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Recommendations from Diesel Bookstore – SFGate

Recommendations of recent books from the staffs of a rotating list of Bay Area independent bookstores. This week’s list is from Diesel Bookstore, 5433 College Ave., Oakland. (510) 653-9965.


The Stars Are Legion, by Kameron Hurley: Hurley has written a space opera as exciting as any out there and throws in enough of her own wild ideas to twist your head right off. There are no men in this book. There are no men in this universe.

Ways to Disappear, by Idra Novey: When a Brazilian author vanishes, her American translator travels to Rio de Janeiro, feeling her knowledge of the novels she has worked on will help her children’s search. A fast-paced and at times madcap debut written in spare, poetic prose.

Compass, by Mathias Enard: The recipient of the Prix Goncourt in France, “Compass” is an ambitious, profound and gorgeous meditation on nothing less than love, mortality and the ways Western and Islamic culture have shaped each other.

Swimmer Among the Stars, by Kanishk Tharoor: These crafty stories leap from the apocalyptic moments in whose shadow we fearfully live to the fall of ancient civilizations and the lost stories that die with every forgotten human life. It’s both bracing and reassuring to accept that the end of the world is nothing new.


Animals Strike Curious Poses,
by Elena Passarello: In this brilliant essay collection, the biological line that separates humans from non-humans is less important than the imaginary one that links them.

Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage, by Dani Shapiro: This finely written memoir of a contented marriage examines the effects of time and memory on a long-term love.

The Wandering Mind: What the Brain Does When You’re Not Looking, by Michael C. Corballis: This is a delightful book-length essay on the psychology, physiology and possible evolutionary advantages of, our wandering minds.

Tell Me How It Ends, by Valeria Luiselli: In her account of her time working as an interpreter for a New York immigration court, Luiselli helped lawyers argue for the right of migrant children to stay in this country, asking questions from a standardized intake application. These questions structure the book and give a sense of the migrant crisis.

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