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    Staff Picks

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Richard

Against the Gods

Peter L. Bernstein
$21.95

A Business Week, New York Times Business, and USA Today Bestseller

"Ambitious and readable . . . an engaging introduction to the oddsmakers, whom Bernstein regards as true humanists helping to release mankind from the choke holds of superstition and fatalism." -The New York Times

"[A] challenging book, one that may change forever the way people think about the world."


"With his wonderful knowledge of the history and current manifestations of risk, Peter Bernstein brings us Against the Gods. Nothing like it will come out of the financial world this year or ever. I speak carefully: no one should miss it." -John Kenneth Galbraith Professor of Economics Emeritus, Harvard University

In this unique exploration of the role of risk in our society, Peter Bernstein argues that the notion of bringing risk under control is one of the central ideas that distinguishes modern times from the distant past. Against the Gods chronicles the remarkable intellectual adventure that liberated humanity from oracles and soothsayers by means of the powerful tools of risk management that are available to us today.

"An extremely readable history of risk." -Barron's

"There's a growing market for savants who can render the recondite intelligibly-witness Stephen Jay Gould (natural history), Oliver Sacks (disease), Richard Dawkins (heredity), James Gleick (physics), Paul Krugman (economics)-and Bernstein would mingle well in their company." -The Australian

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Bobby

The Master and Margarita
Mikhail Bulgakov
$17.00

Nothing in the whole of literature compares with The Master and Margarita.One spring afternoon, the Devil, trailing fire and chaos in his wake, weaves himself out of the shadows and into Moscow. Mikhail Bulgakov’s fantastical, funny, and devastating satire of Soviet life combines two distinct yet interwoven parts, one set in contemporary Moscow, the other in ancient Jerusalem, each brimming with historical, imaginary, frightful, and wonderful characters. Written during the darkest days of Stalin’s reign, and finally published in 1966 and 1967, The Master and Margarita became a literary phenomenon, signaling artistic and spiritual freedom for Russians everywhere.
 
This newly revised translation, by the award-winning team of Pevear and Volokhonsky, is made from the complete and unabridged Russian text.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators. 

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Ali

The Vision of Islam
Sachiko Murata & William Chittick
$19.95

Something is lost when Western thinkers approach Islam. They seem to see the religion in historical and cultural terms, obscuring Islam's own internal logic and its true beauty and spirituality. This clearly written introduction to Islam changes that, vividly explaining the Islamic perspectives that have rung true for Muslims for nearly 1400 years.

The book covers the four dimensions of Islam as outlined in the Hadith of Gabriel: practice, faith, spirituality, and the Islamic view of history. Drawing on the Koran, the sayings of the Prophet and the great authorities of the tradition, the text introduces the essentials of each dimension and then shows how it has been embodied in Islamic institutions throughout history.

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AnnaLee

Lila
Marilynne Robinson
$16.00

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER

A new American classic from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gilead and Housekeeping.

Marilynne Robinson, one of the greatest novelists of our time, returns to the town of Gilead in an unforgettable story of a girlhood lived on the fringes of society in fear, awe, and wonder.
Lila, homeless and alone after years of roaming the countryside, steps inside a small-town Iowa church-the only available shelter from the rain-and ignites a romance and a debate that will reshape her life. She becomes the wife of a minister, John Ames, and begins a new existence while trying to make sense of the life that preceded her newfound security.


Neglected as a toddler, Lila was rescued by Doll, a canny young drifter, and brought up by her in a hardscrabble childhood. Together they crafted a life on the run, living hand to mouth with nothing but their sisterly bond and a ragged blade to protect them. Despite bouts of petty violence and moments of desperation, their shared life was laced with moments of joy and love. When Lila arrives in Gilead, she struggles to reconcile the life of her makeshift family and their days of hardship with the gentle Christian worldview of her husband which paradoxically judges those she loves.


Revisiting the beloved characters and setting of Robinson's Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead and 

Home, a National Book Award finalist, Lila is a moving expression of the mysteries of existence that is destined to become an American classic.

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Caitlin

The Alienist
Caleb Carr
$17.00

New York Times Bestseller -- "A high-spirited, charged-up, and unfailingly smart thriller." - Los Angeles Times

"Caleb Carr's rich period thriller takes us back to a moment in history when the modern idea of the serial killer became available to us... [and] tracks the efforts of a team of farsighted investigators working frantically to solve a string of hideous murders... Absorbing... suspenseful... gratifying." -The Detroit News

Fast-paced and gripping, infused with a historian's exactitude, The Alienist conjures up the Gilded Age and its untarnished underside: verminous tenements and opulent mansions, corrupt cops and flamboyant gangsters, shining opera houses and seamy gin mills. Here is a New York during an age when questioning society's belief that all killers are born, not made, could have unexpected and mortal consequences.

The year is 1896, the place, New York City. On a cold March night New York Times reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned to the East River by his friend and former Harvard classmate Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a psychologist, or "alienist." On the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge, they view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy, a prostitute from one of Manhattan's infamous brothels.

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Christine

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Curtis

Lolita
Vladimir Nabokov
$16.00

Awe and exhiliration--along with heartbreak and mordant wit--abound in Lolita, Nabokov's most famous and controversial novel, which tells the story of the aging Humbert Humbert's obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America. Most of all, it is a meditation on love--love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.

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Daniela

Counting Descent
Clint Smith
$15.00

Winner of the 2017 Black Caucus of the American Library Association Literary Award

Finalist, 2017 NAACP Image Awards
'One Book One New Orleans' 2017 Book Selection

 

Clint Smith's debut poetry collection, Counting Descent, is a coming of age story that seeks to complicate our conception of lineage and tradition. Smith explores the cognitive dissonance that results from belonging to a community that unapologetically celebrates black humanity while living in a world that often renders blackness a caricature of fear. His poems move fluidly across personal and political histories, all the while reflecting on the social construction of our lived experiences. Smith brings the reader on a powerful journey forcing us to reflect on all that we learn growing up, and all that we seek to unlearn moving forward.

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Eemaan

Amusing Ourselves to Death
Neil Postman
$16.00

What happens when media and politics become forms of entertainment? As our world begins to look more and more like Orwell's 1984, Neil's Postman's essential guide to the modern media is more relevant than ever.

Originally published in 1985, Neil Postman’s groundbreaking polemic about the corrosive effects of television on our politics and public discourse has been hailed as a twenty-first-century book published in the twentieth century. Now, with television joined by more sophisticated electronic media—from the Internet to cell phones to DVDs—it has taken on even greater significance. Amusing Ourselves to Death is a prophetic look at what happens when politics, journalism, education, and even religion become subject to the demands of  entertainment. It is also a blueprint for regaining control of our media, so that they can serve our highest goals.

“A brilliant, powerful, and important book. This is an indictment that Postman has laid down and, so far as I can see, an irrefutable one.” –Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World

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Emily

American Gods
Neil Gaiman
$9.99

Newly updated and expanded with the author’s preferred text. A modern masterpiece from the multiple-award-winning master of innovative fiction, Neil Gaiman.

First published in 2001, American Gods became an instant classic, lauded for its brilliant synthesis of “mystery, satire, sex, horror, and poetic prose” (Washington Post) and as a modern phantasmagoria that “distills the essence of America” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). It is the story of Shadow—released from prison just days after his wife and best friend are killed in an accident—who gets recruited to be bodyguard, driver, and errand boy for the enigmatic trickster, Mr. Wednesday. So begins Shadow’s dark and strange road trip, one that introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own. For, beneath the placid surface of everyday life, a storm is brewing—an epic war for the very soul of America—and Shadow is standing squarely in its path.

“Pointed, occasionally comic, often scary, consistently moving and provocative….American Gods is strewn with secrets and magical visions.”—USA Today

“Original, engrossing, and endlessly inventive.”—George R. R. Martin

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Genesis

Their Eyes Were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston
$16.99


“A deeply soulful novel that comprehends love and cruelty, and separates the big people from the small of heart, without ever losing sympathy for those unfortunates who don’t know how to live properly.” —Zadie Smith

One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years—due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist—Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.

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Kathy

No Two Persons Ever Read the Same Book
Bart Van Aken, Dooreman
$24.95

  • An original must-have for book lovers, designers, readers, writers and aesthetes
  • 100 quotes about reading, writing and books, in a unique, typographical presentation by designer Dooreman

Bibliophile Bart Van Aken has been collecting quotes about reading for several years. This book contains his own personal selection. Including such declarations of love as"Reading is that fruitful miracle of communication in the midst of solitude" (Marcel Proust), surprising, witty statements like "Outsideof a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark toread" (Groucho Marx) and wise statements to mull over, including "We can destroy what we have written, but we cannot un-write it" (AnthonyBurgess). Every quote is presented in a unique, original and tailor-made design by Dooreman, with an adapted font or special letter shapes. Where applicable,the quote has also been provided in the original language alongside the English, with a brief explanation, such as the author and context.


Dooreman studied free-form graphics at Sint-Lucas instituut in Ghent. He started out his career as an illustrator. Over time, however, his activities veered towards typography and design. He creates the covers of all of the books for the Belgian author Tom Lanoye and has designed posters for various theatres. He also works as adesigner and typographer for almost all of the Flemish and Dutch publishers. Dooreman has received several awards, including the Henry Van de Velde Award for his entire career. He is also a musician.

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Jeff

House of Leaves
Mark Z. Danielewski
$21.00

Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth -- musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies -- the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations, who not only found themselves in those strangely arranged pages but also discovered a way back into the lives of their estranged children.

Now, for the first time, this astonishing novel is made available in book form, complete with the original colored words, vertical footnotes, and newly added second and third appendices.

The story remains unchanged, focusing on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story -- of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.

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Loren

City of Dark Magic
Magnus Flyte
$16.00

Cosmically fast-paced, wildly imaginative, and with City of Lost Dreamsthe bewitching sequel—on shelves now, City of Dark Magic is the perfect potion of magic and suspense
 
Once a city of enormous wealth and culture, Prague was home to emperors, alchemists, astronomers, and, as it’s whispered, hell portals. When music student Sarah Weston lands a summer job at Prague Castle cataloging Beethoven’s manuscripts, she has no idea how dangerous her life is about to become. Prague is a threshold, Sarah is warned, and it is steeped in blood.

Soon after Sarah arrives, strange things begin to happen. She learns that her mentor, who was working at the castle, may not have committed suicide after all. Could his cryptic notes be warnings? As Sarah parses his clues about Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved,” she manages to get arrested, to have tantric sex in a public fountain, and to discover a time-warping drug. She also catches the attention of a four-hundred-year-old dwarf, the handsome Prince Max, and a powerful U.S. senator with secrets she will do anything to hide.

And the story continues in City of Lost Dreams, the mesmerizing sequel, which finds Sarah in the heart of Vienna, embroiled in a new web of mystical secrets and treacherous lies.

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Mallory

Small Data
Martin Lindstrom
$16.00

Hired by the world’s leading brands to find out what makes their customers tick, Martin Lindstrom spends three hundred nights a year overseas, closely observing people in their homes. His goal: to uncover their hidden desires and turn them into breakthrough products for the world’s leading brands. In a world besotted by the power of Big Data, he works like a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, accumulating small clues to help solve a stunningly diverse array of challenges. Lindstrom connects the dots in this globe-trotting narrative that will fascinate not only marketers and brand managers, but anyone interested in the infinite variations of human behavior.

Small Data combines armchair travel with forensic psychology into an interlocking series of international clue-gathering detective stories. It presents a rare behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to create global brands, and along the way, reveals surprising and counterintuitive truths about what connects us all as humans.


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Rafi

Binti
Nnedi Okorafor
$9.99

Winner of the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award for Best Novella!

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti's stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself ― but first she has to make it there, alive.

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Valerie

Secret History
Donna Tartt
$16.95

Donna Tartt, winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for her most recent novel, The Goldfinch, established herself as a major talent with The Secret History, which has become a contemporary classic.

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and forever, and they discover how hard it can be to truly live and how easy it is to kill.

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