Staff Picks

BEACH READS, SUMMER 2017

BEACHWINNER

Pack your bag with cool drinks, tasty snacks and something delicious and/or nutritious to read. Our eclectic staff has something picked out to suit every taste…

STAFF PICKS

JAY’s PICKS

Summer 2017’s Theme: Get-Me-TF-Out-Of-Here Escapism

Kids Fantasy and Adult Fantasy

Howl's movingCastle                   Darker Shade

  • Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. “Like a bowl of Lucky Charms: marshmallow-y light and magically delicious. But if you ask me to compare it to the movie, I’ll have Calcifer burn your bacon.” -Jay
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. “You get not one, but ‘four’ Londons to escape to. As well as a handsome jacket.” – Jay

TEDDY’s PICKS

Fiction

Elephant                     BroomO'The System

  • The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami
    “When I’m doing my beach thing, I find short stories to be the perfect dose of oceanside reading, and you can’t go wrong with Murakami’s first collection. My personal favorites are the Dancing Dwarf, a dark take on a Grimm-like fairy tale, and Sleep, where a woman’s severe insomnia leads to a waking nightmare.” -Teddy
  • The Broom of the System  by David Foster Wallace
    “Take a bizarre trip into a surreal reality, a post-modern parallel-universe, where you are guaranteed to laugh out loud. The characters and scenarios in this book are certainly those of a mad man, in this case, DFW when he was a college student! This novel is not quite as heady as his others, but a delightful hoot all the same!”  -Teddy

 

LIZ’s PICKS

Fiction

WolfHunt              MyStruggle             crazyrichasians

Unlike Teddy, I think summer’s long, luminous, dazzling days are perfect for long, luminous, dazzling and intense books so here ya go:

          • Wolf Hunt by Ivailo Petrov. “How can you resist this brilliant Bulgarian novel? A saga of six men and their intertwined histories in 20th century rural Bulgaria. Tragic, comic, political – all the elements of a great saga and a great translation to boot (ok I don’t speak Bulgarian so I’m guessing!) If you trust me, PLEASE read this book! Even if you don’t trust me, PLEASE READ THIS BOOK.” -Liz
          • My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard. “Summer is the perfect time to read the first five volumes and then you will have to wait until 2018 for the last one!’
            This is a work by a Norwegian genius, and yes, I’ve been recommending it for years because I love “fictionalized memoirs” and it just doesn’t get better than this. ‘
            Comparisons to Proust are all true.”- Liz
          • Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. “The ultimate beach read, Vanity Fair on steroids! You know I usually read dark, tragic novels, but I loved this book. Time to hang out with the Singaporean elite and have some fun this summer. Plus it’s the first book in a trilogy so you don’t have to stop here.” -Liz

DREW’s PICKS

Science Fiction and Graphic Novel

Borne                         MyFavoriteThingisMonsters

          • Borne by Jeff Vandermeer. “If you want to spend the summer surviving an apocalyptic wasteland full of bioengineered castoffs and highly specialized memory wiping drugs, then Borne is for you. Giant bears, shapeshifting blobs, vicious and rabid children, Borne is wholly original and terribly exciting. Perfect for those that like to escape on vacation without actually going anywhere.”- Drew
          • My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris. “The best book I’ve read in 2017. With stunning visuals, an incredible use of the page as a medium, and a rich and gripping plot, this graphic novel pulls you into an intriguing and heart-wrenching mystery. I cannot say enough about this book except that it truly deserves appreciation from anyone willing to give it a chance.” -Drew

CAMILLE’s PICKS

Drama and Graphic Novel

Metamorphoses                     Complete Persopolis

 

        • “Mary Zimmerman’s play Metamorphoses is a quick, but rich, read–jam-packed with pathos, humor, and wisdom. Brush off your classical know-how in this contemporary retelling of Ovid’s Greek myths. In the words of one of the play’s personae: ‘we give our mythic sides scant attention these days. As a result, a great deal escapes us and we no longer understand our own actions. So it remains important and salutary to speak not only of the rational and easily understood, but also of the enigmatic things: the irrational and the ambiguous.’ Also, there’s a lot of beaches and water in it, so that’s fitting.” – Camille
        • The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. “Religion, Revolution, Family, and War. Despite the heavy themes,  she manages to keep us afloat with her buoyant, whimsical illustrations throughout this graphic autobiography. Even when depicting events that might overwhelm and alienate a reader, I felt like I was reading about the world that I recognize, that I experience. The thread of humanity and logic that Satrapi maintains throughout her story, even while chronicling the inhumane and irrational, is relatable and refreshing. She’s marked the path; you just have to walk in it. It’s in paperback, and black and white, so this book is not likely to be ruined by the elements.” -Camille

DARRYL’s PICKS

Political Writing: Manifesto and Memoir

OnTyranny       AlFranken, Giant

          • On Tyranny by Tim Snyder. “Tim Snyder’s little book is a passionate and articulate manifesto for the Trump Era. Must reading for those of us who want to preserve democracy in America.” -Darryl
          • Al Franken, Giant of the Senate by Al Franken. Well, what do you expect a Minneapolis native and activist to choose for his pick?

MARTHA’s PICKS

Fiction

TheIdiot                        Portable Veblen

    • The Idiot by Elif Batuman. “Selin is a beautiful, endearing idiot! I adored this coming of age story for its deliciously eccentric humor and its honest depiction of being young and naive. So wonderful I insisted on reading large passages to my friends and co-workers! Enjoy!” -Martha
    • The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie. “Kooky, sharply written and featuring a very worldly squirrel, this novel veers towards madness and lots of heart. At its center, it’s about family, transformation and acceptance.” -Martha

BERT’s PICKS

Science and Non-fiction 

AstrophysicsforPeep                 Evicted

  • Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson. “Explains it all to you. Dazzle your friends in Malibu while sipping a Rosé with your knowledge of Dark Energy. Gain a cosmic perspective this summer.” -Bert
  • Evicted by Matthew Desmond. “A heart breaking and informative look into the indispensable need for people to have a home and what happens when they do not. Don’t take my word for it – see what the Pulitzer Prize Committee said!” -Bert

HEATHER’s PICKS

Non-Fiction and Self-Help 

         LifeOn                 YouAreA Bad Ass     

  • Life On the Mississippi by Mark Twain. “A profound and hilarious hydrological, anthropological, sociological and personal study of the fourth longest river in the world, woven into whole American cloth as only Samuel Clemens can do it. A comprehensive synthesis  that makes even Jared Diamond look like a deckhand in comparison to Twain’s intrepid cross-disciplinary pilotry. Ride its currents as you loaf by your favorite body of water.”  -Heather
  • You Are A Bad Ass by Jen Sincero. “Full of profane good humor and no-bullshit get-off-your-butt-and be-a-badass-already advice, this is self-help for people who run screaming from self-help. And if you feel really galvanized to channel your inner bad-assery whilst stretched out on a beach towel, you can move on to You Are A Bad Ass at Making Money, its equally entertaining and practical sequel.”- Heather

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STAFF PICK ARCHIVES

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BOOKS for FATHER’S DAY  2017

images

for dads who like having cooking down to a science, and gramps who just wanna grill meat

The FoodLab      SevenFires

The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science by J.Kenji Lopez-Alt

Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way by Francis Mallman

Weber's Way to Gril   KnifeMasterotheGrill

Weber’s Way to Grill by Jamie  Purviance

Knife:Texas Steakhouse Meals at Home by John Tesar

Master of the Grill, an America’s Test Kitchen Books

for dads who like reading about drinks,  especially while having one

Everyday Drinking               Death & co.

Everyday Drinking by Kingsley Amis, foreword by Christopher Hitchens -Two great Brit writers with great drinking credentials, no longer with us.

Death & Co., Modern Classic Cocktails by David Kaplan and Nick Fauchald

for the rugged reader of bonafide literary fiction, poetry and great essays of the day  MyStruggle           Hymns&Qualms          WeShould AllBFeminists

My Struggle, Book 1 by Karl Ove Knausgaard -Keep Dad glued to his existential seat by starting him on this autobiographical six-volume modern masterpiece, affectionately known at Chevalier’s as Liz’ s top “oh! oh! oh!” book. Also, on occasion referred to as “My Struedel”.

Hymns & Qualms: New and Selected Poems and Translations by Peter Cole -Gift Dad with an autographed copy of this major new collection by the magnificent poet Peter Cole, who graced us recently with a spell-binding reading of poetry that spans the Hebrew Golden Age in Muslim Spain to the contemporary Middle East.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Hey Dad! This inclusive and beautifully reasoned New York Times bestselling essay argues that 21st century feminism will be as crucial to teach sons as it is to raising daughters. By the author of the highly-acclaimed Americanah.

for the well-read romantic, pocket-sizeWedding Stories

Wedding Stories, an Everyman’s Pocket Classic – Gender non-conforming cover, yes indeed! And with a wide range of wedding tales, from Stephen Crane to F. Scott Fitzgerald to Joy Williams. Fits easily in diaper bag or tool belt.

for students of American history 

BloodintheWater       EmpireoftheSummer Moon      KillersotheflowerMoon

Blood In The Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson -Winner of the Pulitzer and Bancroft prizes for history.

Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S.C Gwynne -A stunning, fascinating , heart-rending read.

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann -Sheds new light on a sinister, hidden piece of the past.

men on their own, fictional and factual

MenWithoutWomen         The Starnger in the woods

Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami –The unsurpassable Murakami strikes again.

The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel – The true story of a man who disappeared into a  Maine forest for three decades.

for lovers of art, adventure and  what remains of the wild, untamed world

AtlasO         The American Dream

WildEncounters

Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to The World’s Wonders by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras & Ella Morton -A most excellent and enthralling way to while away the hours, with or without a child companion.

The American Dream: Pop to the Present by by Stephen Coppel, Catherine Daunt , and Susan Tallman –The companion book to an exhibit at the British Museum, a lushly produced retrospective of American printmaking, from 1960s on.

Wild Encounters: Iconic Photographs of the World’s Vanishing Animals and Cultures by David Yarrow -This volume speaks volumes.

for Daddy-os and grand-daddy-os who love their graphic novels and music history, or even better, two-in-one

Blacksad        HipHopFamilyTree Vol.2   HipHopRaisedMe        MyFavorite Thing         Lennon

Blacksad: Amarillo – The multiple award-winning creation of  Juanjo Guarnido and Juan Diaz Canales, hard-boiled feline detective John Blacksad, drives an El Dorado across 1950’s U.S.A.

Hip Hop Family Tree: Volume 2 by Ed Piskor -One of Harvey Pekar’s last collaborators combines mad love for super-hero comics with equal passion for one of America’s great musical inventions, hip-hop.

My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris  -A riveting tale told in pulp fiction and B-Movie horror style about a 10-year old who unravels the murder of an enigmatic neighbor and Holocaust survivor.

Hip Hop Raised Me by DJ Semtex -The definitive archive by one who lived it.

Lennon: The New York Years by David Foenkinos and Corbeyran & Horne – Through Lennon’s eyes, we see his life as a father, post-Beatles, living in NYC.

for connoisseurs of suspense and mystery

SinceWeFell       TheThirst

Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane -A  new, somewhat atypical tour-de-force by the author of Mystic River, with a great female protagonist at center and a more prismatic, psychologically-hinged mystery and crime story.

The Thirst by Jo Nesbo –Pops will chew his nails down to the nub with this  thriller that is deservedly an international bestseller!

for those who love to ponder time, tech, numbers and what the **** we’re doing here

DeepTHinking  Math+Art   Why Time Flies

AreNumbersReal                       Sapiens

Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins by Garry Kasparov -Take it from a guy who played chess with a super-computer.

Mathematics + Art: A Cultural History  by Lynn Gamwell -An exploration of how artists and mathematicians both seek to reconcile the physical world with the abstract. Gorgeous illustrations.

Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation by Alan Burdick -A finalist for the Nation Book Award, and brilliant query into the nature of time.

Are Numbers Real?: The Uncanny Relationship of Mathematics and the Physical World by Brian Clegg -From the origin of counting goats to infinity and beyond, a provocative look at the role numbers play, in science and in our lives.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari -A highly intelligent integration of science and history. Fans of Jared Diamond will be fascinated.

  “Just give me a good autobiography!” Actually, these are memoirs…

CoachWooden         AreYouAnybody?

Coach Wooden And Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar -An absorbing and well-honed account of a pivotal friendship in one great athlete’s life.

Are You Anybody? by Jeffrey Tambor Now feted in his starring role as Maura Pfefferman on Transparent, Tambor can still recall getting fourth billing after Sylvia the Seal on The Love Boat. A wry, joyous read.

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STAFF PICK ARCHIVES

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5/16 – Chevalier’s co-owner Darryl Holter has a new book review out (LARB) on the endlessly engrossing American subject of baseball and development and how it spitballs together in the history of the Dodgers, from Flatbush to DTLA!

Darryl Holter, historian, entrepreneur and owner of an independent bookstore. He has taught history at the University of Wisconsin, UCLA and USC.

BOOKS for MOTHER’S DAY  2017

Mommyalt

for the cook: curious, casual or consummate

MightySaladsInsectsBowls

Mighty Salads -Beautiful one-plate meals to start the summer.

On Eating Insects: Essays, Stories and Recipes -Your relationship to our many-legged friends no longer has to be a 1-way affair, you can bite back, a crunchy read.

Bowls of Plenty by Carolynn Carreño -A truly indispensable and delicious cornucopia of recipes for healthy, delicious whole grain meals by James Beard- Award-winning food writer and a treasured friend of Chevalier’s.

for mothers who might  just appreciate a good drink

TheBloody Mary    Tequila

The Bloody Mary by Brian Bartels 

Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist by Tim Federle 

– Need we say more?

for the classy classicist, paperback or pocket-size

Oedipus            LoveLetters           Love Poems

Sophocle’s The Oedipus Cycle translated by Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald
– Ponder how to avoid marrying your son and various other misfortunes. Superb  translation!

Love Letters  -A pocket-size bundle of romance, fits perfectly in a diaper bag, from Anaïs Nin to Oscar Wilde.

Love Poems -Another pocket-size love bundle, only in verse, poems from Ancient China to contemporary U.S.A.

for lovers of suspense

IntoTheWater    MurderontheQuai   Indian Bride

Into The Water by Paula Hawkins -The bestselling author of The Girl on the Train strikes again.

Murder on the Quai by Cara Black -A prequel to the New York Times bestselling Aimée Leduc series by the unsurpassable Cara Black. 

The Indian Bride by  Karin Fossum -One of the best, heartbreaking.

unforgettable women, fictional and factual

Red Water             LucyBarton               BadGirls

Red Water by Judith Freeman  -A gorgeous, gritty novel from the point of view of three 19th century Mormon women, all married to the same historically infamous man, by the amazing Judith Freeman, friend of Chevalier’s.

My Name Is Lucy Barton By Elizabeth Strout – The author of Olive Kitteridge brings us another pitch-perfect novel, about the complicated love between mothers and daughters.

Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World  written and illustrated by Ann Shen  -Fabulous illustrations and the salient details of revolutionary women who shook up the status quo, ancient to present times.

Michelle    GameChangers          Jane AustenRadical

The Meaning Of Michelle:16 Writers on the Iconic First Lady and How Her Journey Inspires Our Own  The perfect political biography for mom.

Gamechangers: The Unsung Heroines of Sports History by Molly Schiot              -Athletes every mother and daughter, father and son should know about.

Jane Austen: The Secret Radical by Helena Kelly Just out and causing a well-deserved stir.

for interior adventures and travel 

Chezmoi              AtlasO

OnReading

 

 

 Chez Moi: decorating your home and living like a Parisienne by Sarah Lavoine -This interior designer is seriously, no joke, très, très  French, and if you follow her advice you and yours will  exude that air of enviable chic in every room of your house, even when wearing PJs.

Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to The World’s Wonders by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras & Ella Morton -A most excellent and enthralling way to while away the hours, with or without a child companion.

On Reading by Steve McCurry, Foreword by Paul Theroux – The renowned world photographer, in homage to André Kertész’ 1951 collection, has selected photos taken over the decades, all over the world, of people absorbed in the act of reading.

for graphic novel lovers

Eartha               FunHome

Eartha by Cathy Malkasian – A  phantasmagoric fairytale for grown-ups.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel – The instant classic that is now an equally original hit musical.

for discerning readers of poetry 

Voyage HowFormal

Voyage of the Sable Venus and other poems by Robin Coste Lewis -A tour-de-force.

How Formal?  by Stephanie Barbé Hammer –One of ours, a favorite whimsical, radiant intellect.

for readers of stories and/or essays

What it Means Freeman's Family

Hallelujah Anyway                       South and West

What It Means When a Man Falls From The Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah -An outstanding new collection of stories set in Africa.

Freeman’s Family edited by John Freeman -An anthology of great contemporary writers on the theme of family.

Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy by Anne Lamott -A good tonic read for trying times.

South and West: From A Notebook by Joan Didion -Newly discovered and published notebooks, as Didion traverses the USA.

for those who seek to take a break

Quiet LA         Secret WalksSecretStairs

Quiet Los Angeles by Rebecca Raza -A simple yet essential guide to truly sweet and contemplative spots all over L.A.

Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to Hidden Trails of Los Angeles and

Secret Walks:Walking Guide to Historic Staircases of Los Angeles by Charles Fleming  -These are indispensable and easy to use.

 

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STAFF PICK ARCHIVES

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CHEVALIER’S BESTSELLERS JANUARY 2017

1310abea-675b-4f77-b5e0-3617e6cbcf23

Non-Fiction

Since the election, non-fiction books have been flying off our shelves, hmm?

between            hillbilly    bornacrime

 

 

Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance –Readers who are trying to figure out why Trump won are reading this book.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates –A bestseller for us since its publication in 2015.

“I’ve been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates. The language of Between the World and Me, like Coates s journey, is visceral, eloquent, and beautifully redemptive. And its examination of the hazards and hopes of black male life is as profound as it is revelatory. This is required reading.” – Toni Morrison

 

 

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

“[A] compelling new memoir . . . By turns alarming, sad and funny, [Trevor Noah’s] book provides a harrowing look, through the prism of Mr. Noah s family, at life in South Africa under apartheid. . . . In the end, Born a Crime is not just an unnerving account of growing up in South Africa under apartheid, but a love letter to the author’s remarkable mother.” – Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

        voices                                   sad-animal

 

 

Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich –Read this and you’ll understand why she is the first nonfiction author in 50 years to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.

“I have become a missionary for this book – it should be required reading. Devastating, profound, and a window into the Russian soul” –  Liz, Chevalier’s “on the dark side” specialist.

 

 

Sad Animal Facts by Brooke Barker –Yes, this is a bestseller and just what the title says it is!  Very unusual and unforgettable. *Staff pick.

  More Memoir, Essay, Poetry

              sin            bruce

 

 

Sin Bravely: A Memoir of Spiritual Disobedience by Maggie Rowe –We were fortunate enough to host Maggie for a book launch and reading – she and her book are brilliant and hilarious.

“A sharp, genuinely funny book about the dangers of literalism and fear of the afterlife. A must read for anyone on this side of eternity.” – Bill Maher

 

 

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen –If you love Bruce Springsteen (and millions do), then this is the book for you.

milknhoney                              upstream

 

 

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur –The very rare poetry bestseller. Kaur is a Canadian poet and spoken word artist, and only 24 years old!

 “Reading the book is like getting the hug you need on a rainy day, the catharsis you crave after a tragedy.” – Erin Spencer, Huffington Post

 

 

Upstream by Mary Oliver –Another very rare best-selling poet, though this book is a collection of her essays.

Upstream is a testament to a lifetime of paying attention, and an invitation to readers to do the same.” – Danny Heltman, Christian Science Monitor

Fiction

sellout                 veggie                 moonglow

 

 

The Sellout by Paul Beatty –The first book by an American author to win the Man Booker Prize.

“Swiftian satire of the highest order . . . Giddy, scathing and dazzling.” – Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

 

 

The Vegetarian by Han Kang –Winner of the Man Booker International Prize, translated by Deborah Smith

“The Vegetarian is a story about metamorphosis, rage and the desire for another sort of life. It is written in cool, still, poetic but matter-of-fact short sentences, translated luminously by Deborah Smith, who is obviously a genius.” – Deborah Levy, author of The Unloved and Swimming Home

 

 

Moonglow by Michael Chabon – “A fictionalized memoir about his very quirky and fascinating grandparents, possibly his best book.” (IMnotsoHO) -Liz

“This novel is Chabon’s Apollo mission to the past, launched with the same combination of ingenuity, dedication, and wonder.” – Adam Kirsch, Tablet

Science-Fiction

 

 

3bodyThe Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu –The first book in the Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy by the most popular sci fi writer in China, translated by Ken Liu

“So that was fun to read, partly because my day-to-day problems with Congress seem fairly petty — not something to worry about. Aliens are about to invade.” President Barack Obama!!!

“The Three-Body Problem cracks open the door of speculative fiction far enough to bathe yourself in questions of fate and purpose while pushing your forward with a wholly original and imaginative world. Cixin’s Liu’s brilliant imagination lets us explore such alluring and terrifying questions to the degree that we wish, offering a fast moving plot for casual readers, though filled with hard and fascinating science for those wanting a more immersive experience.” – Drew, Chevalier’s Sci-Fi (and much else) specialist.

Young Adult

 

 

moreMore Than This by Patrick Ness –You’ve just died. Now what?

“Patrick Ness provides us with a mind-numbing alternative to what happens after we take our last breath and, even more so, what happens when we wake up. This book has left a permanent scar on both my heart, and my mind. Its characters haunt me every single day.”- Jay, Chevalier’s YA guru

“Books are often described as mind-blowing, but this is one of the few books in which, while reading it, I have exclaimed aloud, Oh. My. God. on multiple occasions. I won’t tell you anything else about it. Just read it.” – John Green

Middle Readers

 

 

91mrv78owgl  A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness –Watching your mother suffer from an incurable disease is a horror story of its own. But what the heck are you supposed to do when the yew tree in your backyard transforms into a hundred-foot monster, shows up at your window, and demands to hear your truth? You tell him, of course. But not before he tells you three tales of his own.

“THIS BOOK WILL DESTROY YOU. In the most beautiful, most you-need-to-feel-this-right-now sort of way.” – Jay, Chevalier’s MG guru (too)

Young Readers

iggyppeck            dragonstacos

 

 

Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty (author) and David Roberts (illustrator) –A must-have story about a young architect, a builder since he was 2 years old; always a bestseller for kids 5-8 years.

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin (author) and Daniel Salmieri (illustrator)–Super fun with great illustrations.

“An unforgettable, laugh-until-salsa-comes-out-of-your-nose tale of new friends and the perfect snack.” 

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STAFF PICK ARCHIVES

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HOLIDAY BOOK PICKS 2016

holidaynight

We’ve got suggestions for all tastes here, from bestsellers to hidden gems, history to politics,  fiction and biography, comic brilliance, psycho-spiritual insight, mesmerizing new fiction, and classics that continue to ring and sing.

POST ELECTION PICKS

strangers     between     march    hillbilly

 

 

 

 

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, LA Times Bestseller*

March, Books 1-3*, by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell, *winner of the National Book Award

Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by  Arlie Russell Hochschild

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? by Thomas Frank

The New Jim Crow
by Michelle Alexander

Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Y. Davis

The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia by Michael Booth

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Underground Airlines by Ben Winters

Sellout by Paul Beatty

FOOD FOR THOUGHT (and for cooking!)

mozza     red-rooster   scandinavian-comfort-food

 

 

 

 

Mozza at Home by Nancy Silverton and Carolynn Carrion

Everything I Want to Eat: Sqirl and the New California Cooking

Power Vegetables! Peter Meehan and the editors of Lucky Peach

Scandinavian Comfort Food: Embracing the Art of Hygge by Trine Hahnemann

The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem by Marcus Samuelsson

Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking by Masaharu Morimoto

Food52 a New Way to Dinner: A Playbook of Recipes and Strategies for the Week Ahead by Amanda Hesser and  Merrill Stubbs

Land of Fish and Rice: Recipes from the Culinary Heart of China by Fuschia DunlopAppetites: A Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain

Guy Fieri Family Food: 125 Real-Deal Recipes, Kitchen Tested, Home Approved by Guy Fieri

BOOKS & WRITERS YOU NEED TO READ 

(according to Liz)

moonglow        multiplec        birds

 

 

 

 

Moonglow by Michael Chabon “Out this week. I love it , genius, just WOW.”–Liz

My Struggle, Books 1-6 by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Cockroaches by Scholastique Mukasonga

Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich

The Birds by Tarjei Vesaas

Multiple Choice by Alejandro Zambra

(according to Martha)

nonstop                 shrill                 veblen

 

 

 

 

Shrill by Lindy West – “Humorous, warm, thoughtful. A welcome commentary on culture and gender.” – Martha

Nonstop Metropolis: NYC Atlas by Rebecca Solnit , her newest book both Heather and Martha agree she is absolutely brilliant.

 The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie  “A romcom that’s as smart as it is kooky.”  – Martha

Symphony for the City of the Dead by M. T. Anderson “Shostakovich’s harrowing struggle to create under Stalin’s Reign of Terror and during the Nazi Siege of Leningrad. Appropriate for YA readers and equally engaging for adults.” – Martha

STAYCATION  (Get out of the country through books!)

Henry Green
Elena Ferrante
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Javier Marias
Dinaw Mengestu
William Boyd
Patrick Modern
Mo Yan
Junichiro Tanizaki

MYSTERIES (Cozy up to a good mystery, though some are not so cozy.)

fields                         trespass                             eva

 

 

 

 

Fields Where They Lay (Liz’s pick for Christmas mystery: “funny, cynical, perfect for denizens of L.A.” )

The Trespasser by Tana French, LA Times Bestseller* “I spent a whole week one January reading her books non-stop. So smart, so addictive, humane and subtly subversive.”-Heather’s Pick

Derek Raymond (“very grisly, very literary, genius”  -Liz)
Karin Fossum, “the best Norwegian mystery writer” -Liz
Donna Leon (Venice!)
Cara Black (Paris!)
Joe Ide

LOS ANGELES BOOKS AND AUTHORS

New Jersey Me Cover    treacherous   thewrongsideofgoodbye  she

Larchmont by Patty Lombard
Percival Everett –”Yes!!”-Liz
Michelle Latiolais
Danzy Senna
Matthew Specktor
Richard Lange
Steve  Abee
Kem Nunn
New Jersey Me by Rich Ferguson
Stone Arabia by Dana Spiotta
Raymond Chandler
City of Quartz by Mike Davis
Michael Connelly (LA Times Bestseller* )
Gary Phillips

CHILDREN

spyski     pirates       xmas-mem

Erica’s Picks-

 

 

 

 

Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle “A perennial modern classic, adorable story about reserving judgement” – Erica

 

Story of a Boy  (box set) – by Oliver Jeffers “Beautiful stories.” – Erica

 

Ada Twist Scientist (First Iggy Peck Architect, then Rosie Revere Engineer, now…) by Andrea Beaty

 

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling “Last year The Sorcerer’s Stone, this year book 2!”

Spy Ski School by Stuart Gibbs

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

A Monster Calls  by Patrick Ness

Liz’s Picks –

 

 

 

 

Why by Nicholas Popov

Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis

Heather’s Pick –

 

 

 

 

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote, Illustrated, with CD narrative,”My Dad used to read me this classic about two outcasts making their Christmas fruitcake and he’d cry every time. So resonant in these times.”

YOUNG ADULTS -Jay’s Picks

sunstar                       crookedk                    boyorbot

 

 

 

 

The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon “This addictive story by powerhouse Nicola Yoon was a National Book Award nominee before even being published. It isn’t hard to see why, with its unforgettable narrative, lovable characters, and hello? Look at its cover. Those are the strings Yoon’s heart, pulled together to create this masterpiece.”- Jay

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo “If you haven’t read Six of Crows yet, stop what you’re doing and treat yourself. If you have, you’re probably experiencing the same withdrawal as I am–but withdraw no more!Crooked Kingdom is darker, smarter, and infused with the same punches you find/will find inSix of Crows. Also, the pages are lined with RED!”- Jay

 

Boy Robot by Simon Curtis
“Whether you’re into sci-fi or not, this is a story that will rip you apart and piece you back together, one-by-one like…well, a robot. One of most enticing and remarkable tales I’ve ever read. A MUST READ.” – Jay

 

More Than This by Patrick Ness
“Spoiler alert: this is the first pick of the new YA Book Club, debuting in January. It is my ALL-TIME favorite book, as it explores the lives we live, as well as the ones waiting for us after we die. It is both provocative and epic, and I hope to see you in January as we discuss it!” -Jay

BESTSELLERS

gameothrones   commonwealth   manove  borntorun

 

 

 

 

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett, LA Times Bestseller*

Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen, LA Times Bestseller*

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, LA Times Bestseller*

Game of Thrones: The Illustrated Edition by George R.R. Martin

SCIENCE

mannumbers        hidden-lifetrees       jazzphysicsjpg

Drew’s picks-

 

 

 

 

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohleben 

Time Travel by James Glieck

The Gene  by Siddhartha Mukherjee 

Sapiens:  A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari 

Liz’s Picks-

 

 

 

 

The Jazz of Physics: The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe by Stephon Alexander

The Pope of Physics: Enrico Fermi and the Birth of the Atomic Age by Gino Segrè and Bettina Hoerlin

The Man Who Loved Only Numbers by Paul Hoffman (one of Liz’s favorite books ever – “Just a great book about an eccentric mathematical genius”.)

PSYCH-SPIRITUAL (Fortify your spirit!) -Erica’s Picks

bookojoy           when-things-fallheart-advice            untethered

 

 

 

 

 The Book of Joy : Lasting Happiness in a Changing World (an LA Times bestseller) by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, LA Times Bestseller*

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron

The Untethered Soul  by Michael A. Singer “Perfect for everybody for always”-Erica

GRAPHIC NOVELS

fun-home            cruiselouvre            singbones

 

 

 

 

As we already mentioned, The March – “Volume Three” *Just won the National Book Award -Heather’s Pick

Cruising Through the Louvre by David Prudhomme- Liz’s Pick “witty and gorgeous”

For art lovers  Munch by Steffen Kverneland  “Seven years in the making, this is an extraordinary book!” -Liz

Fun Home By Alison Bechtel -Drew’s Pick

The Last Man By  Brian Vaughn -Drew’s Pick

The Singing Bones by Sean Tan -Drew’s Pick

ANTHOLOGIES (Perfect for dipping into over the holidays, and wonderful for gifts.)

granta            bestamcomics        bestamericanessays16

 

 

 

 

Here are some fabulous new ones:

Best American Short Stories 2016, edited by the great Junot Diaz

Best American Essays 2016, edited by Jonathan Franzen (!)

Best American Science and Nature Writing 2016 edited by Amy Stewart

Best American Nonrequired Reading 2016 edited by Rachel Kushner (yay!)

Best American Comics edited by the inimitable Roz Chast

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016 edited by Karen Joy Fowler

Best American Mystery Stories 2016 edited by the splendid Elizabeth George

Water: New Short Fiction from Africa, edited by the poet Nick Mulgrew & author Karina Szczurek

Best American Travel Writing edited by the magnificent Bill Bryson

Best American Poetry edited by David Lehman

Best European Fiction 2017

Granta: New Indian Writing

Liz’s favorites (signed copies available if you hurry!), edited by the brilliant John Freeman, are:

Freeman’s: The Best New Writing on Arrival

Freeman’s: Family: The Best New Writing on Family

and the absolutely spectacular:

The Granta Book of the Irish Short Story (one contributor, the great Colm Tóibín,
reads at Chevalier’s December 6th!)

And if this list isn’t epic enough for you, here’s the NY Times Notable  Books list, for good measure.

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STAFF PICK ARCHIVES

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SUMMER 2016 Beach Reads

Americanah

Fiction Paperback

Camille is still reading  Americanah, by Nigerian author Ngozi Adiche, but she couldn’t wait to recommend what she describes as “modern-day Jane Austen: a lush love-story, astute insight into social conventions, with a satiric edge.” 

RAIN

Non Fiction Paperback

Erica finds Rain: A Natural and Cultural History, by Cynthia Barnett, oh so refreshing a read. What could be better in the middle of a SoCal summer day?

MyStruggle

Fiction Paperback

For Liz,  the five volumes of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle are her five favorite books of their released year(s).”I love these books so much I began learning Norwegian and took a trip to Norway.”

 

This Changes

Non-Fiction Paperback

Heather suggests Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate for those who’d like to read about the acidification of  the ocean while lying beside it. A surprisingly hopeful synthesis of politics, economics, ethics and a paean to the beauty we still inhabit.

Charcoal Joe

Fiction Hardcover

We were WAY delighted to have Walter Mosley visit us and sign books one recent afternoon. Our co-owner Bert says read anything and everything by this man. In Charcoal Joe, Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins finds his life in transition picking up where his last adventures in Rose Gold left off in L.A. in the late 1960s.

Hero of France

Fiction Hardcover

Our co-owner Darryl divulges: “Every time another European spy thriller by Alan Furst comes out I quickly wolf it down like a sinful mousse au chocolat.” 1941. Paris, the City of Light is silent and dark at night. Mathieu,  leader of a small band in the French Resistance, helps downed British airmen escape.

Our Summer Bestsellers

Argonaughts

Non-Fiction Paperback

Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts:A firsthand account of the complexities and joys of (queer) family-making. Plenty  of customers agree that this  genre-bending memoir and its fresh, timely thinking about the limitations and possibilities of love is fierce and engaging. 

Eligible

Fiction Hardcover

Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible: Catch up with Jane Austen’s Bennet family in the 21st century whilst traveling the social circles of contemporary Cincinnati. Hilarity abounds while still giving Austen’s themes of gender, class, courtship and family a bracing good work-out.

The Girls

Fiction Hardcover

This first novel by Emma Cline is receiving stellar reviews for its extraordinarily precise and gorgeous writing and “unparalleled eye for the intricacies of girlhood” (Lena Dunham). Filtered through the lens of some of sunny California’s darker history.

SweetBitter

Fiction Hardcover

All the rage, and deservedly so, this coming-of-age story lands the young heroine in the kitchen of one of New York’s celebrated restaurants and thrust into the nightlife and city streets that educate both her senses and sensibilities. A book you can taste. And want to savor.

SladeHouse PB

Fiction Paperback

Don’t walk down that alley! Don’t accept that invitation to enter that iron door, no matter how good it feels. Oh wait, you’re on the beach!  Whew. So, yes, enjoy  a reality-warping new vision of the haunted house story—as only David Mitchell, the author of Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks could imagine it.

KillTheBoyBandYoung Adult Fiction Hardcover

Kill the Boy Band: Audacious girl fans, at-loose musicians, inadvertent kidnapping, what could go wrong? Goldy Moldavsky’s entertaining, anti-fanfiction manifesto is hopping off the shelves with the younger set.

Find a Way

Biography Hardcover

We con’t stop raving about Find a Way  by Diana Nyad, our neighbor and friend –and the greatest long-distance swimmer in the world — but we’ll let Hillary say it:  “When you’re facing big challenges in your life, you can think about Diana Nyad getting attacked by the lethal sting of box jellyfishes. And nearly anything else seems doable in comparison.” 

Off the Beaten Path

Graphic Novel Hardcover

Swann's Way GraphicJust as a taste of madeleine cake dipped in tea opens up a world of memories to Proust’s protagonist (and so begins In Search of Lost Time) so too, can the reader dip into this graphic novel version, by Stéphane Heuet and Marcel Proust,  of Swann’s Way, and in this  single compressed flash, intuit the complete work. Stroll in the dunes and turn the pages.

For The Kids

Raymie Nightingale

Middle Reader Fiction Hardcover

 Kate DiCamillo’s Raymie Nightingale:  A life-changing summer friendship  blossoms between  three contestants in the Little Miss Central Florida Tire Competition as Raymie tries to get her Dad to come back home.

Spaced Out

Middle Reader Fiction Hardcover

Spaced Out, by Stuart Gibbs, great friend of Chevalier’s and one of our most beloved local authors, with an ever growing national reputation for his excellent, prolific contributions. The young detective Dashiell Gibson, living on the first moon base, must solve the mystery of the missing Moonie, Nina. Oh  – and the fate of the human race is at stake!