Meet Anthony

Anthony Ascione is one of our booksellers and someone you might recognize from his frequent TV appearances.  He's the one who gets roped into appearing in interviews for Brilliant Books because he's just so good on camera!  Must be all his theatre experience—if he's not at the bookstore, chances are good he's involved in one of the productions at The Old Town Playhouse just a few blocks from the bookstore!


Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a queer artist and forensic anthropologist/archaeologist who spent a decade traveling the world before returning to Northern Michigan where I was born and raised. In my spare I am active in local theatre, I hang out with my rescue Newfoundland named Martial, and I also appear weekly on 9&10's lifestyle program "The Four" where I recommend new and interesting books you may have missed.


What's the quirkiest job you've ever had?

The quirkiest job I ever had was making memes and doing social media at I Can Has Cheezburger back in the heyday of internet humor websites. They paid me to do things like throw eggs at a coworker or look at pictures of dogs all day and I got lots of cool t-shirts.


How many states have you lived in?

I have lived in Michigan (both peninsulas), Texas, Seattle, and Montana. I've also spent extended time in Maine, Spain, and Poland for work.


What's your favorite thing about being a bookseller?

My favorite thing (aside from the free books!) is seeing what people read. You can gain incredible insights into someone's personality based on the titles they do and do not choose.


What would you be doing if you weren't a bookseller?

If I weren't a bookseller I would likely be in grad school in Australia right now studying biological anthropology at Australia National University.


Tell us about meeting a favorite author

I met Jane Goodall at a signing event in Seattle once. I hugged her and thanked her for everything she's done. She hugged me back and said "thank you for everything you're going to do." Probably one of the most perfect moments of my life.

Staff Pick Badge
Hurricane Season Cover Image
By Fernanda Melchor, Sophie Hughes (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780811230735
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: New Directions - October 6th, 2020

Fernanda Melcho explores how society exploits its most vulnerable in this English-language debut. The Witch is dead: murdered.  As the citizens of La Matosa investigate, the lines between myth and reality begin to blur rumors and suspicion spread. Prejudiced narrators, a complete lack of paragraph breaks, and prose that swirls like the titular storm mark this as one not to miss.


Staff Pick Badge
Wendy Carlos: A Biography (Cultural Biographies) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780190053468
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - September 2nd, 2020

A biography of the most famous musician you've never heard of. In 1968 Wendy Carlos redefined the entire face of music with a Moog synthesizer. She won three Grammy Awards for her album "Switched on Bach", composed the film scores for "A Clockwork Orange" and  "The Shining", and has even worked with Weird Al!


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The Only Harmless Great Thing Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250169488
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Tordotcom - January 23rd, 2018

In this alternate-history novella Brooke Bolander answers the question no one ever asked: what if the Radium Girls had been elephants instead of people?


The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water Cover Image
By Zen Cho
ISBN: 9781250269256
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Tordotcom - June 23rd, 2020

This novella, written in the style of traditional Chinese “wuxia” or “martial heroes” fiction, is an utter delight. A bandit walks into a bar and meets a nun and both their lives are changed forever. This is another one to try on for an excellent audio experience.  —Anthony



Staff Pick Badge
Beowulf: A New Translation Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374110031
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: MCD x FSG Originals - August 25th, 2020

This radical, new translation by Maria Dahvana Headley turns everything you think you know about Beowulf on its head. A story of a hero’s glory and a mother’s thirst for revenge, this one is best enjoyed on for the true experience of listening to an oral tale told in a smokey mead hall.  —Anthony



Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb Series #2) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250313225
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Tordotcom - August 4th, 2020

Tamsyn Muir’s explosive sequel to Gideon the Ninth is one of the most confusing and brilliant things I have ever experienced. All the action and mystery and magic skeletons from the first book, but wrapped in a puzzle so cunning that it took me several read-throughs (and more than one listen to the audiobook) to finally wrap my head around it.  —Anthony



Veritas: A Harvard Professor, a Con Man and the Gospel of Jesus's Wife Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9780385542586
Published: Doubleday - August 11th, 2020

What if a scholar found lost scriptural evidence of Jesus having a wife? What if she presented those findings to the Vatican? What if it turned out to all be an elaborate forgery? These questions and more are answered in one of my very favorite reads of 2020, and my only non-fiction pick on this list. —Anthony



Staff Pick Badge
Hench: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062978578
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: William Morrow - September 22nd, 2020

The origin story you never knew you needed but always wanted. In a world of vigilante superheroes sometimes the only way to survive is to be a henchman for an evil corporate CEO. After all, a boss with a mind-control device is a small price to pay for health insurance, right?  —Anthony



Staff Pick Badge
Strong Poison: A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery with Harriet Vane Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062196200
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Paperbacks - October 16th, 2012

When popular mystery author Harriet Vane's fiance dies under circumstances that exactly match the plot of her latest book, she must team up with the famous gentlemen detective Lord Peter Wimsey to clear her name and escape execution by hanging. This classic Dorothy Sayers novel not only introduced the character of Harriet Vane, it also began one of literature's most famous romances.  —Anthony



Staff Pick Badge
Scary Stories for Young Foxes Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250181428
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) - July 30th, 2019

Ok, I know what you're thinking; "but Anthony, this is a KID'S book." Bear with me though, because this Newbery Medal Honor Book is worth your attention. Six fox kits listen to six tales of increasing terror to try to prove their bravery to themselves and each other. Illness, abusive family, and a mad (but familiar!) taxidermist are just some of the horrors in these six interconnected stories. Read it in the dark, but make sure you've got a flashlight.  —Anthony



Staff Pick Badge
Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb Series #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250313195
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Tordotcom - September 10th, 2019

Gideon Nav spends her time reading trashy magazines, training with her longsword, and attempting to escape not only her indentured servitude but also her childhood enemy the Reverend Daughter Harrowhark Nonagesimus, necromancer and Heir to the House of the Ninth. She finally sees her chance when the Emperor invites all eight house heirs to take part in a mysterious contest and she must act as Harrowhark's devoted bodyguard. Success means Harrowhark becomes a saint and Gideon is free. Failure means they both die in horrible, bloody ways. No problem, right? Sarcastic, fantastic, and just a bit pulpy, Tamsyn Muir is like the goth little sister of Neil Gaiman and Garth Nix.   —Anthony



Staff Pick Badge
To Have and to Hoax: A Novel (The Regency Vows #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982136116
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - April 7th, 2020

When Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley met five years ago, it was love (and engagement) at first sight. Now it's five years into their marriage and they have not spoken to each other for the last four after an argument puts them at odds and neither refuses to back down. To break their stalemate, Violet decides to pretend she has consumption and hires an actor to play her doctor. Unfortunately, James sees through the ruse at the very first and what results is nothing short of delightful in this historical romantic comedy. If you're a fan of Jane Austen or the Brontes, but always thought their writing and plots to be a bit too stuffy, this is the read for you!  —Anthony



Staff Pick Badge
Binstead's Safari Cover Image
ISBN: 9780811228466
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions - February 26th, 2019

Millie Binstead wants nothing more than to accompany Stan, her academic husband, on a research trip to Africa. Stan is reluctant, but can't protest when Millie offers to pay her own way. Once they are out of the country, Millie blossoms, going from mousy and subservient to the most interesting and beautiful woman in the room, much to Stan's confusion and chagrin. Content to leave Stan to his research, Millie stays at camp, learns to paint, and gets the dish on all the safari gossip including lion attacks and trysts in hot air balloons. Ingalls tackles race, gender, anthropology, and (of course) unconventional romantic pairings in this delightfully witty, and at turns quite cutting, novel.  —Anthony