David Lerner

David joined Avid as a bookseller in November 2018. Previously, he has been a professor of film and media studies at Fairfield University and Emory University. He loves reading literary fiction, mysteries and true crime, and books about art, music, and movies, especially when they focus on artists on the margin and cult objects. His greatest accomplishment has been attaining a world ranking in Minesweeper.

My Staff Picks: 
Staff Pick Badge
Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991 Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316787536
Availability: May be on our shelves or available in 5-7 business days
Published: Back Bay Books - July 2nd, 2002

This is my absolute favorite music book - in-depth looks at indie rock bands all across the country during the late 1970s and 1980s showcasing the diversity of music on the margins throughout that decade. Punk aggression, twee affectations, jangly power pop, and college radio bands are all linked in their rejection of the mainstream (at least until they signed to major labels).

Staff Pick Badge
The Plot Against America (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400079490
Availability: May be on our shelves or available in 5-7 business days
Published: Vintage - September 27th, 2005

This work of alternative history imagines a world in which the “America First” campaign of Charles Lindbergh defeats FDR in 1940, setting off a national drift toward fear-mongering nationalism and fascism. Sound familiar? Brilliantly written from a Newark child’s perspective watching his country slip away.  

Staff Pick Badge
Role Models Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374532864
Availability: Unavailable
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - April 26th, 2011

John Waters, the notorious Baltimore cult filmmaker, is famous as much for his films as for his subversive persona and radical re-thinking of taste. So it's fitting that he approaches his memoir through the diversity of influences throughout his life - figures in cinema, music, literature, and fashion, but also in porn and the dive bars of Baltimore. It's been a long time since Waters last made a film, but his voice persists as one of America's leading cultural critics and public intellectuals.

Staff Pick Badge
Fingersmith Cover Image
ISBN: 9781573229722
Availability: Backordered - may take several weeks
Published: Riverhead Books - October 1st, 2002

Sarah Waters is master of the revised Victorian novel. Her work is incredibly well-researched, and she knows all the classic Dickens, Brontes, etc. but her own work flips our expectations. This book is super fun, filled with con artists and scalawags, violence and erotica, but it's also an important re-thinking of who is actually included in Victorian representations.

Staff Pick Badge
Deliverance Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385313872
Availability: May be on our shelves or available in 5-7 business days
Published: Delta - September 10th, 1994

I initially read this as a private joke with myself when I found out I was moving to Georgia, but the joke was on me. Dickey's poetic prose transcends the genre expectations of an adventure novel - he uses the white-water-rafting-excursion-gone-bad plot as a means to interrogate the ecological consequences of commercial land development in the south, class tensions in late capitalism, and the anxious masculinity of the 1970s. Overshadowed by the film, this is a truly underrated southern novel.

Staff Pick Badge
My Brilliant Friend: Neapolitan Novels, Book One Cover Image
By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781609450786
Availability: May be on our shelves or available in 5-7 business days
Published: Europa Editions - September 25th, 2012

Although the books were released in four volumes, this is really one huge novel about two women, their profound friendship, and the will power required to negotiate the limited expectations of their families, the patriarchal assumptions of their lovers, and the crime and poverty of Naples itself. The level of psychological depth achieved in this book is astounding - many scenes are haunting, but you will love spending time with Lenu's burgeoning feminist consciousness and Lila's inscrutable brilliance. Start here and fly through the next three installments!

Staff Pick Badge
Anna Karenina (Oxford World's Classics) Cover Image
By Leo Tolstoy, Louise And Aylmer Maude (Translator), W. Gareth Jones (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780199536061
Availability: In our warehouse - should ship in 5-7 business days.
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - July 1st, 2008

Although the length is daunting, Tolstoy's 1870s masterpiece is a sneaky page turner. Tolstoy is a generous empath, offering us profound understanding of the motivations and anxieties for everyone's decisions, however dubious. This is a morally ambiguous world in which the gap between desire and societal expectations can ruin you, especially as these tensions cut unequally across gender lines.