Ruth's Picks

Ruth is a recent college graduate from Massachusetts who moved to Vermont in 2020 on a whim and still can't quite believe she gets to live in this beautiful place. Her greatest accomplishment is that she has listened to the full audiobook of David Sedaris's diaries, Theft by Finding, seven times. She keeps at least 3 collections of poetry by her bedside at all times. She is also a writer herself, and has competed in multiple poetry slams. When she isn't reading books, looking at books, or thinking about books, she is eating cookie dough and planning her next road trip. Her favorite genres are poetry, essays, memoir, short story, sociology, and literary fiction. Ruth loves getting asked for book recommendations!

Walkman by Michael Robbins

Reviewed by: 
Ruth
Staff Pick Badge
Walkman (Penguin Poets) Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780143134909
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Penguin Books - June 1st, 2021

I picked up this book for its stunning cover and was delighted to find that the poems inside it are even more stunning. The first line of the poem "Past One O'clock" tells you all you need to know:

"I'll quit smoking as soon as I get lung cancer. The young don't smoke anymore, they join gyms. I can't help thinking they've misunderstood something."

Robbins is a poet for those of us who lie awake and wonder about what ever happened to our Walkmans, to our childhood crushes... those of us who spend every night trying to recreate the nights when we were seventeen and anything could happen. Oh, and these poems are funny as hell. 


No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July

Reviewed by: 
Ruth
Staff Pick Badge
No One Belongs Here More Than You: Stories Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780743299411
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Scribner - May 6th, 2008

For fans of Ottessa Moshfegh, this collection is alive with absurdity and awkwardness. In one of my favorite stories, a woman teaches seniors how to swim on the floor of her kitchen; in another, a woman fears that removing a birthmark will make her husband love her less. Humans do strange things to connect with one another, and July's intuitive understanding of this fact makes her a delight to read. 


Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

Reviewed by: 
Ruth
Staff Pick Badge
Conversations with Friends: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780451499066
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Hogarth - August 7th, 2018

Reading this book was like holding a mirror up to myself. The main characters are insecure, but also pretentious; obsessed with morality but morally inept; critical of conventional social hierarchies but inescapably enmeshed in them. And still, years after reading this book, I can't stop thinking about them.


Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

Reviewed by: 
Ruth
Staff Pick Badge
The Anthropocene Reviewed (Signed Edition): Essays on a Human-Centered Planet Cover Image
$28.00
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9780525555216
Published: Dutton - May 18th, 2021

Yes, you know who John Green is, but you've never known him like this. These essays expertly weave together history and memoir, searching for truths about humanity in the strangest of places-- Super Mario Kart, for instance, and the Bonneville Salt Flats. Monopoly, CNN, and "our capacity for wonder." This book is a wonderful gift, a bedside treasure, and a beach read of the highest caliber.

I give the Anthropocene Reviewed five stars. 


In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

Staff Pick Badge
In the Dream House: A Memoir Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781644450383
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Graywolf Press - December 1st, 2020

This book shook me to my core. Each chapter rarely extends longer than 1 page and explores a different facet of an abusive queer relationship through the lens of a different literary trope (stoner comedy, noir, déjà vu, etc.). As in her critically acclaimed book of short stories, Her Body and Other Parties, Machado's strength lies in her ability to create suspense and horror out of domestic life, Although this is a work of non-fiction, it reads like a thriller. -Ruth, Burlington


Girlhood by Melissa Febos

Reviewed by: 
Ruth
Staff Pick Badge
Girlhood Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781635572520
Availability: Not in stock. At Our Partner Warehouse: Usually Ships in 4-7 Days.
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - March 30th, 2021

"I had learned about the male gaze in women’s studies classes, but knew no way to dig it out of me," writes Febos. This books is for feminists who are looking back at their own girlhoods and wondering when and why they began to see their body through others' eyes, where along the way their voices got smaller and their "no"s became diluted or disappeared altogether. This was a book I didn't know I needed until I found it. -Ruth, Burlington


Having and Being Had By Eula Biss

Reviewed by: 
Ruth
Staff Pick Badge
Having and Being Had Cover Image
$26.00
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9780525537458
Published: Riverhead Books - September 1st, 2020

In this collection of luminous short essays, Eula Biss mines the minutiae of everyday life to understand her precarious relationship with wealth. Much like Maggie Nelson, Biss embraces contradiction and is unafraid to draw from a wide array of fields-- art, philosophy, history, and economics, to name a few. This might just be my favorite non-fiction book of the year.


Let Me Tell You What I Mean by Joan Didion

Reviewed by: 
Ruth
Staff Pick Badge
Let Me Tell You What I Mean Cover Image
$23.00
ISBN: 9780593318485
Availability: Not in stock. At Our Partner Warehouse: Usually Ships in 4-7 Days.
Published: Knopf - January 26th, 2021

A new Didion collection? Yes, please. From the Monica Lewinsky scandal (a genuinely fresh take) to a fierce defense of Hemmingway's posthumously published novel (he didn't consent to it's publication!), to thoughtful musings on the life of a writer, these essays are a master-class in great writing.


Leaving the Atocha Station By Ben Lerner

Reviewed by: 
Ruth
Staff Pick Badge
Leaving the Atocha Station Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566892742
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Coffee House Press - August 23rd, 2011

This novel follows Adam, a self-doubting stoner poet on scholarship in Madrid. He is equal parts riotously funny and frustratingly unmotivated. Coincidentally, these are all descriptions that apply to me, which might be why this is one of my favorite books of all time. Or maybe it's because it's gorgeously written? Either way, read it.


Bad Behavior By Mary Gaitskill

Reviewed by: 
Ruth
Staff Pick Badge
Bad Behavior: Stories Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781439148877
Availability: Not in stock. At Our Partner Warehouse: Usually Ships in 4-7 Days.
Published: Simon & Schuster - July 21st, 2009

Mary Gaitskill is the QUEEN of character description. Her sentences snap with wit and specificity, and every page or two you'll hit a line that captures the human condition so precisely... its magic. Here's one: “At times she had thought that this was the only kind of connection you could have with people—intense, inexplicable and ultimately incomplete.” 

These stories are not for the faint of heart--some are graphically sexual in a way that Gaitskill has become famous for--but she handles even the most intimate encounters masterfully, and they always have a purpose. The best way to read this collection is cover to cover; you won't want to skip a single story. If you like Ottessa Moshfegh, you'll love Gaitskill!


Pages