Bloomsbury Books Ashland

Bloomsbury Books Ashland

290 E. Main St
Ashland, OR 97520

Open 7-days:
M-Fri 8:30am-9pm
Sat 9am-9pm
Sun 10am-6pm

Home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Specializing in contemporary fiction, children’s books, young adult, local authors, & a large Shakespeare & theater section

After shopping, enjoy your book at… Bloomsbury Coffee House
Organic eats, drinks, treats
Above Bloomsbury Books.
290 E. Main
(541) 482-6112
More about
the cafe…



Ian McEwan
McEwan is near the top of my lists for “best living novelist.” MACHINES LIKE ME is brilliantly entertaining, yet morally layered and thought-provoking. Set in an alternative history of 1980’s London, the story revolves around Charlie, who has spent his inheritance on a new robotically developed human. Adam, on of 23 robots developed by Alan Turing, is capable of falling in love with Shakespeare and Charlie’s girlfriend, and making Charlie lots of money on the stock market. His strict moral code allows no deviance. His superiorities and refusal to deviate from his moral code ask the questions of what it means to be human and the difference between a brain and a mind.     -Sheila

Jared Diamond
Diamond compares how six countries have survived recent upheavals — ranging from the forced opening of Japan by U.S. Commodore Perry’s fleet, to the Soviet Union’s attack on Finland, to a murderous coup or countercoup in Chile and Indonesia, to the transformations of Germany and Austria after World War Two. Because Diamond has lived and spoken the language in five of these six countries, he can present gut-wrenching histories experienced firsthand. These nations coped, to varying degrees, through mechanisms such as acknowledgment of responsibility, painfully honest self-appraisal, and learning from models of other nations. Looking to the future, Diamond examines whether the United States, Japan, and the whole world are successfully coping with the grave crises they currently face. Can we learn from lessons of the past? 

Melinda Gates

For the last twenty years, Melinda Gates has been on a mission to find solutions for people with the most urgent needs, wherever they live. Throughout this journey, one thing has become increasingly clear to her: If you want to lift a society up, you need to stop keeping women down.In this moving and compelling book, Melinda shares lessons she’s learned from the inspiring people she’s met during her work and travels around the world.

David Brooks
This book is meant to help us all lead more meaningful lives. But it’s also a provocative social commentary. We live in a society, Brooks argues, that celebrates freedom, that tells us to be true to ourselves, at the expense of surrendering to a cause, rooting ourselves in a neighborhood, binding ourselves to others by social solidarity and love. We have taken individualism to the extreme–and in the process we have torn the social fabric in a thousand different ways. The path to repair is through making deeper commitments. In The Second Mountain, Brooks shows what can happen when we put commitment-making at the center of our lives.

David McCullough
McCullough tells the story through five major characters: Cutler and Putnam; Cutler’s son Ephraim; and two other men, one a carpenter turned architect, and the other a physician who became a prominent pioneer in American science. They and their families created a town in a primeval wilderness, while coping with such frontier realities as floods, fires, wolves and bears, no roads or bridges, no guarantees of any sort, all the while negotiating a contentious and sometimes hostile relationship with the native people. Like so many of McCullough’s subjects, they let no obstacle deter or defeat them.

Michael Pollan
When Michael Pollan set out to research how LSD and psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) are being used to provide relief to people suffering from difficult-to-treat conditions such as depression, addiction and anxiety, he did not intend to write what is undoubtedly his most personal book. But upon discovering how these remarkable substances are improving the lives not only of the mentally ill but also of healthy people coming to grips with the challenges of everyday life, he decided to explore the landscape of the mind in the first person as well as the third. Thus began a singular adventure into various altered states of consciousness, along with a dive deep into both the latest brain science and the thriving underground community of psychedelic therapists. Pollan sifts the historical record to separate the truth about these mysterious drugs from the myths that have surrounded them since the 1960s, when a handful of psychedelic evangelists inadvertently catalyzed a powerful backlash against what was then a promising field of research.


Chris Rush
Chris Rush was born into a prosperous, fiercely Roman Catholic, New Jersey family. But underneath the gleaming mid-century house, the flawless hostess mom, and the thriving businessman dad ran an unspoken tension that, amid the upheaval of the late 1960s, was destined to fracture their precarious facade. His older sister Donna introduces him to the charismatic Valentine, who places a tab of acid on twelve-year-old Rush’s tongue, proclaiming: “This is sacrament. You are one of us now.” After an unceremonious ejection from an experimental art school, Rush heads to Tuscon to make a major drug purchase and, still barely a teenager, disappears into the nascent American counterculture. Stitching together a ragged assemblage of lowlifes, prophets, and fellow wanderers, he seeks kinship in the communes of the west. His adolescence is spent looking for knowledge, for the divine, for home. Given what Rush confronts on his travels–from ordinary heartbreak to unimaginable violence–it is a miracle he is still alive.

Jacqueline Winspear
When Catherine Saxon, an American correspondent reporting on the war in Europe, is found murdered in her London digs, news of her death is concealed by British authorities. Serving as a linchpin between Scotland Yard and the Secret Service, Robert MacFarlane pays a visit to Maisie Dobbs, seeking her help. He is accompanied by an agent from the US Department of Justice–Mark Scott, the American who helped Maisie get out of Hitler’s Munich in 1938. MacFarlane asks Maisie to work with Scott to uncover the truth about Saxon’s death. As the Germans unleash the full terror of their blitzkrieg upon the British Isles, raining death and destruction from the skies, Maisie must balance the demands of solving this dangerous case with her need to protect Anna, the young evacuee she has grown to love and wants to adopt. Entangled in an investigation linked to the power of wartime propaganda and American political intrigue being played out in Britain, Maisie will face losing her dearest friend–and the possibility that she might be falling in love again.

Barry Lopez

Taking us nearly from pole to pole–from modern megacities to some of the most remote regions on the earth–and across decades of lived experience, Barry Lopez gives us his most far-ranging yet personal work to date, in a book that moves indelibly, immersively, through his travels to six regions of the world.  As he takes us on these myriad travels, Lopez also probes the long history of humanity’s quests and explorations, including the prehistoric peoples who trekked across Skraeling Island in northern Canada, the colonialists who plundered Central Africa, an enlightenment-era Englishman who sailed the Pacific, a Native American emissary who found his way into isolationist Japan, and today’s ecotourists in the tropics. Throughout his journeys–to some of the hottest, coldest, and most desolate places on the globe–and via friendships he forges along the way with scientists, archaeologists, artists and local residents, Lopez searches for meaning and purpose in a broken world.  Horizon is a revelatory, epic work that voices concern and frustration along with humanity and hope–a book that makes you see the world differently, and that is the crowning achievement by one of America’s great thinkers and most humane voices.

Ruth Reichl
When Condé Nast offered Ruth Reichl the top position at America’s oldest epicurean magazine, she declined. She was a writer, not a manager, and had no inclination to be anyone’s boss. Yet Reichl had been reading Gourmetsince she was eight; it had inspired her career. How could she say no?This is the story of a former Berkeley hippie entering the corporate world and worrying about losing her soul. It is the story of the moment restaurants became an important part of popular culture, a time when the rise of the farm-to-table movement changed, forever, the way we eat. Readers will meet legendary chefs like David Chang and Eric Ripert, idiosyncratic writers like David Foster Wallace, and a colorful group of editors and art directors who, under Reichl’s leadership, transformed stately Gourmet into a cutting-edge publication. This was the golden age of print media–the last spendthrift gasp before the Internet turned the magazine world upside down. Complete with recipes, Save Me the Plums is a personal journey of a woman coming to terms with being in charge and making a mark, following a passion and holding on to her dreams–even when she ends up in a place she never expected to be.

Mary Norris
In her New York Times bestseller Between You & Me, Mary Norris delighted readers with her irreverent tales of pencils and punctuation in The New Yorker‘s celebrated copy department. In Greek to Me, she delivers another wise and funny paean to the art of self-expression, this time filtered through her greatest passion: all things Greek. Greek to Me is a charming account of Norris’s lifelong love affair with words and her solo adventures in the land of olive trees and ouzo. Along the way, Norris explains how the alphabet originated in Greece, makes the case for Athena as a feminist icon, goes searching for the fabled Baths of Aphrodite, and reveals the surprising ways Greek helped form English. Filled with Norris’s memorable encounters with Greek words, Greek gods, Greek wine–and more than a few Greek men–Greek to Me is the Comma Queen’s fresh take on Greece and the exotic yet strangely familiar language that so deeply influences our own.

Hendrik Groen
Everyone’s favorite octogenarian is back and, together with his pals in the Old-But-Not-Dead Club, he is more determined than ever to wreak havoc and turn a twinkly eye on the brighter side of life.  After a year spent mourning the death of his beloved friend Eefje, Hendrik may be older and a little more wobbly, but his youthful appetite for mischief hasn’t diminished. When fears arise that the home is set for demolition, it’s up to Hendrik and the Old-But-Not-Dead Club to intervene.

MARCH 25th Reading with Bruce Berger 

We are very excited about our reading on Monday, March 25.  Bruce Berger, who will be joined by friend and local author James Anderson, will be reading selections from his new book DESERT HARVEST.  The book has already received extraordinary reviews from The New York Times Book Review, National Geographic, The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Review of Books, Paris Review with more to come.
“Bruce Berger is an elegant and embodied writer of the American Southwest…take this book into the canyons and let your imagination carry you as Berger carries us into a deeper sensibility of place and time.”
-Terry Tempest Williams



Taylor Jenkins Reid
You know that feeling you get when you’re a few pages into a book and you just know that it’s going to explode your heart into a million pieces? It’s a tingle, a secret being screamed in your ear. Reading DAISY JONES AND THE SIX is like that. “It feels so good, in the beginning.” Daisy Jones is a LA “it” girl with the looks of a Titian angel and a voice like honeyed whiskey poured over gravel. The Six started as a blues and rock band, the brainchild of brothers Billy and Graham Dunne. Separately they are talented musicians; together they become a seminal part of the late 70s rock scene. Until it all falls apart. Written as a documentary, with all the drugs and sex and infighting that makes a compelling episode of MTV’s Behind the Music, DAISY JONES AND THE SIX is about how music can save a life—or destroy it. -Becky

Helem Oyeyemi
Three not haunted houses, four women—three named Lee and one named Gretel—and one gingerbread recipe. The mythology of gingerbread is baked into the Lee family history in this beautifully layered story of family, friendship, and belonging. Like the cookie, Oyeyemi’s novel is substantial, its shape quirky, and its sweetness laced with fire. Devourable, down to the last crumb. I give it three clementines! -Becky

Frans De Waal

Mama’s Last Hug begins with the death of Mama, a chimpanzee matriarch who formed a deep bond with biologist Jan van Hooff. When Mama was dying, van Hooff took the unusual step of visiting her in her night cage for a last hug. Their goodbyes were filmed and went viral. Millions of people were deeply moved by the way Mama embraced the professor, welcoming him with a big smile while reassuring him by patting his neck, in a gesture often considered typically human but that is in fact common to all primates. This story and others like it form the core of De Waal’s argument, showing that humans are not the only species with the capacity for love, hate, fear, shame, guilt, joy, disgust, and empathy. De Waal discusses facial expressions, the emotions behind human politics, the illusion of free will, animal sentience, and, of course, Mama’s life and death. The message is one of continuity between us and other species, such as the radical proposal that emotions are like organs: we don’t have a single organ that other animals don’t have, and the same is true for our emotions. Mama’s Last Hug opens our hearts and minds to the many ways in which humans and other animals are connected, transforming how we view the living world around us.


Ross Gay
In The Book of Delights, one of today’s most original literary voices offers up a genre-defying volume of lyric essays written over one tumultuous year. The first nonfiction book from award-winning poet Ross Gay is a record of the small joys we often overlook in our busy lives. Among Gay’s funny, poetic, philosophical delights: a friend’s unabashed use of air quotes, cradling a tomato seedling aboard an airplane, the silent nod of acknowledgment between the only two black people in a room. But Gay never dismisses the complexities, even the terrors, of living in America as a black man or the ecological and psychic violence of our consumer culture or the loss of those he loves. More than anything other subject, though, Gay celebrates the beauty of the natural world–his garden, the flowers peeking out of the sidewalk, the hypnotic movements of a praying mantis.

Kate Mascarenhas
Can time travel prevent murder? Four women scientists fulfill the vision of HG Wells in the late 1960s by inventing time travel. Their discoveries will lead to madness, murder, and an unexpected love story. In unpretentious writing Mascarenhas explores how a cadre of time travelers invent their own laws, currency, and culture, which supersede the variances across time periods. Moreover, she delves into the psychological impact of time travel on a a traveler’s view of death. If we have the ability to visit our dead in the past, when they are still alive, does anyone’s death even matter—except our own? Funny, moving, philosophical, and relentlessly entertaining. -Becky


Mary Pipher
Women growing older contend with ageism, misogyny, and loss. Yet as Mary Pipher shows, most older women are deeply happy and filled with gratitude for the gifts of life. Their struggles help them grow into the authentic, empathetic, and wise people they have always wanted to be. In Women Rowing North, Pipher offers a timely examination of the cultural and developmental issues women face as they age. Drawing on her own experience as daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, caregiver, clinical psychologist, and cultural anthropologist, she explores ways women can cultivate resilient responses to the challenges they face. “If we can keep our wits about us, think clearly, and manage our emotions skillfully,” Pipher writes, “we will experience a joyous time of our lives. If we have planned carefully and packed properly, if we have good maps and guides, the journey can be transcendent.”


Stephanie Land
At 28, Stephanie Land’s plans of breaking free from the roots of her hometown in the Pacific Northwest to chase her dreams of attending a university and becoming a writer, were cut short when a summer fling turned into an unexpected pregnancy. She turned to housekeeping to make ends meet, and with a tenacious grip on her dream to provide her daughter the very best life possible, Stephanie worked days and took classes online to earn a college degree, and began to write relentlessly.She wrote the true stories that weren’t being told: the stories of overworked and underpaid Americans. Of living on food stamps and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) coupons to eat. Of the government programs that provided her housing, but that doubled as halfway houses. The aloof government employees who called her lucky for receiving assistance while she didn’t feel lucky at all. She wrote to remember the fight, to eventually cut through the deep-rooted stigmas of the working poor.Maid explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it’s like to be in service to them. “I’d become a nameless ghost,” Stephanie writes about her relationship with her clients, many of whom do not know her from any other cleaner, but who she learns plenty about. As she begins to discover more about her clients’ lives-their sadness and love, too-she begins to find hope in her own path.Her compassionate, unflinching writing as a journalist gives voice to the “servant” worker, and those pursuing the American Dream from below the poverty line. Maid is Stephanie’s story, but it’s not her alone. It is an inspiring testament to the strength, determination, and ultimate triumph of the human spirit. -We will be hosting an author talk with Stephanie Land in late March-

Pam Houston
On her 120-acre homestead high in the Colorado Rockies, beloved writer Pam Houston learns what it means to care for a piece of land and the creatures on it. Elk calves and bluebirds mark the changing seasons, winter temperatures drop to 35 below, and lightning sparks a 110,000-acre wildfire, threatening her century-old barn and all its inhabitants. Through her travels from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska, she explores what ties her to the earth, the ranch most of all. Alongside her devoted Irish wolfhounds and a spirited troupe of horses, donkeys, and Icelandic sheep, the ranch becomes Houston’s sanctuary, a place where she discovers how the natural world has mothered and healed her after a childhood of horrific parental abuse and neglect. -We will be hosting an author talk with Pam Houstan in late March-

Marlon James
Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: “He has a nose,” people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard. As Tracker follows the boy’s scent–from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers–he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying? Drawing from African history and mythology and his own rich imagination, Marlon James has written a novel unlike anything that’s come before it: a saga of breathtaking adventure that’s also an ambitious, involving read. Defying categorization and full of unforgettable characters, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is both surprising and profound as it explores the fundamentals of truth, the limits of power, and our need to understand them both.

Valeria Luiselli
A mother and father set out with their two children, a boy and a girl, driving from New York to Arizona in the heat of summer. Their destination: Apacheria, the place the Apaches once called home.Why Apaches? asks the ten-year-old son. Because they were the last of something, answers his father.In their car, they play games and sing along to music. But on the radio, there is news about an “immigration crisis”: thousands of kids trying to cross the southwestern border into the United States, but getting detained–or lost in the desert along the way.As the family drives–through Virginia to Tennessee, across Oklahoma and Texas–we sense they are on the brink of a crisis of their own. A fissure is growing between the parents, one the children can almost feel beneath their feet. They are led, inexorably, to a grand, harrowing adventure–both in the desert landscape and within the chambers of their own imaginations.Told through several compelling voices, blending texts, sounds, and images, Lost Children Archive is an astonishing feat of literary virtuosity. It is a richly engaging story of how we document our experiences, and how we remember the things that matter to us the most. With urgency and empathy, it takes us deep into the lives of one remarkable family as it probes the nature of justice and equality today. -We have a few first edition signed copies in store!-

Benjamin Dreyer
We all write, all the time: books, blogs, emails. Lots and lots of emails. And we all want to write better. Benjamin Dreyer is here to help.As Random House’s copy chief, Dreyer has upheld the standards of the legendary publisher for more than two decades. He is beloved by authors and editors alike–not to mention his followers on social media–for deconstructing the English language with playful erudition. Now he distills everything he has learned from the myriad books he has copyedited and overseen into a useful guide not just for writers but for everyone who wants to put their best prose foot forward.As authoritative as it is amusing, Dreyer’s English offers lessons on punctuation, from the underloved semicolon to the enigmatic en dash; the rules and nonrules of grammar, including why it’s OK to begin a sentence with “And” or “But” and to confidently split an infinitive; and why it’s best to avoid the doldrums of the Wan Intensifiers and Throat Clearers, including “very,” “rather,” “of course,” and the dreaded “actually.” Chockful of advice, insider wisdom, and fun facts, this book will prove to be invaluable to everyone who wants to shore up their writing skills, mandatory for people who spend their time editing and shaping other people’s prose, and–perhaps best of all–an utter treat for anyone who simply revels in language. 


Katherine Arden
Now, in the conclusion to this powerful trilogy, Moscow has been struck by disaster. Its people are searching for answers–and someone to blame. Vasya finds herself alone, beset on all sides. The Grand Prince is in a rage, choosing allies that will lead him on a path to war and ruin. A wicked demon returns, stronger than ever, determined to spread chaos. Caught at the center of this conflict is Vasya, who finds the fate of both worlds resting on her shoulders. With her destiny uncertain, Vasya must uncover surprising truths about herself and her history as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all.

Kamala Harris
From one of America’s most inspiring political leaders, a book about the core truths that unite us, and the long struggle to discern what those truths are and how best to act upon them, in her own life and across the life of our country. By reckoning with the big challenges we face together, drawing on the hard-won wisdom and insight from her own career and the work of those who have most inspired her, Kamala Harris offers in [this book] a master class in problem solving, in crisis management, and leadership in challenging times. Through the arc of her own life, on into the great work of our day, she communicates a vision of shared struggle, shared purpose, and shared values. In a book rich in many home truths, not least is that a relatively small number of people work very hard to convince a great many of us that we have less in common than we actually do, but it falls to us to look past them and get on with the good work of living our common truth. When we do, our shared effort will continue to sustain us and this great nation, now and in the years to come.

Diane Setterfield
On a dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the river Thames, an extraordinary event takes place. The regulars are telling stories to while away the dark hours, when the door bursts open on a grievously wounded stranger. In his arms is the lifeless body of a small child. Hours later, the girl stirs, takes a breath, and returns to life. Is it a miracle? Is it magic? Or can science provide an explanation? These questions have many answers, some of them quite dark indeed.

Naomi Alderman
Now in paperback! A small twist of nature – teenage girls now have the power to cause agonizing pain and even death. The world drastically changes. THE POWER is speculative fiction at its most ambitious and provocative, taking us on a thrilling journey to an alternate reality while exposing our own world.

Jo Nesbo
Now in paperback! Set in the 1970s in a run-down, rainy industrial town, Jo Nesbo‘s Macbeth centers around a police force struggling to shed an incessant drug problem. Duncan, chief of police, is idealistic and visionary, a dream to the townspeople but a nightmare for criminals. The drug trade is ruled by two drug lords, one of whom–a master of manipulation named Hecate–has connections with the highest in power, and plans to use them to get his way.
Hecate’s plot hinges on steadily, insidiously manipulating Inspector Macbeth: the head of SWAT and a man already susceptible to violent and paranoid tendencies. What follows is an unputdownable story of love and guilt, political ambition, and greed for more, exploring the darkest corners of human nature, and the aspirations of the criminal mind.

Christine Mangan
Now in paperback! This is a deeply atmospheric and disturbing debut. Reading Tangerine is like drinking a gin martini that is icy enough to hurt your teeth and strong enough to burn all the way down. Morocco, 1956. The air is tight with both heat and the start of revolution. Two former college roommates are entangled in a psychological dance reminiscent of Patricia Highsmith, Shirley Jackson, and Daphne du Maurier. -Becky



Barbara Kingsolver
How could two hardworking people do everything right in life and end up destitute? A timely novel that explores the human capacity for resiliency and compassion in times of great upheaval by one of our most beloved and acclaimed authors.

Delia Owens
“A painfully beautiful first novel that is at once a murder mystery, a coming-of-age narrative and a celebration of nature.” – “N.Y. Times Books Review” One of the best novels of 2018.

John Grisham
A murder mystery, a courtroom drama, a family saga – one of his most powerful, surprising and suspenseful thrillers yet.

Haruki Murakami
A stunning work of the imagination from one of the world’s greatest writers.

Kate Morton
A love affair and a mysterious murder cast the shadows across generations in this spellbinding novel in the grand storytelling tradition of Daphne DuMaurier.

Tommy Orange
A groundbreaking, extraordinary novel about twelve unforgettable characters, Urban Indians, living in Oakland, Calif. This is the novel that everyone is talking about, and it’s destined to be a classic.

Rebecca Makkai
Short-listed for the National Book Award, this emotionally riveting novel captures the heartbreak of the AIDS epidemic so poignantly, reminding us of how may young, often brilliant, people were lost to it and how it affected those who loved them.

Michael Ondaatje
Set in post-WWII London, this is a vivid, thrilling novel of violence and love, intrigue and desire from the author of THE ENGLISH PATIENT.

Richard Powers
A monumental novel about trees and people, activism and resistance, that is also a stunning evocation of – and a paean to – the natural world.

Madeline Miller
A bold and subversive retelling of the goddess’s story, recasting the most infamous female figure from the Odyssey as a hero in her own right.

Tana French
From the writer who has been called “incandescent” by Stephen King and “absolutely mesmerizing” by Gillian Flynn – “her best and most intricately nuanced novel yet.” ~ “NY Times”

Naomi Novik
Bookseller Becky Petterson’s ardent championship has made this complex and magical story a Bloomsbury bestseller. A fresh and imaginative retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale, it is one of the year’s strongest fantasy novels.

Michelle Obama
The publishing event of the year is an intimate, powerful and inspiring memoir by the former and beloved First Lady of the United States.

Yuval Noah Harari
In SAPIENS, he explored our past. In HOMO DEUS, he looked to our future. Now, one of the most innovative thinkers on the planet turns to the present to make sense of today’a most pressing issues in twenty-one accessible chapters, both provocative and profound.

Anne Lamott
The book we need from her now: How to bring hope back into our lives.

Susan Orlean
A dazzling love letter to a beloved institution – and an investigation into one of its greatest mysteries – from the best-selling author hailed as a “national treasure” by the “Washington Post.”

Michael Pollan
A brilliant and fascinating investigation,by the author of OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA, into the scientific revolution taking place around psychedelic drugs – and the fascinating story of his own life-changing psychedelic experiences.

Stephen Hawking
Will humanity survive? Should we colonize space? Does God exist? These are just a few of the questions addressed in the final book from one of the greatest minds in history.

Tara Westover
An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University.

Doris Kearns Goodwin
The respected and accessible historian gives us a strong and resonant addition to the literature of the presidency. “A marvelous bouquet with four great presidents, who provide lessons for all. Pull up a chair.” ~ Warren Buffett




Imogen Hermes Gowar
Set in London during the height of the Georgian era, this is the story of a shipping merchant, who has made a fortune exhibiting an alleged mermaid corpse, and the most famed courtesan in the city, who woos him at the behest of her madam, who wants to exhibit the corpse in her brothel. Things get complicated in their romance when one of the merchant’s ships captures a real mermaid off the coast of Scotland and brings it home. It is a richly detailed historical fiction with a glaringly ahistorical element –  a true mermaid. If you’re weary of the proliferation of young-women-in-peril fiction and despairing political non-fiction, try this unique and and absorbing novel. -Sheila

Esi Edugyan
George Washington Black, or “Wash,” an eleven-year-old field slave on a Barbados sugar plantation, is terrified to be chosen by his master’s brother as his manservant. To his surprise, the eccentric Christopher Wilde turns out to be a naturalist, explorer, inventor, and abolitionist. Soon Wash is initiated into a world where a flying machine can carry a man across the sky, where even a boy born in chains may embrace a life of dignity and meaning–and where two people, separated by an impossible divide, can begin to see each other as human. But when a man is killed and a bounty is placed on Wash’s head, Christopher and Wash must abandon everything. What follows is their flight along the eastern coast of America, and, finally, to a remote outpost in the Arctic. What brings Christopher and Wash together will tear them apart, propelling Wash even further across the globe in search of his true self. From the blistering cane fields of the Caribbean to the frozen Far North, from the earliest aquariums of London to the eerie deserts of Morocco, Washington Black tells a story of self-invention and betrayal, of love and redemption, of a world destroyed and made whole again, and asks the question, What is true freedom?

Sally Field
One of the most celebrated, beloved, and enduring actors of our time, Sally Field has an infectious charm that has captivated the nation for more than five decades, beginning with her first TV role at the age of seventeen. From Gidget’s sweet-faced “girl next door” to the dazzling complexity of Sybil to the Academy Award-worthy ferocity and depth of Norma Rae and Mary Todd Lincoln, Field has stunned audiences time and time again with her artistic range and emotional acuity. Yet there is one character who always remained hidden: the shy and anxious little girl within.
With raw honesty and the fresh, pitch-perfect prose of a natural-born writer, and with all the humility and authenticity her fans have come to expect, Field brings readers behind-the-scenes for not only the highs and lows of her star-studded early career in Hollywood, but deep into the truth of her lifelong relationships–including her complicated love for her own mother. Powerful and unforgettable, In Pieces is an inspiring and important account of life as a woman in the second half of the twentieth century.

Barbara Kingsolver
Separately the two stories Kingsolver tells, spaced more than 150 years apart in 2016 and in the 1870s, are engaging and moving portraits of family life linked through time by location. Taken together they provide a pattern. Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1869, upending a faith based reality into a world of science. In 2016, as the technological revolution remakes the workforce and global warming threatens the planet, the known world is once again threatened. Too often in the face of the unknown we turn to meanness and bullying instead of towards each other. But, there is hope hidden in the ugliness–for those willing to unlearn what we think we know and remake reality accordingly. Elegant, engaging and pertinent, Kingsolver’s tale also brings a lesser known woman of science, Mary Treat, to the forefront.  -Becky

Tana French
Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life – he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden – and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.


David Quammen
A very enjoyable read of the history, personalities, and science leading to what Quammen calls the three big surprises revealed by the new method of molecular phylogenetics that compellingly invites a rethinking of “… who we are…and what we are, and how life on our planet has evolved.” Quammen understands how off-putting the term molecular phylogenics is, but his deserved reputation as one of our most reliable and readable guides through science for the curious, educated general reader is on full display here. A caveat: those looking for a linear story line or a deep dive into only the science may be disappointed by Quammen’s broad approach to the material. -JG

V. E. Schwab 

A super-powered collision of extraordinary minds and vengeful intentions–#1 New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab returns with the thrilling follow-up to Vicious. Magneto and Professor X. Superman and Lex Luthor. Victor Vale and Eli Ever. Sydney and Serena Clarke. Great partnerships, now soured on the vine. But Marcella Riggins needs no one. Flush from her brush with death, she’s finally gained the control she’s always sought–and will use her new-found power to bring the city of Merit to its knees. She’ll do whatever it takes, collecting her own sidekicks, and leveraging the two most infamous EOs, Victor Vale and Eli Ever, against each other. With Marcella’s rise, new enmities create opportunity–and the stage of Merit City will once again be set for a final, terrible reckoning.

Menno Schilthuizen

Menno Schilthuizen is one of a growing number of “urban ecologists” studying how our manmade environments are accelerating and changing the evolution of the animals and plants around us. In Darwin Comes to Town, he takes us around the world for an up-close look at just how stunningly flexible and swift-moving natural selection can be. With human populations growing, we’re having an increasing impact on global ecosystems, and nowhere do these impacts overlap as much as they do in cities. The urban environment is about as extreme as it gets, and the wild animals and plants that live side-by-side with us need to adapt to a whole suite of challenging conditions: they must manage in the city’s hotter climate (the “urban heat island”); they need to be able to live either in the semidesert of the tall, rocky, and cavernous structures we call buildings or in the pocket-like oases of city parks (which pose their own dangers, including smog and free-rangingdogs and cats); traffic causes continuous noise, a mist of fine dust particles, and barriers to movement for any animal that cannot fly or burrow; food sources are mainly human-derived. And yet, as Schilthuizen shows, the wildlife sharing thes spaces with us is not just surviving, but evolving ways of thriving. Darwin Comes to Town draws on eye-popping examples of adaptation to share a stunning vision of urban evolution in which humans and wildlife co-exist in a unique harmony. It reveals that evolution can happen far more rapidly than Darwin dreamed, while providing a glimmer of hope that our race toward over population might not take the rest of nature down with us.

Patrick DeWitt

Frances Price–tart widow, possessive mother, and Upper East Side force of nature–is in dire straits, beset by scandal and impending bankruptcy. Her adult son Malcolm is no help, mired in a permanent state of arrested development. And then there’s the Prices’ aging cat, Small Frank, who Frances believes houses the spirit of her late husband, an infamously immoral litigator and world-class cad whose gruesome tabloid death rendered Frances and Malcolm social outcasts. Putting penury and pariahdom behind them, the family decides to cut their losses and head for the exit. One ocean voyage later, the curious trio land in their beloved Paris.


John Larison 

In the spring of 1885, seventeen-year-old Jessilyn Harney finds herself orphaned and alone on her family’s homestead. Desperate to fend off starvation and predatory neighbors, she cuts off her hair, binds her chest, saddles her beloved mare, and sets off across the mountains to find her outlaw brother Noah and bring him home. A talented sharpshooter herself, Jess’s quest lands her in the employ of the territory’s violent, capricious Governor, whose militia is also hunting Noah–dead or alive.Wrestling with her brother’s outlaw identity, and haunted by questions about her own, Jess must outmaneuver those who underestimate her, ultimately rising to become a hero in her own right.Told in Jess’s wholly original and unforgettable voice, Whiskey When We’re Dry is a stunning achievement, an epic as expansive as America itself–and a reckoning with the myths that are entwined with our history.

Rick Bass 
This book is a marvelous tribute to writers old and new, to the importance of ceremony, to great food, lovingly prepared, and, ultimately, to the glory of life. Rick Bass travels widely to prepare gourmet meals for dozens of his writer heroes, bringing along young writers he believes in, so they can breath the same air as the greats. Dine with David Sedaris, Peter Matthiesson, Barry Lopez, Terry Tempest Williams, Denis Johnson, and more. I love everything about this book. -Brandon

Christina Dalcher 

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than one hundred words per day, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial. This can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her … Soon women are not permitted to hold jobs. Girls are not taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words each day, but now women have only one hundred to make themselves heard … For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice


Nico Walker
Jesus’ Son meets Reservoir Dogs in a breakneck-paced debut novel about love, war, bank robberies, and heroin. Cleveland, 2003. A young man is just a college freshman when he meets Emily. They share a passion for Edward Albee and ecstasy and fall hard and fast in love. But soon Emily has to move home to Elba, New York, and he flunks out of school and joins the army. Desperate to keep their relationship alive, they marry before he ships out to Iraq. But as an army medic, he is unprepared for the grisly reality that awaits him. His fellow soldiers smoke; they huff computer duster; they take painkillers; they watch porn. And many of them die. He and Emily try to make their long-distance marriage work, but when he returns from Iraq, his PTSD is profound, and the drugs on the street have changed. The opioid crisis is beginning to swallow up the Midwest. Soon he is hooked on heroin, and so is Emily. They attempt a normal life, but with their money drying up, he turns to the one thing he thinks he could be really good at–robbing banks. Hammered out on a typewriter, Cherry marks the arrival of a raw, bleakly hilarious, and surprisingly poignant voice straight from the dark heart of America.

Edward Struzik

In the spring of 2016, the world watched as wildfire ravaged the Canadian town of Fort McMurray. Firefighters named the fire “the Beast” because it behaved in seemingly sinister and often unpredictable ways. Many of them hoped that they would never see anything like it again. Yet it’s not a stretch to suggest that megafires like the Beast have become the new normal. A glance at international headlines shows a remarkable increase in higher temperatures, stronger winds, and drier lands- a trifecta for igniting wildfires like we have rarely seen before. Fires are burning bigger, hotter, faster, and more often. In Firestorm, journalist Edward Struzik confronts this new reality, offering a deftly woven tale of science, economics, politics, and human determination. To understand how we might yet flourish in the coming age of megafires, Struzik visits scorched earth from Alaska to Maine, and introduces the scientists, firefighters, and resource managers making the case for a radically different approach to managing wildfire in the twenty-first century. We must begin by acknowledging that fire is unavoidable, and be much more prepared to cope when we cannot completely control the flames.Living with fire also means, Struzik reveals, that we must better understand how the surprising, far-reaching impacts of these massive fires will linger long after the smoke eventually clears.

Julie Schumacher

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune keep hitting beleaguered English professor Jason Fitger right between the eyes in this hilarious and eagerly awaited sequel to the cult classic of anhedonic academe, the Thurber Prize-winning Dear Committee Members. Once more into the breach… Now is the fall of his discontent, as Jason Fitger, newly appointed chair of the English Department of Payne University, takes arms against a sea of troubles, personal and institutional. His ex-wife is sleeping with the dean who must approve whatever modest initiatives he undertakes. The fearsome department secretary Fran clearly runs the show (when not taking in rescue parrots and dogs) and holds plenty of secrets she’s not sharing. The lavishly funded Econ Department keeps siphoning off English’s meager resources and has taken aim at its remaining office space. And Fitger’s attempt to get a mossbacked and antediluvian Shakespeare scholar to retire backfires spectacularly when the press concludes that the Bard is being kicked to the curricular curb. Lord, what fools these mortals be! Julie Schumacher proves the point and makes the most of it in this delicious romp of satire

Delia Owens

Fans of Barbara Kingsolver will love this stunning debut novel from a New York Times bestselling nature writer, about an unforgettable young woman determined to make her way in the wilds of North Carolina, and the two men that will break her isolation open. For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. She’s barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark. But Kya is not what they say. Abandoned at age ten, she has survived on her own in the marsh that she calls home. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life lessons from the land, learning from the false signals of fireflies the real way of this world. But while she could have lived in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world–until the unthinkable happens. In Where the Crawdads Sing, Owens juxtaposes an exquisite ode to the natural world against a heartbreaking coming of age story and a surprising murder investigation. Thought-provoking, wise, and deeply moving, Owens’s debut novel reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.


Naomi Novik

Naomi Novik has quite possibly surpassed herself in Spinning Silver. Once again the lines between good and evil blur and ordinary people become heroes and heroines. A moneylender’s daughter, a poor farmer’s daughter, and the daughter of a duke are unexpectedly bound by a magical being’s demand for gold. Strong women populate this clever reimagining of Rumpelstiltskin, and the magic is both beautifully and simply rendered. There is also an interesting thread of Jewish history running through the narrative. Readers will love falling under the spell of Novik’s Polish fairytale. I’m so excited to recommend this book! -Becky


Ottessa Moshfegh
What would you give for a good night’s sleep? This book can be read allegorically, as the pre-9-11 sleepwalking New Yorker and/or American; a literal reading is also possible, as it is rare to encounter a narrative making something as necessary and mundane as sleep so compelling. Orphaned and grieving both the deaths of her parents and the deaths of the parents she wished she had, Moshfegh’s heroine decides sleeping for a year will make her a better version of herself. She finds a questionable therapist and begins a Carrollesque descent into the world of prescription sleep aids. There is an element of poor pretty rich white girl here, she wants to eat her privilege and have it too, but her desire for sleep is palpable enough to transcend class even as her wealth enables her quest. Moshfegh is a keen observer of New York and an astute chronicler of its denizens—a veritable van diagram of some of the most and least privileged people in our country, if not the world. Provocative, sharp, and surprisingly moving. -Becky

James Anderson
“What becomes of the broken-hearted?” Sometimes, they become inhabitants of Lullaby Road, a stretch of highway 117 in the Utah desert, along which Ben Jones, a truck driver with his own damaged heart, makes deliveries. Ben has found a small hispanic child, abandoned in the snow at a gas station with a note that reads, “Please, Ben, help my son. Big Trouble.” Ben takes the child with him in the truck–and there is big trouble. Lullaby Road is a well-plotted, satisfying mystery; but it is Anderson’s broken-yet-resilient characters, who have chosen–or were forced–to live in the lonely desert, who make it memorable. Ben Jones is a great modern protagonist–funny, compassionate, flawed and so human. The solitude and sere beauty of the landscape are always present and the descriptions of the flat vistas and endless horizons are haunting on James Anderson’s fine prose. –Sheila


Rebecca Makkai

This is a book to spend the day doing nothing except reading.  In 1985, as the AIDS crisis is growing,  Yale Tishman is  the young director of an art  gallery whose career is flourishing but, one by one, his friends are dying …and he may have the virus himself.  Finally, the only friend he has left is Fiona, the little sister of a dead friend.   Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris, searching for her estranged daughter, and grappling with the way the AIDS crisis affected her and her relationship with her daughter.  The novel captures the heartbreak of the AIDS epidemic so poignantly, reminding us of how many young, often talented and brilliant, people were lost to it and how it affected those who loved them.  The characters are so fully realized- they will remain in my heart forever.    -Sheila


Madeline Miller

Madeline Miller, author of Song of Achilles, adds depth and beauty to a recognizable but narrowly defined character of myth: Circe, immortal daughter of Helios, witch of Aeaea, lover to gods and mortals alike. When we think of Circe we likely think of a vindictive witch who turns men into pigs and slaughters them until brave Odysseus, warned by Hermes, outwits her. But what about the story of an eldest and least favored daughter, one rejected by love and tortured by her own regrets, a victim of banishment and abuse and assault who remains different from the callous nature of her fellow gods? What of the before and the after of Odysseus? Gorgeously rendered and populated with some of the greatest monsters, heroes, demigods and goddesses of Greek myth, Circe proves once again that Miller is the Gregory Maguire of mythology. -Becky


Richard Powers
They were here long before us. They will be here long after us. Trees. Nine strangers are connected by the arboreal, and by a desire to preserve a story larger than their own. Environmental activists live in old growth redwoods. An orphaned artist inherits the photographic family legacy of one chestnut tree. A partying and promiscuous college girl dies and returns to life, called to an aborescent destiny. The stories in this novel are both concentric, like the rings inside each trunk marking a tree’s age, and interlocking, like the complex root systems which send nutrients and water upwards and messages outwards. No living writer equals Powers for creating a novel that is both literary and commercial. Stunning, prescient, and one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Christine Mangan

This is a deeply atmospheric and disturbing debut. Reading Tangerine is like drinking a gin martini that is icy enough to hurt your teeth and strong enough to burn all the way down. Morocco, 1956. The air is tight with both heat and the start of revolution. Two former college roommates are entangled in a psychological dance reminiscent of Patricia Highsmith, Shirley Jackson, and Daphne du Maurier. This is a perfect spring break read!

Christina Lynch

Chris Pavone’s The Expats meets Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow in this delightful novel. Scottie and Michael Messina are newlyweds when they arrive in Italy in April of 1956, where Michael is supposed to head up a new division of Ford. There is so much unknown between any typical pair of newlyweds, but Michael and Scottie harbor deeper secrets from each other, among them Michael’s true occupation as a spy for the American government. Mynch evokes the period of the 1950s—Betty Crocker, Wonder Bread, and an entrenched distrust of Communism—in a story that froths with gossip and is sweetened by intrigue, stirred with the complex history of Italian and American relations. Delicious and positively drinkable.
-Becky (as seen in the April Indie Next List)


Tayari Jones

Celestial and Roy are still newlyweds when Roy is wrongfully accused of raping a white woman and is sentenced to twelve years in prison. The two write letters to bridge the chasm between their sundered lives, but as the years pass their marriage is made up of more time spent apart than together. The writing is bright and sharp and unexpected, like a weapon fashioned from folded layers of sheet metal, and cuts to the quick of both what it means to be married and what it means to be a black man in America, while also exposing the systemic flaws in our justice system. I don’t agree with the decisions of Celestial, Roy, and their best friend Andre, but I am deeply moved by their plights. This is a haunting and important novel.

Amy Goldstein

General Motors (GM) had a long history of success in Janesville, Wisconsin, reaching back to the end of WWI with tractor manufacturing, surviving the Great Depression, and the autoworker strike of the 1930s. But in 2008, GM announced they were closing the Janesville plant. Amy Goldstein, a staff writer with the Washington Post, tells the story of the next five years as a traditionally democratic union town tries to rebuild, and ends up deeply split along party lines. Families are irrevocable changed as fathers work hundreds of miles away and teenagers take on part-time jobs. There are clashes between republicans and progressives who both want job growth, but disagree about how to make that happen. Goldstein explores the flawed concept of reeducation, retraining does not guarantee jobs, and the shortsightedness of Janesville’s blind belief that the GM plant would always be there. There is a systemic cultural problem, not just in Janesville but across America—conspicuous consumption as symbols of success. This is a devastating and unflinching look at our vanishing working and middle class. In the vein of Evicted, and Hillbilly Elegy, this is an impressive and important piece of reporting.

Gift Books for Graduation

EDUCATED Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University.

SALT, FAT, ACID, HEAT Featuring 150 illustrations and infographics that reveal an atlas to the world of flavor by renowned illustrator Wendy MacNaughton, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat will be your compass in the kitchen. Destined to be a classic, it just might be the last cookbook you’ll ever need.

DARE TO LEAD When we dare to lead, we don’t pretend to have the right answers; we stay curious and ask the right questions. We don’t see power as finite and hoard it; we know that power becomes infinite when we share it with others. We don’t avoid difficult conversations and situations; we lean into vulnerability when it’s necessary to do good work.

OH THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! In this joyous ode to life, Dr. Seuss addresses graduates of all ages–from nursery school to medical school–and gives them the get-up-and-go to move mountains with the unrivaled exuberance and charm.