Ernesto by Umberto Saba
Set in Italy during the last days of the Austrian Empire, a young gay man, Ernesto, enters an affair with an older laborer and finds his identity and life choices in upheaval. Saba’s prose has all the great blunt qualities of mid-20th century stylings, acutely portraying his characters motivations and psychologies in a sullen financial setting. Jabbing between the prose are self-depricating asides from Saba (who wrote the novel at the end of his life) as he reflects on his own youth. NYRB Classics is publishing Ernesto (in a new English translation) later this month. Soon, you can find copies of Ernesto on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.
Always Happy Hour: Stories by Mary Miller
Sometimes it’s nice to read about characters who feel real. Whether you don’t love the person you’re with, are always impatiently waiting for the next drink, or just want to FIGURE OUT THE BUS ROUTES… as a human woman, you’ll have a story you can relate to. Funny, smart, and natural, each story in this collection is an easy read you’ll buss through and will leave you excited for the next one. Miller has a strong female voice, and all should listen to it. You can find SIGNED copies of Always Happy Hour: Stories on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West may just be my first favorite book of 2017! Hamid’s fourth novel is the tale of a budding love between Nadia and Saeed, a couple of twenty-somethings trying to make their way in the world. But what could be an everyday love story is interrupted by a civil war tearing the city they live in apart. This love, instead, is forged amidst flying bullets and grows stronger to the tune of exploding bombs. This novel brings to life the experiences of people half a world away that look like us, feel like us, and love like us. Bringing to light issues in the Middle East, terror, and refugees, this book is more relevant than ever. I absolutely can’t wait for you to get your hands on this in March! Soon, you can find copies of Exit West on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Once a year, a ravishing and bewitching show called Caraval, led by the infamous Master Legend, enthralls a new audience only to disappear, never to return to the same place. That is until Caraval Master Legend finally responds to Scarlett’s letters. Scarlett and her feisty, passionate sister Tella are gifted tickets and an opportunity to escape an abusive father and arranged marriage. The two sisters, and an absurdly attractive sailor, leave to attend Caraval but are soon separated when Tella is abducted by Master Legend to play an integral part in the show, the prize for the game. Caraval quickly becomes so consuming, so tangible for Scarlett that the lines between the real world and something else, something far more sinister, smear into a confusing blur. Caraval isn’t the story of a forbidden romance, though there are some steamy moments, nor is it an epic tale of an untouchable hero, but something more unique. After a closeted childhood, Scarlett is just a girl with a little grit and a boundless love for her sister, learning how to live for the first time. You can find copies of Caraval on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.
Autoportrait by Edouard Leve
I am reading this book because Goodreads suggested it to me based on a book I recently finished (Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh). I clicked on the suggestion because it had close to five stars which rarely happens on Goodreads. I looked it up on the BookPeople catalog because the premise (a man tells his life story through a 117-page-long string of I Statements) sounded invasive and cool and many of the reviews were short and sophisticated. I wanted to be like them! I bought the book because we had it in stock and the cover/font/size/texture of the book pleased me aesthetically. I am a very nosy person who loves hearing people describe themselves, especially with the intensity they would use late at night, say with a beautiful new person who laughs at the right times sitting in the fragrant garden under string lights outside of a lovely party where everyone is dressed well and Edouard Leve does that. I am sitting on the porch of Central Market, drinking rosé and watching an older gentleman cuddle his little white pup as though he were a child with a stuffed animal. I am enjoying that, as well as this book. You can find copies of Autoportrait on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.