Staff Favorites List- Fall 2018

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.

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Convenience Store Woman By Sayaka Murata, Ginny Tapley Takemori (Translator) Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780802128256
Published: Grove Press - June 12th, 2018

Keiko Furukara, a 36 year old Japanese woman, has spent much of her life working in a convenience store. During her stay, eight managers have come and gone, her friends have found either careers or husbands, and everyone has an opinion on how she should be investing in a future. At times metaphysical and profound, at other times side-splitting in her honesty, Keiko's story is a fast read for those interested in Eastern philosophies, social norms, and how to break them. —Kajetan

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Unsheltered: A Novel By Barbara Kingsolver Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062684561
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Harper - October 16th, 2018

Houses have their stories, too.  A struggling modern family moves into an inherited house and uncovers the history and legacy of previous inhabitants. Kingsolver crafts a seamless dual timeline of historical fiction and contemporary family drama. Another solid novel from one of America's favorite writers. —Sharon

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Dog Symphony By Sam Munson Cover Image
ISBN: 9780811227681
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: New Directions - August 28th, 2018

The Dog Symphony can be heard from radios throughout Buenos Aires.  Packs of dogs wander the town at night, eating the food left out for them by the citizens, but where they come from is a mystery.  Boris Leonidovich, a visiting professor, is thrust into the civil conflict when he is unable to locate Ana, his colleague.  As his search becomes frenzied, Boris is sent staggering into the depths of power in a foreign land apathetic about its future. —Andrew

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Give People Money: How a Universal Basic Income Would End Poverty, Revolutionize Work, and Remake the World By Annie Lowrey Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524758769
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Crown - July 10th, 2018

The idea of providing basic income for every adult citizen has garnered interest from thinkers across the political spectrum. Some embrace it as more efficient, less costly and fairer than public assistance programs; others view it as a means of preventing widespread poverty in a future losing jobs to automation. This is not the first book on the concept, but it is an accessible introduction to the conversation. —Sharon

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Bitter Orange By Claire Fuller Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781947793156
Published: Tin House Books - October 9th, 2018

Fuller's third novel is set on a crumbling estate in rural England in the summer of 1969.  Frances, a woman who has never truly lived for herself, is sent in to survey the garden architecture of the estate. When she arrives, she realizes that she will be sharing the massive house with Peter, who is surveying the state of the interior, and his companion Cara.  They make a strange trio as Frances is ensnared in the lifestyle and stories of the couple.  There is a serious gothic vibe, making this a great read for autumn. —Jack

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Dune By Frank Herbert Cover Image
ISBN: 9780441013593
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ace - August 2nd, 2005

The Dune franchise is about to be reborn! In 2019, filming begins on a new movie adaptation of the classic novel by Frank Herbert.  Production will also begin on several new tabletop games, which will cover the original novel and all the materials found in the sequels, as well as the supplemental works penned by Herbert's son Brian. If you've never taken the leap into the world of Arrakis and experienced the power of the spice Melange, now is the perfect time! —Jodie

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Improvement: A Novel By Joan Silber Cover Image
ISBN: 9781640091139
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Counterpoint - August 21st, 2018

Sometimes the first paragraph of a novel is so perfect that the rest of the story can't help but disappoint. I feared that would be the case here, but Silber delivered consistently throughout. These characters are so real, so human in their missteps as they blunder through relationships. Interwoven stories cross continents and decades in surprising and believable ways. This is one you'll want to share with your friends. —Sharon

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The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock: A Novel By Imogen Hermes Gowar Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780062859952
Published: Harper - September 11th, 2018

A widowed merchant and a courtesan looking to secure herself a comfortable place in society—the premise seems straightforward, but something far richer and stranger than money brings these two together.  The story is by turns bawdy and sentimental, whimsical and sad, following a full cast of vivid characters learning what people will do for love, for money, or for freedom. —Caitlin

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Cove By Cynan Jones Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781936787845
Published: Catapult - April 10th, 2018

A man is struck by lightning while fishing in his kayak. He is left to survive adrift at sea with minimal supplies and the use of only one arm. All the while he thinks only of returning home to his pregnant wife and unborn child. A story about trying to hold on to the things that matter most and feeling them slip through your fingers like water, this stark writing style inhabits a space somewhere between prose poem and novella. —Anthony

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Through the Woods By Emily Carroll, Emily Carroll (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Emily Carroll, Emily Carroll (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781442465954
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - July 15th, 2014

Haunting and visceral in its beauty, five illustrated stories carry the reader through nightmares so dark and twisted. Emily Carrol brilliantly mends color and tension, seamlessly establishing macabre ambiance. —Kajetan

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Seven Types of Atheism By John Gray Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780374261092
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - October 2nd, 2018

Like any major religion, the thoughts of atheists are not as cohesive as they seem.  John Gray picks apart the underlying strands of  atheistic thinking by reviewing the thoughts of the persons who propagated them. As we travel along the godless spectrum, we find many similarities with religion, and that John Gray is not very happy about that. A smart, insightful read for anyone interested in religious thought. —Andrew

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Little: A Novel By Edward Carey Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780525534327
Published: Riverhead Books - October 23rd, 2018

This historic epic set in revolutionary Paris tells the story of young Madame Tussaud. Orphan Marie Grosholtz is taken under the wing of Dr. Curtius, a socially anxious physician who passionately models diseased body parts  from wax for the local hospital. Marie learns the art of wax and sculpture from Curtius, following him to Paris. Illustrations throughout  illuminate the tools, wax, and objects surrounding Marie, which really brought the book together for me. So much of the story was about art and observation, capturing life in wax and in literature. —Rachel

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Melmoth: A Novel By Sarah Perry Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780062856395
Published: Custom House - October 16th, 2018

Helen Franklin's friend disappears after discovering the lore of Melmoth—a cloaked figure cursed to roam the earth for her misdeeds and bring others to reckoning for their own evils.  Helen is pulled under Melmoth's gaze as she delves into the folklore, working to uncover what became of her friend. There is much to be accounted for in this dark tale, demanding ownership of one's own actions and those we share collectively. A ghostly story that will leave you tripping over the cobblestone of past deeds. —Rachel

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A Ladder to the Sky: A Novel By John Boyne Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984823014
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Hogarth - November 13th, 2018

Boyne's alluring, devious protagonist will inevitably incite comparisons to Patricia Highsmith's Ripley character, but I also recalled Ted Bundy, the infamous serial killer who exploited his good looks as a weapon. Maurice Swift, a sociopathic writer with massive ambition but little talent, lures victims with his beauty, initially betraying their trust with his typewriter. In this devastating character study of creative ambition, Boyne takes a few satisfying pokes at literary pretensions while demonstrating the crucial skill he denies Maurice: the ability to plot a great story. —Sharon

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Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories By Kelly Barnhill Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616207977
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books - February 20th, 2018

Both fantastic and fantastical, this collection weaves together the strange and beautiful, the terrifying and the weird.  There's a strong narrative pulse underneath the symbolism, keeping the stories from venturing too far into the realm of avant-garde. The collection concludes with a novella, "The Unlicensed Magician," and would be worth your time for that story alone. —Caitlin

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The Mere Wife: A Novel By Maria Dahvana Headley Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780374208431
Published: MCD - July 17th, 2018

I never thought Grendel's mother got a fair shake in Beowulf. Headley's stunning reimagining gave me everything I wanted and more. In modern suburbia, Wealhtheow and Hrothgar become Willa and Roger in the gated community of Herot Hall.  Grendel is a boy named Gren, and his mother is Dana Mills, a combat veteran with PTSD who would do anything to protect him. A tragic story of love and hate, family and war, and the monsters that hide in the dark places of the world and inside of ourselves.  —Anthony

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