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
Crossing: A Novel Cover Image
By Pajtim Statovci, David Hackston (Translated by)
$25.95
ISBN: 9781524747497
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon - April 2nd, 2019

Pajtim Statovci, who was born in Kosovo and raised in Finland, dissects identity in a powerful and myth-laden trek across the post-Soviet western world.  The story follows a pair of young boys who attempt to flee from Albania following the collapse of communism in the early 90s, while also coming to grip with their sexual identity and how the trauma of childhood bleeds into adulthood. Later, the struggles of being an immigrant and the national identity crisis that immigrants face is confronted head on. —Andrew


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Gods of Jade and Shadow Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780525620754
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - July 23rd, 2019

When Casiopea Tun accidentally releases Hun-Kamé, a Mayan god of death, she must join him on a dangerous quest to reclaim the throne of the underworld. Linked together through Hun-Kamé's magic and pursued by her cruel cousin Martín, Casiopea will die, Hun-Kamé will become mortal, and the world will be rendered to blood and ashes if the pair cannot succeed. —Anthony


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Quichotte: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593132982
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - September 3rd, 2019

Rushdie delivers a house of mirrors tale that seals his place in the literary canon. He pushes the boundaries of magical realism to explore the definitions of reality and fiction in a contemporary culture in which journalism is called "fake" and manipulated entertainment is "reality TV." The central character is inspired by Don Quixote (also reality-challenged). With witty prose and wry observations, this  septuagenarian author is not tilting at windmills. He still has plenty to say and he says it well.  —Sharon

 


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Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780316478526
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - September 10th, 2019

A thoughtful, disturbing work, unlike his 'guess-what?' page-turners. Gladwell considers, through examples contemporary and historic, the strategies we use to assess strangers. "To assume the best of another is the trait that has created modern society," he writes. "Those occasions when our trusting nature is violated are tragic. But the alternative—to abandon trust as a defense against predation and deception—is worse." Best enjoyed in its pioneering audiobook, which is presented almost as an enhanced podcast.  —Peter


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My Lady's Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781683690139
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Quirk Books - April 3rd, 2018

I laughed, I gasped, and I behaved in a MOST unladylike manner. Full of all the familiar tropes (grand balls, a house fire, a trip to Egypt), My Lady's Choosing will have you dabbing your eyes with your lilac-scented silk handkerchief one second and fanning yourself with your Parisian lace fan the next. Perfect for anyone who finds a woeful lack of choose-your-own-adventures for adults.   —Anthony


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The River: A novel Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780525521877
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - March 5th, 2019

Wynn and Jack decide they need a break before tackling their senior year of college.  A canoe trip in northern Canada would be just the ticket, and they look forward to leisurely quiet time in the wilderness, but things don't go according to plan. Rife with dangerous rapids, wildfire and violence, Jack and Wynn are pushed to their limits.  A must read for fans of Heller.  —Sandi


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Savage Gods Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781937512859
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Two Dollar Radio - September 17th, 2019

In rural Ireland with his family, Kingsnorth finds he cannot write. His muse has left him, just when he expected to be at his best. How does a writer proceed? Do words have any meaning anymore? What is the place of art in commodity culture? What does it mean to be present? Anyone who has spent time pursuing creative endeavors will find resonance with Kingsnorth as he works his way through the biggest block of his life.  —Jack


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Cursed Cover Image
By Frank Miller (Illustrator), Thomas Wheeler
$24.99
ISBN: 9781534425330
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - October 1st, 2019

A joint effort between Thomas Wheeler and the incomparable artist Frank Miller, Cursed is the tale of Nimue, the young woman who will become The Lady of the Lake in Arthurian folklore. Filled with dark and epic action, witness the birth of the legend told like never before. "Whosoever wields the sword of power shall become the one true king, but what if the sword chooses a queen?"  —Jodie


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Inland: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780812992861
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - August 13th, 2019

A Western set in 1890s Arizona territory, this book is full of myth, ghosts, and unexpected ungulates.  Thirst and want literally haunt these pages, perfect for the seekers out there that dream of the West, and appreciate a beautifully woven tale. I loved it!  —Rachel

 


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The Warehouse: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781984823793
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown - August 20th, 2019

Though billed as a thriller, this book pulls off spectacular satire, holding up a mirror to our current world and asking "what if?" And yes, there are elements of corporate espionage, near-death experiences, and some cyber terrorism, but this is a world that's got more in common with 1984 than with the latest action/thriller adventure flick. I enjoyed this one in audio, the performance adding a layer of nuance to the characters.  —Caitlin


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Hollow Kingdom Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781538745823
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - August 6th, 2019

A post-apocalyptic adventure narrated by a pet crow who wishes (and sometimes believes) he is human.  After his beloved owner Jim is struck with a mysterious illness—heralded by his eyeball falling out—our avian protagonist and his reluctant sidekick Dennis (Jim's melancholic bloodhound) set out to save humankind.  Scenes of touching animal camaraderie and nonchalant gore are united by sassy and irreverent humor, all of which kept me hooked until the very end.  Fans of anthropomorphism, zombies, or Vonnegut will not be disappointed.  —Lindsey


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The Honey Bus: A Memoir of Loss, Courage and a Girl Saved by Bees Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9780778307785
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Park Row - April 2nd, 2019

This tender memoir about resilience and finding love is also an amazing tutorial about honey bees. Meredith May was five when her world turned upside down. Estranged from her beloved father by divorce, watching her mother's slide into mental illness, and living with grandparents who aren't able to provide explanations, Meredith desperately tried to understand.  Her grandfather, a generational beekeeper, became her rock and confidant. As she helped him tend the hives, she eventually started to find the answers she had been searching for her whole life.  —Sandi


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Ghost Wall: A Novel Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9780374161927
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - January 8th, 2019

Silvie's father is obsessed with the Iron Age as a time of racial and social purity in Britain—a stance not supported by the historical or archaeological record. He is also an abusive, misogynistic bus driver who terrorizes Silvie and her mother. When the three are invited to participate in an historical reenactment led by a university research team, Silvie must navigate not only her father's tempers but her own burgeoning feelings toward the other participants as things take a turn toward catastrophe.  —Anthony


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The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780316452717
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Redhook - July 23rd, 2019

Think Cornelia Funke's Inkheart for grown-up literary nerds with a fondness for Dickens. Charley Sutherland can read characters out of books into the real world. His older brother Rob has spent his life helping keep Charley's ability secret, but when characters start turning up on their own, the brothers find themselves at the center of a twisty plot worthy of a Victorian gothic novel.  —Caitlin


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The Need Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781982113162
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - July 9th, 2019

Without revealing too much, this quickly read novel surprised me in it its intensity and familiarity. A paleobotanist makes a discovery that causes a rift in the universe as she grapples with remembering who she is as a scientist, mother, lover, wife and human. It's a little bit thriller and a whole lot of personal turmoil as she deals with a surreal threat to herself and her family, needing to protect her children above all else. Phillips really gets motherhood: the intensity with which you can love these tiny humans and lose/and or redefine yourself in the process of rearing them.  —Rachel


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Infinite Detail: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780374175412
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: MCD x FSG Originals - March 5th, 2019

Set primarily in a hyper-technological yet anarchistic Bristol, this book is told from two time periods: before an Anonymous-style takedown of the global internet, and after.  The Before is over-saturated by technology and interconnectedness.  The After is dystopian, yet hopeful.   It's fast-paced and absorbing; I read the whole thing in one afternoon.  —Andrew