Our Favorite Books of 2021

Staff Pick Badge
The Sentence: A Novel By Louise Erdrich Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780062671134
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - September 6th, 2022

I was hooked from the very first sentence, and I barely put it down until I had devoured the whole thing.

Set from November 2019 to November 2020, this book captures much of what it was like to be a bookseller in a pandemic– scared and confused, but also hopeful and overwhelmed by the generosity of our community. Erdrich uses her own bookstore (and herself as a minor character!) to weave a complex story about love, commerce, race, colonialism and literacy against this backdrop. 

Words matter. Definitions matter. Sentences matter. They create– and recreate– our realities.

The door is open. Go.


Pre-Order Now Badge
How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America By Clint Smith Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780316492928
Availability: Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - December 27th, 2022

Clint Smith bears witness to seven sites of historical importance in the Transatlantic Slave Trade, including 5 sites in the American South, New York City, and Dakar, Senegal. Clint is a poet and educator as well as a historian and his descriptions of people and places are gorgeous and evocative. The beauty of the language is often at odds with the brutality of the stories, and this tension only draws the reader in further. This book will hit audiences differently, and that is exactly Clint’s point. This is a book we all need to read, so we too can bear witness to the past and current consequences of the American choice to enslave millions of human beings.


Staff Pick Badge
Summer Fun By Jeanne Thornton Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781641293730
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Soho Press - June 7th, 2022

Summer Fun is a delightful and unpredictable epistolary novel. Gala, our writer, is writing letters to her hero B-, the genius but now reclusive songwriter for the Get Happies (think Beach Boys). 

The letters vary in content- in some she writes to the songwriter with an uncanny understanding about B-'s past. In others, Gala narrates her own present day experiences as a young trans woman running a hostel in New Mexico. 

When I picked it up I expected a light summer bop, and instead I found a rich story that shifts in compelling ways.


Staff Pick Badge
Hell of a Book: A Novel By Jason Mott Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593330982
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton - June 28th, 2022

Okay I read this after it won the National Book Award, but I was still blown away — it’s both hilarious and   insightful, and it’s probably the best novel out there that grabbles with blackness in 21st century America. Mott writes with the sharp, quick humor of Kurt Vonnegut and the powerful eloquence of James Baldwin. 

The book follows an author as he tours the country   promoting his book...and it’s the one you’re reading… crazy, right? The protagonist remains unnamed, which adds to the ambiguity and universality of his character and experience. It results in a warping and blending of realities, and one hell of a book about race, identity, and the possibilities that life can bring— and how quickly those possibilities can be taken away. This one will sit with me for a long time


Staff Pick Badge
Cloud Cuckoo Land: A Novel By Anthony Doerr Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9781982168445
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - September 27th, 2022

Pre-Order Now Badge
Leviathan Falls (The Expanse #9) By James S. A. Corey Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780316332941
Availability: Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Orbit - February 7th, 2023

Staff Pick Badge
Klara and the Sun: A novel (Vintage International) By Kazuo Ishiguro Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780593311295
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - March 1st, 2022

Ishiguro does it again, and this one really tugs at the heart strings. The narrator of this novel is Klara, an intelligent and realistic “Artificial Friend,” or AF, who begins the story in a retail store waiting to be chosen by a child. Klara is very observant and her artificial intelligence seems to be more aware of certain nuances of human behavior than other AFs. Once she is finally chosen by a little girl, she is taken to a home the with some weird energy— there is some history to uncover and the future is uncertain.

This dystopian novel, though narrated by a robot, does an amazing job of exploring themes of friendship, love, and hope in the face of tragedy. But, at its core, the story is about the limits of technology, and what it really means to be human. I know it sounds super cheesy, but it’s so good!


Staff Pick Badge
No One Is Talking About This: A Novel By Patricia Lockwood Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593189597
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - February 15th, 2022

I will say that it really helps to be Online to understand much of this book. (Either that or a willingness to go along for the ride realizing you will be missing a lot of references.)

Patricia Lockwood is a memoirist and a poet but possibly most notably she is Extremely Online. In this book, the narrator calls the place we go online The Portal-- the first half of the book is musings on why we are drawn to the Portal, what it says about us that we use it for connection, and many inside Twitter jokes. The second half becomes immediately, desperately personal-- the unnamed narrator's sister is pregnant, and the fetus is not healthy, but she can't get an abortion. It's heartbreaking, and the juxtaposition of the Portal and the personal is so powerful-- connections can be found all around.

It's shockingly moving for a book that repeatedly asks the question "can a dog be twins"


Staff Pick Badge
Everything I Have Is Yours: A Marriage By Eleanor Henderson Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781250787965
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - June 14th, 2022

This is the most real memoir I have ever read.  Eleanor

Henderson is a novelist and a writing professor and is married to a man with lifelong addictions, mental health struggles, and a chronic, mysterious illness that no doctor can seem to

diagnose. She lays it all bare-- all the bad days, the struggles, the regrets. The days she questions why she married him, why she stays, the days she doubts his illness, his pain, is even real. But throughout it all is love, once in a lifetime love.

 She writes beautifully about their relationship, their two children, and their extended family with such cleareyed honesty and care. An absolute labor of love! And she's without a doubt a novelist because the tension she creates in each new doctor's visit, the hope in each blog she stumbles upon that might have an answer to her husband's pain, is absolutely palpable. You'll be rooting for this family from the first page to the last. And still! God I want a diagnosis and a cure and for this lovely family to survive! *SOB*


Staff Pick Badge
Build Your House Around My Body: A Novel By Violet Kupersmith Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780812983487
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - July 5th, 2022

This is one of those stories where you have to pause sometimes and say wait what just happened? The plot loops back and forth in time and place and the characters are all connected in a way you will eventually understand.

Set in Vietnam, it's primarily the story of a young woman who has moved there from the US to connect with her roots but finds herself lost, unmoored. When she goes literally missing her story soon echos that of another missing woman. It's a lot! Feuding brothers! Some kind of monster in the jungle! Magic! It's also funny and smart and wildly entertaining. Plus it has a map! Who doesn't love a novel with a map?


The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story By Nikole Hannah-Jones (Created by), The New York Times Magazine (Created by), Caitlin Roper (Editor), Ilena Silverman (Editor), Jake Silverstein (Editor) Cover Image
By Nikole Hannah-Jones (Created by), The New York Times Magazine (Created by), Caitlin Roper (Editor), Ilena Silverman (Editor), Jake Silverstein (Editor)
$38.00
ISBN: 9780593230572
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: One World - November 16th, 2021

Staff Pick Badge
Project Hail Mary: A Novel By Andy Weir Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780593135228
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - October 4th, 2022

Andy Weir is back with another all-time favorite sci-fi novel. Meet Dr. Ryland Grace, a scientist/junior high science teacher/astronaut. At least, that’s most of what he remembers.

When Ryland wakes up with no memory, two corpses, and a spaceship hurtling through an unknown solar system at lightspeed, he has to not only complete his mission, but remember what it is. He does know one thing, though—the fate of the human race depends on it.

With a lovable narrator, an impossible mission, and aliens (yes!) that you’ll want to befriend, Project Hail Mary is an exciting, high-stakes joyride that you won’t want to put down until the very last page.


Staff Pick Badge
Great Circle: A novel By Maggie Shipstead Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781984897701
Availability: Backordered
Published: Vintage - April 5th, 2022

A multigenerational epic of historical fiction. Follow two women, one a “lady pilot” of WWII, the other an actress starring in the former’s biopic film; both on their own journeys geographically and historically. As they search for their place in society within the constraints of their respective “industries,” Shipstead masterfully intertwines details of wartime London and present-day Hollywood.
     A highly recommended read for those in search of an engrossing adventure, rich with historical detail and self-determined female characters.


The New Cooking School Cookbook: Fundamentals By America's Test Kitchen Cover Image
$50.00
ISBN: 9781948703864
Availability: Backordered
Published: America's Test Kitchen - November 16th, 2021

Staff Pick Badge
The Other Black Girl: A Novel By Zakiya Dalila Harris Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781982160142
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - June 7th, 2022

This story is gripping right from the start and had me flipping pages as quickly as possible! It is dynamic, mysterious and explores race and gender in a way I have never seen before. This poignant story is not your average office drama, enlightening social commentary, and thriller all in one. Harris writes with imagination while filling her novel with real life experiences.

A must read book that you won’t be able to put down, or stop talking about!


Staff Pick Badge
Transcendent Kingdom: A novel By Yaa Gyasi Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781984899767
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - July 6th, 2021

Gifty is a brilliant scientist studying reward-seeking behavior in mice. To an outsider, this may look like an attempt to find treatments for addiction and depression. But when Gifty’s mother comes to visit and is living in Gifty’s bed, we find her work is also an attempt at reckoning with her mother’s depression, her brother’s addiction, and her religion.

Gyasi writes a devastating, spiritual, and beautiful novel that asks, what is faith? and where do we go when our faith fails us?


Staff Pick Badge
The Vanishing Half: A Novel By Brit Bennett Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780525536963
Availability: Available From Our Distributor -- Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - February 1st, 2022

The Vignes sisters are identical twins, and they were attached at the hip, running away from their small black community together at the age of 16. Then suddenly they part ways, one returning to her hometown, the other passing as white and staying hidden from her family. As we read of their lives, and their children’s lives, across states and across decades, we see how the consequences of racism unfold.

I loved witnessing the journey of each one of these characters. Bennett creates stories that are beautiful and challenging, complicated and real.


Change Sings: A Children's Anthem By Amanda Gorman, Loren Long (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Amanda Gorman, Loren Long (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9780593203224
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - September 21st, 2021

My Shadow Is Pink By Scott Stuart Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780648728757
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Larrikin House US - April 1st, 2021

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners By Joanna Ho, Dung Ho (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Joanna Ho, Dung Ho (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062915627
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins - January 5th, 2021

Matrix: A Novel By Lauren Groff Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781594634505
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - September 6th, 2022

The Hidden Palace: A Novel of the Golem and the Jinni By Helene Wecker Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780062468727
Availability: Available From Our Distributor -- Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - June 7th, 2022

The 1619 Project: Born on the Water By Nikole Hannah-Jones, Renée Watson, Nikkolas Smith (Illustrator) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780593307359
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Kokila - November 16th, 2021

One Last Stop By Casey McQuiston Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781250244499
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - June 1st, 2021