Book of the Month

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. You can also see previous months by clicking here.

Interior Chinatown: A Novel Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780307907196
Availability: ON HAND in at least ONE of our stores. Click through or call for up-to-the-minute availability.
Published: Pantheon - January 28th, 2020

February 2020

We all make choices throughout our lives, choosing different paths to follow, different roles to play.  But who selects the options we choose from?  Interior Chinatown is like a rapier taken to stereotypes that inhabit society's attitudes towards Asian Americans.  The main character, Willis Wu, is a minor actor in an ongoing cop drama who wants to be more than a generic Asian male in the background, maybe even someday becoming "Kung Fu Guy." The novel bounces back and forth between the script Wu is inhabiting and an interior monologue.  And one of the strengths of this book, for this reader, is how thin the line sometimes feels between these stereotypical roles that Willis is acting, and the ridiculousness of the particular situations. Interior Chinatown is a brilliant novel, one that challenged this reader in the best possible ways. —Martin


Imaginary Museums: Stories Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781593765866
Availability: ON HAND in at least ONE of our stores. Click through or call for up-to-the-minute availability.
Published: Soft Skull Press - January 14th, 2020

January 2020

These sentences zag when you expect them to zig. And don't get me started on the zigging. Trying to recount any of these stories will take way longer than it will to read them; they are masterworks of compression that unfold into sagas of falconers and an Air Conditioning Museum. But they also finish with tidy endings, landing the dismount from each trick with a word, a gesture that somehow makes sense of the fantasia preceding. Oh, yeah: and it's really, really funny.  —Benjy


The Revisioners Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781640092587
Availability: ON HAND in at least ONE of our stores. Click through or call for up-to-the-minute availability.
Published: Counterpoint LLC - November 5th, 2019

November 2019

I couldn't put The Revisioners down once I started it! It's an inter-generational tale focusing on the women of a Louisiana Black family, from Ava in 2017 to her great-great-great-great grandma Josephine in 1924, and then to 10-year old Josephine in 1855 who is still a slave. Sexton highlights the cyclical nature of history and family, the connections between generations, and a natural magic that infuses the prose as well as the characters. I loved the fierce loyalty the women show each other and themselves throughout their various ordeals with racism and "well-meaning" (emphasis mine, not Sexton's) white people. The Revisioners is both a warning and a beacon of hope for a country that hasn't healed or overcome its white supremacy. It's definitely one of my 2019 faves! —Sara

 


Make It Scream, Make It Burn: Essays Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780316259637
Availability: ON HAND in at least ONE of our stores. Click through or call for up-to-the-minute availability.
Published: Little, Brown and Company - September 24th, 2019

October 2019
I’d read a Jamison essay about asphalt. She’s that smart, big-hearted, and funny. I was so often moved and thrilled by the 14 essays in this book that I had to pause and just let them sink in before reading more. She’s true master of the form. — STS


How to Be an Antiracist Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780525509288
Availability: ON HAND in at least ONE of our stores. Click through or call for up-to-the-minute availability.
Published: One World - August 13th, 2019

September 2019
Award-winning writer Ibram Kendi takes us on a personal and historical journey through racism.  He also incorporates science, law, and ethics as he updates the definition of racism, explores its negative effects (on whites, too!), and helps teach readers to be anti-racist (rather than a neutral "not racist.").  We can all do better, and Kendi is here to help. —Pete


Staff Pick Badge
Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780525510543
Availability: ON HAND in at least ONE of our stores. Click through or call for up-to-the-minute availability.
Published: Random House - August 6th, 2019

August 2019
Jia Tolentino's first book of essays takes on topics from her fundamentalist upbringing and her teenage stint on an early aughts reality show (Boys vs. Girls) to 21st Century capitalism's push to make us all productive -- and all of us products-- in every spare moment. At the heart of the book is always our idea of the self, and our current misunderstanding of it. Am I my Instagram selfies? Are we the spandex in our athleisure? Even as she takes down mainstream feminism's acceptance of hours-long skincare regimes and barre exercise classes (not for a man, for 'me'), she allows for empathy and understanding for each of us, how we're all coping with what sometimes feels like the end of the world. Economic precarity, political unpredictability and impossible standards of beauty notwithstanding, Tolentino is still finding moments like church, moments of wonder, in everything from bio luminescence to the chopped and screwed Houston sound. And she's writing the hell out of all of it.--Leigh

 


Say Say Say: A novel Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9780525655923
Availability: ON HAND in at least ONE of our stores. Click through or call for up-to-the-minute availability.
Published: Knopf - July 9th, 2019

July 2019
Like Marilynne Robinson or Alice Munro, San Francisco writer Lila Savage's first novel is a tender, generous sliver of compassion about the difficulties in caring for ourselves and for others. Ella is a home care worker who floats between other people's tragedies, hired to join a family just long enough to witness her clients' decline. Ella has a girlfriend but there’s an immediate attraction between her and a new client's husband. While that fraught relationship is the center of this novel, the real excitement here is the language, which recasts the steady and familiar (our bodies, our hopes) as quivering ephemera. Seriously, read the first page and you’ll feel sad about jellybeans. An exquisite, heartbreaking novel that dwells in the quiet moments when people know they are falling short of their best selves. —Benjy


Staff Pick Badge
Underland: A Deep Time Journey Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780393242140
Availability: ON HAND in at least ONE of our stores. Click through or call for up-to-the-minute availability.
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - June 4th, 2019

June 2019
Incredibly well-written & totally engaging, it would be an understatement to say this book covers a broad territory. Landscape, travelogue, memoir & literary criticism... But also science & history. Each section could be a brilliant short book. Together they form something grounded & sublime. I particularly enjoyed the underlands of Paris. To encounter Macfarlane running with a pack of subterranean guerilla explorers while at the same time meditating on Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project...What could be better?—E.H.


Staff Pick Badge
Black Death at the Golden Gate: The Race to Save America from the Bubonic Plague Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780393609455
Availability: ON HAND in at least ONE of our stores. Click through or call for up-to-the-minute availability.
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 7th, 2019

May 2019 
Black Death at the Golden Gate is a fast-paced, fascinating narrative of local history. Centering on cases of The Plague in early San Francisco, it's a story about epidemiology, racism, public health versus individual rights, a burgeoning California, and bacteriology. Don't let the "ologies" turn you off, though. This is not too technical. More just a lively history. —Pete


Staff Pick Badge
Sing to It: New Stories Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781982109110
Availability: NOT on our shelves now. Usually ships 1-10 business days from warehouse. ETA will be updated with email order confirmation.
Published: Scribner - March 26th, 2019

April 2019 
If you are a fan of Amy Hempel, then we have some good news for you: she is still writing distilled, wry, tragicomic stories.  If you haven’t had a chance to read her work, this new collection is an excellent introduction to one of the best short fiction writers working today. —Andrew


The Wall: A Novel Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9781324001638
Availability: ON HAND in at least ONE of our stores. Click through or call for up-to-the-minute availability.
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 5th, 2019

March 2019
So, let's say we build a wall. A great big beautiful wall all around the country. What then? A wall without soldiers is just a physical barrier, not very hard to cross. So we staff the wall with an appropriate amount of soldiers. And to make the soldiers effective, they'll need ammunition, and a clearly defined set of orders to defend the homeland at all costs. What does that say about a country, that it is so afraid of 'the other' that it is willing to kill to defend what it sees as its rightful way of life? And what does one do with the 'others' who make it across the border? Sometimes the only difference between "us" and "them" is pure chance and luck. John Lanchester writes a tale eerily appropriate for our not so distant future.

-Martin & Jessica


The Hundred Wells of Salaga: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781590519950
Availability: ON HAND in at least ONE of our stores. Click through or call for up-to-the-minute availability.
Published: Other Press - February 5th, 2019

February 2019 


Staff Pick Badge
Mouthful of Birds: Stories Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780399184628
Availability: ON HAND in at least ONE of our stores. Click through or call for up-to-the-minute availability.
Published: Riverhead Books - January 8th, 2019

January 2019
Samanta Schweblin's short story collection brings the same, stunning strangeness we came to expect of her in Fever Dream. Arresting and peculiar, these tories will engross you in their brutal irony, restored hope, and magical logic. Schweblin's work carries the deftness and surrealist satisfaction of writers like Julio Cortázar and Kelly Link. Eerie and enticing, you might need to close this book, if only for a moment, before reaching for it hungrily. —Kar