Staff Pick

I love Laurent Binet. His first novel, HhhH, is on my top-ten list. It might even be top five.  So I was scared to read The Seventh Function of Language. What if I didn’t love it as much? What if it wasn’t as mind-bending and snarky and brilliant as HhhH? What if this one didn’t pull off the high-low fiction-research intellectual mix that I love so much about the first one? But I had no reason to worry. The Seventh Function of Language is wonderful. It’s what would happen if Ian Fleming got really into Foucault. There are enough car chases to keep your heart rate up and enough semiology to keep your head spinning. I couldn’t have asked for more. 

The Seventh Function of Language: A Novel Cover Image
By Laurent Binet, Sam Taylor (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780374261566
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - August 1st, 2017

Staff Pick
Rabbi David Cohen has some problems. His face is caving in due to bad jaw surgery. He hasn’t spoken to his wife or son in years. Also, he killed someone he shouldn’t have. I should really mention that he’s not a normal rabbi. He’s a hit man in disguise. Still, he’s good at what he does. He knows how to guide preteens to Bar Mitzvah manhood, counsel troubled members of his congregation, and shut down Kabbalah frauds—and maybe shake them down while he’s at it. Sound like the best premise for a novel you’ve ever heard? Well, it is. Gangster Nation is a delight. A mitzvah, even. The plot’s got every twist and turn you could want, the jokes are Woody Allen good, and the writing (if you can slow yourself down to admire it) is beautiful. I couldn’t recommend this book more. 
Gangster Nation Cover Image
ISBN: 9781619027237
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Counterpoint LLC - September 12th, 2017

Staff Pick

I’ve known Rachel Khong as a food writer for years. As part of the Lucky Peach masthead, she taught me about pho, barbecued-chicken pizza, and the perfect egg yolk. So can you blame me for expecting Goodbye, Vitamin to be the kind of book you need snacks to read? And it is, of course. The protagonist, Ruth, is always cooking. Food is the main way she takes care of her family, which seems to be falling apart. Her father has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, her brother won’t help out, her mother is angry at everyone, and Ruth’s fiancé seems to be backing out. This isn’t a happy setup. Yet, somehow, Goodbye, Vitamin becomes a happy book. It’s painful in the way of a Jami Attenberg novel – this is the real world, and the real world hurts – but it’s fundamentally a book about love. Love and food, that is. What more could you need?

Goodbye, Vitamin: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250109163
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - July 11th, 2017