The Book Table's Best Books of 2019


The Need Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982113162
Availability: Not in stock. Usually arrives in 2-7 business days
Published: Simon & Schuster - July 9th, 2019

Rachel's Pick

To tell you too much about the plot of this book is to ruin it. In fact, even the jacket copy is somewhat misleading so as to not give away too much. So rather than talk about what this book is about, I’ll tell you something about the experience. Reading The Need is not unlike watching a good knife throwing act. The tension is almost suffocating; each gorgeous sentence is as dazzling as it is chilling. I already loved Helen Phillips because of her stunning little literary dystopia, The Beautiful Bureaucrat; The Need shows a writer who has not only grown, but who perhaps has no limits. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

The Topeka School: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374277789
Availability: Backordered at least 2 weeks or possibly unavailable.
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - October 1st, 2019

Jason's Pick

I have read and loved every single book Ben Lerner has ever written, and his latest novel, a portrait of adolescence, masculinity, and cultural dysfunction in middle America in the 1990s (and essentially holding a mirror to today's societal ills), shows an author at the top of his game. Every sentence he writes is amazing and gorgeous, and his storytelling abilities here are unmatched.

Staff Pick Badge
Sun Cycle Cover Image
ISBN: 9780914946090
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Cleveland State University Poetry Center - September 10th, 2019

Alex's Pick

High-stakes writing that imagines an outside to empire while trapped inside its blinding glow. Attending to the connections between subjecthood and state terror, the text continually circles back on itself as if to put theories of fugitivity into practice via poetic form. (What the hell is form? is among the questions the collection ponders.) A riotous book that refuses available representational paradigms, never content to accept the conditions of appearance that colonizers take as the given reality.

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A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities Cover Image
By Mady G. (Illustrator), Jules Zuckerberg (Illustrator), Mady G. , Jules Zuckerberg
ISBN: 9781620105863
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Limerence Press - April 23rd, 2019

Ben's Pick

Coming out as gender nonconforming (or anything, really) often includes explaining what that is—along with what it means for you—to friends and family that have never encountered GNC people or vernacular. Unfortunately, one who realizes they are queer is not then magically imbued with the knowledge and teaching skills to educate everyone they interact with. Usually, we’re trying to define what it is we need to communicate. The snails and Sproutlings in this book can help. This gentle & informative guide is written for: concerned family, queer folk in need of an update, people preparing to come out, allies, and everyone else.

Hollow Kingdom Cover Image
ISBN: 9781538745823
Availability: Backordered at least 2 weeks or possibly unavailable.
Published: Grand Central Publishing - August 6th, 2019

Christian's Pick

Mostly told by a pet crow, (though parts narrated by a cat threaten to steal the show, as cats often do) this zombie story asks “if humans all became zombies, how would our pets survive?” Thrilling action and riotous humor combine beautifully in this hero’s journey of a crow who thinks he’s human and his faithful dog companion.

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Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest (American Music Series) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781477316481
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: University of Texas Press - February 1st, 2019

Eddy's Pick

Go Ahead in the Rain is a different book to everyone I’ve spoken to who has read it. To some, it’s a book of essays on A Tribe Called Quest. To others, it’s a book of chunky poems written to the beat of old hip-hop records. To me it’s a time machine made up of lyrical prose instead of gears and wires and science fiction. A book that took me through my own childhood and adolescence by the tune of my old Sony headphones. Everyone I know who has picked it up, or even just heard an excerpt, calls it moving. Hanif Abdurraqib’s personal essays are so much more than pieces about music. He talks about violence, and youth, and sugar, and love, and a time and place that you’d swear you knew just by his words. Go Ahead in the Rain is a thing of magic. What will it be to you?

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Mythos (Stephen Fry's Greek Myths #1) Cover Image
By Stephen Fry (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781452178912
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Chronicle Books - August 27th, 2019

Lynda's Pick

Ever since I took D’aulaire’s Greek Myths out of the library as a child—and hid it so I wouldn’t have to return it in what would be a Hermes approved move—I have been a sucker for these stories.  It is no surprise that Stephen Fry feels the same way, albeit it in a more erudite and hilarious way. These retellings of the lives of the arrogant gods and their human lovers, dupes, and victims, are wonderfully funny, delightfully footnoted, and perfect for anyone from a classics scholar to someone who can’t tell the difference between Ganymede and Gaea. This beautiful volume would make a perfect gift for someone you think is special. So do what Apollo would do and buy one for you. 

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The New Me Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143133605
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Penguin Books - March 5th, 2019

Patrick's Pick

A quite definitive mantra of youthful precarity, Butler's sophomore novel will be most accessible to those who've found themselves in the purgatorial stasis between accomplishment and contentment. It harbors a satirical, though accurately ominous take on the existential crisis that is the millennial self image, and handily captures the essence of an emotional conflict that may seem as ambiguous as whatever the hell we're actually supposed to call this past decade, but will speak with clarity to worriers of a certain generation.