Staff Picks

The Wordsmiths Books staff is filled with voracious readers with varying and discerning tastes as you can tell by our current staff recommendations. Go ahead and give these a try!

Wolverine: Origin
Paul Jenkins
The quintessential back story of one of the most revered comic book anti-heroes, Origin is far and away from the greatest story ever told about Wolverine. Jenkins, as a writer, has a phenomenal history (Darkness, Spiderman, and so forth) and has created a name for himself in the legend of Wolverine by writing both the beginning and end of this tragic character. And really, Wolverine is just the coolest hero ever created. The movie that will supposedly add to the legend of Wolverine’s origin will be out this year, though the only story that fans will ever recognize is the one contained in these pages. If you have not had the opportunity to read any of Paul Jenkins’ work, this is where you should start; and if you haven’t ever read a comic book or graphic novel, but you’ve seen and loved the X-Men movies, Origin will hook you into the genre.

–Zach, Owner

The Mists of Avalon
Marion Zimmer Bradley
Mesmerizing and original, The Mists of Avalon is a retelling of the Arthurian legend told from the perspective of the female characters. Morgaine is the Druid priestess, determined to preserve the old Goddess centered beliefs. Gwenhywfar is Arthur’s queen, and she is equally determined that Britain will embrace the relatively new practice of Christianity. The women are nearly polar opposites and yet they experience similar joys and sorrows – and ultimately gain respect for and understanding of each other. Details of ancient religious practices, lush pictures of the natural world, and beautifully drawn portraits of daily life will keep you fascinated. This novel was groundbreaking when it was first published, and it is no less fresh and readable today.

–Dea Anne, Operations Manager

Girls in Trucks
Katie Crouch
Katie Crouch paints an upper-crust history of growing up in the south that’s both tender and take-no-prisoners. Her heroine, Sarah Walters, comes of age in a society of Cotillions and etiquette before eschewing her down-home roots for a Bright Lights, Big City life (and all that implies and entails). When tragedy necessitates a return to her roots, Sarah discovers that the glossed, sweaty, and sun-stroked southern life was never without a cracked façade, and instantly her childhood is humanized and contextualized. Told in a short-story format, the interlocked memories are utterly human and hilarious–if you love the total realness and truth from storytellers like David Sedaris, you’ll love Katie Crouch. Do it: fall in love with this book.

–Russ, Marketing Director

Built to Win
John Schuerholz
In April, hope springs eternal for all major league baseball teams. Last season is forgotten, and every team believes it can win the World Series, especially our own Atlanta Braves. As the 2008 season is in its infancy, now is the time to read Built to Win by former Braves general manager, now team president, John Schuerholz, the architect of the Braves’ 14 consecutive first-place finishes. While that streak ended two seasons ago, it’s refreshing to reminisce about the Braves’ success and to learn how Schuerholz built the team and dealt with all the obstacles to success. As a Braves fan for over 30 years, I very much enjoyed reading about Schuerholz’s career in baseball and how he turned a struggling franchise into one of the most successful in baseball history. If you love baseball, even if you’re not a Braves fan, this book is a must-read.

–Mike, Webmaster

The Mule
Juan Eslava Galan
Already a hit in its native Spain, The Mule made its American debut this February. It tells the story of unlikely hero Juan Castro Perez and his adventures in love and war. Castro is a muleteer who finds himself fighting for both sides during the Spanish Civil War. Like a Spanish Forrest Gump, this character will be sure to capture your heart at once.

–Alice, Bookseller

Elise Blackwell
In her re-telling of the classic New Grub Street, Elise Blackwell gives this literary satire new life by setting it in the sometimes absurd, always competitive publishing industry of modern Manhattan. With one acclaimed novel out, Eddie Renfros finds himself sinking deeper into depression and alcoholism as he tries to battle the sophomore slump. Meanwhile, his beautiful and talented wife Amanda is sick of putting her own literary career aside to support the husband she once thought to be brilliant. And then there’s their friend Jackson Miller: ruthlessly ambitious and cruelly clever, he is willing to forgo “artistic integrity” as long as he can sell books. This book is witty, insightful, and spot-on; I cannot recommend it highly enough!

–Lucy, Bookseller

Ask Again Later
Jill A. Davis
Emily Rhode lives a fairly tame life, never one to commit to any one thing for too long. So, when her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, she doesn’t hesitate to drop everything – her job at the law firm, the boyfriend she refuses to admit to loving, her entire life, essentially – to be her sole caregiver. In doing so, she is reunited with her father, a man that has been out of her life since the age of five. Davis, who was a writer for The Late Show with David Letterman, has a talent for finding the humor in just about any situation, and the topics touched on in this novel are no exception. Perfect for anyone looking for a quick read with lots of laughs.

–Katie, Bookseller

The American Heritage Dictionary
This pick is no April Fool’s joke. How many times are you reading and, when you come across a word you don’t know, you just gloss over it? If you keep a compact dictionary handy, you will be surprised how many times you use it and how often the word you thought meant one thing really means another. Sure, I still use my large dictionaries and online resources, especially when writing, but when I’m in bed or at the beach with a good book, the paperback dictionary does the trick. And if one must use American English, The American Heritage Dictionary is my favorite.

–John, bookseller

The Ugly Pugling
Wilson the Pug with Nancy Levine
We really like pugs, and Wilson is one of our favorites. In this book, he tells us his story, with pictures, and introduces us to all of his friends — including rabbits! He even goes shopping for books in a bookstore (which isn’t our bookstore, but that’s okay I guess). For anybody who likes dogs, this is one of those books that you have to have.

–Curbie, head of security

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