Banna's Recs

Banna


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Dreidels on the Brain Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780803740976
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dial Books - October 4th, 2016

Who knew? A wonderful middle-grade novel with Hanukkah festivities at its center that will be loved by kids of all backgrounds. Joel is a short, funny-looking 12-year-old, a talented magician with a loving family. He needs a series of Hanukkah miracles: help for his father’s crippling arthritis and his family’s crippling money problems, the affection of a classmate, and – somehow – a way to get through the Winter Holiday assembly where he (the only Jew in his school) and his family are expected to enlighten everyone about their holiday. Great fun, and some genuinely moving moments.

- Banna


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The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog Cover Image
By Adam Gidwitz, Hatem Aly (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525426165
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - September 27th, 2016

Middle grade through adult

What a quartet: Jeanne, a peasant girl whose seizures let her see the future; William, a supernaturally strong, biracial  monk-in-training; Jacob, a Jewish boy with a gift for healing; and Gwenforte, a saintly greyhound resurrected from the dead. It’s France in 1242, and they meet by chance at an inn, all of them running for their lives from the persecution of King Louis. This episodic tale, told by multiple narrators, will bear you breathless on their journey. Along the way you’ll grapple with faith, truth, loyalty, and bigotry. And fierce knights. And a dragon with fiery flatulence. The book is visually stunning; adventure, humor, and mystery abound. Leap on this one!

- Banna


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The Other Boy Cover Image
By M. G. Hennessey, Sfe R. Monster (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062427663
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - September 20th, 2016

Shane’s interests aren’t surprising for a 12-year-old – baseball, video games, creating a graphic novel, hanging with his best friend, and experiencing his first major crush. Just one thing: he was designated “female” at birth. No one at his school knows. He’s at a turning point, because it’s time to begin testosterone injections. His mom is supportive; dad, not so much. When a bully learns Shane’s secret, everything falls apart, but heartbreak and tragedy, thankfully, aren’t permanent conditions. Terrific book with plenty of depth and hope.

- Banna


Chance Developments: Stories Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781101871256
Availability: Special Order
Published: Pantheon - July 12th, 2016

Sometimes you just want to lose yourself in a good story. Who better to provide it – five of them, in fact – than master storyteller McCall Smith? He chose five black-and-white photos, subjects unknown to him, and created detailed and very specific back stories for each of them. A thoroughly satisfying and occasionally astonishing collection, filled with love and longing, tenderness and sorrow, sweetness and bittersweetness. A perfect little treasure of a book!

- Banna

 


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Ghosts Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780545540629
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Graphix - September 13th, 2016

Wow. Just wow. Embracing anxiety, a move to a new community, life-threatening illness, and more, Telgemeier uses magical realism to give us an absorbing, moving, and thrilling graphic novel for middle graders. Sixth-grader Cat’s family has moved from Southern California to a gloomy town up the coast for the sake of her younger sister, whose cystic fibrosis made it hard for her to breathe in the drier climate. Cat’s anxious and resentful, but also guilt-ridden – she knows that her sister’s life hangs in the balance. Their new community is deeply into ghosts and the Day of the Dead; Cat and her sister are drawn into the celebration and their own Mexican heritage. You’ll want to devour the book at one sitting, but go slowly enough to savor the artwork and process the subject matter.

- Banna


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Cloud and Wallfish Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780763688035
Availability: Backordered
Published: Candlewick - September 2nd, 2016

Fifth-grader Noah Keller has a challenge: a speech impediment he calls the Astonishing Stutter. Suddenly that’s the least of his problems. His parents pick him up at school one day and announce that they’re all off to the airport for a six month stay in East Berlin. Oh, and they all have new names: he’s now Jonah Brown. And there’s a whole series of rules, starting with No Serious Things Can Be Discussed Indoors. In this Cold War adventure, set in 1989, nothing is as it seems and everything is dangerous. A friendship with Claudia, a downstairs neighbor his age, and his loving parents help Noah/Jonah navigate this strange new world; historical notes will help kids grasp this amazing story and the bizarre world in which it’s set.

- Banna


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The Last True Love Story Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781481429887
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - September 13th, 2016

YA

Teddy has too much on his plate for a 17-year-old: a dead father, a largely absent mother, a swirl of unanswered questions, and providing care for a grandfather distraught at losing his memories to Alzheimer’s. Corinna has a plateful, too: Guatemalan by birth and adopted by two clueless white ex-hippies, betrayed by a boyfriend, scorned by former friends, and burning with musical talent and ambition. To help the grandfather reconnect with memories of his late wife, the three decide to drive from Santa Monica to Ithaca, NY. As several characters say, “Everybody respects the road trip.” This is one you definitely want to go on.

- Banna


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Moonglow: A Novel Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780062225559
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - November 22nd, 2016

The intersection of world history and family history, the interplay of memory and imagination, a tangle of humor and grief, the blurred and shifting line that separates sanity and madness: all come into play in this stunning book. In the months before his death, Chabon’s grandfather revealed much of his life to his grandson. On that foundation, Chabon has built a novel filled with family stories, World War II episodes (including an appearance by Wernher von Braun), an obsession with rocketry, and a vividly realized, against-all-odds love story. While all the characters are richly developed, the narrator’s grandfather, the brave, eccentric, anger-fueled, and deeply loving center of this novel, will remain with readers forever.

- Banna


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Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781250151162
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - April 3rd, 2018

Gorgeous book; glorious narrator – a delicious cocktail of wit, grit, and poignancy. On New Year’s Eve of 1984, Lillian Boxfish walks miles around midtown and lower Manhattan. She’s 85, and for many years was the highest-paid advertising woman in the world. She’s seen it all, but has an unquenchable thirst to see and experience more. Her standards, her attire, and her poise are impeccable. Her senses of perspective and humor are unfailing. As she walks and interacts with an improbable but wholly believable variety of people, Lillian recalls scenes and people from her long and eventful life. Walk with her. You’ll never find a companion like this again.

- Banna


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Threads Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781484746905
Availability: Backordered
Published: Disney-Hyperion - November 2016

Middle grade

Clara and her parents are mired in grief for her older sister, adopted from China, whom they lost to cancer. At the mall one day, Clara aimlessly reaches into a handbag on display – only to find a note pleading for help from Yuming, a child imprisoned in a factory in China where the bag was made. Clara knows immediately that she was meant to rescue Yuming and the other children in the factory. The story, told back and forth from each child’s perspective, is riveting and deeply moving.  What a wonderful opportunity for American kids to get an eye-opening look at the bitter reality of some of the world’s children. The absence of a contrived happy ending (but a thoroughly satisfying conclusion nonetheless) sealed the deal for me.

- Banna


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Lucky Strikes Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781627793902
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) - July 5th, 2016

Middle Grade

Depression-era rural Virginia. Melia, a fatherless 14-year-old, must grieve her mother’s death, keep their gas station going despite the take-over schemes of a rival owner, look after her younger brother and sister, and keep the authorities from learning that the kids are orphans and sending them into different foster care placements. When a derelict rolls off a coal truck, she persuades him to pose as the kids’ father. Now, how to juggle all the other pieces? Melia is bright, determined (and then some), outspoken, and a crackerjack mechanic. All the characters and situations are exquisitely drawn, and draw readers in deeper than you might think possible. I love, love this book.

- Banna


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Jackson, 1964: And Other Dispatches from Fifty Years of Reporting on Race in America Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780399588242
Availability: Special Order
Published: Random House - June 28th, 2016

When one of our finest writers has been covering any issue for fifty years, we need to pay attention. When the issue is race in America, we need to drop everything and read now. In virtually every essay, I found myself saying, alternately, “Well, at least that doesn’t happen anymore” and “Dear God, this could have been written yesterday.” Trillin follows each piece with an update, so we have the benefit of context and follow-up that wasn’t available when these essays were originally published. 

- Banna


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Mayday Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780316298018
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - May 24th, 2016

Young Adult

Whenever 12-year-old Wayne Kovok felt uncomfortable, which was often, his default was to fill conversational voids with some of the random fascinating facts he’s always collected. But after surviving a plane crash, he’s robbed of speech for a long period of healing and has to redefine himself. That would be hard enough, but he’s also grieving the death of a favorite uncle, always falling short in the eyes of his highly critical ex-military grandfather, and trying to deal with the repeated hurts and disappointments provided by his absent divorced father. Wayne is consistently good company, and it’s a great pleasure to cheer him on as he heals and finds his way.

- Banna


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Wolf Hollow Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781101994825
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - May 3rd, 2016

About to turn 12, Annabelle is jolted out of her predictable, peaceful life in rural Pennsylvania  –  peaceful despite World War II raging in the distance  – by a vicious bully and a new-found awareness of the naïveté and bigotry of some of the adults around her. She faces a series of difficult choices that endanger herself, her family, and a solitary, homeless, and virtually speechless World War I veteran who arouses the suspicion of many in the community. Annabelle will remind you of Harper Lee’s Scout in her intelligence, compassion, and dogged determination to confront issues of agonizing moral complexity.

- Banna


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A Life Everlasting: The Extraordinary Story of One Boy's Gift to Medical Science Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062438225
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperOne - September 27th, 2016

Sarah Gray was elated to learn she was pregnant with twins and then devastated when one of them was revealed to have anencephaly, a terminal condition. Adamant that their son's very short life would have meaning, she and her husband chose organ donation. He was born too small for his organs to be transplanted, so they decided on tissue donation for research purposes. As time went by, Gray wanted to know more; she visited the facilities that had received her son's tissue to find out more about the research they conducted and what they learned. In doing so, she was consoled and inspired to learn just how much her son had contributed to medical knowledge through this donation. This book is an absolute must for readers of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, for everyone who's a registered organ donor, and especially for anyone who's not.

- Banna


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Casting Lots: Creating a Family in a Beautiful, Broken World Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9780306824616
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Da Capo Press - March 29th, 2016

Silverman and her husband are the parents of three daughters (biological) and two sons (adopted from Ethiopia). Their family life is full of drama, questions, chaos, tenderness, messiness, tears, hilarity – and always, always, love and spirituality. Yes, this is a book about international and transracial adoption, but it’s so much more. Silverman welcomes readers into her family of origin (which includes the comedian and actor Sarah, with whom she shares a delightfully wicked sense of humor) and the family she created with her husband, Yosef. You’ll feel immediately at home – and in awe that out of such tumult and chaos can come so much love and peace.

- Banna


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Girl in the Blue Coat Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316260602
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - April 5th, 2016

You’ve read Anne Frank’s diary; you think you know what Amsterdam was like in 1943. You don’t. This historical novel has a sense of immediacy that makes it impossible to put down – and it will haunt you long after you finish it. Hanneke, 18, leads a complicated life: secretary to a mortician, finder/deliverer of black market goods, dutiful daughter who’s her parents’ sole support. When she’s asked by one of her clients to locate a Jewish girl who disappeared from her hiding place, Hanneke gets drawn into the resistance against her better judgment. How much is she willing to risk? Her parents’ lives? But how can she refuse? This sharply focused, well-researched look at daily life in Nazi-occupied Holland is also a masterful suspenseful story.

- Banna


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Mister Monkey: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062397836
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - October 18th, 2016

Margot, one of the leads in a misguided production of the mediocre (but beloved) children’s musical “Mister Monkey,” bemoans the turn her once-promising career has taken. This is only the first of many turns in Prose’s wild ride of a darkly comic novel, where a group of unconnected characters are, in fact, deeply connected through the pivot of a particularly horrible performance of this show: a child in the audience, his grandfather, his teacher, the author of the book on which the show is based, the costume designer, a waiter in an upscale restaurant, even Mister Monkey himself. Totally unpredictable, totally mesmerizing.

- Banna


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Gertie's Leap to Greatness Cover Image
By Kate Beasley, Jillian Tamaki (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780374302610
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) - October 4th, 2016

Gertie’s mission: to become the greatest fifth grader in the universe. Her reason? She has no relationship with her mother, who lives in another part of town. But when she learns her mom is about to move to another city, Gertie has to find a way to make her recognize and acknowledge what a terrific kid she is. Her plan appears to be thwarted on the first day of school by a new girl in class – pretty, instantly popular, and with a father who’s a movie director. Gertie’s grit, confidence, wild optimism, and even wilder imagination will make her the greatest fifth grader in your universe!

- Banna


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All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062333469
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - March 2016

Middle Grade

Prison is the only home 11-year-old Perry has ever known; his mother was incarcerated before he was born. In an unusual arrangement (the warden is his foster mother), Perry lives in the prison, with full access to his loving mother and many friendships among the prison population. A district attorney overturns this, insisting that Perry come live with him, his wife, and their daughter, and threatens to sabotage Perry’s mom’s upcoming parole hearing. Perry’s world is turned upside down, but he manages to keep his bearings and respond brilliantly to these challenges. A rare look at the child of an incarcerated parent, and a beautifully written middle-grade novel.

- Banna


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Wherever There Is Light: A Novel Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781476705583
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Atria Books - November 3rd, 2015

Julian Rose, a German Jewish immigrant and son of a scholar, is a wealthy, (semi)reformed bootlegger. Kendall Wakefield, granddaughter of slaves, is the stunning, artistic daughter of the president of an African American college. In 1938, in Florida, it’s hardly a match made in heaven. This gripping novel covers three decades of turbulent American history, and an equally turbulent relationship. From the Jim Crow South to the Greenwich Village art scene to postwar Paris, you’ll unable to let go of this unlikely but fascinating couple.

- banna


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Symptoms of Being Human Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062382863
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Balzer + Bray - February 2nd, 2016

For Riley, a smart, witty narrator of considerable depth, gender identification isn’t a switch, it’s a dial. Some mornings Riley wakes up feeling “girl”; other days, it’s more “boy.” But that’s not the only issue Riley faces. Add a new school (Riley left a parochial school after persistent bullying and a suicide attempt), parents who don’t have much idea of what’s going on, and a father who’s a Congressman in the midst a close reelection campaign. Riley’s therapist advises writing a blog; when it goes viral, it creates both challenges and opportunities. Riley is a thoroughly engaging, believable character whose emerging self-awareness and confidence we’re delighted and privileged to witness.

- Banna


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I'm Just a Person Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062266637
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco - June 14th, 2016

Heartbreaking. Thoughtful. Mind-boggling. Hilarious. How do you turn a four-month period that includes an excruciating, life-threatening illness, the sudden death of your mother, a breakup, and a diagnosis of bilateral breast cancer into something that anyone would want to read? Not just want to, but love to? If you’re Tig Notaro (and maybe only if you’re Tig Notaro) you make it as laugh-out-loud funny as it is deeply moving and terrifying. Notaro has the instincts and timing of the accomplished writer and comedian she is, but her warmth, self-awareness, and open-hearted vulnerability are what seal the deal. Don’t miss this extraordinary debut.

- Banna


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The Secret Subway Cover Image
By Shana Corey, Red Nose Studio (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780375870712
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Schwartz & Wade - March 8th, 2016

This is a picture book, but don’t let that keep you from discovering its abundant gifts. The true story of New York City’s first (failed) attempt at a subway system is a fascinating slice of history that contains vision, ingenuity, perseverance, suspense, and political intrigue. And oh, those illustrations! Breathtaking, detailed dioramas, photographed with stunning lighting. The inside of the dust jacket explains and illustrates the process. This book is not to be missed – by anyone, of any age!

- Banna


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Just My Luck Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062330659
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - February 23rd, 2016

Middle Grade

Benny’s mom has always told him that when bad things happen you should try to help someone else who’s having problems. He’s trying to do just that, but he has plenty of issues of his own to deal with. His best friend has moved away, and he has difficulty making new friends. Schoolwork is a real challenge. One of his brothers is autistic. And Benny feels responsible for the accident that sent his father to the hospital. Whew. But this totally engaging, utterly believable fourth grader, with the help of his family and others, blossoms and grows in many directions. I’m generally wary of books called “heartwarming.” Trust me:  this book is truly soul-warming

- Banna


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The Gallery Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780525428657
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Dial Books - June 14th, 2016

Middle Grade

You couldn’t ask for a smarter, sassier, feistier heroine than 12-year-old Martha in this jazz age mystery. Expelled from Catholic school for asking too many questions, she’s joined her mother as a servant in a Fifth Avenue mansion. Although newspaper baron J. Archer Sewell seems like a kind, generous employer, Martha never sees his wife, confined to her room. But Rose Sewell manages to communicate her despair and imprisonment by means of the paintings she chooses for display downstairs. Martha becomes Rose’s secret advocate, and a wild rescue ensues. Fitzgerald (Under the Egg) has crafted another engrossing art history thriller that will delight kids while immersing them in the Roaring Twenties.

- Banna


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Beware That Girl Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780553507904
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Delacorte Press - May 31st, 2016

Young Adult

When a narrator tells you right of the bat she’s an accomplished liar, you know you’re in for a bumpy ride. But you can’t imagine how bumpy until you’ve become immersed in the world of Kate, a scholarship student with a complicated, murky past at an elite prep school, and Olivia, the ultimate alpha girl with an equally complicated past. As they warily and calculatedly form an intense friendship, a charismatic, Brad-Pitt-handsome administrator charmingly threatens their friendship – as well as other students and staff members. Who is he, really? And, for that matter, who are Kate and Olivia, really? An edge-of-your-seat nail-biter with loop-the-loop shockers right up to the very end.

- Banna


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A Whole New Ballgame: A Rip and Red Book Cover Image
By Phil Bildner, Tim Probert (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9781250079763
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Square Fish - July 12th, 2016

I love it when an all-kinds-of-inclusive book isn’t a book about inclusion; it’s first and foremost a terrific story. Basketball-mad Rip (who’s black) and Red (who’s autistic) are longtime best friends. They’re sure they have fifth grade and the basketball team all figured out. They’re stunned to learn that they have a brand-new teacher, and even more so when they get to know him. Mr. Acevedo turns his class’s ideas about teaching and learning and basketball inside out and upside down, and everyone comes out the better for it.

- Banna


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When Breath Becomes Air Cover Image
By Paul Kalanithi, Abraham Verghese (Foreword by)
$25.00
ISBN: 9780812988406
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - January 12th, 2016

A brilliant young student, enroute to a Ph.D. in literature, decides that he could better understand the intersection of “biology, morality, literature, and philosophy” by becoming a neurosurgeon.  At the end of his residency, on the brink of a spectacular career, Kalanithi was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. A tragedy, yes, but how lucky we are that he devoted part of his remaining two years writing this book. No reader will look at living a meaningful life in quite the same way; what a legacy Kalanithi has left us.

- Banna


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Pax Cover Image
By Sara Pennypacker, Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062377012
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Balzer + Bray - February 2nd, 2016

Middle Grade

Can a 12-year-old comprehend war? Or process devastating loss? Peter faces both and embarks on a journey, literal and figurative, to find answers. Shortly after his mother’s death he took in Pax, an orphaned fox kit. Five years later his father, before going off to war, takes Peter to live with his grandfather and forces him to abandon Pax. Parallel stories follow Peter’s determination to find his way back to Pax and the fox’s steadfast belief that Peter will return. War complicates everything, but wise elders enable boy and fox to find their way to each other, and to understanding. Nuanced, brilliant book.

- Banna


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This Old Man: All in Pieces Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780385541138
Availability: Special Order
Published: Doubleday Books - November 17th, 2015

Roger Angell, acclaimed New Yorker writer and editor, has produced a compendium of writings that celebrate the view from the tenth decade of his richly lived life. It’s a delicious, bracing stew of topics (friendship, fox terriers, loss, literature, baseball, marriage, ageing) and of forms (essays, letters, verse, blog posts). His wide-ranging curiosity, razor sharp memory, and prose that sparkles, hums, tickles, and envelops, fill this book with warmth and unexpected delight. What stands out in all these pieces is gratitude. Angell is unfailingly kind and grateful for the many gifts he's been given. Anyone who reads this book must be grateful for him and his extraordinary talent.

- Banna


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Anna and the Swallow Man Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780553513349
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - January 26th, 2016

Left in the care of a family friend when her father is taken away by the Gestapo, and then turned out by that friend, 7-year-old Anna must fend for herself. A tall, thin stranger who can talk to birds takes her under his wing. Together they walk all over Poland for several years, learning what they need to do to survive. The Swallow Man teaches Anna a language he calls “Road,” which helps her interpret their ever-changing reality.This amazing book somehow manages to be both realistic and allegorical; it will sweep you along on a compelling, deeply moving journey.

- Banna


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As Close to Us as Breathing: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780316384148
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Lee Boudreaux Books - March 15th, 2016

The setting is “Bagel Beach,” so named because Jews were restricted from living in Connecticut’s other beach communities. Three sisters have spent all their summers there, first as children and now with their husbands and children. This beautiful, enveloping book paints a detailed and nuanced portrait of a most intriguing family. At the book’s center is the accidental death of child; in learning what led up to the tragedy and what followed it we become a part of the event and a part of the family. Everyone in the family – and every reader – will go on a journey that includes joy, grief, self-discovery, and, ultimately, wisdom.

- Banna


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The Hired Girl Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780763678180
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick - September 8th, 2015

A 14-year-old girl whose mother has died looks after her three brothers and verbally abusive father in rural Pennsylvania in the early 20th century. Her routine is incredibly grueling; her only respite, her books and a beloved teacher. But when her father forces her to quit school and burns her few precious books, she runs away to Baltimore and, claiming to be 18, becomes a hired girl for a wealthy Jewish family. Raised Catholic, her class, religion, and experiences are totally different from her new life. The book is written as a diary, and her keen observations, intelligence, and growing maturity make her a wonderful, insightful companion.

- Banna


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The Nest Cover Image
By Kenneth Oppel, Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781481432320
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - October 6th, 2015

This book will be buzzing around in your head (yes, pun intended) long after you finish it. Steve dreams of angels who offer to “fix” his baby brother, who was born with a life-threatening condition that consumes his parents’ time and attention. As the dream recurs repeatedly and is increasingly menacing, it becomes clear that the “angels” are actually wasps – just like the ones in a large nest outside Steve’s window. Steve rejects the wasps’ offer of help, but they refuse his rejection. It gets scarier and scarier, with a rock ‘em, sock ‘em absolutely terrifying climax!

- Banna


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George Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780545812542
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scholastic Press - August 25th, 2015

Gino has created a remarkable character and a remarkable book. Everyone sees George, a fourth grader, as a boy. George knows she’s a girl. Not only that, she’s determined to play Charlotte in a school production of Charlotte’s Web, her favorite book, despite the fact that her teacher won’t even let her audition. By using the female pronoun throughout the book, Gino lets us feel the disconnect between George’s interior and exterior. An excellent, accessible story about acceptance and unconditional friendship.

- Banna


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Ruby on the Outside Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781442485037
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - June 16th, 2015

Baskin addresses a subject rarely mentioned in books for kids – a middle-school girl’s mother has been in prison for almost as far back as her daughter can remember. Not wanting her secrete revealed, Ruby hasn’t let anyone get too close to her. But a new girl in her apartment complex seems to want a friendship – and seems to have a secret of her own. Ruby’s ambivalence about her mother is achingly real. This is a moving, believable, beautifully written book on a very sensitive subject.

- Banna


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Goodbye Stranger Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780385743174
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Wendy Lamb Books - August 4th, 2015

Three best friends start seventh grade. Bridge barely survived a horrible accident four years earlier; she’s haunted by the reasons for her survival and confused by a new friendship with a boy. Tabitha’s developing an intense social conscience. Em’s trying to come to terms with her blossoming body. All three are determined to maintain their friendship and their no-fighting rule. This book, like Stead’s others, is a jewel. Totally believable, sympathetic characters (even when some of their decisions make you want to scream), with three-dimensional adults, too. Immense warmth, depth, and intelligence.

- Banna


Staff Pick Badge
Between the World and Me Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780812993547
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Spiegel & Grau - July 14th, 2015

This book, which addresses racial issues in ways I’ve never encountered, made my heart ache, my blood boil, and my head work overtime. Here is a list of the people who really need to read Coates’s book: whites, blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, Asians, mixed-race people, Americans, and everyone else. I use the term “must-read” sparingly, but this is truly a MUST must-read.

- Banna


Staff Pick Badge
A Song for Ella Grey Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780553533590
Availability: Special Order
Published: Delacorte Press - October 13th, 2015

Written in lyrical prose, this novel for fans of epic romances and mythology retellings explores themes of love, loss, fate, and destiny set against the dramatic and diverse backdrop of Northern England. 


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Fishbowl: A Novel Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250105882
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - November 2016

Constrained by a life that consists of a gallon of water, a pink plastic castle, and a snail, Ian the goldfish leaps to freedom. Alas, his fishbowl rests on a balcony on the 27th floor of an apartment building. His descent takes him past an assortment of the building’s residents – a grad student and his girlfriend, a construction worker, a shut-in, the building superintendent, a homeschooled boy, a hugely pregnant woman, and more – whose lives intersect, entwine, enrich, and bounce off each other. This microcosm is a small miracle: an absorbing, moving, suspenseful, witty look at a collection of characters who demand your attention and utterly capture your affection.

- Banna


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Breakthrough: How One Teen Innovator Is Changing the World Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062369659
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Published: HarperCollins - March 10th, 2015

YA Nonfiction

This must-read book packs a one-two punch. One storyline is a brilliant kid’s persistence (despite 192 letters of rejection) in creating an inexpensive early-detection test for one of the world’s deadliest cancers, and winning – at 15 – the country’s most prestigious science award. The other story is that of a middle schooler’s growing awareness that he’s gay and overcoming vicious bullying. Each story is remarkable, and in this compulsively readable book the whole is even greater than the sum of its parts.

- Banna


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Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9780393240184
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 6th, 2015

Longtime New Yorker editor Mary Norris takes us on a grammar/spelling/punctuation road trip that will absolutely delight both grammar geeks (if you know what a diaeresis is, I’m talking to you) and just plain enthusiastic readers. As we gain some useful knowledge, we’re treated to countless “I didn’t know that!” moments (Why is there a hyphen in Moby-Dick? How do they get the lead in a pencil?) and inside-the-New Yorker anecdotes and insights. There’s a laugh and a fascinating bit of information on every page – in almost every paragraph, in fact!

- Banna


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The War that Saved My Life Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780803740815
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Published: Dial Books - January 8th, 2015

Middle Grade

Can a book be both heartbreaking and uplifting? This one sure can. Ada was born with a clubfoot that her mother chose not to have surgically corrected; this was only the start of her abuse and neglect. As World War II looms, Ada gets herself and her younger brother on a train from London to the English countryside with other evacuees. When no one wants to take them in, they’re dumped with a middle-aged woman who’s been paralyzed by grief since the death of her partner. How she and Ada restore each other to life is a beautiful, deeply moving tale, and the background of the war is fascinating.

- Banna


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Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780385755115
Availability: Special Order
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - October 14th, 2014

Born in Sierra Leone to loving parents who valued education, DePrince got off to a good start. But civil war intervened, leaving her in an orphanage at age 4. By chance she saw a ballerina on the cover of an old magazine; becoming one herself became her dream. She was adopted by an American couple who were as determined as she was to make that happen. Overcoming many obstacles, including racism in the world of classical ballet, she’s now a soloist with the Dutch National Ballet. An amazing story, amazingly well told.

- Banna


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Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780812984965
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Spiegel & Grau - August 18th, 2015

When it works, the U.S. criminal justice system is excellent. When it doesn’t, as is the case for many defendants who are poor, very young, and/or people of color, it’s appalling. Stevenson, a black, Harvard-educated lawyer and MacArthur “genius grant” recipient, has made those disenfranchised defendants his life’s work. He and the Equal Justice Initiative he founded put their lives on the line for their clients. This is a must-read for anyone who cares about justice, racial issues in America, or decency.

- Banna


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Laughing at My Nightmare Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781626720077
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Published: Roaring Brook Press - October 14th, 2014

Yeah, Shane Burcaw’s like any other kid: he loves sports, video games, hanging out with friends. He’s hilarious in an irreverent, smart-alecky way. At the same time he couldn’t be more different: he was born with a life-threatening, profoundly limiting neuromuscular disorder, which means he can do virtually nothing without help from a family member, friend, or aide. Yes, it’s inspiring. But mostly it’s outrageously funny and breathtakingly candid.

- Banna


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El Deafo Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9781419712173
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harry N. Abrams - September 2nd, 2014

Middle Grade

In this fictionalized graphic memoir (whew!) for middle graders, Bell shares the challenges she faced as a hearing-impaired child. She wore a “phonic ear”; her teacher wore a lanyard microphone. Despite her embarrassment, it enabled her to hear in the classroom. It also enabled her to hear what her teacher was saying and doing outside the classroom – kind of like having super powers! She creates an alter ego, El Deafo, to celebrate what might otherwise be seen as a disability. This wonderful book will enable hearing readers to grasp what it’s like to live without a sense that most of us take for granted.

- Banna


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Saving Lucas Biggs Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062274625
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Published: HarperCollins - April 29th, 2014

Midlle Grade

This terrific middle-grade novel addresses intense environmental and social justice issues: hydrofracking in 2014 and a coal miners’ strike in 1938. When Margaret’s father is unjustly convicted and sentenced to death for a crime he didn’t commit, she feels compelled to use the O’Malley family gift of time-travel to go back to 1938 and change events in the life of the judge who sentenced him.  Readers of this absorbing story will be treated to heart-stopping adventure and beautiful writing, as well as important lessons in risk-taking and doing the right thing.

- Banna


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The Terrorist's Son: A Story of Choice (Ted Books) Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781476784809
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Published: Simon & Schuster/ Ted - September 9th, 2014

If it were fiction, it would be dismissed as way too improbable: the son of a terrorist, raised in hatred and anger, becomes a peace activist. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction. Ebrahim is the son of El-Sayyid Nosair, convicted assassin of Rabbi Meir Kahane and one of the planners of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. After his father’s arrest, the family moved again and again. Constantly the “new kid,” and of Arab descent at that, Ebrahim was bullied and intimidated throughout childhood and adolescence. Ultimately, intelligence and empathy won out. Fascinating story, engagingly told.

- Banna


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The Imaginary Cover Image
By A.F. Harrold, Emily Gravett (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780802738110
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Published: Bloomsbury USA Childrens - March 3rd, 2015

Middle Grade

While Harrold has a singular voice, he’s channeled some of Roald Dahl’s delicious, wry creepiness in this astonishing middle-grade novel. Amanda’s imaginary friend, Rudger, accompanies her on many and various adventures. Her mother finds this charming, though Rudger is invisible to her. But not to everyone. A mysterious Mr. Bunting and his own imaginary friend can see Rudger, too – and they have nefarious plans for him. An accident that lands Amanda in the hospital introduces Rudger to a whole world of imaginaries with complicated rules and relationships. Emily Gravett’s brilliant illustrations take this terrific book over the top. Kids with imagination and pizzazz will be reading it over and over!

- Banna


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The Shock of the Fall: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781250028136
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - January 6th, 2015

Matthew’s family is in disarray. They’ve never fully recovered from the death of his older brother, who had Down Syndrome. But Matthew, our narrator, has an additional challenge: he’s schizophrenic. This novel, which reads like an extended conversation with a brilliant, struggling, introspective friend, will totally envelop you. Matthew’s circuitous storytelling swirls and loops through time as memories surface and he tries to make sense of his story. Yes, there’s tragedy, but it’s tempered by tenderness and hope. If you don’t accompany Matthew on his journey of understanding, you’ll be missing one incredibly good, enthralling read.

Note: originally published under the title “Where the Moon Isn’t”; the book won the  2013 Costa Book of the Year Award and the 2014 Betty Trask Prize, and was reissued.

- Banna

 


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Under the Egg Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780803740013
Availability: Special Order
Published: Dial Books - March 18th, 2014

Middle Grade

Every element in this engrossing story is beautifully handled, and the whole is even greater than the sum of its parts. Theo’s beloved grandfather has died suddenly, leaving her responsible for her dotty, math-absorbed mother, the deteriorating Greenwich Village brownstone they live in, and the garden and flock of chickens they live on. There’s not only the mystery of his dying words to be solved, but the challenge of living on a legacy of $463. An immensely likeable narrator pulls you by the hand into quite a lot of art history (there’s this painting; is it really by Raphael?), and you’ll love every step of the journey.

- Banna


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Getting Life: An Innocent Man's 25-Year Journey from Prison to Peace Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781476756820
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - July 8th, 2014

It’s almost inconceivable, but far too common. Wrongfully convicted of his wife’s murder, Morton spent 25 years in prison before he was exonerated, separated from the son who was just 3 when his mother was killed. He was told the only way he could be paroled was to admit guilt and remorse, but his innocence was all he had left. Morton writes with clarity, specificity, and an astonishing lack of bitterness. This heartbreaking, infuriating, but ultimately hopeful book is an amazing window into the criminal justice system and the Innocence Project. Great book group choice!

- Banna


Florence Gordon Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9780544309869
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - September 23rd, 2014

A wise and entertaining novel about a woman who has lived life on her own terms for seventy-five defiant and determined years, only to find herself suddenly thrust to the center of her family’s various catastrophes

Meet Florence Gordon: blunt, brilliant, cantankerous and passionate, feminist icon to young women, invisible to almost e


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Courage for Beginners Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316210485
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - August 12th, 2014

Middle Grade

Every family has secrets, but in Mysti’s family there’s the secret they don’t even speak about  to each other: Mysti’s mother never leaves the house. Never. It’s called agoraphobia. The family has found ways to compensate – that is, until a disabling accident puts her father in the hospital. At age 12, smart as she is, can Mysti take charge of herself, her little sister, and their mother? And all this while her only friend is distancing himself from her and tormenting her in an effort to be seen as a hipster? Mysti is an engaging, quirky, admirable, very real young woman, and in a refreshing change this middle-grade novel features some well-meaning, competent, and helpful adults.

- Banna


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Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780525426813
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - April 15th, 2014

Who doesn’t/didn’t need help navigating the rocky shoals of adolescence? Eighth-grader Maya chose a guide for teens written in 1951, replete with girdles, white gloves, and pearls. Taking the writer’s advice to heart, bravely adopting one “tip” per month, she wittily and poignantly tries to weed out the still-relevant from the seemingly out of date. Astonishingly, most of the suggestions are spot-on, enriching her life and helping her see that “popular” can be redefined as respectful, inclusive, and kind.

- Banna


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A Guide for the Perplexed Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780393348880
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 7th, 2014

Three stories – one set in the 12th century, one in the 19th, and one in the very near future -- address free will, sibling bonds and rivalry, and the memories we choose (or do we?) to hold onto. While grappling with big questions, make no mistake: the contemporary story, which involves the kidnapping and torture of an American in post-Mubarak Egypt, is a heart-stopping thriller. Horn is incredibly adept at connecting the stories and weaving big themes within and among them.

- Banna


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Dept. of Speculation Cover Image
$22.95
ISBN: 9780385350815
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - January 28th, 2014

Like a pointillist painting, this amazing book uses tiny moments, fleeting thoughts, shrewd observations, and spot-on quotations to fill a broad, detailed canvas. A mere 177 pages, Dept. of Speculation is a portrait of a marriage from courtship through parenthood, through a marital crisis, and beyond, examining both intense and mundane snippets from the perspective of the unnamed wife. Can someone truly comprehend the specificity and intimacy of someone else’s marriage? In this case, the answer is a resounding yes!

- Banna


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Positive: A Memoir Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062342515
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - August 26th, 2014

In the recent flood of books about bullying, this one is a stand-out. Cheerleader, musician, top student, and pageant-winner Rawl has been HIV positive from birth. Telling her middle-school best friend set in motion a torrent of bigotry and abuse. Her mother was unfailingly supportive, but for a long time every adult who should have stepped up to help turned a deaf ear, or worse, to her plight. But Rawl, an extraordinary young woman, prevails. This excellent book should be required reading for all middle-school and high school students, parents, administrators, and counselors.

- Banna


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Call Me By My Name Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781442497931
Availability: Special Order
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - May 6th, 2014

Young Adult

This eye-opening book introduces the segregated Lousiana of the sixties to contemporary readers. The close friendship of a black boy and white brother-and-sister twins raises eyebrows in a community already unsettled by the early days of integration. The boys’ prowess at football makes it easier for the community to accept their friendship, but as a romantic relationship develops between the white girl and the twins’ black friend, things get exponentially more complicated. A riveting story, and a nuanced portrait of a challenging period.

-  Banna

 


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Sure Signs of Crazy Cover Image
$7.00
ISBN: 9780316210492
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - May 20th, 2014

Ages 9-13

Sarah, 12, an articulate, captivating narrator, survived an attempted murder by her mother 10 years earlier; her twin brother did not. Her father, an alcoholic, moves the two of them to a new town whenever their story becomes known. Afraid of following in the footsteps of either of her parents, Sarah struggles to define herself, drawing courage from a number of sources. She seeks out neighbors who can provide guidance, formulates a plan to meet her institutionalized mother, and writes letter to Atticus Finch, her idealized parent, as she explores and analyzes herself and those around her.

- Banna

 


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Bark: Stories Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9780307594136
Availability: Special Order
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - February 25th, 2014

Moore’s characters are all struggling works in progress, trying to stay vertical in very unsettling circumstances – post-divorce dating, the death (and reappearance) of a colleague, the challenge of a child’s mental illness, a motorcycle band mistakenly interrupting an already strange wedding. In a collection of stories  rich with both humor and heartache, Moore brings these folks to life vividly and makes us care not just about them but with them.

- Banna


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Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780062218339
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - May 12th, 2014

Levitt and Dubner, the Freakonomics team, offer to help us think the way they do. Through a series of fascinating anecdotes and explanations, they teach us the critical importance of the three hardest words in the English language (“I don’t know”), how incentives work – or don’t, how to persuade effectively, why Nigerian scammers counterintuitively announce they’re from Nigeria, and why it’s sometimes really important to quit. Even though the book raises some unanswered questions, I heartily recommend their offer to “retrain your brain.”

- Banna


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The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780446578936
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Grand Central Publishing - June 10th, 2014

It’s a rare writer who can pull this off: a narrator who’s by turns heart-breakingly sympathetic, stubborn, passionate, ruthless, ingratiating, exasperating, clever, and insufferable. Gilman (Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress) is just such a writer. In her first foray into fiction she gives us an immigrant success story with many unexpected twists. Lillian arrives from Russia with her family as a young child, all of them crowding into one room in a tenement. Her unreliable father disappears; when an accident cripples her, she’s abandoned by her unstable mother. We follow her through joining and losing a family, marriage to an Errol Flynn look-alike, creation of a wildly successful business, some highly questionable decisions, a visit to the White House, and an assault charge (at age 74). What a character! What a book!

- Banna


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Love and Treasure Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780385533546
Availability: Special Order
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - April 2014

At the center is a jeweled enamel pendant. In 2013 an elderly World War II veteran hands it to his beloved granddaughter and charges her with finding its rightful owner – not an easy assignment, as he appropriated it in 1946 from the Hungarian Gold Train, the repository of millions of items stolen from Jews during the Holocaust. This extraordinary novel leaps and meanders, traveling through time and throughout many countries as the story of the pendant, told in many voices, unscrolls. Filled with history, joy, horror, ethical complexity, poignancy, and – of course – love, this book is itself a treasure.

- Banna


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Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781400065752
Availability: Special Order
Published: Random House - January 28th, 2014

At one time Rebecca Winter’s photographs generated both fame and fortune; at age 60 she is alarmed to see both receding rapidly. Forced to sublet her perfect Manhattan apartment and rent a rural cottage upstate, she confronts situations and people utterly unfamiliar to her. This very untraditional coming-of-age story is deeply moving and lyrically hopeful. As always, Quindlen’s prose is utterly on the mark, with turns of phrase so lovely you’ll find yourself stopping to read them again.

- Banna


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Let the Great World Spin: A Novel Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780812973990
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - November 30th, 2009

McCann has worked magic here. Separate stories of people who seem to have absolutely nothing in common – Irish immigrants, Bronx prostitutes, members of a support group for women whose sons died in Vietnam, a judge, computer programmers in California, an Italian doctor – slowly overlap and converge. The slender thread that joins them is actually a cable: the wire on which Philippe Petit walked, ran, hopped, and danced between the towers of the World Trade Center. McCann’s skill at inhabiting the minds, hearts, and mouths of all these people is exceptional and deeply moving.

- Banna


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Man on Wire Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781602393325
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Skyhorse - November 17th, 2008

It wasn’t possible. Any one of a thousand things could have gone wrong. And yet in 1974 Philippe Petit, a young, brash, self-taught street performer strung a wire between the towers of the World Trade Center and walked across. Not just walked: for 45 minutes he hopped, ran, danced, knelt, and lay down, captivating the eyes of the world. His story is riveting; his writing style, completely captivating. Astonishingly, though we all know how it turned out, the suspense is so great that at several points I actually had to remind myself to breathe. Abundant photos and illustrations greatly enhance the tale.

- Banna


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My Life in Middlemarch Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780307984760
Availability: Special Order
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - January 28th, 2014

A harmonious blend of memoir, biography of George Eliot, and literary analysis and appreciation of Middlemarch, New Yorker staff writer Mead has written a book that’s passionate and fascinating. Traveling seamlessly between the 19th and 21st centuries, between England and New York, between her life and Eliot’s, between fiction and nonfiction, Mead uses the prism of her experiences to help us examine Eliot’s extraordinary life, the lives of her characters, and our own. You’ll be impelled to reread Middlemarch immediately – or, if by some chance you’ve never read it, joyously immerse yourself for the first time in what is arguably the finest novel in the English language.

- Banna


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In the Shadow of Blackbirds Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781419705304
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Harry N. Abrams - April 2nd, 2013

The year is 1918. The Great War is winding down, though soldiers continue to become casualties. A worldwide flu epidemic claims countless victims. Not coincidentally, séances and “spirit photography,” the creation of bogus images of the spirits of the deceased, are on the rise. In this vivid historical novel a brave, bright, quirky young woman is determined to solve a mystery that involves all these elements – despite life-threatening risks. Here’s a “young adult” novel that will enthrall adults, too.

- Banna


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Picture Me Gone Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780399257650
Availability: Special Order
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - October 3rd, 2013

Just as Mila and her father prepare to go from London to Upstate New York to visit her father’s oldest friend, they learn that the friend has disappeared without a trace. They go anyway, hoping to find the missing man by combining clues from his wife with Mila’s extraordinary powers of observation and analysis. The story is compelling, Mila’s a wonderful character, and it’s fascinating to look at Upstate New York through the eyes of a young Londoner. A great read for ages 11 through adult!

- Banna


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God Got a Dog Cover Image
By Cynthia Rylant, Marla Frazee (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781442465183
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Beach Lane Books - October 29th, 2013

A book like no other, and one that defies description. Allegedly for children (Rylant is a prolific and award-winning writer of children’s books), “God Got a Dog” is a slender book of poems that imagine God trying out a wide range of everyday activities: taking a bath, catching a cold, making spaghetti. In Marla Frazee’s wonderful illustrations, God is variously seen as young, old, white, black, male, female – even tattooed. Please take a look at this book; even atheists will come away a broader, deeper, kinder view of God after reading it.

- Banna


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OCD, the Dude, and Me Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780803738430
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Dial Books - March 21st, 2013

In a masterful debut, Vaughn gives us a protagonist to remember – and to love. Danielle tells her story through journal entries, essays written for English class, e-mails, and letters. She’s dealing with a host of issues: she attends a school for kids with learning disabilities, where she’s low on the pecking order; she was adopted by wonderful parents whom she feels she consistently disappoints; she has OCD and body-image difficulties; she’s hopelessly in love with her school’s alpha male. But she has a strong and diverse support network, a keen eye, and a real gift for writing. Vaughn deftly avoids stereotypes in giving us achingly believable, three-dimensional characters and situations.

- Banna


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The Science of Herself (Outspoken Authors) Cover Image
$12.00
ISBN: 9781604868258
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: PM Press - November 2013

This wonderful, eclectic collection of fiction and nonfiction will keep you enthralled and slightly off balance. The title essay introduces an amazing figure in the annals of paleontology, long overlooked because in the 19th century a poor, self-educated woman counted for naught. Two pieces of fiction (one of them will chill you to the very marrow of your bones), an interview, and an essay that casts a gimlet eye on some deeply held assumptions about motherhood round out this fine collection.

- Banna


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Every Last One: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812976885
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - March 22nd, 2011

Caution: this book will rip your heart out. The story is both ordinary and exceptional, and the telling weaves the reader into it inextricably. Quindlen invites us into a mostly happy family of five, spinning out the details of their lives until the reader becomes a deeply engaged family member. A horrifying turn of events upends everything. Parents of kids of any age must read this book, but be prepared to see your own and all other families in a new light from now on.

- BANNA


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This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062236678
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - November 5th, 2013

Patchett is many things: an award-winning fiction and nonfiction writer (Bel Canto, Truth & Beauty); proud Tennesseean; passionate lover of opera, short stories, and her dear dog, Rose; independent bookstore co-owner; defender of academic freedom; wife in one unfortunate and one very happy marriage; and more. She brings all these to bear in a collection of essays, articles, and speeches, addressing all topics with penetrating vision and unstinting candor. Readers will feel the fortunate embrace of this remarkable writer welcoming them into her circle of friends.

- Banna


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The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062228833
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Ecco - May 14th, 2013

One of the great true detective stories of the 20th Century: deciphering the symbols pressed into 3,000-year-old clay tablets found in Crete in 1900. The challenge: the language, dubbed Linear B, is unknown, and so is the alphabet in which it’s written. Sounds impossible, yet it was accomplished by an odd assortment of folks including an archaeologist, an architect for whom Linear B was an all-consuming hobby, and a Brooklyn College classics professor, Alice Kober, the unsung (until now) heroine in the piece. Fox, the brilliant senior obituary writer at The New York Times, vividly brings this story life.

-  Banna


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The Berlin Boxing Club Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780061579707
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Balzer + Bray - October 23rd, 2012

The publisher calls this a Young Adult novel, but it should be read by adults, too. Sharenow weaves real events and people into this hugely engrossing story. It begins in 1934: Hitler is now Germany’s chancellor and Karl Stern, Jewish by birth but Aryan-looking, is 14. His looks and lack of connection to his Jewishness won’t protect him from his classmates. After he’s severely beaten, boxer Max Schmeling, his father’s friend, offers to teach him to box. The story’s increasing complexity and terror, coupled with multi-dimensional characters and first-rate writing, make the book impossible to put down.

- Banna


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Shouting Won't Help: Why I--And 50 Million Other Americans--Can't Hear You Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780374263041
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Sarah Crichton Books - February 19th, 2013

In this informative and compelling book, former New York Times senior editor Bouton explores hearing loss and its effects on both the hearing-impaired and those around them. Jam-packed with science, sociology, psychology, and fascinating personal stories (her own and others’), the book provides valuable insights into the “invisible disability” that so many of its suffers take great pains to deny.

- Banna


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What My Mother Gave Me: Thirty-one Women on the Gifts That Mattered Most Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781616201357
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Books - April 2nd, 2013

I approached this book warily, fearing it might ooze treacly sentiment. No fear! The writers of these essays have captured the heart of the mother-daughter bond in all its complexity. The relationships these authors describe run the gamut: loving, distant, respectful, oppositional, tender, regretful – and sometimes in combination. A perfect gift for your mother, sister, aunt, close friend . . . or yourself.

- Banna


Staff Pick Badge
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780399162091
Availability: Special Order
Published: Marian Wood Books/Putnam - May 30th, 2013

This provocative, insightful, dizzyingly good book is unlike anything Fowler (The Jane Austen Book Club) – or anyone else, for that matter – has ever written. Our narrator, Rosemary, looks back on a life both ordinary and extraordinary. For the first five years of her life her family participated in a most unusual psychological experiment; it has had a dramatic, life-long impact on each of them. Her sister is a member of a different species. Her brother vanished without a trace. Twice. Truly a must read, a must share, and a goldmine for discussion by book groups!

-  Banna


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Baseball as a Road to God: Seeing Beyond the Game Cover Image
$27.50
ISBN: 9781592407545
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Gotham Books - March 7th, 2013

What do baseball and religion have in common? More than you’d think. N.Y.U. president Sexton has written a provocative and engaging series of essays that connect the two through explorations of faith, doubt, conversion, miracles, and more. Illuminated by his encyclopedic baseball knowledge, his insights into various faith traditions, and his ability to make long-ago games and players live again, the book will delight both fans and skeptics.

- Banna


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A High Wind in Jamaica Cover Image
By Richard Hughes, Francine Prose (Introduction by)
$15.95
ISBN: 9780940322158
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: NYRB Classics - September 30th, 1999

Rereading this brilliant book after 40 years, I found it even more impressive than the first time. It’s both an adventure yarn – encompassing an earthquake, a hurricane, children abducted by pirates, a murder, and various betrayals – and an incredibly insightful exploration of the mystery that is childhood, viewed from both children’s and adults’ perspectives. Truly breathtaking, both the plot and the depth and quality of the writing.

- Banna


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Splendors and Glooms Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780763653804
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Published: Candlewick - August 28th, 2012

This wonderful middle-grade novel abounds in contrasts -- rich and poor, light and dark, realistic and fantastic – and is utterly gripping from page one. Set in Victorian London, it centers on three children. One is extravagantly privileged but has a morbid back story; two are impoverished orphans in the thrall of a puppeteer who exploits their youth and talents to ply his trade. Dickensian in tone but with supernatural elements, this beautifully written, heart-stoppingly suspenseful book is richly rewarding on many levels.

-- Banna


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The Burgess Boys: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781400067688
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Published: Random House - March 26th, 2013

A 19-year-old misfit’s heedless act, seen by some as a hate crime, sets this remarkable novel in motion. The boy’s mother, who never left the small Maine town where she grew up, reaches out to the brothers who fled long ago: Jim, a high-powered, famous lawyer, and Bob, her twin, a Legal Aid attorney, both in New York City. The story explores long-avoided family tensions and the uneasy mix of Somali immigrants with Maine locals. Strout repeatedly leads readers in unexpected directions. The book teems with moral and ethical ambiguity; it’s enriched by Strout’s fine writing and keenly perceptive, always compassionate eye. Much fodder for book-group discussions here!

- Banna


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Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780374214913
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - October 2nd, 2012

This marvelous mash-up of literary adventure, medieval mystery, and whimsy grabbed me with the title and didn’t let go. Clay Jannon, an out-of-work web designer, stumbles into a job at the eponymous bookstore. Very few books are actually sold; the books that are stocked and borrowed by regular customers are quite bizarre. Clay is drawn into the mystery, draws his extraordinary circle of friends in, and draws the reader in, too.

- Banna


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Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler: A True Love Story Rediscovered Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9781451688306
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Scribner - October 9th, 2012

Trudi Kanter’s prose in Some Girls, Some Hats, and Hitler: A True Love Story Rediscovered sparkles as she recounts her life as a hat designer in pre-war Vienna: the fashions, the social life, the trips to Paris. And we, too, are swept away by the charming, handsome man who becomes her husband. Interwoven throughout this moving love story is Hitler’s relentless march across the Europe Kanter loves, leaving fear, death, and destruction in his wake. The terrifying, agonizing process of getting herself, her husband, and her parents (all Jews) to safety is juxtaposed with her drive to succeed as a milliner and her deep, abiding love for her husband. Amazingly, she pulls it off – both surviving and telling the tale.

-  Banna


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Telegraph Avenue: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780061493348
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Published: Harper - September 11th, 2012

Chabon’s prose in Telegraph Avenue sparkles, crackles, swoops, and hums as he tells the entwined story of two families – one black, one white and Jewish – in Oakland, CA. At the book’s heart are Brokeland Records (the husbands’ vintage-vinyl store) and the wives’ midwifery practice. The story weaves through the adults’ personal and professional lives; the white couple’s teenage son and the black husband’s newly arrived son from an old relationship add harmony and dissonance. A faded star of 70’s blaxploitation films, an old crime, the threat of an NFL-star’s megastore, and complex local politics provide counterpoint. You don’t just read this book, you inhabit it. And it inhabits you.

-- Banna


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Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781400069347
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Random House - April 24th, 2012

Quindlen has been one of my favorite traveling companions for the past three decades. In this latest collection of essays, she trains her clear-eyed, incisive, and compassionate eye on many aspects of life in one’s sixties: looking back to how we got there, looking around to see what we and others have become, and looking forward to a range of choices. Her voice rings clear and true. Time with Anna Quindlen is indeed time well spent.

-- Banna


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The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures (FSG Classics) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780374533403
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - April 24th, 2012

The appearance of the 15th anniversary edition finally pushed me to take this book off the “to be read” pile, and I’m so glad. Fadiman’s book is a magnificent accomplishment: a multilayered, thoroughly researched story of a child, her family, their Hmong culture and its history; a severe medical condition and its physical and social ramifications; the clash of religious and medical traditions and beliefs – and all of it so absorbingly written that it will grip you at least as much as any thriller. Like all brilliant books, it challenges your belief system and enables you to experience another world.

-- Banna


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Winter Journal Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780805095531
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Henry Holt & Company - August 21st, 2012

In this most unusual memoir, Auster takes you by the hand and leads you on a nonlinear tour of some of the highest and lowest points in his life. Each piece of the puzzle – from a near-fatal car crash to the 21 places he’s called home to his mother’s life and death – has such intensity and immediacy that it feels like your own experience. Now in his mid-sixties, Auster sees himself in the winter of his life. Readers can only hope it will be a long, long winter.

-- Banna


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The Juju Rules: Or, How to Win Ballgames from Your Couch: A Memoir of a Fan Obsessed Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780547622378
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - April 17th, 2012

Why do the Yankees win so often? Sure, money may have something to do with it. But the real reason is juju, as practiced by Hart Seely and his pals. You can learn all about the rules -- both do's and don'ts -- from this hugely entertaining and sometimes deeply touching memoir. Seely's wit, energy, and passion erupt from every page. Reading The Juju Rules is like spending a perfect, sunlit day at Yankee Stadium, ice-cold brew in hand, next to your new best friend. And it's a double header. And they win both. In extra innings.

- Banna


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Pulled from the River Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781936873159
Availability: Special Order
Published: Black Lawrence Press - February 28th, 2012

It’s been fascinating for me to see Jon Chopan evolve from a fellow bookseller at the river’s end to an author in his own right. Pulled from the River is a fine and most unusual book: autobiographical essays, sketches, and letters wend a circuitous path throughout Chopan’s early youth in Rochester and later years in Columbus, Ohio. This impressionistic pastiche touches, retouches, and interweaves themes of male friendship, coming-of-age, coming to terms with ageing and death, and the intense father-and-son bond.

- Banna


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Bossypants Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780316056878
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Back Bay Books - January 3rd, 2012

You’ve had a rough day. Or you have a bad cold. Or you’re just in a foul mood. What you need is to spend some time with your new best friend – who just happens to be the wittiest, most observant, most generous, and most outspoken person you’ve ever met. Now’s the time to read ”Bossypants”! Actually, any time is time to read “Bossypants.” Tina (you’ll feel like you’re on a first-name basis, too) is the best antidote to, well, just about anything.

-  Banna


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The Pun Also Rises: How the Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History, and Made Wordplay More Than Some Antics Cover Image
$22.50
ISBN: 9781592406234
Availability: Special Order
Published: Gotham - April 14th, 2011

As the daughter, sister, and mother of inveterate punsters (and as victim of the affliction myself) I simply had to check out this book. What fun! Puns of all kinds in history and literature, education and entertainment. Puns in headlines, in advertising, in other languages! Anyone who loves words will have a ball with this book and learn a lot into the bargain. What’s the difference between a bad pun and a good one? No difference, claims my son, and I tend to agree.

-  Banna


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The Art of Fielding: A Novel Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780316126694
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - September 7th, 2011

Henry Skrimshander, a phenomenal young shortstop who’s just out of high school when the book opens, is at the center of this coming-of-age novel times five. The others – Mike Schwartz, his self-appointed mentor; Owen Dunne (“I’ll be your gay mulatto roommate”); Guert Affenlight, a college president experiencing a mid-life awakening, and Pella, his formerly estranged daughter – find their lives entangled in consistently unexpected but seemingly inevitable ways, at the center of which are an errant pitch and an improbable championship season. A wonderful, engrossing book, even for the non-baseball fan.

-  Banna


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Winter: Five Windows on the Season (CBC Massey Lectures) Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9780887849756
Availability: Special Order
Published: House of Anansi Press - September 27th, 2011

While I’m not a big fan of winter, I’m a huge fan of Adam Gopnik – even more so after this book. Gopnik explores winter in all its complexity, delving into history, science, art, music, and biography as he views the season through the eyes of artists, composers, explorers, and athletes. His knowledge and research are encyclopedic, and his curiosity and enthusiasm are boundless. Gopnik’s a very smart guy, but in a highly companionable, not a show-offy, way.

 -  Banna


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No One Is Here Except All of Us Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781594487941
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Riverhead Books - February 2nd, 2012

Allegory, fable, Holocaust saga, realistic fiction – somehow Ausubel combines these elements in an amazing novel that is much more than the sum of its genres. In 1939, when the horror of the impending Holocaust becomes undeniable, the residents of a remote Jewish village in Romania do just that: deny it. They declare the world newly made; the past and everything outside their community no longer exist. The novel’s narrator is 11 when the book begins, a young mother of two at its close. We see her improbable new world through the lens her extraordinary experiences and penetrating vision. This novel uses small details and quotidian moments to explore the essence of identity, family, community, and the nature and fluidity of reality.

- Banna


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The Latte Rebellion Cover Image
$9.95
ISBN: 9780738722788
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Flux - January 8th, 2011

Mixed-race teens often get lost between the categories; Stevenson puts them front and center. Asha Jamison has conflicting feelings about her Indian/Mexican/Irish heritage. An ethnic slur leads her and two friends to form a club for mixed-race students. But it’s a club in name only, as the trio mostly wants to sell cool t-shirts to finance a post-graduation trip. When the Latte Rebellion takes on a life of its own, Asha’s swept into paths of rebellion at home and at school, leading her to confront issues she’s never dealt with before. An engaging, believable voice for a growing number of teens.

-  Banna


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Red Hook Road Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307275820
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - May 31st, 2011

When newlyweds are killed in a freak accident between the church and the reception, their families, an uneasy mix at best, must find a way to come together in their grief. The book follows them over four summers as they grapple with the sadness they share and the class and cultural divide they’ve ignored or denied for years. The coastal Maine setting is as vividly drawn as each of the characters, which is saying a lot. Each member of both families will stay with you long after you’ve finished the book.

- Banna
 


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Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children #1) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781594744761
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Quirk Books - June 7th, 2011

As a child, Jacob loved looking at his grandfather’s photos of peculiar children, raptly listening to the tales that accompanied them. By adolescence, Jacob decided that the pictures were fake; the stories, fiction. Everything changes when his grandfather dies, victim of a violent attack. Realizing there may be some truth to the old man’s tales leads to a psychological collapse, followed by a trip to Wales to investigate the Home where his grandfather lived for a time as a refugee from the Holocaust. Bizarre vintage photos enliven a whiz-bang story. It’s been labeled a Young Adult novel, but adults will eat it up, too!

-  Banna


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Turn of Mind Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780802119773
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - July 5th, 2011

Observing the past and present through the eyes of someone sliding into the depths of Alzheimer’s might not sound appealing. Here, it’s more than appealing: it’s impossible to put down. Dr. Jennifer White, a surgeon, is a “person of interest” in the death of her best friend. She has no memory of the incident. Or perhaps she does. A gripping mystery, an absorbing study of a family in crisis, and a wrenching look at a mind struggling to overcome its increasing limitations.

-  Banna


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Vaclav & Lena Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781400069316
Availability: Special Order
Published: The Dial Press - May 17th, 2011

Two Russian immigrants meet when they are six. The bond they form is immediate, intense, and inviolate. They know what their future holds: Vaclav will be a famous magician, ably assisted by the Lovely Lena. They will be together forever. Torn apart by dreadful circumstances at age 10, each struggles on alone. Reunited at 17, they must grapple with the past, the future, secrets, and dreams. This amazing book is a magical swirl of different perspectives on truth, on love, and on being present in one’s own life.

- Banna


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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781400052189
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Broadway Books - March 8th, 2011

This is science journalism at its best, addressing history, medicine, family dynamics, and racism in a gripping, well-written book that one needn’t be a scientist to read. Without her knowledge or permission, Henrietta Lacks, a young black woman afflicted with a virulent form of cancer, provided tissue samples for research in 1951. The cells reproduced astronomically and contributed to all kinds of studies. The repercussions for science and for her family are astounding.           

- Banna


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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812981223
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - November 30th, 2010

It’s a beautifully written later-life romance, but it’s a great deal more. Major Pettigrew, a 68-year-old widower, is deeply shaken by the death of his younger brother. He finds solace from a surprising source: Mrs. Ali, a widow who owns the shop where he buys his tea and who, it turns out, shares his love of literature. This touchingly told story delves sensitively into matters of race, culture, class, and family loyalty.

-  Banna


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A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9781594202889
Availability: Special Order
Published: Penguin Press HC, The - April 28th, 2011

This book is a treasure for both the confirmed Jane-ite and the Austen neoophyte. Deresiewicz views each of Austen's novels through the prism of his own life - or is it the other way around? Austen's view of integrity, love, and family and social life inform his perceptions of his own growth and the choices he made as he elbowed and bumbled his way into adulthood. He sheds much light on why Austen's depth and clarity speak to all of us, at any time in our lives.

- Banna


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Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781400064168
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Published: Random House - November 16th, 2010

If this story were fiction, no one would believe it. Louis Zamperini, who’s still going strong in his 90’s, was an incorrigible child, an Olympic runner, and a World War II airman whose plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Zamperini survived 47 days on a raft with virtually no water or provisions, only to wind up in a series of Japanese POW camps - each more horrific than the one before. Hillenbrand, author of Seabiscuit, brilliantly tells this breathtaking story of survival, heroism, and relentless determination.

- Banna


Wow, can this guy write! These essays cover all manner of subjects and range from political to eccentric to hilarious to deeply moving. In one piece, Weingarten shares what happens when world-famous violinist Joshua Bell performs incognito in a subway station. A very short essay with Roger Maris at its center is a perfect jewel. Two essays about his father will elicit both chuckles and tears.

- Banna


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Getting Life: An Innocent Man's 25-Year Journey from Prison to Peace Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781476756820
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - July 8th, 2014

It’s almost inconceivable, but far too common. Wrongfully convicted of his wife’s murder, Morton spent 25 years in prison before he was exonerated, separated from the son who was just 3 when his mother was killed. He was told the only way he could be paroled was to admit guilt and remorse, but his innocence was all he had left. Morton writes with clarity, specificity, and an astonishing lack of bitterness. This heartbreaking, infuriating, but ultimately hopeful book is an amazing window into the criminal justice system and the Innocence Project. Great book group choice!

- Banna