Staff Favorites List

Each of these titles is personally recommended by one of our Brilliant Booksellers.  The list features both newly published and older books and draws from a wide array of writers, styles, and genres, making for a list as eclectic and unique as our Brilliant customers. Find past lists in our Staff Favorites Archive.

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Staff Pick Logo
Mrs. Osmond Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780451493422
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - November 7th, 2017

If you've read the classic The Portrait of a Lady, you will remember that James left Mrs. Osmond (nee Isabel Archer) in a very bad situation. The great John Banville has taken up that story and offered a sequel. Banville tips his hat to Isabel's creator early in the book, giving us a sense of the sophisticated fun to come. Some will object to the presumption, but I loved this delicious literary bon bon. --Toni


Staff Pick Logo
The Portrait of a Lady Cover Image
By Henry James, Philip Horne (Introduction by)
$13.00
ISBN: 9780141441269
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - May 1st, 2014

If you are hungry for a big, beautifully written novel with an intricate plot and nuanced character development, this Henry James classic would suit very nicely. Reading this novel will definitely enhance your appreciation of John Banville's Mrs. Osmond, another favorite, and the contrast between the two novels would make for some rich and timely book group conversations. --Toni


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Jade City Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780316440868
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orbit - November 7th, 2017

Set in a Japanesque Mafia underground, complete with black markets and smuggling, Lee has created a fantasy world where magical Jade is lends superhuman powers to its wearer. A powerful new drug hits the streets, which allows anyone, even foreigners, to utilize the magical properties of Jade, undermining the previous ruling authority of the Green Bone Warriors. An exciting, quick paced, fantastical thriller for those who wished there had been more Kung Fu fight scenes in the Godfather movies. --Jodie


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How to Stop Time Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780525522874
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking - February 6th, 2018

A captivating novel of love, philosophy and the human experience, as told by Tom, a character with a rare condition that causes him to age very slowly. The story ambles through four centuries and across the globe as Tom struggles to escape discovery by those who would destroy what they can't understand. He fell in love in 1599, in Shakespeare's England, with consequences that haunt him to the present moment. Haig delivers a story so utterly believable that it made me wonder if the author has been around for 400 years. I want everyone to read this! --Sharon


Staff Pick Logo
Mrs. Caliban Cover Image
By Rachel Ingalls, Rivka Galchen (Introduction by)
$13.95
ISBN: 9780811226691
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - November 28th, 2017

Mrs. Caliban is a typical 1980's California housewife, complete with a stale marriage to Fred, an inattentive, disengaged man who no longer even bothers with excuses for coming home late. One day, Mrs. Caliban hears a police report on the radio about a dangerous escaped animal. Not a moment later, Larry appears in her kitchen, asking for help. Larry is a six foot tall frog-like creature who originated in the ocean. She cares for him, feeds him avocados, and falls into bed with him. Life following Larry is explosive and revealing to Mrs. Caliban and a joy to read. --Andrew


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Sourdough Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780374203108
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: MCD/Farrar Straus and Giroux - September 5th, 2017

Combine one overworked robotics programmer and a sourdough bread starter with highly unusual characteristics. The result? Robin Sloan's Sourdough, a whimsical read that still manages to touch on current topics ranging from the future of food and robot intelligence to the difference between a career and a calling. A great mix of impossible, improbable, and delicious. --Caitlin


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The Year of the Hare Cover Image
By Arto Paasilinna, Pico Iyer (Foreword by)
$15.00
ISBN: 9780143117926
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - December 28th, 2010

A journalist makes an impulsive choice to leave his old life and wander the Finnish wilderness with an injured hare, getting into all kinds of misadventures along the way. This is perhaps the first picaresque novel that I had encountered, and remains a favorite. Kind of like Forrest Gump mixed with Walden set in Finland. --Jack


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Black Panther, Volume 1 Cover Image
By Ta-Nehisi Coates (Text by (Art/Photo Books)), Brian Stelfreeze (Illustrator), Laura Martin
$34.99
ISBN: 9781302904159
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Marvel Comics - August 15th, 2017

A literary, heroic ride written by none other than Ta-Nehisi Coates. While T'Challa, the titular Black Panther, has been away fighting alongside the Avengers, his home kingdom of Wakanda has risen up against him. Having arrived home, he must put all his efforts into regaining the loyalty of his people. Drawing heavily on African myth and culture, this is by far the most literary superhero story I've ever had the pleasure of reading. --Jodie


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The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781594634536
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - October 3rd, 2017

This ambitious, well-researched history of modern Russia paints an intimate portrait of the soul of a country.  Structured around the lives of four young people born into varied strata of the Soviet regime in the 1980s, the engrossing narrative blends political, cultural and familial history to deepen our understanding of a calcified state without the underpinnings of civil society.    Essential reading for everyone concerned about recent attacks on western democracies. --Toni


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Frankenstein in Baghdad Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780143128793
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - January 23rd, 2018

A patchwork corpse, stitched together from the bodies of various victims of violence, is given life by a supernatural occurrence, setting the story in motion. Ahmed Saadawi grapples with the ever-present violence that has taken hold in Baghdad, and does so with poise.  The tone of the story is somehow relaxed, despite the numerous suicide bombings and constant death. My only experience of Baghdad may be war-torn news clips, but Saadawi makes its streets and inhabitants feel close at hand. --Andrew


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Elmet Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781616208424
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books - December 5th, 2017

This haunting story of a father trying to protect his family in the midst of poverty and injustice reads like a gothic fairy tale.  Set in the idyllic English countryside, a 14-year-old boy narrates  his family's struggle  against a local landowner.  This lyrical, moving debut novel was a justifiable finalist for the Man Booker Prize. --Rachel


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Senlin Ascends Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780316517911
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orbit - January 16th, 2018

Thomas Senlin, headmaster, is fussy, precise, and practical to a fault.  Even his new marriage to Marya is built on reason rather than romance.  His one concession to imagination is his choice of honeymoon destination: the fabled Tower of Babel.  Part steampunk dreamscape, part Stygian nightmare, the Tower is nothing like Senlin expects, but when Marya vanishes, there's only one way to rescue her: ascend the Tower. --Caitlin


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Sweet: Desserts from London's Ottolenghi Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781607749141
Availability: Backordered
Published: Ten Speed Press - October 3rd, 2017

Chef Ottolenghi's success as a cookbook author is due to his ability to write accessible, meticulously tested recipes that sparkle with originality and knock-your-socks-off flavor. He teams with pastry chef Helen Goh in this collection of desserts that will make you forswear dieting. Winter is baking season; you can work it off later. --Sharon


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To the Back of Beyond Cover Image
By Peter Stamm, Michael Hofmann (Translator)
$15.95
ISBN: 9781590518281
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Other Press (NY) - October 3rd, 2017

This fantastic new novel from Peter Stamm reads like a much darker Year of the Hare. It follows a husband who walks out on his family with no premeditation or plan, yet you still find yourself rooting for him as he traverses the alpine wilderness. His wife, stranded in the remnants of their life and unsure what to tell the rest of the world, weaves a web of excuses and lies that prop up her hopes of his return. Stamm is in fine form with his attention to detail both in the human lives he shares and beauty of the landscape. --Jack


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The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781250132147
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - July 3rd, 2017

Terry Tempest Williams has been a fierce advocate and a powerful voice for protecting and preserving  our National Parks.   She takes readers on a journey through 13 of our beautiful parks, providing us with their stories and histories as well as a glimpse of her personal connections with the parks. Through her prose, she sheds light on the intense development pressure the parks face and gives voice to what we lose if that succeeds.  A passionate cry for us to protect these lands in perpetuity. --Sandi


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Her Body and Other Parties: Stories Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977887
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - October 3rd, 2017

Strange and fierce, this debut collection of stories, center around the female body. With great agility and muscle, Muchado weaves her way through classic horror, dystopian futures and even an SVU-style police procedural all tied together with lots of sexuality and forces working upon female bodies. These are stories that teeter on the edge, raw and energized by fear. --Rachel