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Winter Weather

Picture Books top picks of new books to carry you through the weird weather of Winter 2020

Playlist Tags: Picture Book audience: adult bookstore-created season: winter

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Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick

Stories from the Harlem Renaissance

By Zora Neale Hurston
Narrated by: Aunjanue Ellis
Length: 8 hours 57 minutes

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick

“Zora Neale Hurston’s (Their Eyes Were Watching God, Barracoon) body of work continues to grow and impress. In Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick, 21 short stories, including several “lost” pieces depicting the Great Migration to northern cities and Harlem’s educated New Negro middle class, offer an updated perspective of Hurston’s Harlem Renaissance-era cultural commentary. These stories, written in the 1920s and 30s, explore toxic masculinity and women’s agency, urban vs. rural class representations, colorism/shadeism, identity politics, and the intersectionality of race, class, age, and gender in a way that remains relevant today. And, by using humor, folklore, and her unique combination of delicate prose and vernacular speech, Hurston also has written thoroughly engaging slices-of-life, always centering Black characters, from a very specific time period. To fully appreciate Hurston’s stories, Tayari Jones (An American Marriage) recommends in her foreword, “reading this work aloud, enjoying the feel of the words in your mouth, and the sound of English tightened and strummed like the strings of a banjo.””

River Dog Book Co. image BrocheAroe, River Dog Book Co.
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Inland

A Novel

By Téa Obreht 
Narrated by: Anna Chlumsky, Edoardo Ballerini & Euan Morton
Length: 13 hours 7 minutes

Inland

“Inland is a beautifully narrated by voices that are rarely heard in a story of the American west. Lurie, an immigrant from the middle east, and Nora, a pioneer wife struggling to survive, are both haunted by ghosts of their past. The dry arid desert provides a perfect backdrop for the events, relationships and challenges these two characters face. Obrect writes with dialogue present and past creating an almost dreamlike atmosphere in some places of the novel and nightmarish realism in others. This novel lays bare the struggles, relationships, personalities and conflicts that provided the foundation of the wild untamed west. This novel was epic, expansive, and completely nourishing of spirit.”

Avid Bookshop image Ellen, Avid Bookshop
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The Water Dancer (Oprah's Book Club)

A Novel

By Ta-Nehisi Coates
Narrated by: Joe Morton
Length: 14 hours 14 minutes

The Water Dancer (Oprah's Book Club)

“Ta-Nehisi Coates understands something big and he understands it better than anyone else right now. The Water Dancer led me on a journey up and down the landscape of American slavery with a narrative that feels like The Book of Exodus meets, well, Ta-Nehisi Coates. Over 400 pages I have cried, I have laughed, I have been educated, and I have been enlightened. Coates writes with an honesty that can only come from a sublime, even spiritual, understanding of the souls of the white man and the black man in America. Written with poignancy and humanity, The Water Dancer left me stunned but clear-headed, like I had just been woken up from a deep, dream-filled sleep.”

Norris Rettiger image Norris Rettiger, Lemuria Bookstore
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Trick Mirror

Reflections on Self-Delusion

By Jia Tolentino
Narrated by: Jia Tolentino
Length: 9 hours 45 minutes

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “From The New Yorker’s beloved cultural critic comes a bold, unflinching collection of essays about self-deception, examining everything from scammer culture to reality television.”—Esquire
 
Book Club Pick for Now Read This, from PBS NewsHour and The New York Times • “A whip-smart, challenging book.”—Zadie Smith • “Jia...
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Weather

A novel

By Jenny Offill
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
Length: 3 hours 46 minutes

Weather

“Brief and brilliant, Jenny Offill’s Weather doesn’t need page after page to trap us inside. Tearing through precision-crafted paragraphs, we willingly follow a Brooklyn librarian down a doomsday rabbit hole as she tries to limit the world’s damage to those she loves. On the express bus to the demise of civilization, find a seat next to Lizzie for a wild and witty ride through the storm raging across America. An astute and satisfying read.”

Excelsior Bay Books image Ann Woodbeck, Excelsior Bay Books
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Such a Fun Age

By Kiley Reid
Narrated by: Nicole Lewis
Length: 9 hours 58 minutes

Such a Fun Age

“What a beautifully rich and nuanced book! Emira, a mid-twenties educated but slightly driftless woman is working 2 part time jobs still trying to find her passion. She find joy in her part time babysitting job, finding her three year old charge a delightfully odd little person who keeps her interested. But things turn complicated when she is asked to take her charge to the local grocery store late at night and is accosted by the store security guard and a "well meaning" patron. Accused of kidnapping and unable to leave Emira holds her dignity and stands up for herself as another patron films the incident. Emira wants nothing more than to put the incident behind her but those closest to her have other ideas of what is best for her. This novel packs an emotional punch, making us question our own motives and wondering if we really have our loved ones best interests at heart. A perfect book group pick for those who like to focus on character driven stories.”

Books & Company image Genavieve, Books & Company
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Olive, Again (Oprah's Book Club)

A Novel

By Elizabeth Strout
Narrated by: Kimberly Farr
Length: 12 hours 14 minutes

Olive, Again (Oprah's Book Club)

“Thank goodness Elizabeth Strout decided to return for another round with one of the most beloved, maddening, confounding, and compelling characters I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Readers will delight in the fact that Olive, while forging new relationships and puzzling over long-existing ones, remains the crazy, complicated family member you just can’tquit. Add in spareyet beautifully rendered prose about the rugged, breathtaking state of Maine and you’ve got a gem of a book, one that leaves you rooting for Olive, despite her numerous shortcomings, as she stumbles through love, friendship, loss, and what it means to growold. Strout, through Olive, reminds us that it’s a messy business being human, but it’s a privilege to be along for the ride.”

Barrett Bookstore image Page Berger, Barrett Bookstore
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Verge

By Lidia Yuknavitch
Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews, Sophie Amoss, Michael Crouch, Renata Friedman, Ilyana Kadushin, Dani Martineck & Brittany Pressley
Length: 4 hours 36 minutes

Verge

“A powerful and visceral collection from one of today’s most unique voices that will take you out of your comfort zone. Yuknavitch focuses on the subject of the body: bodies trying to find comfort, bodies trying to become whole, bodies destroyed, bodies as an object, how they are connected to one another, how they can be broken, and how much they are worth. To dive into this collection is to let a cinderblock tied to your leg drag you down into unknown watery depths and instead of trying to loosen the knot, holding tight and letting the waters consume you.”

Books Are Magic image Anthony Piacentini, Books Are Magic
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A Long Petal of the Sea

A Novel

By Isabel Allende
Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
Length: 9 hours 46 minutes

A Long Petal of the Sea

“In this quietly compelling novel, Isabel Allende deftly brings us into the world of the Spanish Civil War and Chilean Revolution, elegantly weaving characters' stories together to produce a stunning tapestry of love, heartbreak, loyalty, and politics. Follow war doctor Victor and accomplished pianist Roser as they struggle down a path that is constantly blocked with great challenges. Though many despair, there is always a way through, and you may find support in places you least expect.”

Rediscovered Books image Kalli, Rediscovered Books
Audiobook details

Topics of Conversation

A novel

By Miranda Popkey
Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman
Length: 6 hours 8 minutes

A compact tour de force about sex, violence, and self-loathing from a ferociously talented new voice in fiction, perfect for fans of Sally Rooney, Rachel Cusk, Lydia Davis, and Jenny Offill.

“Shrewd and sensual, Popkey's debut carries the scintillating charge of a long-overdue girls' night." —O, The Oprah Magazine
 
A Best Book of the Year by...
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The Topeka School

A Novel

By Ben Lerner
Narrated by: Nancy Linari, Peter Berkrot & Tristan Wright
Length: 10 hours 34 minutes

The Topeka School

“It’s the late ’90s in Topeka, and high school senior Adam Gordon is partying, going to school, and preparing for a national speech and debate competition—living a life he expects to reflect back upon with irony and detachment in some urbane, imaginary future. Lerner shifts between perspectives, stealing stylistic bits from autofiction and documentary; he reinvents the way narrative can place the moments of our lives in the context of history, both global and hyper-local, exploring how history inflicts trauma onto us and how we, in turn, inflict that trauma back onto history. And he does all this while toying with language and the spaces where it breaks down as we attempt to self-define. Simply put, The Topeka School is a work of genius.”

Chris Lee image Chris Lee, Boswell Book Company
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We Are the Weather

Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast

By Jonathan Safran Foer
Narrated by: Jonathan Safran Foer
Length: 5 hours 6 minutes

This program is read by the author.

In We Are the Weather, Jonathan Safran Foer explores the central global dilemma of our time in a surprising, deeply personal, and urgent new way.

Some people reject the fact, overwhelmingly supported by scientists, that our planet is warming because of human activity. But do those of us who accept the...

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In the Dream House

A Memoir

By Carmen Maria Machado
Narrated by: Carmen Maria Machado
Length: 5 hours 28 minutes

In the Dream House

“A masterful look at the complexity of the queer experience. Machado employs a kaleidoscope approach to examine her relationship with an old partner, a woman who verbally, physically and emotionally assaulted her, her own personal experiences that led her to stay “in the dream house” of abuse, and society’s role in the oppression and devaluation of women, especially queer women and women of color. Through a mix of long and super short chapters, examples of old folk tales and pop culture, and more realistic narrative, Machado digs deep into the confusing, distorted and contradictory aspects of a toxic relationship, in which the victim begins to doubt her own reactions and motives. It’s a #fivestarreview for us, and #requiredreading! And the @librofm #audiobook features Machado reading! Amazing amazing amazing. ”

Bel Canto Books image Jhoanna, Bel Canto Books
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Creatures

A Novel

By Crissy Van Meter
Narrated by: Piper Goodeve
Length: 5 hours 58 minutes

Creatures

Creatures is a novel that invokes the senses most often left to the wayside in fiction: touch, taste, and smell. This imagery is unique to how Evie, our narrator, perceives her surroundings of Winter Island and the people who float in and out of her life. As readers experience Evie’s past, present, and future concurrently, they are left with a stark and stunning tale of abandonment, betrayal, love, and healing. With a narrative style reminiscent of Ted Chiang’s The Story of Your Life, this is a book I couldn’t put down!”

Julia Long image Julia Long, Epilogue: Books Chocolate Brews
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Dear Girls

Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life

By Ali Wong
Narrated by: Ali Wong & Justin Hakuta
Length: 6 hours 20 minutes

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Ali Wong’s heartfelt and hilarious letters to her daughters (the two she put to work while they were still in utero) cover everything they need to know in life, like the unpleasant details of dating, how to be a working mom in a male-dominated profession, and how she trapped their dad.

“Knife-sharp . . . a genuine...
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Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

A Novel

By Olga Tokarczuk
Narrated by: Beata Pozniak
Length: 11 hours 39 minutes

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

“Janina is an eccentric middle-aged woman who translates William Blake, studies astrology, and is acutely attuned to the wilderness around her in rural Poland. When hunters and poachers begin to be gruesomely murdered, Janina informs the police that the animals are responsible. As the bodies mount, so does her involvement with the mystery, although her status as a crank and possible madwoman ensures that she’s ignored. This is an extraordinary and disturbing tale — a mystery that becomes more complex as the story continues, accompanied by Janina’s often witty observations on man, nature, justice, and identity. The ending of this hard-to-categorize novel, a finalist for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize, will knock the breath out of you. Don’t miss this excellent translated work from an award-winning writer!”

The River's End Bookstore image Cindy Pauldine, The River's End Bookstore
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