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1. The Best Fiction of 2014

Few topics are more contentious at Powell's than agreeing on the "best" works of fiction. Our tastes run the gamut from experimental tragicomedies to multi-generational sagas to offbeat coming-of-age tales to surreal character studies... and so on. As such, rather than present selections from one perspective, we thought it wise to get a more representative [...]

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2. The Best Nonfiction of 2014

A lot is made of the romance of bookstores. The smell of paper! The joy of discovery! The ancient, cracking leather bindings of books with dated inscriptions! And it's true that bookstores are magical places to browse and linger — just maybe not in the two days before Christmas. Because in the swirling mad hum [...]

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3. The Powell’s Playlist: Richard McGuire

My book Here has just been released; it is a graphic novel that shows one location, a suburban living room, over the span of billions of years. The book is loosely based around my childhood home. While preparing this playlist, it occurred to me how we all get branded by the music we grew up [...]

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4. Best Fantasy/Sci-Fi of 2014

Here are the books that knocked my socks off in 2014. All of them would make great gifts; each of them was truly something that evoked that inexpressible delight of finding an author you are excited about. ÷ ÷ ÷ Prince of Fools (Red Queen's War #1) by Mark Lawrence Prince of Fools is essentially [...]

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5. Best YA Fiction of 2014

So what is with all the hullabaloo about young adult literature these days? Do we have John Green to blame for getting us sucked in to the tragic sagas in coming-of-age children's books? I am in the fourth decade of my life, and I found myself pulled into the throws of YA lit this year, [...]

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6. How Is Fantasy Different from Fairy Tale?

Fairy tale is a country of the mind where there are many inhabitants stretching back into deep time, and we're like people before Babel, we speak a common tongue: fairy tales exist in a symbolic Esperanto, with familiar motifs and images and characters and plots taking on new shapes and colors and sounds. One of [...]

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7. Best Cookbooks of 2014

As the cookbook buyer for Powell's Books, I am the lucky one who gets to choose every new cookbook that comes into our stores. This means I have a pretty sweet cookbook collection, but I try to keep my shelves under control by limiting myself to only one bookcase of cookbooks. When a new cookbook [...]

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8. Best Kids’ Books of 2014

No, I'm sorry, it's impossible. The best kids' books of 2014? The best? Can't do it. There have been entirely too many exceptional examples of the smart, the hilarious, the exciting, the heartfelt, and the downright weird. To think we could pick just a handful and call them the absolute best for the whole 12 [...]

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9. William Gibson: What I’m Giving

At Powell's, we feel the holidays are the perfect time to share our love of books with those close to us. For this special blog series, we reached out to authors featured in our Holiday Gift Guide to learn about their own experiences with book giving during this bountiful time of year. Today's featured giver [...]

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10. Fred Armisen: What I’m Giving

At Powell's, we feel the holidays are the perfect time to share our love of books with those close to us. For this special blog series, we reached out to authors featured in our Holiday Gift Guide to learn about their own experiences with book giving during this bountiful time of year. Today's featured giver [...]

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11. Mary Oliver: What I’m Giving

At Powell's, we feel the holidays are the perfect time to share our love of books with those close to us. For this special blog series, we reached out to authors featured in our Holiday Gift Guide to learn about their own experiences with book giving during this bountiful time of year. Today's featured giver [...]

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12. Cary Elwes: What I’m Giving

At Powell's, we feel the holidays are the perfect time to share our love of books with those close to us. For this special blog series, we reached out to authors featured in our Holiday Gift Guide to learn about their own experiences with book giving during this bountiful time of year. Today's featured giver [...]

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13. Edward O. Wilson: What I’m Giving

At Powell's, we feel the holidays are the perfect time to share our love of books with those close to us. For this special blog series, we reached out to authors featured in our Holiday Gift Guide to learn about their own experiences with book giving during this bountiful time of year. Today's featured giver [...]

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14. Neil Patrick Harris: What I’m Giving

At Powell's, we feel the holidays are the perfect time to share our love of books with those close to us. For this special blog series, we reached out to authors featured in our Holiday Gift Guide to learn about their own experiences with book giving during this bountiful time of year. Today's featured giver [...]

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15. Eleanor Catton: What I’m Giving

At Powell's, we feel the holidays are the perfect time to share our love of books with those close to us. For this special blog series, we reached out to authors featured in our Holiday Gift Guide to learn about their own experiences with book giving during this bountiful time of year. Today's featured giver [...]

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16. The Collected Poems of James Laughlin

Fall has brought us a true gift in the publication of the massive The Collected Poems of James Laughlin, published by New Directions in an exceptionally beautiful hardcover edition. The book includes an inexhaustible number of poems, in a lovely 1,214(!) page tome. Laughlin is best known as the founder of New Directions Publishing, the [...]

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17. Our Favorite New Favorites of 2014

Every week, we gather together a small pile of newly released titles that we agree should be on everyone's radar. We deem these titles our New Favorites (check out our recent picks here). Now that the year is winding down, we thought we'd take a look back at some of the standouts, in case you [...]

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18. Mixtape and Mashup — A Brief Guide to Books Born from Other Works of Art

Fade in on the Mission Dolores, the fictional gravesite of Carlotta Valdes in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. One block away, two writers with their first jobs teaching creative writing (okay, it was us!) decide to collaborate on a book of short stories that respond to classic and cult movies. We try — and fail — to [...]

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19. Salty Caramels and Black Licorice Duo

An inspired pairing of two Oregon originals — Jacobsen Salt and artisan candy maker Quin — this distinctive duo of candies boasts a deliciously salty twist. A sweet surprise for candy lovers with a tooth for salty treats. Books mentioned in this post Salty Caramel and Black Licorice Duo Jacobsen Salt Gifts Miscellaneous $38.00

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20. Puppies(!) for Sale? Read This First

Shake Puppies contains an almost unsettling amount of cuteness. There is a good chance after looking through its pages you will get puppy fever and be thrown into an unwavering quest for your next pet. Here is my sound advice if you are indeed afflicted by this condition: Rescue your next dog! Hear me say [...]

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21. The Hot Sex Tip Cosmo Won’t Tell You

Cosmopolitan Magazine recently released an article titled "28 Mind-Blowing Lesbian Sex Positions." Where was this vital information when I was a teenager? How much more fulfilling would my young life have been if I had known about "The Rocket," "The Kinky Jockey," or "Defying Gravity," a position in which one receives oral sex while performing [...]

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22. Beyond the Headlines: Lena Dunham and Millennial Feminism

First, a confession: I hate-watched the first two seasons of Lena Dunham's Girls. Every situation and character on the show made me cringe. Most scenes involve unpleasant people having unpleasant sex, or scheming to have (unpleasant) sex, or dealing with the discomfort of trying to avoid or distance themselves from earlier, unpleasant sex. Sure there [...]

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23. Writing as Puzzle

I loved books, loved stories, loved being read to at an early age and then reading for myself — that's true for most writers. But looking back, I can see a parallel interest, one I never considered related to all of that reading I did. We lived near my mother's parents, and once or twice [...]

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24. New Cookbooks for October and November: Potluck Time!

October/November is a favorite time in our offices. These are the months when scads of cookbooks are released, a deluge of cookbooks, a tornado of cookbooks. To judge by my desk, it's a perfect (or, rather, imperfect) storm of cookbooks. I have over 50 newly released books piled up, with another pile of yet-to-be-released titles [...]

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25. Powell’s Q&A: Ron Rash

Describe your latest book/project/work. Something Rich and Strange is a collection of selected stories, including three stories previously unpublished in book form. Introduce one other author you think people should read, and suggest a good book with which to start. Donald Harington is as underrated as any America writer I know of, and I'd suggest [...]

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