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Rachel Watkins

Rachel is the operations and events director at Avid Bookshop. She fell in love with reading and 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 listens to audiobooks via Libro.fm while tending to her chickens and yard. Reading in the hammock with her dog, Dolly Parton, is pretty great too.

My Staff Picks: 
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A Measure of Belonging: Twenty-One Writers of Color on the New American South Cover Image
By Cinelle Barnes (Editor)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781938235719
Availability: May be on our shelves or available in 5-7 business days
Published: Hub City Press - October 6th, 2020

While southerners are famous for their hospitality, the reality for the twenty-one writers of color featured in A Measure of Belonging ranges from unwelcome to outright hostile. Cinelle Barnes edited this important book of essays featuring writers such as Jennifer Hope Choi, Kiese Laymon, and Nichole Perkins. From M. Evelina Galang's piece on how Miami is like Manila, to Aruni Kashyap's essay on questions potential white landlords in Athens, Georgia asked him ("Are you Muslim?"), you're going to love these perspectives and immediately tell someone about this book.


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Secrets of Happiness Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781640094451
Availability: Not Yet Published - You can preorder 120 days before the publication date.
Published: Counterpoint - May 4th, 2021

Joan Silber writes about the human condition in glorious ways that makes even the flawed beautiful. The families in Secrets of Happiness love and hate, uplift and tear down, relish and resent each other with conviction. How well do we know those closest to us? And what good comes when secrets are revealed? This is brilliant fiction.


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The Push: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781984881663
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Pamela Dorman Books - January 5th, 2021

I read Audrey Audrain's debut, The Push, in 2 days because I literally couldn't stop. What does it mean to be a good mother? What if you don't connect emotionally with your child? How much emotional trauma is passed down from mothers to daughters? THE PUSH examines 4 generations of females as well as the ways having children impact one marriage. I loved this book.


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Leave the World Behind: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062667632
Availability: May be on our shelves or available in 5-7 business days
Published: Ecco - October 6th, 2020

I tore through Leave the World Behind, a breath-taking stunner that slyly becomes a heart-thumping thriller. Alam examines race, class, and family relationships subtly and this is where his storytelling shines. 5 of 5 stars!


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You Can Keep That to Yourself: A Comprehensive List of What Not to Say to Black People, for Well-Intentioned People of Pallor Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781617758966
Availability: May be on our shelves or available in 5-7 business days
Published: Akashic Books - September 1st, 2020

Adam Smyer has written a book of humor that is totally on-point for today's cultural climate. A quick read, You Can Keep That to Yourself is a funny and blunt book that my 18-year-old daughter and I both read and then discussed. I wanted to see if it seemed relevant to her because it was very useful to me. She was more familiar with more of the content (youth!) but she learned some new things too. This book is the perfect jumping-off point for much-needed conversations about how to be an anti-racist. It's extremely short and very accessible. I wish I could give this book to everyone. (language: spicy)


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Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor Cover Image
By Layla Saad, Robin Diangelo (Foreword by)
$25.99
ISBN: 9781728209807
Availability: May be on our shelves or available in 5-7 business days
Published: Sourcebooks - January 1st, 2020

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.


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Parakeet: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780374229450
Availability: May be on our shelves or available in 5-7 business days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - June 2nd, 2020

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.


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Enter the Aardvark Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780316536158
Availability: May be on our shelves or available in 5-7 business days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - March 24th, 2020

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.


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The Night Watchman Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780062671189
Availability: May be on our shelves or available in 5-7 business days
Published: Harper - March 3rd, 2020

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!


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The Revisioners Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781640094260
Availability: May be on our shelves or available in 5-7 business days
Published: Counterpoint LLC - August 18th, 2020

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.