Staff Picks

CHEVALIER’S BESTSELLERS JANUARY 2017

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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

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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!