Outlandish October Staff Picks

Don't be overwhelmed, oogle these outstanding opuses!

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The Lincoln Highway: A Novel Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780735222359
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking - October 5th, 2021

Amor Towles, the author of A Gentleman in Moscow, admits it was his intention to “mix up” his writing in his new book, The Lincoln Highway. The characters, setting, and era differ from his past bestsellers, but are every bit as intriguing! This novel takes place within ten days in 1954. Three eighteen-year-old boys and one eight-year-old boy take a road trip from Nebraska to New York City, via the Lincoln Highway. Throughout their wild escapade, these boys encounter people along the way who open their minds to diverse ways of thinking. The boys themselves, all unique in their own ways, bear their souls to each other, and you can’t help but love every one of them! Towles’ writing is filled with so many thoughts to ponder about this crazy fiasco we call life! I’ll leave you with just one: “For just as pride is founded on what you’ve built up around you, envy is founded on what your neighbor has built across the street. A man’s home may be his castle, but the moat, it seems, is just as good at keeping people in as it is at keeping people out.” Don’t miss this inspirational story!

-Virgie

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The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781683692515
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Quirk Books - May 25th, 2021

If you like Steel Magnolias, true crime, and the macabre, then you’ll love this book! I ate up this story, mostly because he is an amazing writer and this villain made me want to tear the book in half. The ending was amazing and will leave you feeling exactly how Steel Magnolias left me, except with a touch of horror. You will be locking your windows and checking your doors to keep out the southern vampires.

-Hallie

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Oh William!: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780812989434
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - October 19th, 2021

If you’re a fan of Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout, and you enjoyed Olive Kitteridge, then you need to read this book! A year after her second husband dies, Lucy Barton, lonely and grieving, reconnects with her first husband, William. They take a road trip together, to unearth a family secret, new information for both of them. This gets Lucy to reminisce about her entire life.  She is anything but succinct and just when you think you’re getting somewhere in the conversation, she changes the topic. But she tells her story well, and her vulnerability makes you love her even more! William describes Lucy as a person who “steals peoples’ hearts.” She certainly stole mine! This is truly a delightful story!

-Virgie

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Severance: A Novel Cover Image
By Ling Ma
$26.00
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ISBN: 9780374261597
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - August 14th, 2018

With a compelling story and fully fleshed-out characters, this charming debut novel had me hooked from beginning to end. I will admit, this book was not what I expected it to be, but I was very pleasantly surprised. I dived in for the disease-ridden post-apocalyptic New York landscape (which was indeed provided in eerie detail), but found mostly a brilliantly satirical coming-of-age tale as endearing as it is dismal and bleak. Our leading lady, Candace Chen, is such a beautifully realized and detailed character, and reading about her journey as a young immigrant in America was fascinating. I gained from this book a very valuable perspective and insight that I am grateful to have been exposed to.

-Marissa

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Bewilderment: A Novel Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780393881141
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 21st, 2021

“We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers.” Kevin Powers, bestselling author of Overstory. 

Kevin Powers’ new fiction novel, Bewilderment, is beyond powerful! It’s the story of a passionate astrobiologist, who is parenting his 10-year-old special needs son, Robin, after the death of his wife, a passionate animal rights activist. Robin, a combination of the fervor of both his parents, doesn’t understand that people know about our environmental disaster, and still choose not to fix it. The story, which takes a hard look at the order of life in the universe and beyond, through the lens of science, politics, and popular beliefs, is mesmerizing and disturbing at the same time! If you are an open-minded individual, you just have to read this. 

-Virgie

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The Sun Down Motel Cover Image
$26.00
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ISBN: 9780440000174
Published: Berkley - February 18th, 2020

I am not normally a fan of thrillers, but this novel swept me off my feet! With a riveting plot and compelling, relatable characters, The Sun Down Motel is bound to please lovers of the supernatural, murder mysteries, and creepy abandoned buildings. The story is told from two perspectives: Viv in 1982, and her niece Carly in the present day, both working as the night clerk at the notorious Sun Down Motel. I was highly impressed with the way the two timelines flawlessly meshed together, and at the fully-realized cast of supporting characters. The audiobook read by Brittany Pressley and Kirsten Potter added so much to the experience, as well. I could not stop listening to or thinking about this book, and was sad to see it end! 

-Marissa

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Songbirds: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593238042
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - August 3rd, 2021

This novel by Lefteri, author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo, is inspired by a recent tragedy in Cyprus, in which five female domestic workers and their children disappeared, and authorities dismissed any efforts to find them. Migrant maids, though part of the fabric of Cypriot life, are often treated as merchandise. Nisha is one such migrant worker from Sri Lanka, who came to Cyprus in search of hope for her future, but finds herself trapped, and then missing. The illegal practice of poaching songbirds intersects creatively and metaphorically with the fight for freedom theme. This story gives the reader a front-row seat to the difficulties and suffering experienced by the migrant workers in Cyprus. Lefteri’s passion for human rights drives this exposure of systemic racism, often unquestioned.

-Virgie

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Sankofa: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781646220830
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Catapult - October 5th, 2021

Anna is at a place in life where many ties have been cut, leaving her to figure out who she is for the first time in a while. After her mother’s death and separation, she finds a journal written by her unknown father. As she gets to know the man in the journal, she wonders what he’s up to now. The exploration of family, identity, and self that Anna undertakes is beautifully rendered by Chibundu Onuzo. Onuzo writes this story in a way that makes it feel like your own in one way and a stranger’s in another.

-Izzy

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Matrix: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781594634499
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - September 7th, 2021

I am a huge fan of Lauren Groff’s debut novel Fates & Furies so I jumped into Matrix sight unseen. Big surprise! A riveting historical novel that follows Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine’s life. Though she isn’t the main character her life and rule are pivotal to this story. After Queen Eleanor sends reluctant Marie off to be the Abbess of an impoverished Abby the reader is sent on an odyssey as Marie uses her intelligence, stature, and sheer will to become essentially a land baron. Bloody battles, passionate love scenes, set in actual historical events become consuming in this excellent novel.

-Kim B.

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Apples Never Fall Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9781250220257
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - September 14th, 2021

If you’re a Moriarty fan, you won’t want to miss her latest novel, filled with the typical but intriguing domestic relationship twists. This story revolves around the Delaney’s, that tennis-champ family everyone envies for their supposed fame and “got-it-togetherness.” Now the family is all grown up, parents retired, adult children, all still hanging onto the thread of prominence. When a stranger, Savannah, knocks on their door one night, and shortly afterward Joy Delaney, the matriarch of the family disappears, this impressive family begins its spiral, unraveling, bit by bit. The themes of marriage, retirement, family cohesiveness, and the quest for individuality run through this novel of mystery! Bet you can’t solve this mystery before Moriarty reveals it!

-Virgie

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Flower Crowns and Fearsome Things Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781524867232
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Andrews McMeel Publishing - October 5th, 2021

I have loved seeing the renewed interest in poetry over the last year or so.  This latest collection from fan-favorite Amanda Lovelace is a wonderful exploration on the duality of femininity.  Her poems are keyholes I like to peer through, into a world where women are unapologetically great and terrible, humble and powerful, subdued and incandescent.

-Jenna

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Firekeeper's Daughter Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250766564
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) - March 16th, 2021

Daunis Firekeeper has always felt as though she were torn between two different worlds, never completely fitting in with her Ojibwe tribe or her wealthy white family. As she makes plans with her best friend to study chemistry at a local college, she’s content to spend her time studying and helping her mother care for her sickly grandma. That is until a tragic murder hurls her onto a path of self-discovery full of mystery, drug abuse, and FBI agents. Daunis uncovers the meaning of family and the importance of community as she navigates between her own beliefs and the harsh realities of the world she lives in. A thrilling read that kept me completely engaged all 488 pages and had me much more informed on the heart-breaking injustices that Native Americans go through on a daily basis. You will not regret picking up this amazing book! 

-Isabella

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Nightbitch: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780385546812
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday - July 20th, 2021

This book is beyond weird - even for me. I’m not quite sure yet what I just read, or even if I really liked it or not. But I can’t get it off my mind days after finishing it, and I’m ultimately very glad that I read it, even if my brain still cannot process it completely. Are you looking for a Kafa-esque, hallucinatory ride of a tale old by an unreliable narrator who may or may not be completely losing her mind? Or maybe you’re searching for a deeply unnerving exploration of modern feminism and the concept of identity that will leave you feeling hollow, or hopeful, or both? Well, look no further. Whatever this book is, it is definitely worth your time.

-Marissa

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We Have Always Lived in the Castle: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) Cover Image
By Shirley Jackson, Jonathan Lethem (Afterword by), Thomas Ott (Illustrator)
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143039976
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Classics - October 31st, 2006

It would be misleading to call this book a thriller, regardless of how thrilled I was while reading it. This eerie novel follows the Blackwood sisters, ostracised heirs to the infamous Blackwood home, land, and fortune. Their peaceful -suspenseful- isolation is wrecked when a forgotten cousin visits the sisters, aiming to take command of the Blackwoods’ and their inheritance and to uncover the truth behind the events that banished them from the world. If you are a fan of women written by women, stories that pass the Bechdel test, or if you’re just looking for a trope-breaking scary story, this is the book for you. And in my experience, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is even more unsettling the second time you read it. 

-McKenna

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Uzumaki (3-in-1 Deluxe Edition) (Junji Ito) Cover Image
$27.99
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ISBN: 9781421561325
Published: VIZ Media LLC - October 15th, 2013

Junji Ito might be the most creative horror writer I have ever encountered. His genius is shown through how he can write such compelling horror all-around one little symbol you’d never consider terrifying, the spiral. A small, isolated town discovers the corrupting and horrifying nature of this symbol as the town spirals into horror. His creativity and awesome story has stuck with me for years and I think every horror enthusiast, even if you aren’t into manga, should read this!

-Hallie


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Empire of the Vampire Cover Image
By Jay Kristoff, Bon Orthwick (Illustrator)
$29.99
ISBN: 9781250245281
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Press - September 14th, 2021

Deep within a Coldblood dungeon, the last Silversaint, Gabrielle De Leon, awaits his execution, hands stained with the ichor of The Forever King. With the temptation of one last vice, he recounts his tale to his captors, and to us. Deliciously moody and gothic, Empire is the vampire fiction I’ve been waiting eagerly for since my days reading Vampire Hunter. D. Kristoff plunges us into the accursed life of Gabrielle who, despite his upbringing as the bastard son of a noble and a smith, holds his head as high and proud as his namesake. Trying to say any more would be a disservice for Empire, pick it up, read those first couple of pages and you’ll see, trust me. 

-Ryan

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Sleep Donation (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525566083
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - September 29th, 2020

A plague causing insomnia spreads throughout America without reason. Infants are used for donating sleep to the afflicted. This nightmarish novel left me feeling immensely unnerved. Karen Russell tackles a brilliantly terrifying concept in the best way possible.  Recent global events have really brought some perspective on the chaos that a sleepless pandemic would cause. For any fans of psychological horror and sci-fi thrillers, Sleep Donation is the book for you!

-Jonah


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Poison Ivy: Thorns Cover Image
By Kody Keplinger, Sara Kipin (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781401298425
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: DC Comics - June 1st, 2021

Like many people my age, I grew up with superheroes, and their ubiquitous counterparts, the villains. Thorns serves as another take on Ivy’s origins, and updates the theming around her character to match one of the struggles young girls face today; that of agency and autonomy. I have a soft spot for Ivy, and I love the direction Keplinger took her origins, while she remains true to the legacy of her character. Sarah Kipin’s illustrations, in their beautiful simplicity, serve the work perfectly, giving emphasis where it’s needed, but they don’t try to out-perform the narrative.  Also, no I’m not crying, you’re crying.

-Ryan


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The Girl from the Sea: A Graphic Novel Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781338540574
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Graphix - June 1st, 2021

15-year-old Morgan has a secret she has held close to her chest since she could remember. Then one day, while traversing the cliffside by her house, Morgan slips into the ocean. Unable to do anything, Morgan fears she is about to drown, only to be saved by Keltie, a girl who spends most of her time as a seal. Sparks fly between them instantly, but Morgan isn’t ready to let her friends and family know her secret. This Graphic novel is fantastic, I didn’t want to put it down. It’s about accepting who you are no matter what others think. It’s also about how even though it doesn’t feel like it, there are people out there who will support you no matter who you love.

-Patty


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The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781492696728
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sourcebooks - June 22nd, 2021

Kate Moore has done it again with a brilliantly written microhistory about a woman who refused to back down and changed America for the better. Elizabeth Packard was one of an innumerable number of women institutionalized for nothing but convenience, in a time where married women were considered civilly dead by the law and treated as the property of their husbands. This thrilling and inspiring tale takes us through Packard’s endless fight for herself and for those around her, and showcases the incredible headway she made towards the rights of women, and towards the perception of mental healthcare.

-Marissa

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Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion Cover Image
$25.95
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781591844617
Published: Portfolio Hardcover - June 14th, 2012

Cheap fashion has not only drastically changed the way that we dress, but has also had disastrous consequences on our society, environment, and economy. Elizabeth Cline gives a detailed account of the history of the American garment industry, how and why clothing became a disposable good, and what our world may look like if we allow things to continue the way they are. Cline has compiled an impressive collection of interviews with industry labor workers and owners alike, as well as with progressive individuals who are offering innovative solutions for the future of fashion. This is a fascinating read that made me think more critically of my own clothing consumption and made me realize just how problematic of an impact fast fashion has had on people around the globe and on the environment.

-Marissa

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The Beatryce Prophecy Cover Image
By Kate DiCamillo, Sophie Blackall (Illustrator)
$19.99
ISBN: 9781536213614
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick - September 28th, 2021

Attention! Fans of Kate DiCamillo

This magical story, created by award-winning author Kate DiCamillo, is about a girl, a goat, a monk, and a former king; an unlikely group of characters who become trusted friends. Taking place in medieval times, the themes of bravery and love loom throughout. I fell in love with these characters, so diverse but so strong in their supportive nature. The black and white illustrations by two-time Caldecott Winner Sophie Blackwell are a bonus to this tale of fantasy!

-Virgie

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Great Power, No Responsibility (Spider-Ham Original Graphic Novel) Cover Image
By Steve Foxe, Shadia Amin (Illustrator)
$22.99
ISBN: 9781338734317
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Graphix - September 28th, 2021

Spider-Ham, a spider who is now a pig with the powers of a spider, lost the key to the city. Usually, this wouldn’t be so bad, but this key can open EVERYTHING! Now he must retrace his steps to find the missing key. We meet his friends, foes, and a spider-man from another universe in his quest to track down his lost key. This is an adventure filled with hilarity and ignored advice. I enjoyed it thoroughly and hope you will too!

-Izzy


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Once Upon a Camel Cover Image
By Kathi Appelt, Eric Rohmann (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781534406438
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books - September 7th, 2021

Once upon a time, there was a camel and two kestrel chicks, who traveled together in a dust storm and survived! Kathi Appelt, the author of The One and Only Ivan, has such a knack for weaving tales that pull the strings of your heart while revealing fascinating facts. I learned so much about camels, and their uses throughout history, but more than that I experienced a sense of resilience, determination, hope, and sheer love! There is so much packed into this tender tale. I think it would be a great “read a-loud” to share with your young reader.

-Virgie

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Barb the Last Berzerker Cover Image
By Dan Abdo, Jason Patterson, Dan Abdo (Illustrator), Jason Patterson (Illustrator)
$13.99
ISBN: 9781534485716
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - September 28th, 2021

Evil Wizard Interns, Vampire Goat Fiends, and a Yeti named Porkchop! Follow Barb The Last Berzerker on her hunt to slay monsters, make friends, and stop the evil Witch Head! Such a fun graphic novel with some really cool art. Every character is hilarious and quirky. For any fans of adventure and fantasy, this is the graphic novel for you!

-Jonah


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Kaleidoscope Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781338777246
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Inc. - September 21st, 2021

This delightful little morsel of a novel is an absolute trip.  The story is broken into smaller stories that tell the tale of two people bound together through thick and thin, space and time, and every iteration of their lives.  Each story is inventive, beautiful, and heartbreaking in its own right, with explorations of friendship and loneliness.  Kaleidoscope is a story that must be read to be believed.  I think this is a title with every ingredient necessary to be enjoyable to anyone who picks it up, from middle-grade readers to adults.  I also love the wild and surreal illustrations scattered among the pages.  Just like I love Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology for its wonderful ‘story within a story format, I think Kaleidoscope is not to be missed!

-Jenna

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The Bone Houses Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780316418416
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - September 24th, 2019

I am a big fan of stories about the undead, and never have I read one as precious and mystical as this. This story is deeply entrenched in traditional Welsh folklore, something that I haven’t come across much in modern novels, and the entire book filled me with so much amusement and delight. A narrative about gravediggers was enough of a plot point to pull me in but to find such a magical, horrifying tale blended with such adorable characters was a wonderful surprise. And I would give anything for a Bone Goat of my own! The Bone Houses is a fantastic read, and it is just as whimsical as it is terrifying. The audiobook read by Moira Quirk was wonderful, and her narration really added to the charm of this story.

-Marissa

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Hooky Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780358468295
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Etch/Clarion Books - September 7th, 2021

Dani and Dorian are twin witches who see the good in everyone. Even humans who they were taught to hate. When they befriend the human princess of their kingdom they come to find that not all humans are bad, and not all witches are good. Will they be able to figure out who their friends are, or will they be doomed to fight for a side that only wants to bring harm.

-Patty


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Doing Business Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781324015666
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Norton Young Readers - August 31st, 2021

A cute picture book talking about where people and animals do their “business.” While I am not personally shy enough to use euphemisms about bodily functions, this is a cute way to talk about different species doing their business without being explicit.

-Kim


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The Sleeper and the Spindle Cover Image
By Neil Gaiman, Chris Riddell (Illustrator)
$19.99
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9780062398246
Published: HarperCollins - September 22nd, 2015

This book is a clever retelling of an age-old story, Sleeping Beauty. Though perhaps this book is a little scarier than the original tale, it touches on some important themes that the original story left out. Beauty is deceptive and even though you think you know who the villain is, you might be missing the worst one right in front of your face. Enjoy this beautifully retold story about bravery, strength, and kindness from one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman.

-Hallie