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WORD recommends these books this August:
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Fiction We Love:

The Humans    Marker to Measure Drift    Babayaga     Love Dishonor Marry Die Cherish Perish

The Humans by Matt Haig (ebook available)
This was my beach read of the summer. A mathematician makes a huge discovery, and it causes concern among distant aliens who fear humans will rise above their station in the universe. So, of course, they send one of their own to inhabit his body, destroy the proof and anyone who knew about it, and dispose of his wife and teenage son. The alien's disgust at the human race and the crazy situations that arise while he's inhabiting the object of his revulsion are pretty hysterical, and you won't be surprised to learn that the cold and heartless alien gets more heart the more time he spends on Earth. (Emily)

A Marker to Measure Drift by Alexander Maksik (ebook available)
We begin with a woman wandering resort town beaches, the voices in her head keeping her from succumbing to starvation. Slowly the story behind her unfolds and we move with her between her precarious current life and the nightmares-made-real that she fled in her home country. This novel leaves space for you to reconsider your definition of sanity. (Simone)

Babayaga by Toby Barlow (ebook available)
Many booksellers I know were big fans of Sharp Teeth, so I was excited for Barlow's sophomore effort. Babayaga is a sort of magical realist detective novel set in the middle of the twentieth century in Paris, with witches, ad men who are actually spies, and the most incredible monologues from an inspector-turned-flea. (Emily)

Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish by David Rakoff (ebook available)
Against my expectations, I adored Rakoff’s Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish. I am highly allergic to hype, and this book couldn't really have more. It's Rakoff's first and only novel, published posthumously, and it's in verse, AND it's got the full Chip Kidd treatment, plus illustrations by Seth. There's a lot going on there, you know? But it was lovely. The rhyme scheme is very Seussian, which seems weird at first but then turns out to be a lot of fun even during the sad parts (and there are a lot of sad parts), and Rakoff's wit has a lot of bite to it. Honestly? I might even read it again. (Jenn)

Midnight Promise   More You Ignore Me   Refresh Refresh   All Our Pretty Songs

The Midnight Promise by Zane Lovitt (ebook available)
I trust Europa when it comes to world noir, and they certainly have succeeded with this one. Zane Lovitt writes like sort of an Australian Chandler, with the quick, snappy dialogue and observations that you'd expect from a private investigator, but also with the stunning descriptions of beauty and squalor that have perhaps nothing to do with his cases. It jumps around chronologically, so you have to enjoy each chapter on its own to an extent. But the final story, and the way it brings everything together, and the way it ends, the last few pages, they took my breath away. (Emily)

The More You Ignore Me by Travis Nichols (ebook available)
People can get pretty intense on the Internet, especially if it is their sole means of communication with the world. Nichols' novel is crafted as one long blog comment, in which someone we know as Linksys181 defends his recent ban from Charli and Nico's wedding blog by the couple's best man, Chris. It is clear from the start that he is an outcast, intelligent but tragically socially inept. I see him as the Ignatius J. Reilly of the Internet age. Prepare yourself for an entertaining read that is funny, creepy, unsettling, sad, and super entertaining. (CJ)

Refresh, Refresh by Benjamin Percy (ebook available)
Percy pulled me in right away -- I'm a sucker for beautiful prose. But he accomplishes so much more than just writing pretty sentences. He combines the bizarre with the ordinary, creates characters that are real, unique, and unpredictable, and his writing -- even in his realistic fiction -- leaves you feeling as though you have been touched by some kind of magic. (Jacob)

All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry (ebook available)
We are nuts for this book. McCarry has taken a scene near and dear to our hearts -- Seattle grunge in the '90s -- and made it the setting for a rock'n'roll, retelling of the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. But the twists don't stop there, and All Our Pretty Songs is about much more than romantic love. For everyone who has ever needed music to survive -- which is all of us, right? (Jenn and Molly)

Nonfiction We Love:

         Telling Room           Story of My People             Short History of Nuclear Folly      

The Telling Room by Michael Paterniti (ebook available)
If you like travel, cheese, escapes to the Old World, and/or warped family sagas, you will want to pick this up. As a freelance editor for a foodie periodical, Paterniti learned of the ultimate cheese, made by hand with love by a man in Spain. Many years later, as a journalist looking for a story, he found out that the cheese was no longer being made and decided to find out why not. The story gets bigger and more complicated from there, and includes betrayal, revenge fantasies, an international move -- and lots and lots of cheese. (Jenn)

Story of My People by Edoardo Nesi
In Story of My People, Edoardo Nesi takes the grand story of the global economy and boils it down to just one place: Prato, an Italian city long devoted to the creation of textiles, where his family owned a factory for years. Nesi, who was a well-known Italian novelist before he wrote this book, in addition to part-owner of the factory, brings his frustration and concern to the page with a stunning clarity and scope. His writing is pristine even when filled with rage, but Nesi is not just looking to place blame -- he, like so many readers, wants to know what’s next, and if all the benefits we’ve gotten from globalization are worth what what we’re faced with now. The book has the driving force of a polemic but the wisdom of a novel, and is the only book about the global recession I’d recommend to anybody, though you need have no interest in the economy to pick it up. It is one of the best books I’ve read all year without question. (Stephanie)

A Short History of Nuclear Folly by Rudolph Herzog
Largely eschewing the better known instances of humankind mishandling atomic technologies -- Hiroshima, Chernobyl, and Fukushima Daiichi -- Rudolph Herzog's volume presents another kind of history: a compilation of follies less traveled, as well as a compendium of near misses. It's a holy-crap-we-were-almost-history history. The stuff that alt. history novels are made of. And somehow it's as light as it is heavy, as funny as it is terrifying (this is R. Herzog after all, the man who, in Dead Funny, wrote about humor in Hitler's Germany). Did you know doctors actually planted plutonium in patients' hearts? Did I mention that nuclear satellites are raining down on us? Oh my god. (Chad)

                            Devil in the White City                   Brain on Fire

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (ebook available)
I may be fascinated by serial killers, and I may have only picked up this book because it involved H. H. Holmes (a serial killer responsible for creating a type of murder mansion), but there is so much more to The Devil in the White City than just murder. Larson weaves the story of H. H. Holmes' with that of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. The combination is riveting, rich with fascinating historical detail, and hard to put down. I'd heard about the World's Fair, but I had no idea it was so influential -- so many prominent historical figures were involved or in attendance and a number of iconic things were created for it. Larson highlights the glamour and grime in ways that will leave you in awe. (Jacob)

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan (ebook available)
This is one of the craziest stories you'll ever read. A young, beautiful 24-year-old reporter working for the New York Post falls into illness, and everyone around her thinks she's going slowly mad. She has seizures, doesn't act like herself, starts to lose her speech and mobility. She gets checked into NYU and loses an entire month of her life, not remembering what happened to her there but piecing it all together through videos and family stories. The rare autoimmune disease she was lucky enough to have treated could be undiagnosed in people all over the world now and throughout history, and that's what makes this story so relevant and page-turning. Buy it for the medical junkie in your life, or just someone who loves a thrilling personal story. (Christine)

Kids Books We Love:

Island of the Aunts   Monsters and Legends   Calvin Coconut    Who's On First?

Island of the Aunts by Eva Ibbotson
Three aunts care for all sorts of magical creatures on their secret island near Greenland -- selkies, mermaids, and even a Kraken. But the aunts are getting older, and they need some help. So they hatch a plan to kidnap some children and bring them to the island to train in magical creature care. What could possibly go wrong? I absolutely love the fantastical worlds Eva Ibbotson creates in her classic stories -- fun-loving, full of humanity, and not too scary -- perfect for kids looking for fantasy but not yet ready for Harry Potter or Percy Jackson. Also try these other great Eva Ibbotson reads: The Secret of Platform 13, Which Witch? and The Ogre of Oglefort. (Jenny)

Monsters and Legends by Davide Cali, illustrated by Gabriella Giandelli
The endpapers of this oversized picture book immediately caught my eye -- quirky yellow-and-black drawings of creatures that never were. The rest of the book is just as endearing: It's a playful encyclopedia of imaginary (or misidentified) beings from the familiar (mermaids, werewolves) to the adorably ridiculous (the splintercat, which smashes its head into trees to get at delicious sap). A little bit creepy and a lot of fun, Monsters and Legends has an old-fashioned feel that makes it seem like a book you should have had as a child. (Molly)

Calvin Coconut (series) by Graham Salisbury (ebooks available)
This is a great series for 2nd/3rd/4th grade readers, starring Calvin who lives with his funny, diverse family and friends in Hawaii. From dealing with bullies, to a trip around the islands, to surviving a hurricane, Calvin's stories are entertaining and realistic. Plus, you can take an imaginary trip to Hawaii every time you pick up one of the books! Book 1 is Calvin Coconut: Trouble Magnet, and the latest in the series is Book 9, Calvin Coconut: Extra Famous. (Jenny)

Who's On First? by Bud Abbott and Lou Costello (ebook available)
This lively retelling of the classic Abbott and Costello skit has Adrian and his father in stitches every night. It is a read aloud that seems to get better over time, and it's the perfect gift for a baseball fan or a nostalgic parent. (Adrian & Christine)

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