Alej's Picks - ☼ Fiction ☼

From YA to Sci-Fi/Fantasy, to your good old baseline fiction.
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The Book of Goose: A Novel By Yiyun Li Cover Image
$28.00
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ISBN: 9780374606343
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 20th, 2022

What does pretending cost? What sorts of stories do we tell ourselves and how does it get reflected back to us--in the worst ways? In the best ways? Beautifully written and nostalgic. A little glimpse at a small, but momentous time in a young girls life.


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Winter Love By Suyin Han Cover Image
$18.00
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ISBN: 9781946022257
Published: McNally Editions - February 8th, 2022

Sapphic romance during 1940's wartime in London. Less steamy and more contradictory! Red loves the married Mara and disdain's Mara's husband. Yet somehow she acquires all of the behaviors that one doesn't like about Karl. In the end, there's this empty ache and Red and Karl find themselves face to face with the biggest question. Atmospheric, of-the-time, and eerily sculpted. Han Suyin's writing is a gift.


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The Summer Book By Tove Jansson, Kathryn Davis (Introduction by), Thomas Teal (Translated by) Cover Image
By Tove Jansson, Kathryn Davis (Introduction by), Thomas Teal (Translated by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781590172681
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: NYRB Classics - May 20th, 2008

The Summer Book is the perfect book for summer. I can also say it would be perfect book for winter, when you really miss summer. I read this book outside, walking around my neighborhood each evening as the summer became more and more possible. As the grandma is coming out of her consciousness, 6-year-old Sophia is coming into it. The two develop a loving, yet crass relationship over the summer on the Finnish island where the story takes place. The island is it's own character. A human-like place where Sophia and the grandma, and their cast of guests, experience the ups and down of summer. Including a storm Sophia insists she willed into existence by praying to God. If you're looking for a book where the heaviness of life is under the surface, but not right in your face--seemingly nothing bad happens!--then this is for you. Plus, there are sweet illustrations to go along. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2022/sep/01/tove-jansson-the-summer-book-50-masterpiece


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Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow: A novel By Gabrielle Zevin Cover Image
$28.00
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ISBN: 9780593321201
Published: Knopf - July 5th, 2022

This is my new favorite book of all time. I read so many reviews biting down on the fact that Zevin takes 20 pages to describe a video game---excuse me!!! THESE ARE CONTEXTUALLY RELEVANT GAMING DYNAMICS. I read this solely because of the John Green blurb. There are so many components, so intricately woven, so beautifully spread out over an entire lifespan of two people. So many nods to literature and gaming culture. I cried!!! I came out of my room and sobbed to my partner!! THAT'S IT?! But that's it, you know. So many loose ends and that's the way some of the best books on Earth end. What Sam and Sadie and Marx shared... well, it feels like so many things I have shared. I am not sure of the accuracy of the gaming components, but I grew up watching my younger brother play video games and seeing some of the names of the games he played took me back. I really felt each space, in my body and in my mind, that Sam and Sadie inhabit. Whether it's Dong and Bong's in K-Town, class at Cambridge, being in the Unfair offices, or walking around NYC. Everything had an emotional layer over it. Atmospheric. Everyone had a purpose. Everyone had meaning. I read an ARC, so I can't quote anything yet, but I will when the book is finally released. It was gorgeously written, gave me so many feelings, stopped me in my tracks, and really broke my heart. There's serious tragedy in this book, but also serious joy. (less)


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I Kissed Shara Wheeler: A Novel By Casey McQuiston Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781250244451
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: Wednesday Books - May 3rd, 2022

Did I tell my fellow booksellers that this book was giving "Paper Towns" by John Green? Did Casey McQuiston ABSOLUTELY CALL ME OUT FOR THINKING SO? This book was everything fun about a teen rom-com. McQuiston modernizes the male-gazey parts of a Molly Ringwald movie into a queer, academic girl hunt filled with Taco Bell stops, hangs at the bookstore, and hopping into the windows of our friends. YA is such a cliche genre at times! Writers soften themes to be palatable to publishers and parents. Not this one. Here Casey McQuiston has done something really loving, tender, sharp, and exciting while bringing out the harder parts of being a teenager in an honest way. The world of Willowgrove feels like a place I could walk into. I was rooting for everyone the whole time. And right when I thought McQuiston was gonna let me down, John Green style, they turned that ship right around and gave me one more thing to be excited about. I LAUGHED. I CRIED. I FELT LIKE I GRADUATED. There were a million pop culture references, a favorite of mine, and plenty of beautiful name drops of poets and writers I adore. I had a very good time reading this book. Top pick for '22!


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One Last Stop By Casey McQuiston Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781250244499
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - June 1st, 2021

A lot of queers and romance-enthusiasts are absolutely gushing over One Last Stop. This book is equal parts romance, wrinkle-in-time, mystery, and pancake hunger pangs. I walked into this one without any idea about the context of the story, except the fact that some soft femme was about to crush hard for a sharp-edged, leather-jacket wearing babe on the subway. Well! I was in for a run for my money. August is, I think, one of the most naïve characters that has ever been written. BUT, she's also incredibly smart, intuitive, and has great suspicion in the best way. New York is really written in a way that isn't New York at all--and I have never lived there. Only visited. But some parts felt right. The subway timelocked Jane definitely didn't feel right. But here I am! Just rooting for both of these people who are absolutely in this unbelievable story. But that was the best part: It didn't have to be believable to enjoy it. It was a great, sweet, sticky little reprieve from the harsh reality of the world outside. Casey McQuiston wrote an array of wonderful characters and they really did right by the comradery of found-family. I also appreciated the complex mother-child relationship that August had with her mom. Her mom felt like a full formed human, which most parent characters don't in some novels. They often just feel like a pawn in the story. Anyway. I probably won't think about this book on my deathbed, but definitely the sweet baked good I needed in the midst of another heavy year. Absolutely the perfect read for someone who needs a good laugh, cry, and a smile.


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Afterparties: Stories By Anthony Veasna So Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780063049901
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: Ecco - August 3rd, 2021

I am absolutely moved by reading Afterparties. Anthony Veasna So is a voice that will be sorely missed. Even the fact of reading this enormously important piece of writing and knowing there will not be any to follow is a heavy weight on the heart and mind. Born just minutes from Stockton in 1989, I felt grateful to be opened to a world I had not known anything about. I felt at home in So's stories. Each one seemed to sneakily connect to the other in a way that was massively important, yet written as just a slip of story telling. The depth of the lives that are spoken to is worth letting yourself drown in--I am tears for Ma Eng, aching heart for Anthony and Ben, and a frustrated, red-faced teen for the badminton boys. What is done well here is So's ability to put his own life into each of these pages, each of these experiences, and really speak to being Cambodian (Khmer) in America following a violent genocide. The sustaining of community. The passing on of tradition. I am grateful for the queerness, the tender joy, and the absolute holding of So's writing. "Know that we've always kept on living. What else could we have done?


Detransition, Baby: A Novel By Torrey Peters Cover Image
$18.00
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ISBN: 9780593133385
Published: One World - October 5th, 2021

No One Is Talking About This: A Novel By Patricia Lockwood Cover Image
$17.00
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ISBN: 9780593189597
Published: Riverhead Books - February 15th, 2022

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Klara and the Sun: A novel (Vintage International) By Kazuo Ishiguro Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780593311295
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: Vintage - March 1st, 2022

One of my top picks for 2021 new releases. Kazuo Ishiguro does wonders again--creating a world so like our own, but abstract in so many other facets that it's both recognizable and eerily new. Klara is an AF, a human-like artificial intelligence, and it's clear that she's sensitively aware to the world more so than her fellow AFs. The story tracks her placement in the human world alongside a young girl, opening Klara's mind to the compromises, contests, and challenges of the human experience. Klara's understanding of illness, love, negotiation, and the Sun are all on the table.


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Winter Counts: A Novel By David Heska Wanbli Weiden Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062968951
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: Ecco - July 6th, 2021

Yes, this is technically a mystery. No, I don't usually read mysteries. But this one is really good! It reads smoothly and the ending comes with buyable twists that made me wish I could have a bit more time with Virgil Wounded Horse.


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Everything Inside: Stories (Vintage Contemporaries) By Edwidge Danticat Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525563051
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Published: Vintage - July 7th, 2020

This collection of stories was a fast read - each of them digestible yet captivating. What happens after? I won't ever know, but the characters stuck with me after reading.


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Weather (Vintage Contemporaries) By Jenny Offill Cover Image
$16.00
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ISBN: 9780345806901
Published: Vintage - January 19th, 2021

Lizzie Benson is some version of me in another place where I absolutely get that there's a shift in what makes life mundane and it's not necessarily a good thing, but she's trying to make the most of it. Perhaps flirtation with a man who is not her husband. Maybe coming to terms with her sibling's addiction. Lizzie may be all grown up, but there is still more growing to do, even in the confines of her already established life. A wonderful window into someone's life. Into the weather of it all.


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On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel By Ocean Vuong Cover Image
$17.00
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ISBN: 9780525562047
Published: Penguin Books - June 1st, 2021

As the title suggests, even through grief, loss, pain, and suffering, we find joy and beauty. Even those hurtful experiences and relationships are gorgeous in their own unfolding. Vuong writes both delicately and veraciously of self discovery–as both an immigrant in America and as a gay youth exploring their sexuality.


There There By Tommy Orange Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780525436140
Availability: In stock with our warehouse--usually ships within 1-7 days. May or may not be in stock at Room.
Published: Vintage - May 7th, 2019

I had the realization after finishing this book that Tommy Orange did something that took a moment to sink in: he put the brutalization of Native American people in the context of present day. Generational, inherited trauma seeping into each moment. Each character is carefully fitted into Orange's story, many of them connected without realizing it at all. It takes place in Oakland where Orange is from–something you can feel as a reader.


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Stay with Me: A novel By Ayobami Adebayo Cover Image
$17.00
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ISBN: 9781101974414
Published: Vintage - July 10th, 2018

It's been a few year's since I've read this and I still think of Akin and Yejide often. Their love and life built behind a façade in order to uphold culture, but lasting in the end in a shape neither of them thought it would take. I believe I cried at the end of this.