully mysterious tale of the snow child. I was unfamiliar with the folk tale, but that didn't matter. I read through with a combination of wonder, expectation, and the question "Who (or what) is this girl Faina?" A great read!" (read more)

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Used - Hardcover
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February 28
Selected by Sally from Paradise, California
Sally won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
Robopocalypse (Vintage Contemporaries)
Robopocalypse (Vintage Contemporaries)
by Daniel H. Wilson

Sally's Comments:
"This was a great book. It's all about people coming together and being torn apart. What happens when we completely trust computers and letting them run our everyday lives? This is the war between man and machine, it could happen as we rely more and more on technology." (read more)

Your price $10.95
Used - Trade Paper
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February 29
Selected by Colleen from South Hadley, Massachusetts
Colleen won a Powells.com gift certificate worth $20.
On Writing
On Writing
by Stephen King

Colleen's Comments:
"Whether or not you are an aspiring writer, and whether or not you enjoy Stephen King's other books, you will very likely enjoy this book. The book contains a lot of autobiographical information from King's early life when he started writing stories and during his struggles with addiction. He also provides a lot of useful information about his own writing process and tips for aspiring writers. And if you are a fan of the television show Lost you will recognize how this book influenced the creators of Lost." (read more)

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Used - Mass Market
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