Bookseller Recommendations: January
Happy New Year, everyone! Technically, there really isn’t a “slow period” for our to-be-read piles—they are always towering, we always have blurbs that need to be submitted, it seems like the next round of staff picks looms just around the corner. All of it rolls over from one day to the next. Nonetheless, January feels like a time to start fresh, and to set the tone for 2019 with the first few reads of the year. The books selected here are our attempt to get kick off this year in reading on the right foot, including a graphic novel about food and heritage, sage advice from a witch, an adventurous reader’s exploration of community and aging, and a gripping love story of two women trying to escape their pasts. Where do you hope your reading list leads you in the new year?
Here are January’s recommendations, in which four real people suggest good books we think you might like, too. Read on!
by Blue Delliquanti and Soleil Ho
Iron Circus Comics | December 2018 | $15.00
I loved reading Voodoo Vintners: Oregon’s Astonishing Biodnyamic Winegrowers this month. It combines all the things I love to read about: a very specific food product, broad history summed up through a very specific lens, and interesting stories about individuals all over the globe who have something particular in common. This book touches on the importance of spirituality, practice, and ritual, and is a good reminder that everything is connected. If you like to nerd out about farming or wine, read this. It is very cool. Buy now»
Ask Baba Yaga: Otherwordly Advice for Everyday Troubles
by Taisia Kitaiskaia, illustrated by Brenna Thummler
Andrews McMeel Publishing | September 2017 | $14.95
I tie myself in knots every month deciding which book to recommend, but this time I had to go with my nightly bedside read. Roseanne and I are both enjoying this unconventional book of new and collected advice writing, born from the column of the same name at The Hairpin and now paired with marvelous artwork. Kitaiskaia’s typewritten replies in the voice of fabled witch Baba Yaga are lyrical and provocative, challenging advice-seekers to embrace mystery and self-knowledge. At the outset of this new year, I’m relishing the opportunity to read something fun but still artful—and maybe get my life (slightly) together in the process. Buy now»
by Mesha Maren
Algonquin Books | January 2019 | $26.95
Mesha Maren’s debut novel is a refreshing spin on some classic themes. Sugar Run is the story of Jodi McCarty, a thirty-five year old woman newly released from prison after serving an eighteen-year sentence for manslaughter. The challenge of having spent more than half of one’s life incarcerated is amplified by Jodi’s decision to return to land owned by her family in rural West Virginia, accompanied by another woman who is desperate to escape her own mistakes. Throughout the book, Maren uses both past and present tense very effectively. A high-tension read, good for fans of noir, mystery or those who cheer for unpredictable love stories. Buy now»
Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun
by Sarah Ladipo Manyika
Cassava Republic Press | April 2017 | $14.95
Morayo Da Silva is a character whose joie de vivre leaps off the page. She contemplates getting a tattoo for her seventy-fifth birthday and explores San Francisco in her vintage Porsche, all the while navigating memories of growing up in Nigeria, attending boarding school in England, and living in India with her diplomat husband. Both her sensuality and her passion for reading live large in this slim book—she even arranges her bookshelves according to which characters she wishes could talk to one another! Most of all, this exploration of community, connection, and growing older and into one’s self is a fun read, and a refreshing one. Buy now»
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