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    Top of Your Stack: Recommendations from Book Passage 1.13.22

    Hell of a Book (fiction) by Jason Mott

    In this brilliant, National Book Award (2021) winning novel, a Black author embarks on a U.S. tour to promote his bestselling book. While the tour and the encounters on the tour drive the plot and humor, there is a much bigger picture going on regarding race and racism. Mott’s novel also tells the story of Soot, a young Black boy living in a small town in recent past, and who may or may not represent a younger version of the author himself. It is also the story of “the Kid” who may or may not be an imaginary child who appears throughout the tour. Mott deftly weaves in humor with drama and societal ills. This book is as engaging and entertaining as it is poignant, enlightening. Within minutes it’s easy to understand why Mott took home the prize.

    Girl, Woman, Other (fiction) by Bernardine Evaristo

    Speaking of award winners, this Booker Prize winning novel from 2019 is available in paperback and is one of the best novels of recent years that you probably didn’t read. This is a complex, yet easy-to-read, fierce novel about the lives of Black British women. Some love men, some love women, some love both. From a lesbian playwright to a nonbinary social media influencer, and many in between, Evaristo showcases the cross-section of their pains and triumphs. This award-winning writer juggles the many characters and fast-moving story pace with aplomb, keeping the reader laughing, shocked, and wholly engaged while rooting for all of these magnificent and unforgettable characters.

    Baggage (memoir) by Alan Cumming

    Alan Cumming is proving to be just as good a writer as he is a delightful actor. Baggage is the follow-up to Cumming’s earlier memoir, Not My Father’s Son, a New York Times bestseller about the reality of his childhood trauma. For Baggage, he shares the truth of his life, behind his fun-loving, happy persona. The message that comes through in this wise and witty memoir is that the past is not something to forget or “get over.”

    Upcoming Events

    Sunday, January 16 @ 2 pm (in-store/Ferry Building) Kirthana Ramisetti author of Dava Shastri’s Last Day

    Dava Shastri, one of the world’s wealthiest women, has always lived with her sterling reputation in mind. A brain cancer diagnosis at the age of seventy, however, changes everything, and Dava decides to take her death—like all matters of her life—into her own hands. Summoning her four adult children to her private island, she discloses shocking news: in addition to having a terminal illness, she has arranged for the news of her death to break early, so she can read her obituaries. As someone who dedicated her life to the arts and the empowerment of women, Dava expects to read articles lauding her philanthropic work. Instead, her “death” reveals two devastating secrets, truths she thought she had buried forever. And now the whole world knows, including her children.

    Sunday, January 16 @ 4:00pm (live online event) Jason Mott author of Hell of a Book, and Jonathan Evison, author of Small World

    Jonathan Evison’s Small World is an epic novel for now. Set against such iconic backdrops as the California gold rush, the development of the transcontinental railroad, and a speeding train of modern-day strangers forced together by fate, it is a grand entertainment that asks big questions. Likewise, Jason has delivered a uniquely wonderful book in Hell of a Book, featured in this column.

    Friday, January 21 @ 2:15 pm (live online event) Alan Gratz
    JoinAlan Gratz, The New York Times bestselling author of the middle grade novels Ground ZeroRefugeeAlliesPrisoner B-3087Ban This Book, and more, for a presentation about the inspiration behind some of his biggest books, followed by an interactive Q&A!

    Published on January 13, 2022