Karen has happily been at Roundabout since it first opened, learning lots and loving the people she gets to interact with every day. A devoted reader for years, her favorite genre is fiction, both novel length and short stories, poetry and well written memoir :-) Favorite all time authors include Ann Patchett and Louise Erdrich, but they've been joined by newly discovered writers like Brian Doyle, Steven Rowley, Leif Enger, Jonathan Miles and Stewart O'Nan. Karen moved to Bend in 2013 after living 22 years in Anchorage and although the grandeur of Alaska is unique and breathtaking...Bend is also pretty darn special. She lives with her husband, 3 dogs and a multitude of books! 

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Virgil Wander Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802128782
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - October 2nd, 2018

Small town theater owner Virgil Wander is moving through life with little hope of change and even less ambition when the car he's driving goes off the road into an icy lake. He survives but he's different, as are many parts of life. This delightful story, full of small town Midwestern characters and magical realism, is one of my favorites from 2018. Written by Leif Enger (Peace Like a River) this novel will make you laugh, cry and invest yourself in the mystery brewing on the side!

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Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735220690
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - June 5th, 2018

My journey with this book began the moment I ran through the store and grabbed "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine", thinking 'heck, we've sold a lot of these...how bad can it be?' It came to an end 48 sleep deprived hours later, when I read the last page and reluctantly closed the book one last time.  I was not ready to leave Eleanor or the world we had shared for the past 2 days. I had championed this odd, lonely, funny, damaged....and ultimately lovable character from early on in the book. The plot is good, it develops at a perfect pace, teasing the reader with a slow, subtleunveiling of Eleanor's darkly tragic past. In a nutshell...all I can say is READ IT!!

George and Lizzie: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781501162893
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Touchstone - September 5th, 2017

This first novel, written by NPR's Seattle librarian Nancy Pearl, is touching, funny, sad and unusual. Pearl's protagonist, Lizzie, is the unwanted only child of 2 ambitious and somewhat famous psychologists. Her insights, struggles and less than functional response to her non-traditional upbringing will endear her to readers despite the often self destructive approach she chooses to seek attention. 

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616204518
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Books - December 2nd, 2014

Maybe it's because I love independent bookstores, maybe it's my fondness for quirky characters, or possibly I just enjoy a really well written love/loss/survival story. Whatever the reason---I absolutely loved this book!

Sourdough: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374203108
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Published: MCD - September 5th, 2017

In this magical tale Robin Sloan introduces the reader to the world of robotic engineering mixed with a mysterious jar of sourdough starter--both placed in the capable yet reluctant hands of Lois, the charming and quirky heroine of this novel. Absolutely a delight!

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic Cover Image
ISBN: 9780618871711
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - June 5th, 2007

Trying to fit this book into one genre is impossible. Billed as a "tragicomic", it is also an autobiography and a graphic memoir. The writing and the pictures are equally breathtaking and readers will find themselves lost in her world....one which at it's heart is the story of a daughter trying to understand her father throught the common but unspoken bond of their individual homosexuality. It is an unbelievable journey. 

bone Cover Image
By Yrsa Daley-Ward, Kiese Laymon (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780143132615
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Published: Penguin Books - September 26th, 2017

Initially self published in 2014, this raw, gritty, heart-breakingly brilliant work of poetry was re-issued in 2017 after something resembling a cult upheaval demanded it be made more available. Daley-Ward honestly and skillfully details issues of sexuality, religion and mental illness in this amazing collection. Some of the best writing I've come across, ever.

The Long Haul: A Trucker's Tales of Life on the Road Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780393608717
Availability: Special Order
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - June 6th, 2017

In this debut piece Finn Murphy offers the reader a "trucker's eye view" of America from the driver's seat of a 53 foot long 18 wheeler. This autobiography spans the miles and offers the reader insight into an often foreign world that is constantly occurring right next to us on freeways, turnpikes and our local roads. He recounts his adventures in an honest, humorous and often self deprecating way that will charm you!

This Is How You Lose Her Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594487361
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - September 11th, 2012

This collection of short stories spans the distance from New Jersey to the Dominican Replubic. One underlying theme prevails however, the power of love. An absulute must read for fans of short fiction.

The Signature of All Things: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780670024858
Availability: Backordered
Published: Riverhead Books - October 1st, 2013

An extroadinary 19th century epic written with a deep understanding of the complexities and mysteries of both human nature and the botanical world. So many memorable lines that I was tempted to read with a highlighter in hand!

Seabiscuit: An American Legend Cover Image
ISBN: 9780449005613
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ballantine Books - March 26th, 2002

More then just an amazing horse, Seabiscuit was an underdog whose determination and spirit gave hope to a country struggling through the great depression. The author skillfully moves the reader into and through the unique world of horse racing. She's a brilliant storyteller with a heart for horses!

Geek Love: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375713347
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - June 11th, 2002

In this deeply moving, and often disturbing, look at the dark side of human nature and relationships the author crafts a world that will not soon be forgotten.

Last Night at the Lobster Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143114420
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Published: Penguin Books - October 28th, 2008

In this short novel the reader watches as a restaurant goes through it's final day of business. The author skillfully makes us feel the sadness, humor and reality of the end of relationship and roles.

This Is How It Always Is: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250088550
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Published: Flatiron Books - January 24th, 2017

This is basically, and ultimately, the story of family, marriage and the fierce love of parents who are raising a transgender child. Laurie Frankel takes us on this very personal and complicated journey with sensitivity, humor and incredible skill. It's timely, reads quickly and will leave you with a new awareness of this issue. 

A Map of the World: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385720106
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Published: Anchor - December 3rd, 1999

In the aftermath of a tragic event this beautifully written novel chronicles the struggles of a family as theytry to maintain their relationship, their place in a judgemental community and a sense of normalcy for their daughters. Jane Hamilton writes with deep insight and an uncanny understanding of the fragility of life. 

Lily and the Octopus Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781501126222
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - June 7th, 2016

If you're a fan of magical realism, dogs, and understand the bond that can exist between we vulnerable humans and our pets then you'll love this book. It absolutely is not your run of the mill "aging pet/lonely owner" story. It absolutely is touching, funny, unique and brilliantly written. I laughed, cried, and remembered it long after I read the last page.

Rosalie Lightning: A Graphic Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250049940
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Press - January 12th, 2016

In this graphic memoir the author articulates his and his wife's search for meaning following the death of their young daughter Rosalie. It is a story of pain, grief and undying love. One of the Washington Post's Best Graphic Novels of 2016.