View your shopping cart.

Laura's Staff Picks

AT THE EXISTENTIALIST CAFE

AT THE EXISTENTIALIST CAFE

$19.95
More Info
Named one of the Ten Best Books of 2016 by the New York Times, a spirited account of a major intellectual movement of the twentieth century and the revolutionary thinkers who came to shape it, by the best-selling author of How to Live Sarah Bakewell.

Paris, 1933: three contemporaries meet over apricot cocktails at the Bec-de-Gaz bar on the rue Montparnasse. They are the young Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and longtime friend Raymond Aron, a fellow philosopher who raves to them about a new conceptual framework from Berlin called Phenomenology. You see, he says, if you are a phenomenologist you can talk about this cocktail and make philosophy out of it!
It was this simple phrase that would ignite a movement, inspiring Sartre to integrate Phenomenology into his own French, humanistic sensibility, thereby creating an entirely new philosophical approach inspired by themes of radical freedom, authentic being, and political activism. This movement would sweep through the jazz clubs and cafés of the Left Bank before making its way across the world as Existentialism.
Featuring not only philosophers, but also playwrights, anthropologists, convicts, and revolutionaries, At the Existentialist Café follows the existentialists' story, from the first rebellious spark through the Second World War, to its role in postwar liberation movements such as anti-colonialism, feminism, and gay rights. Interweaving biography and philosophy, it is the epic account of passionate encounters--fights, love affairs, mentorships, rebellions, and long partnerships--and a vital investigation into what the existentialists have to offer us today, at a moment when we are once again confronting the major questions of freedom, global responsibility, and human authenticity in a fractious and technology-driven world.

BIRD BY BIRD

BIRD BY BIRD

$16.00
More Info
"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'"

"Superb writing advice... hilarious, helpful and provocative." -- "New York Times Book Review."

"A warm, generous and hilarious guide through the writer's world and its treacherous swamps." -- "Los Angeles Times."

"A gift to all of us mortals who write or ever wanted to write... sidesplittingly funny, patiently wise and alternately cranky and kind -- a reveille to get off our duffs and start writing "now," while we still can." -- "Seattle Times."

BLACK SUN

BLACK SUN

$27.99
More Info
From the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Resistance Reborn comes the first book in the Between Earth and Sky trilogy, inspired by the civilizations of the Pre-Columbian Americas and woven into a tale of celestial prophecies, political intrigue, and forbidden magic.

A god will return
When the earth and sky converge
Under the black sun

In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world.

Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man's mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.

Crafted with unforgettable characters, Rebecca Roanhorse has created an epic adventure exploring the decadence of power amidst the weight of history and the struggle of individuals swimming against the confines of society and their broken pasts in the most original series debut of the decade.

BOYFRIEND MATERIAL

BOYFRIEND MATERIAL

$14.99
More Info

"The apotheosis of the rom-com." --Entertainment Weekly, A+ Review
Named a best book of the year by Oprah Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Goodreads, The Washington Post, and more!

WANTED:
One (fake) boyfriend
Practically perfect in every way

Luc O'Donnell is tangentially--and reluctantly--famous. His rock star parents split when he was young, and the father he's never met spent the next twenty years cruising in and out of rehab. Now that his dad's making a comeback, Luc's back in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything.

To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship...and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He's a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he's never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately, apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened.

But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating. And that's when you get used to someone. Start falling for them. Don't ever want to let them go.

Discover the LGBT romance about exact opposites falling in perfectly imperfect love that New York Times and USA Today bestselling author CHRISTINA LAUREN calls "hilarious, witty, tender, and stunning."

HT READ WATER

HOW TO READ WATER

$19.95
More Info
A New York Times Bestseller
A Forbes Top 10 Conservation and Environment Book of 2016

Read the sea like a Viking and interpret ponds like a Polynesian--with a little help from the "natural navigator"!

In his eye-opening books The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs and The Natural Navigator, Tristan Gooley helped readers reconnect with nature by finding direction from the trees, stars, clouds, and more. Now, he turns his attention to our most abundant--yet perhaps least understood--resource.

Distilled from his far-flung adventures--sailing solo across the Atlantic, navigating with Omani tribespeople, canoeing in Borneo, and walking in his own backyard--Gooley shares hundreds of techniques in How to Read Water. Readers will:

  • Find north using puddles
  • Forecast the weather from waves
  • Decode the colors of ponds
  • Spot dangerous water in the dark
  • Decipher wave patterns on beaches, and more!
  • LAB GIRL

    LAB GIRL

    $16.00
    More Info
    National Bestseller

    Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography

    A New York Times Notable Book

    Geobiologist Hope Jahren has spent her life studying trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Lab Girl is her revelatory treatise on plant life--but it is also a celebration of the lifelong curiosity, humility, and passion that drive every scientist. In these pages, Hope takes us back to her Minnesota childhood, where she spent hours in unfettered play in her father's college laboratory. She tells us how she found a sanctuary in science, learning to perform lab work "with both the heart and the hands." She introduces us to Bill, her brilliant, eccentric lab manager. And she extends the mantle of scientist to each one of her readers, inviting us to join her in observing and protecting our environment. Warm, luminous, compulsively readable, Lab Girl vividly demonstrates the mountains that we can move when love and work come together.

    Winner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science/Subaru Science Books & Film Prize for Excellence in Science Books

    Finalist for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award

    One of the Best Books of the Year: The Washington Post, TIME.com, NPR, Slate, Entertainment Weekly, Newsday, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Kirkus Reviews

    MY SISTER THE SERIAL KILLER

    MY SISTER THE SERIAL KILLER

    $14.95
    More Info
    NOMINATED FOR THE 2019 BOOKER PRIZE
    WINNER OF THE LA TIMES BOOK PRIZE FOR MYSTERY/THRILLER
    FINALIST FOR THE 2019 WOMEN'S PRIZE

    Korede's sister Ayoola is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola's third boyfriend in a row is dead, stabbed through the heart with Ayoola's knife. Korede's practicality is the sisters' saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood (bleach, bleach, and more bleach), the best way to move a body (wrap it in sheets like a mummy), and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures to Instagram when she should be mourning her "missing" boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.

    Korede has long been in love with a kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where she works. She dreams of the day when he will realize that she's exactly what he needs. But when he asks Korede for Ayoola's phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and how far she's willing to go to protect her.

    NICKEL BOYS

    NICKEL BOYS

    $15.95
    More Info
    In this Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times bestselling follow-up to The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys unjustly sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.

    When Elwood Curtis, a black boy growing up in 1960s Tallahassee, is unfairly sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, he finds himself trapped in a grotesque chamber of horrors. Elwood's only salvation is his friendship with fellow "delinquent" Turner, which deepens despite Turner's conviction that Elwood is hopelessly naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. As life at the Academy becomes ever more perilous, the tension between Elwood's ideals and Turner's skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades.

    Based on the real story of a reform school that operated for 111 years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers and "should further cement Whitehead as one of his generation's best (Entertainment Weekly).

    WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE

    ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
    Time, Esquire, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Slate, NPR, Entertainment Weekly, Vox, Variety, Christian Science Monitor, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, Literary Hub, BuzzFeed, The New York Public Library

    NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

    NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST

    ONE OF TIME MAGAZINE'S 10 BEST FICTION BOOKS OF THE DECADE

    WINNER OF THE KIRKUS PRIZE

    LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

    LONGLISTED FOR THE ORWELL PRIZE FOR POLITICAL FICTION 2020

    TRUMPET OF THE SWAN

    TRUMPET OF THE SWAN

    $7.99
    More Info

    The delightful classic by E. B. White, author of Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, about overcoming obstacles and the joy of music.

    Like the rest of his family, Louis is a trumpeter swan. But unlike his four brothers and sisters, Louis can't trumpet joyfully. In fact, he can't even make a sound. And since he can't trumpet his love, the beautiful swan Serena pays absolutely no attention to him.

    Louis tries everything he can think of to win Serena's affection--he even goes to school to learn to read and write. But nothing seems to work. Then his father steals him a real brass trumpet. Is a musical instrument the key to winning Louis his love?

    We, and our children, are lucky to have this book. --John Updike

    The Trumpet of the Swan joins E. B. White favorites Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little as classic illustrated novels that continue to speak to today's readers. Whether you curl up with your young reader to share these books or hand them off for independent reading, you are helping to create what are likely to be all-time favorite reading memories.

    WHAT IS NOT YOURS IS NOT YOURS

    WHAT IS NOT YOURS IS NOT YOURS

    $16.00
    More Info
    Transcendent. --The New York Times Book Review

    Flawless. . . another masterpiece from an author who seems incapable of writing anything that's less than brilliant. --NPR

    From the award-winning author of Boy, Snow, Bird and Peaces comes an enchanting collection of intertwined stories.



    Playful, ambitious, and exquisitely imagined, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is cleverly built around the idea of keys, literal and metaphorical. The key to a house, the key to a heart, the key to a secret--Oyeyemi's keys not only unlock elements of her characters' lives, they promise further labyrinths on the other side. In "Books and Roses" one special key opens a library, a garden, and clues to at least two lovers' fates. In "Is Your Blood as Red as This?" an unlikely key opens the heart of a student at a puppeteering school. "'Sorry' Doesn't Sweeten Her Tea" involves a "house of locks," where doors can be closed only with a key--with surprising, unobservable developments. And in "If a Book Is Locked There's Probably a Good Reason for That Don't You Think," a key keeps a mystical diary locked (for good reason).

    Oyeyemi's tales span multiple times and landscapes as they tease boundaries between coexisting realities. Is a key a gate, a gift, or an invitation? What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours captivates as it explores the many possible answers.