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.

Brilliant Books Members receive additional benefits on current Staff Favorites books — Learn More

Staff Pick Badge
Contact: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781501197987
Availability: Available to ship immediately
Published: Gallery Books - February 26th, 2019

When astronomer Dr. Ellie Arroway discovers an alien transmission from beyond the solar system, she and a team of multinational scientists work to decode and interpret the first extra terrestrial message received by humans. Who sent the message? What do they want? And why does the transmission include blueprints for a gigantic machine that will seat five human passengers?  —Anthony


Staff Pick Badge
Gingerbread: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781594634659
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - March 5th, 2019

I found myself laughing at the bizarre turns a sentence would take and the delicious way Oyeyemi built this strange dreamscape. I both read and listened to this one.  Oyeyemi's delivery was delightful, and added another level of complexity. Sickeningly sweet as molasses but the rye flour has gone bad.  —Rachel


I've never seen anything like this. It's not quite a cookbook, although it has hundreds of delectable recipes. It's also packed with mini-biographies of chefs, writers (our own Jim Harrison has an entry), and other food personalities. Plus it has charts and guides to almost every glorious French culinary item you know or should know. Give this to the foodie or the Francophile in your life and expect to be richly rewarded.  —Sharon


Staff Pick Badge
The Salt Path: A Memoir Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143134114
Availability: Available to ship immediately
Published: Penguin Books - March 5th, 2019

Ray and Moth's world is crumbling around them.  A court case cost them their life savings and their beloved home as Moth faces a health crisis with a poor prognosis.  With only their backpacks and a small  stipend, they set out to walk the Southwest Coastal Path in England, 630 miles of rugged coastal terrain. Their journey takes them through beautiful remote country, small towns, and villages, and introduces them to a cast of characters along the way. A testament to love, resilience and finding the courage to begin again.  —Sandi

 


Staff Pick Badge
Figuring Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781524748135
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon - February 5th, 2019

Maria Popova's pursuit of learning is infectious.  I appreciate her thoughtful insights on history, the future and the threads tying it all together, and have always enjoyed her website, brainpickings.org.  Figuring is grander in scope, connecting artists, scientists, and women in particular who have influenced us.  From Kepler to Rachel Carson, Popova has woven an intricate web of ideas and presented it in beautiful prose that  read as if you are getting a glimpse into her creative mind.  —Rachel


Staff Pick Badge
The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062862822
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - May 7th, 2019

Since Maria Stella Fortuna was a toddler, her life has been punctuated with near-death experiences, but it's not the brushes with death that tell her story.  Instead, it's all the minor moments in between.  With lots of false starts and winding detours, this novel spans continents, generations, and centuries.  The pace is sometimes slow, but never plodding as the narrative switches perspectives and timeframes to reveal just how different a person's story can be depending on who's doing the telling.  —Caitlin


Staff Pick Badge
Same Same: A Novel Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9780525435884
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - February 5th, 2019

An endlessly funny and unpredictable adventure that centers around Percy Frobisher's time at the Institute and all his social foibles. The Institute exists in a dreamy desert, secluded much like a sanitarium in the mountains.  It's not for the purpose of improving one's health, but rather for encouraging creativity.  A metaphor on the creative process and a hilarious descent into madness.  —Andrew


Staff Pick Badge
Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair: (Dual-Language Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) Cover Image
By Pablo Neruda, W. S. Merwin (Translated by), Cristina García (Introduction by), Pablo Picasso (Illustrator)
$14.00
ISBN: 9780142437704
Availability: Available to ship immediately
Published: Penguin Classics - December 2nd, 2003

Chilean-born Pablo Neruda was many things; a poet, a diplomat, a communist, an exile, a Nobel Prize winner. This collection of poems (interspersed with drawings by Picasso) highlights his lush and sensual writing style that, at times, borders on the surreal. This is the poetry you recite to your lover, tangled in the bed sheets on a dawn-soaked morning.  —Anthony


Staff Pick Badge
Daisy Jones & The Six: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781524798628
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - March 5th, 2019

As someone obsessed with music and fascinated with people, this was my dream book. Framed as an oral history of the rise and fall of a legendary 1970's rock band, Daisy Jones & the Six is a gritty deep dive into life, love, and rock & roll. This was one of those books that I savored until the last page, sad when it was over and confused that I couldn't actually listen to "Honeycomb" and the rest of the "Aurora" album.  —Kendall


Staff Pick Badge
Godforsaken Grapes: A Slightly Tipsy Journey through the World of Strange, Obscure, and Underappreciated Wine Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781419735127
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harry N. Abrams - April 9th, 2019

If you're hitting the wine trail this summer, take this delightful travelogue with you to read when you're not tasting. Wilson, a wine writer, has global adventures and misadventures while exploring the lesser known grape varietals that intrigue him. He is a witty and endearing writer, without pretense, or wine snobbery. Warning: his enthusiasm is infectious and may result in unplanned travel or frequent visits to the wine shop.  —Sharon


Staff Pick Badge
The Poison Thread: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780143134053
Availability: Available to ship immediately
Published: Penguin Books - June 18th, 2019

A maid's apparent ability to stitch malice into her work like poison leaves her accused of murder.  Does she truly have supernatural powers?  If not, why does disaster seem to strike everyone around her?  More subtle than Purcell's first Victorian gothic, The Silent Companions.  This tale blends Dickensian social commentary with a blow-by-blow of hazardous Victorian ladies' wear, bringing a whole new meaning to the term "fashion victim."  —Caitlin


Staff Pick Badge
Binti: The Complete Trilogy Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780756415181
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: DAW - February 5th, 2019

Nnedi Okorafor breaks from the mold of European-based stories with three novellas, collected in Binti: the Complete Trilogy.  Part coming of age story, part self exploration, Binti follows the titular character as she breaks from family tradition and leaves her homeworld to attend University, only to discover the universe, like our own world, can be a very cruel place.  —Jodie


Staff Pick Badge
Arthur: The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781771644471
Availability: Available to ship immediately
Published: Greystone Books - September 4th, 2018

Extreme racer Mikael Lindnord has competed around the world and knew his race across South America would be particularly challenging. He didn't realize one of the challenges would be losing his heart to a mangy stray dog. Arthur the dog adopted the team and was not going to be left behind. Despite the hazards, when the finish line came into view, they all limped across it together.  Whether you are a dog lover or not, Arthur will pull at your heart strings.  —Sandi


Staff Pick Badge
Vita Nostra: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062694591
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Voyager - November 13th, 2018

A stranger's challenge sends Sasha to a university where the books are filled with gibberish and the older students all seem broken.  Before long, she's forced to reexamine her entire understanding of reality.  I tend to avoid translations, as I always feel like an element of the book is missing, but in this case, the fact that the story is translated only adds another layer to the story itself. An exquisite, mind-bending read!  —Caitlin


Staff Pick Badge
Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780865478565
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - May 10th, 2011

I encountered Young's book when I thought I knew a bit about the English folk rock scene in the 60s and 70s.   I had only scratched the surface.  This book has amazing stories, and covers the larger and more obscure groups from that era.  Young also manages to connect it to a larger social movement that continued beyond the musicians of that time.  A great read that will send you on a vinyl treasure hunt!  —Jack


Staff Pick Badge
The Priory of the Orange Tree Cover Image
$32.00
ISBN: 9781635570298
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - February 26th, 2019

Two different cultures each embody their own perspectives on dragons.  We are introduced to the fading bloodline which once held the earth-shattering Nameless One in exile, while across the ocean is a culture that venerates dragons as godlike.  As their tales merge, a variety of interesting connections are born. Samantha Shannon deftly weaves characters into story lines filled with tension and drama, all while providing a ripping good fantasy yarn.  —Jodie