James's Picks

James grew up in Raleigh but moved to Asheville in 2013 to attend UNCA. Typically on his shelf, you can find a lot of literary fiction, satire, essay collections, works in translation, and graphic novels. When not in the bookstore, James is a standup comedian, but that's not really relevant right now. He also met Weird Al once.

 

 

Books: 
How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9781328764522
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: Mariner Books - April 17th, 2018

In "How to Write an Autobiographical Novel", Alexander Chee demonstrates all of the winning characteristics of a good essayist.  He is candid, lyrical, and not overly interested in painting himself in a positive light. The stories range from his time in school to his current day experiences as an LGBQT activist and force of good.  By the end of his stories, the reader feels that they have learned something new about a dear friend. 


The Memory Police: A Novel Cover Image
By Yoko Ogawa, Stephen Snyder (Translated by)
$25.95
ISBN: 9781101870600
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: Pantheon - August 13th, 2019

A great read full of dystopian dread and government corruption. In a world where the powers at be can make an announcement and an object no longer exists, our narrator struggles to control her artistic and personal life. Filled with the magical sparseness Yoko Ogawa has become known for, The Memory Police is an extremely readable, dark fantasy.


On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780525562023
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: Penguin Press - June 4th, 2019

Ocean Vuong's novel radiates the unshakeable beauty of his poetry. Little Dog's story stays with the reader long after the last page.


The New Me Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780143133605
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: Penguin Books - March 5th, 2019

Butler's tale of millennial burnout is rife with acidic humor and awkward charm. "The New Me" features Millie, a misanthropic thirty-year-old perpetually bouncing between temp jobs. She is relatable in an almost cringe-worthy way, reminding readers how funny we can be at our moments of weakness.


Normal People: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781984822178
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: Hogarth - April 16th, 2019

Have you ever met someone who makes you think, "Wow, this person just gets it."? Sally Rooney gets it. She has an understanding of young romance and isolation that cuts through the fluff and gets to the heart of the matter. A future classic.


They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us Cover Image
By Hanif Abdurraqib, Eve L. Ewing (Foreword by)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781937512651
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Two Dollar Radio - November 7th, 2017

Abdurraqib's greatest strength is his ability to discuss what he likes with unabashed freedom. One moment he is discussing Prince's otherwordly essence, the next he is quoting Pete Wentz. Read this book!


Staff Pick Badge
Klara and the Sun: A novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593318171
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - March 2nd, 2021

Ishiguro writes beautifully like always. This time deploying his unique brand of quiet, emotional sci-fi.  The novel is a page turner that feels in line with literature's past visions of the future while still keeping the ball moving forward. I was enthralled in every moment spent with Klara.


Doxology: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9780062877789
Published: Ecco - August 27th, 2019

Doxology springs from the mind of Nell Zink armed with guitars and old school New York snarl. The characters, all looking to reinvent themselves in contrast to their respective families, carry themselves with a sort of defensive charm. Their interactions are all very of the time, late nineties into post 9/11 America, in a way that fills each exchange with an intriguing dialogue that is both refreshing and challenging. These characters have alot of heart though, and that bleeds through on every page. Also, if you even have a passing interest in second wave New York alternative music, this book is a must.


The Lonesome Bodybuilder: Stories Cover Image
By Yukiko Motoya, Asa Yoneda (Translator)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781593766788
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: Soft Skull Press - November 6th, 2018

These short stories are wonderfully weird and quirky, while still capturing the ordinary doldrums of everyday life. Motoya's characters are familiar and relatable making each story all the more gripping as they venture off into the absurd. The collection's voice is totally original and I don't think you will read anything like this book!


There There Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525436140
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - May 7th, 2019

Believe the hype. Tommy Orange's debut is a dazzling literary feat. A novel that demands to be heard and felt by anyone who picks it up.


Infinite Country: A Novel Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781982159467
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster - March 2nd, 2021

Patricia Engel’s new book is a true gem. A family story where each voice is equally interesting and dynamic. A great examination on the brutish nature of the US towards people traveling stateside looking for opportunity. Your heart breaks and mends and breaks all over again for this family. In less than 200 pages, Engel works magic.


Same Same: A Novel Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9780525435884
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: Vintage - February 5th, 2019

This novel is absurd, ridiculous, sometimes off-putting, fun. Mendelsund shows no desire to remain within the confines of traditional storytelling, character, structure, or dialogue, instead opting to whimsically meditate on what it means to truly create something.


Black Is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother's Time, My Mother's Time, and Mine Cover Image
$25.95
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9780451493026
Published: Knopf - January 29th, 2019

Inherent Vice: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143117568
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: Penguin Books - July 27th, 2010

This book was described to me as "Pynchon-lite" compared to his other work, but that worked for me just fine.  I loved the carefree, meandering plot and weird one-off characters.  Part hardboiled mystery, part zany character study, you will not want to stop reading about detective Doc Sportello and his weed-hazed adventures. 


McGlue: A Novella Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780525522768
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: Penguin Books - January 8th, 2019

Ottessa Moshfegh is a master of brutal, unflinching prose. Maybe the least likable protagonist I've ever come accross, the titular McGlue is a reckless, unruly potential murderer who is impossible to ignore. Set on the high seas of the 1850's, each page might as well reek of bilge water and piss. I was compelled. For fans of Herman Melville, The Lighthouse, or any sort of ruthless, mesmerizing lit.


The End of Loneliness: A Novel Cover Image
By Benedict Wells, Charlotte Collins (Translated by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780143134008
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: Penguin Books - January 29th, 2019

In Our Mad and Furious City: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780374175771
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: MCD x FSG Originals - December 11th, 2018

"A searingly current book written from five perspectives in modern day London. Guy Gunaratne writes with deft prose that displays the language of youth while also providing his older characters with the same care and intention. Often the book is quite heavy but as a whole work, it is a necessary answer to our divided times.

Trigger warning: sexual abuse, violence 


Happiness, as Such Cover Image
By Natalia Ginzburg, Minna Proctor (Translated by)
$15.95
ISBN: 9780811227995
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: New Directions - June 25th, 2019

Giinzburg writes a family drama with an aching familiarity. These siblings and their mother are funny, frustrating, and hard to forget. While being somber novel, her prose is often funny and never overly showy. She is so wise while saying very little.


The Ice Cream Man and Other Stories Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781593765934
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: Soft Skull Press - March 3rd, 2020

Sam Pink delivers a unique vision of chaotic brilliance with his collection, Ice Cream Man and Other Stories. My favorite writers keep me on my toes and Pink does this with his vivid characterization and bombastic energy. Not since reading Denis Johnson have I felt a short story collection this gripping.


Basketball (and Other Things): A Collection of Questions Asked, Answered, Illustrated Cover Image
By Shea Serrano, Arturo Torres (Illustrator), Reggie Miller (Foreword by)
$19.99
ISBN: 9781419726477
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Abrams Image - October 10th, 2017

Norwegian Wood (Vintage International) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780375704024
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - September 12th, 2000

Let's Go (So We Can Get Back): A Memoir of Recording and Discording with Wilco, Etc. Cover Image
$28.00
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781101985267
Published: Dutton - November 13th, 2018