Ben's Picks

Ben is our beloved website maintenance man! You may find him on one of our many computers, shelving books or magazines, or perhaps making sandwiches in the Shine Cafe. He's tall with very long hair and always wears a hat. You can't miss him!


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White Noise: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) Cover Image
By Don DeLillo, Richard Powers (Introduction by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143105985
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Classics - December 29th, 2009

APRIL 2019

This is one of the greatest satires I've ever read. Absolutely hilarious, but in a morbid way. Kind of like a less tedious Catch 22. In the not too distant future/the 80s/now, individualism has been almost entirely stripped away by the forces of mass media and rampant consumerism, to be replaced by general complacency. But death looms heavy on the horizon, both literally and in the minds of the characters who despite the constant media over stimulation are deeply unhappy. What if, however, a pill could be created to nullify their fear of death?


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A Coney Island of the Mind (New Directions Paperback No. 74) Cover Image
$10.95
ISBN: 9780811200417
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - January 17th, 1968

MARCH 2019

Celebrate this great Beat poet’s 100th birthday by checking out his most well known collection of poetry, A Coney Island of the Mind. He was a contemporary of Ginsberg and Kerouac, and set up the City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco in 1953, where it still operates today. Not only is this man still alive, but he is coming out with a new novel! Little Boy is it’s title, and it’s set to be released March 19th 2019, five days before his birthday. In the mean time, check out this thin (and economical) volume of poetry from 1955 if you want to figure out what he’s all about. Also check out the other New Directions titles in the store, as well as Ferlinghetti’s City Lights (yes, he also publishes books) titles. They are phenomenal and we have many throughout the store. Just ask me!


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The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, 1837-1861 Cover Image
$22.95
ISBN: 9781590173213
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: NYRB Classics - November 24th, 2009

FEBRUARY 2019

These journals bring the reader in to the true heart of what Thoreau stood for, without the more formal style of Walden or his essays. Beautiful, heartfelt, and brimming with curiosity about the natural world, as well as human nature. This is the book I go to when I’m in a rut. It just makes me happy to read.


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Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays (Picador Modern Classics) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781250160652
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador Modern Classics - November 7th, 2017

JANUARY 2019

This is an absolutely captivating collection of essays on all things 60s by the cultural icon Joan Didion. So many subjects are covered, from short bios on John Wayne and Joan Baez, to true crime, to the hippie movement in San Fransisco, all with a psychologically penetrating eye. Fascinating.


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Filth Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780393318685
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 17th, 1998

DECEMBER 2018

From the author of Trainspotting comes a great new Christmas classic! Here we follow the fortunes of Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson, a hugely misanthropic and manipulative cop in Edinburgh, Scotland, who has a violent streak and a dark secret. He's investigating a murder that is really starting to irk him as he makes his plans for his Christmas holiday vacation. Bruce is racist, misogynistic, and just overall an awful fellow, whom Welsh brings to life brilliantly, and strange to say, hilariously. I've seen blackly comic sociopaths before in literature, but this man is the absolute king. Filth is at times hilarious as hell, and at other times dark as a pit. Merry Christmas!


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The Changeling Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781941040898
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tin House Books - April 10th, 2018

OCTOBER 2018

The Changeling is one of the most surreal books I’ve read in a long time. Mystery and violence are lurking around each corner. Set in New England on an isolated island,  the story follows Pearl, the young widow of one of the island’s inhabitants, and her young child, in a downward spiral of alcoholism and post-partum depression.  The island is also inhabited by a bunch of Wicker Man-esque children who have been adopted by her husband’s domineering brother, and who may or may not practice ancient witchcraft. They might not even be human children, nor does Pearl even know if her own child is actually hers.


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Cosmos Cover Image
By Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson (Foreword by), Ann Druyan (Introduction by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9780345539434
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ballantine Books - December 10th, 2013

SEPTEMBER 2018

This book is just fun to read! Carl Sagan is brilliant at taking the most complex and interesting theories of astrophysics (as well as biology, chemistry, etc.) and making them accessible to anyone. He also takes the great scientific discoveries throughout the ages and puts them in their historical, social, and cultural contexts. So you get a sort of history of science, with its proponents and opponents. The things revealed within these pages gives you the sense that the nature of reality is a sort of science fiction in its own right, with mind bending possibilities. One of his proteges is actually Neal DeGrasse Tyson, another well known and brilliant scientist. If you like him, you'll love Sagan!


Deliverance Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780385313872
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Delta - September 10th, 1994

AUGUST 2018


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Tropic of Cancer (Miller) Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780802131782
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - January 6th, 1994

JUNE 2018

This is one of the most controversial fictional works of all time, and it is also one of the great novels of all time. Writing in a style that was entirely unique, blending prose and poetry, Henry Miller created a novel that broke new ground both in its craft and its subject matter. Hedonistic, existential artists and bottom dwellers haunt the pages,  and perversity comes to the forefront in a way hardly ever seen in 1934, the date of its first publication.  However, due to it’s subject matter and our lawmakers at the time ignoring the first amendment, it was not published in the US until 1964!
So please, read a book that, alongside Ulysses and Journey to the End of the Night,  broke all of the conventions and set free generations of writers to the full potential of literary art.


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Blindness Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780156007757
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - October 4th, 1999

MAY 2018

In this truly haunting novel by Portugal's best known novelist and Nobel Prize winner Jose
Saramago, blindness is spreading like a plague, and a quarantine zone is set up.  From here, we begin to see how all semblance of humanity can be stripped away from us in the face of  adversity. Amidst the general confusion, there arises new social factions and leaders, as well as new predators, operating off of the basest of human traits, preying on the magnified vulnerability and weakness of others.


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Wake in Fright Cover Image
By Kenneth Cook, Peter Temple (Introduction by), David Stratton (Afterword by)
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781921922169
Availability: Special Order
Published: Text Classics - April 2nd, 2013

APRIL 2018

This Australian exploitation novel is the story of a mans physical and existential descent into despair, violence, and self loathing in the dead dusty Outback, stuck in a sort of living purgatory. It's a quick read, but one that definitely sticks with you. (watch the amazing movie as well, with Donald Pleasance.)