Lisa's Picks

Staff Pick Badge
How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780316492935
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - June 1st, 2021

"How different might our country look if all of us fully understood what had happened here?" writes Clint Smith, and in "How the Word is Passed," he begins to help us do just that. From Thomas Jefferson's Monticello to the shores of Senegal, Smith looks at how the story of slavery is told and makes a compelling case for why the truth is important, not just to history, but to the here and now and the future. "The history of slavery is the history of the United States," writes Smith. With this book he offers a lifeline to help untangle and process that history. It could not come at a more critical time. I sincerely hope this book will be read and taught for generations to come. It is that important.


Staff Pick Badge
My Monticello: Fiction Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250807151
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - October 5th, 2021

"My Monticello" is this year's "The Secret Lives of Church Ladies" -- a story collection that bursts with exquisite sentences and complex humanity. Then the title novella grabs you with its urgency and does not let go.  Jocelyn Nicole Johnson is a force to be reckoned with. What a joy to discover this powerful debut.


Staff Pick Badge
I Will Die in a Foreign Land Cover Image
$25.00
Backordered or unavailable - Email or call for more information
ISBN: 9781953387080
Published: Two Dollar Radio - October 19th, 2021

One of my top fiction titles of 2021! "I Will Die in a Foreign Land" reveals the back stories, motivations, and longings of four different individuals who come together during the Euromaidan protests in Kiev. This is a debut from a small press, so join me in celebrating it!


Staff Pick Badge
Arsenic and Adobo (A Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery #1) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780593201671
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Berkley - May 4th, 2021

Mystery, romance, food, and family... what more could you ask for? This super fun read is the perfect antidote to whatever ails you.


James Baldwin said it all before and beautifully, and much of it is compiled in this volume. Read for understanding of the black experience in America, for insight into America in general, and for unrivalled language and poignancy.


Ten Thousand Saints: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062021212
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - September 12th, 2017

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781949199734
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: West Virginia University Press - September 1st, 2020

I'm not a huge fan of short stories, but I love a short story collection that flows like a novel, and this one does that and more. I love its complex characters, the contradictions in their lives, and how compassionately every life is rendered. 


Brother, Sister, Mother, Explorer: A Novel Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781948226882
Availability: Available via Warehouse (7-10 Days)
Published: Catapult - March 2nd, 2021

Staff Pick Badge
The Prophets Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593085684
Availability: Available via Warehouse (7-10 Days)
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - January 5th, 2021

This one takes you places you may not want to go, places I certainly hadn't experienced in literature before, and it does so with so much beauty and compassion for its characters. A modern classic.


Cleaning Nabokov's House: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781439195031
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Touchstone - March 13th, 2012

Set locally and by a local author, this is a funny, warm, and irreverent book that I think every Ithacan should read.


Nothing to See Here Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062913494
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - September 1st, 2020

How does Kevin Wilson do what he does? He writes women characters with an honesty few to no other male writers ever have. And he delivers all of his characters with such love and tenderness for all of their oddities. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will make you believe in children who catch fire. I love this writer, and I love this book. 


Postcolonial Love Poem: Poems Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781644450147
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - March 3rd, 2020

Men We Reaped: A Memoir Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781608197651
Availability: Available via Warehouse (7-10 Days)
Published: Bloomsbury USA - September 16th, 2014

Days of Distraction: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062951793
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - February 16th, 2021

The Death of Vivek Oji: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
Backordered or unavailable - Email or call for more information
ISBN: 9780525541608
Published: Riverhead Books - August 4th, 2020

Recipe for Persuasion: A Novel (The Rajes Series #2) Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062839077
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - May 26th, 2020

"Romanticals" as we like to call them here at BSB are hugely underrated. There are some amazing writers working in romance and Sonali Dev is one of them. I love to recommend series like her Rajes Series as satisfying, well-written escapist fun. Try some!


Take a Hint, Dani Brown: A Novel (The Brown Sisters #2) Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062941237
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avon - June 23rd, 2020

Another great writer of romanticals, Talia Hibbert, whose Brown Sisters series is soul satisfying and great fun.


American Dreamer: An LGBTQ Romance (Dreamers #1) Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781335469458
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Carina Trade - March 30th, 2021

This book and this author turned me on to how powerful romance can be. I always recommend this LGBTQ+ romance set in Ithaca. It gets spicy, in more ways than one!


Deaf Republic: Poems Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555978310
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - March 5th, 2019

But Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women's Studies Cover Image
By Hull (Editor), Patricia Bell-Scott (Editor), Barbara Smith (Editor)
$24.95
ISBN: 9781558618985
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Feminist Press - September 1st, 2015

This book was hugely influential on me as a college student in the early 80s, minoring in women's studies, and trying to read everything by black women writers I could find. It opened up a world to me, and I've happily stayed as engaged as possible with that world ever since.


Flight Behavior: A Novel Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780062124272
Availability: Available via Warehouse (7-10 Days)
Published: Harper Perennial - June 4th, 2013

This is another author I suggest you read everything she's ever written, but I've chosen to highlight "Flight Behavior" here because I loved it, and I don't think as many people have read it. Like many of Kingsolver's books it contemplates how humans interact with nature, as well as focusing in on one character's period of challenge and growth. 


Zami: A New Spelling of My Name: A Biomythography Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780895941220
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crossing Press - January 1st, 1982

Staff Pick Badge
Ask Again, Yes: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781982106997
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - May 5th, 2020

I am a fan of Mary Beth Keane. I think I've read and loved everything she's ever written. And, yes, I did hunt her down at American Booksellers Association's Winter Institute and force her to take a selfie with me. This book is a satisfying slice of America, touching on policing, gun culture, and complex family relationships. Read everything by Mary Beth Keane.