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Notes from the Shire: Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! The Halloween season is the perfect time of year to pick up a book that can give you a good scare or two. There are a lot of go-to Halloween reads that you could choose from, such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, but there are also a lot of contemporary books out there that can get into a spooky state of mind. Here are some new or currently relevant books I highly recommend, just read them with the night light on! 

Notes from the Shire: Best Science Fiction Debuts of the Decade


As the decade draws to a close, so too does a decade of incredible debuts from authors of every stripe. And there’s nothing more that enthusiasts like more than collecting lists of favorites. (Just ask High Fidelity protagonist Rob Fleming.) But as lists come together, it’s impossible to fairly represent the incredible work done by authors in each genre; so today let’s take a moment and look at some of the best novels of the 2010s where new authors brought us to new and imaginative worlds.

(Ranking is hard - nigh on impossible - so we’ll present our list chronologically by publication date.)


Notes From the Shire by Chris L : Japan


Like a lot of westerners, Japan has always fascinated me. There’s something so familiar and so distant about the culture and the people, often at the same time. We’ve put together some of our favorite recent Japanese fiction releases, as well as a few non-fiction titles for others who share our love of the Land of the Rising Sun. 

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Lost Japan: Last Glimpse of Beautiful Japan Cover Image
ISBN: 9780141979748
Availability: Click Title for IN STOCK Location
Published: Penguin UK - June 1st, 2016

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Men Without Women: Stories (Vintage International) Cover Image
By Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel (Translated by), Ted Goossen (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781101974520
Availability: Click Title for IN STOCK Location
Published: Vintage - May 1st, 2018

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The Travelling Cat Chronicles Cover Image
By Hiro Arikawa, Philip Gabriel (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780451491336
Availability: Click Title for IN STOCK Location
Published: Berkley - October 23rd, 2018

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Convenience Store Woman Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802129628
Availability: Click Title for IN STOCK Location
Published: Grove Press - September 17th, 2019

Nothing Can Hurt You by Nicola Maye Goldberg - Book Review

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Nothing Can Hurt You Cover Image
ISBN: 9781635574883
Availability: Click Title for IN STOCK Location
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - June 23rd, 2020

Nothing Can Hurt You is a propulsive thriller that has “Netflix limited series” written all over it. Based on a true story, this tangled web of murder, revenge, resignation, and intrigue is a winner. Each chapter presents new wrinkles and insights into the aftermath of a small-town murder that has echoed across decades. ~ Reviewed by Chris Linendoll

Notes From the Shire by Andrew: Underground Dogs



Diego de la Corte works construction, goes home to his flamboyant roommate Harvey, and spends most of his free time chasing beers at one bar or another with Darius or listening to his best friend Ketrick go off on some old philosophy rant or another, all while trying to ignore the mess that the world has become. He's more or less comfortable with his life, even as the reformed United States and the military - via the new Enforcers of Democracy military branch that is getting more and more involved in civilian security - makes itself increasingly intrusive. If this sounds like a setup similar to V for Vendetta, you're not far wrong. The Underground Dogs by J.C.D. Kerwin tackles many of the same themes. A fascist government makes its citizens trade liberty for security; a lone radical plans to subvert it; and a regular citizen protagonist is given the chance to effect real change. 

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The Underground Dogs Cover Image
ISBN: 9781074337469
Availability: Special Order
Published: Independently Published - August 1st, 2019


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