And the winners are...

Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 Common Good Books Poetry Contest.

First place poems:

  • "Flight" by Charles Atkinson
  • "Still Life with Gratitude" by Dean Rader
  • "Gratitude List" by Laura Foley

Second place poems:

  • "Ode to the Pull-Out Couch" by Sonja Johanson
  • "One Summer Day on the Number One Train" by Anne Whitehouse
  • "Still I Give Thanks" by Marie Reynolds
  • "Bounding Flight" by Chera Hammons

Congratulations to everyone who entered. 

You can hear the winning poems on the May 21 broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion. Click here to read them right now.

Wayne Pacelle discusses "The Humane Economy: How Innovators and Enlightened Consumers Are Transforming the Lives of Animals"

“Essential reading for anyone interested in animal welfare.... A fascinating, highly readable, and remarkably comprehensive book.”--Jane Goodall

The Humane Economy: How Innovators and Enlightened Consumers Are Transforming the Lives of Animals Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062389640
Availability: Not in Our Store - Available to Order
Published: William Morrow & Company - April 19th, 2016

The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780061969805
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow & Company - April 3rd, 2012

Let's Go Back, Former Comrades!

A lot of big books are getting attention this week, but there's also a little novel that you might not hear about that's still worth a look. If you enjoy a bit of armchair travel, this book could be just the ticket. The feckless narrator of Guillermo Erades’ novel Back to Moscow arrives in the Russian capital with a fellowship to study the country’s literature and a yen to study its young women. His plan to combine the two tasks, if a bit suspect academically, nonetheless makes for an entertaining read, as Erades combines the formless grad school noodling of Leaving the Atocha Station with the clubbing and casual relationships of Bright Lights, Big City. Erades’ portrait of expat life in a newly capitalist Moscow is crisp and memorable.--David

Staff Pick Logo
Back to Moscow Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780865478374
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - May 3rd, 2016

Stranger than Fiction: Nonfiction authors Frank Bures, James Campbell, and Steve Coss discuss their new books

Frank Bures discusses The Geography of Madness: Penis Thieves, Voodoo Death, and the Search for the Meaning of the World's Strangest Syndromes; James Campbell discusses Braving It: A Father, a Daughter, and an Unforgettable Journey Into the Alaskan Wild; and Steve Coss discusses The Fe

The Geography of Madness: Penis Thieves, Voodoo Death, and the Search for the Meaning of the World's Strangest Syndromes Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9781612193724
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Melville House Publishing - April 26th, 2016

Braving It: A Father, a Daughter, and an Unforgettable Journey Into the Alaskan Wild Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780307461247
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - May 10th, 2016

The Fever of 1721: The Epidemic That Revolutionized Medicine and American Politics Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781476783086
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - March 8th, 2016

A Fantastic February Novel

Our bookseller David isn't alone in loving Paul Goldberg's first novel. He said, "The Yid is a very serious farce, a philosophical novel larded with pitch black comedy. Fans of City of Thieves and Absurdistan will love Paul Goldberg’s ambitious new novel." Maureen Corrigan agrees, as you can hear here.

Staff Pick Logo
The Yid Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781250079039
Availability: Not in Our Store - Available to Order
Published: Picador USA - February 2nd, 2016

CGB's Bestsellers of 2015

We've already posted our staff picks for the best books of 2015. They're here, if you want to see them again. But what were the most popular books here in terms of sales? What did you, our esteemed customers, choose to take home in the past year? We've crunched the numbers, and here are the results:

  1. Brief History of Seven Killings
  2. Between the World and Me
  3. All the Light We Cannot See
  4. We Know How This Ends: Living While Dying
  5. Dear Committee Members
  6. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
  7. My Brilliant Friend
  8. Station Eleven
  9. Go Set a Watchman
  10. The Boys in the Boat
A Brief History of Seven Killings Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781594633942
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - September 8th, 2015

We Know How This Ends: Living While Dying Cover Image
$22.95
ISBN: 9780816697335
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of Minnesota Press - April 2015

Dear Committee Members Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780345807335
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - June 23rd, 2015

The Best Books of 2015--A Very Biased List from the Staff at Common Good Books

Yes, we love all the books equally. But there are a few books we love just a little bit more. Here then, is Common Good Books' very subjective, very idiosyncratic list of our favorite books of 2015.

Staff Pick Logo
The Wake Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977177
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - September 1st, 2015

The narrator of Paul Kingsnorth's novel The Wake loses everything in the days following the Norman conquest of England. His home is burned, his farm his destroyed, and his family is killed. Retreating to the green woods, he quickly descends into a fever dream of revenge.


It takes a few moments to learn to parse the language of The Wake; it is written in a simplified version of Old English, after all. The effort is richly repaid, however, by an engrossing and immersive reading experience unlike any other historical novel. Kingsnorth's vividly imagined medieval tale is an ancient story that throbs with life. 

--David


Staff Pick Logo
A God in Ruins Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780316176538
Availability: Not in Our Store - Available to Order
Published: Little Brown and Company - May 5th, 2015

"Nothing short of brilliant describes this companion to Life After Life. It is Atkinson at her very best. It's not a sequel, so go ahead--read and enjoy. Loved it!"

--Jean


Staff Pick Logo
Thrown Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781936747924
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sarabande Books - October 14th, 2014

A young lady philosophy scholar literally wanders into the world of mixed martial arts fighting. This book kept leaving me dumbstruck. It's like an ice cube down the back. 
 
--Peter


Staff Pick Logo
A Reunion of Ghosts Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062355881
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper - March 24th, 2015

"The story tugged me along relentlessly--complicated, life and death stuff, myriad varieties of women, those mistakes in remembering that are so dangerous, effects of the past on the present, wide range and serious depth of loving and being loved. It's a great read and it all stays with you."

--Kathy


Staff Pick Logo
News of the Universe: Poems of Twofold Consciousness Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781619025929
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Counterpoint LLC - September 15th, 2015

"One of Minnesota's finest poets, and certainly its finest poetry translator, herein whittles a world's worth of poetry into one beautiful, fine point. The overarching theme of twofold consciousness is perfectly suited to Bly's voice, thought, and career. I recommend this to anyone who's ever liked anything."

--Brady


Staff Pick Logo
Between the World and Me Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9780812993547
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Spiegel & Grau - July 14th, 2015

"To crib Toni Morrison's blurb, Between the World and Me ought to be required reading. Ta-Nehisi Coates says he doesn't 'want to be anyone's expert,' but that isn't to say there aren't some crucial truths inside this book. Poetic and tragic and timely."
 
--Sam


Staff Pick Logo
Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780465062881
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Basic Books - April 28th, 2015

"Still the best account of Shackleton's famous adventure, complete with Frank Hurley's stunning photographs. My favorite book of all time."

--Keelin


Staff Pick Logo
M Train Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781101875100
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - October 6th, 2015

"Patti Smith continues her successful sucession of books that includes the National Book award winning memoir Just Kids, as well as many earlier books, poetry publications and exhibition catalogs. I settled into M-train and felt like she had opened a door to her world, not the music world, but her everyday life--Patti's apartment, Patti in the cafe, Patti hanging on the stoop. On the cover image, she sits, and looks out the window watching the world go by. I imagine she is fabulously famous, and yet, can go quietly unrecognized in New York City and this gives her space in her cafe to muse, capture the muse and filter it back to the reader with all the ephemeral sweetness of the best truffle you have ever eaten. Forget the hard facade, this is pure butter, chocolate and bliss.Take it slowly and love every bite."

--Rene 


Staff Pick Logo
Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780399167256
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Blue Rider Press - October 13th, 2015

My favorite book of the year.

--Martin


Staff Pick Logo
The Emerald Light in the Air: Stories Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781250074706
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - September 1st, 2015

"Each story follows a stressed-out, often over-medicated adult as he or she fails, hilariously, to carry out an everyday plan: buy flowers for a spouse, go for a pleasant walk, relax at a party of peers. A great pick for fans of George Saunders, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Lorrie Moore. All nine stories appeared first in The New Yorker."

--Kyle


All the Light We Cannot See Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781476746586
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner Book Company - May 6th, 2014

"Beautiful in every moment! This is the kind of book that reminds you why people and things are so enchanting. Easily the best book I have read this year."

--Ellen


Staff Pick Logo
Alec Soth: Songbook (First edition. Second printing) Cover Image
$60.00
ISBN: 9781910164020
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mack Books - March 1st, 2015

An amazing new photobook from Soth. Wonderful pictures that capture the strange beauty of America. Beautifully designed. Destined to be a classic. Highly recommended! For fans of Frank, Evans, Adams, etc. . . . Published by the great MACK Books!

--Joe


Staff Pick Logo
But Enough about Me: A Memoir Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780399173547
Availability: Not in Our Store - Available to Order
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - November 17th, 2015

"Learning about the storied life of this nigh-mythic sex symbol of mustachioed manhood was possibly the most satisfying reading I've ever done,--let alone done this year. It was invigorating to track his movements through friends and colleagues, through cinema and television, like one would track a bounding stag through a forest primeval. If I had a billion thumbs, I would upturn them all. Burt, after all, remains king."

--Lydia


Head West This Summer

 

If you, like me, are daydreaming about a summer vacation, you want to miss The Oregon Trail, which goes on sale June 30. 
 
 

Rinker Buck, a self-described “boozehound with a bad driving record,” had a scheme. He wanted to pilot a covered wagon down the length of the Oregon Trail--from Kansas to the Pacific coast. Enlisting his brother, a dog named Olive Oyl, and three stalwart mules, Buck sets out to “see America slowly.” Along the way he find quicksand and kindness, frustration and hospitality in equal measure.

Part travelogue, part family history, part national history, The Oregon Trail is a heartfelt ode to Middle America. Whether he’s writing about the joys of smalltown campgrounds or the agony of chasing runaway mules while wearing slippers, Buck is a clear-eyed and gregarious storyteller. The Oregon Trail is a journey into the beauty of the American heartland, past and present. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Reserve your copy now. 

--David

The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781451659160
Availability: Not in Our Store - Available to Order
Published: Simon & Schuster - June 30th, 2015

Pages

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