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Here are just some of the books we're talking about at Powell's.

  1. Tampa

    This blistering excavation of the mind of a pedophile is absolutely riveting. Celeste Price becomes a teacher and carefully arranges her life in order to continuously have a fresh supply of young boys on hand. Her entire life revolves around her anticipatory, and then eventual, conquests, and her introspection never once goes beyond her insatiable libido.

    Her stunning physical beauty seems to deflect the accusations that are eventually directed her way, and Tampa morphs into a damning commentary on the worth of females based solely on their appearance. She can't possibly be that beautiful and be "bad," can she? Nutting somehow manages to make sure that her readers are both attracted to, and repulsed by, Celeste, and provides one hell of a wild ride. Excellent!

    Recommended by Dianah April 15, 2015

  2. Cadillac Desert

    Almost 30 years since its original publication, this absorbing, no-holds-barred condemnation of water policy in the American West remains an essential book for understanding our current water crisis, with California grappling with the most severe drought in recent history and the threat of global water shortages growing ever more real. Reisner reveals how the West's transformation from a barren landscape to a lush paradise is the result of corruption, greed, and devastating environmental practices that have plagued a vast region of the country for well over a century. Regardless of where you live, this is vital reading on our most precious resource.

    Recommended by Abby April 14, 2015

  3. The Road to Character

    A provocative look at morality for our age, Brooks' insightful profiling of some of the world's great thinkers and leaders offers understanding into their priorities, limitations, and values and by extension gives us an opportunity to rethink our own.

    Recommended by Chandler April 10, 2015

  4. The Dead Lands

    Benjamin Percy spins a post-apocalyptic tale starring Lewis Meriwether and Wilhemina Clark. Once again, the intrepid duo heads West on a mission. Giant bats and various mutants greet them as they traverse the tortured landscape toward the mythic Cascadia.

    Recommended by Mary Jo April 10, 2015

  5. What My Daughter Wore

    I do not have a daughter of my own, but as soon as I saw this, I instantly fell in love. The illustrations come from a Brooklyn mother who drew (and also documents on her blog of the same name) what her tween daughter and her daughter's friends were wearing. The combined results are phenomenal. These girls' fearless, laid-back style and self-expression puts them in a class all their own, brought to life in smooth, colorful sketches, making this one of the most original fashion books on youth that I've ever come across.

    Recommended by Aubrey April 10, 2015

  6. Long Man

    Amy Greene writes a suspenseful eco-terrorism tale here. When the local electric company installs a dam on the Long Man River, they plan to flood the town of Yuneetah in the Tennessee Valley. As the flooding nears, most of the town folk have been begrudgingly bought out of their property, except for Annie Clyde Dodson. She has a historical and familial connection with her land, and her plan is to never leave willingly. Three days before the scheduled flooding, as a disgruntled former resident returns to town, Annie's three-year-old daughter disappears into the Tennessee wilderness during a raging storm. Addressing such issues as poverty, government, personal rights, home, marriage, and parenting, Long Man is an edge-of-your-seat tension-filled read.

    Recommended by Dianah April 8, 2015

  7. Martin Marten

    Martin Marten does for Mt. Hood what Mink River did for the Oregon coast; that is, it somehow shows just how whimsical and quaint a small town can be, and to such a degree that you fall in love with Doyle's version of this place and secretly want to live there. Martin Marten follows the lives of two inhabitants of "the Zag" near Rhododendron on Mt. Hood: an adolescent boy named Dave and a marten named Martin (just go with it!). Told with Doyle's distinctive attention to minute details and things often unseen, Martin Marten is bursting with the adventures of not only Dave and Martin, but all the millions of inhabitants (animal, vegetable, AND mineral) on this small patch of land on the side of a mountain. Doyle's fervent affection for both humans and nonhumans is the foundation of this story of survival, home, family, coming of age, love, and grace.

    Doyle has a sharp eye for breathtaking beauty and a sharp ear for dialogue, and his staggering language will wrap you up in its enormous embrace and take you on a trip so unusual and so entertaining, you will love every minute of it. His style is so remarkable, it doesn't go too far to tap him as one of Oregon's most-beloved wordsmiths.

    Recommended by Dianah April 8, 2015

  8. The Tapper Twins Go to War (With Each Other)

    Twelve-year-old twins Claudia and Reese Tapper each tell their tale of sibling rivalry in this highly entertaining story. The detailed documentation of their epic prank includes photos, chat logs, gaming screenshots, and text messages between their too-busy and clueless parents in this first of a four-book series. A great dual read-aloud!

    Recommended by Kim T. April 8, 2015

  9. So You've Been Publicly Shamed

    Now more than ever, one moment of bad judgment — say, a poorly conceived tweet — can lead to an online feeding frenzy with life-changing ramifications. In this entertaining yet eye-opening book, Ronson details how we've entered a new age of public shaming and the effects on both the condemned and the condemners (us).

    Recommended by Renee P. April 8, 2015

  10. Have You Seen My Monster?

    With whimsical, masterful black-and-white art accented with flashes of color, Steve Light draws a lovely follow-up to Have You Seen My Dragon? Kids will love looking for the lost monster — and while they may not notice, they'll be learning all about shapes along the way.

    Recommended by Gigi Little April 8, 2015

  11. The Distant Marvels

    The Distant Marvels is good old-fashioned storytelling at its finest. Acevedo doesn't rely on any gimmicks or unlikely plot twists, and instead crafts a captivating multigenerational tale that will linger in your memory for a long time to come.

    Recommended by Shawn April 8, 2015

  12. The Dirty Apron Cookbook

    Chef Dave Robertson was born to teach cooking. Dirty Apron, the eponymous cookbook from his Vancouver, BC, deli and cooking school, celebrates recipes both funky and grand. Robertson's thoughtful presentation makes cooking easy for beginners yet also intriguing for the experienced cook. This is the rare cookbook that everyone will love.

    Recommended by Tracey T. April 8, 2015

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Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at