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
The Essex Serpent Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062666376
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Custom House - June 6th, 2017

This gothic novel is sure to please lovers of historic fiction and atmospheric writing. Set in 1890s England, a woman newly liberated from the constraints of an unpleasant relationship explores the Essex coast in search of fossils, while rumors of a mysterious and menacing beast keep local villagers on the edge of hysteria. Questions of faith, love and feminism make up the heart of this novel.  --Rachel


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The Dark Net Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780544750333
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Houghton Mifflin - August 1st, 2017

Benjamin Percy delves into the seedier, more demonic side of the internet in his newest novel. A master blend of horror, technology, supernatural thriller and high action adventure, you will find yourself wary of digging too deeply into the World Wide Web.  --Jodie


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Men Without Women: Stories Cover Image
By Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel (Translator), Ted Goossen (Translator)
$25.95
ISBN: 9780451494627
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - May 9th, 2017

Once again Murakami proves himself as a master storyteller in this collection of short stories. From the first sentence, he expertly brings the reader into the sometimes mundane but also slightly magical lives of the men in these stories. If you have not read Murakami, this is a great place to start.  --Sandi


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The Salt Line Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780735214316
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - September 5th, 2017

When climate change turns America into the ideal habitat for disease-carrying ticks, the wealthy shelter behind "salt lines" in protected zones while the less affluent risk death and disease on a daily basis.  Unlike most dystopian premises, Jones' story is wonderfully messy, exploring the full range of human motivation through a cast of profoundly human characters. This near-future dystopia rings almost eerily true.  --Caitlin


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Manhattan Beach Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781476716732
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner Book Company - October 3rd, 2017

Jennifer Egan is bound to draw swarms of new admirers with her latest novel. Beginning in Depression-era New York, it follows a strong and believable heroine as she comes of age working at the Brooklyn Naval Yards during WWII.  Careful research, rich noir atmosphere and the allegorical overtones of the ever-present sea support a large and memorable cast of characters and a compelling plot.  --Toni


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The Kites Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780811226547
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - October 31st, 2017

The story begins in the 1930s with Ludo and his uncle Ambrose - a kite maker, letter carrier, and pacifist.  An encounter with a beautiful young woman haunts Ludo until she returns to their village. The daughter of a wealthy Polish family, Lila gives Ludo a glimpse of high society. The outbreak of WWII throws their world into chaos, with Ludo in France and Lila in Poland. A powerful tale of memory, hope, and love in the face of adversity.  --Jack


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Canoeing with the Cree Cover Image
By Eric Sevareid, Ann Bancroft (Foreword by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9780873515337
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Borealis Books - April 1st, 2005

In 1930 two high school graduates set out on an epic canoe journey from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay. With little canoeing experience, few provisions and limited funds, they rely on their wits and the kindness of strangers. A young journalist, Eric Sevareid, shares their story with the world by sending installments of the trip back to The Minneapolis Star.  --Sandi


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Al Franken, Giant of the Senate Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781455540419
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Twelve - May 30th, 2017

Whether you agree with his politics or not, Franken's story of comedian-turned-politician makes for an entertaining window into the complex, fascinating, and frankly bizarre process of a (mostly) ordinary man running for office, and what happened next.  Franken, as a performer, makes the audio experience of this book particularly engaging. (download from our partners at Libro.fm)  --Peter


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Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light Cover Image
$21.00
ISBN: 9780865477308
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: North Point Press - October 17th, 2006

A career hard-news journalist, Rosenblum is the best food writer you've never heard of, and Chocolate is his tour de force. It traces the history of cacao from its Aztec origins to the courts of Europe to the shops of artisans and industry giants, with profiles of those who helped make chocolate a global sensation. Meet Chloe, a woman who gets paid to taste fine chocolates and is obsessed with Nutella.   --Sharon


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His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick MacRae (Man Booker Prize Finalist 2016) Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9781510719217
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Skyhorse Publishing - October 18th, 2016

The story of Roderick MacRea and a sudden act of extreme violence in a tiny Scottish village is told through court documents, personal accounts, and a "memoir".  Through his fictional but seemingly authentic evidence, Burnet expertly portrays not only a tortured, hopeless teenager and his trajectory toward murder but the utter bleakness of life in the Scottish Highlands in the mid 19th-century.  --Christopher


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Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking Cover Image
By Samin Nosrat, Wendy Macnaughton (Illustrator)
$35.00
ISBN: 9781476753836
Availability: Available to ship immediately
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 25th, 2017

You don't need recipes, just this cookbook. By examining four elements of cooking, Nosrat explains how to get it right every time. Combining some science and a lot of accessibility, this book offers something for everyone: from novices looking to build a basic cooking foundation to the more experienced cook wanting a deeper understanding.  --Rachel


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The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen: Awesome Female Characters from Comic Book History Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781594749483
Availability: Available to ship immediately
Published: Quirk Books - May 2nd, 2017

The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen is a history of women in comics from the 1930s until modern day. This vivid collection contains essays on all comics, from the humorous tales of the 60s, the gritty dark of the 80s and the emergence of tough, independent heroines of the 90s.   --Jodie


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The Windfall Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780451498915
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - June 27th, 2017

This comedy of manners set in modern India is a delightful romp that satirizes the relationship between money and status. Mr. Jha makes millions on a software app and decides East Delhi is the place to be, so he loads up the new Mercedes and moves to the gated community. The new neighbors are equally eager to impress, with hilarious misunderstandings. Ample discussion fodder for book groups.  --Sharon


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The Grip of It Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780374536916
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Fsg Originals - August 1st, 2017

Alternating between two points of view, this is the story of a couple moving from the city into a weird country house. They are at first enamored of the secret spaces and impossible rooms but soon are plagued by the uncanny. It's a slow burn, but propulsive, especially as we begin to doubt the inhabitants' veracity. Are they being gaslit?  Are we? You'll find yourself unsettled by how little it takes to fill an otherwise steady mind with poisonous doubt.  --Christopher


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Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist and Other Essays Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977801
Availability: Available to ship immediately
Published: Graywolf Press - August 1st, 2017

This collection of essays from the British author takes environmentalism to task for not daring to unravel the ills of modern society. As Kingsnorth explains, "Today’s environmentalists are more likely to be found at corporate conferences hymning the virtues of sustainability’ and ‘ethical consumption’ than doing anything as naive as questioning the intrinsic values of civilisation."  --Jack


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The Lauras Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780451496850
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hogarth Press - August 1st, 2017

A wonderfully written and paced coming of age story about a mother and child escaping the traditional confines of home and family. They haphazardly hit the road together and embark on a multi-year trip that delves deep into the mother's past and works as an awakening for the child, Alex, who is presented without gender. The trip is populated by dingy motels, temporary employment and education.  --Andrew


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My Favorite Thing Is Monsters Cover Image
$39.99
ISBN: 9781606999592
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Fantagraphics Books - February 14th, 2017

Monsters internal and external haunt the pages of this dark and moving graphic novel. In turbulent 1960s Chicago, 10-year-old Karen grapples with her mom's cancer diagnosis, a brother haunted by his past and the murder of a neighbor. Karen's story is told through her diary pages, with sketches of imagined horror comic book covers. The drawings tear across the pages with the desperation of a monster trying to get out.   --Rachel


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Magpie Murders Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062645227
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper - June 6th, 2017

A layered whodunit, with the editor of a Poirot-style mystery novel suddenly finding herself embroiled in a similarly red-herring-laden chase.  This isn't your hard-boiled modern thriller, but a pleasantly vintage homage to the work of Agatha Christie and other writers of the golden age of British mystery.  A touch nostalgic, delightfully perplexing, and thoroughly satisfying.  --Caitlin


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Marlena Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781627797641
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt & Company - April 4th, 2017

This is one of the best female coming of age stories I've read in recent years. Set in northern Michigan, beyond the postcard gloss of idyllic tourist towns, poverty, neglect and boredom are as common as the stark beauty of the landscape.  Authentic and precise, this memory piece is a reckoning; directly exploring the tropes of doomed beauty, the giddy highs of teenage rebellion and the grinding progression of addiction.  --Toni


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Valis Cover Image
$13.95
ISBN: 9780547572413
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - October 18th, 2011

The first book in Dick's Divine Trilogy is a psychedelic and philosophical rumination from a spiritual experience after a dental procedure with a blinding and all knowing pink light. Philip is a character in the novel, along with a schizophrenic alter-ego known as Horselover Fat. The story ambles through 1970s northern California in mental hospitals and art house theaters. The line between fiction and autobiography has never been so blurred.  --Andrew