Staff Pick

Horrocks bookends her masterful second collection of stories with contrasting visions of what a new kind of life on earth could be. In the first, “The Sleep,” a few families start hibernating to get through the difficult winters, entrusting their property and well-being to their waking neighbors. Rather than divide the community, the plan, built on mutual respect, builds unity. In the title story, however, the six pioneers of NovaTerra—an experimental project reminiscent of Biosphere 2—struggle to stay alive as crops fail and animals die; eventually, they turn on each other. Between these two poles, Horrocks vividly evokes ordinary life in places ranging from the Midwest to Prague to a Cuzco tourist resort. Writing with empathy and prose studded with striking, dynamic images (behind a ramshackle farmhouse “old acreage spread out…like a taunt”), she takes us inside the mind of an elderly widow falling into dementia, follows a young gay woman hoping to find a model for her own life in her grandmother’s, and charts a middle-aged man’s flailing efforts to build a new life in a foreign city. Throughout, Horrocks excels in rich portraits of both individuals and the larger communities they’re part of—however unsure these characters may be of their roles.

Life Among the Terranauts Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316316972
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Little, Brown and Company - January 12th, 2021

Staff Pick

What seems like a cute children's book for adults is in fact a dark, occasionally funny, tiny punch of a novel. It is told by M, a daughter of a traveling salesman in 1970s Chile, and she turns out to be at once the most and least reliable narrator. Things are not what they seem to M, but her frank descriptions of things happening around her make both wonder and horror much more palpable. This is a beautifully translated novel, both subtle and stark.

How to Order the Universe Cover Image
ISBN: 9781951142308
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Tin House Books - February 16th, 2021

Staff Pick

Laurie Colwin is perhaps best known to modern readers as a food writer, writing a column for Gourmet magazine and her genre-defining book of food essays, Homecooking. Fortunately for new audiences, her works are being republished this year, starting with her incredible 1978 novel, Happy All the Time. If you’ve felt depressed and anxious and stressed any time in the last year, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. And if you haven’t then you’re unfairly lucky and should still read it. Happy All the Time is a bubbly, hilarious, fiercely clever comedy of manners set in a version of New York that seems to exist only in old movies, where everyone is clever and complicated and always impeccably dressed. And where it seemed perfectly acceptable to take long lunches at upscale restaurants to mull over romantic tribulations with a whiskey soda in hand. This book is some amazing amalgam of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Sex in the City, as written by Nora Ephron. Read it to become a Laurie Colwin evangelist and to soothe your pandemic-bruised soul.

Happy All the Time (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307474407
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Vintage - March 23rd, 2010