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Holiday 2020 Staff Picks

Holiday 2020 Staff Picks

Here's our staff picks for 2020

Playlist Tags: The Wise Owl Books and Music mood: cabin fever topic: staff picks season: winter

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Lot Six

A Memoir

By David Adjmi
Narrated by: Micky Shiloah
Length: 12 hours 6 minutes

“David Adjmi has written one of the great American memoirs, a heartbreaking, hilarious story of what it means to make things up, including yourself. A wild tale of lack and lies, galling humiliations and majestic reinventions, this touching, coruscating joy of a book is an answer to that perennial question: how should a person be?” — Olivia...

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Audiobook details

Black Sun

Between Earth and Sky: Book #1

By Rebecca Roanhorse
Narrated by: Cara Gee, Nicole Lewis, Kaipo Schwab & Shaun Taylor-Corbett
Length: 12 hours 46 minutes

Black Sun

Black Sun is so much more than simply a book, it is an experience. An audiobook I've returned to multiple times. Inspired by pre-Columbian Americas, Black Sun is lush, lived in, and full of political intrigue and magical mystery. When I think about Black Sun, I find myself sighing nostalgically for the time I've spent reading it. Xiala and Serapio are such rich characters, the kinds of book characters that you do anything for. All I want for them is happiness, and trust me, you'll want the same after reading this book! Black Sun is truly one of the most exciting books I've read in a long time, instantly becoming one of my favorite books of all time. A must-read for epic fantasy fans and those who love long journeys and all the kinds of people one meets on the way.”

Anderson's Bookshop image Sarah, Anderson's Bookshop
Audiobook details

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

A Novel

By Toshikazu Kawaguchi
Narrated by: Arina Ii
Length: 6 hours 52 minutes

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

“In a Tokyo back alley, in a basement, there is a cafe where you can travel back to the past. There are rules that you need to follow through, and you need to come back to the present before your coffee gets cold. This book seems more like a series of vignettes following people's trips into the past. The question is, what really changes when you go back? Is it you or the future? This is a refreshing take on time travel, reminiscent of magical realism. It is a beautiful book and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants an ethereal read. ”

Off the Beaten Path image Izzy, Off the Beaten Path
Audiobook details
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Legendborn

The Legendborn Cycle

By Tracy Deonn
Narrated by: Joniece Abbott-Pratt
Length: 18 hours 54 minutes

Legendborn

“Everything has two histories. Especially the South. In "Legendborn," we discover at least one more history to learn about - that of the Arthurian Legend. A fantasy/mystery mashup set on a southern college campus would have easily drew me in on its own. Add in the premise that Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table has secretly existed for the last 15 generations as a secret society to fight demons made it even more enticing. What made this truly magical is how Deonn gives us even greater depth with her #ownvoices authorship by also deftly highlighting how the modern day Black experience is still haunted by the lingering legacy of slavery in the South. She gives this experience voice through Breonna’s experiences of microagressions and blatant racism and more poignant observations such as the contrast of how easily the Southern whites can proudly trace their roots and family tree instead of the disruption and loss of lineage created by slavery for Black families. Grief tied more immediately to the recent death of her mother as well as these encounters of inter-generational trauma are addressed well throughout the story lines. A stellar sense of place exists with rich descriptions of southern culture, North Carolina and UNC Chapel Hill that could have only been created through deep personal experience. I loved that she created the implication that UNC was created and exists to be the stronghold and legacy of the Roundtable with us Onceborns not having the slightest clue. I immensely enjoyed the audiobook narration as it pulled the emotion and tension directly off the page in a wonderfully immersive way.”

Bright Side Bookshop image Cori, Bright Side Bookshop
Audiobook details

Plain Bad Heroines

A Novel

By Emily M. Danforth
Narrated by: Xe Sands
Length: 19 hours 27 minutes

Plain Bad Heroines

“This one's a stunner. Emily Danforth writes so compellingly, that even for its slow pacing, Plain Bad Heroines is impossible to put down. This is so much more than horror - a queer, coming-of-age, love story, history rewritten to include those it should never have erased - so atmospheric and character-driven, I found it difficult to find myself afraid, only undeniably intrigued. I giggled hysterically. I shook my fists at the patriarchy (because of course I did). Reader, I'd dive right back in again, even at the risk of yellow jackets following me back out.”

Second Star to the Right image Britt, Second Star to the Right
Audiobook details

A Promised Land

By Barack Obama
Narrated by: Barack Obama
Length: 29 hours 9 minutes

A Promised Land

“No one really needs my blurb to help sell this book, but I wanted to give it anyway, especially for the audiobook, narrated by Barack Obama himself. If you want to know his incredible knowledge and wisdom that guided him through major decisions, and also hear him drop a few F-bombs, you need to listen to this fantastically written book. ”

Quail Ridge Books image Amber, Quail Ridge Books
Audiobook details

Cemetery Boys

By Aiden Thomas
Narrated by: Avi Roque
Length: 13 hours 47 minutes

Cemetery Boys

“"Listening to Cemetery Boys made me smile. A lot. Aiden Thomas presents a story of persistence, mystery, and finding one’s place in the world. Yadriel, a trans, teenage, latinx boy, lives in a family of brujos and brujas. After coming out as trans his family does not know where he fits within their traditions. With the help of his opinionated cousin Maritza, Yadriel completes the ceremony to become a brujo in secret and accidentally summons the wrong ghost: Julian, a high energy boy from his school. Yadriel, Julian and Maritza set out to solve the mystery of Julian’s death, and to release his spirit. Of course, to make things more awkward, Yadriel develops a crush on the spirit boy. What more could one ask for? Thomas creates a magical but real world highlighting family dynamics surrounding trans identity within a gendered society, the need to prove oneself, and the importance of connecting to family. This book may sound spooky, but instead the story is feel-good, heartwarming, and silly at times; it’s all about celebrating life and being who you are."”

Content image Emma, Content
Audiobook details
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