Phil's Picks

Reviewed by: 
Phil
A Wild Swan: And Other Tales Cover Image
By Michael Cunningham, Yuko Shimizu (Illustrator)
$26.68
ISBN: 9780374290252
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - November 10th, 2015

Cunningham has reimagined some classic tales, fleshing them out to provide the bits that never were told - humor and compassion which bring the tales to life like never before. Brilliantly illustrated by Yuko Shimizu. Fairy tales for our times.


A Wild Swan: And Other Tales Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781250097309
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador USA - October 25th, 2016

Reviewed by: 
Phil
The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories Cover Image
By Ken Liu
$24.99
ISBN: 9781481442541
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Saga Press - March 8th, 2016

At it's most useful, science fiction and fantasy points to and expands on some new or problematic aspect of contemporary society. And few writers bring the issues and concerns of the real world into their imagined worlds as deftly as Liu, whose stories return ever again to the ideas around heritage, identity, personhood, and family. A unique talent.


Reviewed by: 
Phil
How to Be Drawn Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780143126881
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - March 31st, 2015

Hayes' poetic voice is a vital part of my poetry intake. Meaning-making, music-making, whatever poetry is, whatever happens to make a collection of words glimmer from the page to detonate in the mind...Hayes does this repeatedly. A new collection from Hayes is the perfect jump-start for readers who need a poetry kick.


Reviewed by: 
Phil
Crow Fair: Stories Cover Image
$30.10
ISBN: 9780385350198
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - March 3rd, 2015

McGuane's stories make me think of a Cormac McCarthy tale as directed by Joel and Ethan Coen: a dark comedy of errors, told in stark prose with flawed characters doing what is all too human, if tragic and sometimes fatal. Highly recommended.


Reviewed by: 
Phil
The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9781250050397
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador USA - October 7th, 2014

Collins has created a masterful example of visually lyrical storytelling with this perfectly dark fable: a wryly told tale, beautiful page design, exquisite pacing, written with surreal tinges and subtle menace. If the work of Roald Dahl or Tim Burton tickles your fancy, then you will want to check this out.


Reviewed by: 
Phil
Spoiled Brats: Stories Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780316368629
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Little Brown and Company - October 14th, 2014

Having been saved after a century's preservation in a vat of pickle juice, a gaunt, harrowed immigrant tries to survive and make sense of modern hipster culture in contemporary Brooklyn. So begins the novella length "Sell Out", easily the funniest thing I've read. Fans of Woody Allen, B.J. Novak, and Donald Barthelme, take note of Simon Rich.


Reviewed by: 
Phil
Can't and Won't Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780374118587
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - April 8th, 2014

Davis' work might be considered a study in limitation, concerned with the shape of thoughts and how such patterns become revealed in language, ever restricted, refined, and concentrated. These compact pieces further extend and exhibit the hyper-sensitivity to language with which she explores and uncovers the mystique of the otherwise mundane realms of her characters lives.

A wonderful book for linguaphiles and armchair philosophers.


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Phil
July 1914: Countdown to War Cover Image
$20.87
ISBN: 9780465060740
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Basic Books (AZ) - April 29th, 2014

Each day of July 1914 brought the world closer to unimaginable horror. McMeekin traces the fateful encounters and miscommunications between diplomats and sovereigns that shaped the world we know today, including a detailed account of the plot to kill archduke Ferdinand and a blistering epilogue that aims to make the case for ultimate blame.

Great for history and military buffs.


Reviewed by: 
Phil
Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780679644057
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - October 22nd, 2013

Humor and a sly sort of wisdom combine in the poems of Billy Collins to enchant even those readers who do not gravitate toward poetry. His latest collection is the perfect place to start for new readers or those looking to catch up on his latest work. Collins' unique talent is his ability to ground us in the world of everyday concerns, then effortlessly transport us to a new place, where dreams and whimsy mingle with reality.


Reviewed by: 
Phil
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780316204361
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little Brown and Company - October 1st, 2013

Gladwell wants us to consider the radical idea that what we think of as our greatest weakness might really be our greatest strength. And he explores this idea through stories and studies of sports, wealth, and academics as he follows our related misconceptions of weakness and strength. To illustrate his thesis, Gladwell explains the reasons why, once David accepted the challenge in the Valley of Elah, poor Goliath never stood a chance.


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