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Aric's reviews

Aric Sleeper is a bookseller and journalist who is always looking for the next great story. You may recognize his work from local publications like Good Times and Santa Cruz Waves, among others.


Rationality by Steven Pinker

Arguably one of the most enlightened people alive, psychologist, linguist, and award-winning author Steven Pinker is back to examine the roots of common sense and the growing popularity of irrational thought. Pinker frames logic and rationality as disparate yet connected concepts and outlines the way our mind can trick us into seeing patterns and coincidences that don’t have a basis in reality. In an age of spiraling conspiracy theories, Rationality serves as both a guide and a call to arms to the intellectual world.—Aric

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Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525561996
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking - September 28th, 2021

God, Human, Animal, Machine by Meghan O'Gieblyn

From the author of Interior States, an award-winning essay collection about the intricacies of religion and identity, comes a meditation on what it means to be human in an age of almost inexplicable technology like artificial intelligence. O’Gieblyn draws on her own experiences growing up in a religious family to frame the highly intellectual concepts, unpacked in a journalistic style that is light and easy to understand. By the end, you’ll no doubt be on the fence about whether to either move off the grid or save up for a $3000 robotic dog. —Aric

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God, Human, Animal, Machine: Technology, Metaphor, and the Search for Meaning Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385543828
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday - August 24th, 2021

A Carnival of Snackery: Diaries 2003-2020 by David Sedaris

Starting where Theft by Finding left off, the sultan of subtle humor, David Sedaris, presents the last 15 years of his personal diaries. Walking the line between silly and serious, Sedaris’s series of short, memorable pieces focus on the important things in life, like secret planets, thieving monkeys, and voyeuristic spiders. Reading the punchy entries not only gives insight into Sedaris’s mind; it also shows aspiring writers of creative nonfiction the discipline it takes to become an icon. —Aric

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A Carnival of Snackery: Diaries (2003-2020) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316558792
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - October 5th, 2021

The Immortality Key by Brian Muraresku

Classicist Brian Muraresku tried to move on from his obsession with dead languages and became a lawyer, but couldn’t stop his mind from wandering back to the ancient world. He became fixated on the Eleusian Mysteries of the Greeks, and a psychoactive concoction imbibed in the chthonic ceremony called the kykeon. Told with a conversational tone, and using years of extensive research, Muraresku’s narrative sheds new light on the origins of religious experience. - Aric

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The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name Cover Image
By Brian C. Muraresku, Graham Hancock (Contributions by), Graham Hancock (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781250207142
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Press - September 29th, 2020

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

When it comes to the classics, none is more lighthearted and clever than the tome of all tomes, Don Quixote. However, many readers are turned off by the first modern novel’s incredible girth. Fortunately, its intimidating length is balanced by its short, digestible chapters, which are perfect for today’s social-media-addled attention spans. - Aric

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Don Quixote Cover Image
ISBN: 9780142437230
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Classics - February 25th, 2003

The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera

Like Kundera, this novel originated in the Czech Republic and migrated to France. Twice translated, this version of Kundera’s first international hit is superior to the original according to the author himself (every edit counts). The seven fantastic yet grounded tales are told with the skill of a linguistic master and leave the reader feeling like they’ve lived seven lives. - Aric

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The Book of Laughter and Forgetting: A Novel (Perennial Classics) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780060932145
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial Modern Classics - April 7th, 1999

Above the Clouds: How I Carved My Own Path to the Top of the World by Kilian Jornet

From climbing the highest mountain in the Pyrenees at the age of 5 to scaling Mount Everest unaided twice in one week at 3, Kilian Jornet has lived an extreme life, and in his memoir, Above the Clouds, he chronicles the ups and downs of his journey. Told in a humble voice, Jornet’s memoir is an engrossing read for amateur adventurers and those who are enticed by the concept of sky running but are unaware of what it actually entails. — Aric

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Above the Clouds: How I Carved My Own Path to the Top of the World Cover Image
By Kilian Jornet, Charlotte Whittle (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780062965035
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperOne - August 25th, 2020

His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope by Jon Meacham

There are very few who deserve their story to be told as much as the freedom fighter John Lewis. In this chronicle of Lewis’s life, Pulitzer Prize– winning biographer Jon Meacham describes how Lewis was first inspired to fight for civil rights as a student organizer, the struggles he faced as one of the original Freedom Riders, and  his election to Congress and his work to maintain peace and bolster civil rights for all. A great, cursory examination of a truly great human being. — Aric

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His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope Cover Image
By Jon Meacham, John Lewis (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9781984855022
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - August 25th, 2020

Mad at the World: A Life of John Steinbeck by William Souder

Forged as a writer by the Great Depression, John Steinbeck is one of California's most beloved literary icons. In this biography, Pulitzer Prize–winning author William Souder examines the years that Steinbeck cut his teeth as a young writer and his evolution into a voice for the poor and oppressed. Off the page, Steinbeck was an alcoholic and womanizer, and Souder gives equal time to his darker side. — Aric

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Mad at the World: A Life of John Steinbeck Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393292268
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - October 13th, 2020

A Beginner’s Guide to Japan Observations and Provocations by Pico Iyer

Like a timeless literary novel, the depth and complexity of Japanese culture only becomes apparent when one immerses themselves in it. In A Beginner’s Guide to Japan, the companion to Autumn Light, the celebrated journalist Pico Iyer shares his thoughts and observations about the land of the rising sun and its people in short, contemplative vignettes that touch on a multitude of seemingly disparate aspects of Japanese culture, from vending machines to sex to grammar. 

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A Beginner's Guide to Japan: Observations and Provocations (Vintage Departures) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101973479
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - June 2nd, 2020


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