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Literature
Staff Picks


There are 1515 books in this aisle.

Featured Titles in Literature - Staff Picks
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Ceremony
Ceremony
by Leslie Marmon Silko
Staff Pick
Ceremony cast a spell on me; I read it over the course of a day, reluctantly putting it down only to eat and walk with the dog. It is the story of Tayo, whose soul has been horribly broken, and of his perilous journey back to wholeness. How rare it is... (read more)

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Authority (Southern Reach Trilogy #2)
Authority (Southern Reach Trilogy #2)
by Jeff VanderMeer
Staff Pick
Prepare yourself for another psychologically intense narrative in this second installment of the Southern Reach Trilogy. This time we are taken behind the scenes of the agency and learn many of Area X's secrets, only to discover how much more there is to... (read more)

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Wolf in White Van
Wolf in White Van
by John Darnielle
Staff Pick
It's hard to know what to expect when a songwriter tackles a full-length novel, but Darnielle has created a complex story that lives and breathes on its own merits, while still retaining the moments of razor-sharp intensity that give his lyrics their... (read more)

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The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
by Sherman Alexie
Staff Pick
This collection of interconnected stories explore the dreams, passions, contradictions, and heartbreak of being Indian in contemporary America. Bittersweet, poignantly ironic, and at times profoundly humorous, Alexie's writing is passionate and vivid... (read more)

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The Remains of the Day
The Remains of the Day
by Kazuo Ishiguro
Staff Pick
Heralded upon release for its elegance and restraint, The Remains of the Day has become a classic of British literature — and one of my favorite books! Ishiguro's simple, painstakingly precise language beautifully captures a man and an era that... (read more)

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Pulphead: Essays
Pulphead: Essays
by John Jeremiah Sullivan
Staff Pick
I love collections of essays. I almost always have one (or two or three) in a pile on my bedside table. But not since I first read A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace have I loved a book of essays as much as I loved... (read more)

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Giovanni's Room (Vintage International)
Giovanni's Room (Vintage International)
by James Baldwin
Staff Pick
It would be difficult to talk about James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room and not touch on the simple fact that this slim novel, published in 1956, is mainly a love story between two men. It seems impossible to think such a thing could be published pre... (read more)

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Slouching towards Bethlehem: Essays
Slouching towards Bethlehem: Essays
by Joan Didion
Staff Pick
Joan Didion's lucid, canny prose style is painstakingly situated around the art of the sentence. Slouching towards Bethlehem, her first collection of nonfiction, serves as a prime example of exactly how well she can wield one. Each of these essays... (read more)

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The Secret Wisdom of the Earth
The Secret Wisdom of the Earth
by Chris Scotton
Staff Pick
The Secret Wisdom of the Earth is a deep, lush novel with edge-of-seat excitement, emotional personal drama, and riveting scenes. Set in the beautiful mountains of Kentucky, Kevin befriends Buzzy Fink when he and his mom move in with his grandfather... (read more)

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The Children Act
The Children Act
by Ian McEwan
Staff Pick
Ian McEwan's The Children Act tackles a very touchy subject these days: religious freedom and all the ethical, moral, legal, and criminal ramifications therein. Fiona, a High Court judge, must rule in a case involving a Jehovah's Witness family, in... (read more)

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Dark Places
Dark Places
by Gillian Flynn
Staff Pick
Libby Day's mother and two sisters were savagely murdered when Libby was only seven years old. Her testimony in the ensuing trial helped send her brother to prison for the crimes. But is he really guilty? Flynn's accessible and compelling writing style... (read more)

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Breakfast of Champions
Breakfast of Champions
by Kurt Vonnegut
Staff Pick
After Slaughterhouse Five came out in 1969, Kurt Vonnegut entered a long period of depression and swore he would never write another novel. Fortunately he was lying, and in 1973, out came Breakfast of Champions; or, Goodbye Blue Monday (the subtitle... (read more)

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Wolf Hall
Wolf Hall
by Hilary Mantel
Staff Pick
Do we really need another sweeping historical epic set in 16th-century England? One which possesses at its heart yet another subplot about Henry VIII and his volatile affections? We certainly do if the novel is written by Hilary Mantel. Written in a... (read more)

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
by Mark Haddon
Staff Pick
An autistic math genius sets out to solve the murder-by-pitchfork of a neighbor's dog. The narrator's autism gives a terrific, interesting depth to his voice. Incredibly well done, Mark Haddon's debut novel is sweet, original, and moving.... (read more)

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A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
by Anthony Marra
Staff Pick
Life during wartime Chechnya is not easy to read about, but this novel is too beautiful to be depressing, and Marra's skilled plotting pushes you forward heart-first. This is my pick for the best under-the-radar book of 2013.... (read more)

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The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis
The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis
by Lydia Davis
Staff Pick
Normally I dislike "domestic stories." You know, those fictions that deal with slice-of-life musings or investigations into the American Life and Household. Lydia Davis tackles this terrain quite often, but the clarity of her voice, coupled with a will... (read more)

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I Capture the Castle
I Capture the Castle
by Dodie Smith
Staff Pick
An utter delight. This enchanting tale has long been a favorite of mine. It has just been reissued to coincide with the soon to be released movie version. Set in 1930s England, this story of young love beguiles with moated castles, moonlight swims, high... (read more)

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The Dog Stars
The Dog Stars
by Peter Heller
Staff Pick
A post-apocalyptic story with an open, elegant heart, Heller's debut novel follows a pilot, Hig, and an ex-military man, Bangley, in their fight for survival. Although stuck together in an uneasy partnership, they each flawlessly compensate for the... (read more)

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Lush Life
Lush Life
by Richard Price
Staff Pick
It's a given that fans of Price's earlier novels will rush to read Lush Life. In addition, fans of the HBO series The Wire — or anyone who enjoys a gripping read, period — won't want to miss this fantastic novel, which peels back the shiny surface of... (read more)

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The Girl Who Fell from the Sky
The Girl Who Fell from the Sky
by Heidi W. Durrow
Staff Pick
Heartbreaking in its honesty, this perfect jewel of a novel mirrors the real life of the author, who grew up biracial in Portland, Oregon, in the 1980s. After an accident claims her family, Rachel is sent to live with her grandmother in a predominantly... (read more)

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