Rachel is the operations and events director at Avid Bookshop. She fell in love with books because of the mindful introduction to literature her parents gave her starting at age 3, when her father read her the entire Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. He read the entire series to her again at age 7. She enjoys tending to her 2 chickens, working in her yard, and reading with her dog, Dolly Parton.
Want to learn how to be a good ancestor? Need to address your privilege and feel uncomfortable about talking about racism? You need to read and work through Me and White Supremacy.
The book is a treasure with the type of writing that slaps you in the face, gives you pause, makes you sigh. Whether describing hotel body wash or explaining day trading, the characters in Parakeet are interesting and yes, there's a dead grandmother reincarnated as a parakeet. Highly recommend.
A terrorist train fire is blamed on a young Muslim girl due to a social media post in A Burning, Majumdar's debut. This compelling story has a cast of characters who are all making life decisions with moral implications, whether or not they realize the repercussions. Highly recommend.
A closeted gay Republican Congressman is thrust into a bizarre series of events involving colonialism, an aardvark, and perhaps a ghost. The backstory of the taxidermist who stuffed the aardvark provides historical context. Enter the Aardvark is a hilarious ride that is super entertaining and I highly recommend you kick back and dive in.
The Night Watchman is an extraordinary book based on the life of Erdrich's grandfather who was a night watchman at a jewel bearing plant as well as an activist against Native dispossession. The other featured protagonist is Patrice Paranteau who you will quickly come to adore. The Night Watchman is one of Erdrich's best works and I highly recommend it!
Margaret Wilkerson Sexton’s The Revisioners is a tribute, a prayer, a triumphant cry of gratitude to those who came before us. The intergenerational memories and desire for freedom and survival push Ava forward when things get hard. Moving into her grandmother’s house with her son seems to be a temporary fix, but she has no idea the legacy she has inherited. The Revisioners honors with reverence the histories of those who had no voice.
Who decides what makes a family? Stay and Fight is a weird and wonderful story of living off the grid, communal living and the enormity of being a parent. ffitch's debut deeply connects to our planet's impending environmental crisis without preaching. The characters dig in when they believe they're right, and their tenacity (and sometimes obvious impending train wrecks) is terribly entertaining.
What if everything wasn’t okay and the father that abandoned both his children wasn’t the cause, but just was? Half-siblings Nolan and Elsa feel forgotten by their father. Whether this was on purpose or by accident is not clear. What is clear is that he’s dead and they’re tired of not knowing and the key seems to be the remote island Reversalist compound where their father spent his last days. Hauser’s storytelling is brittle and beautiful. When your heart is broken, it’s hard to not blame the biggest missing person in your life. Family of Origin is the story of a quest for answers that will cause you to examine your own provenance.
Arnett's storytelling is razor sharp and Mostly Dead Things reads like a beautiful train wreck. Death's influence is everywhere, from the roadkill and peacocks Jessa taxidermies, to her father's suicide. Arnett explores what it means to be vulnerable as well as lose everything and still be able to get up every morning.
The Gulf is the a book about timing, and how when it's right, it's magic. When things are off, it's a struggle just to keep up. Marianne's joke idea to start a Christian writing school was just that, a joke. But when this atheist poet finds herself without any other options, Marianne moves to Florida to set up a low-residency school funded by her novelist ex-fiancé's grandmother. The lives of the workshop applicants who make it to Genesis Inspirational Writing Ranch will never be the same.