We often call bookseller Christopher “Captain America” here at the store. He’s our resident poetry expert, the mastermind behind all the web order processes, a future lawyer, and one of the best guys to work with. With an infectious smile and upbeat attitude, he’s definitely helped us all weather the Covid-19 storm of uncertainty. In addition to poetry, he loves a good graphic novel, middle grade book, or D&D and gaming related tome, among others!
Even after all these years, the original Pokemon Adventures manga is still the best. Red’s journey through the Kanto Region is full of nostalgia, childhood whimsy, and has surprises in store even for enfranchised fans. This special edition of the manga contains the first three volumes of the series and holds a special place in my heart for allowing me to re-experience one of my favorite pieces of Pokemon media ever made.
I’m a sucker for epic poetry, and it’s hard to go wrong with Beowulf. This is a timeless story of a warrior’s ascension to greatness, full of heroic bloodshed and revenge. There are so many wonderful translations of this work, but this one is particular I have found myself to enjoy thanks to Headly’s unique draw on classic motifs and themes. I have no regrets reading this famous legend again and again; I love it.
When a grizzled Yakuza member tries to find a life as a loving and caring house husband, he quickly finds out that fully escaping the Japanese underbelly may not be as easy as anticipated. This absolutely hilarious series holds a special place in my heart as one of the most fun and wholesome manga that I’ve read in recent history. An absolute must-read for anyone looking for a uniquely charming and humorous adventure!
There are very few poets that share my love for poems that are both fun and meaningful at the same time – usually it’s one or the other. However, Whale Day may be one of the best examples of such interplay that I have ever read. Former Poet Laureate Billy Collins highlights some of the greatest truths about our lives, while also reminding us to not take things too seriously. I love love love this collection!
While I am far from the first staff member to sing the praises of Six of Crows, this book has absolutely enraptured me. A fantastic hybrid between a darker fantasy adventure and a thrilling heist story; Bardugo’s world building is top notch. I often saw myself and my DND comrades within the characters and the shenanigans that ensue in their against-the-odds mission. This is a must read for anyone that loves a unique fantasy story.
Why I Wake Early is one of my favorite collections of poetry, hands down. Capturing the beauty of how the natural world reflects upon our everyday lives through the power of mornings and more, Mary Oliver does a breathtaking job at revealing truths both about ourselves and nature. This is a must read, even if you’ve never even heard of Oliver before; there’s just too much beauty to be found between these pages.
I am not a very spiritual person; my life revolves around the concept of logic. That’s why I really enjoy Stay Woke: A Meditation Guide for the Rest of Us. Straying away from the spiritual, Stay Woke provides a clean and logical explanation of how to start meditating and the benefits it can have for yourself and others. I took a chance on this book after hearing Williams during an event, and I have no regretted it.
The City We Became is a wacky and wonderful urban fantasy that centers around the six souls of New York City. Each soul embodies a different region of the city, and only through the combined efforts of them all can they defeat the eldritch forces that seek to reduce the city to ash. While Jemisin’s unique writing style can take time to get used to, this book is absolutely excellent.
One of my favorite mystery stories; strange things are happening in Hyde Park Chicago. What starts as just a hunt for a missing painting quickly turns out to be something more - full of mind-twisting pentominoes, hidden secrets, and even raining frogs. This book is a great choice for any middle grade mystery lovers looking for a bit more puzzle in their plot and even contains a hidden message for those clever enough to decipher it!
Asexuality is not a simple topic, and for years has years has lacked representation in scientific studies, popular media, and LGBT+ discussions. Working to both amend these wrongs and clarify the depth ace-ness as a whole, author Angela Chen addresses it all in one of the most important publications on asexuality this decade. This book taught me so many things about myself and is a strong recommendation for anyone else looking to know more.
It’s hard to gather all the emotions this collection made me feel. While I usually don’t read modernist collections just because of my preference for naturalistic poetry, I am so thankful I picked this up. Spotlighting the harsh reality of one man’s journey through the American prison system, this poet Reginald Betts doesn’t shy away from the raw emotions of life post-incarceration. Gripping, painful, and drenched in loss, reading this collection will change your life.
Originally a webcomic, the Cumber Quest series is stuffed full of humor, charm, and wonderful art – making it my favorite graphic novel series! What appears at first to be a standard fantasy adventure quickly turns into a colorful and light-hearted parody of classic video game and fantasy tropes. An easy and entertaining read that has a little something for everyone, Cucumber Quest is one of the most memorable tales I’ve ever read!
I should not have judged this book by its cover. What I had believed for a long time was likely to be a milquetoast collection of nature poetry, turned out to be a potent and unique collection of poems focused around the transformative power of experiences. From learning from ancient myths, to holding out hope for a year to come, poet Devin Johnson shows us why those experiences are always much more important than we realize – just like the mosses and lichens beneath our feet. Insightful, creative, and polished, don’t overlook this collection.
What a cover! A beautiful adventure from start to finish, the 5 Worlds series reminds me a lot of the amazing settings, characters, and spectacle found in Star Wars. The story follows a group of plucky heroes on their journey of self-acceptance, which may or may not also happen to involve stopping a tyrannical warlord from starting an interplanetary war. Suitable for readers of all ages, The Sand Warrior is a great read for anyone looking for a traditional adventure story with a helping of new and exciting twists.
I don’t read a lot of YA, and for sure I don’t read a lot of horror – but for some reason I really loved Wilder Girls. Trapped in quarantine on an isolated island, the students of Raxter School for Girls fight for survival everyday against the Tox – a deadly disease that mutates the bodies of its hosts in strange and horrific ways. But when Hetty begins to investigate her best friend’s sudden disappearance, she discovers that things may not be as they seem. Taking my favorite parts of apocalypse survival, teen drama, and fast-paced action stories, author Rory Powers really blew me away with a book I mainly bought just for the awesome cover. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a story that’s equal parts brutal and beautiful.
This book is CRAZY. This is the absolutely stranger-than-fiction story about how a New Jersey father with boundless dreams founded the Disneyworld of the Tri-state area… except the park had rides made of asbestos tubes that launched people into nearby trees. Mulvihill’s witty humor and baffling first-hand experience with his father’s disregard for sanity makes this book my favorite piece of nonfiction I’ve read in a very long time. I cannot recommend this one enough.
Standing as a paragon for feminism within the community, Denise Duhamel's Scald is a knock-out collection of poems that will leave you charged after each and every page. Resfusing to shy away from the gross details of mysogeny and reality, Duhamel presents a rallying cry for immediate change. This mantra, alongside beautiful diction and articulate craftmanship, makes Scald one of my favoirte contemporary collections. Reader discression is advised.
The Monsters Know What They're Doing is one of my favorite DnD companion books. Providing detailed information and suggestions not found in the Monster Manual, this book is here to help any DM spice up their combat encounters / create monsters that are more than mindless brutes. Using the thesis that monsters are the DM's characters, Ammann's book has allowed my players to better enjot combat from week to week.
Before reading this book, I was unacquainted with Christopher’s Moore’s work and came in totally underestimating what I was in for. Masterfully written in Shakespearean style, this book tells the absolutely hilarious tale of Pocket, a royal fool, and the shenanigans he gets caught in while shipwrecked in Greece. While it does contain adult humor, this is an absolute gut-buster and a must for fans of the classic Bard.
Blending verse and storytelling to create an awesome adventure through the depths of hell, Dante's Inferno is my favorite epic poem (not an easy title to claim!). While many have shied away from this book for its antiquated language and poetic form, the modern translations, annotations , and amazing journey have left many more satisfied, despite the price of admission. A must read for anyone looking for a darker, punchier, classic tale.
Despite my mixed feelings towards Star Wars as a whole, Heir to the Empire is one of my favorite pieces of Star Wars media ever produced. the first book in the "original" sequel trilogy, this book is fast, exciting, fun, and faithfully expands upon the lore of the original Star Wars movies. If you're only going to read one Star Wars story, make it this one.
A unique hybrid between Lemony Snicket's dark twang and a classic Lord of the Rings-esque fantasy, Rose Coffin is a dark fantasy adventure through the twisted realm of Eppersett. Driven by awesome character and locations, there's so much to love here! Perfect for anyone looking to take an ominous journey on their own quest to find their inner hero!
Engrossing and heavily detailed, Generation Decks presents the roller-coaster history of the world's most popular card game. You don't need to know too much about Magic to understand Chalk's retelling either; the book focuses on the story of the game's development and impacts today rather than the gameplay itself. A personal favorite.
The love child of James Patterson and action movies, Maximum Ride is a nonstop thrill ride from start to finish. Centered around a group of genetically mutated teenagers trying to evade their captors, Maximum Ride is a wonderful series for anyone looking for a high-speed adventure with just a splash of teen drama.
If you've ever watched Tommy Wiseau's signature film, you NEED NEED NEED to read this book! Author and co-star Greg Sestero tells everything there is to know about the totally insane and hysterical production of the world's greatest bad movie. Equal parts comedy and tragedy, The Disaster Artist is the most surreal nonfiction I have ever read!
What do we let define us? This complex question lies at the heart of of the Belsey family's relationship with the neighboring Kipps household. Featuring an extremely unique and diverse cast of characters, Smith explores the intersection of education, wealth, race, and more in the formation of personality. This book has stunned me every time I've read it.