Staff Favorites List- Summer 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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I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer By Michelle McNamara, Gillian Flynn (Introduction by), Patton Oswalt (Afterword by) Cover Image
By Michelle McNamara, Gillian Flynn (Introduction by), Patton Oswalt (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9780062319784
Availability: Ships in 2-3 days; Not Currently In-Store
Published: Harper - February 27th, 2018

Half memoir, half true crime novel, you'll yearn for more and dread finishing because you know the end of the book also means McNamara's untimely death before her investigation was finished. The Golden State Killer was finally arrested almost two years to the day after McNamara's death, but this book will still keep you up at night reading message boards about case theories and jumping at every sound. --Anthony

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The Summer Book By Tove Jansson, Kathryn Davis (Introduction by), Thomas Teal (Translated by) Cover Image
By Tove Jansson, Kathryn Davis (Introduction by), Thomas Teal (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781590172681
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: NYRB Classics - May 20th, 2008

The Summer Book is one that I am always recommending, and one of the few I've made time to reread. It is a series of short stories set on an island in the Gulf of Finland following a young girl, her father, and grandmother. The writing is clean and timeless, and the island is the perfect setting for explorations and life lessons. These stories can be read straight through, with the innocence of Sophia leading the way and the natural world another companion. --Jack

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The Lost Vintage: A Novel By Ann Mah Cover Image
By Ann Mah
ISBN: 9780062823328
Availability: Ships in 2-3 days; Not Currently In-Store
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - August 6th, 2019

This book has everything needed for a satisfying summer read: beautiful setting, romance, history, and a bit of a mystery. Kate returns to her family's vineyard in France to prepare for a wine tasting exam, unearthing family secrets between the bottles of Burgundy. The dual timeline of contemporary and World War II France blends as seamlessly as wine and cheese. --Sharon

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Side Life By Steve Toutonghi Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781616958893
Published: Soho Press - May 8th, 2018

A twisting tale of multiple universes and how accessing them distorts our own reality. Vin, a failed tech start-up CEO living in Seattle, stumbles into a job housesitting for a reclusive and newly disappeared scientific genius. In the basement of the house he discovers a hidden lab equipped with a strange creche, which transports a person's consciousness into different bodily vessels across the space-time continuum. From that point on, it is difficult for Vin to maintain a consistent grasp on reality. --Andrew

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The Travelling Cat Chronicles By Hiro Arikawa, Philip Gabriel (Translated by) Cover Image
By Hiro Arikawa, Philip Gabriel (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780451491336
Availability: Ships in 2-3 days; Not Currently In-Store
Published: Berkley - October 23rd, 2018

This story is for anyone who loves animals—especially cats. A man and his cat set out on a journey across Japan in search of a new home for his beloved pet. The narrative moves back and forth between the aloof and sarcastic cat and his owner as they travel the country checking out possible new homes, but never seeming to find what they are looking for. A heartwarming story proving love has no boundaries. --Sandi

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Spinning Silver: A Novel By Naomi Novik Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399180989
Availability: Ships in 2-3 days; Not Currently In-Store
Published: Del Rey - July 10th, 2018

In the spirit of Uprooted, master of fantasy Naomi Novik is back with a new fairy-tale retelling that mashes together stories as disparate as "The Juniper Tree" and "Rumplestiltskin" into something entirely new and eminently magical. --Caitlin

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Spoon: A Guide to Spoon Carving and the New Wood Culture By Barn the Spoon Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501182761
Availability: Ships in 2-3 days; Not Currently In-Store
Published: Scribner - November 14th, 2017

Ever wonder what booksellers do when they are not plowing through all of the new books? I have been carving spoons in my downtime, and this is a great resource if you would like to give it a go as well! Barn's guide helps you  to go from tree to billet to spoon, with an explanation of tools, safety, sustainable harvest, the philosophy of the new wood culture, and some beautiful pictures for instruction and inspiration. A great summer project book!  --Jack

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In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods By Matt Bell Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616953720
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Soho Press - May 27th, 2014

A powerful modern fairy tale with fantastical, surreal, and near Lovecraftian elements. A new couple, escaping from society, starts life anew isolated deep in the woods. The wife sings their new home into existence, including a nursery for their upcoming firstborn. When she delivers a premature fetus, the father chooses to secretly swallow it whole.  Within him, the spirit of their unborn child develops and haunts him. Michigan author Matt Bell's writing is sure to captivate and allure those interested in the surreal and wild. --Kajetan

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My Year of Rest and Relaxation By Ottessa Moshfegh Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780525522119
Published: Penguin Press - July 10th, 2018

To escape her existential dread (her parents are dead, her ex is a jerk, and she hates her best friend), the narrator hires an "irresponsible and weird" psychiatrist, hoping a raft of drugs will allow her to emerge from a sleep-induced cocoon a new person at the end of a year. This book is NOT for the faint of heart. There are jokes about suicide, sexual assault, and pooping on an art gallery floor. It will make you laugh the loud, ugly laugh you make when something catches you completely off-guard, and then you'll be unable to explain what was so funny. --Anthony

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Cult X By Fuminori Nakamura, Kalau Almony (Translated by) Cover Image
By Fuminori Nakamura, Kalau Almony (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781641290234
Availability: Ships in 2-3 days; Not Currently In-Store
Published: Soho Crime - April 16th, 2019

At the outset, this is a story about Narazaki finding Tachibana, but as it unfolds, the narrative drifts into the metaphysical philosophies of the cult leaders and what their ideologies mean to the world at large, illuminating the radicalization of humans in society when faced with the smallness and insignificance of the self. Hedonism or acceptance are the two paths embodied by the spiritual leads of this twisting and turning crime narrative. --Andrew

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Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road By Kate Harris Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780062839343
Published: Dey Street Books - August 21st, 2018

Kate Harris found the idea of retracing Marco Polo's exotic journey intoxicating. As she and a friend bike from country to country, she shares her thoughts on exploration in a modern world, bemoaning the fact that she was born too late to join early adventurers and contemplating both the arbitrariness of borders and the fragility of lives that intersect them. --Sandi

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The Great Believers By Rebecca Makkai Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780735223523
Published: Viking - June 19th, 2018

The heart of this deeply moving novel is set during the height of the AIDS epidemic in 1980s Chicago as friends experience love, beauty and even humor in the midst of staggering loss. Makkai masterfully weaves in the strands of a survivor story set in Paris during the 2015 terror attacks and the tale of a nonagenarian seeking closure from World War I heartbreak to create an exquisite whole. This generous and accessible work of literary art demonstrates the power of story and remembrance. --Sharon

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The Great Book of Amber: The Complete Amber Chronicles, 1-10 By Roger Zelazny Cover Image
ISBN: 9780380809066
Availability: Ships in 2-3 days; Not Currently In-Store
Published: Harper Voyager - March 30th, 2010

The classic Zelazny Amber series all collected into one volume. The Princes of Amber struggle for supremacy across the Shadow Worlds as they fight to claim the throne each of them believes is theirs by right. Intrigue mixes with beautifully created worlds of Science Fantasy. Highly recommended for speculative fiction fans! --Jodie

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In the Eye of Heaven: The Tales of Durand, Book One By David Keck Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250172525
Availability: Out of Print - Sorry
Published: Tor Books - May 22nd, 2018

When Durand's inheritance is ripped from under him after studying 14 years to be a knight, the only thing left is to put that training to use as a mercenary. But something looms on the horizon and it seems our 'hero' lies at the heart of it. David Keck builds a gritty world full of peril and superstition. If you enjoy George R.R. Martin, Steven Erikson, or Glen Cook you will welcome this series. --Jodie

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The Melody: A Novel By Jim Crace Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780385543712
Published: Nan A. Talese - June 19th, 2018

With the loss of his wife and and past the prime of his musical career, Alfred Busi is wandering through his days, quietly deteriorating in his oceanside villa until the day he suffers an attack by a distinctly human creature smelling of "potato peel."  From here, what felt like a quiet look at lost love and growing old becomes an examination of class, poverty and the things we are quietly afraid of. I'd highly recommend this to those looking for a thoughtful read. --Rachel

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Doomsday Book: A Novel (Oxford Time Travel) By Connie Willis Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553562736
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Spectra - August 1st, 1993

In the year 2055, Kivrin studies 14th century England with the time travel department at Oxford University. She has rigorously studied to observe the Christmas celebrations of peasants in 1320 in person.  Things almost immediately go wrong.  I re-read this book often, and it takes my breath away every time. It is meticulously researched and full of characters who show the power of hope and humanity during one of history's darkest times. --Anthony

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