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Literature
Staff Picks


There are 1528 books in this aisle.

Featured Titles in Literature - Staff Picks
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The Lowland (Vintage Contemporaries)
The Lowland (Vintage Contemporaries)
by Jhumpa Lahiri
Staff Pick
In The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri tells the story of two brothers who share everything as children but begin to pull apart as they grow older. Their childhood is set against a 1960s poverty rebellion known as the Naxalite movement in Calcutta, India. However,... (read more)

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Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
by David Sedaris
Staff Pick
One of these days I'll find the time to construct an actual review of Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, but until I do let these words stand as my pledge: You will not regret purchasing this book. Further: You're unlikely to find more pure... (read more)

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Used - Hardcover

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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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The Jaguar's Children
The Jaguar's Children
by John Vaillant
Staff Pick
Though Vaillant is best known for his critically acclaimed works of nonfiction, his prodigious talent is clearly on display in his debut novel, The Jaguar's Children. It’s a thrilling, timely story told with knowledge and compassion. If you, like me... (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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Used - Hardcover

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Frog Music
Frog Music
by Emma Donoghue
Staff Pick
Frog Music is a thrilling work of historical fiction by one of my favorite authors. Set in 1870s San Francisco, Donoghue's first mystery introduces Blanche and Jenny, two remarkable characters who keep us mesmerized as the story powerfully unfolds. If... (read more)

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Used - Hardcover

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The Old Man and the Sea
The Old Man and the Sea
by Ernest Hemingway
Staff Pick
Despite a long and varied literate life, I somehow made it to 2010 without having ever read Hemingway, even compulsory high-school Hemingway. Intimidated by his bravado and bullfighting, I steered clear of ol' Papa. It only hit me a few months ago, after... (read more)

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Used - Trade Paper

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State of Wonder (P.S.)
State of Wonder (P.S.)
by Ann Patchett
Staff Pick
State of Wonder is Ann Patchett's best book yet (yes, even better than Bel Canto). Brimming with mystery, philosophy, intrigue, ethical questions, the flora and fauna of the Amazon jungle, and absolutely beautiful prose, Patchett's new novel should be at... (read more)

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Olive Kitteridge
Olive Kitteridge
by Elizabeth Strout
Staff Pick
Set on the coast of Maine, this fantastic Pulitzer Prize winner (2009) is a terrific character study.  Olive is an irascible, crabby old lady who is difficult to like.  Yet, as her life, marriage, and story play out, her character changes in ways that... (read more)

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The Book of Strange New Things
The Book of Strange New Things
by Michel Faber
Staff Pick
An emotionally atmospheric achievement, I felt as though the author was holding my hand through the entire book. Not only are all of the characters believable, but there is a hopefulness which, despite how fragile and volatile the situations are, threads... (read more)

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Alif the Unseen
Alif the Unseen
by G. Willow Wilson
Staff Pick
Religion, metaphor, rebellion. The Quran and the Internet. Hackers, effrit, and sheikhs. Douglas Hofstadter shout-outs. Holy moly. Otherworldly elements swirl into the modern-day Middle East in this sandstorm of magic and mortals. The environments are... (read more)

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Sale - Trade Paper

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This Boy's Life: A Memoir
This Boy's Life: A Memoir
by Tobias Wolff
Staff Pick
Wolff's memoir retells his hardscrabble childhood in a dysfunctional family, but rather than inspire sympathy or pity, he evokes laughter. Wolff's teenage years, spent in Skagit County, Washington, are filled with the desperation of enormous creativity... (read more)

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The Sisters Brothers
The Sisters Brothers
by Patrick deWitt
Staff Pick
This entertaining and heartbreaking story is told by a fabulous narrator, Eli Sisters. Eli and his brother Charlie are hired killers in late 19th-century Oregon and California, and this is the tale of their final job.... (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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The Likeness
The Likeness
by Tana French
Staff Pick
The Likeness is another masterpiece of suspense by Tana French. Reminiscent of The Secret History, this psychological thriller is wonderfully written and impeccably paced — a perfect summer read.... (read more)

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The Night Circus
The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern
Staff Pick
Touted as an adult's version of Harry Potter, The Night Circus actually lives up to its hype. It's the story of a couple of magicians, a circus, and a duel. And, of course, it's so much more. Morgenstern's creation is astounding and intricate, delicate... (read more)

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Oryx and Crake
Oryx and Crake
by Margaret Atwood
Staff Pick
Reading a dystopian novel that so closely matches the current political and cultural situation seems like an exercise in depression, yet part of the truly visceral response to this novel seems due to the realization that it could so easily happen in... (read more)

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Consider the Lobster: And Other Essays
Consider the Lobster: And Other Essays
by David Foster Wallace
Staff Pick
Since I decided to finally read the 1,104-page complication that is Infinite Jest instead of using it as a makeshift bookend, I've suffered from a debilitating fear of commitment that has gradually devolved my reading stamina from novel to novella... (read more)

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Glaciers (Tin House New Voice)
Glaciers (Tin House New Voice)
by Alexis Smith
Staff Pick
Alexis Smith's diminutive novella lies somewhere between poetry and prose. So lyrical and so delicate, Glaciers slowly unspools as we follow Isabel on a routine day. Her inner life is rich and minutely detailed, and even though she is alone, her world... (read more)

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Up in the Old Hotel: and Other Stories
Up in the Old Hotel: and Other Stories
by Joseph Mitchell
Staff Pick
Joseph Mitchell wrote these stories and more for the New Yorker. Technically, they are nonfiction pieces — Mitchell's books are shelved mostly in literature and journalism. But his prose reads like some of the finest fiction the magazine's published.... (read more)

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