Banal Nightmare by Halle Butler

Staff Pick

This delightfully feral and totally mundane book is about a bunch of midwestern intellectual elites who hate each other. Reading it is like watching a group of fine-tuned Sims, complete with intricate dating histories and socioeconomic backgrounds, mingle for 300 pages. Yet this isn't a story without a heart--these are vivid, emotional beings, albeit satirical. In particular, Butler's protagonist, Moddie, is endearingly deranged and confusingly charismatic, the kind of character whose impenetrable halo you just want to bask in for a while. I loved how insane this book is without truly exiting the realm of plausibility.

Banal Nightmare: A Novel By Halle Butler Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593730355
Availability: Coming Soon—Pre-Order Now
Published: Random House - July 16th, 2024

Service by Sarah Gilmartin

Staff Pick

Gilmartin's sophomore novel introduces Daniel, a Michelin starred chef facing rape allegations; Julie, Daniel's wife, who can neither trust her husband nor accept his abuse as a possibility; and Hannah, a former waitress reflecting on her own assault as she watches Daniel's trial from afar. Gilmartin's picture of the notorious restaurant industry is insular, intoxicating, and alive. I genuinely could not put down this book, though I can't say it was all a pleasant read.

Service: A Novel By Sarah Gilmartin Cover Image
ISBN: 9781911590828
Availability: Coming Soon—Pre-Order Now
Published: Pushkin Press - June 4th, 2024

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Staff Pick

Fine, I’ll do it--I’ll recommend the literary classic from the '50s that you pretended to read in high school. East of Eden retells Genesis through the Trasks, following the family down several generations as each member grapples with the sins of the parents. The novel asks whether we are doomed to be the worst parts of our progenitors and if there is any hope of breaking free. Family secrets AND religious symbolism in a work of literature?! What more could you ask for?

East of Eden By John Steinbeck, David Wyatt (Introduction by) Cover Image
By John Steinbeck, David Wyatt (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780140186390
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Penguin Classics - October 1st, 1992