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Bards Alley Staff Picks
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Bards Alley Staff Picks

Hi friends! It's your friendly neighborhood booksellers from Bards Alley Bookshop in Vienna, VA. We're big readers--and big listeners!--and these are some of our favorites.

Of Time and Turtles

Mending the World, Shell by Shattered Shell

By: Sy Montgomery
Narrated by: Sy Montgomery
Length: 10 hours 33 minutes

National Book Award finalist for The Soul of an Octopus and New York Times bestseller Sy Montgomery turns her journalistic curiosity to the wonder and wisdom of our long-lived cohabitants—turtles—and through their stories of hope and rescue, reveals to us astonishing new perspectives on time and healing.When acclaimed naturalist Sy Montgomery... Read more

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Monsters

A Fan's Dilemma

By: Claire Dederer
Narrated by: Claire Dederer
Length: 8 hours 14 minutes

“Woody Allen, Picasso, even Michael Jackson? What do you do when the artists you love turn out to be terrible people? Claire Dederer confronts her own conflicted emotions with wit and deep insight. There are no easy answers here. Read more

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The Salt Grows Heavy

By: Cassandra Khaw
Narrated by: Susan Dalian
Length: 2 hours 54 minutes

“My goodness this book was not at all what I expected it to be. I was imagining a darker version of the classic mermaid tale, and it is more of a mash-up of Lord of the Flies meets The Little Mermaid meets Silence of the Lambs. Dark indeed! Probably one of the coolest and most captivating stories I have listened to in a while. Extremely well... Read more

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Hell Followed with Us

By: Andrew Joseph White
Narrated by: Shaan Dasani, Graham Halstead & Avi Roque
Length: 10 hours 47 minutes

“With much inspiration taken from the ancient horror stories of The Bible, Hell Followed with Us is a post-apocalyptic adventure featuring queer teens as the heroes. A new plague has been released upon the world by an evangelical cult, The Angels. Benji’s mother is one of their leaders, his father his greatest ally, and he: a trans boy trapped... Read more

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The Spirit Bares Its Teeth

By: Andrew Joseph White
Narrated by: Raphael Corkhill
Length: 10 hours 44 minutes

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

A blood-soaked and nauseating triumph that cuts like a scalpel and reads like your darkest nightmare.

New York Times bestselling author Andrew Joseph White returns with the transgressive gothic horror of our time!


Mors vincit omnia. Death conquers all.

London, 1883. The Veil between the living and dead has... Read more

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A Study in Drowning

By: Ava Reid
Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
Length: 10 hours 31 minutes

An instant Indie and #1 New York Times bestseller!“Achingly atmospheric and beautifully sharp, A Study in Drowning will draw you in from the first page.” —Rory Power, New York Times bestselling author of Wilder Girls Bestselling author Ava Reid makes her YA debut in this dark academic fantasy perfect for fans of Melissa Albert and Elana K.... Read more

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Little Thieves

Little Thieves: Book #1

By: Margaret Owen
Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
Length: 13 hours 59 minutes

“A queer, fantastical retelling of The Goose Girl from the perspective of the wicked handmaiden who steals the princess's identity (and a lot of other stuff)--but she had a good reason, I swear! Read more

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The Empress of Salt and Fortune

Singing Hills Cycle: Book #1

By: Nghi Vo
Narrated by: Cindy Kay
Length: 2 hours 25 minutes

With the heart of an Atwood tale and the visuals of a classic Asian period drama, Nghi Vo's The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a tightly and lushly written narrative about empire, storytelling, and the anger of women.

A young royal from the far north, is sent south for a political marriage in an empire reminiscent of imperial China. Her... Read more

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We Had a Little Real Estate Problem

The Unheralded Story of Native Americans & Comedy

By: Kliph Nesteroff
Narrated by: Kliph Nesteroff
Length: 9 hours 34 minutes

A Best Book of 2021 by NPR and Esquire

From Kliph Nesteroff, “the human encyclopedia of comedy” (VICE), comes the important and underappreciated story of Native Americans and comedy.

It was one of the most reliable jokes in Charlie Hill’s stand-up routine: “My people are from Wisconsin. We used to be from New York. We had a little real estate... Read more

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The Beautiful Something Else

By: Ash Van Otterloo
Narrated by: Em Grosland
Length: 6 hours 7 minutes

Full of humor and heartbreak, this story about a nonbinary character navigating a binary world is perfect for fans of Alex Gino and Kyle Lukoff.It's exhausting trying to be the perfect daughter. Still, getting good grades without making any waves may be the only way to distract from the fact that Sparrow Malone's mother is on the verge of... Read more

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A Tale for the Time Being

By: Ruth Ozeki
Narrated by: Ruth Ozeki
Length: 14 hours 43 minutes

A brilliant, unforgettable, and long-awaited novel from bestselling author Ruth Ozeki

“A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me, and every one of us who is, or was, or ever will be.”

In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying. But before... Read more

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Lust for Life

By: Irving Stone
Narrated by: Steve West
Length: 19 hours 35 minutes

Lust For Life is Irving Stone's biographical novel about the life of the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh. Read more

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The Book Thief

By: Markus Zusak
Narrated by: Allan Corduner
Length: 13 hours 55 minutes

DON’T MISS BRIDGE OF CLAY, MARKUS ZUSAK’S FIRST NOVEL SINCE THE BOOK THIEF.
 
The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller that is now a major motion picture, Markus Zusak's unforgettable story is about the ability of books to feed the soul.
 
Nominated as one of America's best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read.

When Death has a...
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The Black Guy Dies First

Black Horror Cinema from Fodder to Oscar

By: Robin R. Means Coleman & Mark H. Harris
Narrated by: Jaime Lincoln Smith
Length: 9 hours 30 minutes

A definitive and surprising exploration of the history of Black horror films, after the rising success of Get Out, Candyman, and Lovecraft Country from creators behind the acclaimed documentary, Horror Noire.

The Black Guy Dies First explores the Black journey in modern horror cinema, from the fodder epitomized by Spider Baby to the... Read more

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Feed Them Silence

By: Lee Mandelo
Narrated by: Natalie Naudus
Length: 4 hours 17 minutes

What does it mean to be-in-kind with a nonhuman animal? Or, in Dr. Sean Kell-Luddon’s case, to be in-kind with one of the last remaining wild wolves? Using a neurological interface to translate her animal subject’s perception through her own mind, Sean intends to chase both her scientific curiosity and her secret, lifelong desire to experience... Read more

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To Shape a Dragon's Breath

The First Book of Nampeshiweisit

By: Moniquill Blackgoose
Narrated by: Charley Flyte
Length: 16 hours 52 minutes

“My favorite book of the year . . . a coming-of-age story that is cozy and hair-raising in equal measure.”—Charlie Jane Anders, The Washington Post

“I tore through it, caught up in an enthusiasm for dragons that I hadn’t experienced since I was a teenager obsessed with Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea and Anne McCaffrey’s Pern.”—NPR

A BEST BOOK OF THE...
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The Possibility of Life

Science, Imagination, and Our Quest for Kinship in the Cosmos

By: Jaime Green
Narrated by: Jaime Green
Length: 8 hours 24 minutes

“Every page of this book makes our shared universe feel larger and more interesting than ever before, a true gift of fascinating science and engrossing storytelling.” —Matt Bell, author of Appleseed

A spellbinding exploration of alien life and the cosmos, examining how the possibility of life on other planets shapes our understanding of... Read more

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The Wolf and the Woodsman

A Novel

By: Ava Reid
Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
Length: 13 hours 9 minutes

In the vein of Naomi Novik’s New York Times bestseller Spinning Silver and Katherine Arden’s national bestseller The Bear and the Nightingale, this unforgettable debut— inspired by Hungarian history and Jewish mythology—follows a young pagan woman with hidden powers and a one-eyed captain of the Woodsmen as they form an unlikely alliance to... Read more

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Camp Damascus

By: Chuck Tingle
Narrated by: Mara Wilson
Length: 9 hours 10 minutes

“Neverton is home to the only gay conversion camp in the country to boast a 100% success rate: Camp Damascus. God-fearing Rose Darling knows all about the camp from the commercials starring the charismatic Pastor Pete Bend. But when Rose starts coughing up flies and getting flashes of a life she doesn't remember living -- and a girl she doesn't... Read more

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This Is How You Lose The Time War

By: Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
Narrated by: Cynthia Farrell & Emily Woo Zeller
Length: 4 hours 15 minutes

“How to begin a letter? How to begin a letter to your best enemy? This story takes place through the ages, between two-time traveling agents who must braid and unbraid the fabric of time in an effort to usher in their opposing futures. I read this twice before finishing it. This book is a book to savor. Read more

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