Staff Picks, Part IV: Josh

This is the final installment in our series of blogs featuring the favorite books of the Underground Books staff. Here are Josh’s favorites!


Josh 1Watchers by Dean Koontz

At about age 12, I was probably too young to be reading Koontz. Like Stephen King, he’s a master of suspense and horror. Not usually my genre of choice today, Watchers was one of the first books to really ignite my love of reading. When the protagonist, Travis, encounters two genetic experiments escaped from a government lab, he’s drawn into a dark and dangerous tale of adventure and secrecy. The story is most famous for its exceedingly intelligent and lovable golden retriever character, Einstein. A definite page-turner and “beach read” that won’t be too taxing for the already mentally exhausted.



Chronicles Dragonlance Series by Margaret Weis & Tracy HickmanJosh 2

This epic fantasy novel franchise is what inspired my teenage obsession with dungeons & dragons and role playing games (and eventually introduced me to Tolkien as well). I credit (blame?) these worlds of elves, dwarves, and magic with later inspiring me to question the world, and eventually study philosophy and religion in college. The heroes in the world of Krynn, introduced in Dragons of Autumn Twilight, have since spawned over 190 books and games. If you’re one prone to getting addicted to a series, and then having to read all of them – beware these books!


Josh 3Ishmael by Daniel Quinn

When I read Ishmael at age 16 or 17, it blew my mind.  An older friend (herself studying philosophy in college, like I eventually would) gave it to me, and it forever changed my perspective on the world. It examines the mythological thinking at the heart of modern civilization, its effect on ethics, and how this relates to sustainability and societal collapse on the global scale. The novel uses a style of Socratic dialogue to deconstruct the notion that humans are the pinnacle of biological evolution. It posits that anthropocentrism and several other widely accepted modern ideas are actually cultural myths and that global civilization is enacting these myths with catastrophic consequences. As a work of fiction, it will leave something to be desired – consider this purely a philosophical/historical read for exercising your brain and examining our culture’s basic ideas.


Tropic of Cancer by Henry MillerJosh 4

Another one read initially as a teenager, it was given to me by my older brother as if it was some kind of dangerous and sacred object.  Famous for its candid sexuality and the 1960’s free speech trials it aroused (ha!), Tropic is the semi-autobiographical tale of Miller living as a nomadic-bohemian-expatriate in Paris in the early 1930’s. The book meanders around and among Miller and his musician, artist, and writer friends as they drink and carouse. As a story it really goes nowhere linear, with a lot of stream of consciousness chapters leading toward big epiphanies, meditations on the human condition, and social critiques. If you can overcome the pretension, it’s a fun and dirty romp through 1930’s Paris, with a good dose of lyrical philosophy and social criticism.


Josh 5

God is Red: A Native View of Religion by Vine Deloria

This book was the primary textbook of my college course “Introduction to Native American Religious Traditions” at Western Kentucky University. God is Red is not just an introduction to native religious ideas, it is an in-your-face challenge to Western Christianity. It details the hardships faced by Native Americans as their country was quickly flooded with foreigners eager for land and other resources. Deloria links the anthropocentrism of Christian orthodoxy and subsequent American economic philosophies with increasing environmental upheaval. Deloria also explains how religious views are rooted to “place” as opposed to being universal. God is Red is a challenging and important read that transformed my understanding of all religions.


Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom RobbinsJosh 6

During my four (okay, almost five) years as a philosophy undergraduate, I read only nonfiction. After graduating, the first work of fictional pleasure reading I picked up was Tom Robbins’ Still Life With Woodpecker. It concerns the love affair between an environmentalist princess and an outlaw. The novel encompasses a broad range of topics, from aliens and redheads to consumerism, the building of bombs, romance, royalty, the moon, and a pack of Camel cigarettes. The novel continuously addresses the question of “how to make love stay” and is sometimes referred to as “a postmodern fairy tale”. Still Life is a fun, easy read, but still full of witty, thought-provoking, and quotable aphorisms.



Josh 7The Making of a Counterculture by Theodore Roszak

A “counterculture” is a subculture whose values and norms of behavior differ substantially from those of mainstream society, often in opposition to mainstream cultural mores. The term is credited to Theodore Roszak, who originally published his chronicle of the 1960’s European and North American counterculture in 1969. The book captured a huge audience of Vietnam War protesters, dropouts, and rebels–and their baffled elders. Theodore Roszak found common ground between 1960s student radicals and hippie dropouts in their mutual rejection of what he calls the technocracy–the regime of corporate and technological expertise that dominates industrial society. The book satisfied my personal preoccupation with better understanding the dramatic social transformations of the 20th century.


Breakfast of Champions by Kurt VonnegutJosh 8

Vonnegut’s 1973 novel is set in the fictional town of Midland City, and is the story of “two lonesome, skinny, fairly old white men on a planet which was dying fast.” Breakfast introduced me to the offbeat, brilliant humor of an author who thinks like a kind of zany alien anthropologist. Illustrated throughout with Vonnegut’s own childish drawings, the book also explores serious and troubling aspects of U.S. history by providing simplistic explanations of things like racism, oppression and inequality without the contextual explanations that are often used to excuse these trends.


Josh 9The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise & Decline of America’s Man-Made Landscape by James Howard Kunstler

This pop history of urban planning and architecture in America opened my eyes to the ways our built environment has contributed to so many of the social problems we face today. Kunstler was an early critic of suburban sprawl and an advocate of “New Urbanist” design, emphasizing walk-able & bike-able neighborhoods and mixed use village-style planning. Part of my love for downtown Carrollton was explained to me by this book, celebrating the human scaled intimacy of pre-automobile urban village design. Kunstler’s biting sense of humor makes learning about the dark and sad history of America’s urban planning a less bitter pill to swallow.



Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia by Rob BrezsnyJosh 10

Pronoia is the suspicion that the universe is a conspiracy on your behalf. Rob Brezsny, one of America’s most popular astrologists and the author of the “Free Will Astrology” column appearing in most of the country’s alternative newsweeklies (like Creative Loafing), persuasively argues that we attempt to go along with the Universe’s good intentions.  He uses witty parables, tender rants, cultural riffs, pagan wisdom, and lively rituals to make a case for a cagey optimism that requires a vigorous engagement with the dark forces. He asks us to rethink life as a sublime game created for our amusement and illumination. It’s easy to dismiss Pronoia as ridiculous new age fluff, but for those with less deeply ingrained cynicism, it can be a playful and enjoyable breath of fresh air. In fact, I credit it with the inspiration to be foolish enough to open a bookstore!

Staff Picks, Part III: Megan

This is a continuation of a series regarding our new in-store display featuring the favorite books of the Underground Books staff.

Megan here! I’ve been a part of the Underground Books family since just after the shop opened, shelving books to woo Josh (totally worked), scouting, pinch hitting at the register, and hauling boxes at book fairs, house calls, and dollar book sales. In January, I joined the team full-time as the rare book cataloger and online inventory manager, though they like to call me “the Muscle,” or maybe that’s just how I refer to myself.  I graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of West Georgia and the UWG Honors College, where I binged on postmodern lit and poetry. I’m pretty serious about cats.


Megan 1The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

When my older brother finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and said I was too little to read it (age 8), one of the best reading events of my life was ushered into existence. Complex, dynamic characters, rich world building, meditations on friendship and loss, the Harry Potter Series has earned its fame as one of the most beloved series of modern times. The good vs. evil storyline that gives the series its structure has never been a major focal point for me. As a child, it was Hogwarts I was enamored with; I was a nerdy little girl who dreamed of a magical academic environment. As a young adult, I appreciated Rowling’s treatment of the difficulties of human relationships, of not really knowing the pasts of parents and mentors, of grieving, of racial, gender, and economic inequality, activism, and, well, growing up, standing up for what’s right, and coming to have compassion for those who’ve mistreated us. Read these books (if only to finally understand all the pop culture references you hear)!


 Room by Emma DonoghueMegan 2

I always describe this book as the perfect balance between literary fiction and airplane reading. I read it three times and wrote two papers about it in the space of a month while in UWG’s English program, and I always have an extra copy on my shelf for lending. Thrilling and thoughtful, Room plays with the mother-child relationship, gender, captivity, postmodernism, television and the media, and the ways in which we come to interpret the world around us. Because this novel is so smart and fast paced, I’d recommend it to those who loved Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.


Megan 3Good Poems edited by Garrison Keillor

My middle school librarian—bless you Ms. Phillips—gave this poetry collection to me when I was 13, and it’s been a major touchstone throughout my life since. An eclectic collection, this book has a poem for everyone, each one featured on Keillor’s popular public radio show “The Writer’s Almanac.” Beginners will find much to like, and poetry veterans will rediscover many of their favorites.



The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinleyMegan 4

I have no idea how many times I read this book growing up. With a dragon-fighting princess, her faithful steed, and a dire threat to the kingdom, this book could easily fall into gratuitous YA fantasy, but, trust me, it doesn’t. Well crafted, the heroine is no mere strong-willed, butt-kicking female character, but smart, persevering, introspective, and struggling with common self-limitations as well as limitations put on her as a mixed-race, mixed-class woman. This is an excellent book for young people of all genders that stands up to more mature reading as well. Also: a Newberry Award winner. Check out the companion to this novel, The Blue Sword!


Megan 5The Bloody Chamber & Other Tales by Angela Carter    

This collection of mature, feminist reimaginings of classic fairy and folk tales (including Bluebeard, Beauty and the Beast, and Little Red Riding Hood, among others) doesn’t flinch in its examination of the violence and sexuality latent in children’s bedtime stories. Carter writes her brutal, erotic fables in vivid, sensuous prose; the result: a pleasurable read that packs a serious punch.



The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret AtwoodMegan 6

A tour de force, urgent and relevant, this is a book I’d be willing to die for. Speculative fiction, this novel imagines a U.S. in which American fundamentalist Christianity’s rhetoric about women is taken to its logical conclusions, with the establishment of a theocratic military dictatorship that employs biblical brutalities. Read this if you want more from your dystopian fiction (and prepare for more than you bargained for). Nolite te bastardes carborundorum!


Megan 7The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

Jesuits in space! A philosophical, psychological, moral, theological, anthropological science fiction novel that explores the intersections of science and faith, this book asks all the big questions and resolutely faces all the sweetest and bitterest moments that arise from great discovery and horrifying sacrifice. This novel is a true work of art and won all the big science fiction awards upon its publication. It’s an utterly brilliant, wondrous, and harrowing tale that will leave you both satisfied and shaken.



Beloved by Toni MorrisonMegan 8

Beautiful and unflinching, this is to me that elusive thing we call the great American novel. Simultaneously a memorial to the 60 million and more people brutalized by the Atlantic slave trade and an exorcism of the repressed memory of slavery in the American unconscious, Beloved is a powerful masterwork of American fiction. It’s also gorgeously written, haunting, heartrending, and ultimately hopeful.


Megan 9Orlando: A Biography by Virginia Woolf

Orlando blew my mind in college. Time-bending, genre-bending, gender-bending, if Woolf’s literary technical innovations don’t awe you, her lush lyricism and witty satire will. All hail the queen.




Blood Meridian, or The Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthyMegan 10

This ain’t your papa’s story of manifest destiny and the founding of the American dream. I love this book because I think the only thing more crushingly, brutally violent than its depictions of the massacres, scalping, and rape with which we won the West (there’s a tree of dead babies in here, by the way) is its depiction of the ways in which, on our compulsive thrust westward, we obliterated everything autonomous from us, naming and classifying and ultimately destroying these things, from plant and animal life to American Indian cultures and systems of meaning. There’s a brilliant juxtaposition here of physical violence and the violence of language. This book is admittedly brimming with these kinds of horror, and many a reader has abandoned it for this reason. It’s McCarthy’s language, which has drawn comparisons with the Bible and (another favorite of mine) Melville’s Moby Dick, that brings an overwhelming, magnificent beauty and splendor to the novel. Get ready for the most gorgeous sentences about sunset carnage you’ve ever read.


Megan 11A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Nao is a suffering young girl in Tokyo who plans to kill herself, but decides she must first record in her diary the life of her great-grandmother, a centenarian, novelist, feminist, anarchist, and Buddhist nun who lives in a temple on a crumbling mountaintop. Ruth, a struggling writer in British Columbia, finds Nao’s diary in a Hello Kitty lunchbox when it washes ashore as part of the debris from the 2011 tsunami that ravaged Japan. Funny, tender, and heartrending, this is a story full of desperate and complex characters who will break your heart, all while stimulating your mind with awesome big ideas, including but not limited to: metafiction, quantum physics, Zen Buddhism, the vicious lack of anonymity on the internet, WWII kamikaze pilots, Proust, the Neocene, environmental art, Taisho era Japan, and the relationship between reader and writer.


Staff Picks, Part II: Miranda

This is second in a series of posts about our new display, featuring the favorite books of our Underground Books team.

Miranda is our bonfire-building, southern drawling biblio-goddess and has been with Underground Books before we even opened, helping Josh prepare the space for books and book lovers. She’s been with the bookshop through the purchase of the building and our expansion and had complete charge of the bookstore for nearly 3 weeks while Megan and Josh were on their dream biblio-honeymoon. Fortunately for us, she’s on the 10 year bachelor’s plan for her psychology degree at UWG, so we get to keep her as our Tuesday & Wednesday bookselling rockstar. She’s been the real genius behind our book-crafting operation, for all those fans of our vintage book journals, buttons, and magnets. Miranda’s not just a keystone in the bookstore’s foundation, she’s one of our very best friends in the world!


Miranda 1Memories, Dreams, Reflections by Carl Jung

This partially autobiographical account of the life of Carl G. Jung was hugely influential in my decision to study psychology. As an eager young freshman at Georgia State I was assigned to read this book in a creative writing class and I still remember the “Oh wow!” life-changing moment I experienced while reading it in a park in downtown Atlanta. Jung opened my eyes to new ways of thinking about old concepts and ideas in this account of his life, spiritual experiences, and growth as a man. Definitely worth the read for those interested in a unique understanding of human nature and one man’s beautiful attempt to make sense of it all.


East of Eden by John SteinbeckMiranda 2

Often described as Steinbeck’s most ambitious novel, East of Eden brings to life the intricate details of two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons, and their interwoven stories. If books can be described as amusement park rides, this one would be a roller coaster (“I’m on a roller coaster of emotion!”) as it often had me laughing, crying, outraged and jubilant all in the turn of a few pages. I remember finishing it and just thinking, “Wow”.


Miranda 3Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

Robbins pulls no punches with his sharp wit, hilarious dialogue, and curious philosophy in this self-described epic. The major themes of the book include the striving for immortality, the meaning behind the sense of smell, individual expression, self-reliance, sex, love, and religion. Beets and the god Pan figure prominently. Robbins masterfully navigates this funny, often absurd, saga with four distinct storylines, one set in 8th century Bohemia and three others in modern day New Orleans, Seattle and Paris. If you enjoy your philosophy with a good belly laugh, then this is the right book for you.


American Gods by Neil GaimanMiranda 4

Written by one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman, this novel is a blend of Americana, fantasy, and various strands of ancient and modern mythology, all centering on the mysterious and taciturn Shadow. Little did I know when I first picked up this book I was about to experience one of the most interesting and engaging stories I’d ever read. I was blown away by Gaiman’s ability to effortlessly fuse old concepts of myth and gods with our modern world. With each page I got more drawn in and by the end I was left aching for more.


Miranda 5Owning Your Own Shadow by Robert Johnson

Though at first glance this book can come across as “just another self-help book”, Owning Your Own Shadow delves much deeper into the reasons why people behave the way they do. Johnson explores the concept of the “Shadow” and sheds light (ha!) on this mysterious beast lurking inside us all. By recognizing and owning our shadow, we begin to accept others and ourselves more fully.



One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia MarquezMiranda 6

Written in the beautifully poetic style of “magical realism”, Gabrielle Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude leads the reader on an enchanted journey spanning generations. This book is no fairy-tale, however. A dominant theme in One Hundred Years of Solitude is the inevitable and inescapable repetition of history in Macondo, the Latin American town in which the book is set. A wonderful read for those who enjoy complex, interwoven themes and storytelling.


Miranda 7Watership Down by Richard Adams

This is a must-read for the summer. Set in south-central England, the story features a small group of rabbits. Although they live in their natural environment, they are anthropomorphized, possessing their own culture, language, proverbs, poetry, and mythology. Evoking epic themes, the novel follows the rabbits as they escape the destruction of their warren and seek a place to establish a new home, encountering perils and temptations along the way. Every time I finish this book I can’t help but feel like I’ve lost some very dear friends.


Dune by Frank HerbertMiranda 8

Set in the distant future amidst a feudal interstellar society in which noble houses, in control of individual planets, owe allegiance to the Padishah Emperor, Dune tells the story of young Paul Atreides, whose noble family accepts the stewardship of the desert planet Arrakis. As this planet is the only source of the “spice” melange, the most important and valuable substance in the universe, control of Arrakis is a coveted — and dangerous — undertaking. The story explores the multi-layered interactions of politics, religion, ecology, technology, and human emotion, as the forces of the empire confront each other in a struggle for the control of Arrakis and its “spice.”


Miranda 9Maus by Art Spiegelman

Graphic novels (or in this case, a graphic memoir, technically) are not a genre in which I often indulge. However, if there was ever an exception to the rule, Art Spiegelman’s Maus is it. The book uses “postmodern” techniques to tell its story of Germany during WWII—most strikingly in its depiction of a race of humans as different kinds of animals: Jews as mice, Germans as cats, and non-Jewish Poles as pigs. Spiegelman’s fiercely honest account of his father’s experience as a Jew during the Holocaust, and later as a prisoner at Auschwitz, is so engrossing, real, and touching that it is often a challenge to put the book down.


His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip PullmanMiranda 10

I remember a few books from my childhood that really affected me in a profound way, and the His Dark Materials trilogy is among them. An epic trilogy of fantasy novels by Philip Pullman consisting of The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, it follows the coming of age of two children, Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry, as they wander through a series of parallel universes. From witches and armored bears, to physics, philosophy, and theology, these books deliver hard truths mixed with magic and mystery. Though Pullman’s publishers have primarily marketed the series to young adults, Pullman also intended to speak to both older children and adults. I cannot recommend them enough to young and old readers, alike.


Staff Picks, Part I: Maria

“What’s your favorite book?” is a question booksellers get used to hearing. And for the type of brainy bibliophiles who end up as booksellers, it’s a frustrating one. “How can I pick just one?!” We love so many books, sometimes we just go blank in the face of this daunting question. We look around the room in a panic for a book we like to just jump off the shelves and save us, or we mumble awkwardly about how there’s just so many….

After the success of our “Banned Book Wall” display for the last couple months, we have now launched a “Staff Favorites Wall.”  Stop in the store and browse 10 or so favorite picks from each of the four people you find behind the counter at Underground Books: Maria, Megan, Miranda, and Josh.  These are our responses to the question: “What are 10 books that are memorable for having some kind of impact on us as readers?” Many of them are titles that spoke to us at different points in our lives, and may not be our current favorites. We captured a kind of “highlights of our individual reading histories.” In case you can’t stop by the store to browse our selections, we’ll post one of our individual lists each week for the next month. First up is Maria.

Maria is our Swedish intellectual. You’ll find her at the shop most Sundays from noon to five, shelving books furiously to compensate for the rest of us slackers, or battling neglected dust bunnies. When she isn’t at Underground Books, you’ll find her working at the local Farmer’s Fresh CSA, building her tiny house, or nose buried in some heavy volume of Russian literature or other brilliant giant of classic literature.  We love Maria for her gorgeous, brilliant, dreamy, wise, philosophical mind. You can also catch Maria at her and her wife’s blog Tiny House Big Dream, where they detail the creation of their beautiful tiny house in the woods. Maria is currently at work on a book about their tiny house adventure.

Maria_1Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

It was one of the first books that really impressed me, I must have been fifteen when I first read it. I remember thinking that he (Dostoyevsky) truly saw the human mind in all its wretchedness and paranoia, but also in its ability for redemption and glory. Moody and gloomy—it seemed about right to my teenage mind, but also held in it a warning crawling from the gutters: “Beware, beware.” The Karamazov Brothers and Notes from Underground are also fighting for a place among my all-time favorites.


War and Peace by Leo TolstoyMaria_2

Despite opening with a couple of hundred pages of war battles and ball scenes, it is probably the best book I ever read. Somewhere half way through the 1200 pages, I felt my spirit elevated, my back straightened, and I thought that it was perhaps not too bad to be a human, after all. Besides being somewhat of a historical chronicle, it reads as Tolstoy’s philosophical opus. If you only plan to read one book by Tolstoy, I recommend War and Peace over Anna Karenina, which I didn’t find nearly as philosophically interesting.


Maria_3Mrs. Dallaway by Virginia Woolf

I have a huge crush on Virginia Woolf, whose intellect shines through everything she ever wrote. Mrs. Dalloway was probably the first book of hers that I read, and it captivated me from page one with its cleverness and poetic prose. To follow Mrs. Dalloway for a day is to travel inside someone’s consciousness, which could easily be tediously intimate, if it wasn’t for the fact that Woolf is anything but sappy or redundant. To the Lighthouse, Between the Acts, and A Room of One’s Own are all high on my list.


Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Bead Game by Herman HesseMaria_4

I really can’t pick one of them…I discovered Steppenwolf first, and loved the existential theme, which was hugely influential, but then Siddhartha spoke to my Buddhist inclinations, and The Bead Game tickled intellectual aspirations. All together they spoke to my longing to transcend and grow out of a fettered “normal” life.


Maria_5The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

This is also a book that I have read more than once and whose heroine, Isabel Archer, speaks to my heart. It’s a coming of age story, a story of freedom and individuality pitted against the restraints imposed by money, class, gender, and moral codes. It is beautiful world moving in between the old English society and the new America, a world of aristocrats, country houses, and trips to Italy—all tainted by greed and social ambition. The psychological portrait is one of the most pitiless and most interesting I’ve come across.


Walden by Henry David ThoreauMaria_6

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” I had heard the quote long before I read the book, and was predisposed to love it without glancing between the covers. Thoreau is my curmudgeonly friend who refuses to accept anything but a full and authentic life. His Walden is poetic and quiet, and feels like home.


Maria_7The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende

Like Marquez, another one who should really be on my top list, Allende is a magical storyteller, and The House of Spirits oozes with rich characters, magical realism, and epic family lore. This was the book that made me think that I could never write a story as full and brimming with life as this one…and then really, what’s the point of writing at all? I fell in love with the character Clara, so stubborn and strong, loving and wise, quirky and wonderful.


The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan KunderaMaria_8

This is probably my most frequently re-read book. Philosophy, love, eroticism, Prague, revolution, art, loss—it has all I ask for in a novel. It is clever, fun, and sad, but not in a maudlin way. You feel the book, and you feel with the characters, but the weight comes from the fleetingness of things rather than from their importance.


Maria_9Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

A new favorite, Oryx and Crake, a speculative fiction about a post-apocalyptic future in which most humans have died, and a new race is created. (Did I say too much?) This is one of the most juicy, smart, fun, scary and captivating books around. Atwood’s future sounds like our reality amplified, and with a triangular love story, and the apocalypse upon us, this is a book to discuss over coffee. Glenn/Crake is one of my all-time favorite characters, who it is easy to feel conflicted about.


Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal Maria_10by Christopher Moore

My last book on the list is really just for fun. The title says it all, really. An absurd account of Jesus/Joshua’s coming of age through the eyes of his best friend Biff. Despite the outrageous language and sacrilegious themes, it is actually rather sweet, and you can’t help but love Joshua. He’s the best.



Maria_11The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

I’ve recommend this book to all my friends. It is a great story that is epic yet personal, with a sweet and tragic love triangle, loss, war, and escapism. It feels like a boy book and smells of cigarettes, N.Y.C., and comic books. I love Chabon’s use of language and his amazing vocabulary—it is not often that I need a dictionary when I read fiction, but I want to have one ready whenever I read his books. Kavalier is another one of those long-legged, broody, character crushes… For the slightly younger (or not) audiences I recommend Chabon’s Summerland, which is the best adventure you’ll ever be on. (Note the Coyote, a superb villain.)


Tune in next week for a peek at Miranda’s favorite books.