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 for readers of all ages 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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Impact: How Rocks from Space Led to Life, Culture, and Donkey Kong By Greg Brennecka Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780063078925
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow - February 1st, 2022

Impact is a sensical gem that reads with fluidity.  Meteoriticist, Greg Brennecka is no stranger to modern pop culture, language and influence, so the common nonscientist will follow along easily.  He uses humorous footnotes and witty quips in his diagrams to keep your attention sharp.  I haven't been this entertained by a history/ science teacher in quite some time.

- LC


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Liber Kaos By Peter J. Carroll Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9780877287421
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Weiser Books - August 1st, 1992

A collection codifying some of the most effective contemporary practices and theories in western occultism and esoteric study, Peter Carroll distills these ideas into an incredibly accessible format in this comprehensive yet approachable guide.  A grimoire for the guerilla-mystic, Liber Kaos teaches one about the power of belief as a tool to be used towards creating our own individualized spiritual system.  Breaking through the gate-keeping efforts of traditional occultists, the highly personalized approach one will develop by reading this book will put all of your potential and power back into your hands.

- John


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Faith, Hope and Carnage By Nick Cave, Seán O'Hagan Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780374607371
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 20th, 2022

As an artist, I love learning about other creatives' influences, processes, and drives, especially when they are as widely influential as Nick Cave.  Everything he says and does is delivered and created with intense intention and reflection, is occasionally sermonic, and always enlightening.  Throughout the interviews, Cave moves between discussing his relationship with god, grief, loss, chaos and calm, and love; all of which have a symbiotic and cyclical relationship with his art and the metaphysical and absurd nature of creativity.

- Periwinkle


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Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex By Angela Chen Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780807014738
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Beacon Press - September 14th, 2021

Though I don't tend to read a lot of nonfiction, I found Ace to be an absolute delight.  Through her own accounts, as well as those of a diverse cast of Ace people, Chen masterfully dissects harmful sexual narratives.  An accessible guide to understanding and revolutionizing our understanding of sexuality, this book is a valuable resource for ace and non-ace people alike. 

- Macsen


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Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart By James R. Doty, MD Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780399183645
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avery - February 14th, 2017

A work of manifestation, Dr. James Doty's life achievements are proof that our brains change when we truly want them to.  This memoir teaches the reader that faith in visualization can bring one's wishes to fruition.  Part magical story and part medical psychology memoir, Doty's writing is as captivating as any book off the mystery shelf.  If you're searching for a meaningful read that is lightweight and life changing, this is it!

- LC


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This Is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn to See By Seth Godin Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9780525540830
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Portfolio - November 13th, 2018

Seth Godin is universally accessible, even to the layman.  His approach is ever more relevant with today's focus on creating an experiential environment over selling a product: earning the consumer's trust though authentic actions and philosophy rather than simple slogans.  He presents principles with clear insight and observation, with his trademark examples making this a book that can genuinely make you better at connecting with people.

- Peter


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Shadow Life By Hiromi Goto, Ann Xu (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Hiromi Goto, Ann Xu (Illustrator)
$24.99
ISBN: 9781626723566
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: First Second - March 30th, 2021

If you're on the hunt for a weird yet heartfelt read, this is the graphic novel for you.  Shadow life follows 76 year old Kumiko, as her day to day life is thrown into chaos when death tries to take her too soon.  Both witty and charming, Kumiko's drive to live life on her own terms drew me in from the start.  A delightful yet touching read, exploring life, death, and love through a fantastical lens.

- Macsen


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The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story By Nikole Hannah-Jones (Created by), The New York Times Magazine (Created by), Caitlin Roper (Editor), Ilena Silverman (Editor), Jake Silverstein (Editor) Cover Image
By Nikole Hannah-Jones (Created by), The New York Times Magazine (Created by), Caitlin Roper (Editor), Ilena Silverman (Editor), Jake Silverstein (Editor)
$38.00
ISBN: 9780593230572
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: One World - November 16th, 2021

An important reframing of our understanding of American history.  Using language that more accurately describes the lived reality.  Establishing that there are no slaves but instead enslaved people, while the romantic Southern Plantation gives way to the more accurate forced labor camp.  This is being banned in states that do not want people to know the reality of history.

- Peter


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How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures By Sabrina Imbler Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780316540537
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - December 6th, 2022

This essay collection hypnotized me from its first pages, pulling me into a sparkling story of life above and below the waves.  Both memoir and nature writing, How Far the Light Reaches is a trip through memory and water, a meditation on community, change, resilience, and discovery (of the self, of the world).  Reading this book felt like a conversation with an acquaintance turned confidante: one of those midnight conversations that stretches into forever.

- Leo


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Everyone on the Moon is Essential Personnel By Julian K. Jarboe Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781590216927
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Lethe Press - March 5th, 2020

This book has been on my TBR pile since it came out in 2020, and I can’t believe I didn’t pick it up sooner!  Thoroughly uncategorizable, these stories move between science fiction, surrealism, and something else altogether — in a voice that is brutal, hilarious, and dauntless.  The stories dwell in the corners, cracks, and in-between spaces of (often crumbling) societies.  These are stories of rage, self-creation, the politics of bodies, and the sharp edges of personhood.

- Leo


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Everybody: A Book about Freedom By Olivia Laing Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781324022022
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - August 9th, 2022

I'm fairly convinced Olivia Laing can write about anything.  Profundity just kind of seeps out of her words.  You get the impression she's a genius, but she wears such a title like a baseball cap, with calm and nonchalance.  She writes about the mundane but her subjects never come off as such; she does what any true writer does; she transforms ink into gold.  In Everybody: A Book About Freedom, she does exactly that.  She elucidates upon two big topics: Freedom, and the Human Body, but by concentrating on specifics, like her own experiences with poor medical diagnoses at the age of seventeen, these broad topics never feel unwieldy in her hands.  An utterly fascinating book.

- Andrew


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Of Human Bondage By W. Somerset Maugham, Robert Calder (Introduction by) Cover Image
By W. Somerset Maugham, Robert Calder (Introduction by)
$14.00
ISBN: 9780140185225
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Penguin Classics - March 1st, 1992

Philip Carey, a clubfooted orphan, who is raised by his Vicar uncle and unassuming aunt lives his life on the pages of W. Somerset Maugham's masterpiece.  The setting is early 20th century Europe, mainly Paris and London, and the plot is the first half of his life.  He attempts to make his dreams come true in both work and love and meets with failure on both accounts, but life must go on. This is a truly twisted love story.

- Andrew


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One Potato By Tyler McMahon Cover Image
$29.99
ISBN: 9781684427833
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Keylight Books - April 26th, 2022

There is a surprising amount going on for a book that is, ostensibly, about potatoes.  There's casual (and not-so-casual) racism, genetic diversity, corporate greed, questions of food insecurity and food policy and how they're intertwined.  All of these potato-based topics are couched (pun very much intended) in terms of an engaging thriller as we follow the somewhat hapless Eddie Morales, a processed food scientist.  He is sent unceremoniously into an unstable country to assure the locals that the genetically modified potato his company is trialing there has nothing to do with the recent appearance of genetic abnormalities in several children.  While this is true, Eddie unearths a good deal more than he bargained for in the process of proving this.

- Caitlin


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Noor By Nnedi Okorafor Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780756418304
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: DAW - July 26th, 2022

This short novel packs a serious punch.  Growing up, AO relied on cybernetic augmentations to offset the disabilities resulting from severe birth defects.  A car accident later in life forced her to incorporate even more dramatic assistive technologies in order to live life on her own terms, but her implants and prosthetics make her a target for those who believe she is less than human because of them.  Half furious cyberpunk escape story, half dreamy musing the line between technologies that help and those that hurt, this is an un-put-down-able read that lingers long after the final pages.

- Caitlin


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Elektra: A Novel By Jennifer Saint Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250773616
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - May 3rd, 2022

I never tire of good Greek mythology retellings.  Fans of Madeline Miller's Song of Achilles and Circe as well as Pat Barker's Silence of the Girls will love Elektra, which follows three different perspectives: Clytemnestra, wife of famed Greek warrior Agamemnon; Cassandra, a Trojan princess gifted with foresight but cursed never to be believed; and Elektra, the daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, particularly Saint's take on writing Cassandra's curse.

- Carissa


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Liberation Day: Stories By George Saunders Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780525509592
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - October 18th, 2022

I love short stories so of course I loved this brilliant new collection from George Saunders. 

- Rachel


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frank: sonnets By Diane Seuss Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781644450451
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - March 2nd, 2021

After reading halfway through this collection, I couldn't help but think of Kafka's old adage that a good book ought to be "the ax for the frozen sea within us."  I didn't even know I was frozen until this book came along.  It carved me out, broke me up.  I was a splintered mess.  When I reached the end of it, nothing could console me, nothing could touch me, so I started it again.  Don't let the word "Sonnets" scare you away either.  This kind of poetry collection doesn't come around every week.  It will hurt you, it will delight you, it will explode expectations. I 'm in love with this collection.

-Stefen


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The Cartographers: A Novel By Peng Shepherd Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062910691
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow - March 15th, 2022

Do you like maps?  and libraries...and just a touch of magic?  Then this is the book for you!  Nell Young is from a family of cartographers but has been pushed out of the elite world of the New York Public Library by her own father after she discovered an old 1930s highway map that is not what it seems.  Nell digs deeper following an unexplainable murder and learns more about her family and her own history.  This book was exciting and fascinating.  I really enjoyed thinking about maps and how they help define our idea of space and time.  A great read for anyone that appreciates magical realism our a more thoughtful page turner.

- Rachel


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The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century By Amia Srinivasan Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781250858795
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - September 20th, 2022

This book is definitely a well-needed refreshment in contemporary feminist discussion.  Srinivasan, without hesitation or extenuation, explores many highly contentious nuanced topics on Feminism and human sexuality.  She discusses carceral feminism, #MeToo, navigating pornography ethics, and, chiefly, the social affects and implications of our right to sex.  The Right to Sex satisfied my need for challenging and engaging philosophical discussions on human sexuality, and served as an educational tool I will use for a lifetime.   

- Periwinkle


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A Most Peculiar Book: The Inherent Strangeness of the Bible By Swenson Cover Image
By Swenson
$24.95
ISBN: 9780190651732
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - February 1st, 2021

A Most Peculiar Book examines the Bible through a purely historical lens.  Why were certain things added or removed or even changed from their original source material?  How do other additional historical texts line up with the information in the Bible?  And how have differing translations of ancient languages affected our modern societal views?  Author Kristin Swenson, a Christian herself, blew my mind with this book, bringing to light the importance of looking at any religious text in a historical context rather than purely a religious one.  I am always highly recommending this book to anyone and everyone!

- Carissa
 


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Dandadan, Vol. 1 By Yukinobu Tatsu Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781974734634
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: VIZ Media LLC - October 11th, 2022

Get dropped into a world where anything and everything is possible, whether you believe it or not.  A smorgasbord of western new age conspiracy theories and UFO fodder meets traditional Japanese occultism and folklore, join the complimentary and comedic duo of Momo and Okarun as they navigate the terrifying realities of the things they thought they knew best.  The unpredictability and creativity of the story pairs perfectly with the subject matter, combining to create a story that will keep you enthralled and constantly guessing.

- John


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Wonderbook (Revised and Expanded): The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction By Jeff VanderMeer Cover Image
$27.50
ISBN: 9781419729669
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Abrams Image - July 3rd, 2018

An utterly delightful, completely engrossing, brilliantly rendered, whimsically assembled, actually quite useful guide to creating imaginative fiction.  This is for anyone who is about to embark on their own writing journey, but will also benefit the person who has read every book on writing that exists.  Why?  Because this book is unlike any other book on writing that exists. 

- Stefen


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The Chosen and the Beautiful By Nghi Vo Cover Image
By Nghi Vo
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250820129
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tordotcom - March 29th, 2022

This Great Gatsby retelling is from the perspective of Jordan Baker, who is a queer immigrant with magical abilities brought to America from Vietnam as a child.  Gatsby was one of my favorite classics that I read in high school, so I was ecstatic to find out about this retelling, which did a wonderful job of exposing the rot beneath the lights and jazz of the Roaring '20's.

- Carissa