Sam's Picks

A MESSAGE FROM SAM, WHO WORKS FROM HOME FOR NOW: If anybody wants more information about these books, or more recommendations along these lines, drop me an email at roomreadings@gmail.com!

How Much of These Hills Is Gold: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780525537205
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - April 7th, 2020

Two newly orphaned siblings struggle to survive in the waning days of the Gold Rush in the western United States. The duo must reckon with the ghosts of their family history and the cruel whims of a hostile wilderness as they search for a place to belong. By the final pages I was completely heartbound to these characters, thanks to the overflowing tenacity and humanity with which debut novelist C Pam Zhang has written them.


Weather: A novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780385351102
Availability: Backordered
Published: Knopf - February 11th, 2020

If you are anything like me, then you might have trouble expressing in plain language the existential anxiety/dread that fills you when you consider the looming global climate crisis. This is the story of a woman who, like all of us, must live and love and find purpose while coming to terms with the warming, dying world in which she lives. Told in fragments, it is a tale of love and perseverance.


How the West Stole Democracy from the Arabs: The Syrian Arab Congress of 1920 and the Destruction of Its Historic Liberal-Islamic Alliance Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780802148209
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - April 21st, 2020

The founding and subsequent sabotage of the Syrian National Congress is a majorly overlooked turning point in Middle Eastern history. In my opinion, this book is crucial to understanding the destructive approaches to foreign policy applied by European and American powers against Arabic countries throughout the 20th century. The narrative of a “war of civilizations” still props up endless war and the bloodstained profits that come with it. Correctives like Elizabeth Thompson’s are desperately needed.


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A Brief History of Seven Killings: A Novel Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781594633942
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - September 8th, 2015

One of my all-time favorite novels. Part crime saga, part ghost story; pulpy, profound, and so, so bad-ass.


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Loudermilk: Or, the Real Poet; Or, the Origin of the World Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781593763909
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Soft Skull Press - May 7th, 2019

One of my favorite novels of 2019. Lucy Ives plumbs philosophical questions of authenticity, creativity, and fellowship with equal amounts of profundity and irreverence. Anybody who has ever winced through a creative writing workshop will find much to laugh about.


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Democracy May Not Exist, but We'll Miss It When It's Gone Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781250179845
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Metropolitan Books - May 7th, 2019

An impassioned and thorough historical overview on the struggles for big-D Democracy throughout human civilization. Astra Taylor lays out the contradictions among our ideals of freedom that have nurtured, corrupted, and destroyed experiments with democratic government in many different contexts.


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The Empathy Exams: Essays Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555976712
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Graywolf Press - April 1st, 2014

Here's an unresolved debate I have with myself: is Leslie Jamison an optimistic pessimist -- someone who acknowledges the worst but dares to hope for better -- or vice versa? She accomplishes great contemplative heft without her writing ever turning too dense. These essays will stay with you for a long, long time.


Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to a Tribe Called Quest Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781477316481
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Texas Press - February 1st, 2019

As anybody who has read They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us

knows, Hanif Abdurraqib excels at interweaving an artist's biography with the personal significance of their works in his own life. This book-length love letter to A Tribe Called Quest is a masterpiece.


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Oval Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781593764050
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Soft Skull Press - June 4th, 2019

A vision of a very, very near future where climate change has further destabilized society. A new wave of "green" profiteers seek to commodify the adaptive process, with chilling results.


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The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9780312427993
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador - June 24th, 2008

A necessary book, full stop, for understanding the world we live in today. Have you found yourself wondering lately why our government's crisis response seems, ahem, misguided?


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The Rap Year Book: The Most Important Rap Song From Every Year Since 1979, Discussed, Debated, and Deconstructed Cover Image
By Shea Serrano, Ice-T (Foreword by), Arturo Torres (Illustrator)
$19.95
ISBN: 9781419718182
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harry N. Abrams - October 13th, 2015

A truly exemplary source of pop culture history. TRYB has everything the hip-hop-obsessed could ask for: earnest analysis, an (over)abundance of contextual detail, and A+ illustrations by Arturo Torres. Looks great on your coffee table.


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This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781451697391
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 4th, 2015

The developed world's wretched, self-interested response to the climate crisis should be taught in every history class until the end of time. If there is one book that everybody should read, it is this one.


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The Sellout: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781250083258
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador - March 1st, 2016

Despite this book's universal acclaim as a work of 'satire', Paul Beatty has interestingly rebuked the term in all interviews. In any case, The Sellout is caustically funny and a hard shove into the closet where America keeps its skeletons. Worth the hype.


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Megg & Mogg In Amsterdam (And Other Stories) Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781606998793
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Fantagraphics - April 18th, 2016

The continued adventures of a clinically depressed witch and her cat/sexual partner. Stoner comedy of the darkest variety, outstandingly vulgar and surprisingly touching. You can still find a lot of old Megg, Mogg & Owl web comics online, and they are all worth a read.


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Capital is Dead: Is This Something Worse? Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781788735308
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Verso - October 8th, 2019

Wark argues that Marxism desperately needs to update its language and framework to accurately critique today's global economic system, which has evolved beyond capitalism entirely into something even more abstract and extractive.


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Uncanny Valley: A Memoir Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780374278014
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: MCD - January 14th, 2020

An eyewitness' account of the decade Silicon Valley -- founded by idealists and overrun by capitalists --ballooned into a society-shaping force of surveillance and exploitation. Many of Anna Wiener's stories undercut the common perception that Big Tech is in any way a benevolent or altruistic influence in our lives.


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White Noise: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) Cover Image
By Don DeLillo, Richard Powers (Introduction by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143105985
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Classics - December 29th, 2009

At its best, Delillo's writing spins your brain dizzy before knocking you flat with a single breath of clarity. This book is operating at that best.


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Census: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062676146
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco - May 7th, 2019

A census-taker in the final days of his life travels through a mysterious land with his son, who has Down's syndrome. This is a beautiful, tender, ruminative novel about family, loss, and responsibility.


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A Visit from the Goon Squad Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780307477477
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor - March 22nd, 2011

Alternate title: "All the Ways You Can End Up Lonely and Sad"


Tenth of December: Stories Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812984255
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - January 7th, 2014

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How to Set a Fire and Why: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781101911754
Availability: Special Order
Published: Vintage - June 13th, 2017

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Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781612197036
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Melville House - August 14th, 2017

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Dancer: A Novel (Picador Modern Classics) Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781250051790
Availability: Backordered
Published: Picador Modern Classics - June 2nd, 2015

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A People's History of the United States Cover Image
$21.99
ISBN: 9780062397348
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial Modern Classics - November 17th, 2015

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Song of Solomon (Vintage International) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781400033423
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - June 8th, 2004

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Clockers: A Novel Cover Image
$23.00
ISBN: 9780312426187
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador - March 4th, 2008

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A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781250094735
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador - August 2nd, 2016

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Population: 485 Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780061363504
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - August 25th, 2015

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The Dead Lands: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781455528233
Availability: Special Order
Published: Grand Central Publishing - February 23rd, 2016

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Borne: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780374537654
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: MCD - February 27th, 2018

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Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812977868
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - May 3rd, 2011

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They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us Cover Image
By Hanif Abdurraqib, Eve L. Ewing (Foreword by)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781937512651
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Two Dollar Radio - November 7th, 2017

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A Personal Matter Cover Image
By Kenzaburo Oe, John Nathan (Translator)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802150615
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - January 13th, 1994

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Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780307279286
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor - February 25th, 2020

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Black Leopard, Red Wolf (The Dark Star Trilogy #1) Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780735220188
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - February 4th, 2020

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Dissident Gardens (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780307744494
Availability: Special Order
Published: Vintage - June 3rd, 2014

The Secret History (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781400031702
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - April 13th, 2004

Barn 8: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781644450154
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Graywolf Press - March 3rd, 2020