This epic novel is set in Afghanistan, beginning in the days of the monarchy and reaching to the early 21st century. It was written by an Afghani — now a physician — whose family found asylum in the U.S. in 1980...
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond
Diamond crafts a careful and thorough account of the environmental and cultural fragility of civilizations, from present-day Montana to the toppled statues of Easter Island. Collapse is both a fascinating study of humanity's ecological relationships and a cautionary tale of our increasingly overtaxed resources.
Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott
Readers of Traveling Mercies, Lamott's previous book on spirituality, will find here the same thoughtfulness and humor we've come to love. Whether writing about battles with her son, her mother's death, the church she's found to be home, or her loathing of George W. Bush, Lamott's irreverence and wit doesn't disappoint. Recommended by Michal
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
How do we make decisions — good and bad — and why are some people so much better at it than others? Thats the question Malcolm Gladwell asks and answers in the follow-up to his huge bestseller, The Tipping Point. Utilizing case studies as diverse as speed dating, pop music, and the shooting of Amadou Diallo, Gladwell reveals that what we think of as decisions made in the blink of an eye are much more complicated than assumed. Drawing on cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology, he shows how...
The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality by Brian Greene
"[Greene's] excitement for science on the threshold of vital breakthroughs is supremely contagious. The Fabric of the Cosmos is as dazzling as it is tough, and it beautifully reflects this theoretician's ardor for his work." New York Times
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
"[A] lively, timely and engaging study of fads....Gladwell...has a knack for explaining psychological experiments clearly; The Tipping Point is worth reading just for what it tells us about how we try to make sense out of the world." Alan Wolfe, New York Times Book Review)
Saturday by Ian McEwan
Ian McEwan's new novel is generous, contemplative, and moving — and in good company, joining classics like Mrs. Dalloway and Ulysses that take place during a single day. McEwan intricately weaves characters and themes towards an eloquent and wrenching finale, and the beauty of his prose propels the plot with poetic momentum. Saturday is a gentle, brilliant, and inspiring work. Recommended by Jill, Powells.com
God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It by Jim Wallis
Finally, a book that takes back faith from the politicians and the media. Speaking to the importance of religious and moral values, not as mere tools for political and economic gain but as essential instruments of social justice, Jim Wallis brings together the discussion of faith, politics, and culture in this country, and asks how our leaders can continue to ignore issues such as poverty, racial inequity, and war. Recommended by Frank
After the murder of a world-renowned physicist, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon learns an ancient secret society called the Illuminati, which stands for science and has opposed the Catholic church since the 1500s, is responsible. When Langdon realizes the Illuminati may attempt to defeat the church by destroying Vatican City, he and scientist Vittoria Vetra are the world's only hope...
Portland Confidential: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Rose City by Phil Stanford
"Phil Stanford's little bit of Portland noir, Portland Confidential, lays it out in all its gritty glory, rattling skeletons in the city's many musty closets....[Stanford] simply preserves some fantastic tales of a very different Portland." Seattle Times
Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares
Children's Young Adult
Anyone who is or has been a teenage girl should relate to the drama, humor, and camaraderie of Ann Brashares's Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. I never was one, but even I found her wit and energy irresistible. In terms of poignancy, Girls in Pants might even be the best of the trio. Rico, Powells.com
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream by Hunter S. Thompson
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is the best chronicle of drug-soaked, addle-brained, rollicking good times ever committed to the printed page. It is also the tale of a long weekend road trip that has gone down in the annals of American pop culture as one of the strangest journeys ever undertaken...
Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon by Chuck Palahniuk
"Fugitives feels like a guide to Portland, but one written by and for a Portland resident....You can't go wrong by picking up a copy yourself, and joining...in the search for the minutia of Palahniuk's Portland." Erik Henriksen, The Portland Mercury
Accidental murder accomplices-cum-investigators, a group of Japanese women rise above their status as timid factory workers and abused spouses to take on a world of gang members, loan sharks, and sexual predators. After experiencing this dark, intense thriller from Karino (one of Japan's most-prized crime writers), I can't wait for more of her books to be translated into English. Recommended by Donna, Powell's Books on Hawthorne
The legendary creator of Where the Sidewalk Ends welcomes readers to the world of Runny Babbit and his friends Toe Jurtle, Skertie Gunk, Rirty Dat, Dungry Hog, Snerry Jake, and many others who speak a topsy-turvy language all their own. Conceived many years ago and completed before Silverstein's death, this new book of poems and drawings is filled with wordplay rhymes and clever spoonerisms...
"Inspired by her grandparents' love story in which the grandmother outlived her husband by nearly three decades, Niffenegger has invented Henry and Clare, and their unique and complicated love story involving the ability to live in the past and future in an unpredictable parallel. Delightful, imaginative, with an unforgettable conclusion." Donna Kane, Powells.com
Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate (A Progressive Guide to Action) by George Lakoff
Now more than ever, Don't Think of an Elephant is an important resource for progressives in this country. George Lakoff submits that for progressive values to reclaim mainstream America we must transform the language of American politics. "Frames are mental structures that shape the way we see the world." This book simply details how to reframe the political discussions and language used in the country to reflect the issues that we value. Readable and insightful, this book will open your eyes to what a powerful role language has in American politics today, and how to make your voice more powerful and effect.
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond
In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed writing, technology, government, and organized religion — as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war — and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures..
Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality by Donald Miller
"Miller is enjoyably clever, and his story is telling and beautiful, even poignant....the subtitle — 'Non-Religious' thoughts about 'Christian Spirituality' — indicates Miller's distrust of the institutional church and his desire to appeal to those experimenting with other flavors of spirituality." Publishers Weekly