Maria's Picks

Bekah's Bio Pic

Maria's accent comes from Sweden, but she is not so sure about the rest. Most of her books had to stay on the other side of the ocean and the rest she gave away while building a tiny house, which is probably why she wants to work in a bookstore.

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The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393254693
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - August 13th, 2019

Our senses have developed to give us a functional picture of reality-- not an "accurate" mirroring of the world. Hoffman makes the case that evolutionary adaptation has made us perceive reality through heavily filtered lenses. Fun and easy to read. 

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GoatMan: How I Took a Holiday from Being Human (one man's journey to leave humanity behind and become like a goat) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616894054
Availability: This item is not available for sale on this site.
Published: Princeton Architectural Press - May 17th, 2016

I often want to take a break from human civilization and all its complications and fussiness, but rarely have any better ideas than island escapes, or long hikes. Thwaites "took a holiday from being human" -- he became a goat! I've rarely read anything as fascinating. 

In Love with the World: A Monk's Journey Through the Bardos of Living and Dying Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525512530
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - May 7th, 2019

I absolutely loved this book- one of the most direct explorations of what it means to be enlightened while living in the human form. It is a memoir of a monk's escape from his monastery, to self-imposed homelessness to find his true home in the world. From dealing with intense anxiety on train rides, to embarrassment while having to beg for food, we follow Yongey's journey toward freedom, His near-death experience illuminates his life-long Bardo training and shows the deep peace and generous love that is there for all. 

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The Ramayana: A New Retelling of Valmiki's Ancient Epic--Complete and Comprehensive (Tarcher Cornerstone Editions) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143111801
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: TarcherPerigee - September 6th, 2016

I was surprised how touched I was by The Ramayana, and that I would come to consider it my favorite spiritual text. On more than one occasion, I was moved to tears by Rama's and Sita's commitment to the dharma and their unfailing goodness. This particular version is written in a very clear and simple prose; helping turn ancient mythology into a heart-wrenching page-turner. 

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Zen and the Birds of Appetite Cover Image
ISBN: 9780811201049
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions -

Merton himself was a Catholic mystic, but had a deep understanding of the essence of Zen philosophy that I've ever read. I appreciate Merton's insistence on interfaith respect and understanding. 


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Lack & Transcendence : The Problem of Death and Life in Psychotherapy, Existentialism, and Buddhism Cover Image
ISBN: 9781614295235
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wisdom Publications - November 13th, 2018

The one philosophy book you need! Loy pulls insights from both Eastern and Western philosophy, in particular Buddhism, Existentialism, and Psychololgy and blends them into an enlightening whole. It is interesting as history of thought, but also a hopeful way out of the nihilism left in the wake of much of Western thought. 

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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679775430
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Published: Vintage - September 1st, 1998

I love Murakami's surreal universe-- Dark and violent, it possesses soulful beauty and inner quietness. A cast of solitary characters search , often in vain, for something or someone lost. Kafka on the Shore, Dance, Dance, Dance and Killing Commendatore are all as  moody and dreamy with glimmers of sweetness.  

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In Praise of Shadows Cover Image
ISBN: 9780918172020
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Leete's Island Books - December 1st, 1977

In this exquisite essay on the Japanese sense for aesthetics, Tanizaki muses on everything from architecture and design to natural beauty and electric light. He praises the shadows, the dark corners, the weathered and used, over the sparking and pristine. A certain beauty can only be found with "the glory of grime" as he so aptly writes. 

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The Master and Margarita: 50th-Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) Cover Image
By Mikhail Bulgakov, Richard Pevear (Translated by), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translated by), Boris Fishman (Foreword by), Christopher Conn Askew (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780143108276
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Classics - May 3rd, 2016

The devil visits Moscow in this satirical, darkly funny, and philosophical novel Relying on symbolisms to be able to critique Stalin's regime, Bulgakov still got censored for his masterful work. With visits to the insane asylum, a talking cat, Pontius Pilate's headache of Yeshua's execution, and a rompous dance in hell- the story keeps you awake and amazed, In the midst of the seeming madness is tenderness and deep humanity. 

The Waves Cover Image
ISBN: 9780156949606
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books -

I recommend anything by Woolf, but on the top of my list are The Waves, To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando, In Between the Acts, and her diaries. I love to spend time with her gorgeous mind- hyper rational yet poetical. Her self-insight is pitiless and piercing, but never falsely modest (something I loathe), which often makes her unintentionally funny (something I love). I'd read her grocery lists. 

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Dear Los Angeles: The City in Diaries and Letters, 1542 to 2018 Cover Image
By David Kipen (Editor)
ISBN: 9780812984439
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Published: Modern Library - December 10th, 2019

I picekd up this book randomly and was immediately drawn into the world of movie producers and writers and randomly famous and not so famous people. Side-by-side are letters and diary snippets from the 1500's to no-- giving you a historical snapshot. 

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Unquiet: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393357653
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - January 14th, 2020

A new facorite-- I devoured it in little over one sitting. It is a fictionalized memoir centered on Ullman's relationships with her world-renowned parents Ingmar Bergman and Liv Ullman. Dream and hyper-realism merge to creat a subtle yet rich book that almost reads like a haiku-- just gorgeous.