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Text courtesy of Pearl’s Books | Photo by Keith Branch

Five Fall Reads from Pearl’s Books

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Grotesque, harrowing, inventive. Perfect for folks who don’t like horror but still want something a bit unsettling for spooky season. Saunders takes a bit of truth — that Abraham Lincoln’s son William died at age 11 and is buried in a graveyard near the Lincolns’ home — and runs wild with it. Willie’s spirit is stuck in the cemetery, confused and bombarded by other spirits who remain there as well. Abraham visits often, and we see a parallel between the afterlife and present reality that paints a darkly vivid tale of grief and letting go. Dialogue is written like a play with factual letters from Lincoln interspersed between chapters. While it takes a few pages to acclimate to the writing style, this is one of the most innovative books I’ve ever read.

- Leah Jordan, co-owner


Lone Women by Victor LaValle

Adelaide Henry is a Black woman alone in 1915. Adelaide burns her family home to the ground, trying to hide how her parents died, and sets out to establish herself as a homesteader in Montana. But what’s in the heavy trunk Adelaide carries with her, and why does she seem so afraid?

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LaValle straddles horror and fantasy in this spooky Wild West tale that hit me straight in the heart. This tale blends historical fiction, fantasy and family saga in a world of transgression, secrets, forgiveness and revenge.

- Julia Paganelli Marin, bookseller


Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

I love a good genre-bending book, and Sarah Gailey definitely delivers on that for this novel. The story follows a non-magical private investigator, Ivy Gamble, who takes on a case to solve a murder at a magical school where her estranged, witchy sister happens to be employed. From the beginning, I was hooked by the atmosphere of the school and enjoyed the way that working with magical teens to solve a murder added some quirkiness to the tale. A more lighthearted mystery novel that would be a great transition from summer to spooky season!

- Marinna Krehbiel, bookseller


Garlic and the Vampire by Bree Paulsen

This is a nice, cozy read for folks who want to get in the Halloween spirit without dipping their toes into horror. It’s a graphic novel suitable for kids and adults, and tells the story of an anthropomorphic garlic who is encouraged (and forced) by her garden friends to venture to a vampire’s house. With the help of her best pal, Carrot, she has the courage to face her fears and visit the vampire. Read on to see what horrors await! (There are no horrors, it’s a very sweet book.)

- Daniel Jordan, co-owner


Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween by Lisa Morton

Halloween is one of the most beloved holidays — and perhaps the most misunderstood. It’s a combination of different religious and spiritual traditions that has evolved over the years to become something far different from how it began. If you’ve ever wondered about the origins of the greatest holiday ever, where we get our current traditions or how Halloween is celebrated in other countries, then Trick or Treat is the perfect book! It’s a quick read that’ll give you tons of fun facts to share at your Halloween parties.

- Hallee Israel, operations manager

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