Brant's Staff Picks

Bookseller Brant loves these titles.

Three Floors Up: A Novel Cover Image
By Eshkol Nevo, Sondra Silverston (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781590518786
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: Other Press - October 10th, 2017

This is an unusual and compelling work of fiction. It takes you up the floors of an Israeli apartment building and into the lives of three people…into their minds as they narrate to a friend, an answering machine, and themselves. I felt the drama of events and emotions in every page and read the wonderful language with entwined pleasure and dread. 

The Unbearable Lightness of Being: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061148521
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial Modern Classics - October 27th, 2009

On this, the 50th anniversary of the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia, I reread this novel. I’d  remembered it as being not only political, but intensely philosophical and intimately involved with the intertwining (a question) nature of sexual and emotional relationships. What surprised and delighted me was the complexity of these relationships, and how thought-provoking the philosophy around them.  Though puppets for Kundera’s thoughts, the characters are also richly emotional and personally identifiable. Impossible, light, or otherwise, my being was enthralled by this novel! 

American Dialogue: The Founders and Us Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385353427
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: Knopf - October 16th, 2018

This fascinating book is divided into four subjects of fundamental interest to the US now and when it was established: Freedom, Equality, the Law, and Foreign Affairs. With wit, historical knowledge and enlightening insight, Ellis first elucidates what a chosen thinker among the Founders thought about his signature topic. How each worked to reconcile philosophy and the practicality of nation-building is fascinating. The second part of each chapter compares the results to where we are now in our thinking and politics. I found this excitingly ingenious and informative approach galvanizing in how it clarified essential aspects (and follies and distortions) of the conflicts that embattle us today. I couldn’t put it down and can’t stop thinking about now.

Transit: A Novel (Outline Trilogy #2) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250151797
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - December 19th, 2017

National Bestseller • A Finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize • A Finalist for the Goldsmiths Prize • Long-listed for the International Dublin Literary Award • One of Time Magazine's Top 10 Fiction Books of the Year

Pickle's Progress: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781771681551
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Central Avenue Publishing - April 9th, 2019

Wow! What a knockout of a novel--both funny and touching in deeply satisfying ways. From the highly dramatic opening scene, the lucidity and psychological detail of the writing connected me intimately with its characters--their thoughts, emotions, and dilemnas. Their charged and sometimes humorous interplay felt like chamber music, leading to a resonant, satisfy and maybe inevitable conclusion. With its leap and tenderness, the epilogue was exquisite, with one of the most beautiful concluding passages I've ever read.

The Plot Against America (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400079490
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - September 27th, 2005

One of the great strengths of this dynamic novel is how it lets us experience its momentous political events through the fears and disruptions of its working class Jewish, New Jersey family, which is to say those most vulnerable to them. The slide of America into anti-semitic fascism is visceral and personal, as well as chillingly plotted. I loved that Roth here is a writer of both the psychological "interior' and political "exterior." This is a wonderfully prescient novel for our unwonderful times. 

Never Let Me Go (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400078776
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - March 14th, 2006

I loved this novel because of all the things it did at once: warmed me with the engaging depiction of three friendships at an idyllic boarding school; charmed me with the care of their education; intrigued me, wanting to know what was “special” about the students and what happened to those who left; shocked me with what I hadn’t realized; and chilled me with what was still to come. Its mingling of compassion and howling protest captured me and still won’t let me go.

Bliss: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312360542
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - September 4th, 2007

This is a powerful story told with emotional lyricism and cultural realism. It is also a tale of surprising and liberating change relationships can cause. Liberation assumes several forms:  in the physical existence and emotional life of Meryem, a 15 year old girl sentenced by her family to die; the mind of her commando cousin; and the spirit of Irfan, a professor and celebrity fleeing his hollow life in Istanbul.  How their lives intertwine and change creates the tension and beauty of this eye-opening (very relatable) novel.

Orchid and the Wasp: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524761103
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: Hogarth - July 10th, 2018

This is a highly engaging story of a young Irish woman’s brilliance, ingenuity and ambition as she engages in a scheme to help her brother and correct her family’s condition. The tone and relationships are both ironic and loving. I was thrilled by the language and interplay of characters--subtly expressive and often very beautiful. This lovely and thorny book is full of surprising events and insights, generated by dynamic conflicts within and between Gael and the world. I loved taking the journey with this nervy woman, always wondering (along with her) what was around the next corner, art gallery and transatlantic flight