Happy Holiday Season, BookFriends! December’s in full swing and we’ve finally got some chilly weather settling in on the ATX so it actually feels like the wintertime should! If you’re a faithful reader of these posts then you’ve got a pretty good idea of the biggest, buzziest books that have come out this year, but this week we’ll be changing it up a bit for new readers who might also be looking for titles to fill out their holiday buying lists. We’ll be showcasing a mix of new titles and favorites of the year! We *know* you’ll find something good here!
No Longer Human by Junji Ito
Horror junkies, we’ve got the perfect new release for you! This week we’re happy to have on our shelves Junji Ito’s manga adaptation of Osamu Dazai’s immortal and supposedly autobiographical work of psychological terror.
The imagery wrenches open the text of the novel one line at a time to sublimate Yozo’s mental landscape into something even more delicate and grotesque. This is the ultimate in art by Ito, proof that nothing can surpass the terror of the human psyche.
Grab a copy today!
When Reagan Sent In the Marines by Patrick J. Sloyan
And for the history buff, we’ve got a brand new piece of military reportage from Pultizer Prize-winning journalist Patrick J. Sloyan!
When Reagan Sent In the Marines tells the harrowing story of how the Marines were sent to Lebanon following one of the worst terrorist attacks of the 20th century, how their mission became confused and compromised, and how President Ronald Reagan used another misguided military venture to distract America of the attack and his many mistakes leading up to it.
Sloyan uses his own contemporaneous reporting, his close relationships with the Marines in Beirut, recently declassified documents, and interviews with key players, including Reagan’s top advisers, to shine a new light on the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and Reagan’s doomed ceasefire in Beirut.
This vivid re-telling of the oft-forgotten military disaster adds a necessary wrinkle in understanding America’s continuous troubles in the Middle East. Reserve a copy now and get informed.
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
From Collyn: “Imagine if someone combined two romcom classics, ‘My Date With the President’s Daughter’ and ‘The Prince and Me,’ threw in a gay twist and and an Austin plot point. That’s basically the plot of McQuinston’s ‘Red, White, and Royal Blue,’ and yes, it is that great. Alex, son of the first female President, and Henry, grandson of the queen of England are rivals. When a publicity nightmare leads them to having to fake a friendship, they find out they have a lot more in common than they thought. This book is a sweet and steamy love story that manages to avoid all gay tragedy troupes. I promise that the minute you finish this book you’ll want to reread it ASAP!”
Big Wonderful Thing by Stephen Harrigan
From Joe: “When was the last time you studied Texas history? If you’re a native Texan, it probably was 7th grade (which for me was 30 long years ago) and if you’re from out of state it’s nothing but maybe watching John Wayne in The Alamo or singing along to to Pee-Wee Herman’s version of “Deep In The Heart of Texas.” Well, acclaimed novelist Stephen Harrigan is here to change that with the first overarching history of Texas since T. R. Fehrenbach delivered one back in 1968 (that’s 51 long years ago.) Big Wonderful Thing, as both its title and subject matter attests, is a sweeping history of the Lone Star State that covers everything that is to be known, should be known, or hasn’t previously been known. It’s not just Davy Crockett and LBJ but also Emma Teayuca and Heman Sweatt. It’s a history of Texas for ALL Texans and one of my favorite books of the year.”
Lot by Bryan Washington
From Raven: “Lot embodies the lives of the young and hungry in Houston, Texas. These stories are heart-breaking and raw like honey. All of the stories are connected– not through its characters, but through the fast paced H-Town flow. Washington’s writing is indelible and a spotlight for the shadowed narratives brought forth. You do not want to miss Bryan Washington’s debut collection! Be a part absorbing the experiences that this powerful writer will no doubt continue to highlight through his literary career.”
Go Ahead In the Rain by Hanif Abdurraqib
From Stephen: “Go Ahead In the Rain is simultaneously an intimate exploration of one fans appreciation for the hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest and a detailed chronology of the groups recorded works, but in the masterful hands or Hanif Abdurraqib it is so much more. Not to be confused with your typical music bio, Abdurraqib interweaves personal accounts of the groups influence on both himself / culture as it relates to to the time of release for each of their albums. Whether you are a fan of either part of this creative equation there is something to love for not only ATCQ / Abdurraqib loyalists but the unfamiliar alike. The writing is beautiful, the sentiment is relatable, and the critical analysis of A Tribe Called Quest’s catalog is a must.”
The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman
From Merrilee: “It’s about love. I don’t usually read literary fiction, but Alice Hoffman writes so beautifully that I almost can’t stand it. Yes, this book is about the Holocaust, and yes, it’s heartbreakingly sad. Despite that, it’s also incredibly hopeful, especially the end, which I reread about once a week, because I love it so much. (Then I wander around the store trying to force coworkers to read it too.) Everyone should lay in bed all day, reading this beautiful, magical book and crying, like I did. It’s about love.”
More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth
From RC: “No matter what creed, race, sexual orientation or gender we all face some form of oppression. More Than Enough made me feel a deep personal connection with Elaine. I implore you to read this book to be aware that the struggle is real, but you’re able to surpass whatever comes your way. When you feel you’re the only one of you in whatever space, know there’s reason and purpose behind it. You’re here to break social barriers and create a path for those who will follow behind you. This book is definitely one I will reach for again in times I’m feeling low. I recommend this book to those out there who need to hear words of encouragement and wisdom. You do have purpose and you are enough.”
Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? by Caitlin Doughty
From Maya: “Are you the type of person that brings books on mummification to the dinner table? Are you, too, curious about having a Viking funeral for your grandma? Do you want to know what happens to our pets after we bury them? If yes, this is your book! In Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?, mortician Caitlin Doughty thoughtfully addresses the most common questions that children ask about all things death-related. Full of humor, history, and beautiful art, Doughty’s book shows us that death doesn’t always have to be hidden away or spoken about in whispers, it can be weird and gross and important and interesting and accessible at any age.”
Mixtape Potluck Cookbook by Questlove
From Emily: “Music has long been my secret ingredient for cooking it sets the rhythm of chopping, energizes off-recipe spontaneity, and fuels the appetite. Why has it taken so long for someone to write a recipe book with a soundtrack?! I have no doubt that music and food lovers alike will be as inspired as I am by Questlove’s new cookbook! It truly revels in the connections between food, people, music, and a zest for life. Not only do you get a creative outlook on the relationship between music and food, you’ll also end up with some new treats and tunes to share with the ones you love. With all it has to offer, this really is more than a cookbook—it’s a celebration of life and culture.”
Are You Listening? by Tillie Walden
From Lilli: “From the Austin author of the graphic novels On a Sunbeam and Spinning, comes an all-new tale to wrap yourself up in. Are You Listening? by Tillie Walden leads you on a journey alongside the unlikely pair Bea and Lou as they navigate the strange roads of an alternate Texas. As the road trip stretches on, they begin to connect with one another and unravel the complicated pasts that they packed with them.I picked up this graphic novel and did not let go of it until I had turned the last page. Filled to the brim with cat rescues, narrow escapes, magical encounters, and riddled with self-discovery, how could I have set it aside?!
The stories of these girls and the remarkable friendship that flowers between the two left me absolutely breathless and has not left me since.”
Escaping Exodus by Nicky Drayden
From Willow: “From local Austin author Nicky Drayden comes her third, and possibly weirdest, novel! In the far future, humanity fled Earth and for centuries has been living as parasites in incomprehensibly gargantuan spacefaring beasts. The idealistic and naïve Seske is being groomed to become the next matriarch, while her best friend and forbidden love, Adalla, is destined to work in the depths of the beast to keep it alive. But things take a turn for the worse when tremors start to spasm through the newly-caught beast, and politics and duty drive a wedge between Seske and Adalla. With strong themes of love and loss, duty and morality, family and compromise, and a diverse cast of LGBT characters, Escaping Exodus is a wild, wacked-out, unpredictable, and unforgettable space opera. If you’re in for a far-out adventure, this is for you!”
Saturday by Oge Mora
From Rachel: “The illustrations are what drew me into the book at first. Oge Mora’s collage style captures Ava and her mother beautifully and as they go through their day you feel everything along with them. Saturday is the most special day of the week for Ava. She and her mother look forward to it all week long. The list of things they would do! It would be special and splendid ❤️ Sometimes days don’t always go the way we planned them so when we find joy in who we are with the day is special and splendid ❤️”
This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews
From Olivia: “Ever since I was as tall as a stack of books (a unit of measurement I use strategically to apply to any age), I found escape in a good read. Timeless, enchanting, and wildly imaginative, This Was Our Pact joins the company of my favorite literary escapes, Alice in Wonderland and James and the Giant Peach, to be the next classic in kid’s fables. Ryan Andrew’s moony dream of a graphic novel pierces through the glamour of adult knowingness, inviting kids and adults alike to accompany star chasers Ben and Nathaniel on their adventure of a lifetime. A bicycle-riding bear in its natural habitat, a fee-for-service witch quite unlike the garden variety fairy godmother, and sticky glowworm stars—what more can you ask for?”
That’s a wrap! We hope to see you at the store between now and your upcoming holiday gatherings; our booksellers are eager to help you find these titles and others for you and all the readers in your life (and if not, we’re glad to help you online, too!).