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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.


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

Alaric the Goth An Outsider’s History of the Fall of Rome by Douglas Boin

In his latest historical analysis, professor and author Douglas Boin weaves the intricate tale of Rome’s mysterious sacker, Alaric the Goth, with prose that is readable and engaging. Far from a barbarian, Alaric was a complex leader who grew up on the border between his Gothic kin and the aging Roman Empire. As Boin describes the fall of Rome and the rise of the Dark Ages, it is easy to draw parallels to our own decaying empire.

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Alaric the Goth: An Outsider's History of the Fall of Rome Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780393635690
Availability: Out of Print
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - June 9th, 2020

Civilized to Death by Christopher Ryan

In this engaging analysis by Christopher Ryan, one of the coauthors of the bestselling book Sex at Dawn and the host of the podcast Tangentially Speaking, Ryan poses the question: With all of the health problems inherent in modern society, was the lifestyle of prehistoric humans worse than that of today or was it in a way more suited to the human race? In these imperiled times, Ryan impels readers to examine the myth of the savage, the positive effects of psychedelics, and the real price of progress. - Aric

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Civilized to Death: The Price of Progress Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451659108
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster - October 1st, 2019

Medallion Status by John Hodgman

John Hodgman (Vacationland, The Daily Show) wants you to know that for a while there, he was famous, but not that famous. In his latest book, Hodgman uses his razor wit and strong sense of irony to teach some of the lessons he’s learned as a guy who is kind of famous, like the finer points of wearing a nude suit, the pain of being typecast, and the perks of having Platinum Medallion Status. - Aric

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Medallion Status: True Stories from Secret Rooms Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525561101
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Viking - October 15th, 2019


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