Stephanie has spent many happy years with books, first as an avid reader, then as an English major, a Library Assistant, and finally here at Village Books. You can often find her haunting the used book carts, trying to cherry pick all the best ones before anyone else gets to them.
I'm a sucker for really great magical realism, and The Magicians (along with its sequel, The Magician King) is my absolute favorite. The books strongly echo classics such as The Chronicles of Narnia, His Dark Materials, and Harry Potter, while still maintaining an utterly distinct voice. At once more sophisticated and more crass than its predecessors, The Magician isn't just for fantasy lovers.
This was the first Kingsolver I ever read, and it ruined me for her. I've been let down by the rest of her books, because none of them can compare. This isn't just Kingsolver's masterpiece, it's a masterpiece of modern literature.
If you love words and beautiful writing and don't mind being utterly devastated, this is the book for you. At its heart, it's about the length and depth of love between a father and son, love that endures in unimaginable circumstances.
You will never read a more beautiful book than Habibi. Not just because it's a graphic novel with gorgeous illustrations and one of the most intricate, lush covers I've ever seen. But because no one uses words and pictures to tap into our deepest emotions better than Thompson. You'll be hungry to tear through the entire book, but at the same time guilty for rushing past the illustrations. His memoir, Blankets, is also a must-own.
The entire Georgia Nicholson YA series by Rennison is fun, fluffy, and hilarious. I loved the endless wit and Briticisms. A lighter take on the old "coming of age" trope, and a hilarious one at that.
If you've stayed away from this one because it's a "comic book," then shame on you. This is a renowned classic, considered a masterpiece of its genre, and for good reason.
I always preface my recommendations of this one with "I'm not normally a fan of war novels, but..." I first read an excerpt in a fiction writing class, and through the years I never forgot it. The books itself is decidedly postmodern, almost a collection of vignettes rather that a traditional novel. It's a meditation on the act of war and its ramifications for those participating, willing or not.
Sometimes we all need a bit of swashbuckling adventure in our lives. As a reader who went through a heavy "classic literature" phase, this one emerged as one of my favorites. Though its sized might seem intimidating, the pages will absolutely fly by!
This is an absolutely lovely, quiet, slow-burner. It will get under your skin and stay with you, bubbling up in your mind long after the pages are closed.
All I knew about Patti Smith before picking up this book was that she sang and a poetry teacher I once had was enamored of her. The glowing reviews of her memoir intrigued me enough to give it a shot, and I was not disappointed. The story of her journey from penniless (and sometimes homeless) artist to a New York legend is truly astonishing.
July's one and only short story collection, and in my opinion a great option for fans of Raymond Carver. Her stories are at times heartfelt, lonely, uncomfortable, and cutting.
My very favorite book as a kid, I still own my 20+ year-old copy.
A book about a bunch of freaks who, in the end, act very much like the rest of us. A darkly insightful book about the (perhaps not so pure) nature of familial love.
I've yet to show this to anyone, cat fan or not, who hasn't laughed out loud at this book, page after page. These are spot on, absurdly accurate sketches of the strange ways our furry friends behave.
This, or any David Foster Wallace non-fiction, will rearrange your brain. I even loved his essays on subjects like tennis and David Lynch, of which I had zero previous knowledge. And if you like this one check out Consider The Lobster, another of my DFW favorites.
Perhaps my predilection for creepiness began at a young age, because I was all about The Witches. I liked some of Dahl's other books as well, but this is the one that stuck with me most.