Erin's Picks

ISBN-13: 9781608463862
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Haymarket Books, 5/2014

Ever wonder what goes wrong so often in conversations between men and women? This hilarious and sharp book of essays tracks the missteps, the problems, and the dangers of what happens when men wrongly assume they know things and wrongly assume women don't. Each essay studies the societal problems and policies used to systematically silence women with insight, fascinating data, and great prose. Solnit provides a platform for women to finally speak up about this silencing, and by the end of this collection I had a completely different perspective on how I communicate with my coworkers, friends, and family, and how they communicate with me. Anyone with an interest in feminism and a good sense of humor should pick this book up.

Godforsaken Idaho (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780544027763
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: New Harvest, 4/2013

This collection of short stories sucked me in and wouldn't let me go until I had finished the entire book. They are almost all set in Idaho and explore themes of Mormonism, the tie between nature and humanity, and the blurry history of the American West. Vestal, an ex-Mormon himself, writes about these ideas with honesty and damn good prose.

Say What You Will (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780062271105
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Harper Teen, 6/2014

Amy is about to head into her last year of high school, and her family has hired Matthew to spend time with her as her caregiver. Amy has severe cerebral palsy and wants to learn to socialize before she starts college. Matthew has obsessive compulsive disorder and his plagued by anxiety. They, together, help each other in ways they never expected. I loved this story that authentically and thoughtfully represents what differently-abled teens go through and how they fall in love.

ISBN-13: 9780316204262
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Back Bay Books, 4/2013

I loved this clever and heartfelt book about adventure, architecture, and how much we really understand about our own family. Fifteen-year-old Bee requests a trip to Antarctica as a reward for her perfect grades, and her neurotic and agoraphobic mother, Bernadette, disappears without warning while planning the trip. Bee is left to uncover her mother's past life an as architect in Seattle in an attempt to find her mother before disaster strikes. This book was so inventive--most of it is told through interviews, letters, and emails between characters. Maria Semple used to write for one of my favorite TV shows, Arrested Development, so the wit and roundabout humor in this book shines throughout.

ISBN-13: 9780547519272
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1/2014

This was one of the most gripping and powerful memoirs I've read in quite some time. MacLean tells the story of his trip to India where he "wakes up" suddenly on a train platform with no memory of who he is or why he is there. His amnesia is the result of an uncommon reaction to malarial medication, and as he makes his way back to the U.S. he begins to piece his life together. MacLean struggles to remember his family, his fiance, his childhood, and his friends. Notably, along the way to rediscovering his old life, MacLean's personality changes in subtle, yet life-changing ways. A captivating read.

Monstress: Stories (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780062059567
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Ecco, 1/2012
Cultures clash in this collection of short stories--some of them thoughtfully emotional, some of them somber--and of them beautifully told through the narratives of Filipino-American characters. I think about their stories all the time, wondering how these characters are doing long after their stories have ended. "Monstress" is haunting in all the best ways.