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1. Five Memorable Train Journeys

Some train journeys I don't remember. Thankfully not for the same reasons as the protagonist of The Girl on the Train — in my case, I was simply too young to recall the first time I ever got onto a train (a trip from Durban to Umhlali in South Africa, I'm told). I don't remember [...]

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2. South of the Border, West of the Sun

Following the coming-of-age of Hajime, a lonely only child, into his young adulthood, marriage, and adult life, South of the Border, West of the Sun is a melancholy tale of a life of longing. Exploring love, attraction, sexuality, and happiness, Murakami's brilliant novel visits a marriage on the knife-edge of disaster. The tension, the indecision, [...]

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3. The Powell’s Playlist: Ned Beauman

I did have a playlist that I listened to over and over again while I was writing Glow, but three years on I'm a bit bored of those songs, which got their final blast at my book party in London last year. So here are the B-sides, so to speak: other good songs by the [...]

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4. From Musician to Novelist

I was asleep on the floor of the magicians' apartment. Not one, but three magicians lived there, and their mysterious, mischievous, and sometimes macabre props surrounded my living-room floor futon. A straitjacket hung on the coat rack, a mini-guillotine sat over the fireplace, a mechanical monkey poked out from behind the couch, and an artificial [...]

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5. Story Thieves

In this tender and amusing story, Bethany, who is half-fictional, is looking for her fictional father by entering books. Meanwhile, Owen wishes to star in a book series. They form a reluctant friendship and encounter characters from books who are never quite sure who they are. Books mentioned in this post Story Thieves #1: Story [...]

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6. How to Fly a Horse

Drawing on countless examples of innovators and inventors, Ashton reminds us by example that creativity depends on hard work and perseverance, with a splash or two of genius topping off the mix. You might not reinvent the wheel after reading this, but you will be energized and inspired to exercise your creative muscles. Books mentioned [...]

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7. Firefight (The Reckoners #2)

You'll lose yourself in this riveting post-apocalyptic series in which the villains all have superpowers and the rebels committed to fight them are a motley crew of humans. If you haven't read Sanderson's Steelheart, DO IT — so you can dive into Firefight. Books mentioned in this post Firefight (Reckoners) Brandon Sanderson New Hardcover $18.99

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8. The Case of the Missing Moonstone (The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency # 1)

A delightfully clever start of a new mystery series, The Case of the Missing Moonstone brings together a young Ada Lovelace (the world's first computer programmer) and Mary Shelley (Frankenstein author) as they form a detective agency and become unlikely friends. The book combines humor and tenderness with a sprinkling of historical facts, making for [...]

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9. Required Reading: Books That Changed Us

We tend to think of reading as a cerebral endeavor, but every once in a while, it can spur action. The following books — ranging from inspiring biographies to evocative fiction to instructional guides — motivated us to step out of our comfort zones and make significant, lasting changes in our lives. ÷ ÷ ÷ [...]

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10. After Dark

Somewhere between the edge of sleep and wakefulness, After Dark resides. Told in one evening, with chapters indicated by time-stamps, Murakami's tale of both somnambulists and insomniacs is still, stark, and seductive. With a bonus delicious, "thriller-ish" story thread, After Dark is a little slice of Murakami heaven. Books mentioned in this post

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11. The Powell’s Playlist: Mary Helen Specht

Migratory Animals is mostly set in Texas during the first years of the most recent recession, when the cast of characters — an eclectic group of college friends now in their 30s — are coming to the realization that, in a world of shrinking resources, a good education is no longer enough to ensure an [...]

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12. On Trimming Roses

Gardens do not wait. Weeds grow and flowers wilt. In the days and weeks following my father's death, my parents' garden continued to flourish and demand our attention, for plants do not know grief. When it came to our garden, my parents were a team. My father — dyslexic, spatial thinker, and dreamer — looked [...]

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13. The Work

In this follow-up to his compelling memoir The Other Wes Moore, Moore continues his story as a new Rhodes Scholar through the next 10 years of his life. Broken down into chapters of "lessons," The Work is an inspiration, encouraging service to others as a way to find meaning. Books mentioned in this post The [...]

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14. A Wonderful Year

In his new book, Nick Bruel takes us through all four seasons of one particular (funny, sometimes sweet, sometimes nutso) year. A Wonderful Year is packed full of deadpan wackiness, unexpected turns, and, of course, a purple hippo named Louise. Books mentioned in this post A Wonderful Year Nick Bruel Sale Hardcover $12.59

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15. The Terrible Two

From the hilarious minds of longtime friends Mac Barnett and Jory John comes this epic tale of Miles Murphy and Niles Sparks, two schoolmates who live in Yawnee Valley, a town that prides itself on its knowledge of cows. Yes... cows. With great illustrations by Kevin Cornell, this engaging, uproarious prankster vs. prankster battle royale [...]

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16. The Sixth Extinction

Kolbert considers the rapacious effects of humanity's unmitigated conquest of our planet and its biota — and the harrowing legacy our actions (and inactions) have ultimately wrought. Forgoing an alarmist approach in favor of a measured, well-reasoned style, Kolbert's shrewd reporting is both vital and engrossing. Books mentioned in this post The Sixth Extinction: An [...]

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17. A Short Guide to a Long Life

Should you take vitamins? Is caffeine good or bad for you? How often should you exercise? If you're tired of trying to make sense of contradictory studies and new health fads, this quick, refreshingly direct read will give you sound guidance for a longer, healthier life. Books mentioned in this post A Short Guide to [...]

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18. The Last American Vampire

Fans of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter will want to follow the further adventures of vampire Henry Sturges as he navigates his way through the centuries. Tag along as Henry meets almost every pivotal individual in history: Teddy Roosevelt, Adolf Hitler, Bram Stoker, and my personal favorite, Tesla, to name just a handful. Fun and smart [...]

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19. Most Popular Cookbooks of 2014

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and these are the 2014 top-selling cookbooks at Powell's. Our number one bestseller: Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi. Not only does Ottolenghi have THE bestselling cookbook at Powells — he has three cookbooks in the top 10. My favorite, Jerusalem: A Cookbook, has been a bestseller since [...]

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20. Jill Maxick of Prometheus Books: The Powells.com Interview

For decades, Prometheus Books has put out titles we both love and respect. Prometheus is the leading publisher in the United States of books on free thought, humanism, and atheism — as well as many more titles that serve to fire up the human mind. In fact, that almost seems to be the sole reason [...]

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21. Five Hundred Mountains Destroyed for a @*&%$! Allegory!

I found a hole in the perimeter fence on a Sunday when the haul trucks were idle and I could work my way up the shoulder of mountain undetected. About 100 yards from the site rim, I came into a collar of dying trees — leaves dusted with grey mountain gilings, a forest floor of [...]

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22. I Think You’re Totally Wrong

In this hilarious and thought-provoking book, Powell and Shields spend an extended weekend at a cabin debating the merits of each of their chosen lifestyles. Powell, a stay-at-home dad, is committed to embracing life to the fullest. Shields, a prolific author, believes that life should be devoted to the creation of art. It's an argument [...]

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23. The First Bad Man

Cheryl is our obsessively depraved narrator who winds up taking in her boss’s verbally abusive grown daughter, Clee. An utterly explosive relationship develops between the unlikely pair, resulting in a comically bizarre, heartrending, and wholly unexpected outcome in this brave new work by Miranda July. Books mentioned in this post The First Bad Man Miranda [...]

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24. The Darkest Part of the Forest

Once upon a time, a brother and sister played at killing monsters with songs and swords. But times have changed, and in the tourist town of Fairfold — where fairies are big business — things are getting sinister. Holly Black brings her trademark wit and creepy flair to this lush little story of fairy magic [...]

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25. Amnesia

A twisting thriller-like tale, Carey's timely political drama resonates with disturbing parallels to today's global politics, cyber criminals, and covert CIA actions. Books mentioned in this post Amnesia Peter Carey Sale Hardcover $18.17

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