LaRaie's Picks

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The Vanishing Half: A Novel Cover Image
$24.30
ISBN: 9780525536291
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Riverhead Books - June 2nd, 2020

1960s to the present: Twins Stella and Desiree grew up in a mythical town of Mallard, Louisiana. Its citizens are proud of their black history but also the fact that they are light-skinned. Insular in their community, they keep to themselves and don’t associate with dark-skinned people. Within white society they are firmly rooted at the bottom of the social structure because of Jim Crow laws, considered black by their white neighbors. The town historically goes to great length to preserve its whiteness, despite being children of black ancestors. When the teenage twins run away from home they join two different worlds. One “passes” as white. The twins become heartbreakingly estranged for years, marrying and having families of their own, navigating motherhood, violence, racism—each seeking beyond herself for what is missing. The children they have become extensions of their mothers’ past traumas, each trying to fit in to a world that doesn’t fully accept them. This breathtaking novel is about sisters and mothers, racial identity and racism, gender identity, white privilege, losing ourselves and becoming who we are.


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Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood Cover Image
By Trevor Noah, Trevor Noah (Read by)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781531865030
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Audible Studios on Brilliance - December 9th, 2016

Comedian and The Daily Show host Trevor Noah tells stories of his childhood and teenage years in South Africa during apartheid. In order to get the full comedic effect and power of the events of his life, I recommend hearing him tell it.


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Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague Cover Image
$16.20
ISBN: 9780142001431
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Penguin Books - April 30th, 2002

I read this book several years ago because I was looking for an absorbing historical fiction novel and a bookseller told me that it’s one of Barack Obama’s favorites. She also said that the protagonist makes a decision in the end that no American woman would understand. Exquisite and crushing, a richly drawn novel of a woman living during the plague of 1665.


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Timbuktu: A Novel Cover Image
$16.20
ISBN: 9780312428945
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Picador - April 28th, 2009

A novel about homelessness, told from the point of view of a schizophrenic man nearing the end of his life, and his dog. One of the most emotive, intriguing, heart rending, and unforgettable novels I've read.


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Bear on the Loose!: A Branches Book (Hilde Cracks the Case #2): A Branches Book Cover Image
$4.49
ISBN: 9781338141580
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Scholastic Inc. - October 31st, 2017

I love this series because it has all the elements of a great read for developing readers—short chapters, a table of contents, map, glossary, illustrations and a curious budding detective on a mission to solve strange happenings in her neighborhood. With the help of her older sister, Hilde gets to the bottom of what really happened when a UFO is spotted or how a fire started. The characters in this series treat each other with empathy and kindness, and it’s fun to see how Hilde Crack the Case!


Staff Pick Badge
Opioid, Indiana Cover Image
$14.40
ISBN: 9781641290784
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Soho Press - September 17th, 2019

This is not the town to be stuck in, if you’re a teenage orphan living with your meth-addicted uncle. In the midst of confederate-flag-waving poor white folks, our protagonist Riggle is looking for a job, so he can find eventually afford to leave. Though not a true story, this short novel reads like a personal journal of a marginalized young person without resources or an advocate.

This has everything I look for in a story--friendship, outsiders, amazing women, weirdness, mythology, hope, unknowable mysteries and love.
You have to want a gritty read, but it's also sand-soft at its heart. I spent most of my time spellbound by Riggle’s memories of his late mother, and the characters he encounters on his search to find his uncle, a job, and a way out.

 


Staff Pick Badge
Nothing Cover Image
By Janne Teller, Martin Aitken (Translated by)
$10.79
ISBN: 9781442441163
Availability: Usually ships in 1-2 business days
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - March 20th, 2012

Chilling horror novel reminiscent of Lord of the Flies. When a group of young classmates sets out to determine the true meaning of life, they find out how far they will go to protect it.


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Grayson Cover Image
$13.49
ISBN: 9780156034678
Availability: Usually ships in 1-2 business days
Published: Mariner Books - February 4th, 2008

Professional swimmer, Lynne Cox, is in the Pacific Ocean very early one morning and finds a lost baby whale. This extraordinary true story is about their journey to find the whale's mother. A gorgeous and harrowing look at the world beneath us, told from a passerby.


Miles from Nowhere Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781594483981
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Riverhead Books - September 1st, 2009

A major voice in fiction debuts with the story of a teenage runaway on the streets of 1980s New York.


Staff Pick Badge
Special Topics in Calamity Physics Cover Image
$16.20
ISBN: 9780143112129
Availability: In Stock (but it is always wise to call ahead to confirm!)
Published: Penguin Books - April 24th, 2007

Coming-of-age novel meets murder mystery. The story is complete with footnotes, literary allusions and a few drawings which made the characters that much more fascinating and believable.


Staff Pick Badge
The Gargoyle Cover Image
$15.26
ISBN: 9780307388674
Availability: Usually ships in 1-2 business days
Published: Anchor - August 4th, 2009

Dark psychological surreal/historical fiction, with epic journeys through various time periods. Also a great love story.