Ruth's Picks

Ruth began as a bookseller at Market Street Bookshop on Cape Cod in 2017 and hasn't left the stacks since. She moved to Vermont after graduating from Clark University with a degree in Sociology. She has worked at Phoenix Books in Burlington since 2020.

Ruth's greatest accomplishment is that she has listened to the full audiobook of David Sedaris's diaries, Theft by Finding nine times. Her second greatest accomplishment is that she drove across the country solo in 2021 and only got one speeding ticket.

Ruth is happiest reading in her tent under the light of her headlamp or performing stand-up comedy at the Vermont Comedy Club. Her favorite genres are poetry, essay, memoir, short story, and literary fiction. Ask her about Joan Didion or Susan Sontag and watch her eyes light up!

The Word Pretty, by Elisa Gabbert

Reviewed by: 
Ruth
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The Word Pretty By Elisa Gabbert Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9781939568267
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Black Ocean - November 15th, 2018

The experience of reading this book = PURE DELIGHT. I love Elisa Gabbert's mind -- wandering, playful, and full of niche facts and interests. I devoured each essay like candy ("just one more!"), and at its conclusion I declared Gabbert my new favorite nonfiction writer.


Comedy Book: How Comedy Conquered Culture - And the Magic That Makes It Work, by Jesse David Fox

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Ruth
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Comedy Book: How Comedy Conquered Culture–and the Magic That Makes It Work By Jesse David Fox Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780374604714
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - November 7th, 2023

Jesse David Fox is the perfect person to write a book on the history and culture of comedy because he has an encyclopedic knowledge of the art form but is also NOT A COMEDIAN so he's not a narcissistic a**hole (I say this as a comic myself). This book is a funny, brilliant gem for casual fans and comedy buffs alike.

P.S.: Check out his amazing podcast, Good One, in which he sits down with famous comedians and breaks down a single joke of theirs for a whole hour!


I Do Everything I'm Told, by Megan Fernandes

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Ruth
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I Do Everything I'm Told By Megan Fernandes Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781953534880
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Tin House Books - June 20th, 2023

Have you ever seen Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown or No Reservations? Megan Fernandes's poems make me feel like I do after a great episode of those shows: a little drunk, romantic about the world, yearning to travel, the color of everything turned up a notch. Like Bourdain, Fernande's sass (and there's a lot of it) is underpinned by a dark realism. Those qualities, plus a willingness to play with form, combine to create a stunning collection.


Emergency by Kathleen Alcott

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Ruth
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Emergency: Stories By Kathleen Alcott Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781324051886
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - July 18th, 2023

This is a potent, heartbreaking, life-affirming collection. That being said, this is not a "quick" or "light" read. Alcott's sentences are dense, intricate and complex knots of language, and yet there is never a moment when you feel she has lost control. By the end of the second story, I had declared Kathleen Alcott my short-fiction God and vowed to follow her and her characters to the ends of the earth.


Things I Didn't Do with This Body by Amanda Gunn

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Ruth

 

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Things I Didn't Do with This Body By Amanda Gunn Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781556596582
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Copper Canyon Press - May 23rd, 2023

This book contains perhaps my favorite writing on mental illness and hospitalization that I've ever read. The poem "Admissions" is a personal favorite, capturing the strange, arbitrary, and sometimes funny rules and regulations that come with psychiatric hospitalization (an experience that I share). Amanda Gunn is a gift and I am so excited by this fresh new debut.


Things I Didn't Do with This Body by Amanda Gunn

Reviewed by: 
Ruth

 

Staff Pick Badge
Things I Didn't Do with This Body By Amanda Gunn Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781556596582
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Copper Canyon Press - May 23rd, 2023

This book contains perhaps my favorite writing on mental illness and hospitalization that I've ever read. The poem Admissions is a personal favorite, capturing the strange, arbitrary, and sometimes funny rules and regulations that come with psychiatric hospitalization (an experience that I share). Amanda Gunn is a gift and I am so excited by this fresh new debut.


Nevada by Imogen Binnie

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Ruth
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Nevada: A Novel By Imogen Binnie Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780374606619
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: MCD x FSG Originals - June 7th, 2022

Meet Maria, the protagonist of Nevada and my new fictional best friend. Her favorite word is “whatever.” She is trans and Trying to Figure That Out. She is also freshly single and just got fired and kind of homeless and Trying to Figure That Out Too... without retreating into herself like she always does. Eventually, Maria "borrows" her ex's car and drives west. Trust me when I say you want to drive west with her.

Imogen Bonnie wrote this propulsive, luminous firecracker of a book in 2013. My hope is that this new edition released in 2022 will find new readers, because this is a book that really could change the world.


Butts by Heather Radke

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Ruth
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Butts: A Backstory By Heather Radke Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781982135485
Availability: Not in stock. At Our Partner Warehouse: Usually Ships in 4-7 Days
Published: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster - November 29th, 2022

Behind this gloriously cheeky cover (ha!) lies a brilliant tour de force that I couldn't put down. The history of the butt, it turns out, says a lot about us humans! From colonialism to Nicki Minaj and everything in between, this is a fantastic and fascinating read.


The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon

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Ruth
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The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (Harper Perennial Deluxe Editions) By Michael Chabon Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062072238
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Harper Perennial Modern Classics - May 3rd, 2011

I've always loved the word "rollicking," and for The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, it is the perfect descriptor. This book is a ROLLICKING coming-of-age joyride of a book. Michael Chabon has perfectly depicted the feelings that fill the air when you're a late teen and it's the summertime. Humor and sadness and heartbreak and hope! First love! Sneaking beers and doing other dumb things with your dumb friends! This book almost makes me miss being a teenager. Almost.


The Hard Crowd

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Ruth
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The Hard Crowd: Essays 2000-2020 By Rachel Kushner Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781982157708
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Scribner - March 15th, 2022

Rachel Kushner is a badass whose essays are gritty and luminous. The thread that runs through this eclectic collection is ADVENTURE -- the kind that happens on motorcycles as well as the intellectual kind. I listened to this on Libro.fm while driving across the United States, and it kept me feeling alive whenever the road got monotonous. Rachel Kushner is one hell of a tour guide.
 


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