The Book of the Month Archives

Every month, we select a book that we love so much that we feel confident guaranteeing that you'll love it too, so much so that we'll give you your money back if you don't. Peruse this list if you're trying to remember one you missed or are looking for more recommendations like it.

Book List
$11.95
ISBN-13: 9781608463862
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Haymarket Books, 5/2014

July 2014

Smart, bold, and urgently necessary, this collection of essays by the imminently readable Rebecca Solnit weaves together a global story of gender and power. Solnit is extremely funny and incisive as she recounts the now infamous incident at a party in Aspen in which a Very Important Man interrupts and talks over her to explain a Very Important Book he thinks she should read—which it turns out she wrote. Men explain things to women, whether or not they know what they're talking about. Solnit astutely identifies and politicizes this experience, which is already familiar to so many women. Writing through a variety of seemlessly diverse topics in the essays that follow, she traces the contours of a culture in which women continue to be silenced and otherwise made to disappear.


$28.00
ISBN-13: 9781608198061
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Bloomsbury USA, 5/2014

June 2014

Roz Chast's memoir is a deeply human look at her relationship with her aging parents. At turns angry and sad, but always filtered through Chast's trademark humor, Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? articulates the concerns that many of us are (or soon will be) experiencing with our own parents. This is the rare book that manages to successfully pull off what it risks. It's got the feel of a classic.  


$25.00
ISBN-13: 9780374280475
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 5/2014
May 2014
Rivka Galchen's much-anticipated new book is a sly and wondrous love letter--and maybe Dear John letter, too--to her literary forebears. These ten stories, which each reframe a classic story by writers as unalike as James Thurber and Jorge Luis Borges (among others), demonstrate Galchen's subtle and wry sense of humor, her keen sense of psychology, and her lyrical prose. Moving from the mundane to the surreal and everywhere in-between, American Innovations is a brilliant feat of imagination by one of the best literary minds in contemporary fiction.
I recommend it enthusiastically. Really, ask me about it. You'll have a hard time getting me to shut up.
- Sparks 

The Plover (Hardcover)

$24.99
ISBN-13: 9781250034779
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Thomas Dunne Books, 4/2014
April 2014 
I am not generally one to be drawn to novels that can be described as “magical” or “mystical,” and especially not “feel-good,” but all of those words can be applied to The Plover,  along with “salty,” and even “brilliant.” The Plover is the simple story of a man getting onto his little boat and heading out to sea to escape the world, but the world follows him out and keeps him company. It is a beautiful novel filled with extraordinary characters who will carry you away on a journey of solitude, of mysticism and exploration.
Books like this don't come along very often, so dive in and enjoy each pleasant surprise. 

Chance (Hardcover)

$26.00
ISBN-13: 9780743289245
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Scribner Book Company, 2/2014

March 2014

In the life of an independent bookseller, there are a few “rights of passage” discoveries before we truly earn our stripes: Jack Black’s You Can’t WinThe Wasp Factory by Ian Banks and heck, everything by Jim Thompson. But when I came up at Green Apple, some 20+ years ago, nothing rung my bell quite as loudly as Kem Nunn’s surf-mystery, Tapping the Source which was originally published in 1984. And almost better than the joy of discovery is when that ‘cult author’ stays the course, and manages to refine their craft into a wholly unique style—much the way that Kem Nunn has done with Chance, his first novel in 10 years!

Set in San Francisco, Chance is sharp and gritty noir, involving multiple personality disorder, rare furniture forgeries, abusive and corrupt police detectives, sexy sexy sex, and the forensic psychiatrist who delves deep into the dark side in an effort to hold all of this together.

Like a drunken tryst between the film ‘Ghost Dog’ and the dark novels of Georges Simenon, Chance is a novel of bad decisions, made for the right reasons, and the heavy-duty repercussions of messing with the wrong people. You will dig it—I guarantee it!


$22.95
ISBN-13: 9780385350815
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Knopf, 1/2014

February 2014

Jenny Offill's remarkably crafted Dept. of Speculation is a moving story of love, art, parenthood, and infidelity. Narrated by "the wife," the novel charts the arc of a love affair, from first blush to eventual dissipation, along the way touching on all manner of subjects, from sleep deprivation to the usefulness of art. Full of insight and wry humor, the novel's impact far outstrips its modest size. It'll stick with you long after you've finished.

- Sparks 


On Such a Full Sea (Hardcover)

$27.95
ISBN-13: 9781594486104
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Riverhead Hardcover, 1/2014

January 2014

In On Such a Full Sea we are plunged into a futuristic America where Chinese communities spring up in abandoned cities like B-Mor after environmental catastrophe renders much of China uninhabitable. The residents of B-Mor, sealed off from the crime-infested “outside counties,” live in relative peace, with no reason to disturb the status quo. Until Fan, a diver in the tanks that house B-Mor’s fish supply, sets off to find her missing lover. This is Fan’s story: part myth, part dystopian tale, part love story. Chang-rae Lee’s lyrical novel immerses you in a world that captivates the imagination and like the best dystopian tales, forces you to reconsider the political and environmental tides washing against the contemporary world.

- Nick


$26.95
ISBN-13: 9780525954217
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Dutton Adult, 10/2013

December 2013

As starkly sarcastic and manly as you'd expect from our favorite mustachioed, woodworking Parks and Rec star, these "fundamentals for delicious living" include (but are not limited to): performing, drinking, loving, and worshiping Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, song, and theater. 

Nestled between stories about his life in theater, woodworking, and growing up in rural Minooka, Illinois, are essential guides such as "How To Be A Man" (eat steak, drink whiskey, punch a socialist) and how to "Be Smart While Getting Stupid" (a healthy approach to mind-altering substances like beer or pork rinds). These guides even include drawings of Offerman performing tasks from these guides, original poems about his wife (Megan Mullally) and, of course, paddling your own canoe. 

In his own words, "each story comes with a delicious fundamental—advice about living life that I hope you'll find useful...how an average human dipsh*t like myself, relying solely on warped individuality and a little elbow grease, can actually rise from a simple life of relative poverty to one of prosperity, measured in American dollars and Italian band saws, sure, but more importantly, laughter, wood shavings, and kisses."

- Ronnie 


$30.00
ISBN-13: 9781592407491
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Gotham, 10/2013

November 2013

"At least one day out of the year all musicians should just put their instruments down, and give thanks to Duke Ellington." - Miles Davis

A little ways into this book, I got rid of my other books on Duke Ellington. Teachout's book is that good. Duke Ellington was a notoriously private man, allowing very few people to see the person behind the legend. By peeling away the layers and stories, Teachout succeeds in giving us a look at a flawed human being who gave us some of the 20th century's greatest music. I had more admiration for Duke after reading this biography than I did when I started. (I consider him to be the greatest composer of the 20th century.)

Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington not only gets as close as we're ever going to get to the "real" Duke Ellington, but it's also excellent at placing his music in its historical context. Teachout, who wrote an excellent biography of Louis Armstrong several years ago, is emerging as one of the best jazz biographers.

- Martin 


$22.00
ISBN-13: 9780812994865
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Random House, 8/2013

October 2013

I picked up this book because I love David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas and more. When I started his introduction I had no idea just what I was in for. Naoki Higashida is a 13 year old boy with autism. Although Naoki is unable to communicate verbally, his mother and teacher have devised a system that allows him to slowly form words and sentences that evolve into poems and stories--which resulted in The Reason I Jump. This is a heartfelt and touching account of Naoki trying to describe why he might react a certain way in different situations. That itself is pretty intense, but the beauty of this book lies in Naoki's understanding of and connection with nature. I can see why David Mitchell and his wife Ka Yoshida wanted to pass this book on to the English-speaking world, as it should be translated into every language. This book doesn't just open your eyes to what it is like to be be autistic but what it is like to be human.

- Nick


$27.00
ISBN-13: 9781608199600
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Bloomsbury USA, 8/2013

September 2013

There have been many histories written about the transformation of San Francisco from a muddy hamlet of 800 people in 1848 into one of the world's great metropolises. What makes this one special is Kamiya's synthesizing of the personal memoir with a walking tour of the historic, the geographic and the geologic, all rolled together in a witty and accessible style. Kamiya not only obviously spent countless hours deep in the library stacks doing diligent research, but he must also have worn out several pairs of shoes walking the far-flung corners, alleys, dirt paths and hills of San Francisco. Along the way he points out the little remnants of the past--buried stream beds and old trails that became our modern roads; local characters past and present; spots where the old has been replaced by the new without being completely erased. Even if you think you know all you need to about this cool gray city of love, Gary Kamiya will surprise you with his passionate mash note to the city of San Francisco.

- KPR 


$26.99
ISBN-13: 9781250024879
Availability: Usually ships in 1-5 days from our warehouse (not on our shelves now)
Published: Thomas Dunne Books, 7/2013

August 2013

This book is not about the invention of murder so much as the sensationalizing of crime in Victorian England. Flanders retells gruesome stories of many different types of murder, both famous and obscure: from Jack the Ripper and Sweeney Todd to Burke and Hare's body-snatching business in Edinburgh. The British loved murder. Not the actual act itself, but the telling: You'll see murders through multiple editions of newspapers hawked on the streets, bestselling novels, stage plays, musicals, and even puppet shows. Not to mention the birth of the detective novel. If you think that obsession with and media saturation of murder is a modern phenomenon (Hello Nancy Grace), get ready to have your mind changed. With an irresistible cast of swindlers, forgers, poisoners, the mad, the bad and the utterly dangerous, The Invention of Murder is both a mesmerizing tale of crime and punishment, and history at its most readable.

- Martin 


$28.95
ISBN-13: 9781590515716
Availability: Usually ships in 1-5 days from our warehouse (not on our shelves now)
Published: Other Press, 5/2013
July 2013 
Dreadful is a thoroughly researched, sympathetic portrayal of a talented, mercurial, heavy-drinking, and ultimately tragic novelist who wrote one important book.
John Horne Burns's 1947 masterpiece--The Gallery--was praised by every critic and WWII novelist--Hemingway, Michener, Vidal.  It was a revelation at the time, illustrating the confrontation between often obtuse US soldiers and the citizens of Naples. One landmark (at the time) chapter illustrates the personalities of a Napoli gay bar frequented by gay soldiers.
Margolick's scholarship, aided by Burns's prodigious correspondence, will make you cringe at how many wrong decisions one man can make--literary success for Burns was followed by burning bridges with critics, his peers, and his day job, then followed by self-immolation through alcoholism just shy of his 37th birthday.
This re-examination of Burns and The Gallery is especially prescient today in light of new research around American GI's treatment of Europeans in the months following V-day.  John Horne Burns and his landmark novel deserve this valuable book.

The Son (Hardcover)

$27.99
ISBN-13: 9780062120397
Availability: Usually ships in 1-5 days from our warehouse (not on our shelves now)
Published: Ecco Press, 5/2013

June 2013 

All of the (rave) reviews you will read about The Son will call it a "western" and make comparisons to the works of Larry McMurtry and Cormac McCarthy.  These comparisons are right, but The Son is also much more than that; it is nothing less than a micro-history of the settlement of the North American continent, as told through the bloody, rapacious story of five generations of one Texas family.  Beginning with the butchering of patriarch Eli McCullough's family by Comanches in 1849, and ending with oil Baroness Jeanne Anne's story in 2012, we follow the family as it grows in wealth and power, sometimes honestly, but more usually not.  There aren't many 576 page novels that you wish were longer, but as I neared the end of this epic tome, I began to grow nostalgic for it even as the remaining pages were counting down.  The Son is a great book.


Pacific (Hardcover)

$25.00
ISBN-13: 9780802119995
Availability: Usually ships in 1-5 days from our warehouse (not on our shelves now)
Published: Grove Press, 5/2013

May 2013 

Tom Drury is generally under-appreciated, and he's a favorite of several Green Applers, including yours truly and my (writerly) wife. His prose is spare and precise, his characters all lovingly rendered. His latest, Pacific, is full of drive, following two distinct story lines, both edged with mystery and longing, sorrow and hope. The plot lines never totally connect, but you don't care because you so love the characters, despite (or because of?) their flaws. It's one of those books that's tough to describe. But you should just trust me and Green Apple and Yiyun Li, and buy it, and read it, and bring your questions on May 21 to ask the author


The Flamethrowers (Hardcover)

$26.99
ISBN-13: 9781439142004
Availability: Usually ships in 1-5 days from our warehouse (not on our shelves now)
Published: Scribner, 4/2013

April 2013 

Rachel Kushner, of Telex from Cuba (2008) fame, reaffirms her remarkable ability to capture readers with The Flamethrowers, a novel about a young female artist newly arrived in New York City. Upon her arrival from the Midwest, Reno (a reference to her place of birth) finds herself stuck on the fringe of the artistic culture of SoHo and the East Village. An affair with Sandro Valera, an artist and heir to a fortune built upon motorcycles, draws her deeper into his world and ultimately to his family's estate in Italy. After learning of her lover's true nature, Reno leaves the protection that Sandro's wealth affords her and becomes caught up in the socio-political revolution engulfing Italy at the time. This atmosphere of violence and poverty allows Kushner's vivid examination of gender, culture and class to speak simultaneously about the 1970s and today.


Schroder (Hardcover)

$23.09
ISBN-13: 9781455512133
Availability: Usually ships in 1-5 days from our warehouse (not on our shelves now)
Published: Twelve, 2/2013

March 2013 

Reader, meet your next book club book. Schroder has a clear hook: Eric Schroder (who has gone by Eric Kennedy since his youth trying to fit in as an immigrant), has kidnapped his six-year-old daughter during a parental visit. It's a week on the road and on the lam. Beyond the compelling hook, though, this novel explores all kinds of complexity: what it means to be a good parent; what makes us "American;" and so on. Schroder is both a page-turner and a lyrical meditation on parental love. Both of Gaige's previous books have been Green Apple favorites, but now she has really hit her stride with this triumph of voice


Ways of Going Home (Hardcover)

$23.00
ISBN-13: 9780374286644
Availability: Usually ships in 1-5 days from our warehouse (not on our shelves now)
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1/2013

February 2013

We here at Green Apple hopped on the Zambra bandwagon back in 2008 when his elegant novella Bonsai was published. Five years and two books later, it's with a sense of pride that we see the young Chilean writer fully hitting his stride with Ways of Going Home, a lean, reflective novel about what it means to grow up untroubled in troubled times. Written in his signature style -- blending genres while coming and going from his main narrative -- Zambra crafts a powerful story about the interplay between History (with a capital H) and personal history. A poignant, stick-with-you-after-reading book from the best Chilean writer since Roberto Bolaño. 


Pow! (Hardcover)

$27.50
ISBN-13: 9780857420763
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Seagull Books, 1/2013

January 2013

Recently enshrined Nobel laureate Mo Yan's latest novel is a rip-roarin', gut-bustin', greasy meal of a book. Pow! chronicles the rough and tumble childhood of Luo Xiaotong, a perpetually hungry boy growing up in Slaughterhouse Village, a place where meat is king and looks are deceiving. Little Ziaotong, who's already been called Mo Yan's Candide, would like nothing better than to overcome his insatiable desire for the pleasures of the flesh (both cooked and, um, uncooked), but a whole army of forces, some of which appear to be supernatural, conspire against him, which leads to some of the wildest scenes in contemporary fiction. Pow! is a hilariously slapstick affair, salted with subtle critique of a corrupt government and well-seasoned with sly satire. It's a resounding confirmation of Mo Yan's place among the best writers of our time.  


$37.50
ISBN-13: 9780743236713
Availability: Usually ships in 1-5 days from our warehouse (not on our shelves now)
Published: Scribner, 11/2012

December 2012

Proposing that diversity is what connects us all, Solomon looks at a fundamental dilemma of parenting: to what extent parents should accept their children for who they are, and to what extent they should help them become their best selves.  He explores the cultures and lives of those who have fallen "far from the tree:" deaf children of hearing parents, dwarfs, children born of rape, and so on.

This is one of those big idea books that can either totally consume a few weeks of your free time or be read in chunks over months. Either way, you will be left with a new appreciation for the human experience in all its diversity.

Still don't believe me? See this NYT review for how Far From the Tree will make you a "more imaginative and understanding parent - or human being."

-Pete 


$27.95
ISBN-13: 9780670025114
Availability: Usually ships in 1-5 days from our warehouse (not on our shelves now)
Published: Viking Adult, 10/2012

November 2012 

If the best books are those that make you itch for something new--or, in this case, something as ancient as walking--Robert Macfarlane's poetic travel memoir is certainly one of the best books I've read in a long time. Tracing his ramblings across moors and seas, up mountains, and along meandering paths, Macfarlane describes in lush, precise prose a natural (and human) world that reveals itself leisurely, step by step. Full of remarkable scenes and a memorable cast of characters, The Old Ways brings to mind recent memoirs like Cheryl Strayed's Wild and classic nature writing a la Peter Matthiessen. I recommend it with only one caveat: read it with your hiking boots on; it'll make you want to get up and go.

-Nick


Email or call for price
ISBN-13: 9780307953889
Availability: Currently unavailable or out of stock indefinitely
Published: Hogarth, 8/2012

October 2012

This novel is a wild romp through our fair city, from the Mission to Ocean Beach. Enjoy the ride! 

 


The Dog Stars (Hardcover)

$24.95
ISBN-13: 9780307959942
Availability: Usually ships in 1-5 days from our warehouse (not on our shelves now)
Published: Knopf, 8/2012

September 2012

While it may be true that Dog Stars is Peter Heller's first novel, within moments of beginning this haunting work, it became obvious to me that this is no first book. Heller possesses a professionalism and grace that is rarely encountered on the page, and his deft balance of the poetic and the painful, the sublime and the savage, even the living and the dead, well...it impressed me in ways that I've not encountered in fiction before.

The term "post-apocalyptic" will be bandied about quite often in regard to this work, which is a shame, as I see it more like a dystopic Garden of Eden love story. Or a buddy tale. Or the story of a boy and his dog. Or a gripping outdoor adventure yarn.

Yes, there was an apocalypse, but not on the pages of Dog Stars -- this book is alive in a very special way, and it will touch the heart of anyone who reads it. 


Beautiful Ruins (Hardcover)

$26.99
ISBN-13: 9780061928123
Availability: Usually ships in 1-5 days from our warehouse (not on our shelves now)
Published: Harper, 6/2012

August 2012

Jess Walter's novel Beautiful Ruins, as the title suggests, is the story of what happens to a group of people who are all trying to re-capture what once or never was. It begins with the filming of the 1962 film Cleopatra, in a small town in Italy where a young starlet has been hidden away as part of the scheme by a master manipulator of Hollywood lore. The novel then leaps around in time, from that small Italian town to present day Los Angeles with several stops in between, touching several apparently unconnected lives with a thread that it eventually uses to gather them seamlessly together. The result is what can only be described as a big story, one that would seem to have jumped right off the silver screen inhabited by the likes of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton (a character in the book), were it not for the fact that it's Walter's undeniable skill as a novelist that makes what could just be Hollywood lore feel true.

-Molly 


$25.00
ISBN-13: 9780805094725
Availability: Usually ships in 1-5 days from our warehouse (not on our shelves now)
Published: Henry Holt and Co., 6/2012

July 2012

[I first read this book when it was originally published in Canada in 2010. Here is a review that I wrote shortly thereafter].

Sheila Heti's How Should A Person Be? is exactly what its title implies: an inquiry into how to live and how to do it well. Through a fictionalized account of her personal life, Heti explores the ways in which self-doubt, capriciousness, and the ego are tied to one's ability to live a creative life in the modern age. Yes, I know. This sounds so serious. Or maybe it doesn't. Either way, this novel is a rare gem that effectively combines philosophical musings with an absorbing and funny narrative, all without being pretentious. How Should A Person Be? is about what it means to make art, friends, and ultimately what it means to be human. I raced through it over the course of a few days, after which it stuck with me for weeks. I even read passages of it aloud to a friend, something I rarely do.

There have been some changes made to this, the US edition, which truly enhance the novel's original form.  It's been almost two years since my initial reading of How Should A Person Be?, and I am still excited about the book.  In fact, since that time, I've continued to ponder over and occasionally re-read selections from it. Each time, my heart aches a little more, and I learn something new about myself and about the world. I suppose one can't ask for much more than that.

-Josie 


$28.00
ISBN-13: 9781439108215
Availability: Usually ships in 1-5 days from our warehouse (not on our shelves now)
Published: Free Press, 1/2012

June 2012

David Talbot is a literary razor, slicing the torrid tales of San Francisco's history out of the fog, out of the past, and placing them firmly in our current cultural milieu.  In The Season of the Witch, Salon Magazine founder Talbot delivers a book that is such a breezy read, that the decades fly from the pages as if caught in a Pacific wind. Diggers, hippies and Hell's Angels; murdered politicians and crooked cops; transgender vaudevillian performers, race riots and the SLA -- all come springing back to life like a deal with the devil.  And if you don't know the difference between the Zebra and the Zodiac, then you definitely need to read this book.

-Kevin H. 


$27.95
ISBN-13: 9781594488436
Availability: Usually ships in 1-5 days from our warehouse (not on our shelves now)
Published: Riverhead Hardcover, 4/2012
May 2012

Fifty years ago, every county in the nation had an almshouse, a place for the care of those who are sick and poor. Now San Francisco's Laguna Honda is the last of its kind. When Victoria Sweet began working there more than 20 years ago, she expected her tenure to be a short one. But she found that at Laguna Honda, she could practice a different type of medicine than she would have been allowed in a regular hospital, what she came to call "slow medicine." God's Hotel is filled with amazing stories of this type of care: of the illnesses and recovery (and often relapse) of the patients; of Dr. Sweet's own spiritual journey; and of the funky old hospital itself, with its chicken coop and its open wards, as it struggles to retain its identity in a battle with efficiency experts who've never looked a patient in the eye. This book is filled with wisdom, humor, and even a few miracles.

-KPR


$25.95
ISBN-13: 9780307592736
Availability: Usually ships in 1-5 days from our warehouse (not on our shelves now)
Published: Knopf, 3/2012

April 2012

You will probably be hearing about this book everywhere. Believe the hype. (e.g. Sunday New York Times Book ReviewSF ChronicleGoodReads). I, for one, am willing to put my reputation of 18.5 years as a bookseller on the line for this one. You will love it.

Wild is, at its base, a memoir of a struggling young woman and her challenging solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail (1,100 miles of it!). But it's so much more--full of heart, humor, hope, and humanity.

Still need convincing? My wife (a writer and former bookseller) and I almost never read the same book (it seems inefficient to us--is that weird?). In rare instances, we will more or less force the other to read something--she had me read Behind the Beautiful Forevers (which is excellent), and she read (and loved) Wild. So it's not a guy book or a women's book--it's just a great book.

-Pete


The Mirage (Paperback)

$15.99
ISBN-13: 9780061976230
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Harper Perennial, 2/2013

February 2012

"Oh what a gift it is -- to see ourselves as others do." Mirage is one of the most intense reading experiences I've had recently. In fact, I found myself rationing how many pages to read at one time, because I could only read it for the first time once. Although this book shares a border with The Man in the High Castle, it's very much its own beast. Mirage is not so much alternative history, but a warped, cracked mirror held up to this country's actions. It asks: If the circumstances were reversed, what then?

-Martin 


Girlchild (Paperback)

$15.00
ISBN-13: 9781250024060
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Picador, 2/2013

March 2012 

Girlchild is an unconventional novel, but guaranteed to appeal to all. Tupelo Hassman has created a dark and heartbreaking story in Rory Dawn Hendrix, the unforgettable narrator. Still close to her mother and grandmother, Rory is set on getting out of the Calle ("Just North of Reno and just South of nowhere is a town full of trailers and the front doors of the dirtiest ones open onto the Calle").

There are great turns of phrases and breaks from traditional narrative that are all seamlessly woven together to create this heartbreaking novel. So urgent is the writing and captivating is the style that you are forced to read straight through to the end, and even after it was over I could only sit there and think about the story I had just read. This is a powerful debut that makes me wish that Hassman had many other novels that I could move onto. Hassman is definitely a novelist whose career I will follow from this moment on.

-NPB


$15.00
ISBN-13: 9780812982626
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 8/2012

January 2012 

Citizens of North Korea not only don't enjoy freedom of the press and freedom of assembly, they truly don't have access to freedom of thought, closed off as they are from the outside world and force fed a steady diet of propaganda. In The Orphan Master's Son, Adam Johnson tells the story of Pak Jun Do, raised in an orphanage, in a country where an orphan's only value is their labor and the expend-ability of their lives. This brilliant, thoroughly-researched novel imagines life in that country, from citizens swept off the street and forced to "volunteer" their labor, to "criticism sessions," to the horrors of the gulag, where dying prisoners are drained of their blood. But far from being a mere documentary of life in the DPRK, this is a hugely entertaining, often hilarious novel of switched identity, casual cruelty, and collective delusion.

Adam Johnson has said (I'm paraphrasing) that not every person with a story to tell has the skill to write it, so writers must step in and tell their stories for them. With The Orphan Master's Son, he has succeeded at this task brilliantly.


$39.95
ISBN-13: 9781935639138
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Tin House Books, 10/2011

December 2011

There are as many interpretations of Moby-Dick as there are splintered harpoons in the white whale's scarred skin, all of which tell a different story, none of which tell quite the whole story. Matt Kish's interpretation takes the form of an illustration for every page (all 552 of 'em) and is both a singular reading of Melville's epic and a piece of monumental art in itself. Like all imaginative readers, Kish creates from his voyages in search of the whale his own vision, referring back to the original, but full of its own  mythology and the cultural influences of the 150 years since the publication of the original. As such, Moby-Dick in Pictures provides us with a fresh way of viewing a classic (and is likely to become a classic in its own right), reminding us that great literature both acts upon the present and is reimagined by it. 

-Sparks


Luminous Airplanes (Paperback)

$18.00
ISBN-13: 9781250013828
Availability: Usually ships in 1-5 days from our warehouse (not on our shelves now)
Published: Picador, 10/2012

November 2011

Paul La Farge's latest novel is, essentially, a chronicle of failure: it's about airplanes that never make if off the ground; a religious sect who awaited an uplifting rapture that never came; and what turned out to be the false promise of the dot com boom, when it seemed the sky was the limit for the possibilities of emerging technologies. Although a book of failures may not promise the most inspirational reading, La Farge manages, through his winsome narrator, to humorously and deftly weave together these (and other) strands to create a picture of the turn of the 21st century--set right here in San Francisco--that feels as true and fantastic as the world itself.

-Sparks


The Night Circus (Paperback)

$15.00
ISBN-13: 9780307744432
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Anchor, 9/2012

October 2011

The Night Circus is the story of two young magicians performing in a mysterious circus that appears seemingly from nowhere, and the supernaturally high stakes of the battle of imagination in which they find themselves. A story that both embodies and deals in magic in the most thorough of ways, not only is Morgenstern's debut a tale of magic and those who perform it, the writing itself -- the rich descriptions, the larger-than-life characters, and the artful unfolding on the plot -- is a joy. With equal nods to the wit of Shakespeare and the drama of Cirque du Soleil, The Night Circus is nonetheless a world unto itself.


Ready Player One (Paperback)

$14.00
ISBN-13: 9780307887443
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Broadway Books, 4/2012

September 2011

Are you freakin' kidding me? A direct quote from Ghostbusters, the lyrics from "Dead Man's Party," a Muppet Show reference, and an Atari 2600 reference ALL IN THE FIRST FOUR PAGES OF THE BOOK?!

But seriously, folks, this debut novel from the man who brought us the 2008 film Fanboys delivers the geekdom, and how. Not one, but three Green Apple employees give their endorsement for this nerdfest of epic proportions (which explains a lot about us, really). To get an idea of what this unique take on a quest novel is like, take one part Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, one part 9th level wizard, douse it all heavily with MTV (when MTV actually showed videos), thoroughly mix in every John Hughes movie that features at least three actors from the Brat Pack, add a few dashes of the truck sequence from Raiders of the Lost Ark, and sprinkle with Monty Python, all while listening to your totally 80s mix-tape compilations and then you will begin to comprehend the treasure that is this book. And like I said, that's just the first chapter. 

-Ashley


The Magician King (Paperback)

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9780452298019
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Plume, 5/2012

August 2011

As you may expect, the ruffians from Grossman's earlier novel--The Magicians--are back, and they are dead set on setting down their drinks, putting aside their petty squabbles, and keeping their magical wonderland safe from a brand-new cast of nemeses: villains like Dryads, clock-trees, and even a speaking Seeing Hare that foretells a future brimming of "Death and destruction...disappointment and despair."  Oof.  Sounds to me like our band of mystical explorers needs to find those seven keys, pronto, and save magic once and for all.

 

Follow Quentin and the gang on another epic adventure between this world and the shadow-lands.  Meet Julia, a tough as nails magician from the underground, resplendent with her 500 tattoos (take that, girl with dragon).  Revisit the land, lore, and locals that you fell in love with in The Magicians--you're a couple of years older now, and so are they.

 

-Kevin H.


Email or call for price
ISBN-13: 9781400069453
Availability: Currently unavailable or out of stock indefinitely
Published: Random House, 6/2011

July 2011

 


State of Wonder (Paperback)

$15.99
ISBN-13: 9780062049810
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Harper Perennial, 5/2012

June 2011

In Ann Patchett's cinematic page-turner, we accompany 42-year old Marina Singh as she leaves the predictable life of a Minnesotan pharmaceutical researcher to delve--at the behest of her boss and lover--into the daunting Brazilian jungle to learn how a colleague died when he himself ventured on a recognizance mission for their company. Both their quests involve locating and questioning the elusive, esteemed Annick Swenson, a simultaneously compelling and repulsive doctor secretly developing drugs aimed to benefit millions of suffering people. While Marina experiences extreme physical and psychological discomfort in the jarringly wondrous rabbit hole that is the Amazon, her unexpected inner journey leads her to a life regained through confrontations with moral and social issues, skewed self-perceptions, cannibals, and anacondas.


$14.99
ISBN-13: 9780062041289
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Ecco, 2/2012

May 2011

Two brothers are assassins, rogues--the mere mention of their names strikes fear in those unlucky enough to cross them. The older brother is the trigger-happy lead man with bad manners and a weakness for brandy. He won't cross a hexed threshold to protect his own blood. The younger brother prefers mint tooth powder to fennel, goes on a diet to (hopefully) win the affections of a lady, and is willing to risk a curse on his soul to protect a horse he isn't really fond of. They bicker, argue, steal, fight, and kill their way to San Francisco (a chapter with the best description of the City I've ever read: both historical and ironically contemporary). This western will you leave you busting a gut.

-Ashley


Say Her Name (Paperback)

$15.00
ISBN-13: 9780802145802
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Grove Press, 4/2012

April 2011

Francisco Goldman's Say Her Name is an astonishingly beautiful kaleidoscope of love and loss, set in Brooklyn and Mexico City, before and after the sudden death of his wife. With unabashed clarity, Goldman strips bare his four year relationship with Aura, his picture-perfect bride, granting readers a voyeuristic inventory of their time together. When her life is unexpectedly cut short on an idyllic beach holiday, Goldman's suffering becomes our own. When Aura's family places the blame squarely on Francisco, the shock of her death slams headlong into indignation. And when Francisco himself wishes to die, we also die a bit inside. As a reader, I have never encountered a book with such insight into what it is to love, and to how we can survive when those we care for do not. As an aspiring writer, I am in awe at the lightness, humor and grace of his prose. As a bookseller, this book is a grand gift - I am confident that anyone who enjoys reading will also sense the rare magic in Say Her Name, and will be moved, the same as I was. As a husband, this book chills me to the bone. Say Her Name is a book that cries to be read, screams to be shared, and whispers to be remembered.

-Kevin H. 


Swamplandia! (Paperback)

$14.95
ISBN-13: 9780307276681
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Vintage, 7/2011

March 2011

When the family alligator wrestling business starts to go under due to a lack of tourism to your haunted swamp island, and your sister keeps running off to have torrid love affairs with dead men, and your mom won't respond on the Ouija board and a mysterious man appears to collect for his unsolicited services as a buzzard exterminator, sometimes you've got to take the rudder and venture to the bottom of things, so to speak. And, if this sweet grimey world you're navigating is the creation of Karen Russell, you know you're in for an other/under-worldly experience that is at once fantastic and heartbreakingly real. Swamplandia! is everything its premise promises and more.

-Molly


West of Here (Paperback)

$15.95
ISBN-13: 9781616200824
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1/2012

February 2011

There are books for which the words "gem-like" and "compact" and "precise" apply, but West of Here isn't one of those. West of Here is: Epic. Sprawling. Visceral. Lusty. Big in every way -- it spans years and generations. Filled with characters who will stay with you long after the book is done, including the rugged wilderness of the Olympic penninsula itself, from Klallam Indian to modern-day Sasquatch hunter. Along the way there is love and blood and birth and death and human vs. nature. The story takes us from the settlers -- who first dammed a wild river -- to their descendents -- who want to tear the dam down to preserve the salmon run. The settlers' impulse to conquer the wild is set against the modern notion that it is nature that needs protection from humans. I know it's a cliche, but this is that rare almost-500 page tome that, when you get to the last page, odds are you will quietly mourn the departure of these characters from your life, and then quietly turn the book over and begin the adventure all over again.

-KPR


$18.00
ISBN-13: 9781439170915
Availability: On Our Shelves (as of this morning)
Published: Scribner, 9/2011

January 2011

Convincing you to buy a book about the history of cancer and the search for its prevention and cure is either going to be easy or very hard. For those already interested, all I will add is that The Emperor of All Maladies is expertly researched, clearly narrated, and hopeful, if realistic. It's everything you hope for in a non-fiction narrative. For those not interested at first glance, I just have to say that this is one of the most compelling non-fiction books I've read in years. A page-turner chock full of scientists, discovery, failure, "victims," genomics, politics, moral quandaries and a persistently evasive disease that will, alas, afflict one in three American women and one in two American men in their lifetimes. Knowledge is power, right? Get your knowledge here. This book is fantastic (and totally readable for the curious layperson without being dumbed down). My highest personal recommendation.

-Pete