Cassie is the owner operator of Roundabout Books. She moved from Phoenix to Bend in 2011 with her husband and three children. She founded Roundabout Books in 2016 simply because she loves books and bookstores, and wanted one in her community. Other than reading, Cassie's favorite thing to do is travel to the United States National Parks every summer with her family. They have a goal to explore all 59 National Parks in the 13 Summers between Kindergarten and High School graduation. As of Fall 2019 they have 14 parks left to explore in two more years!
Cassie loves to read all manner of fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, and nonfiction. She loves to read coming of age stories, a dash of magic, and stories that make her laugh. Some of her all-time favorite authors are Kazuo Ishiguro, John Boyne, Jane Austen, Donna Tartt, Victor Lodato, and Margaret Atwood. Some of her current staff picks are listed below. Cassie currently leads our Current Fiction, Classics, and Out of This World book clubs.
I really loved When All is Said by Anne Griffin as I think I read it at the perfect time - when you just needed a break and a chance to listen to someone else tell a story. And that's what Anne did - she told a story in such a familiar and intimate way that I couldn't help but feel I was sitting right there at the bar next to Maurice the entire way through the book. I feel like he is an old friend, and I'm grateful for the glimpse into his wonderful little life in Ireland.
I compulsively read this novel from the opening chapter to the very last page.A 3-generational family saga that deftly and subtly exposes the rot beneath society. In 1935, Kitty and Ogden appear to have everything, but when tragedy strikes, Ogden buys Kitty an island, wth a house, in Maine. The island and house become a part of the family as year after year they go back for the summer season. The story continues with Milton Family children and grandchildren, who in the 21st century find themselves unable to afford to keep the island and house. As Kitty’s granddaughter returns to the island to determine it’s fate, she begins to uncover the layers of secrets that have been kept over the generations, and contemplates whether some wrongs can ever be righted. These engrossing characters are layered with storytelling that unveils their truths with such perfect pacing and skill that you just cannot stop reading.It effortlessly intertwines the past with the present in an exploration of how wealth and privilege have embedded racism and power into America for generations. ~Cassie
Wow. Sally Rooney captured first love with extraordinary intimacy and honesty. I was captivated by her writing, and felt so transplanted that I could have known these two characters in college. I won't forget the the story of Marianne and Connell. They met in high school and came from competely opposite backgrounds, but they seem magnetically drawn to each other. They are both good, both bad, and they have ups and downs in their on-again off-again relationship through high school and college in Ireland. It's not a happy book, but it's been a long time since I read a book that so perfectly illustrates what it means to connect. ~Cassie
I really, really loved this book. Madeline Miller tells us the story of Circe, daughter of Helios the sun god, who was banished by Zeus to a deserted island after the discovery of her magical powers. We've all heard about Circe in the background of other famous male hero's of Greek mythology, but this time we have the utter joy of hearing Circe's perspective. It's a tale of loyalty, ambition, love, and fate, and I promise you will love hearing the famous stories you already know, like Theseus and the Minotaur, Scylla the sea monstor, and Odysseus's journey, all through lense of a quietly powerful woman. Love, love, love. ~Cassie
It's like reading an article about your favorite rock band from Rolling Stone when you were a teenager and the only thing that mattered in the world was good music and bad relatinoships. I LOVED this book. Set in the 1970's rock scene, and written as a recorded interview, this book gives you a behind the scene dive into the group dynamics of a previously unknown band that hits it big. It's a true escape to the past, and a perfect summer read that envelopes you in the bygone era of Rock-&-Roll! Rock On!
I loved this book for the adventure! This story is set in the early 19th century, and opens in Barbados on a sugar plantation. Washington Black, a slave who has lived a life of unimaginable cruelty, is taken under the wing of a new arrival, his master's brother Titch who is an eccentric scientist and an abolitionist. He teaches Wash to read and involves him in his experiments. Tragedy strikes and Wash and Titch must flee to save Wash's life. Wash's journey takes him from Barbados to the American South, an Artic outpost, Canada, Europe, and beyond. Through his own self-discovery, Wash witnesess extremes of both good and eveil in the world, and searches for his own sense of freedom and autonomy as a man. Such a book of beautiful prose and inspiring story is a rare gift. ~Cassie
This is a really beautiful book to read during late summer. The story follows Kya, a young girl abandoned in the marshes of North Carolina at a very young age. She survives but draws the attention of townspeople who know her only as The Marsh Girl. I loved this beautiful book for it's deep immersion into the marsh setting, the intimate knowledge nature that envelopes you throughout the book, the lovely coming-of-age story for this young girl, and a deep look at lonliness, loss, and survival. Read this beautiful book, and end the summer on a really good note. ~Cassie
This incredibly well written book is one of the best novels I've read this year. In a truly transcendent piece of fiction, John Boyne tells us the story of Cyril Avery, born out of wedlock in a rural Irish-Catholic community in 1945, to a teenage girl who is cast out by her priest and her family. So begins Cyril's transformative journey of the next seventy years, as he learns to accept himself, find happiness, find love, and find peace with the past, while reconciling his differences with his family, the church, and his homeland of Ireland.
It's hard to describe all the emotions this book stirs up. I was laughing out loud throughout the story as Boyne's voice is full of humor and he writes with a sharp eye for the ironic and ridiculous. But other times I was deeply saddened by Cyril's circumstances and angry at all the injustices he was subjected too. I was engaged with every page though, every chapter of the book was captivating. I will recommend Invisible Furies for a long time to come. ~Cassie
I adored this new fantasy novel! Nahri is our 18th century Aladdin, surviving as a thief on the streets of Cairo until accidentally summoning an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, and she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. My favorite thing about this book is the breathtaking world-building! Nahri is wisked off to a world of the djinn tribes and mythical creatures on a magic carpet, and you can't help but fall in love with the characters and legends brought to life. Can't wait for book 2! ~Cassie
I loved this beautiful memoir about a young couple who start their life together by spending four years immersed in the wilderness of Hells Canyon in eastern Oregon. Get to know the wilderness of the Wallowa and Eagle Cap Mountains, the Imnaha and Snake rivers, and everything you find in between. Experience the life of living off the land, packing and sheephearding, and creating a community out of a handful of people, mules, horses, and one incredible pup. You'll read this book and then plan your next family camping trip to the Wallowa's so you can get to another beautiful part of Oregon. Promise.
I'm (not so) secretly hoping that this is our bestselling book of the year. It is so incredibly well written, and tells such an inspiring, passionate, life-changing story. Educated is Tara Westover's account of her youth spent isolated in a survivalist family in the mountains of Idaho, and how it affected her reach for an education in adulthood. She was 17 when she first stepped foot in a classroom. With intelligent and engaging writing, Tara unfolds the stories of abuse, dangerous conditions, and complete isolation from the modern medical and educational world, followed by the monumental challenges she went through to overcome them as an adult as she attained an education, acclimated herself to another world, and overcame the self-loathing and shame so embeded in her psyche. This is not a story about homeschooling, because Tara was not schooled at home. This memoir demonstates what an education is, simply by displaying what you're missing without it. This story tells us how we are shaped by our experiences and our family and our environment, to infinite, unintelligible degrees, and how we find the strength to change ourselves if we can only see the way forward.
Richard Powers's The Overstory is an enviornmental epic of new proportions. The 500 pages of this book takes some time, but whether you're a nature-lover or not, whether you're a tree-hugger or not, whether you've read a lot of biological nonfiction or not, this story will change how you see and feel the plants in your life. Consider this a 500 page meditation on current ecology. A philosophical and social exploration of what it means to do right. A question of human omniscience. "We need to stop being visitors here. We need to live where we live, to become indigenous again." Read it if you have the time, and maybe even if you don't.
This book is so worth the hype. Drop what you're doing and read it right now. Jemisin has created a beautiful new world, full of complexitiy in ideas, characters, setting, and history. As the story opens you meet three female protaginsts with various orogenic skill levels, which is the power to move rock deep wihin the Earth's crust, and the world hovers on the brink of the next Fifth Season, an extended winter triggered by seismic activity or another natural disaster. As landscapes transform and secrets are revealed, you come to know characters who take your breath away as they discover new levels of love, humanity, and power. I can't wait to read the rest of the trilogy! ~Cassie
A masterpice! This book is an example of masterful storytelling, complex characters, and a plot that keeps you spellbound throughout. The story explores the aftermatth of great loss and intense grief, but ultimately I believe this story is about love. All the different kinds of love. The writing is outstanding, - succint and beautiful, and the story is so atmospheric that is feels like a modern gothic novel set in New Jersey. The story includes family secrets, haunting memories of the people in your past, wild and isolating woods, and characters that are cryptic, beguiling, complex. I hope you'll give it a try! ~Cassie
This beautiful books tells the story of the love affair of two young people admist the chaos and violence of their city as it is lost to war. They begin to hear whisperings about magical doors scattered around the city that whisk you further west into the world. A story of refugees, of love, of violence, of surivial, this books is both poetic and brutal, and a haunting look a the refugee experience.
Out of all the contemporary literary fiction books to choose from, why is this little book a favorite? I think there is something very great about the hope of souls that know their time on this Earth is limited, that they are here only to serve a great sacrifice. If you take away the reward of a long life and long love and great achievements, what does it mean to be human? In some small way, this little book found an answer.~Cassie
I love books that teach me something in an enjoyable way, and this book is such a favorite to recommend for that reason. Lynch included so much detail and scientific information about the critters of the Puget Sound, carefully interlaced throughout this delightful, fast-paced, thoughtful, and hysterical coming-of-age story. I couldn't put it down. ~Cassie
On the surface this book seems to be about two young boys growing up somewhat abandoned and disillusioned. But really, I think it is about the inherent meaning and value of art. I have never before read a book that so perfectly captures what it is about art that inspires us, moves us, changes us, saves us. It doesn’t matter whether it is an art gallery painting, a dusty old piece of furniture, a hand-painted souvenir, or a simple poem we love, it represents something of the beauty and singularity that we all hold inside of us, and it deserves to be treasured.~Cassie
Yes, it's 800 pages and only part 1 of 2, but I'm STILL recommending it. It's so, so worth it and I promise that you will be so engaged by the story that the pages will fly by! If you loved Anna Karennina or Gone with the Wind, or Dr Zhivago, you will LOVE tthis book. A sweeping historiccal fiction set during the Russian Revolution and centering around a passionate young heroine as she comes of age during the turmoil that changed Russia's history. ~Cassie
WOW! Beatty wrote a laugh out loud racial-social-urban SATIRE that somehow manages to incorporate both shocking lagnuage and graceful, intelligentt prose. The story follow sthe activities of a forgotten town and speaks to what it means to be valued, wanted, appreciaetd. Read it if you're tired of the same old story and want something VERY different. Don't read it if you're easily offended. ~Cassie
A long wintry stotry of a fantastical medieval Russia. The novel features ancient pagan gods and magic, a historical setting, and the most beauitful storytelling. Escape into this fairy tale dream when you need a little time away from the real world. Loved it! ~Cassie
This book will change your perspective on poverty and how it effects our whole society. The brutal truth of what is happening in our inner cities across the country is devestating and infuriating, and we should be discussing how to fix this as a community. If you read any non-fiction this year, read this one. ~Cassie
A beautiful, elegant, and brilliant novel. This story expresses big ideas in a simple way through the beguiling 16 year old Japanese girl who is trying to find connections despite feeling isolated and alone. Spread over two stories that cross the pacific, the novel speaks of past and present, our connectedness, the Earth, and our need for home. A little sad, but incredibly beautiful portrait of the importannce of one human's story. ~Cassie