Things You Should Know About

Staff Pick: All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

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This is the funniest book on a family member's suicide that I've ever read AND it's autobiographical. I wish we could all process our pain to hilarious effect.

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From the publisher:

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Post Script!: The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makkai

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WASP family secrets; a hidden manuscript; expected and unexpected romances; mosaic tile art; a struggling writer who takes a stint ghostwriting what is ostensibly The Babysitter's Club. These are just a few of the elements that make Makkai's tale of a former artist colony turned family home so completely compelling. Part ghost story, part literary mystery, and at turns witty and tragic, The Hundred-Year House works backwards through three generations, revealing the history of the estate, and its debaucherous but endearing past.

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Post Script!: We the Animals by Justin Torres

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In his debut novel Justin Torres plunges the reader into the pulsating lives of three brothers and their dysfunctional but loving family. Told in the lyrical voice of the youngest son, the brief chapters build and build through the years before reaching a momentous yet fragile conclusion. This is a brilliant, difficult, beautiful, heartbreaking work.

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Post Script!: The Queen's Gambit by Walter Tevis

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The Queen's Gambit is, yes, about chess. But if you don't know a pawn from a Grandmaster, worry not! The novel is the story of complicated and brilliant Beth. We meet her at age eight, when life in her dreary orphanage changes as she plays her first game of chess, and follow her from childhood, through drug addiction, alcoholism, and world travel, into adulthood. We won't spoil the truly breathtaking, edge-of-your-seat conclusion to this masterful novel, but be warned - once Beth starts her final match you won't be able to put it down.

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Post Script!: My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

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Enigmatic Italian novelist Elena Ferrante has been beguiling readers on both sides of the Atlantic for years. We are pleased to share the first book of her Neapolitan series, My Brilliant Friend, with you now. The series is a portrait of a friendship between two women, Elena and Lila, beginning in the 1950s. Ferrante tells the tale of Elena and Lila's lives but also of their home city Naples and their country at large.

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Post Script!: I Refuse by Per Petterson

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Per Petterson has always been dark and Norwegiany and I Refuse is no exception. Boyhood friends meet again - sort of - after 35 years, and Petterson interweaves their vastly different present lives with their very close childhoods. Alternating voices and time periods give the novel fluidity and a sense of timelessness. This is the author’s best work.

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Post Script!: All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld

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In All the Birds, Singing Jake is a sheep farmer on a desolate British island and her sheep are being killed one by one. Reminiscent of a 19th century Gothic novel (moors, wolves, mysterious strangers appearing at the door in the middle of the night), Wyld's novel creates an eerie landscape where everyone is suspect.

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Post Script!: Augustus by John Williams

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John Williams is no longer quite the secret he was just a few short years ago, thanks in large part to the newly "rediscovered" novel Stoner. Yet it is his third book, Augustus, which won the National Book Award in 1973, and which remains largely unknown (though the recent publication of a New York Review Books edition of the novel should help to rectify that). Williams' novel abandons the singular narrative of his earlier works (the aforementioned Stoner, and the equally excellent Butcher's Crossing) in favor of a multi-pronged epistolary approach.

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Post Script!: 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

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For the lover of books, 84 Charing Cross Road is a must read. This slim volume chronicles the twenty-year correspondence between Helene Hanff, a feisty New York writer, and Frank Doel, a London bookseller specializing in rare and antique books. Ms. Hanff, Mr. Doel, and eventually Mrs. Doel and other Marks & Co. employees develop a warm and humorous correspondence which covers topics as far ranging as rationing in post-WWII England, politics in America, and the trials, tribulations, and joy of life on both sides of the Atlantic.

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Staff Pick: All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

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Who doesn't want to be a cowboy at heart? This is the Story of John Grady Cole, a young Texan who scraps his way through the rough and tumble frontier of Mexico's ranchland with nothing more than his horse, gun, and John-Wayne-like conversational skills. Gritty, thrilling, and expansive: this is a true American story.

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From the publisher:

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