Born and raised in Alaska, Laura is proud to have called the Pacific Northwest home her entire life. When she isn't reading or pushing book recommendations on her friends and family, she enjoys cooking pasta, boat-watching on Lake Union, and listening to podcasts. 

Reviews & Recommendations

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The Carrying: Poems Cover Image
ISBN: 9781571315137
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Milkweed Editions - April 13th, 2021

I read this slim volume at a snail's pace because so many of Limón's poems stopped me in my tracks. Limón manages to encapsulate so many of the pieces, profound and mundane alike, of our lives in stunning little bundles of feeling. Even as someone who hasn't read a ton of poetry, this book affected me deeply and I recommend it to just about everyone.

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Piranesi Cover Image
ISBN: 9781635577808
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - September 28th, 2021

Piranesi lives in a labyrinth-world filled with mysterious statues and strange animals. Piranesi keeps meticulous journals, but he doesn't really remember anything that happened before about 5 years ago. Piranesi isn't even sure if Piranesi is really his name, but it's what the only other living person he's ever met calls him, so he sticks with it. Watching the mystery of this book unravel is what drew me in, but what I really love about it is getting to see a character who is determined not only to survive, but to find wonder in a world that is indifferent to him.

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The Undocumented Americans Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399592706
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: One World - April 6th, 2021

After Karla Cornejo Villavicencio wrote an essay about her experience as an undocumented student at Harvard University, she was offered a book deal. Feeling like she hadn't lived long enough to justify writing a memoir, she turned the offer down until after the 2016 election. The book she ultimately wrote wasn't a memoir, though; she wanted to share the stories of undocumented immigrants working thankless jobs, people who fear deportation and government retribution at every turn. Cornejo Villavicencio refuses to maintain a journalistic distance from her subjects, which brings an incredible depth and nuance to her writing. Ultimately, it's her empathy and involvement that sets this book apart from other accounts of undocumented lives in America.

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Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307949332
Availability: Ships in 2-10 Days
Published: Vintage - July 10th, 2012

Before she was known for her memoir Wild, Cheryl Strayed was writing advice columns under the pseudonym Dear Sugar. The essays collected in this book are unlike any other advice pieces I've ever read; they're filled with empathy and gut-wrenching honesty and are the perfect thing for someone who might be feeling a little (or a lot) lost. Keep it on your bedside table and read it when you need a little food for your soul, or devour it all at once and revisit it over time! Either way, this book makes a lovely companion for anyone who knows what it feels like to struggle. 

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The Found and the Lost: The Collected Novellas of Ursula K. Le Guin Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781481451406
Published: Gallery / Saga Press - November 7th, 2017

Le Guin can do more with a novella than most people can do with a full-length book. She writes with complexity about justice, cruelty, home, and grief just as deftly as she moves between science fiction, fantasy, and realism, and each of these stories is populated by characters so real you can almost feel their heartbeats through the pages. These shorter works span multiple genres and, taken together, make a great introduction to the career of an incredible writer. 

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The Secret of Platform 13 Cover Image
ISBN: 9780141302867
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - October 25th, 1999

Around the same time I was first discovering Harry Potter, I was also reading (and obsessively rereading) books by Eva Ibbotson, and The Secret of Platform 13 was always my favorite. This book also features a portal in King's Cross Station, but this one leads to a magical island and only opens for nine days every nine years. After the young prince of the Island gets lost on the normal side of the portal, a group made up of a giant, a fey, a wizard, and a young hag are sent to find him. The ensuing adventure is completely delightful, filled with magic and whimsy. It's a great addition to the shelves of kids and grown-ups alike! 

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Her Body and Other Parties: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977887
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - October 3rd, 2017

These stories are weird, dark, and utterly wonderful. Each one grapples with what it means to be a woman through different fantastical lenses. In "Especially Heinous," a standout of the collection, Machado rewrites the synopses of 272 episodes of Law & Order: SVU to be about ghosts, eery noises, and doppelgangers. It's creepy and hilarious at the same time, and I can't stop recommending it (and the rest of the book) to everyone I know. 

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The Bone Clocks: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812976823
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - June 16th, 2015

In this book, Mitchell tells six individual stories that all interweave into a powerful narrative on immortality, psychic abilities, and the value of humanity. It starts with a fifteen year old girl who runs away from home, then follows her throughout her life and into the not-so-distant future, where she is caught up in a war between ancient beings that endangers humans everywhere. This book is a perfect balance between this war of epic proportions and the human lives that are affected by it. I still think about this book on a regular basis years after I first read it, which is a testament to the effect it had on me. 

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To Be Taught, If Fortunate Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062936011
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Voyager - September 3rd, 2019

In this novella, four astronauts have been sent on a decades-long journey from Earth to search for life on other planets. Between each stop, the crew goes into hypersleep, waking up with bodies that have been scientifically adapted to fit each of their new climates. But as the years pass and the mission continues, the crew begins to wonder: who has changed more--the astronauts on the ship, or the Earth they left behind? Chambers brings her trademark world-building and dynamic characters to this story, as well as bringing up questions of the purpose of exploration, the meaning of separation, and what we leave behind when we go.

Bloodchild and Other Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9781583226988
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Seven Stories Press - October 4th, 2005

Butler was a genius of the short story form. In each story in this collection, she manages to create a compelling world that grapples with the big questions of how we live our lives. Whether telling the story of humans living in a symbiotic relationship with strange aliens on a distant planet or people on Earth who have suddenly lost the ability of speech, the scenarios and characters have stuck with me long after finishing this book. In addition, each story in this collection is paired with an afterword discussing the inspiration and intent behind it, which makes for a truly well-rounded and unique reading experience.

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CivilWarLand in Bad Decline: Stories and a Novella Cover Image
By George Saunders, Joshua Ferris (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780812987683
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - April 26th, 2016

Ranging from dystopian to downright apocalyptic, the stories in Saunders' first collection are vibrant and frightening, wild and lonely, hilarious and raw. Written while Saunders himself was working a corporate job to support his family, each story shows its characters fumbling through one bizarre capitalist hellscape after another. But each story is memorable for its own unique world, its own characters, and the moments of intense, beautiful clarity that Saunders manages to reach. This is a wonderful collection often overlooked in a wildly successful career.