Bethany's Picks

Man's Search for Meaning Cover Image
By Viktor E. Frankl, Harold S. Kushner (Foreword by), William J. Winslade (Afterword by)
$7.99
ISBN: 9780807014295
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Beacon Press (MA) - June 1st, 2006

 This book is framed by Frankl's account of his time life during the Holocaust; it is from these experiences he formed the conclusions for not only determining meaning, but determining how and why we continue to live each day, even under the almost certain promise of death, as he and countless others have experienced. His answers to man's search for meaning apply regardless of the outside circumstances, and his time in the camps gives his theories a stripped-down, no nonsense approach to the existential vacuum, as he calls it.


You Will Know Me Cover Image
$12.79
ISBN: 9780316231060
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Back Bay Books - April 25th, 2017

I'm not the most well-versed in mysteries or thrillers, but this one I was reading every chance I got, just to get a little bit further down the rabbit hole. Abbott manages to draw you into the web deeper and deeper, creating both a seriously addictive book and a raw, honest picture of what sacrifice and struggle a family experiences in high level gymnastics. It's dark, it's a bit twisted, it's chilling. Check it out even if you're straying from more familiar genres.


The Girl Who Drank the Moon Cover Image
$14.36
ISBN: 9781616205676
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Algonquin Young Readers - August 9th, 2016

Look at the beautiful cover art on this one!! This clever, fun book presents a fresh take on magic, while retaining the same feel of classic fairy tales. The way Barnhill uses magic within this book, its limits, its applications, its dangers, is inventive and intriguing. As well, the book plays with the idea of questioning who is in charge and why, and what to do when they really shouldn't be. The book is divided into fairly short chapters, and interspersed through with short, bedtime stories that fill in plot points without getting too exposition heavy. It's insanely readable, at times harsh and realistic and at others touching, and sweet. Good for all ages!


Swing Time Cover Image
$13.60
ISBN: 9780143111641
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Penguin Books - September 5th, 2017

Zadie Smith’s Swing Time is a story made of an intricate collection of recollections. The narrator takes you through her history, her childhood and her relationship with her magnetic friend Tracey parallel with interludes on the history of dance. The stories highs and lows take you alternatively through the narrator’s childhood and youth in England and work in Africa, all while Tracey moves in and out of her thoughts, in and out of her life, like a ghost. This history of dance winds its way through this book and lends itself well to the complexities of race and identity (and the associated power and politics that go hand in hand) that make up the meat of the book. Readable yet provoking.


It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History Cover Image
$16.80
ISBN: 9781627792868
Availability: Not in Stock. Estimated Order Time 1-5 days.
Published: Henry Holt & Company - November 3rd, 2015

This book is just super; it gives quick history lessons, it's funny, it's good for broken hearts, and those happily coupled up. Each chapter is devoted to a famous breakup and a cheeky sentence describing its best applications; for instance, there's a Henry VIII chapter, for obvious reasons, for those who keep making the same mistakes. While Ol' Henry VIII and his penchant for beheadings is one of the more famous breakups, there are many that are both less infamous and more gnarly. A seriously funny book that manages to be informative and memorable. 


Yoga Anatomy Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781450400244
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Human Kinetics Publishers - October 28th, 2011

 

Leslie Kaminoff's handbook of common yoga poses are gorgeously illustrated and dissected, showing major muscles targeted by each pose. The posing and 'dissected' view really set this book apart. I love that this book can give you both a guide on basic anatomy relating to poses as well as why the pose feels the way it does; each page focuses on a pose, sometimes showing a variation or two, and a brief description of the muscle groups contract and relax to accommodate the postures. Even if you're not a yoga person, flip through this book and check out some seriously cool, unique illustrations. 


Ghosts Cover Image
By Cesar Aira, Chris Andrews (Translator)
$11.16
ISBN: 9780811217422
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - February 1st, 2009

This slim little novel is, among other things, a ghost story. It's also a book described as 'unsettling', a perfect choice of words. This is not a haunting story, nor a horror story; it's an uncanny book, a ghost story that's really about poor family living in a partially constructed luxury high rise.This book hooks deeply into something primal inside you. Not your heart, more like the ancient part of the brain keyed into danger and fear. It's beautiful, sad, and vivid. Aira packs an impossible amount of meaning in each word. 


The Book with No Pictures Cover Image
$14.39
ISBN: 9780803741713
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Dial Books - September 30th, 2014

What?? A picture book without picture? How and why? This book forgoes illustrations in favor of text that the adult must read, no matter how demeaning or silly or hilarious. A seriously fun book made to be read together. Flip through it with your little one and get ready to laugh. 


The Bone People Cover Image
$12.80
ISBN: 9780140089226
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Penguin Books - October 7th, 1986

Bone People is a work of realism, veering into magical realism in just the right amounts. Think New Zealand's version of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but sadder and colder.This book strikes a lot of emotional notes and yet never veers into saccharine (possibly because of the realism in detailing the day to day life of impoverished Maori).  Following an intentional hermit who befriends a mute orphan and his adoptive father as the three negotiate happiness as unhappy people. Together, they make a trio, not quite a family, not quite friends. Follow them and get a glimpse into Maori culture and traditions, watch them reconciling their own traumas and pains with this new connection. 


The Angel Maker Cover Image
By Stefan Brijs, Hester Velmans (Translator)
$12.80
ISBN: 9780143113096
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Penguin Books - January 1st, 2009

The mad scientists as an archetype has never been as disquieting as Dr. Victor Hoppe, geneticist and religious zealot, obsessed with Christ's suffering. He returns to his hometown with three sons and slowly the strangeness escalates. With a retired schoolteacher, fielding Victor's bizarre requests as the primary witness to the inner workings of father and sons. The plot twists and turns through the evolution of Dr. Hoppe and his work, seeing in glimpses how and where and why, but never knowing what's coming next. Disturbing, suspenseful, some might say blasphemous.  


The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles Cover Image
By Michelle Cuevas, Erin E. Stead (Illustrator)
$14.39
ISBN: 9780803738683
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Dial Books - August 23rd, 2016

We tend to think picture books are something we graduate out of reading once we've gained reasonable abilites to string letters into sense in our minds. This book however, is for anyone who has ever felt lonely. This beautiful story is made further beautiful with its delicate, masterful illustrations.Try not to smile at its end.


The Association of Small Bombs Cover Image
$12.80
ISBN: 9780143109273
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Penguin Books - October 18th, 2016

Maybe you're reading this in hopes of learning what this book is about. Don't you hate when there's no blurb on the back?? I've got you. This book follows two families affected by market bombings in India. Mahajan, page by page, shows how the pain and trauma of the past reverberates and shapes our futures. Over time, we get a full picture made up of varying points of view; glimpses from both families, from well-meaning do-gooders, and from the bomb makers themselves, come together into a nuanced elegy for the forgotten victims of lesser acts of terror. Ultimately, this book is an honest, naked portrayal of loss and the emptiness that follows. 


Poor Little Guy Cover Image
$13.59
ISBN: 9780525428251
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Dial Books - June 7th, 2016

What's a poor little fish to do in the big bad ocean? Crack this one open and find out!  If a kiddo in your life is the shortest kid around like I was, you won't want to miss this one. This is a seriously cool, beautifully illustrated picture book that really makes its point.  


The Girl with All the Gifts Cover Image
$12.79
ISBN: 9780316334754
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Orbit - April 28th, 2015

Set in a post-disaster, plague-riddled world, we watch the events of this book primarily through the eyes of Melanie, a brilliant and pragmatic young girl. She is one of a few children partially immune to the plague devastating the Earth, being studied in hopes of finding a cure. As happens in a power vacuum those vying for control converge and set in motion the worst road trip ever. While the set-up may sound formulaic, this book surprises you at every turn, not shying away from averting your expectations and chilling you with its stellar writing. The ending will blindside the dickens out of you. 


The Indian Slow Cooker: 50 Healthy, Easy, Authentic Recipes Cover Image
$15.96
ISBN: 9781572841116
Availability: Not in Stock. Estimated Order Time 1-5 days.
Published: Surrey Books - September 7th, 2010

 

I'm not much for crockpot recipes, but I'm all about Indian food. Shopping for spices before you make your first recipe out of this book is probably the most difficult part, and Singla walks you through that too! So if you're like me and you want something that tastes like you spent hours over the stove but still leaves you time to watch and rewatch Game of Thrones episodes, give this a go. Homemade Indian food doesn't have to be daunting. 


Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them Cover Image
$20.80
ISBN: 9781627797467
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Henry Holt & Company - February 7th, 2017

For my next trick, I’ll convince you to read this book of horrible plagues. Why? Because it’s important to see what we’ve done in the past when faced with an extinction event. Wright spins a tale about the worst diseases mankind has battled into a read that is not only funny, but reassuring; each chapter ends with a wrap up and underscores that each plague contains a lesson to take with us should we face an epidemic in the future (we’re overdue, you know).


The Warden's Daughter Cover Image
$13.59
ISBN: 9780375831997
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - January 3rd, 2017

Cammie O’Reilly is a little girl growing up angry, living in an old apartment within a prison. She’s angry, in part, because she doesn’t have her mother. Through Cammie’s eyes, we watch her try to fix this by recruiting a variety of figures, willing and unwilling, into her life to fill the empty role. Spinelli manages to cover both the intricacies of mother-daughter relationships and those of tween and teen girl friendships with a prison and its occupants as its unforgettable backdrop. This one made me cry, twice in fact.


Little Sister Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781941040607
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Tin House Books - May 23rd, 2017

For a certain type of person, playing pretend can not only be intoxicating, but downright addictive. Rose Bowan is one such person. During a thunderstorm, she experiences a surreal, Being John Malkovich moment seeing life through the eyes of Harriet Smith, a woman she has never met. Chapters alternate from present and past, wherein we meet Ava, Rose’s little sister; Ava's present day absence hangs over the story like a (forgive me) thundercloud. Past melts into present and gives you just enough to keep you hungry, tearing through each chapter to find satiation.


We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda Cover Image
$14.40
ISBN: 9780312243357
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Picador USA - September 4th, 1999

Just after the Rwandan genocide had begun to lose momentum, Gourevitch began visiting and collecting stories from survivors, sometimes victims, sometimes perpetrators. With context, exposition, and hindsight, he wove them together; what sets this book apart, what makes it so haunting, is the telling of the story by witnesses. The extent, the scale of this unimaginable atrocity, is parsed out in these accounts with Gourevitch’s unmistakable voice supplying a commentary and occasional exposition, with bittersweet wit and unflinching, frank language.


Men We Reaped: A Memoir Cover Image
$13.60
ISBN: 9781608197651
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Bloomsbury USA - September 16th, 2014

Ward packs out a lot of pain into this deceptively short memoir. The chapters alternate between a retelling of her childhood and an elegy to the lives and premature deaths of young black men; her friends, her cohorts, her family, all are weighed down by the millstone of poverty and blackness in the South. With sensitivity and startling honesty, Ward revisits, with the clarity that comes with time, her turbulent childhood and memorializes four men that died too young. Hanging over the work is the feeling of déjà vu, or perhaps inevitability, all told in Ward’s rich, toothsome voice.


Her Body and Other Parties: Stories Cover Image
$12.80
ISBN: 9781555977887
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Graywolf Press - October 3rd, 2017

This short story collection is an impressive debut to say the least, reminiscent of Shirley Jackson's short stories. Introverts will identify with the delicate sense of remove in the narration, while everyone can appreciate the way Machado plays with old fairy tale conventions and reader expectations. Attempting to pick a favorite story in this collection feels impossible; while each story is touched with a similar, somewhat disquieting magical realism, each has its own charms, its own arresting images. You might find yourself reading and rereading this one.


Artemis Cover Image
$21.60
ISBN: 9780553448122
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - November 14th, 2017

With his impeccable attention to detail, Weir has fun with the physics, engineering, and chemical elements of the plot, building a moon base so convincing you'll start saving for your ticket to Artemis. His world-building is fleshed out by a cast that feels like a real, thriving community, organically grown and entangled. Jazz, the narrator, is a determined, reluctant genius and porter/small time smuggler. Through her smuggling, she gets drawn into an enterprise too good to be true and too good to turn down. It's good Jazz is so quick on her feet, because the plot unfolds quickly; Weir skillfully weaves the plot and science based exposition in Jazz's sometimes heartfelt, sometimes irreverent, narration.  If you like your sci-fi smart, funny, and fast paced, you seriously can't skip this one.