Fountain Bookstore

Drunk on All Your Strange New Words by Eddie Robson

This book features a young woman who is a translator for an alien species that has come to Earth but that doesn’t have a spoken language. She translates their thoughts into English so other humans can understand them. She finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation and she wants to keep her job and stay out of jail. I found this short novel charming and it’s a real love song to the written word and paper books. For lovers of Douglas Adams and John Scalzi.

Drunk on All Your Strange New Words by Eddie Robson, (List Price: $26.99, Tordotcom, 9781250807342, June 2022)

Reviewed by Kelly Justice, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

My Name Is Jason. Mine Too by Jason Reynolds

Calling this the coolest most creative young adult book I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, just wow! Powerhouse Jason Reynolds teams up with longtime best friend and artist Jason Griffin to bring the most interesting memoir I’ve ever read. Originally published in 2009 as Reynolds’s first book, this tiny but mighty memoir follows the two as they chase huge aspirations in New York City. Worlds, collages, and paint splatters cover the pages rather than paragraphs and it works so perfectly. Almost like a zine nonfiction novella, and if that wasn’t a thing it is now and I want more!

My Name Is Jason. Mine Too by Jason Reynolds, (List Price: $10.99, Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 9781534478220, June 2022)

Reviewed by Grace Sullivan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Let’s Get Back to the Party by Zak Salih

It is just weeks after the legalization of gay marriage in the U.S. in the summer of 2015. We meet two men who grew up together in the D.C. suburbs and are at opposite ends of what it means to be a gay man at this time in American history. Both are involved in obsessive cross-generational friendships. Sebastian has a complicated relationship with one of his out and proud high school students. Oscar is spending time with a Stonewall generation novelist on the decline. Sebastian is anxious to settle down and assimilate. Oscar is infuriated by what he sees as the death of gay culture in favor of what he views as colorless banality. I loved everything about this book. It is beautifully written and full of profound insights on what happens when a formerly ostracized segment of society becomes incorporated into the general population and what that means, good and bad, for the individuals that are part of it. Stunning!

Let’s Get Back to the Party by Zak Salih, (List Price: $16.95, Algonquin Books, 9781643752075, June 2022)

Reviewed by Kelly Justice, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Also a Poet by Ada Calhoun

Calhoun had a complicated relationship with her famous art critic father Peter Schjeldahl. This book started as an attempt to write a biography of poet Frank O’Hara that her father never finished. Having inherited his obsession with the poet, the author wrestles with creating a narrative with answers when obstacles (time, fire, other people) keep them hidden. I felt the frustration of her and her subjects as it infected me with its incessant whispers of almosts and near misses. Ultimately, the author gifts us with wise lessons of kindness and acceptance. An extraordinary, raw read!

Also a Poet by June Gervais, (List Price: $27, Grove Press Books, 9780802159786, June 2022)

Reviewed by Kelly Justice, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Someone Other Than a Mother by Erin S. Lane

In a society that puts mothers on a pedestal (no greater love than that of a mother!), even if they’re quick to mommy shame them (she lets those kids have too much screen time!), it can be tough and disheartening to navigate the world as a child-free woman. Erin Lane breaks down the Mother Scripts, tackling the origins of what it means to be a mother from biblical times, to the rise of modern motherhood (thanks, Teddy Roosevelt). She interviews women from all backgrounds- women who don’t want kids, can’t have kids, became step-parents, or are raising kids through the foster system. It’s a fascinating insight into the way society perceives women and an important discussion of moving beyond the boundaries of those expectations.

Someone Other Than a Mother by Erin S. Lane, (List Price: $26, TarcherPerigee, 9780593329313, April 2022)

Reviewed by Kate Towery, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Wild Ride by Keith Calabrese

My absolute favorite thing about this book is that it pulls no punches towards its antagonist, a thinly-veiled caricature of the star of a certain Bo Burnham song, and it is oh so satisfying to see him get the kind of comeuppance we can only dream about on this side of the page. Besides that, this middle-grade adventure through Chicagoland has an endearing set of characters who all learn something about the world being a little bigger and more complicated than they think it is, but not so big and complicated that they can’t handle. I also loved how much fun all the locations throughout the Chicago area were!

Wild Ride by Keith Calabrese, (List Price: $17.99, Scholastic Press, 9781338743241,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Akil Guruparan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head by Warsan Shire

I cant put into words how much this poetry collection affected me, and how I am completely infatuated with every word on every page. Shire truly left me speechless with her prose and poems centering around being a refugee, maternal relationships, and what it means to be a woman. It’s poetry that’s so full of emotion you feel every word she says, and it’s impeccable.

Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head by Warsan Shire, (List Price: $17, Random House Trade Paperbacks, 9780593134351,  March 2022)

Reviewed by Grace Sullivan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

The Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart

A crazy time-travel novel that is also a meditation on loss. The main character is mourning the loss of her lover as she tries to hold on to her job as “time cop” that is also frying her brain. I really loved this story with its many and varied villains and exploration of what regular time travel would do to the human brain. The protagonist keeps up her work to catch glimpses of the woman she loves in the form of kind of time-ghosts in the hotel where she works for wealthy people who go back in time and try to mess it up for sport and profit. Sometimes our biggest villains are ourselves as she learns while pushing away the people remaining in her life who wish to help.

The Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart, (List Price: $20, Ballantine Books, 9781984820648, February 2022)

Reviewed by Kelly Justice, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Nour’s Secret Library by Wafa’ Tarnowska

Nour and her cousin Amir live in Damascus, playing and reading and planning a secret club when the war in Syria comes to their city. Soon they are forced to spend their nights in a basement, and during the day Amir and his friends collect the books left on the streets of Damascus. With the books piling up, Noor and Amir decide to start a secret library- a place for their friends to find hope,adventure, and comfort. The illustrations are lovely and I’m always a sucker for a board book about books!

Nour’s Secret Library by Wafa’ Tarnowska, (List Price: $17.99, Barefoot Books, 9781646862917,  March 2022)

Reviewed by Kate Towery, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Letter to a Stranger by Colleen Kinder

As the season changes, I find myself drawn to books that I can pickup, read however much I want whether it be a page or fifty, and then put back down and not worry about losing my spot or anything like that. I want digestible, but not fluff, I still want the grit and strong storytelling. This book is the cure for this predicament. Colleen Kinder sent out an email to authors everywhere, simply asking them to write a letter to a stranger who haunts them. The result is this intimate collection of letters from some of the most beloved authors of our time, and perfect is an understatement. The book is broken up by emotional prompt, which I like but was wary as books similar to this can be sort of repetitive with the themes of stories in them, but this next level. The sections are symmetry, mystery, chemistry, gratitude, wonder, remorse and finally, farewell. This is what makes this book so strong, it’s not just emotions of love or pain, it’s so much more than that. It’s funny, startling,and at times heartbreaking. A book that has earned a permanent spot on my bookshelf, and one I do not think I will ever get tired of skimming through.

Letter to a Stranger by Colleen Kinder, (List Price: $19.95, Algonquin Books, 9781643751245,  March 2022)

Reviewed by Grace Sullivan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

The Big Reveal by Jen Larsen

Addie is a fat dancer, and proud of it–not letting her peers or anybody else allow her to feel shame or inferiority because of her body. She has a group of truly excellent friends, who throughout the book are self-affirming, endlessly supportive, and outright hilarious. I wish I’d had anything close to these friends when I was in high school. Scratch that, I wish I had these friends now. Together, they hatch a plan to financially support Addie’s potential post-graduation job with a dance company in Milan that involves an underground burlesque show, and through it, Addie discovers the self-affirming and body-positive power of burlesque, which she and her friends had previously cast aside as creative stripping. But she also has, and does, stand up to misogyny, slut-shaming, and fatphobia from her peers and superiors, and Larsen is truly excellent at illustrating exactly how internalized bigotry can hurt you even when you think you love who you are, just because we live in a world where anything that isn’t the default is constantly assumed to be aberrant. The best YA I’ve read all year!!

The Big Reveal by Jen Larsen, (List Price: $17.99, 9781250252173, December 2021)

Reviewed by Akil Guruparan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Disorientation by Ian Williams

Disorientation is a book to be read slowly and with care. Ian Williams best-selling author of my staff favorite novel Reproduction (remember the amazing cover???). I also really loved his collection of poetry Word Problems from last year. Using his formidably flexible writing chops, Williams invites us to an urgent conversation on race and racism in this collection of essays that draw directly from his experience of life as a Black man. He covers all subjects from the merely annoying to the tragically deadly aspects of racism from a worldwide perspective having lived in Trinidad, Canada, and the U. S. This book is approachable for all readers and is intended to be a civil conversation about the ugliest of subjects. It’s illuminating, dizzying, and intensely personal. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Also, exceptional in audio: read by the author.

Disorientation by Ian Williams, (List Price: $19.95, 9781609457396, November 2021)

Reviewed by Kelly Justice, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Between the Lines by Uli Beutter Cohen

From the creator behind Subway Book Review, this is the newest Humans of New York, but for book lovers. This is a collection of short interviews Cohen conducted on the subway of New York City, documenting not only everyone’s reading list but also creating a conversation and connection. From beloved classics to niche dog-eared, worn books, this covers just about every genre you could think of. What I really love about this book is that it could’ve just as easily been a book full of tiny book reviews, but it’s something much more intimate. Cohen does a great job of telling these people’s stories all in about 400 words each. There’s representation of everyone; queer, trans, all races, all occupations. It’s raw, gorgeous and executed so flawlessly I can’t get enough of it.

Between the Lines by Uli Beutter Cohen, (List Price: $24.99, Simon & Schuster, 9781982145675, October 2021)

Reviewed by Grace Sullivan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

A Killer by Design by Ann Wolbert Burgess

You probably know the names of John Douglass and Robert Ressler, the mind hunters of the FBI. But it was Ann Burgess who helped develop a more scientific way to interview serial killers and serial rapists in order to catch future criminals. Burgess caught the eye of the FBI because of her groundbreaking research into rape offenders, and she brought her analytical mind to what is now the Behavioral Science Unit. A must read for any true crime buff, and a fascinating look into the early days of profiling.

A Killer by Design by Ann Wolbert Burgess, (List Price: $28.00, Hachette Books, 9780306924866, December 2021)

Reviewed by Kate Towery, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

I’m Dreaming of a Chris for Christmas by Robb Pearlman

Winning the award for most asked for stocking stuffer on the Fountain staff! Not just coloring Chrises, but Chris crosswords, Chris mazes, connect-the-Chrises, and more! PG-rated, this collections brings together Chrises from Hollywood, music, and sports. Obviously Hemsworth, Evans, Pine, and Pratt, but also Rock, Rinaldi, Jericho, Walken (in-a-Winter-Wonderland), and more! Seriously, I’m cracking up just looking at it.

I’m Dreaming of a Chris for Christmas by Robb Pearlman, (List Price: $14.95, Smart Pop, 9781637740200, November 2021)

Reviewed by Kelly Justice, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

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