Written by Lília

Luke and Iris are back with our latest Staff Picks—those books we’ve been reading and enjoying or books that might be coming out one of these days. From escapism to information to music, there’s something for everyone.

Starting on a happy note, Lília, our romance buyer in The Hague and Leidschendam, recommends the just-released Happy Place by Emily Henry. Lília says: “It’s a beautiful book about self-sacrifice, love, hate, learning about yourself, and going for your dreams. While with a hangover. In a total daze. And it’s still charming and heartwarming.” Sounds fun and wild.

Lília also recommends Dauntless by Jack Campbell, the first installment in the military science fiction Lost Fleet series. Even though this is not a new book or series, she liked that “the author manages to show the weirdness of battles in space—silence, waiting, speed of light, and such—and that the most gruesome battles are actually the ones we fight among each other. This is one for science fiction lovers, with a little bit of space opera thrown in.”

In Amsterdam, Sigrid is busy with nutrition and home improvement and recommends two books, one in each genre.

Own Your Space by YouTuber Alexandra Gater, talks about improving small spaces. And we live in the Netherlands, where space is at a premium. She shows you how to spruce up your house with different color pallets for different ambiances. Very handy.

The Glucose Goddess Method by Jessie Inchauspe is a companion to her best-seller Glucose Revolution, which explores what too much glucose does to our bodies. This second title is a more practical book, featuring weekly recipes,, helping you to avoid glucose spikes and to eat healthier.

Renata works in The Hague and Leidschendam and recommends Open Veins of Latin America, by Eduardo Galeano, and How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky. She’s reading them both to help understand what’s going on in the world. Slowly, because although they are interesting, they’re also very confronting.

Max W., the music books buyer in Amsterdam, recommends so many new titles we’ve taken a picture of his New Titles wall. There’s a bit of everything in there. Some of those titles are:

Funkiest Man Alive: Rufus Thomas and Memphis Soul by Matthew Ruddick, featuring the 60’s label Stax Records.
Ticket to the World: My 80s Story by Martin Kemp, best known as the bassist in Spandau Ballet and his role in EastEnders.
Leon Russell: The Master of Space and Time’s Journey Through Rock and Roll History by Bill Janovitz. The biography of legendary musician, composer, and performer Leon Russell.
Surrender by Bono, out since last Christmas. Bono is the lead vocalist and primary lyricist of the rock band U2.
Dilla Time by Dan Charnas is a biography of hip hop producer J Dilla, a great influence in the 90s.
Don’t Tell Anybody the Secrets I Told You by Lucinda Williams, a 70s folk singer and songwriter. In this memoir “she takes readers through the events that shaped her music.”
The Creative Act by Rick Rubin “is a beautiful and generous course of study that illuminates the path of the artist as a road we all can follow.” Very popular, it sold out in a flash and the publishing house finally managed to print more, so we have them back in stock.
The Philosophy of Modern Song by Bob Dylan, in which he “offers his extraordinary insight into the nature of popular music. He writes over sixty essays focusing on songs by other artists.”

Our Leidschendam and The Hague newbie Júlia recommends The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See. Set in a small village on a Korean island, the story features a matriarchic society perturbed by the beginning of World War II and two female divers (best friends). The author beautifully combines historical events with this fictional story of love, betrayal and female friendship. Júlia tried to pace herself to enjoy it for as long as possible, but at the same time, she wanted to inhale it just as quickly.

Max M., the games buyer in Amsterdam, recommends Throw Throw Burrito, and if you’d like to defend yourself from the burrito being thrown at you, you can get the Block Block Burrito expansion. It’s a card game, where two players duel and throw burritos at each other. It’s from the same makers of Exploding Kittens.

Iris recommends a children’s book and a fantasy novella.

The First Shadowdragon, by Lee Newbery, is the sequel to The Last Firefox, a children’s book for middle-graders (children between 9 and12 years old). Set in Wales—the author is Welsh—it’s a contemporary fantasy and a story about empowerment. Both adorable and with cute illustrations, it’sa quick read and a delight for kids of all ages.

The Crane Husband, by Kelly Barnhill, is a novella. Barnhill has written many middle-grade books Iris loved, including The Girl Who Drank the Moon and The Ogress and the Orphans, but this new one is adult fantasy. It’s based on a Japanese folktale, The Crane Wife. The Crane Husband has many elements of the Japanese folk tale but feels like it’s been deconstructed and then put together differently. It’s a wonderful novella.

Jeroen suggests Chip War by Chris Miller about the fight for the world’s most critical technology: chips. According to Miller, chips are the “new oil,” since almost everything is run by chips: whoever owns chips and chips manufacturing is going to own the world.

Jilles suggests a fiction/history combo and a crime novel.

The Gospel of the Eels, by Patrik Svensson, is a story of a father and a son and the most enigmatic fish in the world. Similar to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, where a father takes his son on a road trip, in The Gospel of the Eels a father takes his son on a fishing trip. The book interweaves the story of father and son with the history of eels, a history that has been discovered in the last 40 to 50 years. Fascinating.

A crime fiction fan, Jilles also recommends The Traitor Among Us by Anne Perry, who passed away in April.

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