Jenna's Picks

My taste in books has gone through many phases over the years, but it's narrowed to two kinds of specifiic and very different categories. My favorite type of fiction is character-driven. I'm drawn to books that are pretty solidly based in reality, but have tiny hints of surrealism that seem to capture the beauty and poetry of life in ways that straight realism seems incapable of doing completely on its own. I love authors who play with the laws of physics and language in ways that are unique and meaningful (and make me feel extremely unworthy and incompetent as a writer) --Jonathan Safran Foer, David Foster Wallace, Nicole Krauss, Kurt Vonnegut. The other type of books I'm drawn to are the autobiographies of people I find inspiring and look up to.

Intimations: Six Essays Cover Image
$10.95
ISBN: 9780593297612
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - July 28th, 2020

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Axiom's End: A Novel (Noumena #1) Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250256737
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Press - July 21st, 2020

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All Adults Here: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781594634697
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - May 4th, 2020

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Blue Ticket: A Novel Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780385545631
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday - June 30th, 2020

She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780525560364
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - June 30th, 2020

Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780316486644
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Back Bay Books - June 30th, 2020

Mouthful of Birds: Stories Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780399184635
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - January 7th, 2020

Know My Name: A Memoir Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780735223721
Availability: Backordered
Published: Penguin Books - August 18th, 2020

Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780525510567
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - July 14th, 2020

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Nothing to See Here Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062913463
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Published: Ecco - October 29th, 2019

This book is a beautiful, moving, heavy, and incredibly eye-opening letter from a father to his 15 year old son about what it means to navigate the world as a black man living in America. He discusses the invention of race, the illusion of "the dream," police brutality, and what it means to grow up and find yourself while living in an "expendable body." Poetic and heartbreaking, It's the frank discussion on race that America is in desperate need of. Read this book, and then make other people read it, too!


Little Fires Everywhere: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780735224315
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - May 7th, 2019

Make It Scream, Make It Burn: Essays Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780316259637
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - September 24th, 2019

The Mars Room: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781476756585
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - May 7th, 2019

Rabbits for Food Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781641291934
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Soho Press - September 1st, 2020

The Book of Essie Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525436072
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - May 7th, 2019

The Water Cure: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525562832
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor - December 3rd, 2019

Future Home of the Living God: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780062694065
Availability: Backordered
Published: Harper Perennial - November 13th, 2018

Women Talking Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781635574340
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - March 3rd, 2020

I read this book in one day, I was so drawn into the world of this fictionalized Menonite Colony and this circle of women. It takes place in 2009 Bolivia, but the year is quickly forgotten, the place is quickly forgotten, it could be any circle of women anywhere. There is so much  power in the simple act of women talking, sharing stories, encouraging and engaging with eachother, fighting for eachother, and becoming braver together, for eachother, than anyone would be on their own. An important book in an important time. 


The Dreamers: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812984668
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - November 5th, 2019

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Little: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780525534334
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - October 22nd, 2019

"This is one of my favorite books I've read in a very long time. Historical fiction based on the life of Madame Tussaud, who I knew next to nothing about beforehand and now am an obsessed fan of. Whimsy, revolution, wax body parts, a cast of memorable characters, beautiful sketches throughout-- told from the perspective of one tough and talented short statured orphan whose love of art saved her own life and created a long-lasting legacy. I fell in love with Little and will miss living in her brain."


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The Immortalists Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780735215092
Availability: Backordered
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - February 5th, 2019

1969 New York City, four siblings conspire to sneak out with their savings and meetthe “Woman on Hester Street.” --a fortune teller they’ve heard rumors about who can accurately predict the date a person will die. Although they eventually grow apart and move away, the family is bound together forever by this one life-defining event. The Immortalists follows the Gold siblings (Varya, Daniel, Klara, and Simon) as they navigate their diverging lives with the unsettling knowledge of how long they have to live them. Does knowing determine their choices, how quickly, fully, impulsively they live, or was it always going to be this way? This book was transcendent-- beautiful, fragile, funny, and heartbreaking in all of the wonderful and terrible ways that life can be.  Like the woman on Hester Street, Chloe Benjamin will lure you in, work her magic, and forever alter how you see the world. 


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Little Nothing Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780399185809
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Blue Rider Press - August 22nd, 2017

I'm not sure if I can put into words exactly how much I loved this book. Pavla, a girl in an unnamed european country in the early 1900's, is born a dwarf after her parents had sought fertility help from a local witch. They love her just the same and Pavla, whose nickname in school is "little nothing" comes to terms with her identity and learns to love herself. She is beautfiul, and people travel their village just to meet her. It isn't until her parents start worrying about who will marry her and take care of her when they are gone that they consult the witch again, as well as a series of doctors, in hopes of "curing" her dwarfism. Pavla goes through a series of transformations throughout the book--from dwarf, to a wolf-girl who ends up in a "freak show" at the carnival, to wolf, back to human--and we follow along with her story as well as the story of Danilo, the boy who loves her at every stage. The characters are quirky and beautfiul, the writing is flawless--I really can't recommend this book highly enough. One of my all-time favorites. 


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Red Clocks: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316434782
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Back Bay Books - October 2nd, 2018

In this compelling, beautifully woven novel by Leni Zumas the United States government has recently passed “The Personhood Amendment,” which gives full citizenry (the rights to life, liberty, and property ownership) to every fertilized egg. This outlaws abortion as well as in vitro fertilization, and a soon to be enforced law entitled “Every Child needs Two”  will prohibit single parents from adopting children. This puts the four women whose stories we follow in Red Clocks--A single teacher who wants a baby, a promising young student who finds herself pregnant, a mother of two who wants out of her marriage, and an outcasted  town “mender” (known as the witch) who helps women seeking abortions despite the law-- in varying predicaments as they come to terms with how they define womanhood in this new world, and where they place themselves in it. Zumas masterfully explores national politics on a local level, exploring what such laws would mean in the lives of real women living in a small town in Oregon.


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The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780770436452
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Published: Hogarth - July 19th, 2016

An absolutely gorgeous book that's almost a hybrid between a novel and a collection of short stories. This was the first time I've ever read Anthony Marra and it definitely won't be the last. Marra's border-line lyrical writing weaves a captivating story that travels through an oppressed, war-torn russia, through several decades of time, and ends all the way out at the edge of the galaxy--  following the heartbreaking story of a government censor who when assigned the task of erasing "traitors" from famous works of art, would paint the face of his late brother in their place. It is a story about family, loyalty, betrayal, love, war, and how beautifully complicated and flawed we all are.  I could not put this book down, and was genuinely sad when it was over.


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Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781594634727
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - September 27th, 2016

My very cheesy but also truthful review for the latest by Elizabeth Gilbert, is that the book itself is magic. I've honestly never felt so connected to a non-fiction book before. In Big Magic, Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) discusses the struggles and triumphs of trying to pursue a creative lifestyle. She talks about the difficulties, anxieties, and failures she's experienced while trying to write, and offers the methods she uses to overcome them. It's extraordinarily comforting and inspirational to know that someone who is so wildly successful feels the same fears as the rest of us, and works just as hard at it. She also discusses her philosophy on creativity, which is a universe full of ideas that are waiting and determined to be brought to fruition by a creatively receptive and committed person. This is the titular "big magic," the feeling you get when you are doing something creative and experience a sort of divine inspiration, create something that feels guided in part by something outside of yourself. Her writing is personal and funny, lighthearted and motivational. If you've ever been interested in doing anything creative and felt held back for whatever reason, you should definitely read this book, it might be just the pat on the back/kick in the pants you need.