Staff Picks

Trickster: Native American Tales, A Graphic Collection
Matt Dembiki

Synopsis: In Trickster, the first graphic anthology of Native American trickster tales, more than twenty Native American tales are cleverly adapted into comic form. An inspired collaboration between Native writers and accomplished artists, these tales bring the Trickster back into popular culture in vivid form. From an ego-driven social misstep in "Coyote and the Pebbles" to the hijinks of "How Wildcat Caught a Turkey" and the hilarity of "Rabbit's Choctaw Tail Tale," Trickster brings together Native American folklore and the world of graphic novels for the first time.

Brandon Says: What a fun book! This is an excellent collection of short stories each one expertly told and illustrated. The artists did a fine job giving life and mood to each myth, leaving every tale with its own unique flavor. A lot of the myths deal with animal archetypes and how they came to be the way they are, (reminding me a lot of stories like “How the Camel Got His Hump” and “How the Leopard Got His Spots”). If you’re a fan of folklore and comics, I highly suggest checking this one out!

Brandon's Past Staff Picks
On Basilisk Station
David Weber

Synopsis: Honor Harrington has been exiled to Basilisk station and given an antique ship to police the system. The vindictive superior who sent her there wants her to fail. Her demoralized crew blames her for their ship's humiliating posting to an out-of-the-way picket station. The aborigines of the system's only habitable planet are smoking homicide-inducing hallucinogens. Parliament isn't sure it wants to keep the place; the major local industry is smuggling; the merchant cartels want her head; the star-conquering, so-called "Republic" of Haven is Up To Something; and Honor Harrington has a single, over-age light cruiser with an armament that doesn't work to police the entire star system. But the people out to get her have made one mistake. They've made her mad.

Crystal Says: Get ready for a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants space adventure! David Weber blends intense science fiction with human ingenuity and cunning. Honor Harrington is an unforgettable character whose journey will have you racing through the pages to see how it ends.

Crystal 's Past Staff Picks
Yoko Ogawa

Synopsis: An aspiring writer moves into a new apartment and discovers that her landlady has murdered her husband. Elsewhere, an accomplished surgeon is approached by a cabaret singer, whose beautiful appearance belies the grotesque condition of her heart. And while the surgeon's jealous lover vows to kill him, a violent envy also stirs in the soul of a lonely craftsman. Desire meets with impulse and erupts, attracting the attention of the surgeon's neighbor who is drawn to a decaying residence that is now home to instruments of human torture. Murderers and mourners, mothers and children, lovers and innocent bystanders their fates converge in an ominous and darkly beautiful web. Yoko Ogawa's Revenge is a master class in the macabre that will haunt you to the last page.

Donna Says: This eerie collection of interknit stories evokes the feeling that you are witnessing an ordinary everyday scene but upon closer inspection you are thrown off kilter and left puzzling out the details and connections. Recommended for readers who enjoy hauntingly complex writing.

Donna 's Past Staff Picks
Fight ClubElizabeth
Fight Club
Chuck Palahniuk

Synopsis: Every weekend, in the basements and parking lots of bars across the country, young men with white-collar jobs and failed lives take off their shoes and shirts and fight each other barehanded just as long as they have to. Then they go back to those jobs with blackened eyes and loosened teeth and the sense that they can handle anything. Fight club is the invention of Tyler Durden, projectionist, waiter, and dark, anarchic genius, and it's only the beginning of his plans for violent revenge on an empty consumer-culture world.

Elizabeth's Past Staff Picks

Slade HouseMegan
Slade House
David Mitchell

Synopsis: Down the road from a working-class British pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you’ll find the entrance to Slade House. A stranger will greet you by name and invite you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t. Every nine years, the house’s residents an odd brother and sister extend a unique invitation to someone who’s different or lonely: a precocious teenager, a recently divorced policeman, a shy college student. But what really goes on inside Slade House?

Megan Says: Slade House is a horror novel, a ghost story, a haunted house book through and through that covers the years 1979 to 2015 with check-ins every nine years and a different main character with each revolution. It is the newest novel from David Mitchell who also wrote Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks. Mitchell is a stylist, a seemingly effortless imaginer of weirded-up nonsense. The description "beautifully twisty" is pretty much Mitchell's trademark these days, and Slade House does nothing to tarnish his reputation.

Megan's Past Staff Picks
What Alice ForgotNina
What Alice Forgot
Liane Moriarty

Synopsis: Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child. So imagine Alice's surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! She HATES the gym) and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over - she's getting divorced, she has three kids, and she's actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it's possible to reconstruct her life at the same time.

Nina Says: With all the acclaim the HBO series based on Big Little Lies has received, you may wonder where to start with Moriarty’s books if you’ve never read one. What Alice Forgot is lighter in subject matter than Big Little Lies, but has Moriarty’s signature style. No matter where you are in life, you’ll recognize parts of your own experiences in its heart-warming, thought-provoking story with characters so real you’ll believe Moriarty’s been spying on your family dinners. The lesson? Don’t forget what’s truly important.

Nina's Past Staff Picks
Empire of the FundRandall
Empire of the Fund: The Way We Save Now
William A. Birdthistle

Synopsis: Empire of the Fund is an expose and examination of the way we save now. With the rise of the 401(k) and demise of the pension, the United States has embarked upon the richest and riskiest experiment in our financial history. Over the next twenty years, nearly eighty million baby boomers will retire at a pace of ten thousand per day. The hypothesis of our experiment is that millions of ordinary, untrained, busy citizens can successfully manage trillions of dollars in a financial system dominated by wealthy, skilled, and powerful financial institutions, many of which have a record of treating individual investors shabbily. The key tools in our 401(k) plans and individual retirement accounts are mutual funds, which have ballooned to hold more than $16 trillion. But these funds pose dangers to our savings in three ways: through structural vulnerabilities that give money managers the incentive to focus on marketing over investing; through the very human challenges of managing our savings decades into the future; and through the peril of financial professionals behaving badly, to our economic harm.

Randall Says: In Empire of the Fund, Birdthistle argues that our entire system of saving is deeply flawed. With the decline of defined benefit pensions in favor of defined contribution plans (401(k) plans and IRAs), the United States is gambling that individual investors are skilled enough to navigate the complexities and unscrupulous fund managers that that plague personal investing. Concise and highly readable, this is an eye-opening look at the mutual fund industry and the new, tenuous way Americans save for retirement.

Randall's Past Staff Picks

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