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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Staff Pick Badge
Bewilderment: A Novel Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780393881141
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 21st, 2021

Overstory was such an impressive book, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Power’s latest book, Bewilderment.  About a father and son, this book is part eco fiction, part political commentary, and a heartbreaking story - a little bit of all of the things that Powers excels at.  A thoughtful and quiet read but urgent contemplation of where we are at right now.  — Rachel


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The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781982102548
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Atria Books - September 7th, 2021

A family saga full of curious magic and delectable prose.  Moving backwards and forwards in time, Córdova's novel slowly uncovers the story of one family, the strange world they live in, and the even stranger woman at the family's head.  Absolutely dazzling — I savored every moment.  — Leo


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The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780575096363
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gollancz - December 28th, 2021

This was my most anticipated book of the year, and it did not disappoint.  As beguiling as anything he's ever written, filled with quick slashes of the utterly weird, this book managed a slow-burn approach to the end of the (current) world.  — Stefen


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Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780374159122
Availability: Backordered
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - August 10th, 2021

A ‘time management’ book that is not a selection of tips and hacks on how to cram even more into every day.  Rather it challenges us as to why we feel we need to.   As someone who has already enjoyed over 3000 of my allotted weeks this book was revelatory.  Brilliant Books Monthly subscribers have described it as ‘life changing’.  — Peter


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Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062993151
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Wave - June 15th, 2021

I'll admit, I've read a great deal about cults but this book is without a doubt my favorite.  It will change the way you view not only those terrifying (and fascinating) classic cults but also parts of your daily life that may be a little cultish.  It covers everything from Scientology to CrossFit.  — Sam


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Revelator: A novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780525657385
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Knopf - August 31st, 2021

I love weird, atmospheric horror, and this one delivers from the start.  Set in the backwoods of Appalachia, the historic setting has all the tropes you'd expect--moonshiners, clannish families, remote mountain valleys, hard-knock lives--but there are also secrets you don't see coming.  It's part monster mystery, part cult story, part family drama, and all twisty, engrossing, fascinating horror.  — Caitlin


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Feelings: A Story in Seasons Cover Image
$21.99
ISBN: 9780593129753
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - March 2nd, 2021

Feelings is undeniably one of my most personally impactful reads of the year.  Far from my preferred style of graphic novels, it is a short but brutally honest retelling of mental illness.  Thapp has created an ode to the fluid nature of life in the best way possible.  — Macsen


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The Other Black Girl: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781982160135
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - June 1st, 2021

Billed as "Get Out meets The Devil Wears Prada," this was actually a good deal more of a thriller than I was expecting.  Saying too much will give it all away, so all I will say is read this.  It's fantastic in print, but I particularly enjoyed the audiobook performance, which is narrated by Aja Naomi King, Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Heather Alicia Simms & Bahni Turpin.

- Caitlin


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The Thirty Names of Night: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781982121495
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Atria Books - November 24th, 2020

This is a brilliant novel and an intimately beautiful story of love, loss, and art.  It won the 2020 Lambda Literary Award in Transgender Fiction, and for good reason.  Joukhadar's prose is warm and intimate, and his portrayal of queer, Brown lives and bodies is nuanced and achingly lovely.  The Thirty Names of Night tells the interweaving stories of two Syrian-American artists: one a contemporary New Yorker in the shadow of a mother's death, the other a bygone painter most famous for her artwork of birds.  Throughout the novel, these two stories dance around one another like courting birds: sometimes touching, sometimes placing whole continents between their floating, feathery forms.  I cannot recommend this novel enough (or the audiobook, which greatly brightened my commutes to and from Brilliant Books!).

- Leo


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The Book of Accidents: A Novel Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780399182136
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - July 20th, 2021

After finishing this one I had to get my hands on the rest of Wendig's work. The Book of Accidents is an intimate family drama that spirals into a tale of multidimensional horror.  All the Graves family wants is a peaceful life, but each member of the family has their own difficulties which only get worse when they move into Nate's old family home. Nathan begins to see the ghost of his abusive father, Maddie's art comes to life bringing with it strange memories, and Oliver makes a mysterious friend, who wields dark magic and a terrifying secret. 

- Justin


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Monstress Book One Cover Image
By Marjorie Liu, Sana Takeda (Artist)
$49.99
ISBN: 9781534312326
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Image Comics - July 9th, 2019

Monstress is some glorious graphic storytelling. In a world ravaged by war between Humanity and the descendants of gods, young Maika searches for the truth about her traumatic past, but her quest may threaten to unleash an even more devastating threat. This book has everything I love: weird technology, arcane sciences, elder gods, talking cats with swords. The art-style exists in a universe where H.R. Giger had an Art Deco period, but that's selling it short; its absolutely gorgeous. The care in which this world was crafted comes through on every page. I can't wait to see where this story goes.

- Stefen


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Cemetery Boys Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250250469
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Swoon Reads - September 1st, 2020

This book made me laugh, cry, and stay up until 2am to reach the end.  And when I finally did reach the last page, my first instinct was to read it all over again (so I did).  Cemetery Boys centers on teenage trans brujo Yadriel, who lives in a community where magic use is incredibly gendered.  It's a story of a boy trying to prove himself to his family, complete with magic, adventure, and romance.  This book warmed my heart to the core, while providing a nuanced examination of tradition, identity, and family - both born and found.

- Leo


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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 Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780399183645
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
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 is proof that faith in visualization can bring one's wishes into fruition.  Part magical story and part medical psychology memoir, Doty's writing reads as smooth as any book off the fictional mystery shelf.  If you're searching for a meaningful read that is lightweight and life changing, this is it!

- LC


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The Way Back Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781984894625
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - November 17th, 2020

A Finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Young People's Literature, this book certainly doesn't need my endorsement.  But, being a booklover, I wanted to put it out there anyway because I think a great many people will miss out on this book just because it's marketed toward young adults.

- Caitlin


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Black Leopard, Red Wolf (The Dark Star Trilogy #1) Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780735220171
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Riverhead Books - February 5th, 2019

Vicious, wondrous, and uncompromising in both its prose and its story, this violent fantasy debut of Booker Prize winner Marlon James proves he's out for blood. This is no "African Game of Thrones," its completely its own animal. For readers who want more from their genre fiction, and don't mind grappling with race, religion, and sexuality, this book is for you. 

- Stefen


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A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians: A Novel (The Shadow Histories #1) Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780316459082
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Redhook - June 23rd, 2020

It has been a long, long time since I found a fantasy book I enjoyed as much as this one.  It blends real history with magical elements so seamlessly it's stunning.  The characters are complex, as are the politics they're navigating, and it's fascinating to see the currents under the surface that push them in different directions.  As usual, I enjoyed this one in audio (Andrew Kingston does a superb job of handling accents from across Britain, as well as the continent and beyond), and it was such a fantastic story that as soon as I'd finished it, I listened to the whole thing again.  Can't wait for the sequel!

- Caitlin


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Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World's Largest Owl Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780374228484
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - August 4th, 2020

This was just the kind of escape I needed: an epic adventure in a wild place and conservation story wrapped up in a skillfully crafted narrative. Jonathon Slaght engagingly tells the story of his PhD research project, tracking the Blakiston's Fish Owl in the wild reaches of eastern Russia. The world's largest owl, fish owls are super elusive, feeding on salmon in remote Russia, sharing its habitat with Amur tigers and humans trying to get by in extremely harsh circumstances. The owls haunt the pages, mostly unseen as Slaght and his team track them on snowmobile trips over treacherous ice and terrain. Encounters with the locals along the way add another layer to this conservation story. This is a go-to for birders, conservationists, and nature writing fans.

- Rachel


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Thinking, Fast and Slow Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780374533557
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - April 2nd, 2013

Nobel Prize winner Kahneman's 2011 masterwork Thinking, Fast and Slow is enjoying a well deserved renaissance on the bestseller lists.  He explains the two ways we think: first swiftly and intuitively, from the gut, and second more analytically and with consideration.  It turns out humans are very good at making bad decisions.  We allow emotions and preconceived values to triumph over consideration and logic.  When read with Gladwell’s Blink one comes to understand why, as Gladwell puts it, unless you have the 10,000 hours of training and experience to decide in a blink, it's probably best to slow down and think.

-Peter


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The Echo Wife Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9781250174666
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - February 16th, 2021

This is probably the most introspective and thought provoking thriller I've ever come across.  On the surface, it's a book about Evelyn Caldwell, genius scientist who's perfected human cloning, and her husband, Nathan, who's used her methods to create a clone of Evelyn--with a few tweaks to make her his ideal woman.  There's plenty of secrecy, tension, and high stakes, but there are also questions I hadn't been expecting to consider in a thriller: is there a difference between a human and a person?  What truly defines us, and can that every really be recreated?  The audiobook, narrated by Xe Sands, sets the mood for this kind of thought experiment with understated, almost distant narration that's perfect for the clinical persona that Evelyn has constructed for herself.

- Caitlin


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Bel Canto Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780060838720
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - August 2nd, 2005

One would never guess that a story about a hostile takeover of a birthday party for an elite businessman could be so tantalizing.  Patchett's character descriptions are so rich and buttery that you'll fall in love with each one and find yourself wanting to be a hostage in this vice presidential mansion.  Bel Canto thoroughly lays out the complexities in communication barriers between various cultures, languages and demographics.  The story is topped off with a magical lust provided by musical genius.  Your senses will all be satisfied!

- LC


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Reality and Other Stories Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780393540918
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 9th, 2021

Little bites of speculative fiction are such a treat, and this batch from John Lanchester mixes some interesting ideas.  In one story, an unimaginative academic finds himself the victim of a digital vampire.  In another, reality show contestants spend their days calculating every move and gesture for an audience that may not actually exist.  It's a good blend of typical horror and digital disconnect--there's often a faint sense of satire to the stories, which makes them that much more unnerving, as if there's a punch line that never quite comes.  A quick read and a good one.

-Caitlin


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The Repeater Book of the Occult: Tales from the Darkside Cover Image
By Tariq Goddard (Editor), Eugene Thacker (Editor)
$22.95
ISBN: 9781913462079
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Repeater - February 9th, 2021

Not only is The Repeater Book of the Occult a collection of classic horror stories, but it is also a reflection on the philosophy of horror itself. The authors represented range from Mark Twain to Edgar Allen Poe to Charlotte Perkins Gillman, and each story has a new critical introduction from the Repeater author who chose it.

- Andrew


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Hench: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062978578
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow - September 22nd, 2020

In a world where super heroes and super villains are commonplace, there are some very interesting opportunities for employment.  For example: henching, or signing on to handle basic (and usually boring) tasks for your local villain--think data entry.  But when Anna's employer is brought down by the hero Supercollider and she's badly hurt in the process, she starts to wonder what the difference is between the good guys and the bad guys.  If you've ever watched a superhero movie and wondered who's going to pay for all the damage after the baddies are beaten, this is a book you will enjoy.  Anna's dry humor and astute understanding of human nature makes her a delightful narrator--and Alex McKenna, who performs the audiobook, does a superb job of bringing her to life.

-Caitlin


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A Sand Book Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781951142162
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Tin House Books - February 11th, 2020

Reading "A Sand Book" is a vivid, intense experience, like watching a poet run down a staircase of knives while holding a full glass of water and not spilling a drop; she leaves bloody footprints on your mind/heart/body. Ariana's style is both intimate and free flowing, drawing you into her landscape so she can whisper all of her secrets into your ear.

"Bring me my gold
My serpent my rod
Pour hot gold into my teeth
Bind my silver tongue
Soak it in soft white gold
Jupiter
And unbind my tongue Jupiter
And loose it on the world"

- Mike