Staff Recommendations

When you visit us, be sure to talk with our staff! We love books and we love making recommendations! 

Fall 2023 is here, and it's almost time for the leaves to start turning. It's a perfect time to pick up some cozy reading for fall evenings, or some supplementary books for school. Here are some selections our staff would like to share:


  • Big Swiss by Jen Beagin (book cover)

    Big Swiss, by Jen Beagin

    Hilarious! Big Swiss pokes fun at the culture of Hudson, NY - not too dissimilar from Western Mass! The protagonist works as a transcriptionist for a sex therapist, and accidentally falls in love
    with one of his clients.  In this small town, they're bound to run into each other eventually. This book is fun, funny, smart, dirty, and all around excellent summer reading. 

  • How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee

    This collection of personal essays will take you through the many stages of the author's life including working as a cater-waiter at William F. Buckley's, reading tarot cards with Rachel Pollack, studying writing under Annie Dillard, and surviving the AIDS epidemic with ACT UP.

  • The Crying Book, by Heather Christie 

    Cultural Studies, but make it lyrical.  A poet considers tears through personal essays. For fans of Rebecca Solnit essays and Maria Popova's Brain Pickings. 

  • The Selfishness of Others: An Essay on the Fear of Narcissism, by Kristin Dombek 

    Dombeck teaches creative writing and she brings that literary flair to
    her consideration of the shifting meaning of the concept of narcissism (from clinical to cultural). She explores why this label is so frequently applied to anyone who has hurt us and how that rejection of the other might itself be a bit narcissistic. 

  • In The Dream House, by Carmen Maria Machado

    This experimental memoir uses the haunted house as a metaphor for an abusive relationship. It's excellent for the writing alone, but it also stands out as a rare representation of domestic violence in queer relationships. 

  • How to Be an Adult, by David Richo 

    I love this book so much! If you're in the market for a self-help book, look no further. You won't get quick fixes from Richo, and he doesn't have any courses or products for sale, but there is real wisdom here. You'll want to read this little gem slowly the way you savor a good meal and you'll likely want to return to it again and again. 

  • Conflict Is Not Abuse, by Sarah Schulman

    Schulman critiques "scapegoat culture," and looks at the ways inflated accusations of harm are sometimes used to avoid accountability in interpersonal relationships and international politics. She also considers how we might shift toward a culture of community
    responsibility and restorative justice. The world might get just a little bit better if we all read this book! 

  • Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder (book cover)

    Nightbitch, by Rachel Yoder

    In this novel, motherhood feels like turning into a werewolf. For lovers of dark comedy, magical realism, and feminist commentary. 

  • Chainsaw Man

    Denji was a small-time devil hunter just trying to survive in a harsh world. After being killed on a job, he is revived by his pet devil Pochita and becomes something new and dangerous--Chainsaw Man!

  • Tomie

    The complete classic horror series, now available in a single deluxe volume. Murdered again and again, one girl always comes back for more... Tomie Kawakami is a femme fatale with long black hair and a beauty mark just under her left eye...

  • Gyo

    The floating smell of death hangs over the island. What is it? A strange, legged fish appears on the scene... So begins Tadashi and Kaori's spiral into the horror and stench of the sea. Here is the creepiest masterpiece of horror manga ever from the creator ofUzumaki, Junji Ito. Something's rotten in Okinawa...

  • Ross Macdonald

    I'd recommend anything by Kenneth Millar, aka Ross Macdonald. His SoCal is less hard-boiled, and more emotionally complex with winding psychological turns, nascent environmentalism, and plenty of secrets and lies. It feels so real, too, the palpable California of the 50s-70s.

  • Wilkie Collins

    Friend of Dickens and unusual man in his own right, Collins was an author of many novels, most famously The Moonstone, which is sometimes called the first detective novel. But if you've read The Moonstone, don't stop there! My personal favorites are Poor Miss Finch, Hide and Seek, and Armadale.

  • Graham Greene

    While The Quiet American, Travels With My Aunt, and Doctor Fischer of Geneva are all re-reads for me, my favorite has to be Monsignor Quixote, Greene's novel about friendship between a priest and a communist mayor, in a slightly off-kilter Spain.

  • The Lathe of Heaven

    LeGuin's Daoist novel asks you to consider what are the repercussions of action, and what is your relationship to everything and everyone around you. It contains some of the loveliest lines I've ever read.

  • The Vietnam Wars, by Marilyn Young

    While Americans often perceive the Vietnam War as occurring during a discrete period in 1960s and 70s, ending with the withdrawal of American troops in 1974, it is a misunderstanding of the conflict to limit it to these years. Furthermore, American involvement in Vietnam predates the war by five decades, and postdates the war until at least the 1990s. Young is also writing at the cusp of the first Gulf War, without knowing the future of our continuing involvement in the Middle East, and so she mentions a possible comparison without full knowledge of just how prescient that comparison might be.

  • Evening Chats in Beijing, by Perry Link

    Now thirty years old, Link's book is a historical document in its own right. The evening chats of the title, with China's intellectuals (a designation with deep roots in Confucian ideals), are recorded in the wake of 1989's Tiananmen Square demonstrations, and are largely about the idea of responsibility to China and its citizens.