Juan's Picks

If you're looking to read a mind blowing work of literature, track Juan down. He knows his stuff.

First Person Singular: Stories By Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel (Translated by) Cover Image
By Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel (Translated by)
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593311189
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: Vintage - April 12th, 2022

JUNE 2022

I liken reading Murakami short stories to eating dessert. You know it will be brief, sweet, sometimes a little funny with a tart edge, but it almost always ends too quickly.
 
At times it's unclear whether or not these essays are autobiographical but one thing that is certain is that Murakami loves jazz and distance running, as he writes about both and it is a pleasure to read about both, especially from him.


$14.95
SKU: 9781943995219

FEBRUARY 2022

In the late 19th century there was a grizzly murder on Old Mission Peninsula. At the time it turned the lesser known small farming community upside down, placing one particular townie on the hot seat as the prime suspect.

While writing the book, Stephen Lewis, a professor emeritus of English, spent countless hours in erudition through the records of this nasty murder only to give the plot a healthy twist of fiction.


Piranesi By Susanna Clarke Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781635577808
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - September 28th, 2021

JANUARY 2022

We all read for various reasons. sometimes for information, other times just to pass the time, but I feel like most often I look to books for a sense of escapism.
 
This novel succeeds in doing just that in a beautiful and natural way. Our protagonist, Piranisi, is mysteriously cast into a gallery-like environment of large halls, some of enormous proportions with varieties of statues to match in stature. As the book unfolds we discover alongside as he seeks the true nature of his situation.
 
The setting is unforgettable and the adventures through this amazing and disorienting world are vivid but above all, Piranesi is rich in humanity and our search for meaning.


Staff Pick Badge
The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Collected Works of Joseph Campbell) By Joseph Campbell Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781577315933
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: New World Library - July 1st, 2008

OCTOBER 2021

Ever since I can remember, mythology has influenced my life, both in my reading history and as a child. It was a compass for initially recognizing the arc of a story. However, it wasn't until I read Joseph Campbell during college that I began to understand the presence of a hero's journey motif speckled throughout our society.
 
Around the same time I read Jung's Man and His Symbols and I feel that Campbell and Jung's books are essentially rubrics for human understanding by the analysis of collections of recurring stories throughout time. Campbell unpacks with warmth the underlying utilitarian purpose for some of the most popular stories in mythology and the hope of a careful grandfather handing down an oral heirloom.


Staff Pick Badge
Cowboy Graves: Three Novellas By Roberto Bolaño, Natasha Wimmer (Translated by) Cover Image
By Roberto Bolaño, Natasha Wimmer (Translated by)
$24.00
ISBN: 9780735222885
Availability: Available to ship within 1-5 days
Published: Penguin Press - February 16th, 2021

SEPTEMBER 2021

Bolano writes visceral poetry, and his prose tends to be just as self-revealing, while also drawing on cryptic associations ranging from all subjects but mostly drawing on European history and South American first nations history.
 
Novellas are definitely his strongest suit. The reader can fully appreciate his mastery in creating a story with brevity, fully developed characters that singe slowly into the readers subconscious all the while maintaining the same fervor in which he punches through poetry.
 
I have read at least eight of his novellas and they all have something to offer in different ways. Cowboy Graves is no different.


Staff Pick Badge
Hear My Voice/Escucha mi voz: The Testimonies of Children Detained at the Southern Border of the United States By Warren Binford (Compiled by), Michael Garcia Bochenek (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Warren Binford (Compiled by), Michael Garcia Bochenek (Foreword by)
$19.95
ISBN: 9781523513482
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: Workman Publishing Company - April 13th, 2021

MAY 2021

Hear My Voice was easily the most heartbreaking children's non-fiction I’ve ever read. It depicts the bleak stories of children detained at the U.S./Mexican border during the years 2017 and 2019.
This book is illustrated through the collaboration of over a dozen Mexican artists and counterpoints the narrative sewn together by publicly available court documents taken from child detention cases. Hear my voice is cleverly split off into an English and Spanish version with the same binding. Although the cases are deeply bitter the stories are soulful and poignant. Above all, this powerful and beautiful book is a useful way to introduce young readers to the complicated and sensitive matter that detainment camps are a reality for human children in the year 2021.


Staff Pick Badge
I'm Sticking with You By Smriti Prasadam-Halls, Steve Small (Illustrator) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250619235
Availability: On Our Shelves Now!
Published: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) - May 5th, 2020

MARCH 2021

I was immediately drawn to this book by a colleague and with good reason; I'm a sucker for illustrated reinventions of fauna in children's books. But even apart from the quirky, beautifully hand-painted illustrations, the story manages to steal the show. The relationship between these two unlikely friends results in humorous moments but also highlights the nature and characteristics of our true friendships: The inability to live without each other despite differences or obstacles, or, as in our protagonist's case, sheer size.


Staff Pick Badge
Tokyo Ueno Station: A Novel By Yu Miri, Morgan Giles (Translated by) Cover Image
By Yu Miri, Morgan Giles (Translated by)
$25.00
ISBN: 9780593088029
Availability: Available to ship within 1-5 days
Published: Riverhead Books - June 23rd, 2020

DECEMBER 2020

A Japanese ghost narrates his existence as a wandering spirit through the parks and streets of Ueno, a neighborhood in Tokyo. A setting which the specter once inhabited as a homeless citizen decades earlier. Yu Miri's slim novel critiques the  imperialist culture of Japan, as she exposes the lesser known culture of Japan, as she exposes the lesser known culture of Japan's homeless population post WW2 through this lyrically rich and moving story.