Megan's Staff Picks

By Underground Books

Megan's Staff Picks

By Underground Books
Unreasonable Hospitality: The Remarkable Power of Giving People More Than They Expect

Unreasonable Hospitality: The Remarkable Power of Giving People More Than They Expect

Will Guidara

$29.00 $26.97

It’s not every day a business book has us gasping, screaming, cheering, and laughing! Unreasonable Hospitality is part business memoir, part leadership manifesto, a mix of hospitality and humanism, management and magic. Guidara took a NYC restaurant from struggling to #1 in the world; here he shares the lessons he learned in those 11 years. This book makes you feel like you’re part of that team and will leave you nourished and full of ideas, no matter what business you’re in!

A Letter to the Luminous Deep

A Letter to the Luminous Deep

Sylvie Cathrall

$18.99 $17.66

My current read!

Morning Glory Milking Farm

Morning Glory Milking Farm

C. M. Nascosta

$19.99

She’s an arts nonprofit grad with student loan debt and little job prospects, he’s a Minotaur…What else do you need to know about this cozy monster romance? Violet takes a job at a medical facility where minotaurs donate their “milk” for money, think plasma center…but not. Enter Rourke, a divorced businessman who yeah happens to be a minotaur—and really likes her work ethic! This monster romance is, yes, eye-openingly explicit (!!), and yet so wholesome at the same time!

A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster

A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster

Rebecca Solnit

$18.00 $16.74

Contrary to depictions of chaos, the anarchy that arrives in disaster is the kind that feeds and shelters neighbors. Most crucially, this historical, philosophical, and journalistic investigation urges us to examine how our beliefs impact the disasters around us. While dense in places, it ends in a crescendo with New Orleans, the lives cruelly lost there due to government mismanagement and the inspiring community efforts that rebuilt in the wake of Katrina.

Vita Nostra

Vita Nostra

Dyachenko

$19.99 $18.59

Dark academia—but make it Eastern European! Welcome to the Institute of Special Technologies…Now enrolling fans of mysterious schools, linguistic magic systems, dark and ambitious speculative fiction, and over-achieving female main characters. This is one of the few English translations of the work of award-winning Ukrainian masters of science fiction, Marina and Sergey Dyachenko, championed in the U.S. by The Magicians author Lev Grossman. If brutal academies and arcane systems of magic speak to you, this is required reading!

The Spellshop

The Spellshop

Sarah Beth Durst

$29.99 $27.89

Baked with love, like a jam-filled pastry, for fans of Legends & Lattes, this cozy, affirming fantasy follows a librarian and her trusty sentient spider plant, forced from the Capitol by a revolution against the magic-hoarding empire back to the island of her birth—where she discovers what makes a place a home and people family, a sweet romance with a merhorse herder, the magical, radical act of sharing knowledge—and the power of raspberry jam.

The Complete Poppy War Trilogy Boxed Set: The Poppy War / The Dragon Republic / The Burning God

The Complete Poppy War Trilogy Boxed Set: The Poppy War / The Dragon Republic / The Burning God

R. F. Kuang

$60.00 $55.80

The Poppy War trilogy is a masterpiece and a modern classic of both military and grimdark fantasy—and every single book will leave you breathless, punched in the gut, in awe and in pain. Follow Fang Runin from poor scholar to powerful shaman, from war orphan to war criminal, as she takes vengeance on the rulers who’ve abused her, on a war path inspired by the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War, and delve into war and trauma, rage and revolution, in detail not only horrific, but historic. I’ll read anything R. F. Kuang writes, even if (and it definitely will) hurts me. Check content warnings before reading this series!

Tress of the Emerald Sea: A Cosmere Novel

Tress of the Emerald Sea: A Cosmere Novel

Brandon Sanderson

$29.99 $27.89

This cozy, quirky, clever fantasy lives up to its inspiration—what if in The Princess Bride, Buttercup was the one who went after Westley? In the course of attempting to save her noble true love from the evil Sorceress, a window washer runs away from home, dares life and death at sea, joins a dangerous crew, and unlearns a whole lot about people pleasing, taking charge, and accepting help. A delightful, surprising, heartwarming adventure of a book I’d recommend for fans of Ella Enchanted and Our Flag Means Death!

The Magic Fish: (A Graphic Novel)

The Magic Fish: (A Graphic Novel)

Trung Le Nguyen

$17.99 $16.73

Through luminous and enchanting fairy tale retellings, the young American-born Tiến connects with his mother, who emigrated from Vietnam, as he struggles to come out to her. What a thoroughly enchanting, quietly moving, and engagingly beautiful graphic novel, touching on so many aspects of the queer and immigrant experiences in such powerful and transformative ways!

Falling Back in Love with Being Human: Letters to Lost Souls

Falling Back in Love with Being Human: Letters to Lost Souls

Kai Cheng Thom

$17.00 $15.81

What do you do when the world threatens your belief that all beings are worthy of love? In these brief yet powerful pages, Kai Cheng Thom, a Chinese Canadian transwoman, writes to reclaim her love of being human, through tender, intense letters to: her former johns, J. K. Rowling, Jesus Christ, her fellow trans femmes, the “church of social justice,” compulsive caregivers, and more, each followed by a suggested action, my favorite being: “Think of someone you’d like to punish….send them a book of poetry instead.”

Bride

Bride

Ali Hazelwood

$19.00 $17.67

Out 2/6 | One thing about me: I’ll devour anything Ali Hazelwood has on offer, and as a sci-fi/fantasy reader, I was enthralled by her debut paranormal romance! Can an arranged marriage turn into fated mates between a lone vampire and her Alpha were husband? This giddily scentsual, deeply knotty romance had me by the throat, all the while licking my chops from a satisfying backdrop of fantasy world building, political intrigue, and mystery. This one’s a feast for loyal fans and a welcome banquet for the new ones Bride is sure to sire!

Doppelganger: A Trip Into the Mirror World

Doppelganger: A Trip Into the Mirror World

Naomi Klein

$30.00 $27.90

By facing her own doppelgänger, leftist activist Naomi Klein explores the absurdity, inversion, and surrealism of our cultural and political moment, offering piercing perspectives on self-branding, conspiracy theories, climate change, the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, and more. Sprawling, funny, intellectually invigorating, and disturbing in equal measure—if you get lost following Klein in the mirror world, you’ll end with your feet on more solid ground.

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life

Ed Yong

$19.99 $18.59

Ed Yong writes so enthusiastically about the expansive microbial world and our human understanding of it, past and present, that these science and research packed pages are a joy to read. More remarkable is Yong’s insistence on the moral of the story: it is the balanced mutual self-interest of community, not dog eat dog competition, that is the beating heart of life. At the same time, the more you learn about your microbiome, the more you'll question what the "self" in "self-interest" even means!

Mooncakes Collector's Edition

Mooncakes Collector's Edition

Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu

$24.99 $23.24

Mooncakes is a lovely book to have in your back pocket for days that could use a little extra magic and a dash of self-care! Teen witch Nova works for her grandmothers at their magic rare bookshop. One night, she finds her childhood crush, the non-binary werewolf Tam, has returned to town pursued by magical forces.

Poetry Unbound: 50 Poems to Open Your World

Poetry Unbound: 50 Poems to Open Your World

Pádraig Ó. Tuama

$27.95 $25.99

This is my favorite way to experience poetry—in the company of a deeply kind, wise-hearted, warmly funny, poetry-loving friend like Pádraig Ó Tuama who here introduces each specially selected poem, mostly by poets writing today, allows it to blow your mind and break your heart, and then walks you through what makes it so special. This is a true gift for poetry lovers and the perfect introduction to poetry for anyone looking for a way in!

When the Angels Left the Old Country

When the Angels Left the Old Country

Sacha Lamb

$19.99 $18.59

Fans of Good Omens’ Aziraphale and Crowley will find so much to love about another angel-demon odd couple, Uriel and Little Ash! Warm-hearted, whimsical, and wise, this queer, Jewish historical fantasy follows these two unlikely partners in pursuit of performing a mitzvah for a lost girl from their tiny shtetl in the Old Country all the way to Ellis Island and a Lower East Side full of immigrants, strikers, radicals, and many newfound friends!

A Fragile Enchantment

A Fragile Enchantment

Allison Saft

$20.00 $18.60

Out 1/30/24 | If Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) was a YA book, it would be this fantasy of manners and its aching, forbidden romance between a magical dressmaker from a former colony, hired for the royal wedding, and the king's wayward, plant-magic-wielding second son, a.k.a. the groom. Together, Niamh, soft as velvet, and Kit, prickly as a briar patch, risk not only scandal, but war, ruin, uprising, and the loss of all the armor and thorns both have used to protect themselves from life and love ‘til now.

When Grumpy Met Sunshine

When Grumpy Met Sunshine

Charlotte Stein

$18.00 $16.74

Out 2/6/24 | A curvy, bubbly ghostwriter finds herself in a fake dating scheme with a hard, grumpy footballer a la Ted Lasso’s Roy Kent in this rom-com about being yourself and embracing your softness that’s as HOT as it is hilarious! Highly recommended for fans of grumpy/sunshine pairs, Cinderella/celebrity romances, when it’s painfully obvious they’re head over cleats in LOVE but they’re total utter numpties/silly gooses about it, and absolutely FILTHY dirty talk.

Starling House: A Reese's Book Club Pick

Starling House: A Reese's Book Club Pick

Alix E. Harrow

$28.99 $26.96

The heroine of this ghoulish Southern gothic is street-smart and down-on-her-luck, with a heart of gold and sharp, crooked teeth, who finds herself drawn to the doors of a sentient, shape-shifting old mansion—and the bitter, battleworn boy trapped behind its gates. Starling House is an ode to found family, the monsters that save us and plague us, and the courage to exorcise the ghosts of a town with a long, dark history that doesn’t love you back.

Godkiller

Godkiller

Hannah Kaner

$18.99 $17.66

In a land where gods have been outlawed, godkiller for hire Kissen, whose own family was sacrificed to a fire god, is forced to help when a young noble girl fused with the god of white lies seeks her help. Together with a loyal knight turned baker they must journey to a wartorn and god-haunted city for answers and aid. This immersive fantasy is filled with flawed, lovable, badass characters—and the audiobook narrator sounds like Ygritte from Game of Thrones!

The Spirit Bares Its Teeth

The Spirit Bares Its Teeth

Andrew Joseph White

$19.99 $18.59

One thing about Andrew Joseph White books—they are not for the faint of heart and they turn me ABSOLUTELY FERAL. The Spirit Bares Its Teeth is White at the height of his visceral, shocking, beautiful, monstrous, tender, transgressive powers. I could not stop reading—though I did occasionally have to put the book down to audibly gasp and/or allow my stomach to resettle. One of the best books of the year, hands (scalpel-wielding and bloody) down. In an alt-Victorian England, violet-eyed girls born with the forbidden ability to open the Veil are prized for their potential to birth male mediums—but despite appearances, Silas is a boy—trans, autistic, and an aspiring surgeon, not an obedient wife for a Speaker. Sent to an asylum to “fix” him, Silas encounters mutilated ghosts, disappearing girls, unexpected allies, and stomach-churning horrors inspired by the truly haunting history of medical experimentation and the inspiring true story of a successful trans surgeon of the Victorian era. **Check content warnings for this one!**

Divine Rivals

Divine Rivals

Rebecca Ross

$18.99 $17.66

The center of this quietly fraught and achingly earnest story is a love affair in letters, sent between magical typewriters by two ambitious rivals for the same newspaper position. I’ve heard it described as You’ve Got Mail meets Dramione, and while I definitely enjoyed both aspects, Iris and Roman truly have a love of their own, and I was rather dreamily swept away by this magical realist tale set amidst a WWI-reminiscent war between two gods.

The Free People's Village

The Free People's Village

Sim Kern

$26.99 $25.10

Penned by #TransRightsReadathon founder Sim Kern! In an alternate 2020, in which Al Gore once won the presidency and Democrats have held court for 20 years…we still live in an economically and racially unjust, imperialist, carceral state (now with more greenwashing!), and teacher and punk band guitarist Maddie Ryan finds herself and her community forever changed when she stands against the building of a new hyperway through the Black 8th Ward she’s inadvertently helped gentrify and gets swept up in a revolution. Achingly real, bitterly funny, and deeply moving, The Free People’s Village is a commentary, both compassionate and cutting, on the woke white activist’s journey and, above all, a full-throated ode to resistance and the found family that fuels it.

Slow AF Run Club: The Ultimate Guide for Anyone Who Wants to Run

Slow AF Run Club: The Ultimate Guide for Anyone Who Wants to Run

Martinus Evans

$18.00 $16.74

Listen, I don’t want an Olympian (superhuman god or medal winner) to tell me how to run, I’d rather learn at the heels of marathoner Martinus Evans aka Instagram’s @ 300poundsandrunning. This guide is a gift to all “beginner, nontraditional, slow, fat” runners—warm, funny, welcoming, accessible, and easy to follow, with practical advice and hard-earned wisdom on everything from intervals to gear to race day to joining a running club and more!

Thinning Blood: A Memoir of Family, Myth, and Identity

Thinning Blood: A Memoir of Family, Myth, and Identity

Leah Myers

$25.95 $24.13

The author of this thoughtfully crafted memoir about Indigenous identity, blood quantum laws, and cultural survival grew up here in Carrollton. Through a totem pole bearing symbols of the matriarchs in her line—bear, salmon, hummingbird, raven—and evocative retellings of Native folklore, Myers sifts through the forces that have led to her being the last of her family to qualify for membership in the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe of Washington state.