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 Badge
The Wolf and the Watchman: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781501196775
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - March 5th, 2019

I heard this billed as "The Alienist set in 18th century Sweden," and though not exactly wrong, it doesn't do justice to this multilayered tale.  It's gritty and grotesque, more an exploration of humanity (and inhumanity) than a crime thriller.  The setting highlights this as well, as both forensic science and psychology have a ways to go before they're considered commonplace at a crime scene.  A dark, disturbing, and ultimately satisfying read!  —Caitlin


Since this book was first published in 1992, I have yet to read a better money management guide. This isn't a get-rich-quick or investment book, it's really a philosophical approach to understanding what matters to you and how to align those values with your economic choices. Learn to stop frittering away your money on "gazingus pins" and plan for a sustainable financial future. This is a long-term project.  —Sharon


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Unclay Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780811228190
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - November 27th, 2018

Death has lost his parchment of people to 'unclay' in a small English village, so he decides to go on holiday.  What begins as a whimsical stopover in a small village full of quaint characters quickly turns dark. There are power struggles afoot and some bits of startling violence all written in a classic English style.  —Jack


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Underland: A Deep Time Journey Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780393242140
Availability: Available to ship immediately
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - June 4th, 2019

MacFarlane's journey through the underworld is fascinating—looking at ancient burials, our search for dark matter, the things we fear and seek. I was awed by the graceful way he tied stories of the past with current stories, asking big questions about our path and the future we are carving out. Aptly named, this book is truly a journey demanding big questions, and an important look at a mostly mysterious part of our world.  —Rachel


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Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781250316776
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - May 14th, 2019

When Alex Claremont-Diaz, bi-racial son of America's first female president, and Prince Henry of England, second-in-line for the British throne, destroy a $75,000 royal wedding cake, publicists on both sides of the pond insist they stage a friendship to avoid an international incident. What starts as a ploy to fake the world's most high-profile bromance soon turns into much more as the pair realizes the feelings that actually drive their mutual loathing.  A truly perfect summer read, just as bright and sweet as its bubblegum-pink cover.  —Anthony


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Women Talking Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9781635572582
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - April 2nd, 2019

Inspired by a horrific true story of crimes in a Bolivian Mennonite community, a group of illiterate and oppressed women, confronted with atrocities from their men and their spiritual leader, must quickly decide how to protect themselves and their children. Do they stay, fight, or leave? You will be deeply invested in their story and gain insight into the mindset of a religious community trying to salvage their faith from betrayal.    —Sandi


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Recursion: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781524759780
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown - June 11th, 2019

This book is fantastic.  It's genre-bending, deeply human sci-fi with a story that just won't stop.   Neuroscientist Helena Smith accidentally opens Pandora's box when she creates what she calls a memory chair, a device with the ability to map and replay memories.  It's supposed to help dementia patients preserve their minds, but, as with so much technology, it has unforeseen applications.  A beautiful, layered, mobius strip of a story unfurls at just the right pace, alternating between poignant and terrifying.  Not one you'll soon forget!    —Caitlin


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Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9781455566389
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Twelve - May 24th, 2016

In combat, soldiers all but ignore matters like race, religion, and politics. Yet when returning home, veterans are ostracized by our splintered, hostile and fervently competitive civilian society. Junger, a retired war journalist, uses Tribe to study veterans through an anthropological lens, taking the reader on a realistic journey through war and the mindset of returning veterans.  —Claire


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Lanny: A Novel Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9781555978402
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - May 14th, 2019

Papa Toothwort, an ancient Green Man spirit, lurks on the outskirts of a modern small town outside London, absorbing the whispers of the village. Papa Toothwort is taken with young Lanny, who embodies more of the old than the new: a whimsical boy, and a bit of a joyful enigma. Lanny disappears and the story unfolds. As a parent, I found this story fascinating.  It speaks to the complexities of raising another person, balancing modern expectations and protecting youth in less than simple times.  —Rachel


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Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts Cover Image
$14.00
ISBN: 9780735216372
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Portfolio - May 7th, 2019

Former poker pro Annie Duke uses a combination of poker smarts and cognitive science to shift your thinking from a need for certainty to assessing what you do and don't know.  How sure am I? What are the possible ways things could turn out? What decision has the highest odds of success? Which option gives the worst result if it fails?  An essential toolbox for anyone seeking to improve decision making and critical thinking.  —Peter


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Weird Parenting Wins: Bathtub Dining, Family Screams, and Other Hacks from the Parenting Trenches Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143132554
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: TarcherPerigee - January 15th, 2019

This is not the type of thing I would normally be reading, but is pretty true to where I am at in life right now. This is full of advice and stories about parenting strategies and being a parent. Weird Parenting Wins covers all ages of children, with advice from different generations. Some heartfelt, some gross, most funny, and all a reminder that nobody is in this alone.  —Jack


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Cari Mora: A Novel Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9781538750148
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - May 21st, 2019

Cari Mora is the caretaker of a Miami mansion that belonged to famed drug lord Pablo Escobar, and which, unbeknownst to Cari, holds upwards of 30 million dollars. Criminals from around the world have been tracking the treasure for years, with wealthy businessman Hans-Peter Schneider leading the pack. Cari, however, is no damsel in distress. Cari and Hans mirror Harris's Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling, drawing on clashing personalities to enrich the story.  —Claire


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The Gameshouse Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780316491563
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orbit - May 28th, 2019

This delightfully weird book uses a structure that occasionally places the reader directly in the text beside the omniscient narrator who's pulling the strings.  This is the perfect metaphor for the story, told in three novellas, of the Gameshouse, an establishment that exists in all times and places, where all kinds of games are played for all kinds of stakes: even years of one's life.  —Caitlin


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Being Ecological Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780262537124
Availability: Available to ship immediately
Published: Mit Press - February 26th, 2019

This book is about finding an ecological point of view that has solidarity beyond the human.  It rejects the current ecological mode by being anti-fact and post-truth, openly and proudly advocating that people care less and that by caring less we may be able to de-anthropocentrize ecology and environmental activism.  —Andrew


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A Brightness Long Ago Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780451472984
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - May 14th, 2019

Canadian author Guy Gavriel Kay is the master of literary fantasy. His tales, while based in fantastical worlds, mimic historical themes and cultures, and in A Brightness Long Ago we return to a place  reminiscent of Renaissance Italy. While his books do not need to be read in any particular order, having a wider knowledge of his world makes for a much more enriching journey. After reading this current volume I guarantee you'll be back for more!  —Jodie


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Picnic Comma Lightning: The Experience of Reality in the Twenty-First Century Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780393609974
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 28th, 2019

What is "reality?"  What we can see and touch?  Or a mass hallucination, interpreted by our brains and agreed upon by society? Using pop culture, evolutionary psychology, and personal experiences, Scott explores the implications of living in a digital age where video games augment reality and we can subscribe to any narrative we choose through social media.  —Anthony