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1. Vendela Vida: The Powells.com Interview

Vendela Vida is a force to be reckoned with. She's written four novels and one book of nonfiction; she's a founding editor of the Believer and a cofounder of 826 Valencia, plus she's done some screenwriting. Her newest novel, The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty, is her strongest work yet. In this moving, darkly funny, beautifully [...]

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2. The Sunlit Night

Delightfully quirky and charming, the tale of how Frances and Yasha come to meet on a tiny Norwegian island is both winsome and slightly melancholic. From the reaches of the far north to a Russian bakery in Brighton Beach, Dinerstein transports us to her slightly wacky world. Books mentioned in this post The Sunlit Night [...]

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3. The Water Knife

In this near-future thriller portraying a severely drought-ridden Southwest, the fate of the region depends on three people — Angel, a Las Vegas water knife whose job it is to ensure his city stays flush; Lucy, a journalist; and Maria, a young refugee. Frighteningly bleak but a pleasure to read, The Water Knife is a [...]

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4. Our Souls at Night

What a blessing it is for Kent Haruf fans to have one last story to savor. In his resonantly lean style, he sheds light on a relationship between two elderly people living alone yet seeking the warmth of companionship in conversation during nights spent in bed together. Here is the essence: lives enhanced by the [...]

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5. Make Something Up

Reading the new Chuck Palahniuk collection is like popping that giant zit on your forehead: it's completely gross and full of bodily fluids, but you just can't leave it alone. After finishing, you step back from the mirror — exhausted, ashamed, and totally satisfied. Books mentioned in this post Make Something Up: Stories You Can't... [...]

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6. Ice Cream Summer

Peter Sis's new picture book, Ice Cream Summer, is all about fun (and ice cream!) and family (and ice cream!) and learning (about ice cream!). It's the ice-creamiest ice cream in the whole-wide ice cream world! Books mentioned in this post Ice Cream Summer Peter Sis New Hardcover $17.99

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7. New Cookbooks: Better on Toast, Food52 Genius Recipes, The Picnic

Spring is a heady time for cookbook releases. There are so many new cookbooks that it feels like Christmas; we even had an early spring mini potluck lunch for a taste testing. We have so much love for many of these new cookbooks. Missing from these reviews are a number of dessert cookbooks; there were [...]

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8. Why the Story of Jackson and the Cherokees Is More Relevant Than Ever

People have been asking why I wanted to write about Andrew Jackson and the Cherokees. To be more precise, they ask: Why did you want to write about that? My day job is to write not history but "the first draft of history," which is what people sometimes call the news. I work for NPR, [...]

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9. Powell’s Q&A: Michael Perry

Describe your latest book. On Christmas Eve itself, the bachelor Harley Jackson stepped into his barn and beheld there illuminated in the straw a smallish newborn bull calf upon whose flank was borne the very image of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. "Well," said Harley, "that's trouble." Turns out he was right. What's the [...]

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10. Seveneves

Cancel all your plans: once you start Stephenson's widely anticipated, deliciously meaty new novel, you won't be able to put it down. An exploding moon sets the stage for an epic tale spanning 5,000 years as humanity must find a way to survive the devastating aftereffects: earth's gradual but imminent demise. Books mentioned in this [...]

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11. The Orphan Army

Earth is in a desperate state after an invasion of gigantic bug-like aliens. Will 11-year-old Milo become the hero his prophetic dreams keep telling him he'll be? This exhilarating series opener, an action-packed blend of sci-fi and fantasy, will have you hooked. Books mentioned in this post The Orphan Army (Nightsiders #1) Jonathan Maberry Sale [...]

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12. Nimona

Archvillain Lord Ballister Blackheart and spunky sidekick Nimona battle the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics, but who are the real heroes and who are the real evildoers? This brilliantly complex graphic novel is filled with science, dragons, warmth, and humor. Books mentioned in this post Nimona Noelle Stevenson Sale Trade Paper $9.09

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13. Carsick

When cult film icon John Waters decides to hitchhike across the country, expect the unexpected to happen. This blend of fiction and travel memoir features all the wit and dark humor Waters is known for, with a dose of filth thrown in for good measure. Books mentioned in this post Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes... John [...]

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14. The Upright Thinkers

In Leonard Mlodinow's The Upright Thinkers, human history can be charted by the pursuit of knowledge — it is what defines and separates us from our fellow animals. Mlodinow creates a compelling and readable narrative about that history that all thinkers (read: humans) will enjoy. Books mentioned in this post The Upright Thinkers: The Human... [...]

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15. This Is Sadie

Sadie's imagination is so huge she can go anywhere, be anything, without leaving her room. With soft, whimsical illustrations and spare, lyrical text, This Is Sadie takes us on a sweet adventure and reminds us of how far and wide our own imaginations can go. Books mentioned in this post This Is Sadie (Sadie Mac) [...]

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16. Proof

In Proof, Rogers distills the science and history of booze into a fascinating, thoroughly enjoyable book exploring alcohol's most basic elements (yeast, sugar, smell and taste) along with its neurological effects and even the dreaded hangover. You'll gain a new appreciation for one of humankind's most alluring creations. Books mentioned in this post Proof: The [...]

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17. Hold Still

This breathtaking memoir, marrying Sally Mann's powerful photography with a personal story so captivating that it rivals great works of fiction, reveals how one's art can become thoroughly intertwined with one's life. Read this book: it's a truly powerful work of art in its own right. Books mentioned in this post Hold Still: A Memoir [...]

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18. The Book of Aron

Ten-year-old Aron runs with a children's smuggling gang in a WWII Warsaw Jewish ghetto. Child rights activist Janusz Korczak strives to protect his orphanage from the impending Nazi devastation. Their powerful tale, haunting and yet blisteringly real, will linger long in your memory. Books mentioned in this post The Book of Aron Jim Shepard Sale [...]

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19. The Fragility of Grand Discoveries

When I was in graduate school at Berkeley I was offered a prestigious fellowship to study for a year in Germany, but I decided it would be a disruption, so I wrote a short note declining the offer. As, letter in hand, I stepped to the mailbox, I bumped into a woman from the scholarship [...]

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20. Powell’s Q&A: Heidi Pitlor

Describe your latest book. My novel, The Daylight Marriage, is about a wife and mother who goes missing one day. The narrative alternates between her husband and children's story, as they try to figure out what's happened to her and the story of what is, in fact, happening to her. The husband is a climate [...]

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21. Powell’s Q&A: Chris Hedges

Describe your latest book. Wages of Rebellion looks at the nature of rebellion, those who do it, why they do it, and the price they pay for being a rebel. There are interviews with great rebels, from Julian Assange to Mumia Abu Jamal, who have sacrificed enormously for their resistance. The book posits that these [...]

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22. Six Things You Can Do to Join the Food Movement Today

People ask me all the time what they can do to help improve the food system. Given that some of the problems that need fixing (like unsustainable agriculture, mistreatment of workers and animals, hunger, and diet-related disease, to name just a few) are so complex, widespread, and downright daunting, it's easy to overlook the things [...]

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23. Powell’s Q&A: Aleksandar Hemon

Describe your latest book. The Making of Zombie Wars is a roller-coaster ride of violence and sex. The main character, Joshua Levin, is a modestly talented wanna-be screenwriter whose day job is teaching English to immigrants and refugees. As the U.S. joyously invades Iraq, Joshua falls for a married Bosnian woman and his sadly stable [...]

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24. Nine Funny Animal Videos That Will Help You Write Your Novel!

If you thought watching funny animal videos was a bad habit, a time-sink, a distraction from writing your novel, well, you're probably right. But if you feel like indulging a little self-delusion, here are nine animal videos that EVERY WRITER must study carefully. They were absolutely instrumental for us in writing War of the Encyclopaedists! [...]

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25. The Wright Brothers

In The Wright Brothers, David McCullough spins a history both exhaustive and personal, sharing original correspondence and examining secondary characters like the Wright sister, Katharine. With McCullough's signature depth and thoroughness, The Wright Brothers pays captivating homage to the two men who so exemplified the American spirit. Books mentioned in this post Portland Noir (Akashic [...]

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