Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Boswellian Top 5's of 2017 part the last

Jenny has only recently started work at Boswell, but I worked with back in the days of Harry W. Schwartz bookshops. I can say that she knows her books and she knows the publishing industry. She has an extensive knowledge of YA and teen books (and much, much more besides!). Even though, she is new here, Jenny has read a lot of the great books in 2017, and here are her top 5 books to prove it:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Starr Carter is one of the few black kids at Williamson Prep, where she plays Varsity basketball and has a cute, white boyfriend. At night she goes home to a neighborhood of gun violence and gangs. When her unarmed friend, Khalil, is shot by a cop and Starr is the only witness, her two worlds crash together, leaving her devastated and questioning not only her long-time friendships but also her place in the world. Angie Thomas has written a smart and compassionate character in Starr and brought her struggles brilliantly to life. Please don't miss this important book, a great read for both teens and adults.
$17.99 on Boswellian Best till the end of the year for $14.39
 At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson
Ozzie's boyfriend Tommy has disappeared. Not run away or been kidnapped, but literally vanished from the minds and memories of his friends and family. Only Ozzie remembers. His parents drag him to psychiatrists and in between visits, Ozzie searches for clues. Soon he realizes that not only is Tommy gone, but bit by bit the entire universe is vanishing, too. Shaun David Hutchinson's sharp writing veers between funny and poignant as he captures the heartbreak of losing your first love. His previous book, WE ARE THE ANTS, was one of my top reads of 2016.   

$17.99 on Boswellian Best till the end of the year for $14.39

City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

Tina is a teenage street-thief who wants to know two things- who killed her mother and why? Set in Kenya, this YA thriller is fast paced, with memorable yet flawed characters. Tina's divided loyalties between the boy she loves but doesn't trust and her gang of fellow thieves force her to make tough choices as long buried secrets about her mother’s past are revealed.  $18.99 

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
Young Adult sibling stories are my favorites-those complicated, often messy relationships with the people who are in your life for good. Ramona and Hattie are so endearing as they struggle through the year where EVERYTHING is changing. Six foot tall, blue-haired Ramona wants out of the small Mississippi town that never recovered from hurricane Katrina, but she’s wrangling with the guilt of abandoning her needy family, especially now that Hattie is pregnant. And then her childhood friend Freddie moves back. With his middle-class upbringing, college is a given for him. Over the course of senior year they bond over a shared passion for swimming that leads to a surprising romance. Brilliant characterization is the strength of this novel, which asks readers to contemplate the fluidity and complexities of love. $17.99

Warcross by Marie Lu
In a futuristic world, the virtual reality battle game of Warcross is a world-wide obsession. When Emiko hacks into a match, she catches the attention of the game’s reclusive creator who offers her a job-as a spy. Out of money and in danger of eviction, she has no choice but to accept Hideo’s offer. As their relationship turns romantic, Emiko learns some shocking news about Hideo’s past and the secret behind the creation of Warcross. A great read for teens and anyone who loved READY PLAYER ONE. $18.99

Peter has been on the this block a long while, starting back with his days working at Starbucks. When he was looking for something a bit more full time, I knew we had to bring him over. His reading fills in gaps of our knowledge when it comes to comics and graphic novels. If you ever want to know how the Marvel or DC universes work, then come on over and ask! Here are his top 5's for 2017:

On the Camino by Jason

Norwegian cartoonist Jason, in his first autobiographical work, marks his 50th birthday by walking the Camino de Santiago. A pilgrimage in north west part of Spain that leads to a cathedral, Camino de Santiago, in honor of the apostle James (or jimmy, if you're friends). Jason's humor dry and absurd. How he interacts with people he meets on the trail, and just the simple things such as washing your socks or finding a good coffee. I enjoyed the calm ride of this story and is great reflective story that partners well with a cafe con leche (black coffee works fine too).

$24.99 on Boswellian Best till the end of the year for $19.99

Descender by Jeff Lemire, art by Dustin Nguyen

 A sci-fi odyssey that is grand in it's size, but beautifully presented through the perspectives of Tim-21, a robot boy, and his unlikely companions. A incident leads to a conflict of humans against machine, with Tim-21 possibly being the hope ease this conflict, but with danger of bounty hunters and the dangers of their own personal shortcomings, how can they hope survive? This deluxe volume is the perfect presentation for such a breathtaking conceived story, from the intensely personal story to the visual stunning art. $49.99

PaperGirls by Brain K. Vaughn, artist Cliff Chiang 

Four young girls are on a paper route in the early Halloween morning in 1988, when they discover an invasion has come to their Cleveland suburb, but from where, from when! Amazingly well written, beautifully presented.

$34.99 on Boswellian Best till the end of the year for $27.99

Doom Patrol by Gerard Way, illustrated by Nick Derington
“The Worlds Strangest Superheros.” Surreal and experimental fun. This title gets written off because it's weird, but part of the fun is to embrace strange. Is Casey, a young E.M.T., a daydream of a sentient ambulance? Who will protect us from the men from N.O.W.H.E.R.E., a robot with a human brain, a person made of living negative energy or perhaps Crazy Jane? What are you feeding your cat? All and nothing will be answered, it's 3am and nothing makes sense but it's all beautiful. $16.99
Shade:The Changing Girl by Cecil Castellucci,illustrated by Marley Zarcone 

Loma Shade is bored with her life on Meta. So she drops out of school, breaks up with her boyfriend and steals the madness coat, an multidimensional doorway which allows Loma to leave her word as an astral projection. Loma travels to Earth, by way of the madness coat, where she takes up residence the body of Megan, a popular high school “mean girl,” who had suffered brain damaged and at death's door. Loma, who now just goes by Shade, in Megan's body tries to experience life on Earth. Surving the reputation that Megan had left as a bully, and not succumbing to the “madness” that ties her to this world. Surreal and existential fun that's wonderfully written and astoundingly gorgeous artwork. $16.99

Chris is a bit of a chameleon here at the shop. He works in Second Hand Books, receiving room, offsite events and, I believe, he has introduced authors in the shop as well. His book selections are always interesting, as he has a way of finding a gem, in the midst of tons of small press books that appeal to our customers. His top 5 of 2017 is exactly what you didn't know you wanted:
The Sarah Book by Scott McClanahan
A nurse and a teacher marry and divorce in a small town in West Virginia. This is the greatest love story ever written. Scott stares down Sarah with crocodile tears shimmering in his eyes and laughter growling inside his toothy grin. His heart is punch-drunk, and he dies every day then gets up again the next morning, fists swinging and full of life. His writing will humble you with its honesty and leave you embarrassed by every tiny fib and little white lie you've ever told in your whole life. If you don't like this book, you must already be dead inside. $16.95

You Should Have Left by Daniel Kehlmann

Terrifying. Reading Kehlmann's latest novel is like watching a horror movie from the inside. A writer takes his family for a mountain retreat, hoping to escape the city, finish his newest screenplay, and maybe find a bit of serenity. But something in the rented house isn't right. Rooms shift, hallways expand, reflections fade. Brisk and gripping, you'll read this slim novel in one sitting, consumed, disappearing into the book as the writer disappears into the house, stunned as you turn the last page, compelled to check in a mirror to be sure you still exist, then turning back to the first page to immediately begin rereading. $18.00

Since I Laid My Burden Down by Brontez Purnell
DeShawn looks in the mirror and sees a man absent from himself. A San Francisco punk, he feels his hard-won years of partying and promiscuity coming to a close yet cannot envision the rest of his life. An uncle’s death brings him home to the deep south of rural Alabama, his mother’s church and the women who raised him, the specter of his father, and the boys and men of his youth who shaped him. A deeply human story of a man unapologetically defining himself against expectations and labels yet struggling to feel that he still deserves to be loved. $17.95

Vacationland by John Hodgman
It's the book we've been waiting for. Hodgman puts his one man show onto the page with all the personality and wit, at once absurdly silly and bone dry, of his unmistakable voice. And this time, it's personal. Really -- there's only one fake fact in the whole thing. Hodgman writes about summers spent in Maine and Western Massachusetts, telling wry stories of trash dump laws, kitchen-drawer-usurping mice, and taking drugs at the swimming hole, using them as windows into his reflections on approaching middle-age, parenting, inheritance and loss, grief and mortality. The book is perfectly balanced, honest and vulnerable, and funny as ever, unfolding ideas like the best deep-thought, figure-out-your-whole-life daydreams you've ever had on vacation.

$25.00 on Boswellian Best till the end of the year for $20.00
South and West by Joan Didion
This one I couldn't find anything written by Chris but I wanted to include all his picks!
$21.00 on Boswellian Best till the end of the year for $16.80

That is it for 2017--bring 2018! It looks like it will start off with some wonderful new books!

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